Friday, October 24, 2014

Thrival Kits for the PUNC Planets: Pluto

Article © 2014 by Joyce Mason

"Come Home to Transformation"

I welcome positive change in my life.
~ Unity Calendar, October 2014

Author’s Note: See the introductory post, Thrival Kits for the PUNC Planets, for background on this four-part series.

Imagine being stripped of all your hang-ups, fears and anxieties … of your past traumas and their influence on you. Visualize yourself in your pure, positive power, doing great things in the world that make a difference just by being yourself, no holds barred. Envision the Root You without any distortion or interference. This is the promise of Pluto.

I have already covered Pluto intensely, a great Plutonian word,  in other articles on this blog. (See The Depths of Change  and Pluto: Ravaged or Nurtured? Also check out the related posts at the end of this article.)

This time, just like Pluto “strips away,” I will not repeat what’s available for additional pondering but get to the core of the Lord of the Underworld and what he’s up to when he visits or highly influences your natal chart. Alas, he’s not very well liked. Pluto tends to make people want to duck or run when they see him coming. Not that I blame them.

On the side of bravery, there may be wisdom in just letting him have his way with you, because his purpose is alchemy—bringing out your inner gold. Getting there may not be much fun, especially if you resist. In this thrival kit, I hope to encourage you to understand the process and to focus on the outcome, not on the knee-deep muck you might have to slog through to finally meet the amazing New You.

What Pluto Asks of You

Most of us resist Pluto, in my humble opinion, because we have trouble believing what we cannot see. Pluto asks you to trust the process, one as old as time itself: birth, death and rebirth. The sun rises and sets, the visual reminder that the downs of life go up again. The seasons wax and wane, giving birth to a new year from the death of another. These cycles are the reliable, repeating and trustworthy patterns of life. If you’re older than a child; you’ve seen so many of them by now, it’s time to believe they’re a metaphor for how all life works.

There are times when my Catholic upbringing offers profound insights into an astrological principle. Pluto reminds me a lot of the Catholic concept of purgatory.  Purgatory is the place souls destined for heaven go to be purified. They have not quite been “holy” enough to earn their pass through the Pearly Gates. Unfortunately, this is tied up with the medieval concepts of sin and suffering that turn off a lot of spiritual mutts, me included. But if we unpack what sin is, it is only error or missing the mark. If we take away the emotional language and fire-and-brimstone fearfulness, purgatory isn’t any scarier than training hard for a marathon or studying for a complex career like law or medical school.

Pluto asks you to do your homework--to know there will be graduation at the end of any series of tough tests. Its coursework will prepare you for a rewarding new life.

I’ll be the first to admit that Pluto’s molasses pace compared to the other planets is a pain, but we’re talking law or medical school, not a six-month certificate that leaves you without much learning or earning power.

My favorite “Pluto in a nutshell” phrase comes from Douglas Block’s title to his book on overcoming anxiety and clinical depression, When Going Through Hell...Don’t' Stop!

If you don’t keep going—if you plant yourself like a stubborn mule and resist—you’ll suffer from another maxim you probably learned at your mother’s knee, as I did at mine: Some people have to learn the hard way. Or my all-time favorite spin on that idea of my mom’s that I’ve mentioned many times on this blog: Some people need a house to fall on their head.

What You May Be Resisting

With Pluto we are resisting major change, even a course correction. The change is fundamental. It has to come from the core of your being. This is rarely easy since we tend to build our lives around comfort, convenience and a fixation on our worldview. All of those things may be pulled out from under us. To make Plutonian changes, we often have to upset the applecart of our entire lives and psyche. This is a lot to ask of habit-loving, change-avoiding humans. Even the most adventurous of people do not want to mess with their lifestyle and orientation to the world.

Yet this is what Pluto asks. You may have to give up the people, places and things you love most. You may question why, but the truth is that a Higher Power is in charge, moving you to the next leg of your life from the Big Picture you can’t see yet. As I have said many times, Pluto requires blind faith and deep trust. Ironic that these are the very issues that people with a lot of natal Pluto aspects struggle with ...

In the most fundamental sense, major Pluto transits or natal wiring give you the opportunity to resolve these issues of faith and trust. The good news is that once you start seeing in retrospect that Pluto leads you to a new path that’s for your own good—that’s better for you and makes you strong—you will then trust the process of life itself. More than this we can’t ask as we walk the earth.

The Shift Needed to Thrive

Back to the good in my Catholic upbringing: There is another tool I acquired in those formative years of uniforms, strict nuns and indoctrination into a belief system, parts of which made no sense to me whatsoever. I was trained to trust God, a bigger force than anything on earth, and to know he had my best interests at heart. Except for the part where God seemed a bit bipolar with wrath as big as his loving kindness, this trust in a Higher Power laid fabulous groundwork for my love of life and trust in its basic goodness.

