Pointing Pluto In The Right Direction
Pluto & Power
Power. What does this word mean to you? Maybe it means possession of control, authority or holding sway over others… physical might… mental or moral potency… political control or influences… all are valid definitions. My preferred interpretation of power is simply the ability to act or produce an effect.
Pluto is considered the most powerful planet in astrological symbolism, and transformation is at the top of its priority list. For whatever reason, we’re conditioned to fear power’s corruption rather than first embracing its phenomenal contribution toward reaching our potential as individuals, as a society, and as spiritual beings.
Power only need be feared when it is being abused. And just so we’re clear, directing one’s power toward ill means is no more scurrilous than rejecting or suppressing one’s personal power. In fact, the outward expression of abusive power often results from not recognizing one’s inner strength. A person who has faith in his or her own abilities, feels in control of his or her destiny, and trusts his or her own instincts has little need or interest in dominating or tearing down others. Likewise, a person who recognizes his own ascendancy is less likely to allow others to victimize him with abuse of power. He’s also less likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors.
Each of the representative energies explored within astrology manifest in healthy as well as toxic behaviors. While Pluto energy certainly can present itself in extremes, it really does seek a balance. Pluto is that part of us that recognizes and accepts that all feelings, actions, and people are connected through common threads. It is where we examine those very bonds in an effort to weave a tapestry of truth and use that truth as a basis for change. Plutonian energy seeks to discard what has become useless and preserve only what can strengthen and sustain us.
Scorpio symbols: the scorpion and the eagle
Basic survival versus fulfilled potential is one of the most important extremes motivating Pluto’s passion if not THE most important. Since Pluto rules Scorpio, let’s look at two Scorpio symbols that might help us put this dynamic in perspective – the scorpion and the eagle.
Stop here for a minute. I want you to close your eyes and picture a scorpion. What feelings come with that image, what opinions are formed about the creature? Does the scorpion represent something else to you? Now do the same exercise with an eagle.
Scorpions are often looked upon with disgust, fear, and horror… much like the energy within us that Pluto represents. I have even seen claims that a scorpion is such a badass little critter that it will sting itself to death. Not true, but what a scorpion will do is very pertinent to our exploration of Pluto. Scorpions have the ability to generate a fictitious death. When danger is present, they can fall into a deep state of numbness. They can go too far and literally die in this state; but most often, they resurrect themselves when the danger has passed. The scorpion represents the most primal side of Pluto… our basic survival skills. The first option is to avoid danger; the second is to attack it; the third is to go numb until it goes away. The scorpion’s view of the world is shrouded in darkness. He hides in the crevices where we are most afraid to look, and is perfectly comfortable there.
The eagle, on the other hand, is a bird of strength and beauty. It soars high and is gifted with the freedom to rise above this existence. It represents the enlightened side of Pluto. It is our ability to not only survive but to thrive; to not only thrive but to share the bounty with others; to embrace not only the truths of life but also death and what lies beyond. The eagle’s view of the world is much different from the scorpion’s. He flies in the light on the horizon of our potential, yet he can still see where the scorpion dwells. He simply has the ability to leave it behind and detach from its pain. As unlikely as it may seem, the scorpion and the eagle have obviously found some common ground. The scorpion can resurrect itself as surly as the eagle can take flight. The eagle, no matter how majestic, still has talons that can rip an enemy to shreds as quickly as the scorpion can sting. Meaning? When it comes to Pluto, transformation is always possible and defenses are always available.
Pluto and Transformation
Let’s go ahead and address those stingers and talons, since they seem to be a major concern whenever Pluto is mentioned. There is no way to sugarcoat rage. We all know what it is, and we all have it lurking somewhere inside. Death is an integral part of life, and destruction is a fundamental element of progress. We don’t like to discuss this kind of stuff, but until we can accept these truths, or at least conceptualize them, we’ll never be able to make peace with Pluto.
If you want a gift, see Jupiter. If you think you only need limits, talk to Saturn. If you want transformation, you have to do it under Pluto’s terms. That means something will have to go before change will come, and it won’t necessarily be a sweet experience.
Pluto’s Achilles heel
What do you think Pluto’s Achilles heel might be? In a word… resentment. Think about a piece of coal put under pressure and transformed into diamond or fossils compressed into fuel. The diamond in its raw form is merely a hard substance. The fuel is combustible. With refinement, the diamond is made beautiful and the fuel is made useful; but in their unrefined forms, they are simply resistant and explosive.
The same principle can be applied to resentment. If not dealt with, resentment festers under pressure and fears are formed. If not refined, they remain in their raw state. When the resulting anxieties are pushed to the surface, it can be an ugly or painful experience. So the real key to managing our Plutonic energy is to recognize it and the fears related to it, refine it, and utilize it toward positive transformation. The easiest way to have it blow up in our faces is to pretend it isn’t there.
Pluto and Fear
We all have fears driving our responses in life. Some are instinctual and others are learned. The main thing to keep in mind is that fears, whether helping or hindering, will greatly impact our reactions.
Just for argument’s sake, let’s create a simple scenario. A little boy who loves his mother dearly loses her to death at the age of nine. Any child in this situation will have some resentment, and it could manifest in a number of ways. We are going to pretend that he suppresses his resentment and it morphs into a fear of abandonment and rejection. If that fear remains primal, the scorpion side of Pluto will take care of it. He will likely react in one of three ways, because he is in a protective, survival mode. He can try to avoid the danger by avoiding intimate relationships. He can fight against abandonment by making an effort to control any person he fears losing. He can go numb’ by staying emotionally detached in his relationships and waiting for the danger to pass. The eagle, on the other hand, would seek out the origin of the fear and purge that resentment. It might be as complicated as years of therapy with a counselor or as simple as age allowing our boy to fully understand his mother’s death. It doesn’t really matter. What counts is that he is able to release the tether binding him to that pain and rise above it. He may even become a doctor who fights the very disease that took his mother’s life or start a program to help children who have lost a parent.
Not all issues are this clear cut, but the principle is the same. Defensive responses, even when legitimate, are never as attractive as those rooted in confidence.
You see, knowing where Pluto resides in our natal charts isn’t nearly as important as knowing where fear dwells in our lives. Our charts are merely maps. An astrologer is a useful navigator, but we are the travelers. Whether we are scurrying along like scorpions or flying with the eagles, we are the only ones who possess the ability to change the course of our lives. If you find you are frustrated with some aspect of your journey right now, get quiet. Think about your deepest anxieties, trace them back to their original resentments and try to release yourself from their hold. The power to change, that power that Pluto represents, is available in each one of us regardless of sign. In fact, Aquarian Franklin Roosevelt said it the best: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”