Loving, Taming, and Mastering Your Pluto, Part 3: The End of Fear

Read pt. 1: The Must-Love Pluto and pt. 2: Corridor to Personal Power

Pluto in action: Spectrum and trajectories of Pluto expressions. v.2. Click to enlarge.

The third part of this series continues to map out the paradoxical path to personal power and the threshold of creative reality. In the post-elimination stage, Pluto emerges as a tireless champion of our non-Ego pursues, carrying us through generation cycles and human drama without fail.

The unio mentalis, then, in psychological as well as alchemical language, means knowledge of one­self.

In contradistinction to the modern prejudice that self-knowledge is nothing but a knowledge of the ego, the alchemists regarded the self as a substance incommensurable [not parallel] with the ego, hidden in the body, and identical with the image of God.

Carl Gustav Jung
Truth Vs. Victimhood

After sober introspection and steadfast perseverance, we rise up to meet Pluto’s imposing energy. From now on, we are no longer passive subjects of Pluto’s purging, but active participants in this process.

One of the few straightforward applications of Pluto’s energy is the chipping away at our Ego, fallacies, conditioning, and internal conflicts. Disengage from activities and relations that stray from our values, eliminate everything untrue, unproductive, and dysfunctional. We are the sculptor and the statue. The more we lose, the more powerful we become. Refine, re-define, repeat until lightness and clarity emerge.

The removing of the ‘tangles’ is a process of liberation from our complexes and illusions and from the way in which we identify with the roles we play in life, with the masks within us and with our idols, etc. It is a ‘release’ according to the etymology of the word, a liberation and awakening of hidden potential.

Roberto Assagioli

This is an exhilarating and stressful time. Shame and guilt from all directions will attack with a vengeance. While shame is purely social coercion, guilt can indicate a strong conscience. However, without identifying and repairing the damage, this unresolved remorse is nothing but moral posturing. It will take time and determination to process these deep-seated feelings. Proceed with kindness and compassion, yet remain steadfast and resolute.

We are not called upon to step out onto the square and shout out the truth, to say out loud what we think—this is scary, we are not ready. But let us at least refuse to say what we do not think!

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Pluto delivers the ultimate test for personal truth and responsibility. Its extremes separate the wheat from the chaff, no half-measures allowed. If we’re not in charge of our agenda and in peace with our conscience, guilt and shame will continue to drag us down, eventually leading to numbness, self-destruction, and abuse. If we compromise, we inevitably become victims of our cowardice or others’.

It has often been said that power corrupts. But it is perhaps equally important to realize that weakness, too, corrupts. Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. Hatred, malice, rudeness, intolerance, and suspicion are the faults of weakness.

Eric Hoffer

Competitive victimhood and revenge are self-defeating yet common misuses of Pluto energy. From personal relationships to geopolitics, the one-upmanship of pain and suffering supposedly bestows moral high ground, perpetuate control mechanisms, and aggravate power struggles. It is quite plain that any decent person or group will not wish their agony upon their worst enemies, let alone exact revenge in the name of justice. Nevertheless, this tactic has worked extremely well in the current political and social climate. We can spot these victim-turned-perpetrators at a glance and distance ourselves from their self-righteousness.

[V]ictimism is an ideology of the ego. But perhaps ideology is too strong a term; victimism can be seen as a generalized cultural impulse to deny personal responsibility and to obsess on the grievances of the insatiable self.

Charles J. Sykes
Image by un-perfekt from Pixabay 
Devotion vs. Chaos

If we keep chipping away at the untruths, sooner or later we will carve out a vast inner space. Coined the “existential vacuum”, Viktor Frankl warned of the danger of losing our bearings:

No instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he ought to do; sometimes he does not even know what he wishes to do. Instead, he either wishes to do what other people do (conformism) or he does what other people wish him to do (totalitarianism).

