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.


While nothing substitutes for introspection, there are tools that can aid the process; therapy is one of them. The thing about dealing with Pluto problems is not to be too proud or too afraid to ask for help. That can take the form of speaking to another person (not dumping, which is a different thing); but I also understand that Plutonians can feel alone against the world, so asking for help can take the form of a meditation practice, or the form of learning about astrology and other esoteric arts!; or dance, or music, or all of the above. Basically, the goal is to find an honest route into your psyche. Read books: Donna Cunningham suggests a range of options including flower essences and guided meditations; Judy Hall also suggests using visualisations, flower essences and other vibrational cures, like homeopathy and crystals. I’ll just share two here with you today that I’ve used myself.

Flower essences — Walnut

You can read about the general principle behind flower essences here. The practice originated with Edward Bach in inter-war England, but the technique and concept have been applied to flower essences from other regions, such as the Australian Bush Flower Essences, and the California Flower Essences.

Mystic Medusa recommends Bach’s Walnut essence for Pluto transits, which she calls in her irrepressible way, ‘Pluto Juice’. Walnut is said to be the ‘link breaker’; here’s the text from the Bach Centre website:

Walnut… is the remedy to help to protect against outside influences in general, and against the effects of change in particular.

Walnut types are people who are fulfilling their purpose in life but who under the influence of the opinions, theories or beliefs of others, or of external circumstances in general, may be led to doubt their path. They are not like Cerato people, who actively seek out the opinions of others, but instead may be affected almost despite themselves.

As a remedy against the effects of change, Walnut is useful at all the transitions of life, from being born to teething to going to school to puberty to marriage to childbearing to retirement and beyond. It helps to break links with the past so that the person can move forward with confidence and without undue suffering.

Dr Bach’s description
For those who have definite ideals and ambitions in life and are fulfilling them, but on rare occasions are tempted to be led away from their own ideas, aims and work by the enthusiasm, convictions or strong opinions of others. The remedy gives constancy and protection from outside influences.

I’ve taken Walnut on and off for several years (since Pluto transited my 12th house, opposite my Sun-Mercury-Saturn in Gemini), together with Hornbeam. I’ve stopped the Hornbeam now and moved on to Elm. People have claimed that flower essences are merely placebos, but I don’t know. If the ultimate goal is honest self-knowledge, how you get there doesn’t really matter, does it?

Crystal therapy — Obsidian

The principle behind crystal therapy can be found here. I just want to say a little bit about my experience with obsidian, which seems to have helped with my psychic cleansing efforts. Obsidian is probably as Plutonian as you could get with crystals — it’s black; and it’s made of volcanic glass, created when molten lava makes contact with the air and cools too quickly for crystals to form.

Judy Hall’s amazingly comprehensive The Crystal Bible (there is even a Volume 2 now) has this to say about obsidian:

… Obsidian is a stone without boundaries or limitations. As a result, it works extremely fast and with great power. Its truth-enhancing, reflective qualities are merciless in exposing flaws, weaknesses, and blockages. … it can bring negative emotions and unpleasant truths to the surface. Under skilled guidance, its cathartic qualities are exceedingly valuable. It provides deep soul healing. …

… placing Obsidian by the bed or under the pillow can draw out mental stress and tension, and may have a calming effect, but it can also bring up the reasons for that stress. These reasons then have to be confronted before peace can return; this resolves the problem permanently rather than have a palliative effect.

Psychologically, Obsidian helps you to know who you truly are. It brings you face to face with your shadow side and teaches you how to integrate it. This stone also helps you to identify behavioral patterning that is now outdated. Obsidian dissolves emotional blockages and ancient traumas, bringing a depth and clarity to emotions. It promotes qualities of compassion and strength.

How very Plutonian, don’t you agree?

I tend not to set out to buy crystals for a specific purpose. The ones I own I’ve stumbled upon during a random visit to a new age shop, or in the form of jewellery that I happened to like the look of, or on one occasion even a charity shop selling small pieces for a tiny price. I don’t yet have the courage or confidence to invest in the much larger pieces, but I’m happy with my range of tumbled stones and chip bracelets.

Two small pieces of obsidian found their way into my possession a few months ago, and having read Judy Hall’s entry above, I thought I’d give it a go. I tried sleeping with one of them under my pillow. The effect on my dreams was quite interesting — no, I didn’t have nightmares or wild trips; if anything, the narratives and images were easier to grasp, so I think some buried stuff did surface. Overall, the sense upon waking I can only describe as ‘flushed out’. That said, as Hall cautions above, obsidian dreams probably shouldn’t be attempted unless a lot of soul work has already been done, and you’re prepared to deal with what comes up. And then, to let it go.

