Pluto As Singleton
The depository of power is always unpopular.
Knowledge itself is power.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.
If any planetary energy represents an unconscious, instinctive, primordial, collective and transpersonal force, it is Pluto.
Much has been written about Pluto, probably because all that the planet symbolizes is so little understood or comprehended on the conscious, intellectual level.
Liz Greene devoted a book, The Astrology of Fate to it. Jeffrey Wolf Green has dedicated much of his career to Pluto in the form of workshops and books: Pluto the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul, Vols. II and I. Richard Idemon titled his major lecture on Pluto, Eros, Pain and Transformation. He defined Eros/erotic as “a connection between two or more people in which they share experience by, or through, which they are both, or all, totally transformed.”
Toward the end of her life, the late Isabel Hickey wrote about Pluto in a booklet entitled Pluto or Minerva, the Choice is Yours. She described Pluto as “the energy in us which is unknown on the surface but which works in the depths of our being. It rules the underworld in us as well as the highest part of us. In its lowest aspect it can be working silently within and unknown under the surface and then erupt with violence.
The highest aspect of Pluto (Minerva, goddess of wisdom), works in a different fashion. It changes the individual from within and comes imperceptibly like the dawn of a new day. It changes the individual so his is never again in the same state of consciousness. Purged of the dross, he is refined and regenerated.
Pluto correlates with peak experience in which there is a kind of dying and rebirth. Afterwards the perceptions of reality are never again the same. Examples of these types of experiences that we all go through are having a love affair; having a child, a death experience (a close brush with one’s own death or death of someone close). War and other collective disasters are Plutonian experiences.
Until Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the U.S.A. had been without war on its continental territory since the Civil War in the 1860′s. Up to just now, we have had no collective experience within living memory of war’s total, utter devastation in our midst.
So, we as a collective have tended to put the energy of Pluto into erotic love affairs, sports, drugs and violence. Since our common enemy, the former USSR, dissolved twelve years ago, the U.S.A. has become even more violent and polarized within itself, and drug use has risen. A rather problematic Mercury Retrograde in Cancer opposes the U.S.A. Pluto.
Our collective naivete and emotionally colored thinking generally leads us to choose to project Pluto “out there” on those “devils.” We have now have Osama bin Laden as our primary Plutonian figure; Saddam Hussein is a runner-up. It is interesting that neither the first Bush or Clinton administrations could or would bring down this latter “demon.”
Perhaps they realized, consciously or unconsciously, the value of an external “enemy” to keep some peace at home, and made an attempt to honor and to appease the god Pluto in this way. But that Pluto in Capricorn in the U.S.A. chart symbolizes a big part of our collective “shadow;” it includes the CIA, large corporations and their activities, the Mafia, etc. The CIA is credited with having encouraged bin Ladin’s rise to power during the former USSR’s struggle in Afghanistan. Now bin Ladin has come home to roost. Not only do we “project” Pluto onto others, but also others project our Pluto back upon us!
As a nation, we are currently experiencing one of Pluto’s main functions: catharsis through pity and terror. The classic Greek tragedies are an example of this collective emotional and psychic cleansing and purging. The whole community would come together to witness the drama, go through the intense emotions of the tragedies together and come out in some way healed of their own individual and collective pain.
We in the U.S.A. are, in a similar way and for the same purpose, coming together in churches, synagogues, mosques and public secular memorial services. When Pluto is powerful in the chart, an individual can read about a horrific, violent crime or tragedy, experience the terror of it, and yet, at the same time, feel pity for the victim and the perpetrator.
Risk-taking is a manifestation of Pluto. One takes a big chance if he or she decides to devote his life to art, a religious belief, or a passionate love (of person or thing). This sort of risk-taking is not the foolhardy, adrenaline junky sort that drives the Dale Ernharts of this world to drive around in circles. It is the risk-taking in which we put our life, heart, soul and spirit on the line. Mme. Blavatsky’s life illustrates such risk taking.
Unfortunately, so, too, do the jihad terrorist activities. Having looked at the dubious charts of some of the suicide hijackers and of Mr. bin Laden, it appears they all have the generational Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo which sextiles Neptune in Scorpio. Although there are no singleton Pluto’s, of course, there are many with a stellium (pl. stellia) in Virgo; the Uranus/Pluto conjunction is closely configured with very personal planets.