Despite Frankl and the existentialists’ warnings, this void is not inherently grim and dangerous. Although many have succumbed to depression and nihilism in this space, it is the desperation for attachments –to a concept, thing, person, group, ideology, philosophy, or deity – that brought on the unbearable pain. If our life purpose and self-worth are cultivated from the prize of ego trips and others’ assurances, this emptiness is the end of the road indeed.

One must find the source within one’s own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking — a detour, an error.

Hermann Hesse

In contrast, Eastern philosophy regards the first-hand experience of Emptiness as a milestone of spiritual growth and maturity. In the Emptiness, dichotomy dissolves and mental anguish ends. In true Pluto fashion, we push one step further and make this open space the foundation of power and the home stage of our creative reality.

Emptiness is the ground of everything. Thanks to emptiness, everything is possible. … Emptiness is quite an optimistic concept.

Thich Nhat Hanh

All we have to do here is to focus and observe the coming and going on our mental stage. Let go of judgment and assumption; abandon the search for certainty and directions. Life will keep coming at us. By staying true to our Self in everything we do, a new identity will emerge. Instead of titles and roles, it will reflect our natal Pluto placement and represent our deepest truth, which we must uphold and defend.

Our accustomed reality will rip, crack and peel; a new reality will reveal itself –first in flashes, then in streams. In this powerful state, synchronicity and magic abound. It may seem to the outsiders that we’re losing our grip to the reality, we’re not. We’re transitioning to the next level, and there are many more. Dismiss doubts from people inexperienced with alternative realities; ground ourselves through the nature and our body so we can plug into the materialistic reality at will.

True faith is by nature intuitive; it perceives the reality of what is not evident, not manifested, and accepts it. …Faith leading to a sense of certainty requires primarily faith in oneself, that is in the real Self, in what we are essentially.

Roberto Assagioli

Finding and maintaining faith in this state of flux is another paradox we face. Without faith we’re cut off from the higher power; without connecting to a higher power, we have no ground of faith. Faith is a conscious choice, and it takes intention and dedication to build one anew. By all means –meditation, prayer, divination, synchronicity, art, or nature –investigate and establish a constant connection with the Infinite, the Universe, The Supreme Consciousness, God –as we understand it, because no more advance can be made until we develop a personal religion and see ourselves as droplets of the infinity with unfettered, direct access –without intermediaries.

My reason will still not understand why I pray, but I shall still pray, and my life, my whole life, independently of anything that may happen to me, is every moment of it no longer meaningless as it was before, but has an unquestionable meaning of goodness with which I have the power to invest it.

Leo Tolstoy

On the other end of the spectrum, Pluto’s destruction proceeds in due course. Advanced neurosis, violence, domination, and exploitation are predictable devolution of those choosing fear and anger over growth. Since Pluto tends to go all the way, it makes a compelling argument for harnessing Pluto’s unrelenting energy and continuing our striving upward.

Self-Mastery vs. Corruption

I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace.

Hermann Hesse

Pluto’s force works both ways; it strengthens and destroys with the same intensity. When applied constructively to love, dedication, and courage, extraordinary miracles happen. Applied destructively, Pluto exacerbates debasement and its subsequent purgation.

To path to master our Pluto is the path to self-mastery. First, we rein in all haphazard mental processes and communications. Investigate and clarify our intentions, eliminate internal conflicts and self-sabotage. Train our attention to achieve laser-sharp focus as well as all-encompassing perspective. Discover the power of silence and deploy our time, energy, attention, and personal data with awareness and purpose.

Next, we detach from drama. Our emotional reactions –for the most part –are shaped in the past and constantly lagging behind the present. Instead of going with our reflexes, let the emotions wash over and only respond in manners that aligns and fortifies our missions. From the highest love to the strongest condemnation, deliberated release and withholding of emotion is Pluto’s domain. With self-awareness and discipline, we can be free from emotional manipulation and use our emotions to effect our environment at will.