Is it the stone, or the intention I had when I used it? Does it matter? Modern science might say there are no bases for such practices, but then again, science has nothing to say about Pluto transits either.

Happy Pluto direct, everyone.

Image: Detail of Pluto and Proserpina (1621-22), by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (white marble, 255 cm). Source: Chantal Powell’s Art Blog.

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21 Responses to Healing Pluto problems: Obsidian order, Walnut way

  1. lucywatchthesky says:

    More good advice, and talk about synchronicity! I actually just left a therapy session in which we discussed how I’m having a lot of trouble in my biopsych class and my professor has been absolutely awful about it, so I’ve downloaded a supplement to the text and basically tutored myself, which was a big deal for me because I’ve always been anxious about asking for and receiving extra help, even though I’ve known rationally that there’s nothing really wrong with it. Keats once said that Shakespeare was one of the best writers because he had “negative capability”- that is, the ability to recognize what he didn’t know and explore it, which led him to imagine the psyches of so many different kinds of people so fully.

    My mom has recently gotten into flower essences and wants me to investigate them also, which I’d love to do. Does Mystic Medusa do specific flower essence-astrology correlations? That would be fabulous.

    p.s. that Bernini sculpture is one of my favorite things in the entire world. Literally. Sushi, horror films, Bernini’s Pluto and Persephone, Goudy Old Style font, and cameo jewelry. In that order. (All of which are kind of Plutonian too, in their own way. Hmm.)

  2. hitchhiker72 says:

    Hi Lucy,

    Mystic’s blog is rather whimsical and the topics a bit random. Flower essences are the easiest remedies to use on your own. I’d start with the Bach essences (and probably no more than 3 or 4 at a go — it doesn’t mean that if you use all 38 at once, you’ll be perfect!).

    Here’s the list:
    http://www.bachcentre.com/centre/remedies.htm

    It sounds like you could do with some Elm, or Cerato. And for your recent trauma, Star of Bethlehem. I know the guidelines usually say mix up your own bottle and then use that but really, who has the time? I just drop two to four drops of whatever remedy I think I need for the day in my morning juice and that’s it.

    Let me know how you do. I’d love to hear if the remedies work for people. I think they work only if the recipient is willing to have a real go! I once gave a Sun-Pluto in Virgo a bottle of Oak for chronic overwork, and she ended up throwing it away because she said it stopped her from working!!

    As for the Bernini. Yes. And the close-ups seem so much more dramatic. The whole sculpture is probably stunning but the Baroque bling in the room (from the picture) is so distracting.

  3. lucywatchthesky says:

    Oh, you actually ingest them? I thought you just smelled them, like salts. Or wore them as perfumes. But thank you for the list! I’ll treat myself to it when I’m done studying for biopsych. 😛

    The close-ups are great because you can see in real detail how lifelike it actually looks. But I’ve actually seen the whole thing at the Villa Borghese in person (in statue?), and trust me- the minute you lay eyes on it, you are not looking at anything else in the room. In fact, you forget you are even IN a room. Seeing that sculpture for Pluto types is to seeing the Virgin Mary for Catholics.

  4. Michelle says:

    Wow! I want to give you a big hug, lol. I adore flower essences and I am a huge fan of crystals too (in addition to astrology, of course).

    Pluto is squaring my Venus at 00 Aries- I never realized what a jealous monster I can be until this past year. I’m also being forced to face all kinds of sexual/intimacy issues…whew!

    I’m using many of the FES essences. Today? Holly, snapdragon, sticky monkeyflower, hibiscus, and fairy lantern.

    I use crystals in conjunction with Feng Shui mostly. I have rose quartz in my love area ;D

  5. Donna Davidson says:

    Wow, Big Pluto gal here. Scorpio Sun/Jupiter conj in natal third, square Leo Saturn/Pluto conj in natal 12th. And this Pluto SD is trine my Taurus moon in the natal 8th and semi-sextile Venus and Mars in natal third.

    I am so used to restrictions to my will, that when restrictions are lifted I run to find some of my own and right now I am feeling like it is time to own myself.

    The Capricorn Pluto signals a sea change for living, in general ,I think. I’m still grappling with that. It’s transiting my 4th house so everyday I want to move out of this house and into anything down-to-earth, steel, brick, cement, limestone, slate, stark, opposite of “cozy.” Lots of lofty philosophy questions evaporating as practical solutions emerge.

    And the 4th/8th natal houses activated with Cap. Pluto trine Taurus moon reminds me that my mom left me this wonderful house on the water in the path of hurricanes.

