The effects of Mercury retrograde are unmistakable.
If our society is a machine, then the Mercury Retrograde period is when ghosts and gremlins are unleashed. It is the open season for mindless blunders, delays, glitches, cancellations and reschedules.
Mercury retrograde exposes the lapses in our judgement. Our assumptions and automatic response become unreliable, and we are prone to skip and stray from our normal decision-making process. Our brains seem to slip out from under us. We can’t remember the words at the tip of our tongues. We blurt out what we don’t mean to say. We give and receive incorrect, incomplete or irrelevant answers (especially when contacting the tech support). Even handling a phone number can be dicey.
This period calls for a healthy dose of skepticism of everyone – ourselves included. Most consequential of all are contracts signed and agreements made under this influence. Every word needs to be scrutinized with a magnifier, (even then…) It is likely the information presented is not truthful and complete. Our judgement could be temporarily impaired, and we will need to retract and reconsider afterward. The arrangements may not come to fruition.
When in doubt, withhold or delay major decisions as much as possible. If a decision must be made, be prepared for some revision or reversal in the future – the probabilities are significantly higher. The shining object of your desire – be it the dream car, house, job, vacation, or romance – could lose its luster after Tricky Mercury resumes his forward motion.
For the pessimists, give some slack for pleasant surprises, for Mercury retrograde’s plot twists go both ways. A negative outlook could unexpectedly turn around. Salvaged junks may reveal themselves to be priceless treasures. Delays allow extra preparation, and cancellations open up space to regroup and realign. One major advantage of this special phase is that if we make an agreement under external pressure or coercion, we can expect to rescind or rearrange it down the road.
4th Degree of Gemini: Boundaries and Obstacles of Self-Expression, Information, and Mental Power
The Mercury degree at the beginning of a retrograde carries predominate influence encompassing the entire period. During this Mercury retrograde, we will be presented with the lessons of the 4th degree of Gemini and retracing our steps back to the 26th degree of Taurus. My working degree symbol for the 4th degree of Gemini is:
A reporter is disciplined and passed over for promotion because herefuses to dumb down and sensationalize his reporting.
The 4th degree of Gemini is about working with limited information and the confine of our minds. It asks us to build a robust framework to withstand, organize and disseminate massive inflow of data. It also implies the struggle to think and express freely, as well as the hardship resulting from such actions. The Sabin symbol for this degree is “a radical magazine”. In this case, truth is revolutionary.
Under this strong influence, we are supported to restate our truth. If we ever were too intimidated to say it out loud for fear of rejection and prosecution, here is our second chance to put our feet down and set the record straight.
This is the time to stare at the enormous complexity we are living in and recognize the limit of our knowledge and mental capacity. We don’t know. Moreover, we don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t know what questions to ask, and what we don’t know to ask. The experts and authorities have not provided satisfactory answers, but they want us to go along. We cannot consent to what’s happening and what is prescribed for us. How do we give informed consent when vital information is withheld from us, anyway? We should not and we will not. It is time to say “stop this madness” before the momentum carries us cross the Rubicon. It’s okay to change our minds. To pause, reverse, or put a hard stop to define and defend ourselves – especially during Mercury retrograde.
As Mercury retrogresses, we will be asked to return to the childlike inquisitiveness (3rd degree of Gemini) and look at our word with fresh eyes. The picture may not be pretty, but we can no longer turn a blind eye and just move along the predesignated path. It is the time for heart-to-heart conversations and ask real questions, however stupid they would seem (2nd degree of Gemini).
Dane Rudhyar symbolized the beginning degree of the Gemini as “a glass-bottomed boat reveals under-sea wonders.” We will sure be swimming in the infinite sea of information, disinformation, and malinformation. If we stay afloat, a quietness will dawn, and we’ll see that information, ideas, and thoughts shape our world; their malignancy our poison, their censorship our prison. Only when we take command of our full mental capacity and secure unrestricted access to information are we truly free to interface and shape our world.
In part 2, the birth of U.S.A. is examined against its Pluto themes outlined in part 1to demonstrate the nation’s character, values, and priorities. These are the factors that shape the nation’s destiny. With this understanding comes a new perspective and framework that could help us make sense and navigate through this complex and bewildering time. — Author
From the astrologer’s perspective, the quality of time and history is cyclical. It unfolds around a giant clock face with multiple converging forces traversing through different stages in the evolutionary cycle; the patterns and energies are distinctive. In order to understand how the U.S. historically handled and manifested its Pluto energy, I will review the crucial points of the U.S. Pluto cycle in part 2 and 3 of this series.
We start by exploring the themes and events surrounding the creation of U.S.A. For the sake of precision and clarity, I used a narrow 1-degree orb. It means that I only included events that took place when Pluto was within one degree of forming a major aspect (0, 60, 90, and 120 degrees) with the U.S. Pluto. Due to Capricorn’s slowness, some relevant events will inadvertently be omitted, since they occurred after the cut-off date.
First, a quick recap of the astrology of U.S. Pluto (detailed in part 1):
Capricorn second house: wealth equals status, prioritized conformity and social order, wealth acquisition, economic hardship, greed.
Pluto in Second house: Plutocracy and plutonomy (corruption, control, and consolidation), violation of personal freedom and property rights, currency manipulation, economic boom-and-bust.
Pluto in Capricorn: governmental and institutional surveillance, corruption, coercion, intimidation, violent struggle.
Pluto at 27th degree of Capricorn, potential solution in 27th degree of Cancer: discontent, abandoning the status quo, rebellion, exceptionalism, natural laws.
Scorpio 12th house and antiscion (2nd degree of Sagittarius) in 12th house: drug wars, prosecution of minority, slavery, surveillance, espionage, covert ops, geopolitical maneuvers, opaque and misleading foreign policy, diplomacy, foreign wars.
The founding of America
April 2, 1775 – May 24, 1775
January 23, 1776 – August 17, 1776
November 26, 1776 – February 1, 1777
August 6, 1777- December 10, 1777
Departure from the status quo
Separation from ineffectual peers
No middle ground
Appeal to natural law and common sense
Short-term conformity at the cost of long-term stability
Profits trump principles
Wealth consolidation and re-distribution
Last resort as the only option
Foreign entanglement with allies and saboteurs
National debt, currency devaluation, and hyperinflation
Trade war and financial warfare
On April 19, 1775, amidst mounting tension and state of rebellion in New England, the British force set out to preemptively confiscate the colonists’ weapon stockpiles and was met with well-coordinated resistance. During the stand-off, shots were fired by an unknown gunman, and the skirmish quickly escalated into a full-scale conflict, thus commenced the American Revolutionary War.
The fateful turn of events was perceived by the colonists as the testimony of Britain’s brutal oppression and solidified the colonists’ resolve against the British rule. The unavoidable war of independence had dawned. George Washington, upon hearing the news of the battle, wrote:
“Unhappy it is, though, to reflect that a brother’s sword has been sheathed in a brother’s breast and that the once-happy and peaceful plains of American are either to be drenched with blood or inhabited by a race of slaves. Sad Alternative! But can a virtuous man hesitate in his choice?”
In the aftermath, the colonies gathered and signed declarations and resolves to sever their ties with Britain. In January 1776, Thomas Paine published “Common Sense”, claiming that the polite discussions had been ineffectual:
“Volumes have been written on the subject of the struggle between England and America. Men of all ranks have embarked in the controversy, from different motives, and with various designs; but all have been ineffectual, and the period of debate is closed. Arms as the last resource decide the contest; the appeal was the choice of the King, and the Continent has accepted the challenge.”
Paine’s forceful argument aligned with the energy of Pluto. Piercing through the pacifists’ delusion, he called out Britain’s pretension and advocate a departure from the status quo and forging new alliances:
“As much hath been said of the advantages of reconciliation, which, like an agreeable dream, hath passed away and left us as we were,…We have boasted the protection of Great Britain, without considering, that her motive was INTEREST not ATTACHMENT; and that she did not protect us from OUR ENEMIES on OUR ACCOUNT; but from HER ENEMIES on HER OWN ACCOUNT, from those who had no quarrel with us on any OTHER ACCOUNT, and who will always be our enemies on the SAME ACCOUNT. Let Britain waive her pretensions to the Continent, or the Continent throw off the dependence, and we should be at peace with France and Spain, were they at war with Britain.”