And, of course, the idea that parental figures knew best, including the ultimate Father, was reinforced almost daily by my mother. “Because I’m your mother” was offered as answer enough to the incessant whys of a curious child. I didn’t understand half of why she made me do certain things or why she held certain beliefs. I could question her all day, but she rarely provided answers other than to cite the innate wisdom of elders or even—God forbid!—“God says,” as if she chatted with him on our 1950s party-line telephone.

I grew and got away from the fundamentalism of religion and drew my spirituality from wisdom principles where many belief systems converge. Ultimately, I embraced a Higher Power with better mental health, one with only my good in mind and the idea that “it’s all good.” We often can’t see it in the moment because we’re in the pain of loss or disruption. We don’t have the view from the mountain. Even if we endure horrible losses, good will return. The heart that loves is expanded by loss, and as it heals, the bigger heart lets in even more love. Just as Pluto moves slowly, this resolution sometimes takes its time, too.

You need to know that good will come of your Plutonian experiences in the end, whether or not you can see it now and whether or not the reason for it makes any sense to you whatsoever at the moment.

One of the vast ironies of Pluto is that we have to surrender power to get true power, the innate power of our divine humanity. We are spirits having a human experience. Catholic catechism taught me that I am made “in the image and likeness of God.” Metaphysics, astrology and mythology reinforced this principle. The shift we need to survive also involves knowing that that all-loving, all-powerful god-ness/goodness is the core of who we are. All changes Pluto brings down upon us, which can seem so rude or devastating in the moment, only bring us back to the true core of who we are—love on earth, reflections of the loving fabric of the synchronous and amazing Cosmic One.

How to Dance with Pluto

Many of the tools that help you navigate one outer planet’s influence help you with them all. You’ll see in this final PUNC thrival kit many themes from the three prior planets covered.

  • Astrology readings – While any outerplanetary transit is a great time for an astrological consultation, Pluto transits are when you’re likely to feel the need for one the most. Because of the difficult tests Pluto often presents, or even just because of the earthquake of change involved, you’re more likely to cry “uncle” and admit you want help. An astrology consultation is a wonderful first step in the surrender Pluto requires, a letting go and letting in cosmic wisdom.
  • Therapy – As with Neptune transits, Plutonian times are ideal for therapy. Pluto rules transformation and Neptune the unconscious, though with Pluto’s connection to the underground and dark side, its transits offer perfect time for unearthing any interior darkness you need to bring to light to be healed. I cannot imagine going through a major Pluto transit without some sort of psychological support. Even when it’s in trine or sextile to your natal planets, when Pluto comes calling; the change called for is so fundamental, it’s comforting, if not essential, to have a professional midwife of the psyche attend your rebirth.
  • Bodywork – Bodywork focused on releasing blockages and the stuck emotions that go along with them is ideal—but be careful not to overdo. (Check out this massage therapy glossary and search for keyword blockages to consider your many options.) With Pluto’s signature intensity, during a Pluto transit, you’re a lot like a Scorpio for however long the current influence lasts. (I’m writing this after a year of Pluto conjunct my Moon. Whew!) Try to avoid too much drama and exhausting yourself, even by way of your bodywork. Be sure there’s a lot of gentle, nurturing type massage to counterbalance the deeper variety, or you’ll risk transformational burnout—too much, too fast, too soon. Transformation is a delicate and organic process. Pluto moves slowly for a reason. Its slow movement helps us absorb deep changes without being totally overwhelmed by them.
  • Medical issues – Pluto is associated with the immune system, infection, and illnesses with life-threatening potential. The latter is not always the case, thank heavens, but given that Plutonian type illnesses can fester for a long time without notice, these transits are an excellent time for a complete and thorough check-up. Since Pluto also is associated with reproduction and sex, a check of the  related organs is good medicine. It’s a time when pregnancy or “female problems” might crop up unexpectedly, same for men with prostate trouble. Other possibilities are extremes of sexuality, such as increased or decreased drive and fertility issues. Pluto is also associated bowel disorders, skin eruptions, and all organs of elimination.  Pluto transits as an inner time is literal as well as figurative.
  • Obsessive/compulsive behavior – Especially if you’re not natally Plutonian, don’t be surprised if a Pluto transit brings out some new obsessive-compulsive tendencies. (I should also mention jealousy and possessiveness.) These behaviors are a reaction of the psyche to a sense of lost control. Since Pluto is asking you to surrender the steering wheel and let the Cosmic Driving Instructor have your keys, these are forms of possible reaction. I suggest discussing it with your close friends and/or therapist. It’s likely a temporary phenomenon, if you haven’t experienced these issues much before the current Pluto influence.
  • Withdrawal – If you normally are extroverted and recharge around people, don’t be surprised if a Pluto transit turns you into somewhat of a hermit. This is normal for coping with major change. Few people care to shed layers of themselves in public. However, taking a hint from the thrival kit for Neptune, this is a time when close friends can be rallied to keep an eye on you to make sure you don’t go too far into yourself and succumb to serious depression. On the upside, think of all the reading and film viewing you can catch up on while liking a lot of alone time, not to mention the inner growth that will sprout from all that introspection.
  • “The mystery” - With its Rulership of the underworld and the life-death-rebirth process, Pluto is the planet associated with the mysteries of life. This may be a time when you explore them with signature Plutonian depth and even obsessiveness. How does life and our relationship with the cosmos work? As with Neptune, Pluto also opens psychic gifts and inner knowing. Let yourself be drawn to all things esoteric, and plumb topics that are deeply psychological or mysterious. Don’t be surprised if you want to read or watch mysteries without minding if they’re the gory murderous kind.Your curiosity about the psyche, normal or aberrant, is likely to run high.

