I made an interesting astrological discovery today of a personal sort.
See, I’m not a Plutonian person. I have an overcompensating, singleton Pluto, but I’m not Plutonian. Incidentally, Pluto is in my 7th house, intercepted, and my partners, as in people I’ve made commitments to, or were heavily emotionally involved with, are Plutonian types. This is news to me, because I thought that they were all Saturnian – and they are – but I didn’t even think about Plutonian. Is it my singleton, overcompensating Pluto drawing these types in?
So even people I wasn’t physically intimate with but just emotionally and psychologically intimate with, even people I’ve been friends with for 25 years, or was just friends for a little while until they died or moved to the other side of the globe, or it was just one of those things and we exhausted each other, are all Plutonian.
So here I was thinking I go into all my relationships with Saturn issues and expectations, but it’s probably a Pluto thing, and with Pluto intercepted, I’m drawing in and seeking out people who are Plutonian. But I’m not trying; the kind of people who get in are relatively few and far between just all happen to be Plutonian.
I didn’t even think I was interested in Plutonian things. Youtube has all of Antichrist Superstar, and listening to it now as an adult as opposed to a teenager, it doesn’t really strike me as poetic and profound, or innovative as it did when I was younger, but Persephone ran off with Hades when she was teenager. Was she kidnapped, or was this a good excuse for getting out from under the apron?
But sometimes, you just need to remember your dark side. Pluto well-placed and well-aspected and Scorpio prominent make for a Plutonian type. It’s not Mars, and it’s not Uranus, nor is it Saturn. It’s Pluto, and it’s different from all the other malefics.
So who is Plutonian?
Or, more specifically: what is Plutonian?
You know who isn’t Plutonian? Marilyn Manson.
You know who is Plutonian? Charles Manson.
You know who isn’t Plutonian? Anton LaVey.
You know who is Plutonian? Michael Aquino.
You know who always turns out to be Plutonian? Any one of the neutered, love-and-light folks you’d trust with your secrets, your life, your friends, and your wife – the mama’s boy, the altar boy, the Girl Scout, your Jane Friday – the person who strives to be the nice guy and the nice girl, the good brother, the good son, the good sister, the good daughter. It’s not the kid wearing all black who talks casually of the Goetia, or the woman who is over-the-top sexy in appearance but isn’t quietly slipping into the shadows with anyone.
You know what’s the same about all the folks who weren’t Plutonian? They’re Leonian, actually. Fabulous performers.
Because Pluto is about extremes and of surrender to something bigger than one’s self, the universe, the Divine, the orgasm, the alchemy, the magick:
Because there is surrender:
And then there’s surrender:
And I don’t think they’re all that different. Because those shadows? Those are the ones that Rainier Marie Rilke wrote of in his poem:
God speaks to each of us before we are,
Before he’s formed us — then, in cloudy speech,
But only then, he speaks these words to each
And silently walks with us from the dark:
Driven by your senses, dare
to the edge of longing. Grow
like a fire’s shadowcasting glare
behind assembled things, so you can spread
their shapes on me as clothes.
Don’t leave me bare.
Let it all happen to you: beauty and dread.
Simply go — no feeling is too much —
and only this way can we stay in touch.
Near here is the land
that they call Life.
You’ll know when you arrive
By how serious it is.
Give me your hand.
It is also utterly, utterly Plutonian.
Because Plutonian energy is also tremendous, divine love, even when we refuse to see it, and a tremendous longing for the pure love of the divine, because the means is god and the means is love, not the end — the end is to become god and become love by surrendering to the divine.
The Book of Hours: Pluto’s Longing and Lust for the Divine
I’m not much of a poetry buff in my adult years, but with Neptune transiting my first house, it’s become one of the few things I can read that holds my attention. I happened upon Rilke’s Book of Hours: love poems to God. I can’t read German well enough to appreciate the poems in their original language, but no one seems to agree on how good any of the translations into English are. I’m not fancy enough to care, and I’ve been out of university so long that my practical mind has taken over my academic one, so again, I don’t care. It looks close enough to me, and I’m moved nonetheless.
After all, English is just one language, and I don’t think it’s really the best way for humans to communicate with each other.