The will is not merely assertive, aggressive, and controlling. There is the accepting will, yielding will, the dedicated will. You might say that there is a feminine polarity to the will – the willing surrender, the joyful acceptance of the other functions of the personality.

Roberto Assagioli

Self-mastery is often associated with a strong will. The secret of a strong will is that it has little to do with strength, stamina, or control. Rather, it is about a conviction and dedication so complete that it leaves no room for doubts and limitation. We achieve Self-mastery when our personal objectives are incorporated by the transpersonal, and the Self –the center of our consciousness that straddles the material and spiritual planes –are under the directive of the higher consciousness.

If we are diligent, we will live in unshakable faith and trust that everything happening to us is a beneficial learning experience. Knowing that we are nothing but one indestructible facet of the Infinity, we have nothing left to fear. Our preoccupations will naturally rise above the self-preservation; personal wants will yield to universal concerns. New talents will likely surface and change the course of our lives.

The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the world’s ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.

Atiśa as quoted by Walter Taminang

Rising from shattered Ego and illusions, our unified Self is the key to Pluto’s inexhaustible power. Moving forward, our endeavors will be propelled by the same unstoppable force that shapes the arc of history and civilization. This is the beginning of magic and miracles.

To be continued…

Copyright © 2023, Brave New Real

Loving, Taming, and Mastering Your Pluto, Part 2:  Corridor to Personal Power

Read Part 1: The Must-Love Pluto

Part 2 and 3 of this series aim to survey and organize Pluto’s expressions and plot a precise course of personal power through integrating and harnessing this formidable energy.

The path to bypass Pluto’s destruction is made of counterintuitive steps, which makes the process all the more enigmatic and this information consequential. Regarding people who cling to their Egos and those opting for projecting their inner darkness, the diagram below also outlines their trajectories. Fortunately, they don’t all reach the extreme, as the middle-range options turn out to be effective coping mechanisms. This working model should not be taken as the author’s final word on this subject.

The main obstacles of personal evolution via Pluto arises from several deep-rooted misconceptions:

  1. We have internalized the doctrine that our success –as defined by the society –determines our worth and meanings. Most people believe that beyond social recognition there is only grim and endless wasteland, this is far from the truth.
  2. We were taught that darkness is inherently evil and should be cast out. In fact, our inner darkness is a reservoir of power; only those intending to disempower us would instruct us to distant ourselves from this inexhaustible resource. When we disown our darkness and project it onto others, we’re distracted from looking inward and arriving at self-knowledge.
  3. Most of us assume that powerful people are on TV making announcements and living glamorous lives. The opposite is true: great powers work behind the scene and stay out of the spotlight.

With that in mind, let’s survey the dramatic landscape of Pluto’s expressions (click image to enlarge):

Pluto in action: Spectrum and trajectories of Pluto expressions
Active Vs. Passive Participation

Pluto’s energy is dark, intense, and all-consuming. Those demanding “positive vibes only” will likely get overwhelmed and pass on the opportunities to confront their darkness and access Pluto’s power.

We ignore Pluto at our own peril. Besides dreading Pluto transits, there is another way: actively participating in this supercharged period, working with this energy, and integrate its highest expressions.

Pluto’s placement in our natal charts indicates the nucleus of our Self and our deepest truth. Once we get in touch with Pluto’s primary areas of concern (as indicated by its natal and transit houses), and how it functions (in relation to other points in the natal chart), we can begin the process of harnessing this unstoppable force to propel our personal evolution.

(If you’re in the midst of difficult Pluto transits, please refer to this article for coping strategies. If you’re concerned about harming yourself or others, please immediately seek help via your local or national crisis hotline.)

Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay
Detached Vs. Merged Ego

The option to detach from one’s ego is as attractive as a dimly lit alley next to a red-carpet reception. It appears unappealing and lackluster in contrast to the bright lights and glitter. Nonetheless, this is the entrance to our Pluto work – the passageway to bypass most of humanity’s follies brought on by the insatiable Ego.

