August 28, 201215 Comments

Astrology for the Astrologically Challenged, by Deborah Smith Parker

If you believe God never gives you more than you can handle you won’t like this blog post very much.

Life is filled with little else but new life breaking through the outer shell of the old form, an inherently violent process when you think about it. We see it as normal and natural when we witness it in nature but whine and moan in pain when it happens to us. But on some level we know that the process that breaks us down also moves us closer to who we must become. When we are thus broken we enter the domain of Pluto because that is also the domain in which we are resurrected.

When clients come in for a reading with major Pluto aspects—and actually Pluto has been good for business in that regard, especially lately—they generally start off by telling me that they must have done something really wrong, made a terrible decision which interestingly enough they can’t pinpoint that was sufficient to produce the poundage of pain and suffocating incarceration they’re now feeling.

When transiting Pluto “stations” or retrogrades back and forth hitting key points in a person’s chart, a period lasting close to two years, it can produce devastating effects. I know this because I’m an astrologer and I know that’s how Pluto works. I also know “closer than hands and feet” because I currently have one more month in such a Pluto cycle and it has been a deep, isolating, shackling, inexpressible Hell. No, nobody has to hide the sharp implements. I wasn’t a danger to self or others as they say in the psych biz, but I have been scared and miserable, not easy for someone with eight planets in fire and air to admit, or come close to describing.

I’ve been locked in Pluto’s embrace tumbling me over and over in his slow death role as he squares my Sun at 6 degree Aries, while Uranus seesaws back and forth across it. Add to this transiting Saturn crawling back and forth across my ascendant. During this time I have been Pluto pulp, road kill that’s not allowed to completely die.

I always tell people that with a hard Pluto aspect (conjunction, square, opposition) there is no way to adequately prepare for being kidnapped into the underworld, robbed of expression and severely limited in movement, even to the degree that a vision of the future is blocked.

The usual osmosis with the world around us has mummified. Skills, talents and strategies we could always apply creatively to new and fearful situations don’t make anything better. During this period I worked many long hard hours for a company I love at tasks I found I hated. We find we simply don’t know what to do.

That’s because, as my Jungian analyst Jack Sanford used to say, it is an interregnum (between kings). “The old order has passed away, the new order is not yet established and in the interregnum are many morbid conditions.”

When we are touched by Pluto we leave the kingdom of the living to go to the kingdom of the dead where we are stripped of what we no longer need. We put up a hell of a fight but our weaponry has lost its power and there is no negotiation. We must submit.

As an astrologer, as one who has lived an increasingly conscious and creative life well into my sixth decade, and as one who also has a Pluto Petri dish for a chart, I am not unschooled or inexperienced in how the King of the Underworld forces us to change. Still, I was surprised and was surprised that I was. I didn’t know what to do either.

 That’s the problem for most of us in Western culture in dealing with a Pluto experience. There isn’t really anything for us to do except, of course, face our deepest fears, the ones we least want to acknowledge let alone deal with. In spite of our paralysis we will be taken down into the kiva where we must face matters of soul unmasked and alone, or so it seems at first.

Ultimately we will find our deepest connections to Life, to God if you will. However, when we first stand on the surface looking down into the undifferentiated darkness of the kiva it can be terrifying. But once the descent is made and after a l-e-n-g-t-h-y time spent underground we eventually become acclimated somewhat to the dark and dimly see the passage out into the light, as these two images of kiva ladders for the descent and the ascent portray.

We are brought into the kiva because there is something there that we need to connect with, need to call upon that we have not had access to. The closest I have come to finding a description of this process, other than in myth, is a passage I found several years ago, in the grips of another Pluto transit when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was in the book Night by Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel in which, prior to being taken to Auschwitz, he tells of a conversation he had as a young teenager with his spiritual mentor, Moishe, whom everyone else thought was kind of nuts:

“And why do you pray, Moishe?” I asked him.

“I pray to the God within me for the strength to ask him the real questions.”

 So finally we do come to know what we have to do. And down in the kiva with Pluto is where we find both our need and the strength to do just that.

Deborah Smith Parker is the author of Humanus Astrologicus, available both in soft cover and on Kindle. To sign up to receive her blog or follow her on Twitter (@astro_logicus) and Facebook click to the right of this post.

About author:

Deborah Smith Parker is re-writing the often impenetrable language of astrology into a much friendlier form. She has spent her 30 plus years as an astrological consultant, writer, teacher and lecturer freeing the rich astrological images and their descriptions increasingly buried under modern clinical and technological descriptions. Her additional work in public policy has provided many outlets for demonstrating her ability to break down highly complex systems into information that’s easily understood.

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  1. JIm Hennum says:

    Testify, my sister! 🙂

    All those tales in ancient myth of people descending into the underground to bring a lost loved one back to life, only to have them slip away from them at the last moment – this is SO much a part of the journey. For a good part of the transit you keep thinking there might be a way to save that one thing you feel you cannot live without (and with Pluto, it’s usually something material, though not always). The last pass is usually when you watch as that something is pulled back into the abyss and you must march back out into the light to face a new world where you cannot use that thing as your crutch.

    Pluto is like the ultimate evangelical healer – slaps an icy palm on your forehead and demands you throw away your crutches! Unlike the ersatz miracle-workers in the world, however, Pluto doesn’t let you have them back! You walk again because you have no other choice. But, and here’s the key, you DO walk again.

  2. Julie Braden says:

    This absolutely mirrors my life. I have Pluto squaring my moon. A very dear friend just passed after overcoming a brain injury. I thought she was in the clear and we would grow old together. Then yesterday she was hit by a car and died later at the hospital. your words are helping me through my deep sorrow.