This book is actually is a collection of love poems to God. It’s not a series of pop music love songs, nor is a self-aggrandizing display of sanctimony, but a multi-faceted description, song, psalm, origin story, and lustful call to Rilke’s god, who is at once elusive and ubiquitous.
Rilke (and William Blake to some extent) make me wish I could believe in god. I could believe in Rilke’s god though, because this is the god who doesn’t illuminate the darkness or fill up the silence with noise or surround itself funhouse mirrors for us to gaze in and declare “there it is, there is God!” because the darkness and the silence are the ubiquitous caravan mansions of god, moving and shifting around us not because we can’t see them, but because that is the essence of the body of god: to be elusive and diffuse, to be Neptunian.
But the soul, the essence of god? That is Plutonian. Through this entire book, Rilke calls out to the god he adores because he sees god’s darkness: this is not simply a darkness of the soul, as in sinister, but the shadow self that gods and humans all have. And Rilke, like a lover, like a soulmate, peers into that darkness, sees that it is beautiful, and walks into it, reaches in, to be engulfed in it. There is attraction, limerence, intimacy, frustration, dashed expectations, resignation, and renewed love and joy — perhaps, in a way, no different from any love affair.
Through no coincidence, Rainer Marie Rilke was a pretty Plutonian individual:
For many of us, our first exposure to god is our mothers. Rilke was raised by a mother who was longing for a daughter who had previously died, and it appeared that she projected that onto him. Notice his Aquarius Moon in the grand square with it’s ruler, Uranus, Pluto, and Jupiter. Then, still a child, sensitive and artistic, he was pressured into military school, which may or may not have had something to do with his own father’s failed military career. This didn’t work out. Neither did trade school. Eventually he set off to create his own path.
9th house Pluto retrograde isn’t going to let him get off easy. The house where you find Pluto, you’ll find the life’s obsession, the area of life where you want it all or none of it, but also where you magnetically attract the people who may want to fulfill that need — for whatever purpose, whatever end — through love or lust, or a confusing mix of the two.
The 9th house is philosophy and to a certain extent, religion (organized religion, as an institution, is the 10th house, while the folk and traditional practices are the 4th house, the rituals the 6th house, and the spirit at the core is the 12th house). I think The Book of Hours is, to some extent, lustful of god.
But I also don’t think that lust is inherently wrong or bad. I don’t think that lust in an of itself is a sin or insult against the lusted-for, or that lust is damaging to the one that lusts. I don’t think that lust is without utility or meaning, even if lust is without reason, as in capital R “Reason.” I think worse things happen when we rationalize lust or conflate it with some other type of love or admiration, as if you can only have one feeling about a person at any given time. In Rilke’s chart, there’s a Pluto-Mars square in the Earth signs. That’s some serious lustful tendencies that could be destructive if allowed to fester. But instead, Rilke seems to have channeled this energy (at least in this facet of his life) into a divine lust, a longing for intimacy with god. And, from his interpretation, god has the same lust for us: to be seen, held, and pulled forth, to go into the darkness where no one sees and become one so that god can elevate us and show himself to us as he is. In all events, god is still there with us, enveloping us, standing behind us, seamlessly threading through all that happens, all that is made, and all that exists.
But there is something very inherently Christian about this, as unseeming as it sounds: the saints have all sought some sort of spiritual congress (Pluto) with god, who sent an alchemical (Pluto) version of himself, Jesus, to tell us to long for and surrender ourselves to god, and that is how we will be free, we will be perfect, we will be clean, and we will become more beautiful, more powerful, and more profound than we could be alone.
And if you have ever felt that way about someone else but wanted to have sex with them, you really understand what lust is. This is not the love of angels, because that is love that obeys with wisdom, and it is not the love of a parent or a friend. It’s transformative; its the love of a maker to it’s monster, and the monster to its maker.
The Phoenix is Plutonian
I don’t know how the ancients felt about scorpions. I have also heard that the other symbol for Scorpio is the eagle, and Scorpio is a sign of extremes, much like Pluto is a planet of extremes: Scorpio can crawl on its belly and strike at the foot unseen, poisoning and then scurrying away, or it can soar far, far above all of the world, untouched by worldly concerns, with laser-focus for even the slightest movement in the grass.