Instead of cultivating our Egos and dedicating our lives to their missions, we recognize the Ego for what it is: a brittle and ephemeral product of social conditioning. This prosthetic personality, however intricate and elegant, is nothing but socially-sanctioned role-playing that interferes with our evolution toward the infinite Self and personal power. The less we identify with this costume, the sooner we can get down to the business of metamorphosis.

Opportunity Vs. Threat

Crises are harbingers of evolution.

Bruce Lipton

Pluto is a gift for personal evolution, but few of us would recognize this during our early encounters. Most of us immediately felt threatened and under attack. We believed that our existence hinged upon returning to the established order, unaware that this Sisyphean labor was out of sync with our personal growth.

Suppressing Pluto’s transformative power is a losing proposition. Any astrologer who studies Pluto’s cycle knows this: The more we resist the change, the more violent and unpredictable the transit, and the longer the trail of wreckage. Still, growth and change can be too frightening and too humiliating for some, simply because it is inconceivable for them to admit that the existing condition has become unacceptable.

How we perceive these crises has a direct impact on their outcomes. As history will attest, the ends and means to assert control during the cyclical rise and fall have resulted in untold calamities on all levels and magnitudes. At this juncture, we have two options: evolve or prolong the status quo. Since the status quo has never held up in history, it is really no contest.

Letting Go Vs. Control

Ego feeds on other’s attention and recognition. It strives to glorify itself and is terrified of losing control. Winning and success give our Egos incredible highs, and it goes without saying that many people are trapped in endless ego trips. Even the fight against Ego strengthens its grip on our consciousness.

If compliments are not forthcoming, negative attention is better than no attention at all. To satisfy Ego’s desires, time and energy are directed toward manipulation and control. This is where most people first encountered the personified Pluto –from within or without. Power struggles during Pluto transits are so prevalent that it becomes the standard interpretation of these periods.

During a power struggle, our reaction inadvertently works as the counter-force that solidifies the opposition. Not only do we acknowledge our opponent’s standpoint, the more we fight back, the more we reinforce their positions. The longer we engage, the more we become just like them. When we recognize the situation and disengage from this contest, we dismantle their platform and become free to direct our attention and efforts elsewhere.

From personal relationships to politics, the more we can untangle from power struggles, the better chance we have at defeating the abuse of power and be free.

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing oneself is wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering oneself is power.

Lao Tzu
Pluto Internalized Vs. Expelled

I saw that the entity I had taken to be “me” was really a fabrication. My true nature, I realized, was much more real, both uglier and more beautiful than I could have imagined.

Thich Nhat Hanh

After the initial encounter, we get to choose whether to integrate or reject Pluto’s qualities.

Few of us –even among the most stouthearted and dedicated –would expect that in order to integrate Pluto’s energy, we need to scrap the long-held ideas about who and what we are. For some, re-examining these ideas and exploring the uncharted territory within –not knowing what they might find –is unthinkable. Instead of deep introspection, they cast off the undesirable qualities onto chosen scapegoats, who are then prosecuted and sacrificed to release the inner tension of their perpetrators.

Those able to contain this energy face yet another common pitfall. It is all too common for high achievers to conflate their Ego with the Self, and use the internalized Pluto for self-destruction. In their erroneous beliefs, accolades and success are the sole indicators of self-worth; failure to meet arbitrary expectations equals a worthless existence. Deceived and betrayed by their Egos, they self-exile in the lifeless terrain of despair, guilt, and shame. Unbeknownst to them, life begins when they stop impressing people who are preoccupied with their own agenda.

The insatiable goals to acquire more, succeed conspicuously, and be as attractive as possible lead us to objectify one another, and even ourselves. When people see themselves as little more than their attractive bodies, jobs, or bank accounts, it brings great suffering… in search of a positive internal answer to the question Am I successful yet? We become cardboard cutouts of real people.