    Ah so.
    PS – Bach flower essences have had dramatic effects on me the two times I was given them. Maybe it’s time to get my own set.

    I’ll try the obsidian. I have crystals stuck everywhere and need to clean and sunshine them. One question though, I have a necklace with a clear crystal that is cracked and was told that if I wear it and lift my vibration the cracks will disappear. Have you ever heard anything like that?

    Have a nice Friday.
    DD

  6. hitchhiker72 says:

    Lucy — I think ‘in person’ refers to the viewer, i.e. you. LOL!

    Hi Michelle, thanks for stopping by. I haven’t tried the FES essences myself but have heard good things.

    Hi DD, crystals may be magic but I doubt they’d defy the laws of physics (I could be wrong, of course). I read somewhere that if a crystal shatters or cracks, it means it’s done its work.

  7. Pingback: Best Recent Posts on Pluto » AstroDispatch.com » Astrology Around The Web

  8. JiHyang says:

    wonderful– and exciting–to discover someone whose connections with mindfulness and astrology mirror my own.

    I found myself picking up sugilite earlier today, curious to know your thoughts. May be useful prescription for Pluto- Venus aspects. According to the Crystal Bible,
    “this stone aids in finding answers to the great questions of life, protects the soul from shock and trauma… aids forgiveness, eliminates hostility, encourages loving communication, imparts the ability to face up to unpleasant matters, alleviates sorrow, grief and fear and promotes self forgiveness. Helps bring light and love into the darkest situations.”

    metta…

  9. hitchhiker72 says:

    Hi JiHyang, haven’t considered sugilite but sounds useful! I picked up a piece of red tiger’s eye today… Needed the motivation to work on something that needs to be done by tomorrow!

  10. sasha says:

    I’ve tried onyx and I can say it worked (some tension in the beginning, various dreams disclosing irrational fear, followed by stillness and increased capacity to focus). I’ve heard obsidian is much stronger, though. And more brusque. Not recommended in times in which one has to engage in work that requires effort and concentration.
    how do you experience pluto opposite venus?

  11. Donna Davidson says:

    I have a idea about the above question:

    How do you experience Pluto opposite Venus?

    In my experience, I take the two planet energies and assign key words.

    Then the sign they are in, write down key words.

    Then I notice their house placement and add key words.

    Disregarding anything else in the chart, not a good thing I
    know, I use that information this way:

    Whenever I have a problem with one of the planets (i.e. key words) I notice I am most likely to blame it on the key words of the opposing planet, sign and house.

    Seeing this, I ignore that irritation temporarily and work on the place I am not putting blame, but the opposite side of the equation – since it can go back and forth.

    Example:
    11th house placement opposed 5th (most oppositions represent the flip side of the same coin)

    Or how I receive love (11th) vs how I show love (5th)
    Or friends, large organizations vs entertaining, creating, gambling, have fun and children – the playful side of life.
    Or paternal vs maternal in this case.

    Then if I am mad at all friends or organizations telling me what to do, I leave them alone for now and focus on my way of creating fun in my own life and for those around me.
    dd

    I could give an example, but if one doesn’t agree with the premise then that could just be more confusing.
    DD

  12. hitchhiker72 says:

    Good tips, Donna, thanks! I might try it sometime.

    sasha, about Pluto opp Venus. I’ve blogged about this on and off, you can trawl through the archive if you like. Basically, I’m undergoing a thorough overhaul of the relationships I value (Venus is in my 7th house) and letting go of the ones that are counter-productive. The cookbooks all say this transit may bring an ‘obsessive’ love relationship but no sign yet… lol.

  13. sasha says:

    Thanks for both answers. Donna’s tips are really good to keep in mind in other opposition cases as well. I immediately recognized the tendency to put the blame for whatver may come on the other pole; from what I’ve seen, I tend to blame the personal planet more …
    HHiker, I will keep scanning around your blog whenever I have time, I’ve just discovered it. Maybe there’s still time for obsesive love :). I wanted to know if pluto transits as a rule bring about only change through some loss that is independent of the respective person, as I’ve seen it happened with various people. But I suppose they were just cases among the worst, I guess it also depends on the houses involved (when my mother-in-law died, pluto was squaring my husband’s moon in the 4th and his natal pluto; so it all made sense in an almost frightening way).

