planet, pluto

Pluto: Gears of Transformation

I feel Pluto in the air each and every day these days. I feel a deep heaviness which falls deeper into my body than the Saturn heaviness. I know that Saturn (rightfully!) is getting a lot of focus in the current climate, but let us not forget that Pluto has also been traversing Capricorn since November 26, 2008 (synchronistically, a time of economic recession in the United States) and will be there until January 21, 2024. Let us also not forget that is was the highly visible Saturn and Pluto conjunction in mid-January that kicked off many of the events in this subsequent cycle. Also for reference, the last time Pluto was in Capricorn was in 1762-1778 (also a time of great upheaval!). Pluto has a long transit cycle, and I think that is part of the point of its power. Pluto has been almost synonymous with “transformation” among astrologers, and true transformation doesn’t happen quickly. Transformation may be catalyzed in an instant or in a single event, but the resulting change that leads to lasting transformation grinds away slowly over the following months. That is the type of transformation I feel happening within myself, and also within in the world. I will call out that I am going through a Pluto square with my natal Pluto, which is probably making Pluto’s energy appear all the stronger to me. But still, when I observed how quickly Mars skipped through Capricorn (Feb 17th – Mar 31st – about six weeks) and then compared that with Pluto’s long, agonizingly slow trek through the same sign (about sixteen years!), Pluto’s transit feels almost unbelievably long.

Most people’s worlds have been turned upside down quickly (about the time Mars passed through Capricorn, lighting a match and activating Pluto and Saturn in quick succession and likely catalyzing many of the February and March events), and yet the actual transformation that will result in people’s lives as a result of this crisis has only begun to unfold. There is still so much to be experienced and suffered and learned before the last vibratory notes signal the end of this epochal time. People’s sense of security has been shaken to the core; people are finding that trust in their finances, their health, or their government may have been misplaced. There is a sense of betrayal that the entire world can have come to this state, and even people’s own day-to-day autonomy is no longer theirs to command, as the United States (and many other areas around the world) are insisting on social isolation, the closure of businesses, and only emerging from your house for critical reasons.

That sense of betrayal in safety and security is where much of the real Plutonian transformation will occur over the following months and years. People will likely no longer feel as confident in the economy. Or in their job (or even in their industry). Or in the way they have been able to rely on friends and family (much harder when you can’t leave your house to see anyone!) Most of the people living through this time are still in a state of shock and are more focused on how to stay healthy, find canned beans and toilet paper, and get through the acute phase of this ordeal than they are in thinking about any longer term changes in their psyche.

However, the interesting thing about transformation is that it is typically what happens internally in our deep psyche while we’re focused on intense circumstances instead of on our psyche. In fact, we often aren’t aware of the full extent of the transformation until we come out the other side and reflect on the naivety of our previous self; that self that had a more limited set of experiences and fewer scars. In that way, transformation is very like the shadow that we often associate with Pluto; hidden from view, obscure, and representing an absence of light or attention. Even in the light of the current astrological flurry relating to covid-19, the primary focus is on Saturn, while the large, slow gears of Pluto’s quiet, merciless transformation continue to turn.

What does this mean for us in the throes of the acuteness of coronavirus?

Maybe there is no work we can consciously do. Maybe there is nothing but a shadow, and it is hard to work with something so ephemeral that it is defined merely as the absence of light. Or maybe it means that it is time to take a deep breath and consciously start our inner Plutonian work. Start excavating those dark craters of our life that we have been neglecting but in which insecurity has arisen as a result of our world being shaken. Maybe proactively embracing Pluto in Capricorn’s iron will to deconstruct an entire structure and erect a new one will make this process less painful.

Capricorn reigns during the winter solstice, the darkest part of the year in the northern hemisphere, leaving plenty of darkness and shadows in which Pluto can do its work. And until the shadows clear and the sun emerges, it may be difficult to see what the shadows have wrought.