Healing Pluto problems: Obsidian order, Walnut way

If you are currently experiencing the Pluto station at a sensitive point on your chart — it is currently square my natal Pluto, and opposite my natal Venus — it’s likely you’re feeling just a bit taut, like waiting for a shoe to fall, but not knowing if it’s going to be made of soft leather or hard concrete.

Detail of Pluto and Proserpina (1621-22)

Detail of Pluto and Proserpina (It's stone!)

Pluto issues are deep and transformative (cellular, as I once put it) and healing them requires a genuine and concerted effort at looking inwards, and the courage to square with yourself, your desires and your fears, warts and all. Plutonians who choose to look away often end up projecting their shadow sides onto others, hurting themselves and loved ones in the process. I know a Plutonian (still) undergoing a tough Pluto transit who once asked me what the point of therapy was. He said, ‘What’s wrong with just getting on with life? Won’t therapy just raise things that are better hidden?’ My answer was: ‘Sure, you can just do that and time will pass and you will get older and die. But who do you hurt in the meantime? Do you want to live life awake or asleep?’ My questions were not meant to be rhetorical but he never answered them. As far as I can tell, he’s still sleepwalking.

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Healing Pluto Problems

In honour of Pluto going direct on 11 September 2009, I thought I’d share some thoughts about Donna Cunningham‘s book, Healing Pluto Problems, whose title I’ve borrowed for the title of this post.

I picked up this book on Neith’s recommendation. It is not as heavy-going as Judy Hall’s Hades Moon, which I’ve written about here and also like for different reasons. Rather, Cunningham’s book contextualises Plutonian issues (deep transformation, sex, death, guilt, resentment and so on) in terms of the things one can do to mitigate their effects, whether one is the Plutonian or on the receiving end of one. And it could well be both — Plutonians tend to attract other Plutonians.

Being a Plutonian herself, Cunningham exhibits great empathy for the depth and intensity of Plutonian feelings. If there are ‘problems’ with being Plutonian, it is not the natures of Plutonians that are put on the line, only a lack of understanding (and resources) in wider society to address them. The book does not victimise Plutonian native either — each one is required to take responsibility for their own actions and feelings, and the author is quick to point out that the unevolved can quite easily turn their Plutonian power on others and themselves.

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Love and possession

As the Sun (self/ego) opposes Uranus (unpredictability, sudden change) today, bringing to light our need for, and often also our fear of, change, we are given a little taste of the greater struggle to come when Saturn (the planet of discipline, constriction, and conservatism) opposes Uranus on the 4th of November later this year. Yes, Election Day USA — it’ll be interesting to see who wins the tug of war, Saturn (establishment) or Uranus (change), and who/what gets split/torn in the tussle.

But I’m not talking about that today. As the Mercury-Venus-Mars stellium in Libra (relationships, balance) trines Chiron (healing with awareness) and the North Node (collective future) in Aquarius (humanitarianism, individuality), I am prompted to consider the easy substitution, or confusion (Neptune’s there too), of love with possession. Aquarius is, significantly, ruled by Uranus and Saturn, so the Aquarian paradox (of individuality and collectiveness, innovation and fixity) is going to make the Libra work to find a balance. Not easy, but worth trying.

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Sex and Zen III: 8th house astrology

Parts I, and II.

Death of the Phoenix Trawling through my archives, I came across this article by Eric Francis on eighth house astrology, bringing together ideas of orgasm, death, and self-renewal, I’d been musing about earlier. ‘Typically,’ he writes, ‘the 8th becomes a dance of death: ego death; flirtation with orgasm and desire (often secret desire)’.

In the previous post, I made the connection between the Zen notion of dying in each moment, and the notion of death associated with orgasm. Interestingly, astrology seems to correlate these notions within the domain of the eighth house, and I quote Francis here again:

Part of the 8th is the struggle to be free of the struggles of money/death/sex struggles of the 8th and embrace self-acceptance in the face of others. Part of self-acceptance is being aware that all living things die; we die; and relationships, as part of the changing world, will invariably change.

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Sex and Zen II: Quelle probleme?

Part I

Le PenseurWhen asked how to deal with the ‘problem’ of sex, Krishnamurti gave this answer:

Why is it that whatever we touch we turn into a problem? We have made God a problem, we have made love a problem, we have made relationship, living, a problem, and we have made sex a problem Why? Why is everything we do a problem, a horror? Why are we suffering? Why has sex become a problem? Why do we submit to living with problems, why do we not put an end to them? Why do we not die to our problems instead of carrying them day after day, year after year? Sex is certainly a relevant question but there is the primary question, why do we make life into a problem? (The Krishnamurti Reader, 167)

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The truth of attachments, or attachments to Truth?