That generational conjunction in Virgo is being set off now by a square from transiting Pluto in Sagittarius, which goes on through 2008. The Uranus/Pluto sub-generation had an unusual number of suicides among its members when they were teenagers. They seemed to have a romantic (Neptune in Scorpio), fascination with death and sudden violence (Uranus/Pluto). Hopefully, the higher octave of this conjunction will be activated as well, and we will see individuals of genius, intuition, and purified consciousness step forward to clean up the physical and spiritual messes (a Virgo function), on the planet.
Power and the temptation to power are Plutonian issues. Faust desired worldly power and sold his soul for it. Jesus resisted the temptation for worldly powers in favor of eternal, immortal power. Pluto/Hades (god of the underworld), raped Persephone, and later he made her queen; she became empowered, through the experience of the loss of innocence, or ignorance.
Pluto’s power is hypnotic and chthonic. It comes up from the underworld, from deep within the earth, within the being of the body. It is kundalini, the serpent power, in the Yogic tradition. Awaken this goddess kundalini at your own risk! It is the divine transforming fire from within which purifies and purges the physical, emotional, and mental bodies. If those vehicles are not prepared, it creates volcanic upheavals as it pushes through one’s being.
In fact, volcanoes are very symbolic of Plutonian energies. The serene mountain, like Fuji or Mt. Shasta, can erupt suddenly with great power and violence, spewing ash, and molten lava flows over all the surrounding area. The land is transformed! In time, a long time, the volcanic products break down into rich soil and new types of growth appear in place of what was there before, but in the mean time there is utter devastation.
How many of us have been burned by Pluto’s fires when transiting Pluto made a hard aspect to a natal planet? Afterwards, we are changed. And long afterwards when we can see the evolution that took place, we are grateful. We would not want to go back to who and what we were, even if that were possible, which, of course, it is not.
A woman was experiencing a Pluto transit of her 4th house. Now, this usually corresponds with moving to a different house or home in a different place. When transiting Pluto was squaring her ASC, she looked at a lot of houses in several different states, but could not make up her mind. She found fault (Virgo ASC), with all the places. Finally, as transiting Pluto squared her natal Neptune and Venus, her house was demolished by a tornado.
There was no longer a choice about moving! She was forced to go. She did not want to rebuild in “tornado alley,” so chose the southwest, New Mexico. Had she been willing to move with the earlier Pluto transit, she would have found a new place and begun healing her chronic illness much sooner. Pluto finally forced the move and the healing. The power of evolution first asks you to move on willingly, and then it forcibly moves you. If you still refuse to budge, Pluto will remove you (you just die)! In the woman’s case, she had insurance (Pluto, Scorpio and the 8th house rule insurance, or collective resources), so all turned out well.
Pluto has a lot to do with social and cultural taboos. That means all those “bad” things we are not supposed to do or to talk about. If we break a taboo, we are likely to be cast out of the community. At one time excommunication was a horrible punishment. Now it is simply painful to break the taboos, for it puts one into the “Lucifer Spirit” of the outcast, the outsider. One has to be willing to embrace the pain of being a separate autonomous individual. And, sometimes it is cold and lonely out there!
Taboos in today’s world are harder to find. In the U.S. talking about death used to be a “no-no.” Now a very popular TV series, “Six Feet Under,” dramatizes issues of death, homosexuality, incest and suicide. All these are our old taboos! To really break a taboo now requires one to engage in child pornography and child seduction, or, like Nicholai Soltys, murder one’s entire immediate family, including tiny children and unborn fetuses. That is, however, one way to break the umbilical cords to family and culture!
Pluto is the dark, powerful, intense, regenerative life force. Raw life force does not recognize taboos. It is “gutsy” and rises up from beneath like a plant shoot pushing through the earth toward the sunlight. Issues around Pluto are power, eroticism, pain and transformation.
Some Pluto singleton charts belong to very attractive people; they are intensely fascinating and charismatic. Other charts belong to people who tend to provoke violent outrage by their very presence. They all seem to have a hypnotic effect, and nobody is neutral about them. Attitudes toward them range from love to hate, and not much in between. In their presence there may be feelings of desire and fear intermingled, and it is likely that the “devil” or the “angel” will be projected on the person.