The most positive thing you can do with a Pluto transit is to go on an archeological expedition into your own interior, to find out who you really are and how you fit into the greater mysteries of life.

Music and Entertainment Tips

Music.  I couldn’t help but be amused over the fact that I could find very little about Plutonian music, even from my usual research sources. Pluto is the epitome of things hidden. My suggested rule of thumb is that any intensely emotional music would be good to listen to during a Pluto transit. Look for what is evocative for you for releasing the fears and the discomfort of morphing from a caterpillar to a butterfly. The question to ask yourself: Do I feel better, like I released some tension during this music, or worse—more agitated? Blues music may appeal and themes of resurrection and rebirth. To inject a little humor into your transit, try some Halloween music—a most Scorpionic and Plutonian prescription. Since Halloween is on the horizon as this thrival kit posts, keep an ear out! The link in the previous sentence includes “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, “Monster Mash” by Dellboy and the theme from the movie Ghostbusters. The classical music that most makes me think of Halloween and Pluto is Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

TV/Movies.  Immerse yourself in mysteries, thrillers and a bit of the dark side while not forgetting resurrection themes and the emotional rule of thumb mentioned under Music. Indulge in what releases emotions; avoid what contributes to intensified fear or discomfort. Look for story lines about people who overcome great challenges to reinvent themselves. For a PUNC two-fer, revisit Amadeus, the 1984 fictionalized bio of the outrageous Aquarian composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. [1] The Plutonian part of the movie is watching Mozart's rival , Antonio Salieri, nearly eaten alive by envy. A great cautionary tale, if the dark side of Plutonian emotions are flared up for you. F. Murray Abraham won an Oscar for his performance as Salieri, and it is one of the most remarkable I've ever seen without qualification. It's simply stunning for how it reveals a Plutonian transformation going in the wrong direction. (By the way, the photo and link to this movie is the most repinned of all my posts on Pinterest.)

To get you started on some possible films for your Pluto transits, here are some lists by Plutonian topic:

  • 10 Best Transformation Movies  (My Jupiter in Scorpio couldn’t resist the gallows humor that most of these are horror films, which a Pluto transit can feel like in the middle of the movie, so to speak.)

Invoking Pluto

Modified from my Blessing for an Astrology meeting:

Pluto, Lord of the Underworld,
help me remember that Darth Vader
was once a Jedi Knight,
as all of us are inside.
Help me trust the Force,
my own positive power, and how darkness
always turns to daylight.

 More Reading

The Book of Pluto: Finding Wisdom in Darkness with Astrology with Astrology by Steven Forrest (2012)

Healing Pluto Problems by Donna Cunningham (1986)


Thanks for sharing in the Comments any tools that have helped you with natal Pluto aspects or transits.

Parting Quotes

Pluto strips away every part of you that must die for you to see who you really are—both divinely powerful and humanly vulnerable with enough darkness for your unique light to shine.

                                              ~ Joyce Mason

Finally, here’s a whole list of wonderful Quotes about Rebirth.


Photo Credit: © agsandrew -


[1] Mozart had a close Mercury/Sun conjunction in Aquarius with Saturn also in Aquarius nearby. Venus is in late Aquarius, and Uranus is conjunct the South Node in his natal chart. The Nodes are part of a T-Square to the Moon conjunct Pluto in Sagittarius. You'll see a lot of the UP or PU in PUNC in the movie, Amadeus. (Those who remember a certain scene will get my joke in the last line.) Both main characters are Plutonian. Mozart's birth data: 27-Jan-1756 in Salzburg, Austria.

Disclaimer: This article does not mean to imply any recommendation or certification of any healing methods, individuals or companies mentioned. It is provided purely for informational purposes. Please make your own determination about the quality of the services and products discussed. This article and the others referenced are not meant to constitute advice, nor are they meant to replace medical or psychological treatment.  

Links to the rest if the Thrival Kit Series:

The other PUNC planets series, Outerplanetary (Extraordinary) People

Living with the Outer Planets Prominent

Uranians Spread Stolen Fire with Their Fingers

Neptunian Survival Tricks and The Magic of Dis-Illusionment

Pluto: The Reason for Suffering and How to Put Passion to Work

Outerplanetary (Extraordinary) People: # 5 of 5Chiron and Life's Purpose—Spirited Living

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