Arthur Brooks

The boundary between Egocide and self-destruction is tenuous. We will most certainly drift erratically before coming to this conclusion: The only responsible way to handle this energy is to recognize our own fallacies and take on the cleansing storm with a brave face. Even then, the poor-me drama and passive aggression can still be used to serve the Ego. Until we rein in the histrionics, our Egos will continue to dominate and the Pluto work remains unattended.

Shaking off others’ expectations is terrifying and freeing. False starts as well as enormous guilt and anxiety are to be expected. Notwithstanding, we are not our own person until we make conscious choices and take full responsibility for how we carry ourselves –in the ways we intend to, instead of the way we are expected to.

Humility Vs. fear

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Frank Herbert

Since Pluto transits can be excruciating at times, it’s only natural that we want to shield ourselves from harm. If we can’t ease the pain, some of us would feel hopeless, some grow anxious, while others try to alleviate their pain and powerlessness by projecting their anger and hatred onto others. The displaced loathing and obsession with control negate self-reflection altogether.

Instead of riding the emotional roller coaster (another common Pluto theme), this stage calls for perseverance and humility. It goes against our instincts, yet everyone who owed their personal growth to agonizing Pluto transits shares this view: This is the time to take a deep dive under the barrage of emotions, experience with full awareness, and observe subtle fundamental changes within ourselves. This beautiful stillness is a preview of what life could be when we love, tame and master our Pluto.

No matter how painful the experience, mindful engagement sets us apart from the would-be victims and perpetrators. Honesty, acceptance, and unconditional love for ourselves will sustain us during this grueling process. Without self-honesty and commitment to personal growth, compromise and corruption set in. It should become apparent, at this stage, that Pluto’s notoriety is the byproduct of our feeble attempts to thwart this unrelenting force of nature.

(Continue to Part 3: The End of Fear)

©2023 Brave New Real. All rights reserved.

Loving, Taming, and Mastering Your Pluto, Part 1: The Must-Love Pluto

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Have you hugged, kissed, or thanked your Pluto today?

The Hated Pluto

Pluto is undoubtedly the most-hated body in astrology; it is also the most mysterious and controversial. The mystery of Pluto lies in its formidable power to simultaneously polarize and unite the opposites, and in a crushing forward motion, fundamentally reconstructs these elements into a new reality. People regard Pluto as ruthless and destructive, but they’re missing half the story. Pluto is alchemy. It purifies, condenses, and by demanding the utmost from everything it touches, brings upon metamorphosis. Pluto is also the outermost and slowest planet whose generational-defining cycle is observable during a human life time.

The Must-Love Pluto

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.

C.G. Jung

So why should anyone love Pluto?

Because this incredible force is within all of us, and the misunderstanding –or worse –outsourcing of its function is a serious disservice and disempowerment to ourselves.

Pluto is not nice or pleasant, quite the contrary. Its ill repute –dark, intense, controlling, and destructive –routinely leads to the shunning of its manifestation and embodiment. Out of fear and misunderstanding, people deny and reject their personal Pluto in droves, as if ignoring their inner darkness will protect their virtue.

It’s well known in astrology that any unintegrated or neglected planet is a problematic planet. Denying the expressions of a celestial energy within ourselves is not unlike locking ourselves out of parts of our homes. Cobwebs gather in the dark corners, and the stale energy becomes dysfunctional. The “stuck” energy then releases in unexpected ways, wreaking havoc in our lives.

We either deal with Pluto on our terms, or on someone else’s. An alienated personal Pluto, like an unsecured weapon, is particularly troublesome. When we disown this power and refuse responsibility, we allow the power-to-be to coerce us into living in their construct and abide by their rules –be it psychological, social or spiritual. When we go along with the crowd to fit in, to “make it,” we hand over our personal power and our values waver. Drifting farther and farther from our essence and principles, we consent to powerlessness and become victims of circumstances. The awareness and integration of Pluto energy is the first step of psychic self-defense and essential psychological survival skill.