Pluto singleton individuals have issues around power and control and letting go. They may suffer from peculiar forms of paranoia and depression and become emotionally inaccessible, unreachable to family and friends.
Most Pluto singleton people are very powerful, especially when Pluto is aspected by personal planets: Sun, Moon, Venus, Mercury and Mars. Power is certainly a big issue with Pluto, but it can manifest in many different ways. A conscious individual of integrity or another Plutonian person will almost always like the singleton Pluto person. People with guilt complexes or who are self-deceptive and self-righteous will hate the Plutonian. Pluto can see their dirty little secrets and the skeletons in their closets, and hears the sound of their lies, smells the stench of their hypocrisies.
One thing that seems to stand out about people with Pluto singletons in the natal chart is that they tend to be catalysts. They can touch your life and even if you make no impression on them, they change you or you are changed by contact with them or their ideas.
When looking at any singleton planet, we, of course, look first at why it is a singleton.
For example, in Lenny Bruce‘s chart, Pluto is the only planet in a Personal sign. Personal signs are about survival and nurturance and how we take care of ourselves.
Then we look at the house Pluto rules. Where is it coming from, what is it bringing with it? Lenny’s Pluto rules the 12th house, and therefore brings a lot of suppressed and unconscious material with it. This material goes into his personal relationships (Pluto is in the 7th house of personal partners and public relations). The Pluto, coming from the 12th of “hidden enemies” goes to the house of “open enemies,” the 7th.
Jupiter, the ASC ruler, in the first house, opposes Pluto. This is a “holy war” between Lenny and those dark and diabolic others. Oppositions tend to give insight into other people. When Pluto is involved, others tend to be seen as the “devil” or others see the person himself as evil.
What planet disposes (controls), the singleton? In this case, it is Moon in Virgo in the natural house of Pluto, the 8th. The Moon makes a square to Venus in the 12th house. So, we are back to “hidden enemies and self-undoing.” We get the feeling there is something very dark here about women, mother, and nurturance.
This Pluto Singleton is all the more problematic and powerful because it partakes of two major configurations: a Grand Trine in Water and a Cardinal T-Cross with the Sun in the 10th house at the apex. The Grand Water Trine is often associated with both great dramatic talent as well as much grief, disappointment, and sadness in the life; both Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner have this configuration.
Lenny was a satirist with a biting social comment. He chose subject matter that broke cultural taboos. His personal interaction with others was very Plutonian. His death from an overdose of heroin is not surprising. He chose a very negative way to nurture himself.
Jack Anderson was a newspaper columnist and political reporter who exposed scandal and corruption (Pluto rules these things), in high places (i.e. among the “powerful”). Pluto is in the 12th house near the ASC, and it rules the 5th. That house includes in its symbolism politics and politicians.
Mars, the only Earth sign planet, rules his 10th house. Mars is in Capricorn, its sign of exaltation, in the 7th house. It signifies his career and relationship with the public. He was no doubt a workaholic who dug deep to unearth the filth. In some ways his chart is similar to Lenny’s. Jack also had a cardinal T-Cross with Pluto widely opposing Mars and squaring his Libra planets. But, Jack did not have the Grand Trine in Water. He did not have the easy way of drowning in emotion, drugs or alcohol.
Muhammad Ali was the personification of the glorious gladiator. His Pluto singleton (only Fire), rises in Leo. It rules his 4th house of the past. This is a “karmic” talent he brought forth from prior times. Pluto’s only close major aspect is from Mars in Taurus in the 9th house of faith. Pluto widely opposes the Moon in Aquarius. This Fixed T-cross gives enormous physical and psychological stamina; Ali was the irresistible force in the boxing ring.
His Sun singleton, ASC ruler, gave him great confidence. His mantra was, “I am the greatest.” And, he probably was. He broke a social, cultural taboo by refusing the military obligation in 1967. He transformed, taking a new faith and a new name, and in 1970 returned to the ring. His poetic propensity comes from the Neptune singleton trine the Sun. Together with Uranus in Taurus in the 10th house, Sun and Neptune make a Grand Trine in Earth. Certainly, Ali has wealth and fame, but he is at this point trapped or imprisoned in his body.
