Sun-Pluto Aspects and the Feminine Psyche
Often when Pluto, the symbol in astrology involved in intense transformation, power, and the psychological Underworld, is evoked in reference to the feminine, the myth of Persephone and Demeter is used to illuminate many of the psychological dynamics associated with the planet. In the myth, an innocent young maiden, Persephone, is forcibly abducted into the Underworld, by Hades, the lord of the dead.
The myth evokes the transition from naivety to worldly wisdom, from the loss of incorruptibility to sexual fertility. However, one of the central themes of the Persephone myth is the passivity or receptivity on the part of the female. Centrally, the myth is apt at revealing certain psychological truths concerning Pluto, but what of the case when the female is more aligned with the role of Hades and not Persephone?
In astrology, when there is a personal identification with the symbol of Pluto, there is often an alignment between the Sun’s position and Pluto. As the symbol most associated with identity and character, the Sun plays a crucial role in the development of our individuality in the world.
Thus, when the Sun is in aspect to Pluto in the birth chart, there is a certain way in which the identity must contend with many of the motifs, themes, and expressions associated with Pluto. Thus, unlike the Persephone myth which demonstrates more of a passive receiving of the associations of Pluto, a Pluto aspect to the Sun in the birth chart can often suggest a reversal of roles, where the identity is more aligned and resonant with the themes associated with the symbol.
There is often a certain imaginary, or a set of interrelated meanings and symbols, that is evoked when discussing Pluto: the dark side of nature, the force of instincts which can simultaneously create and destroy, a graphic and explicit force that recoils at pretense and social contrivance, an erotic potency, carnal seductiveness, a highly alluring occult power, and forbidden or taboo subjects and themes.
Pluto is inexplicably bound to life and death, to cycles of darkness and rebirth. Thus, the symbol is often complexly penetrated by eros, or life giving force, and thanatos, life destroying force. When individuals strongly resonate with the power of the symbol of Pluto, there is often an extreme theme of being empowered by a certain virile life force but also stripped bear or debilitated by the same force as well. As an extreme energy, the symbol often evokes extreme responses.
When a woman has a Pluto-Sun aspect in the birth chart, there is often an identification with the themes and motifs of Pluto. That is, unlike in the Persephone myth, where the young woman is forcibly transformed, a female with a Sun-Pluto aspect is more likely to embody, express, and exert the central, core manifestations of the symbol out into the world-at-large.
Often women with Pluto-Sun aspects act as agents of social transformation, carrying a certain need to reform and renovate social customs and mores. Particularly in times in which social institutions and rites are too removed from authentic power or have grown stale, individuals with Pluto-Sun aspects carry a need to rejuvenate cultures. Thus, there can be a certain evocation of danger or threat that is exuded from an individual with a Pluto-Sun aspect.
However, even though there can be a constructive side of being a giver of life with such an aspect in the birth chart, there can also be a highly destructive side, to self and others, with such aspects as well. Often with such an intense and passionate need to feel life force, there can be a significant undoing and self-destructive characteristic with the symbol as well.
The examples below are women with Sun-Pluto aspects in their natal charts. Their legacies and personas evoke a certain unmistakable quality that is resonant with Sun-Pluto themes.
Grace Slick, October 30th, 1939, 7:37 AM, Pluto square Sun
After trying many conventional personas in the early 1960s, from model to housewife, Grace Slick stumbled upon Jefferson Airplane in the summer of 1965 and ultimately became the band’s lead singer. In a remarkably short period of time and due to the tremendous popularity of Jefferson Airplane’s “Surrealistic Pillow”, Slick found herself in the position of defining the psychedelic sound of American Rock music.
Although originally somewhat trepidatious about her new role, she quickly allowed her natural extraversion to shine forth in her position as the leading woman of Rock. Slick’s confrontational lyrics and audacious stage antics channeled her generation’s discontent with the bourgeois values they had inherited as children.
By the end of the 1960s, Slick had become a tremendous cultural force. Invited to attend her college reunion at the White House in 1970, Slick had the intention of putting LSD into President Richard Nixon’s tea. However, such a fate was denied, as Slick was barred from entering the White House as the security staff recognized her as the agitator from Jefferson Airplane and loyalist to the countercultural revolution. As the rising tide of social fomentation waned and as the culture of the 1960s ended,
Slick still retained her powerful and commanding persona within the world of music. However, by the 1980s, Slick and her mystique would look quite out of place in the smoothly produced, highly commercial golden age of Rock videos. Although still retaining the commanding presence she held in the 1960s, Slick now pours her passion and time into painting and animal rights activism.
Anita Pallenberg, January 25th, 1944, time unknown, Pluto opposite Sun
Model, actress, and fashion designer, Anita Pallenberg is probably best known in her role as consort and muse to the Rolling Stones throughout the latter part of the 1960s. If the Stones were the quintessential bad boy group of Rock, then Pallenberg was the complimentary bad girl. However, far from being just a behind-the-scenes groupie, Pallenberg’s influence on the Stones is cloaked in mystery and the extent of her persuasion upon the group is a matter of opinion.
At the time of Pallenberg’s entrance into the group, the Stones’ image and sound were going through a metamorphosis. By the end of the decade, the band would integrate and evoke a gritty, subterranean, and heavy sound that would epitomize and initiate Hard Rock. Pallenberg’s aesthetic tastes did seem to have a contribution to this new sound of the Rolling Stones, and her noted interest in occult arts and black magic played its role on the overall mystique of the band.
However, rather than assume that Pallenberg was some covert prime mover who initiated the Stones into a darker, demonic dimension, she is more appropriately seen as an important reflection of a larger dynamic at play. Pallenberg would close the 1960s with her role as the evil “dark queen” who played opposite to Jane Fonda in the excessively campy Barbarella. With her black leather, hookahs, and magical sorcery, the “dark queen” role was a character that Pallenberg was all too ready to embrace.
Mary Daly, October 16th, 1928 time unknown, Pluto square Sun
A controversial but highly respected scholar of religion, Mary Daly has been at the forefront of feminist theory for nearly forty years. After receiving three doctorates in religion and philosophy, Daly published The Church and the Second Sex in 1968, a profound polemic on the nature of patriarchy and its dynamics with the feminine.
In the work, Daly argues that women have received a secondary and submissive role in religion and Church hierarchy through a subtle pseudo-glorification and idealization of the feminine. True power, believes Daly, was kept only in the hands of Church male elite, as a sublimated, sanitized version of femininity reinforced an obedient and passive role for women. The ideas and controversy surrounding The Church and the Second Sex would initiate the beginning of a strained and tense relationship between Daly and academia.
Like many scholars with major Pluto aspects, Daly is particularly attune to power dynamics and how they are often covertly veiled and unseen. As one female interviewer described Daly, “(she is)a labrys-wielding force of nature who will not rest until the world as we know it is turned upside down.”(What is Enlightenment magazine).
Last updated on July 13, 2017 at 2:46 pm. Word Count: 1352