Coincidentally, Paine foretold the U.S. Capricorn second house, i.e., wealth equals security:
“Besides, what have we to do with setting the world at defiance? Our plan is commerce, and that, well attended to, will secure us the peace and friendship of all Europe; because it is the interest of all Europe to have America a free port. Her trade will always be a protection, and her barrenness of gold and silver secure her from invaders.”
Paine’s rousing call to common sense appealed to the colonists’ inner knowing that they deserve to be free –a Cancerian principle. In the Pluto fashion, his words “had swept through the colonies like a firestorm, destroying any final vestige of loyalty to the British crown.” (Ellis, American Sphinx.)
“Whenever men become sufficiently dissatisfied with what is, with the existing regime of positive law and custom, they will be found reaching out beyond it for the rational basis of what they conceive ought to be. This is what the Americans did in their controversy with Great Britain. And this rational basis they found in that underlying preconception which shaped the thought of their age -the idea of natural law and natural rights.”
Becker, The Declaration of Independence
As the revolutionary war raged on and hostility escalated, the hope of reconciliation with Britain was all but lost. The southern colonists, fearing a slave insurrection, set aside their distrust and banded together with the northerners, heading for the only way out of the crisis perpetrated by Britain.
Not all colonists were swept up in the revolutionary spirit, however. Three days before the formal declaration, South Carolina and Pennsylvania delegates voted against independence. New York declined to vote on the day of the formal Declaration and only waited until July 15 to formally join the rebellion.
The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence thrust the U.S. onto the world stage and marked the triumph of the Enlightenment and political radicalism.
The founding document listed 27 grievances, listing the deliberate and systematic abuse that drove the colonists to desperation [Pluto]. In their own words, to “resisting force by force… (and) be ready to sacrifice our livesand fortunes to secure her freedom and safety” (Liberty Point Resolves). The oppression and maltreatment represent the distinct characteristics of a dysfunctional and malicious Pluto in Capricorn Second-house placement, as well as the Scorpio 12th house influences:
Deliberate sabotage of the colonial legal system [Pluto in Capricorn, antiscia in Sagittarius]; burdensome bureaucracy and repressive martial law [Pluto in Capricorn]; hijacked local government [Pluto in Capricorn] and justice system [Pluto’s antiscia in Sagittarius]; restricted trades and revenue [Capricorn second house]; destroyed properties [Pluto in the second house]; and imposed taxes without consent [Pluto in the second house].
In addition, foreign soldiers from Germany (Sagittarius antiscia), American Indians [Capricorn] and slaves [Scorpio 12th house] were used as mercenaries. American armed vessels and their crews were forced into the British force to attack their own people [Pluto at the cusp of Aquarius].
By the same token, the colonists’ answers to such perils also confirmed the modus operandi of U.S. Pluto, as discussed in part 1:
Separation from ineffectual peers:
“… it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume …the separate and equal station” … a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
Departure from the status quo (out of moral obligation and necessity):
“…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government”
“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
“Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.”
“We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”
Appeal to natural law and common sense:
“…to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Safety and conformity as priorities:
“…laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
In addition, on July 19, 1776, an added resolution inserted the word “unanimous” to the final official copy.
Commercial interest and short-term stability at the cost of moral principles and long-term prospects: This is demonstrated by the removal of the anti-slavery language to protect the business interests of the slave owners and traders.
National Interest Equals Business Interest
Thomas Jefferson’s “rough draught” of the declaration was thoroughly debated and suffered “mutilations” (in Jefferson’s own words) that betrayed and undermined the original founding principles and sow the seed of future discord. The glaring omissions include the anti-slavery passages and the accusation that the British Crown waged war on humanity by forcing the slave trade on the colony:
“He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce. “
Jefferson called out his morally compromised peers:
“The pusillanimous idea that we had friends in England worth keeping terms with, still haunted the minds of many. For this reason those passages which conveyed censures on the people of England were struck out, lest they should give them offense. The clause too, reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa, was struck out in complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who on the contrary still wished to continue it. Our Northern brethren also I believe felt a little tender under those censures; for tho’ their people have very few slaves themselves yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others.”
Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson: 1760-1775.
The hypocrisy also attracted criticism from contemporary observers:
“…only I could wish to ask the Delegates…, how their Constituents justify the depriving more than an hundred thousand Africans of their rights to liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and in some degree to their lives, if these rights are so absolutely unalienable;…”
Hutchinson, Strictures upon the Declaration of Independence
The blaring omission of anti-slavery language in the nation’s founding document speaks volumes about U.S.’ priorities and values as a country, which has always been wealth for the few [Plutonomy]. In the pursuit of short-term profit and stability, we sacrifice fundamental principles, undermine long-term peace and prosperity, moralizing and justifying as we go.
Jefferson was haunted by this national moral lapse ever since and considered it the seed of the nation’s destruction. He wrote in 1820:
“…this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. it is hushed indeed for the moment. but this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. a geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once concieved and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper.”
Thomas Jefferson to John Holmes
A World War, A Civil War, A Currency War, and A Trade War
In essence, American Revolution was ignited by the tax burdens and trade restrictions implemented in the aftermath of the Seven Years’ War. Despite an overwhelming victory, the war doubled Britain’s national debt and brought about a postwar recession. The colonists’ protest of the revenue-generating measures was not only ignored by Britain but responded with more punitive policies. The animosity from both sides escalated to the point of no return, and a series of conflicts built up to a full-scale, multi-front war.
Young America immediately faced existential crisis. Conflicts between the patriots and loyalists marked the first civil war of the new country as the political divide shattered families and destroyed social fabric. Citizens who refused to swear oaths of loyalty were declared traitors and faced prosecution –there was no middle ground.
Economically, the country was also off to a rocky start. The Continental Army suffered from financial deprivation and was short on training, essential equipment, and sustenance. The soldiers were owed salary and would not re-enlist, leaving the Continental Army on the brink of dissolution.
“We are now as it were, upon the eve of another dissolution of our Army—the remembrance of the difficulties which happened upon that occasion last year . . . that unless some speedy and effectual measures are adopted by Congress; our cause will be lost.”
The Papers of George Washington
In 1775, Continental Congress issued Continental Dollars to finance the war. The new currency was backed by future revenue alone and its value fluctuated with the military’s triumphs and defeats. After a series of military routs and the resulting currency devaluation, the congress responded with massive issuance, which coincided with Britain’s devastating counterfeiting campaign. The loss of confidence lead to merchants’ refusal to accept the Continental as payments for military supplies as well as the immediate, severe erosion of the army salary. The vicious cycle in turn diminishes the army’s morale and battle readiness.
In 1777, 12 of the states passed confiscation legislations to seize and assumed control of loyalists’ land – amounted to millions of acres – to fund the war. Most of the prime properties were purchased by wealthy officers and politicians at a heavy discount, which contributed to the consolidation of wealth and political influence [Plutocracy]. The Patriot’s financial prosecution of their political opponents lasted well into the early 1800s, decades after the war was won.
An International Affair
From a global perspective, the American revolution was just one of the battlefronts in a world war – specifically, a century-long international conflict about empire-building and trade. Our major allies, French and Spain, sought to revenge for the bitter defeat by Britain during the previous war; supporting American Revolution happened to provide the long-awaited opportunity.
“We should be driven to the Necessity of Declaring ourselves independent States, and that We ought now to be employed in preparing a Plan of Conferation for the Colonies, and Treaties to be proposed to foreign Powers particularly to France and Spain, … That these three Measures, Independence, Confederation and Negotiations with foreign Powers, particularly France, ought to go hand in hand, and be adopted all together…. That foreign Powers … could not be expected to acknowledge Us, till We had acknowledged ourselves and taken our Station, among them as a sovereign Power, and Independent Nation. That now We were distressed for Want of Artillery, Arms, Ammunition, Cloathing and even for Flynts. That the People had no Marketts for their Produce, wanted Cloathing and many other things, which foreign Commerce alone could fully supply, and We could not expect Commerce till We were independent.”