Knight of Swords I woke up this morning with an inner agitation that began with yesterday’s encounter and I knew I’d taken the bait, against my better judgement, once again. It wasn’t enough to sit with, feel, and name my anger. It was necessary to act on it. I wasn’t sufficiently present.

This morning, I didn’t have to pull a card from the tarot to know that the card for the moment is the Knight of Swords (though I did). Biddy delineates the Knight of Swords as:

When we are possessed by a pure idea, and wish to manifest that idea in reality, we are often so blinded by the desire for its fulfillment that we fail to see the difficulties we may encounter or the consequences for which we may be responsible. The Knight of Swords is a powerful figure full of life and energy who needs to be balanced with a realization of responsibility and compassion. Pure intellectual energy is a double-edged sword which has the potential for either great good or great evil, and this power must be tempered with feeling and spirit so it doesn’t create pain for ourselves or others.

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Pluto and the ‘alchemy of desire’

Pluto system

I recently stumbled upon this article by Elizabeth Spring called ‘What’s Pluto Got to Do With It? The Alchemy of Desire’. I like it for its clarity and personal nature, and yet that it does not over-simplify the experience of a Pluto transit which tends to impact individuals in complex ways. And even if one is unfamiliar with astrology, Spring’s observations are insightful in themselves.

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More on the subject of sex and conversation, from Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928), the one D.H. Lawrence novel I hadn’t read, which fell into my lap at the shop last weekend:

Alpine forget-me-nots‘… I can’t see I do a woman any more harm by sleeping with her than by dancing with her … or even talking to her about the weather. It’s just an interchange of sensations instead of ideas, so why not?’

‘It’s an amusing idea, Charlie,’ said Dukes, ‘that sex is just another form of talk, where you act the words instead of saying them. I suppose it’s quite true. I suppose we might exchange as many sensations and emotions with women as we do ideas about the weather, and so on. Sex might be a sort of normal physical conversation between a man and a woman. You don’t talk to a woman unless you have ideas in common: that is you don’t talk with any interest. And in the same way, unless you had some emotion or sympathy in common with a woman you wouldn’t sleep with her. But if you had…’

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Acting on desire III: talking compersion

RWS LoversPart I and II.

‘Compersion’ has to be as unsexy a word as they come. Nevertheless, it is the closest to describing a condition for which no word currently exists — that is, a non-exclusive love, or an all-inclusive love, depending on which slant you prefer.

Theoretically, the word ‘love’ should itself be enough, but like many universal values, it has been hijacked for so many causes that its etymological history must mirror the history of modern humanity itself.

‘Compersion’ has a rather shorter history. The term was popularised by polyamory and swingers groups of the 1960s, and was coined to refer to the positive feelings one gets when one’s lover takes pleasure in another person. It has been defined, also, as ‘the opposite of jealousy’.

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Acting on desire II: sex and the art of good conversation

Klimt - The KissPart I

For women the best aphrodisiacs are words. The G-spot is in the ears. He who looks for it below there is wasting his time. — Isabel Allende

As synchronicity, and serendipity, would have it, my ex-boyfriend (not quite the right word, but it’ll have to do) turned up online as I was writing the previous post, and our ensuing conversation crystallised the very notion I was trying to articulate.

Our history is ‘complicated’, as they say on Facebook, but less so now that I’ve learned that the only way to uncomplicate the situation is to sort myself out. Which, of course, brings on further complications, though of an entirely different sort.

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Acting on desire I: lust, context

Beetles mating

Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question. ‘Yes’ is the answer.
Swami X

Okay, I’m going to be experiencing this Pluto square in angular houses for a while, so sex, or rather, the part of the psyche expressed via sexuality, is probably going to surface quite often in my discourse. As it happens, serendipity (or synchronicity?) dictates that material that falls into my lap in recent weeks, or that I gravitate towards, seems to have something to say about the subject. And I don’t mean porn, though that can have its uses.

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Sitting with desire II

Rodin’s The Kiss Part I.

It is very difficult to write about loving each person in each moment without sounding like I am advocating hedonism and promiscuity. I am not. I am advocating responsibility, the responsibility that comes from the acknowledgement of one’s own desire. Acting on desire is a different thing, and requires different consideration.

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