Pluto was the Roman God of wealth. Pluto's mythology is often intermingled with the Greek Hades, the Lord of the Underworld, who took mortals down for an ordeal that was also an initiation. In astrology, we can find meaning in both, since out of the dark comes great treasure, but it requires journeying through the underworld.
In the myth of Persephone, she had eaten the seed of the pomegranate and so was destined to spend a third of each year in the underworld with Hades. The descent of Autumn, or anytime of letting go, can remind us of times when we’ve been intimate with these powerful forces of change.
In astrology, Pluto is the transformer who drags us – sometimes through a life-changing event -- us into the psychic depths, and brings terrifying change. Pluto’s force is a reminder that nothing lasts forever, as it ruthlessly takes away what we cling to the most.
The gift from this stripping experience is we discover the soul essence. And grow wise to the fact that we can die to old ways of living, beliefs, relationships – be utterly disillusioned, “broken,” or hit bottom – and rise like the mythical Phoenix from the flames. The transformation is total, and from the inside out. Emerging from a Pluto transit, or living as a Pluto person (someone with Pluto as chart ruler, Scorpio planets, or strong aspects involving Pluto means carrying something of the supernatural in your character. Your persona is profound, deepened by experience, and others sense your soulfulness.Pluto in the Birth Chart
In the birth chart, Pluto’s house and aspects are indicators of the shadow, where there’s compressed dark energy in our lives. The primal power there makes us afraid to unlock it, since it would surely destroy our lives! That’s why so often our Pluto issues are dangerously wound up and defended.
Pluto in the birth chart is the locale of our personal underworld, loaded with obsessions, jealousies and compulsions. Pluto’s fear of being exposed causes us to react aggressively when this core is threatened.
When we try to run away from facing this intensity, Pluto’s way is to dramatically force change, whether we are ready or not. When we surrender to the purifying fire, and we are burned by the experience, it changes us forever. It may seem harsh and unforgiving, but great soul discoveries are made on the other side of Pluto’s annihilation. For after every death experience comes a rebirth, when our core essence is revealed.
When Pluto is activated in our lives, we sense a threat to our ego identity. It happens when there’s a devastating loss that violates our sense of how life ought to be. In traumatic loss, we cross a threshold, and discover that there’s truth to the adage, “what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” Pluto transits remake the planet it touches, and it does that by burning away what’s not authentic to the core.
The forces of Pluto are not something this cosmic body (actually demoted to a dwarf planet) are doing to us. Pluto is symbolic of archetypal energies that move in our lives, and feel bigger than we are at times. That’s why Pluto is a faith builder, because there’s a surrender to something that feels threatening. We sense, though, there’s something greater to be gained, by giving up the ‘little Me’ that we’ve known.
Trial by Fire
- Pluto is considered the higher octave of Mars, and embodies the force of destruction.
- In the birth chart, Pluto guides us to our personal shadows, where we experience power struggles, obsessive and compulsive traits and extreme secrecy.
- Pluto’s position is a reservoir of intensity, and this compressed raw force is experienced as dangerous until it is met and integrated.
Faith in the Darkness
Death and Rebirth
- Pluto’s realm is the dark side of the psyche, where unconscious primal urges threaten to overtake our higher instincts.
- Where we find Pluto in the chart, we find what’s taboo and subversive in our nature.
- Facing Pluto requires courage, since there’s often a descent involved, full of dangers and unseen forces.
- Emerging out of a difficult Pluto initiation has been likened to the Phoenix rising out of the ashes. Or the metamorphoses of caterpillar to butterfly.