Adams, John Adams autobiography, part 1, “John Adams,” through 1776
Foreign relation was among the top concerns for the colonists during the Revolution. Resolution of Independence, passed on July 2, 1776, was introduced because according to its author Richard Henry Lee: “I am clearly of opinion that unless we declare openly for Independency there is no chance for foreign aid. In another letter, he further declared “no state in Europe will either treat or trade with us so long as we consider ourselves subjects of Great Britain.” (Ferreiro, Brothers at Arms)
Without foreign aid – in particular, France’s material supply and amphibious military support – the Revolutionary cause would have been lost. This acknowledgment has largely faded from today’s collective consciousness, and we are now out of touch with our foreign policy and oblivious to U.S.’ military and intelligence covert operations overseas [Scorpio and Sagittarius 12th house]. U.S.’ attempt to maintain leadership and moral posture [Capricorn] jeopardized democracy at home and around the world, and kept the pursuit of ambiguous “national interest” out of the public eye and into the shadows of unaccountability and hypocrisy.
The secrecy and our collective ignorance of our foreign policy and operations are the symptoms of the U.S. Pluto antiscia (2nd degree of Sagittarius) in the 12th house. The 12th house is the realm of self-undoing and ignorance, it’s our vice that we mistake for salvation. Mundane ventures rising from the 12th house are jeopardized by misinformation and sabotage from within and without.
For example, Battle of Quebec, an attempt to draw French-speaking Canadians’ support for the revolutionary cause, was U.S.’ first foreign war and the prototype of foreign policy blunders. The colonists failed to persuade the populace of their causes of democracy and equality, and suffered catastrophic failure, due to overestimation of strength and miscalculation.
In recent U.S. history, our two-faced foreign policies and opaque “national interests” have been hidden [twelfth house] from public scrutiny. Meaningful and open discussions were exiled from mainstream media; dissidents and skeptics are labeled unpatriotic and treasonous. Pluto’s business is deep, dark, and unsavory. However, ignorance is not an option, neither is isolationism –it is not in the stars. In order to plot the best course forward, it is crucial that we grasp U.S.’ role in global trade and finance, and the truth about our covert operations and standing in the world.
Plutocracy are Us
Our country is one born on the battlefront of a multi-front world war; violence and warfare have always been in our nation’s DNA. Even during peacetime, all forms of aggression are glorified and consumed in large doses as mass entertainment. We, collectively, delight in seeing things being blown up and enjoy picking sides in conflicts –we can’t help it. As the biggest exporter of violent imagery and weaponry in the world, we inherently see peace in any corner of the world as our detriment. This is the uncomfortable truth we must recognize and content with. Peace and virtue were not indicated in the birth chart of this nation.
The U.S. second house (house of resource) is truly unparalleled. The vast geography spans two immense oceans, providing natural barriers from hostile invaders even during the worst internal conflicts. Its territory contains abundant natural resources and massive arable land. A seemingly endless inflow of ambitious and brilliant talents, driven by overwhelming desires for success, propel innovation and enterprise [Pluto in Capricorn-Aquarius second house]. Our talents and gifts run wide and deep.
This unique geography and demography shaped our character: an amoral and naïve optimism that combines shortsightedness and willful arrogance. Pluto in the Capricorn second house indicates a desperate and unrelenting drive for power and wealth –to counter-productive extremes.
Through relentless drive for control, Pluto investigates, meddles, and corrupts any system it touches. It destroys and reshapes all that stands in its way until the ultimate consolidation is achieved. The result is a power so intense and concentrated that it either becomes a super weapon or collapses under its own weight. Either way, discord and disorder ensue, and in the messy dysfunction and deterioration, the process restarts.
We have a Plutocracy. The destructive and regenerative cycle of Pluto is most fittingly allegorized as a snake eating its tail. In the case of America, the destruction and rebirth play out in the social order [Capricorn] and financial [Second House] arena. In the background, it operates in the realm of deceit and ignorance [twelfth house], particularly when it comes to foreign relations, controlled substance (drugs and alcohol), and prosecuted minorities. This imprint has and will continue to unfold and manifest in ways we collectively respond as the recipient and the personification of this powerful energy.
America was never about freedom and liberty, not since the founding moment. The principle of our country has always been and will always be “in profit we trust” –trading short-term profit for the few at the cost of long-term peace and prosperity of the general population. Implementing policies that promote superficial social cohesion while continue to drive power and profits to fewer and fewer hands. The process is legitimized by laws and (de)regulations, promoted domestically and around the world under the guise of national interests, American value, free-market economy, social and economic progress, freedom and democracy.
Under this scheme, we the people are considered as the state’s subjects — consumers of propaganda, participants in private and public revenue-generating, and supporters of the status quo –detracted, intimidated, overwhelmed by a web of predatory complexity and weaponized disinformation. Without recognizing this sobering fact, we cannot come up with a realistic solution for national and personal survival. Clarity and awareness is just the first step.
It’s an obvious choice. We can exhaust our resources to reinforce the failing status quo and delay the inevitable decay and disintegration. Or, we can detach from the current system – depart from our ineffective peers, and reclaim what we believe as universal, natural and true. We don’t need fact-checkers, experts, government officials, or virtue-signaling mobs to confirm common sense.
In part 3 of this series, we’ll continue to examine the patterns of how U.S. Pluto manifests and interacts throughout history. (To be continued)
Hugh Percy Duke of Northumberland. (1902). Letters of Hugh, Earl Percy, from Boston and New York, 1774-1776.
Fischer, David Hackett. Paul Revere’s Ride. Oxford University Press, USA, 1995.
Becker, Carl. The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas. Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922.
Library of Congress. “Jefferson’s ‘Original Rough Draught’ of the Declaration of Independence – Declaring Independence: Drafting the Documents | Exhibitions – Library of Congress.” Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/declara/ruffdrft.html.
Ferreiro, Larrie D. Brothers at Arms. Vintage, 2017.
John Adams autobiography, part 1, “John Adams,” through 1776, sheet 22 of 53 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/.
“From George Washington to John Hancock, 25 September 1776,” Founders Online, National Archives, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-06-02-0305. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 6, 13 August 1776 – 20 October 1776, ed. Philander D. Chase and Frank E. Grizzard, Jr. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994, pp. 393–401.]
In this article, I will explain the astrology of the U.S. Pluto and the significance of the U.S. Pluto return. We will dive into the 27th degree of Capricorn, explore its hidden meanings through its antiscia degree, and discover possible solutions provided by the 27th degree of Cancer.
The long-awaited U.S. Pluto return is upon us. This is the period when Pluto completes a revolution around the sun and returns to the same zodiac degree in the nation’s birth chart. Based on the most commonly-used U.S. national birth chart, the exact U.S. Pluto return dates are February 19, 2022; July 12, 2022; and December 27, 2022. Using a narrow one-degree orb, the active period of this transit started in March 2021 and will stretch well into the end of 2023.
It is monumental because beside its rare occurrences (approximately once every 248 years), both participants of this event are equally powerful and unyielding. Natal Pluto symbolizes the entity’s survival instinct and nucleus of strength. Transiting Pluto, manifesting as external events, transforms everything it touches, destroying the frivolous and folly, mercilessly cutting down wastes and excess, and unifying the false dichotomy. Pluto transits force us to define and defend the crux of our existence, the spark of our souls. Failing that, we are zombies, lobotomized. We are a shell of our former selves. Our lights go out.
At the founding of the nation, the colonists presented the Declaration of Independence, stating:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In reality, this credo has not held true. In this series, I will attempt to unpack the U.S. Pluto through astrology and history. Once we define our core strengths and our survival strategy, we have a better chance to find a clear path forward.
