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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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):
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.)
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)
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