    • Lynda Hill says:

      Oh Julie, your words hit me too! I read what happened to your friend and I felt like screaming… it really hit a spot. I am so sorry for your loss. How incredibly difficult. Words must be failing at this point in time….

  3. Thank you once again, Deborah, for telling it like it is. With Pluto conjunct my Moon I think I’ve spent my life on that ladder in the kiva, never knowing whether I was headed up or down – into or out of.

    Maybe that’s why now at the end of life I am so tired and so hoping that those folks who talk about reincarnation are nuts. Why would anyone choose to do this again and why? If I had learned to play or to have fun, I think I would feel differently. So that’s my recommendation to others – PLAY regularly as you deal with life.

  4. Inez says:

    Wow! Damn! Thank you M’am. Written testimony in dark, elegant, rich, blood. Comments by others are deep too! Thank you for this offering. I have Pluto oppose my ascendant. I’m making crossings that I am not ready to make, but it is change or die. I’m looking at a self who seems to have many failings and I am accepting her as worthy and beautiful.

  5. Jill says:

    I’ve been in the Kiva from July 27th. I read your words today and completely understand, from the depths of my belly. Pluto rules my chart. I was elated to find your email today. I gobbled up your words and am better for having read your blog. There’s light at the top of the Kiva! Blessed Be and thank you, thank you, thank you!

  6. Lynda Hill says:

    Thanks Deborah… I knew you were in this pain when I saw you in Encinitas – I missed you and you weren’t really there and yet you really were. I love you and know this Pluto abyss thing. I have an enormous Pluto as well and the few planets that re not aspecting Pluto are in Scorpio and I have Pluto in the 8th… so yeah, I know that territory and I”m having a Pluto transit right now (squaring the MC/IC with Uranus on the IC) and I don’t know where I belong – I feel very undermined. Still, one grapples in the dark and hopes for a solution. I love you Deborah and send you big love. You have a such a wonderful writing style and perhaps that’s one of the gifts of the pain you’ve been suffering. Back to blogging eh? I’m ecstatic that you’re doing it! Yay, ecstasy, I reckon it’s a going thing… I hope to se you back in southern Cal before too long. I long for it… big hugs, Lxxoo

  7. Deborah – Thank you for a wonderful article. I, too, am feeling like Pluto Pulp (what a wonderful term). Pluto is currently conjunct my Ascendant (after having stationed exactly square my nodal axis last year). Uranus conjunct my N.Node is only adding to the ‘fun’. The one thing that pulls me through is the effect of 20+ years of depth work (a definite Pluto preoccupation); it keeps me centered through the pain. And I know I have something wonderful to look forward to when it’s all over.

  8. Deborah: All I can say is that out of your pain is born absolutely brilliant, masterful writing that is a huge contribution to all of us. Pluto transits for all of us these days it appears. We are in rebirth, humanity is in rebirth. We are living in “interesting times” and you are holding a torch for us with your words. As Lynda said, we love you! Good heavens Julie, you brought tears to my eyes. We are thinking of you. Loved all of your wisened comments.

  9. Brenda Underhill says:

    Wonderful to have you back blogging and once again I’m blown away by you insights and wisdom! Just as I’m holding my head in my hands and wondering “What in the hell is going on?”, You put it all in perspective! Better than therapy!!!

  10. Paula says:

    Your description fits perfectly my father’s times. Pluto, in Capricorn and my 10th, is squaring my Aries Sun (9degree’s) in the 12th. He is getting older, his body is deteriorating, he’s been bounced back and forth between the hospital and his home (where he lives alone) 8 times just this year. Control of his life has been taken out of his capable hands and given over to Doctors, hospitals and his aging body. I think his release and my grief may be on it’s way.

  11. Lisa says:

    Deborah, Thanks so much for your magical healing salve of deep and wise words. It is good to see there are others feeling the same feelings I am struggling with. Primarily, feels like a deep wounding around who I really am and where I belong, which at the moment feels like nowhere. For a Capricorn sun and Scorpio rising this floating deep in the kiva, and being so ungrounded and disconnected is very disconcerting. Transiting Pluto Conjunct my sun, Transiting Neptune square my Saturn and Neptune, and Transiting Saturn in my 12th house, and in a year or so Transiting Uranus conjunct my chiron, If I survive the next 3 to 4 years, it will be nothing short of a miracle.

  12. Deborah,
    I always enjoy reading your are so insightful.. I would love to have your blogs on my blog site. How do we do that?

  13. Sandy says:

    Thank you Deborah for a wonderful description of Pluto transits. On the day of the first of seven Uranus square Pluto aspects, at 8-24, Aries and Capricorn respectively, my Venus felt under attack in every possible manner. My Venus is at 8-24 Libra in the third house. For months I had been having this vague notion that how I was approaching things was all wrong. It then came down to how I was relating to myself was wrong too. It literally felt like that first day at school where you don’t know what’s going on, what’s expected, who to trust, who definitely not to trust, all of that stuff. People that I had known for years felt like they were betraying me, not understanding me anymore, not wanting to be around me anymore. It was awful. I have one more last Pluto square to go in December then it’s on to more fun with Saturn which is at 11 Libra, then I have aspects to my Moon at 14 Cancer to look forward to. Can’t wait! I already feel like I could write a book about Pluto. I recall Liz Greene once describing Pluto transits like dinosaurs on a rampage. You’re lucky if you’re able to get out of their way because there is absolutely no way you can negotiate or control them.

    Love your blog. Perhaps you could do one on the Uranus square Pluto that will be going on until 2015?


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