The astrology of U.S. Pluto
The most widely used U.S. Birth Chart was elected by British physician, astrologer, and occultist Ebenezer Sibly (1751-1799). Sibly’s chart placed the U.S. Pluto in the second house at Capricorn 27 degrees and 32 minutes. It is not the scope of this series to cover the U.S. birth chart in its entirety. Instead, I will focus on the astrology of U.S. Pluto and its cycle manifested in past and current events.
Meaning of the Second House
The second house of an astrology chart points to the resource at one’s disposal. Most commonly referred to as the house of money, it actually refers to value and resource in the broadest terms: judgment of worth, weighing of priorities (for deploying resources), money, time, energy, efforts, talents, personal properties, faculties, and freedom. Simply put, it is what we deem valuable and dedicate our resources to as a nation.
Meaning of U.S.’ Capricorn-Aquarius Second House
The second house in the U.S. birth chart spans from the 9th degree of Capricorn to the 13th degree of Aquarius. The Capricorn house cusp and the Pluto placement in Capricorn warrants heavy emphasis on Capricorn quality regarding the nation’s value and priorities.
The archetypal Capricorn is conscientious, responsible, insecure, and status-seeking. Driven by the underlining inferiority complex, Capricorn appeals to the authority and desires to present itself as the arbiter of reality. Predictably, Capricorn strives for stability and respectability, i.e. money and social status, and by extension, demands others to honor and conform to the social order it helps build, for it abhors the unpredictable and the deviant.
In short, Capricorn aspires to project success and order. Contrary to popular belief, Capricorn in the U.S. second house indicates that we as a nation value status and stability above all. Our collective pursue has always been wealth, power, and control.
The second part of the U.S. second house is in Aquarius. Innovation, revolutions, freedom, and Egalitarianism are also at our disposal. Pluto’s placement near the cusp of Aquarius hints at solutions that contain contradicting maneuvers, which I will discuss further.
Meaning of Pluto
Pluto in our natal chart represents the nucleus of our psychological and physical survival. It is what we cling to in our most perilous moments. It’s the part of us that digs deep and plays dirty for self-preservation.
Pluto is the fear of annihilation petrified into obsession, and the obsession eating its own tail. In the case of U.S. Pluto, our obsession with staying safe has turned a pent-up citizenry explosive. The interventions to stabilize domestic and international crises have destabilized the intended target in most cases. The need to control and manipulate our environment and relationships is sometimes so great that an off-the-rails Pluto will seek to alter the status quo by self-destruction. Despite its many negative manifestations, losing our Pluto, we lose the will to live and become frail facades.
Transiting Pluto shares the same quality and manifests through dramatic external events. During a Pluto return, the entity’s will to survive encounters the universal force to transform. Surviving and thriving during Pluto transits requires letting go of the status quo, –no exceptions. The more we try to stay the same, the more drastic the demolition. The only way through it is shedding all non-essential and pretense in every aspect of our lives. When we do, we’re indestructible.
Pluto in Capricorn
As these once-sacred institutions will simultaneously face the Plutonian purging and reform, seeking shelter from these establishment will be futile. Frauds exposed, credibility plummeted, the dismantling is unfolding right in front of our eyes. We share our fates with our nation, but that does not mean we face the same limited options as an overreaching and overstretched behemoth. It is worth mentioning that the U.S. Pluto placement also entails that the government and institutions will try the tools of control and oppression, even blatantly violate the social contract during their breakdown and transformation.
Pluto in the Second House, Ruling the Twelfth House
Pluto in the second house puts tremendous wealth and resources at U.S.’ disposal; it also clearly points to Plutocracy and Plutonomy. Destructive and weaponized Pluto signals dramatic rise and fall of fortune and unscrupulous policies that could rip the social fabric and undermine U.S.’ global standings. Pluto’s will to power and its manipulative, meddlesome approaches, in combination with misguided foreign entanglement and systemic corruption, could spell U.S.’ self-undoing.
Meaning of Capricorn 27th degree
The 27th degree of the zodiac is a degree of discontent and defiance; it is also a degree of exceptionalism. People under the influence of this degree acknowledge the deterioration of the institution and absurdity of the status quo. They also regard their peers as ineffectual when it comes to support and insights. To serve a higher calling, they depart from the social perimeter and blaze new trails.
The Sabian symbol for Capricorn 27th degree is “a large aviary”. We get the colorful image of chattering birds in confinement, but this hardly provides enough clues to flesh out our current predicament. My interpretation for this degree is twofold:
“Technocrats conspire with foreign agents to manage a discontent populace and disappointed international allies.”
“Disappointed truth seekers confront their peers who have resorted to underhanded maneuvers, and decide to remove themselves to take a higher ground.”
Lonsdale’s reading of this degree reminds us to rein in our follies:
“You need to drop the vast bulk of your voluminous self-indulgences in order to, after all, start to wake up and really remember purpose and the whole story.”
Capricorn 27 people are workaholics and truth-seekers who separate themselves from their peers to rise above groupthink and mediocrity. This degree reveals that the system has been corrupted and is breaking down. No help is coming from the establishment; they must break away from the consensus and convention to craft their exit plans. A small group of visionaries will propose solutions that seem impossible and unpopular, but soon will become the only viable option. At the founding moment, the energy of this degree was imprinted as the nation’s core strength and survival mechanism. We have come a long way and strayed far from the trailblazing business in many ways.
Another way to read a zodiac degree is to look for the hidden meaning derived from its shadow degree (antiscia). Antiscia is the zodiac degree that shares the same distance from solstice points as the degree in question, like a reflection in a mirror that stretches from the 0 degree of Cancer to the 0 degree of Capricorn. The Sabian symbol for Capricorn 27’s antiscia, Sagittarius 2, is “two men playing chess.” In uncanny synchronicity, Martin Goldsmith expanded the imagery and described:
“A young prince and his tutor concentrate on a game of chess. Around the board, an inlaid design depicts black and white dragons biting each other’s tails.”
The image brings in sharp focus inter-generational conflicts and geopolitical competition with China, frequently symbolized as dragons. Goldsmith further elaborates:
“Playing to win, no holds bars, vs. playing like a gentleman (dangerous opponents); making calculated moves; waiting for the right time to act, vs. rashly forging ahead; … bluffing by acting weak or bluffing by acting strong.”
This degree foretells coming geopolitical conflicts and inter-general competition for resources. Sagittarius 2 also hints at difficulty with international diplomacy, disagreements on beliefs and principles, and trusted elders turning on their young.
In the zodiac wheel, the opposite degrees are considered two sides of the same theme. Looking to Cancer 27 could propose a solution to our Capricorn 27th degree problems. The Sabian symbol for Cancer 27 is “a modern Pocahontas.” Later interpretations depict a Native American girl introducing her white boyfriend to the tribe. This degree points to breaking away from emotional dependency on one’s family, tribe, and race, and forging new connections outside one’s heritage and cultural identity.
Ellias Lonsdale, in is book “Inside Degrees” promised innate guidance to those involved with the 27th degree of Cancer:
“Inwardly knowing where to go, what to do, how to do it, and where it all leads. You have a special faculty for karmic clairvoyance or sensing the individual and collective destiny-territory that must be navigated through. Placed strategically in the molten core of world dilemma to remember how to get it right. Driven by a force of will that is overwhelming. You are guided to be in the right place at the right time for catching the drift of the tide we all are swimming toward. Unconsciously and superconsciously in touch and in tune with what is happening. Consciously, walking a tightrope between the heights and the depths, and never sure while being sure. Given an engraved destiny invitation to participate to the utmost in collective cycles of renewal and to stay within your place of power throughout. For you have gathered considerable awareness toward this time of decision, and this vertical attunement is a welcome ingredient–one vitally needed.”
