2012 — learning to live authentically

‘I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.’

The Awakening Slave (1525–30), Michelangelo Buonarroti.

I thought I was done with Pluto when it crossed my Ascendant and completed its cycle through Sagittarius, but it turns out Pluto wasn’t done with me. Hitting a whole series of personal planets as it dug deep into my first house, and still only two-thirds of the way through, 2012 ends nowhere near where it began.

I could never have seen it coming, this end of the Mayan cycle, this end of my year, this return to self, to a sense of home. As a saying attributed to a Zen master goes:

Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.

A year ago, I was looking to possibly move jobs, towns, relationships. I felt the need for a shift, a change in energy and dynamic, but the shift was not to be found in events, or places, or other people. It was found, ironically, by being where I am — any movement has been internal, psychological, spiritual, emotional. I took a tip and ‘let go of my year’, and can only offer heartfelt thanks for the treasures that remain, return, and resurge anew.

Pluto in Capricorn: Changing your relationship to the past

I posted some time ago about how Pluto’s transit into Capricorn seems to be turning our relationship to ageing (Capricorn) inside out (Pluto). It has been well noted that Capricorns seem to get younger as they get older.

This talk by 80s aerobics icon, Jane Fonda, seems to encapsulate that spirit as she enters the ‘third act’ of life. With her Capricorn ascendant and a late Sagittarius Sun (chart from Astrodatabank), Fonda is no stranger to Pluto transits in recent years.

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Full moons: When ‘completion’ can mean many things!

I wanted a quiet 2010, but so far it’s been pretty turbulent. Not all bad, for sure, but turbulent. We’ve seen two major earthquakes within weeks, and without taking away any of the gravity of those events, I’m willing to bet that many people have been feeling quakes one way or another in their personal lives.

Since I’ve been tracking a few full moon experiences on this blog, I’m starting to find that something dramatic, and unexpected, nearly always happens. And every time, I am reminded that when people say full moons bring events and themes ‘to completion’, one never really know what form that’ll take until it happens.

Close to the previous Full Moon in Leo in late January (conjunct Mars), my Byronesque one, I was bringing to fruition a collaborative project with various partners. Our launch was planned for a date close to that Full Moon — and no, I didn’t pick the date for that reason, it was a group choice, and in that context, I don’t mention astrology. The evening before the launch, I get a call from our key guest speaker saying his flight had been cancelled and he would not be able to get into town on time. For various reasons I won’t go into detail here, I decided to fill in for him with an old presentation I gave to a different audience about a year ago. I hadn’t been scheduled to present that day at all. I had planned to be a behind-the-scenes organiser.

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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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On the verge of … verging

The title of this post came from a comment by my astro-blogging friend, Neeti Ray. I was trying to describe the weird sense of limbo I’m feeling that I can’t shake, like being on the verge of something that hasn’t yet manifested, and she wrote: ‘On, the verge of, verging’. Perfect! My original title was going to be ‘How to be in two places at once’.

As Venus opposes Pluto this weekend, continuing to put pressure on my own natal Venus-Pluto square, my thoughts turn to how one might process, or, indeed, metabolise, pain. With her customary bluntness, Lucy describes Venus’ recent ingress into Cancer as being akin to putting a ‘Band Aid on a gunshot wound’. It made me think again about the nature of Plutonian pain. And then there is what Elizabeth Spring describes as the ‘core pain’ of Neptune (no doubt accentuated by its conjunction to Chiron). If Plutonian pain is like a gunshot wound, I’d say Neptunian pain is like a bruising — you don’t notice it at first, until you accidentally press on it, or bump into the furniture again!

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Hades Moon

hades-moon I spent this new moon in Gemini (quincunx Pluto) weekend reading Judy Hall’s
Hades Moon: Pluto in Aspect to the Moon
. The book is powerful and carries a strong Plutonian aura. While I was (am) very drawn to it, I had to put it down a number of times and actually go into short, but deep, naps, as if my unconscious needed the down time to process everything I was taking in. I ended up reading with while handling a small quartz tumblestone crystal in my hand. In metaphysical healing, quartz is said to help with harmonising inner and outer energies, along with dissolving built-up energies.

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Pluto transits: Bearing witness

617094_melting_hearts_3 One of the hardest things to do during one’s own Pluto transits, as well as others’, is to learn to bear witness to the transformation without judgement.

Here are two enormously insightful articles: Elizabeth Spring’s ‘Healing Pluto’s Wounds’, and Radiant Woman’s ‘Five Ways to Use Pluto Square Pluto Positively’.

The only thing I can think to do, apart from psychotherapy, is to keep practising, to keep being aware, and to learn to bear witness to that which is changing in me alchemically, and to stay aware of that change without trying to control it, and without judgement over what results may follow. Easier said, than done, of course, but there aren’t too many other options.

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Pluto transits: Transform, or die

947894_grinding

The effect of Pluto is like a stone-grinder, and as its movement through the zodiac is glacially slow, taking 246 years to pass through all 12 signs, its impact on the psyche is to transform it inside out. When it makes exact contact with sensitive points in an individual’s chart, its intensity (if not its effect) can only be described as atomic, or a call to ‘transform, or die’.

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The rough beast slouches, or Pluto on the move II

Part I.

In honour of the ‘rough beast’ that is Pluto, I offer you W.B. Yeats’ powerful poem, ‘The Second Coming’ (1920).

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Image: Xylophanes Pluto, or Pluto Sphinx moth.

The rough beast slouches, or Pluto on the move I

Pluto has finally turned direct a couple of days ago after months in retrograde for its last tour of the last few degrees of Sagittarius. And I think we’re all feeling it in various ways. What is likely to be common for many is the theme of death and rebirth, metaphorically speaking. What is outmoded — lifestyles, ideas, institutions — must be destroyed and something else rebuilt.

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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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