Note: I wrote the following a couple of months ago, but hesitated to publish it for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it's all about me and I usually steer away from indulgent personal writing on this blog. Secondly, the couple of people who did read it said they found it upsetting and Astroair is supposed to be an uplifting blog. However, the piece kept nagging at me, so here it is at last... I have not shared details of what happened under this transit (it's different for everybody), but have described how it felt. We shouldn't pretend that Pluto transits are fun or easy, because they're not and if I could sum mine up in three words they would be 'hard, hard work', but on reading this again from a slightly more distant perspective, it's beginning (a little) to feel like at least some of the hard work could have been worth it.
It’s the time of year when the central heating is cranked up and extra duvets are piled on the bed. It’s unwise to leave the house without coat, hat, scarf and gloves. The days are short and darkness reigns. Strange that only a few months ago I slept with the fan on all night, just to keep cool. Odd that the days were so long and the nights so short. I know that the heat of the summer was real, I remember it, but from this viewpoint it feels like an imagined fantasy, like something that happened to another person in another place. It’s also difficult to imagine that in another few months, the scarves and gloves will be relegated to the back of the cupboard and I’ll be dusting off the fan again.
I know as fact that spring will come again and that summer will follow, but simply accepting this fact from my current point of view takes more than merely knowing, it takes a leap of faith.
As the year long conjunction of transiting Pluto to my 8th House Sun begins to wane I am keenly reminded of this turning of the seasons. From my current perspective I find myself in a dark, wintry place. It’s cold and scary here and the night feels endless. It’s almost impossible to imagine the inevitability of summer, the Sun shining high in the sky. It’s almost impossible to believe that I will ever feel joy again.
However, like Persephone in the myth, one day soon I will emerge from Hades’ (Plato’s) underworld, feel the Sun's warmth again and feel joy again. I will look back from ‘high summer’ and no doubt part of me will find it hard to accept that I ever felt so cold and dark and scared. The larger part of me though will, I hope, accept that life is like the seasons and the planetary cycles - constantly turning and always changing and no matter where in life the cycle finds itself, it's always meant to be in the place where it is.
In the place where I am right now, my job, home, relationship and financial security are all unsure. 2011 is an unknown quantity. Dreams have been crushed, plans abandoned. In losing so much power and control over the external circumstances of my life, I am coming to understand that power comes from within. It is a neutral energy which can be used in any way I choose or not used at all. It can be as reactive and explosive as nuclear energy or it can be calm and contained and constructive. I am learning that for me personally, it’s about holding my centre and learning to recognise when to simply let go. It’s been about feeling anger and grief and bitterness and about ‘owning’ these potentially destructive emotions in order to see beyond and beneath them, to seek out their source.
Anger for me (and yes, I do get very angry very regularly these days) is a sign that a line has been crossed and is a cue to reset and reassert my personal boundaries. Usually I’m angry at myself, even when that anger is directed outwards. It is part of my Pluto lesson about ceasing to be a pushover and overcoming a lifelong belief that everyone else is superior/better/stronger than me. I am learning that setting healthy boundaries in my relationships is essential to my mental and emotional health (Saturn in Libra squared my Sun for much of the time that Pluto was conjunct it) and I am constantly readjusting those boundaries, trying to find the right balance.
Bitterness is a new emotion for me, ugly and unwelcome. Put simply, I’m grieving and the twinges of bitterness are, I think, a part of that grieving process. I am grieving for lost hope, for idealism crushed by reality. If I’m not careful, these feelings sneak into my waking thoughts and into the stoop of my posture. I’ve faced tangible losses under this Pluto transit, but the grief seems to be coming not from tangible loss, but from the loss of ‘what might have been’, the dreams I never fulfilled (where are the published novels, the beautiful babies?). These things feel as real, on a psychic level, as the tangible things I have created and lost in my life. As such, they need to be honoured and grieved for and laid to rest every bit as much as the ‘real’ lost friendship, the ‘real’ lost job etc. Under a Pluto transit a fresh perspective on these lost dreams can and must be found. While I might never publish a novel (writing one in the first place would have helped), I do have a wonderful forum to write and share and express myself though my astrology articles. While it’s now too late for me to have children, I realise that I have always been a caring, nurturing, loving person, it’s just that those qualities have been directed elsewhere (into my friendships, my work, my love for my pets). I’m learning to face reality as it is, rather than focusing on my idealised (Sun semi-square Neptune) version of how I would have liked things to be. Most of all, through experiencing and questioning the bitterness and grief I’ve been feeling, I’m learning to have faith in myself and where I am in my life. I’m also learning that while hope and ideals can be lost, faith is a constant.
This Pluto transit has also been a lesson in knowing when and how to surrender (sometimes disengaging from the ‘fight’ is the wisest choice and the best way to win the ‘war’ and also realising that when you’re at war with others, you are really only at war with an aspect of yourself); learning to forgive (myself and others); knowing when to ask for help (overcoming a fierce independence born from negative self beliefs about not deserving help and/or fears that those who help me will have power or control over me) and knowing how to spot when I’m being manipulating / manipulated (a lot of stuff to do with old family relationships, which for years played itself out unattractively in my own adult relationships).
I’m not saying I’ve finished learning these lessons or will ever master them completely, but I will keep on trying, will keep on searching for a healthy transforming, perspective on the dark path that life sometimes takes me down. Most of all, I will do my very best to hold onto the faith and the truth that nothing is forever, that the Sun will shine again and that joy will return.
And to all those Plutonic people who have accompanied me on this journey - those who have taught me harsh lessons and those who have loved and supported and believed in me (you know you are) - I would like to say a huge thank you.
Postscript: A Happy Ending? All the way through this transit I kept joking with some of my astrology colleagues that I was going to win the lottery (tr. Pluto in the 8th House conjunct Sun, ruler of the 5th House). Most told me it was wishful thinking! Well, they were wrong, because on December 25th, my birthday, I won nearly £2k on the lottery! A great gift for my Solar Return...Roll on Jupiter and Uranus squaring my Sun in 2011.
Resource: this book spent almost the entirety of my Pluto transit on my nightstand. Highly recommended: Healing Pluto Problems by Donna Cunningham
See also: Pluto Problems Got You Perplexed? Here's What Helps! an online collection of helpful, insightful articles to help you through your Pluto transit. Joyce Mason's A Cup of Courage in Times of Tough Transits particularly resonates with what I've written here.
10 Tips for Surviving a Pluto Transit from Moonkissd by Jessica
Survival Tips for the Pluto Transit by Lynn Koiner
Image details: In 2005, this image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was used to identify two new moons orbiting Pluto. Pluto is in the center. The moon Charon is just below it. The newly discovered moons, Nix and Hydra, are to the right of Pluto and Charon. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/what-is-pluto-k4.html