ACall to Awareness
Throughout U.S. history, national crises unfolded around Pluto themes, and the same themes will be the focus again during the Pluto return. Regrettably, second-house matters such as national prosperity and personal freedom do not mix well with Pluto energies. Moreover, a Scorpio twelfth house subjects our national psyche to subversive and deceitful stratagems, as well as a predisposition to misuse the transformative and weaponized energy. Pluto principle underpins our national priorities and permeates our collective unconscious. Call it the original sin or collective karma, this is a burden we have to bear as a nation. The Pluto return is a period when we must take our own medicine and ride out this once-in-a-Plutonian-year storm. Think of it as a storm that flushes out the stale and the stifled, the outdated and the unsound. Whatever remains will be consolidated and stronger than before, like a newly acquired superpower. I speculate that by the time this transit is over, the current system and our endless, divisive bickering will reach a conclusion, and the opposing positions and their hotly contested issues will be irrelevant. (To be continued)
“Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion — and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion… while truth again reverts to a new minority.”
– Soren Kierkegaard
When vision fails Direction is lost.
When direction is lost Purpose may be forgotten.
When purpose is forgotten Emotion rules alone.
When emotion rules alone, Destruction… destruction
“There are beings in the spiritual realms for whom anxiety and fear emanating from human beings offer welcome food. When humans have no anxiety and fear, then these creatures starve. People not yet sufficiently convinced of this statement could understand it to be meant comparatively only. But for those who are familiar with this phenomenon, it is a reality. If fear and anxiety radiate from people and they break out in panic, then these creatures find welcome nutrition and they become more and more powerful. These beings are hostile towards humanity. Everything that feeds on negative feelings, on anxiety, fear and superstition, despair or doubt, are in reality hostile forces in super sensible worlds, launching cruel attacks on human beings while they are being fed. Therefore, it is above all necessary to begin with that the person who enters the spiritual world overcome fear, feelings of helplessness, despair and anxiety. But these are exactly the feelings that belong to contemporary culture and materialism; because it estranges people from the spiritual world, it is especially suited to evoke hopelessness and fear of the unknown in people, thereby calling up the above mentioned hostile forces against them.”
– Rudolf Steiner, Die Erkenntnis der Seele und des Geistes (GA56) Berlin, December 12, 1907, p.145
“…we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
– President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address (1961)
“All tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force.”
– George Orwell
“For our struggle is not against human opponents, but against rulers, authorities, cosmic powers in the darkness around us, and evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realm.” (Ephesians 6:11-13, International Standard Version)
She’s down to her last love affair. It had just unceremoniously ended. She is all spent. If she doesn’t enter a deep freeze, an emotional hibernation, she will die from consecutive heartbreaks.
For days, she desperately pleaded for her impending fate, but there’s no other way. On a Thursday at 11:03 AM local time, as she gazed out of the office window, a mass of cool mist surrounded her. As the heavy iciness spread from her chest, she surrendered in sadness and felt her center frozen solid and fused shut.
She can never give her heart away and leave herself empty and hollow again. It’s now firmly lodged in her center, immovable. Out of the wreckage of her emotional roller coasters spun out blades of fine steel. Intricate ribbons weave into an indestructible armor; shimmering wires made her harness, carrying her and whoever she chooses to let in her world down the road.
As her anger and bitterness fell away like storm cloud remnants, she silently thanked all who broke her heart and pushed her to the brink. Without them repeatedly abusing her love and putting her heart through the meat grinder, she wouldn’t be here.
Mundane keywords: social misfits, cultural diversity, minority groups, multilingual, multiple ethnic and cultural identities, one who has difficulty assimilating, foreign languages or specialized languages/codes, China and the Chinese people, cultural ambassador, segregation.
Social and psychological keywords: being singled out for what one says or how one acts, determined to express oneself at the risk of being ostracized, being in and out of mainstream, juggling multiple cultural identities yet never quite at ease in one’s own skin, being a foreigner in one’s own country, the “you and me against the world” mind set, lost in translation, standing out from the crowd, speaking to an exclusive crowd, doubts and suspicion, xenophobia, elitist and inferiority complexes.
The 17-18 degree of Gemini locates in the Libra decanate and sits across the Sagittarius and Capricorn dwads. It describes a mental and communication process (Gemini) concerning personal relations (Libra) in a foreign (Sagittarius) society (Capricorn). The number 8 (1+7=8) and 7 (7th degree of the decanate) denotes the struggle (7) for power and wisdom (8).
We have two Chinese men speaking Chinese in western crowd. Being out of their native environment, they rely on each other for companionship and understanding. We don’t know if this is a chance meeting or a partnership, all we know is that they speak the same foreign language and they are naturally drawn to each other in such a setting. There might be a sense of comradery, a sort of “you and me against the world” mindset. Understandably, from the westerners’ point of view, the language barrier naturally arouses curiosity, mistrust and suspicion.
On the surface, this degree signifies one who is determined to drive home the point in a foreign, even hostile environment. For those living with this degree in their charts, to assimilate or not to assimilate is the question. Acutely aware of the shifting sands in a multicultural society, they hold on to their cultural traditions, abide with the mainstream as needed, and at the same time is mindful of the stark contrast between themselves and the norm. Nevertheless, they are compelled to speak out and are fully aware of the risks.
Martin Goldsmith went one step further and has the degree as “In a crowded Midwestern diner, two Chinese-Americans watch a television newscast, then argue about it in Chinese”. Here, against the all-American Midwest dinner backdrop, the social convention is conservative, commonsensical, and has a respectful distaste for outre behaviors. When the two Chinese-Americans watched the news and argue about it in Chinese, undoubtedly they would draw attention to themselves for their appearance and their foreign tongue, yet, their argued on. There is not only disagreement between the two, there is also glaring difference between the pair and their environment, with no compromise in sight. This degree points to conflict in the interpersonal relationships and one’s relation with the society as a whole.
The depiction of “two Chinese men” is interesting. If we were only to depict foreigners, there would be so many different nationality to choose from, why Chinese? Chinese culture is the longest consecutive major culture in the world. It is formidable in its depth and breadth; it is mysterious and exotic to outsiders yet its heritage directly influences roughly one quarter of the world population. The Chinese language is difficult for westerners for the enormous number of characters that are composites of meanings, pronunciations, and images. The Classical Chinese is often incomprehensible even to native speakers. Therefore, we can reasonably assume the symbol’s emphasis on cultural barrier to a colossal body of esoteric knowledge, at least to the western minds.
Incidentally, number 7 not only resonates with specialized knowledge and non-conformist tendencies, it also points to the path of mysticism. From a higher perspective, Dane Rudyar mentioned being “in” the world but not “of” the world. Ultimately, this symbols asks us to detach ourselves from what’s familiar and taken for granted, seek out the exotic, the esoteric, and a new approach that reconcile the contrasting polarities. Do we abide by the convention or risk the dirty looks? Do we eat at the same diner, or leave the comfort zone? Do we dare to suspend our ingrained prejudice and walk in others’ shoes? More than just choosing sides, we overcome the limitation of duality, and build a unified perspective –we become both the “two Chinese men” and the “western crowd,” at home with the world.
Some famous people and events that shares this degree are:
Barbara Bush (Sun): American First Lady and matriarch of the Bush political dynasty. After touring Houston Astrodome, one of the relief center in the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she shared her observation of the refugees who have lost their homes and possessions, and were cramped into the crowded facility:
“Almost everyone I’ve talked to says, “We’re going to move to Houston.” What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them”.
Jason Alexander (Moon): American actor famously known for his portrayal of George Costanza, a neurotic man suffering from low self-esteem and habitual lying, among many other personality flaws. He goes to great length to start and maintain romantic relationships but always falls short.
Jim Carrey (Moon): Canadian American actor and comedian. Famous for his maniacal brand of comedy, Carrey suffered from depression for significant period of his life and overcame it through spirituality.
Donald Trump (Uranus): American business man and presidential candidate. His has strong appeal to so called “angry (white) republicans,” and routinely offends various ethnic minorities during his presidential campaign. He is seen as xenophobic.
December 5, 1955 (South Node): Trial of Rosa Parks and the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Parks was arrested for refusing to yield her seat in the colored section to white riders when the white section had filled up. The boycott was the first large-scale civil right protest in U.S. history. It was successful in removing the seating segregation on Montgomery buses.