  14. Samudra says:

    A friend recently turned me on to the flower essences. She knows they’re not just placebos because she gives her dog mimulus during thunderstorms and on the fourth of July. She gave me some (because I was mid-trauma) in a small bottle of water and said “Sip that.” I forgot it had essence in it and drank it in about half an hour and said, “Hey! I’m HIGH! Yeah, as if I’d been smoking pot!”
    She warned me that an essence you don’t need will produce the symptom it’s supposed to cure (so I wouldn’t go around trying to get high on mimulus, I guess).
    My parents died in 2005. Daddy’s death was timely but Mama’s was unexpected and I still grieve for her. Today I was taking a nap and dreamed I was reading a book about us. I looked a couple pages ahead and saw their deaths coming up, and told whomever I was with in the dream that I was having fun, but that I wanted to go spend some time with my parents while they were still alive. When I woke up I was crying. Still am.
    I knew that was a Bernini the moment I read the comment that it was stone. Bernini is one of my favorite artists EVER. I lost myself in his sculptures in I forget whether it was Rome or Florence but there was a whole garden full, and no bling to distract.
    Pluto is conjunct my midheaven in my natal chart.

  15. Diane Scholten says:

    Hi – just found your blog via Lynn Hayes’s blog. Great stuff here! I’ve been studying astrology for 35 years and have Venus opposed Pluto natally. Felt like I had at least a good idea about me and about astrology but right now with transiting pluto stationing 1 minute away from exact square to my moon at 0’38” Libra and meanwhile the neptune/chiron/jupiter gang all marching towards my sun at 26’46” Aquarius – well, let’s just say i’m not the cheeriest, clearest I’ve ever been in my life. Met the woman of my dreams, had a very neptunian/romantic summer with her and then she moved to Florida to be near her parents as she had told me she would – the day she arrived in FLA I was talking on the phone with her and fell and broke my arm.

    I’m quite certain life is handing me lessons for my betterment and with Pluto transiting my 7th and Saturn now approaching my moon i’m hoping the betterment IS a lasting lover/parternship. But right now this liminal time is challenging, to say the least.

    I’ll look forward to more of your blog and any insights you’d like to toss my way. It’s been a wild ride of late.

    Diane

  16. hitchhiker72 says:

    Samudra – as far as I’ve read, the essences are harmless if you don’t need them. They don’t produce negative effects. Personally they work for me, I’m not really concerned whether they’re placebos or not, but even if they are as long as they work, that’s fine!

    Diane – I don’t think anyone’s having an easy time of this period, but those with natal contacts feel it more acutely. I think astrology’s really taken off with the internet because of the ability to interact and exchange ideas like this.

    Thanks both for stopping by.

  17. Samudra says:

    Actually, the friend who told me that flower essences produce the opposite effect if you don’t need them also told me that my cat wouldn’t suddenly find her purpose in life and the drive to achieve it from glubbing my Wild Oat/Wild Rose mix. So I think I’ll have to point out the inconsistency to her! (My friend, not my cat; my cat doesn’t care.)
    I looked in the Bach book to find the essence specific for grief, but all I found was one for self-pity. I don’t go around grieving for my mother, but I do sometimes wake up crying for her. (Or my cat wakes me when she hears me crying.) After conscientious introspection, I don’t think it’s myself I feel sorry for; Mama remarked the night before she died that it didn’t seem fair, and I’m wondering if there’s such a thing as an excess of empathy, and an essence for it.
    On your suggestion, I tracked down a piece of obsidian I’d squirreled away and found it very comforting. It’s snowflake obsidian, but it works. Thank you for the recommendation.
    Someone once asked me if I believed in the healing effects of magnets. I said No, but they’re a damn good placebo! (I’ve been told by a scientist that evidence suggests that–even discounting the placebo effect–they work for some people, not for others. Apparently scientists haven’t figured why the difference.)

  18. carmilla5 says:

    Oh wow, this is a lovely little place to snuggle up and read and you are so a kindred spirit, astrology and essences and crystals, mmmm. Thanks to Lynn Hayes for pointing me in your direction, you’ve been RSS’d now, so I won’t miss a beat. Lovely to connect with such a switched on cool, vibey astrologer, hugs, Lise x

    PS Oh yeah and I’m a Plutonian through and through know that journey only too well!

  19. hitchhiker72 says:

    Samudra -try combining say Star of Bethlehem (for shock and trauma) and something you’re feeling that’s contributing to the grief, maybe guilt, or resentment, or obsessing about the past, or and then pick the essence for that. It seems to me that grief is a very layered emotion, so combinations should help. They work for me anyhow.

    carmilla5 – thank you and welcome. *passes you a snuggly pillow*

  20. Donna Davidson says:

    Just wanted to say – you inspire healing.
    Donna D

  21. hitchhiker72 says:

    Hey, DD. Thank you. What a kind thing to say!

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