Darkness And Night Visions

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.

C. G. Jung

Darkness is not inherently evil. In this secluded sanctuary our attention turns inward, our minds connect with the deep and the intangible. Our inner vision comes to life and we are cognizant of the undercurrents. This is where the spiritual struggles are fought and won.

Our Pluto work can only take place in darkness and isolation. Might as well –since there is no glamour in scrubbing off layers and layers of the old self until we’re red and raw. It’s painful, messy, and mostly likely, embarrassing to our egos.

In the process of reduction, unify, and transform, something precious –things we thought had defined who we are and our purpose in life –will be taken from us. The loss Pluto inflicted is often mistaken as threats to our survival. It triggers a tsunami of fear, despair, and trauma, as we put on the fight of our lives. In the best-case scenario, we accept our loss with stoic resignation. Most of the time, though, it brings on such pain that it feels as if our hearts are ripped out and put through the grinder.

When we thought we’ve had enough, Pluto will surely demand more. Finally, we are driven over the edge, diving head-first into the abyss in complete nakedness and vulnerability. During the slow-motion free fall, the magic happens: we rediscover the central truths of our lives. Who we are, why we are, how we’re supposed to live, all become crystal clear in its luminescence. This rediscovering of Self is Pluto’s ultimate gift.

Image by KELLEPICS from Pixabay

Ego The Clown

In reality the ego is like the clown in the circus, who is always putting in his oar to make the audience think that whatever happens is his doing.

Sigmund Freud

Ego is a collection of behavioral patterns we developed to better fit in the society. This departure from personal truths allows smooth social interactions, which promises improved access to wealth, power, and stability. The compromise comes with a price, however: as we increasingly grow tired of the constant tension between what we know to be true and how we’re expected to think and behave, we’re tempted to abandon our truths and let the social facade take over.

As soon as we conflate our ego with the Self, we’re subject to Pluto transits that turn this shaky composite into crumbles and force us to confront and re-consolidate the core of our existence. Only by separating our ego and true Self can we bypass human’s common downfalls and recurring trauma.

Once the Ego is dropped, we’re one step closer to mastering our Pluto and become an active co-creator of our lives. While we are in this world, we’re no longer beholden to this world. Our social facade is treated as a party costume and nothing more. We become a fractal of the Infinite, powerful and limitless.

The Beleaguered Hero

The dark night of the soul comes just before revelation.

Joseph Campbell

Human history is filled with cases of ego-driven, off-the-rail Pluto incarnates committing humanity’s worst atrocities and were met with equally gruesome ends. In timeless mythologies, heroes who enjoyed a grand mission send-off invariably encountered hardship and calamities that obliterated their confidence and prospect of victory. As they made the last ditch effort to face their fate in utter desperation and delirium, the fabled treasure presents itself in rarefied aura and transformed the seekers with its magic powers.

The untold story of Pluto is hidden in the legends of heroes. There’s no middle ground when seeking Pluto’s treasures, because the idea of losing and detaching from one’s ego in the process is too extreme for most people. On the other hand, since Pluto transits are always grueling, we might as well make them count. The more fearful and judgmental we are of its energy, the more we’ll be caught unprepared and traumatized. If we can maintain compassion for ourselves –or even keep some dark sense of humor when our layers are peeling off, we’re surely winners.

…anyone who attempts to do both, to adjust to his group and at the same time pursue his individual goal, becomes neurotic.

C. G. Jung

One thing is certain: when we love our Pluto, we are learning to harness this unstoppable energy to propel our path on and upward. It’s a straight and simple path once we get the clinging and the moderation (another word for control) out of the way. Attempting to ease this learning curve only delays and complicates it. The fear of “losing face” guarantees a drawn-out process rife with power struggles. More of that in part 2. (To be continued)

©2023 Brave New Real. All rights reserved.