June 3, 1946 (Uranus): The United States Supreme Court ruled in Morgan v. Virginia that a Virginia law requiring segregation of white and African-American bus passengers was illegal for interstate travel.
San Francisco Chinese laundry, 1881. Public Domain.
Mundane keywords: immigrants, racial issues, labor, self-employment, East Asia and its people, washing and laundering (literal and metaphorical), stereotyping and character assassination, foreigners and aliens, society-imposed limitations.
Social and psychological keywords: racism, stereotyping, xenophobia, alienation, finding a niche in difficult social and economic environment, overworked and underpaid, carve out a niche for survival, inability or unwilling to assimilate, profound understanding of large-scale misdeeds and the cause to right such wrongs.
The California Gold Rush of 1848–1855 commenced the first significant wave of Chinese immigration to the U.S. The predominately young male population were first welcomed for their hard work in the mines and large labor projects. However, as the gold deposits dwindled and labor market tightened, anti-Chinese sentiment grew.
Degrading stereotyping and fictitious accounts brought on by competing prospectors and laborers, mostly European and American, were deliberately spread by union bosses and politicians, which exacerbated the racial hatred. Consequently, anti-Chinese legislation kept Chinese immigrants out of desirable careers. Many turned to the laundry business as it was often the only job to be found. At one time, in San Francisco, about 89% of the laundry workers were of Chinese descent.
Hand laundry was grueling work. A typical 10-16 work day consists of manual labor over kettles of boiling water and hot stoves. From Wikipedia:
“Laundry work was especially wearisome, because it meant the soaking, scrubbing, and ironing of clothing solely by hand; moreover, prompt and high quality service was necessary to keep customers satisfied. Workers in laundries and groceries received the going wage of twenty-five dollars per month, and despite long hours the work-week was seven days. For the majority of the Chinese, then, the daily routine was almost solely working, eating, and sleeping. There were a few other occupations available to Chinese”.
As the non-Chinese vying for the same business interests, Chinese laundries were the targets of harassment by local governments:
“In 1880, 95 percent of San Francisco’s 320 laundries operated in wooden buildings. The city passed an ordinance requiring owners of laundries in wooden buildings to obtain a permit. Two-thirds of the laundries were owned by Chinese people, but none of them was granted a permit. Only one non-Chinese owner was denied.”
–Chinese Laundries by Alice Myers
In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was signed. It aimed to keep Chinese from entering the U.S., and excluded Chinese nationals in the U.S. from seeking citizenship, making them permanent aliens.
During the Great Depression, the job of launderer became increasingly attractive and again Chinese were targets of hostility from white labor unions. In 1933 the New York City Board of Aldermen passed a law to limited ownership of laundries to U.S. citizens while the Federal law suspended naturalization of Chinese immigrants.
The Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance successfully repelled the anti-Chinese legislation and preserved the livelihood of thousands of Chinese laundry workers. The labor organization continued to advocate for the civil rights of Chinese in North America.
Around the turn of the 20th century, one in four male Chinese immigrants in the United States worked in a laundry. The stereotype of Chinese Laundry persisted well into present days:
Here is a Jawbone commercial taking place in a Chinese Laundry:
21 to 22 degree Sagittarius locates in the Leo decadent (10-degree divisions within a sign) and the Leo duad (2.5 degree sections within a sign). It is the 21st degree of Sagittarius and 1st degree of the decadent, therefore carries the energy of numbers 3, 7, (3×7=21), and 1.
People and matters contacting this degree identify themselves passionately with –or against – an individual, a ethnic or social minority group that’s underprivileged or prosecuted. The social climate that supports such discrimination and injustice is often prejudiced, hypocritical, unreasonable, and going against the universal value of fairness and equality.
Due to Leo’s influence, there is also a strong dramatic element associated with these unjust events. Spreading of falsehood, or some sort of a “creative” effort, is often involved.
On the opposite side of same coin, this symbol speaks of the bitterly oppressed and those who take on the thankless job of cleaning up the aftermath of epic misdeeds. At its higher expression, this degree allows profound understanding of the deep rooted injustice and societal wrongs, and take courageous action to counter such atrocities.
Some famous people with 21-22 Sagittarius degree in their chart are:
Donald Trump (moon), whose hard-line and controversial stance of deportation of illegal immigrants marks the flagship issue of his presidential campaign.
Richard Gere (moon) , known for his dedication for fair treatment of the Tibetan people and preservation of their culture. He was also a pioneer in the fight against stigma and discrimination against AIDS and its patients.
Amanda Knox (moon), an American student accused of murdering her roommate while studying in Italy. She was subjected to unprecedented negative publicity before her trail in Italy. Fictitious accounts of her live were invented by local authors for monetary gain. The CBS special report of her ordeal was titled “American Girl, Italian Nightmare”.
Harry Hay (moon), “the father of gay liberation.” He stood against assimilationism by the mainstream gay right campaigns.
King George VI (Sun): Living under the shadow of his elder brother Edward, King George reluctantly ascended the throne after his elder brother abdicated in order to marry divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. King George VI oversaw the crisis of abdication, the hardship and eventual triumph of World War II, and the rapid decline of the British Empire.
Pluto, regardless of its planetary status, is one of, if not the most powerful object in astrology. Pluto transits ask of us to let go of our ego, abandon outdated beliefs and behavior, or suffer crushing loss. Difficulties handling such demand often bring on personal crises that are emotional, powerful, and life-changing. However, if we endure and learn from its lessons, Pluto’s reward is also tremendous.
There are many good resources, on the web or in volumes, that cover Pluto’s energy and its transits. However, few have dealt with compounded “hard” transits in which Pluto simultaneously forms opposition (180 degree), square (90 degree) or conjunction (0 degree) to multiple points in the birth chart. These transit are extra difficult and is the topic of this article.
When mired in Pluto overload, life could seem like one long and painful series of crises. Without some guidance or framework, the hardship could dim the light of the brightest as time drags on. The good news is, as endless as these transits might seem, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Better yet, as long as we persevere and are open to change, there is a wealth of new resources for us to discover and draw from that would make our life better, deeper and richer.
PLEASE NOTE: The following are NOT predictions for your upcoming Pluto transit. Most Pluto transits are mediated by other factors in your chart and are non-threatening. The following pointers are for those who are in the middle of simultaneous or a long series of Pluto transits and are experiencing a lot of pain. If you wonder whether you are in one, don’t worry –you are not.
For those of you still reading, let’s take a deep breath and dive right in:
1. STAY ALIVE. Let’s cut to the chase: sometimes Pluto transits bring out our self-destructive tendencies; sometimes they relentlessly drive us over the limit and then push some more. This is often triggered by loss of cherished personal relations, ideas, or possessions (see below: “BE KIND TO YOURSELF”). If you feel suicidal, please seek help. You are not alone; many of us have been through this and become better for it.
That being said, chances are, you are yearning for change, not death. Most likely, if your life could change for the better, you wouldn’t want it to end. Pluto transits guarantee tremendous change. All you have to do is to live through it, –you do not have to physically kill yourself for that change to happen.
When we go through tough Pluto transits, we shed part of ourselves that is outdated and unproductive for our growth, some call this process “egocide,” the death of our ego. Ego, a psychological construct, mainly consisted of compromised thought and behavioral patterns, is a convenient tool that bridges our infinite and variegated inner experience and outer world that contently coerced us to conform and internalize socially approved behaviors.
Ego works to keeps us from being honest with ourselves. It glosses over our reality and and lubricates our societal interactions. As we age, most of us forgo the constant, bothersome dissonance of such chasm and adopt the ego as a shaky front to ourselves and others. The trouble is, ego works to sedate our consciousness, it does not promote personal growth or truth. When a trying Pluto transit occurs, the gap between our true self and what the ego desires is again brought into sharp focus. Only by separating ourselves from our egos and leave them hang out to dry can we survive and thrive through these challenging times.
