If Saturn represents our struggle with the external world and with our own difficulties living in it, Pluto represents our struggle with ourselves. Saturn and Pluto must be best friends, because they sure do know how to make life a living hell. More accurately, they make life a living hell when you resist their influence. And as Carl Jung said, “What we resists persists.” This is Pluto’s tagline. Pluto, the sign it rules over (Scorpio), and the house it rules over (The Eighth House) all represent the human shadow. The dark side of life. The things we don’t easily own up to. The sides of ourselves we’re more comfortable projecting onto others. It’s much easier to view ourselves as perfect beings of light, and to point the finger at all the people out there in the world that are evil and bad, than to recognize that we’re all human. Jessica Lange’s character Sister Jude in American Horror Story might have been right when she said “All monsters are human.” There are true horrors in this world and sometimes we get lost in news stories of this murder and that war. We’re all quick to condemn and judge our fellow humans committing atrocities. But do we ever stop to think, what made them that way? What happened to them? What is their place in the great cosmic story? Could causing others pain possibly be their life purpose, or has a tragic childhood forced them to wander off their divine path?
These are questions that I have grappled with recently. They’ve made their way into this piece but I don’t necessarily have the answer. I do know that the greatest force in this world is love, the greatest connection empathy. Libra is the sign of relationships, and afterwards, Scorpio comes strolling along. Scorpio and the Eighth House are the things we share in a relationship. Shared finances are relegated to this pair, along with the distress they may cause. As everyone knows, sex is Scorpio’s thing. Taurus, Scorpio’s sister sign, can lay claim to it, too, but Taurean sex is candles, whip cream, and foreplay. Scorpio is bondage, whipping, and power-play. The darker side of emotional intimacy, the power struggle. Scorpios are known to be fiercely loyal and possessive. The Eighth House is where bodies and souls melt together, where transcendence is found through unity with another soul. Scorpio is known to be a psychic sign, in tune with the undercurrents in the room. Especially the darker ones. The collective shadow. They’re known to love the taboo, the occult, the mysterious.
Astrology, by relegating the darker side of life to this sign, shows that it has its place in our lives and the universe. And don’t think you can escape it by not having your Sun, Moon or Rising in Scorpio. It will rear its head in whatever house it’s in, wherever Pluto is in your chart, and in your Eighth House. It must be faced, or it will be repressed. Freud, who was Scorpio Rising, spent his career investigating the id, our instinctual side, and how repression of it leads to neurosis. The id is composed of our sexual urges, our aggression, and our death drive (thanatos). All very Scorpio. And all very human. I think this has been an especially hard thing for females to integrate into their lives in the past, as they run counter to what society thinks a woman should be. Lilith, an asteroid in astrology, may in some ways be the female expression of the Pluto principle. I wrote a little about it in an answer to a question, here. The struggle with Plutonian energy, though, applies to all genders and all peoples.
So how does Pluto operate in our lives? It’s the farthest planet, so its cycle through the zodiac is the longest. It spends about 21 years in each sign, so it is the most generational. To see how this force manifests in your personal life, look to its house placement. Wherever Pluto is, you will be prone to some extreme transformations. When it comes to the darkness, it’s always trying to be noticed. I read somewhere that Buddhists, rather than exorcising demons, would invite them to a grand feast. After being fed and paid attention to, the demons would transform. You see, we cannot fight our demons (or drown them - “they know how to swim,” as Bring Me The Horizon sings in “Can You Feel My Heart”). We all have inner demons, darkness we hide from others, that tears us apart when we are at our weakest. It’s a sad fact that most people don’t talk about this, putting on a show of happiness. You aren’t alone in this struggle, it is life on Earth.
We overcome our demons by looking at them, taking them for what they are. Bringing the darkness to light. Although Carl Jung parted ways with Sigmund Freud because the latter was too sex-obsessed, Jung never repressed the shadow in his studies. He’s made so many important statements on the human shadow that I must include more than a few:
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
“Enlightenment is not imagining figures of light but making the darkness conscious.”
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”
“If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.”
“There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”
“There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.”
“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.”
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.”
“God is the name which I designate all things which cross my path violently and recklessly, all things which alter my plans and intentions, and change the course of my life, for better or for worse.”
This is Pluto. This is the unconscious force inside all of us that changes our lives in drastic ways. Whether you’re orchestrating your own transformations by confronting your shadow, or if the only thing that can get you to change is some catastrophe hitting you from the outside, Pluto will destroy what you thought you knew and replace it with something much greater. It will be painful - Pluto is the planet of death, and we will have to die to ourselves many times over to get closer to our truth. Pluto is also the planet of rebirth, because every end is a beginning. Pluto is a big fuck you to the ego we’ve carefully crafted, and it can be hard to let go of an identity you’ve held for so long. But the unconscious has bigger dreams for our time on Earth. We are not whole until we integrate our shadow side. This is the true essence of power - being in contact with your whole being. No longer being unconsciously directed by your shadow side. I think we’re so quick to look down on the criminals and the neurotics of this world because we’d like to think we’re nothing like them. But the one that makes peace with his demons knows the truth, that one soul contains the collective experiences of all souls. The only thing separating us is the material illusion we’re all under - this is the true source of “evil” - thinking that we’re not all One. Peace on Earth will come when we feel in our hearts this Oneness - and inner peace comes when you become One with your shadow.
Pluto is an earthquake. Pluto is a force of nature. A disaster, a murder, a suicide. It is everything we’re afraid of. But that which we fear cannot have power over us once we accept it. Understand it. Integrate it into our lives. Just as we all must face the inevitability of our own deaths, we must face the fact that we’re better off leaving our old masks at the door, as we enter into a new chapter in our lives. Embrace change, and embrace the darkness.
Luckily, this month there has been talk of Pluto being invited back into the solar system after its exile. This spells of great change in our collective psyche :) It will be interesting to see if, as a society, we begin dealing with our collective shadow.