Pluto transits: Transform, or die


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’.

I have been conscious of that call since Pluto passed through my 12th house and opposed my Sun-Saturn conjunction in 1999, right through my Saturn return in 2001 (yes, the same Pluto-Saturn opposition that features in the 9/11 chart). Pluto then grinds past my Ascendant at 19+ Sag in 2003, an experience I’ve described here in conversation with a reader. Sometimes the grind goes on for so long, you don’t hear the whine of the machine or feel the vibrations anymore, not consciously anyway, and I was enjoying a momentary reprieve, believing I’d got the hang of this Plutonian trip and could ride the rest of its passage through my 1st house relatively unscathed.

I didn’t pay attention as Pluto approached its impending opposition to my natal retrograded Venus until the current transiting Venus retrograde squared Pluto last week, triggering my own natal Venus-Pluto square, which carries its own intense craziness. A lot of buried stuff is coming to the surface, stuff from my childhood, my relations to my parents (or more accurately, my internalisation of my parents), my relations to others, and my relations to my own values and value system. Pluto’s grinding it all out — but the cloud of dust prevents me from seeing clearly what may be left in its wake.

I have Venus at 4+ Cancer. Pluto is currently retrograde at 3+ Capricorn until 11 September 2009 when it will reach 0+ Capricorn (an Aries Point contact) squaring my natal Pluto at 29+ Virgo. Pluto square Pluto is sorta like trying to take out a nuclear missile with another nuclear missile — you think one will cancel out the other but you really cannot envision the new reality their contact will make. But you will be transformed, no doubt about it. Or die.

The current generation will experience the Pluto square around age 36 to 38, earlier than previous generations. Eric Francis writes about this transit in an early article:

If the Saturn return, which unfolds typically between 29 and 33 years old, came with what felt like major changes, restructuring, marriage or divorce, a promotion or a bankruptcy, Pluto square Pluto works in a way that is entirely removed from the human world, but which has effects in the human world. Saturn knows all about life on the planet. Pluto, it seems, could not give a damn what, why or how we do things here, and kudos for that. Pluto just says deal with it. But the question is, deal with what? And another question is, how is this planet, this cycle of nature or of life, so powerful?

Pluto, however, doesn’t stand for any of this. To the extent that we live a corrupted experience of Neptune, Pluto will seem to orbit in and ‘destroy’ our lives. But what’s being destroyed are merely what mystics refer to as illusions — everything we believe that is not true, everything to which we think we are devoted, but to which we are really enslaved. Pluto is a solid, dense and most of all focused element of consciousness that seems to burn through everything unlike itself. If nothing else gets our attention, Pluto will. If Pluto does not, we might not live through the transit.

Pluto transiting my 1st house square my natal Pluto in the 10th is going to compel me to transform myself and self-image (1st house) in relation to the wider world (10th). I can feel it already as I struggle to negotiate my role at work with the work I want to channel into my role in the world. All the musing about invisibility recently is part of this process. But transiting Pluto opposing my natal Venus in the 7th house is also compelling me to address how I relate to partners, personal and professional, in terms of values.

Pluto will oppose my Venus exactly on 26 January 2010, then retrograde back from 5+ Capricorn on 7 April 2010, contact my Venus again on 23 June 2010, station direct at 2+ Capricorn on 14 September 2010, and make the last pass opposite my Venus on 29 November 2010.

I can’t pretend I’m not tired already! And I don’t even want to think about Pluto’s opposition to my natal Mars at 12+ Cancer in February 2014 … My Mars squares my natal Uranus in Libra so that contact should throw up some some sparks. But I get ahead of myself. If there’s one thing I’ve learned with Pluto transits is to take it one transformation at a time. Now if only the Saturn-Uranus opposition will move away from the MC/IC in my chart…

Image: Grinding. Source: stock.xchng.


6 Responses to Pluto transits: Transform, or die

  1. luckycharm says:

    Wow, great post. Like you I have survived Pluto passing through my 12th house and have in the last year experienced Pluto conjunct my natal moon at 27 Sagittarius and Ascendant at 26 Sagittarius as well as Pluto squaring my natal Pluto. This has not been a pleasant transit as natal Pluto at 29 Virgo stirred intense feelings of dissatisfication in my life and attracted control freak, looney tune women in my professional life which has caused me serious emotional problems. And if that isn’t enough now that Pluto is in my first house it is just like you opposing my natal venus which is at 4 Cancer. Mars at 11 Cancer will be contacted in the not too distant future and yes it is squared by Uranus at 14 Libra!

    Your post has really resonated with me, everything in my life is disintegrating. My marriage, close friendships I’ve had for years. I am learning to rely on myself more than ever and look for happiness within myself as I also have a 7th house venus in Cancer squared by Pluto. I have also been challenged by Pluto to address my professional life, as I am not living to my full potential and it is time to assert myself in new and constructive ways. All I know is there is a long road ahead. I feel like someone has put me through a grinder but I’m still alive so maybe I’m not doing too badly handling the power and energy of Pluto.