Sure, checking out of life is still an option. However, when we give up living, the process of transformation and growth stops, and people who believe in reincarnation tell us that we will have to come back and start all over, –sounds like a huge waste of time, doesn’t it? So, dig deep, gather your resources and stay alive, period. There is a whole new world on the other side of this tunnel. You are gaining points just by going through these transits and not giving up.
2. BE KIND TO YOURSELF. During Pluto transits, there are likely be events that involved some type of failure or loss. It could be the end of a life-long pursue, it could be the loss of something that makes you who we are, or someone who is very dear to you. Whatever the event, the circumstances are most likely beyond your control. Blaming yourselves for the failure, desperately trying to cling to something that no longer works or someone you can’t bring back is not helpful. Please know that what is truly yours can never be taken away from you. What is truly yours will return, transformed and improved, but you have to allow the process to happen. In the meantime, be kind to yourself and be your best friend.
Others probably will not understand the grief you are experiencing. They might not be able to comprehend how the event would warrant such pain (“it’s only ___” –fill in the blank.) Be gentle and patient with yourself, own your pain, allow yourself to hurt, experience it fully, you will get through.
3. Have therapeutic outlets. Creative expressions are especially therapeutic during this period. Journaling, art and projects can keep you engaged, safely externalize the negative emotions you are experiencing and stay sane. Whatever method you choose is fine: paint, write, dance, sing, knit, remodel, –anything to mark the process and progress. If you get to see a good therapist, please do.
4. Stay busy, and have a routine that involves tending to the people, animals, or things you love. You can only dwell in negative emotions for so long without being morbid or obsessed. So get out of the house, keep your personal business in order, give love and spend time with those you care about. Keep a routine, take on some responsibility so you are committed even when you don’t feel like it. Get yourself occupied by something outside of yourself so you have opportunities to get refreshed and recharged.
5. Plutonian rituals: sort, discard, recycle, and transform. Be an active participant of the Pluto transit if you can. Sort through your stuff, throw out (donate, resale) what you no longer need or want as a part of your life. Your personal possessions have stories, emotions and meanings attached to them. By letting go, you are actively making decisions to release the non-authentic, outdated, and unproductive aspects of you. Although emotionally difficult, most of the times the choices are pretty simple and clear. If not, you could always come back later. This is a process, not an one-time event.
Another option for active participation: you could drastically change your appearance, your living space, or sever dysfunctional relationships. Again, in order to activate the Plutonian energy, it would involve some kind of loss, reduction or consolidation that results in dramatic transformation.
6. Learn to let go. Many astrologers mentioned that Pluto transits involves power struggle and control dramas. Whether you are the one desperately trying to control the outcomes and restore order in your life, or you feel like some people have you tightly under their thumbs, the best thing to do under the Pluto transit, as improbable and wrong it might sound, is to let go.
Let go of the control –control fails. Let go of the power struggle –the sense of personal power is an illusion. While not giving in and being a willing victim to abusive situations, stop engaging in the battles of will and the control dramas. Be aware and stay away if possible. If you are the controlling one, you would eventually lose by winning; if you are the one being controlled, playing the same game would only make you exactly the opposite side of the same coin –you would be stuck in the vicious circle.
Think long term and engage on a different level. Pluto transit asks us to dig deeper and soar higher, which brings us to the next two points:
7. Find your center. As the transit goes on, you will start to notice that beneath all the turmoil, deep down, there is a part of you remains unshaken, undisturbed. You will found your core, your luminescent center –and it will be a day for quiet celebration. Here lies your foundation, the knowing of who you truly are and what you are made of. It will grow and become the new source of your strength. By cultivating and staying connected to this source, the helplessness and desperation of these tough transits will gradually subside.
8. Metaphysical tools: affirmation, prayers and visualization really help during these difficult times. In order for these to work, one has to be persistent and have conviction. Be careful what you ask for and be ready to receive –whether you are asking for yourself or others. Be grateful and give thanks when you receive. Do not ask for others what you wouldn’t ask for yourself. You will be surprised how powerful your thoughts are when you focus and believe.
As long as you make it through these tough transits and are willing to adopt and grow, life will change for the better. You will find a new source of strength, a new sense of self that no one can diminish or take away from you. Some things lost during Pluto transits return in disguise, reincarnated –you will recognize them and cherish them more than ever (see The Gift of Pluto). The rest, you will realize down the road that, as difficult as it were at the time, that’s the way it had to be, to get you from one stage to the next. Some day, these scars will be reminders of what you went through, and the evidence that you do have the strength and perseverance to weather the storm.
What doesn’t get killed during Pluto transits, gets stronger.
Scarlet was born on the day Alice and Joe visited the famous San Diego dog beach. Although both being hopeless dog lovers, the newlyweds had decided not to take on the responsibility of dog parenting. However, that didn’t stop them from wholeheartedly enjoying watching the dogs play and swim, and cheering for a young pup that appeared to fight the current for the very first time. Deep down, they both longed for a dog of their own. Alice loves rugged Sheepdogs; Joe loves sweet and soulful Bloodhounds.
Two months later, Joe and Alice stepped into a pet store in the mall. While Alice was looking at the bunnies; a bloodhound puppy caught Joe’s eyes. Joe picked her up and she gave him the most innocent puppy kiss. Scarlet, as she would be named, stole his heart right on the spot, and the no-dog rule was thrown out of the window. With Joe’s arm underneath and her big puppy feet dangling, the wrinkled bundle of cuteness went home with her new mom and dad.
Scarlet was the pride and joy of her parents. She grew into such a stunning creature that she literally stopped traffic. In the touristy town they lived, random pedestrians would stop dead on the sidewalk, screaming like crazy fans, pointing at the dog. Passengers in the vehicles at the light would drop their jaws, ignoring the light turning green, mesmerizing over how she sat with Joe so proudly like a precocious little girl going for a ride with her dad. There were people asking to back Scarlet in the show rings, complete strangers following her for miles just to share some steaks. She was legendary for her beauty and self-aware presence.
The time spend to exercise Scarlet and respond to the cunning false-alarms to go outside, particularly in the middle of the night, gradually ate into Joe and Alice’s work schedule and REM sleeps. It would be so nice if they have a house with a big backyard, they thought; that way, Scarlet could stay outside all the time. With love in their hearts, and too much HGTV-watching on Alice’s part, the couple bought into the dream of home ownership in the midst of the real estate boom.
In a few years, they bought the fixer-upper on three acres at the peak of the housing rush, and lovingly named it Scarlet Park. All was good for the proud new homeowners. They rescued another two bloodhounds, Mae Bear, and Danny, and call their humble homestead “The Bloodhound Haven.”
Alice sat in her home recording studio; warily listening to the last take of her new track. The professional earphone grew heavier by the hour and had gotten quite painful to wear.
She had just recently closed up her book store. It had become unprofitable and slowly turned into a hobby, and now an unworthy effort. Since then, she had doubled down on her music, holding on to it as her last youthful aspiration before her insides grow old, dry up and crack into pieces.
Dark desperation rolled over her like a bulldozer mercilessly flatten her ego and dreams. She knew that without any miraculous market success, this could be the last song she will ever record. She’s all burnt out.
She is not the give-up kind, really. She is goal-oriented, stubborn to a fault, and had pull off some feats that surprised even herself. Having studying music all her life and trying to break into commercial music since high school, nowadays the attempt to fit herself in between market demand and anywhere near authenticity had jaded her and left her empty like a twisted, dying bonsai tree.
These days, she found herself waking up in the middle of the night for no reason, reaching for her old astrology printouts. She never went through with the study and couldn’t tell Jupiter from Mars, nevertheless, the thick old folder was calling her name. She finally got her first real astrology book and learned to read the transits: Pluto had just transited opposition her Mercury and was 1 degree away from her IC, the fourth house cusp, and opposition her Venus on her MC.
Alice looked up the descriptions for those transit and found them non-threatening. So maybe there will be some home remodeling, or some nasty neighbor treading on the property line, no biggie, she thought.
