© 2016 by Joyce Mason
Happy Pluto Direct! The Lord of the Underworld stationed and moved forward on September 26 after more than five months of traveling “in reverse” from 17 Capricorn 29 to 14 Capricorn 55. One thing common to retrograde periods is the opportunity to reflect on and reassess the topics that planet symbolizes. (See Insights and Metaphors for Retrogrades.)
Some of the subjects in Pluto's learn-by-burn curriculum are:
- Fundamental transformation
- Permanent change
- Personal relationship to world events
- Death and rebirth
- Beginnings and endings
- Subconscious forces
Of course, this is just a sampler of the immense turf Lord Pluto covers. Plutonian by birth, I have in recent years been held to the fire by transiting Pluto in my Cardinal-prominent chart. Now that I’m the oldest I’ve ever been, with many decades of dealing with this force under my belt, I feel like I’m finally “getting” Pluto.
Fixity and the Reset Button
Pluto rules the fixed sign of Scorpio, and I think it shows us where we’re stuck and where we dig in our heels. (Another Plutonian keyword is compulsion and I am guilty of that endless loop big time!) “Letting go” is such an important prescription for Pluto, but Pluto often asks us to give up what we love most. Surrender is hardest when the stakes are high.
Many of you know that in February 2015, my husband lost his mobility. (He has a form of muscular dystrophy). Along with the logistics of wheelchair transfers and living in a home not designed for wheelchair access, there were other health complications. Tim’s condition catapulted me overnight into 24/7 caregiving. This is not what I had in mind! I was still in launch mode as a new novelist, and I could see from the onset that my next novel would have to be put on hold for now, along with most of my other writing. (May as well ask me not to breathe.)
From the beginning of this very challenging assignment to be wife, nurse, companion and the doer of most everything, I knew that the only way this would work is if I took it a moment at a time, saw the humor in every disastrous part of the job (especially the untrained nurse flubs), and believed the Universe knows what he/she/it is doing. I’d tried the other way, going kicking and screaming to change, and this did not go well for me. (How ‘bout you?)
I had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for the first year-and-a-half, although I didn’t realize it at the time. My physical resources had never been so taxed, starting with helping a 200-lb. man in and out of his wheelchair and in and out of the car. I was so drained by the end of every day; I wondered how I’d go onto the next, much less have the extra oomph to get a house we’ve lived in 18 years ready for market. But I kept on keeping on. From an emotional perspective, I finally had to surrender to depression medication, which has actually been so effective for me; I’m sorry I didn’t do it sooner. At some point, I began to realize that Tim’s healing was my healing, too. That I had been stuck in lots of ruts in my life (that old fixity) and I had been given work to do that would force me to relinquish what didn’t work anymore and to appreciate the gifts of my next life within a life. (My brother once described the marriage of two relatives, both very fixed by element in their charts, this way: “They aren’t just in a rut; they’ve dug a deep trench for themselves.” I didn’t know I had veered off course into a ditch.)
Recently, I got a Uranian flash about how a Pluto transit is tantamount to hitting the reset button on your computer. You do the same things over and over; it’s all locked up. Nothing you try works anymore, and it’s getting worse. There was usually an earlier warning. There is no moving forward. All you can do is reboot and hope that starting over clears all the glitches.
We talk about Pluto as a big end and new beginning, an energy that resurrects and renews us. We come out of “lockup” not only working again, but working in new ways that are healthier and better for us, fitting with the next leg of life.
Balance and Silver Linings
I would have never believed on Valentine’s Day 2015 when all this started that I would see so much good in what is probably the most difficult thing that I’ve ever done. Yes, it’s confining, but I know the worst of it is temporary. Once we move to more wheelchair friendly digs in spring and get a large cash influx from the sale of our home, we’ll be able to hire more help. We can get a van equipped with an electronic ramp. Then Tim can zip up the ramp in his power chair. I’ll get to retire from assembling and disassembling the manual chair for every trip (mostly medical appointments) and spend more time writing than at the chiropractor and physical therapist. We’re not kids anymore, and I have my share of arthritis and flexibility issues. Plus I’m short, which makes all this navigation nothing short of hilarious at times, while I try to steer Tim’s chair, leaning way left and then way right behind it, teeter tottering to see around him because I’m too vertically challenged to see over him. Let’s just say I don’t have a good relationship with doorframes and medical personnel cringe when they see me coming--and leave me a wide berth.