  2. TaurusCapVirgo says:


    My natal Pluto in Libra is in my 1st house and squares my 7th house Aries Venus. For 7 months I’ve been dating a man whose Pluto is in my 12th house. It’s a very difficult relationship. Being with him has dug up many childhood issues and guilts, fears, and such that I am being forced to deal with. I keep telling myself it’s all too much and that I should probably get out of the relationship, but it’s like a pretty eclipse…I can’t NOT look. And with each issue behind me I feel stronger. So the struggles are actually becoming addictive. The emotional upheavals come in spades. For a few days I’m totally isolated. Then, every few days I get a few days off during which I think things are getting better, but just then, something new unfolds. And what’s worse is that I feel like he is provoking the upheavals. Each time I go through real difficulty which usually has to do with something he did or did not do, he backs off and leaves me to deal with it on my own. It’s as if he causes trouble then disappears until the dust settles. I feel tormented by him then abandoned. Yet, I can’t be mean to him when he calls because I know he’s only doing these things because he needs to feel secure. To him I am a rock that can’t be broken, and he is afraid of falling in love too deeply, so when I have troubles and try to hold onto him for help, he retreats and tries to make me feel insecure because somehow I’ve touched a weak spot on him. But instead his reactions only build my confidence more because I see just how strong I am, and I want to leave him less because I also am seeing just how weak he is. It’s all so pitiful, and I’m hurt over it. Yet, I feel like I’m learning a very good lesson…how to be strong for two people.

    Two questions:

    How much mind control does this man have over me?

    Do I have any mind control over him? My pluto is in his first house.

    Should I abandon this relationship?

  3. hitchhiker72 says:

    luckycharm, thanks for sharing your experience.

    All things considered I don’t think I’m faring too badly with this Pluto transit, although I am exhausted. I think awareness goes a long way in mitigating the trauma. The key as always is to let change happen without trying to control it too much, but easier said than done, I know!

    Best of luck with everything.

  4. hitchhiker72 says:


    Thanks for stopping by and sharing. I can sympathise to an extent because my Pluto is in a friend’s 12 house and as an astrologer pointed out to me, it can feel like my ‘darkness’ resides in the other’s unconscious, making it quite intense yet difficult to have any control over for the other person.

    However, I don’t really understand your questions about mind control. Why would you want to have any mind control at all? I can’t see mind control as a healthy way to have any kind of relationship.

    Perhaps a way to work with Pluto is to see into one’s own motivations first, rather than speculating about others’.

  5. Mary says:

    I have taurus sun and 2″ Cap ascendent. I am currently experiencing this pluto transit to my ascendent. I’m so confused about life right now that i’m beginning to think if it’s even worth it. I have suffered for so long that now it appears like all that was nothing compared to what I am going through now. My kids are gone, I am an empty nester. I also lost a friend of over ten yrs recently so there goes my support system and just last week I put my husband out because of past abuse and now i’m wanting him to come back because I can’t take living alone. All I have now is the dog and i’m so afraid that I will lose him as well it’s like my life as I knew it is being swallowed up and I can’t take it. I can’t think straight to figure out what to do, all I can think about is escaping all this. I don’t know where I am suppose to get the motivation to make it. I have no planets in fire and only one in water, i’m all about thinking and thats it. I lie here thinking all day and nite, it’s to the point where I can’t even sleep anymore even with sleeping pills. I feel like i’m going insane. I would not wish my current life situations on my worst enemy.


  6. hitchhiker72 says:

    Dear Mary,

    Pluto through the 12th can seem like one is being swallowed into a dark place but give it a chance to enter the 1st house of self-presentation before you succumb to the darkness.

    Going over the situation in your head repeatedly is going to reinforce the despair. Without trying to condescend, try and let the fears go.

    Find a new support system in community if not in friends. I lost many friends but also many bad habits and unhealthy attachments as a result. Dead skin is sometimes meant to be sloughed off. Getting your husband back to ease the loneliness isn’t going to ease the loneliness and sometimes being with someone physically but not emotionally can be the loneliest experience ever.

    That you are surfing the net for information on Pluto suggests you’re seeking aids to self-transformation. That’s positive. But I’d suggest going out and doing community work, finding a book club, a knitting circle, whatever your interests are. Re-discover what you used to love to do but seemed to have forgotten because life got in the way.

    When Pluto crossing my Ascendant felt like I was being disemboweled, I started a meditation practice, from which I have since found a community of sorts. I also started to teach myself astrology, which has led me also to a community of sorts, albeit mostly online. Among many other things. It was important for me to go inward while going outward, if that makes sense.

    I won’t trivialise the experience by saying everything will be okay. But what I can say is that in a few years, you will be different so much so that okay and not-okay become over-simplistic assessments. You will be different, life will be different. What you can try and do now is nurture the growth of self-belief inside you. It’s hard to do alone, so find a good therapist if you can (I did). Therapists serve a different function from a close friend and can offer a much needed objectivity and support that friends can in fact be drained by. Pluto is a powerful energy and most friends can’t cope. Dealing with the energy separate from friends and loved ones will allow you to be a better friend and loved one to them, too.

    Take care, Mary, and be well. Feel free to drop by and share anytime you like. Wishing you the very best.

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