She didn’t know yet that Mercury rules commerce, books; it is also the ruler of her Stellium, a cluster of planets that makes the focus of her life. She also was ignorant to the fact that Venus is closely related to her artistic efforts and income; it is also her chart ruler. The MC-IC axis represents the polarity between one’s worldly reputation and innermost feelings; between career and home life. On top of all that, Pluto is about to form a 90 degree angel with its birth position. Pluto rules one’s most basic survival instinct, not only as a living organism, but as a conscious complex of behavior patterns and personalities. Pluto’s action is to destruct and transform. A quarter Pluto return signals upheaval at the deepest level of one’s existence.
Scarlet was unsettled. She couldn’t seem to find a spot to lie down comfortably. As the day went on, it was clear that something was seriously wrong: she looked distressed and wouldn’t eat anything. Her breathing labored, her eyes fearful, distant and resigned all at the same time. She paced back and forth painfully throughout the house, and finally settled down outside on the grass late at night.
Alice brought Scarlet a blanket and lied down next to her, but Scarlet moved away and wouldn’t get petted. In tears, Alice fell asleep not knowing what the morning would bring. The next morning, Joe found Scarlet in the bushes, pale and covered in spiderweb, he rushed her to the vet but nothing could be done. As Pluto crossed Alice’s IC, the symbol for home, they lost Scarlet.
It’s just a dog, people say. In the following month, there was not a dry eye between Alice and Joe. It made no sense how losing a dog could be so painful, it made them almost feel guilty. They had both lost their dearest loved ones, but this was so much worse. For Alice, it was like having her heart ripped out, put through a meat grinder over and over while it’s still attached, then pound it with a hammer. It was like losing her first born. Life was never the same.
She limped through the days and took care of business the best she could. With the real estate in free fall, they withheld all the home improvement projects. When it rained, there weren’t enough pots to catch the streams coming down from the kitchen ceiling. Gradually, the mortgage ate up larger and larger portions of their impaired income. It became a no-brainer that they immediately stop the bleeding, and that means default, bankruptcy and relocation.
Mae Bear and Danny had become wonderful playmates. They sensed Scarlet missing, looked confused for a few days, and went back being dogs. Danny loved running circles around Mae. She would try to bat him with her paw –unsuccessfully, then gave up and rolled on her back, grinning. She turned into a lighthearted and playful goofball, and truly looked content in her old age. She was often seen bathing in the golden afternoon sun, quietly enjoying her sunset years: spirit restored, heart unbroken, trust regained, loved.
Before long, she started having trouble seeing and rapidly became severely arthritic. Very soon she would cry out in pain just from standing up and walk; she then stopped getting out of bed and stopped eating. Danny grew very anxious, panicked and wouldn’t leave Mae alone. He wanted to play with her so badly that he had to get shut out of the room so Mae could have a few bites.
Mae let Alice know that she was ready to go. Alice and Joe ended her pain five months after losing Scarlet.
Danny stopped eating. He wouldn’t get out of bed. He slept all day and became severely depressed since Mae’s passing. Ever since he arrived, he tried to be the alpha dog: trying to get on the bed with Mom, Dad and Scarlet, always vying for attention. Now finally the only dog, he had lost the interest to interact and respond to affection.
Joe and Alice were seriously concerned. They did not intent to lose another dog; they had to get Danny another playmate, quickly. After some research, they decided to check the local shelter first, so Joe went on the search.
“It’s so depressing here. There is this little black dog; he the only one looking healthy and alive. He looks like a mutt. Is that OK?”
“As long as it’s a dog. I love dogs. Any dog.”
In came Pluto, a crazy, energetic little black dog with unknown breeding. As soon as he got out of the truck, Danny jumped out of bed, cried out in pure happiness and excitement, wrestled and tumbled with the little pup. Pluto audaciously gnawed on his toes, pulled his long ears, grabbed the loose skin of his neck, whined, growled, kissed, barked, –it was all fun and game for the both of them. They hit it right off and played for hours on end. Joe and Alice looked at each other in sheer amazement and relief; they knew the dogs would be alright –it was a match made in heaven.
Joe and Alice left behind most of their possessions and moved across the country to a small farm house by the northern border. Disgrace of bankruptcy aside, the pare-down existence was a relief for them both. Alice was still nursing the grief of losing the dogs. She would break out in tears at any moment just talking about the two girls. Taking care of the new pup had been great help in getting over the loss.
True to his namesake, Pluto was very Plutonian, in the best sense of the word. He was small, black with a rusty red tint, over-the-top, destructive, demanding and overbearing, –mostly in adorable ways. He dug up the yard, brought everything that’s loose on the floor to the backyard and proceeded to destroy every one of them. He demanded attention every minute of the day from Alice, Joe, or Danny, or he would raise hell (with more collateral damage) until he got his way. He could not be left alone for one minute. Alice nicknamed him “Glue”.
When Glue started to lose his puppy teeth, Alice counted back the months and found that he was born around the day they lost Scarlet, –in fact, very likely the same day. It is often said in astrology that Pluto represents life and death as well as regeneration, and that people with strong Pluto in their charts often are born soon after a death in the family. In her own house, wrapped in a hyperactive bundle of fur, Alice’s got her own walking, barking astrology symbol.
Glue chose to bond with Alice, he loved her with all his intensity and attached himself like her shadow. He forced her to keep the house tidy; he got her to play tug, toss balls and Frisbee no matter it was rain, wind, snow or ice outside. He made her laugh, kissed away her tears and distracted her from self-absorptive wound licking. He was her observant and wacky therapist; he was the glue that held her together.
The mixture of deep affection and immense sadness turned into a bubbling brew of creativity; Alice started writing. In no time her verses were used on pet memorials, and a new business was born, one that brought welcomed relief to the family’s crippling finance. Repeatedly writing about pet-loss in anyway she could finally let the pressure out of her compounded trauma and gave room for her spirit to heal and renew.
As he grew, Glue matured into a well-behaved, exceedingly bright, affectionate, and joyful family member. He also started to look and behave like a shepherd.
Alice had always wanted a shepherd. Bloodhounds are gentle and loving; they steal countless hearts with one soulful gaze. However, once they get on a trail, they become obsessed and oblivious to their environment. It is often said that a loose bloodhound is a dead bloodhound; having a shepherd would greatly reduce the chance of that happening. As the distinctive apron pattern on Pluto’s chest grew, and he started body-slamming and ankle-biting Danny, it dawn on Alice and Joe that they had rescued a shepherd.
A shepherd with bloodhound’s eyes. When he was at rest in between his antics, Glue’s eyes were wise beyond his years, –soft, deep, sparkling and strangely, out of place. “He’s got Scarlet’s eyes!” One day Alice exclaimed. Joe had to agree, reluctantly, that he also saw Scarlet’s eyes in Glue. Pluto had brought Scarlet back in disguise, once a daddy’s girl, this time, mamma’s boy.
Alice would love to believe that Scarlet loved them so much that she came back for another round. She imagined that when she hugged and petted Glue, her love reverberated across space and time and reached Scarlet and Mae. Glue was like the multidimensional being falling out of the worm hole that dragged Scarlet’s spirit along for the encore. In a way, it was like Scarlet never died, her light only dimmed a notch. Joe and Alice loved Glue for the radical pup he was; yet when they looked into his eyes, they saw Scarlet looking back through the shepherd’s costume. The universe commemorated their love and this little black dog was the living proof.
He was the best thing ever happened to Alice. The tears she occasionally sheds carry only light weigh now. Witnessing the gift of Pluto has given her a profound sense of connectedness to the infinite and very personal universe, also called God, along with many other names. The universe cares about the little boy and girl longing for a dog of their own, a bloodhound name Scarlet trying to find her way back to her mom and dad, a grieving dog mom with her whole world shattered, a little black dog wanting a home, a business needing revival, a bloodhound named Danny waiting for a reason to get out of bed, and a man who denies himself the grief and remembrance of the love of his life, who now realizes that his love didn’t abandon him –she came back.