Winston Churchill, with Mercury opposing Pluto, each a singleton in the Fixed signs Taurus and Scorpio, was an incomparably inspiring orator. I was only a small child at the end of the War, but I can still hear his words and his voice ringing in my mind. He was one of the greatest statesmen in world history and a legend in his own time. Many wonder if the British nation could have got through World War II without his leadership. He won a Nobel Prize in literature. There is no doubt he was a very powerful person!
Among the ladies, power is there certainly, but sometimes in a quiet or almost invisible way. Former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter, a Sun sign Leo, could almost be called an honorary Pisces because her Sun conjoins Neptune in the 12th house. She shone behind the scenes. Because her ego is softened by this placement as well as an active acceptance of duty (Mars rising in Virgo), we suspect her Pluto singleton works on the Minerva level. She may have, indeed, been the “power behind the throne” during her husband’s presidential administration.
Another of our three powerful Leo ladies, is Lucille Ball. She created the “I Love Lucy” show, thus immortalizing herself. Like Ali, her Sun is also a singleton, giving formidable self-confidence. Her Pluto singleton, only Air sign planet, rules her 5th house of entertainment and creativity. She achieved great wealth as a result both of her talent as a comedienne and as an astute business manager.
Along with Jack Anderson and Muhammad Ali, Ava Gardner has a Pluto singleton in the 12th house. Some astrology books say Pluto is exalted in Pisces or the 12th house. It certainly seems to bring better fortune to have Pluto in the 12th rather than having it rule the 12th, as is the case with Lenny Bruce and Linda Tripp. Ava was a very talented actress who exuded an aura of erotic and sultry seductiveness that suggested something a bit wicked. She gained as much, if not more, fame, however, for her personal life and romances. That was because in her day she broke quite a few taboos.
Helena P. Blavatsky is the last of our Leo ladies with a Pluto singleton. One has only to look at photos of Mme. B. to see Pluto staring back from those intense light eyes. The power of her arcane knowledge comes through every page of her great works, Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine. With Pluto twice a singleton in her 10th house of career, coming from her 5th house of creativity and disposed of by Mars conjunct Saturn and Mercury in Virgo in the 3rd house, she left a powerful, catalytic imprint on the culture. The New Agers of today owe their whole philosophical system and wild and crazy beliefs to her efforts. Mme. B. was truly a pioneer (Aries), in the field of the occult (Pluto).
Marie Curie was both extraordinarily brilliant (Uranus singleton), and a member of the intellectual elite (Jupiter singleton). Pluto, however, is the most powerful of the singletons, for it is angular in her 4th house and opposes her Sun in the 10th, which it disposes. Pluto also sextiles her Pisces Moon and Cancer Uranus. She was powerful in the field of science. She was awarded two Nobel prizes, one in physics and the other in chemistry.
Lastly, we will look again at Linda Tripp. Pluto can be power tripping or, in Linda’s case, tripping up on power. Remember that she was our poster girl for outer planet singletons because all three are singletons in her chart. Like Lenny Bruce, Pluto rules her 12th house of self-undoing, hidden enemies repressed, and denied psychological garbage and unconscious issues. The other two singletons, Uranus and Neptune, rule her 3rd house of communication. Mercury is in her 12th house and rules the 7th and the 9th.
This woman may be quite brilliant, that is, have a high I.Q., but with that Hitlerian Moon/Jupiter conjunction in Capricorn giving her inflated egotism, she would be well advised never to open her mouth. Because when she does, she cannot control what comes out. Nor the result of what comes out.
When one has all three outer planets as singletons, the gods rule the person. An individual can never rule the gods. To aspire to do so is hubris, a sin intolerable to the Cosmos, and it is punished severely. Pluto in Leo intensely desired to be a star. She did achieve that with her conniving and manipulating, but Leo wants to be loved and admired. What she has from the collective is anything but love! With enough psychological and spiritual guidance and introspection, Linda could accomplish a great deal of good. She would be a natural for research, teaching or even the religious life.
Example Charts Used in the Article
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.