You can’t imagine how hard we’ve learned to laugh during the course of this adventure. (Thank God for gallows humor and two Jupiters in Scorpio.) What this era of my life has brought me is balance, which my Taurus Rising, Venus-ruled chart and three planets in Libra are gulping like water found in the desert after a long, dry thirst. I used to think my mission was to share my experiences in the world, to touch as many lives as I could. This left me sometimes not doing all I could for my small family, and that realization is painful. I am making up for lost time.
Reflecting on how this came to happen, I was single for most of my adult life, married eight years to my first husband but otherwise not partnered till Tim and I got back together (childhood sweethearts) the year of our Chiron Returns. I was used to making the world my family and as an Outerplanetary Person, this orientation was natural. While relationship was what I craved, I also realized that my Chironic wound involved a lot of fear of abandonment. Therefore, I never surrendered completely to a relationship, even with Tim, knowing I’d likely lose him first—especially a guy with significant health issues. I’m now “in” 100%, although a day doesn’t go by that I don’t realize tomorrow isn’t given. This was underscored by my niece’s recent loss of her chronically ill husband. No one, not even his doctor, expected it to happen so soon. Talk about hitting close to home.
Family, in fact, has become the most important thing to me—which it always has been, even when I didn’t act like it. My Uranian sense of not fitting in was just another defense mechanism. When I really analyzed it, rejection wasn’t there. As an adopted person, I know more than anyone that you can love people who are essentially different from you. I got lots of little hints in the last year that my family loves me much more than I gave them credit for, even if their worldviews don’t match mine, just as it was with my parents. (They didn't always understand me, but they loved me without question.)
Getting Off the Merry-Go-Round
Another metaphor I like about my Pluto metamorphosis is realizing that it took something BIG to get me off the merry-go-round of how I usually did things. Caring for Tim forced me to slow down, living on the fumes of my last drop of energy. From that wasteland of get-up-and-go, I finally started seeing that I was not apportioning my time and juice in keeping with my personal ideals and goals. (Personal energy management has always been a huge issue for me.) I wondered many times if I’d ever have my old zip back. I’m happy to report it’s slowly returning and that I have learned: the only way you can successfully care for another is to care rabidly for yourself as the caregiver. You are the grid for the electricity in your lives, and you cannot afford brownouts or power outages. My “alone time” has become more sacrosanct than ever, and I have been happy to learn at caregiver support events that I score high on self-care for someone in my shoes (nurse’s clogs).
In the Western world, we don’t slow down often enough, which is what retrogrades call for. Only when the world stops spinning can we reorient ourselves and see from the new perspective of stillness and thoughtfulness. How do we make good decisions, going in circles, always dizzy?
Arriving Is the Fun, Even if Getting There Isn’t
The hardest part of a Pluto transit is getting through to the other side of it. There’s no dodging, ditching (see above about digging ditches) or postponing it. This reminds me of the title of a very helpful book Tim read when he was grappling with depression. It’s by Douglas Bloch, an Astro-savvy man who has also written astrology books with Demetra George. It’s called When Going Through Hell ... Don't Stop!
Non-resistance is essential. It hurts too much if we don’t align our little will with the Big Will represented by Pluto. On the other side (a metaphor for heaven), you meet a New You and a New Life.
Or at least that’s what I have to report so far. One of my high school friends is the mother-in-law of Joe Henderson, a writer and producer who has written several episodes for the TV show, Lucifer. Lucifer Morningstar (yeah, Pluto Himself) takes a vacation from Hell to visit LA and experience hanging around with humans. Tom Ellis plays him as a real charmer, and among other things, Lucifer sidles up to a young detective, Chloe Decker, played by Laura German, and inserts himself into her murder investigations. He wants the right person to be punished. (How devilish.) While I’m early into watching the series on Hulu, hanging out with humans is already starting to change the Prince of Darkness …
… as I believe hanging out with Pluto changes us. Inspector Decker is already starting to give into Lucifer’s pressure to help her solve crimes.
For many of us stagnation is the biggest crime of all. Release, relent, reinvent—renew.
Photo Credit: tashatuvango - Fotolia.com
The Radical Virgo would love to hear about your takeaways from Pluto natal aspects or Pluto transits. You’re encouraged to comment.
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