So Pluto, the planet of extremes, of power, of transformation, becomes the modern ruler of Scorpio, replacing the traditional ruler, Mar.
But I don’t think either of these are really good symbols for Scorpio in the first place, because the only way for it to make sense that Pluto is the natural ruler (having natural affinity) with Scorpio is to focus on Pluto’s transformative powers, to go from one stage to another and renew itself. The scorpion doesn’t do that. I have no idea what scorpions do other than sting things. I have an irrational fear of both the desert and of scorpions, because I have never lived anywhere without an abundant water source, and I have never been near a scorpion except at the zoo. I would like to go to the desert because I want to see the stars at night there, but I don’t want to deal with scorpions.
And what about the eagle? It makes sense in a way, because if you have ever seen an eagle descend from the sky on a tiny mouse and rip that shit apart, you may see the connection.
I think the best symbol for Scorpio is actually the Phoenix, and why not? Sagittarius has the centaur and Capricorn the goat-fish, so why not another mythical creature? It makes sense: in order to live again, the Phoenix must die and not only die, be demolished: it must immolate, or in some myths, die and then rot completely, before it can renew itself and live again. The very act of becoming ashes (burning) or becoming dirt (rotting) is a chemical process that creates an entirely new thing. It must commit to this completely, and death is a complete and total commitment. It must have faith in its own power to reinvent itself, and it must be willing to endure the pain of both the destruction AND of the healing in order to become new, pure, and whole again.
That’s what Pluto likes to do, and that’s really a more comprehensive archetype for Scorpio powers. In order to go through this much pain and suffering, there has to be love there, if only love of life or love of an uncertain future where hope still lives.
So, with that in mind, I think that Pluto is too often maligned or looked at lustfully like an occult power that one can wield, that it’s darkness that threatens the light, rather than complements or even makes the light possible.
Because what is light without darkness? The light of two stars overlapping is just the light of one; the stronger of the two, and who even sees them without the cover of dark night?
Light and dark are pure, and who fears purity but the unpure? Who fears the dark of death who does not fear the exposure of light? Plutonian power is inherently transformative – from light to dark and back again, two sides of the same coin, but always striving for one or the other, for some sort of purity.
And a true Plutonian tends to go back and forth, if only in their heads or under the cover of darkness — the saint, the sinner, the angel, the devil — until they learn to accept the entire tapestry of their soul for all its colors and see the purpose and joy in both the light and the dark, even if the rest of the world cannot. Or, you get the Plutonian who is all color on the surface and all one color beneath: your Dolores Umbridges as well as your Tortoros.
The Fall of Lucifer is Plutonian Love
Each angel has a name given to them by God, each name a description of an aspect or description of god. Lucifer, however, comes from Latin. He was named the light-bearer and associated with Venus, the planet of love. He was Seraphim, exalted among angels and the most beautiful, most wise, and most powerful. The Lucifer of Christianity is not the only morning star or light-bearer in all religions, and not the only personification of Venus to have a story of having fallen from the Heavens. It wouldn’t be for quite some time that Lucifer would be equated with the Fallen One, the Devil, the Adversary, the Satan. This character would not emerge until sometime after the establishment of Christianity. Lucifer the morning star, Venus, would be mostly visible in the night sky except for some nights, after which he was believed to have “fallen” from the sky.
Lucifer fell because he did not want to bow down and worship mankind, which he saw as filthy and unworthy. Was this is his pride, or was this just logical? If you think about it, people shit and stink and make bad decisions all the time and constantly, constantly, fall from grace. Lucifer saw the deep flaws, the deep darkness in humanity, and all the horrors we are capable of making. Why should an angel also have to do what mankind, these little monsters, tells it to do, especially if that conflicts with the will of God?
And the worst part, these little creatures of flesh couldn’t even really love god the way that Lucifer loved god. They couldn’t even come close. They didn’t even have the capacity to feel that much love, and yet, god seemed to, at least at the time, love them more, specifically because they were all of these horrible things. See, Lucifer could not have actually disliked god, at least not from the beginning, nor could he have been apathetic and simply annoyed with yet one more thing to do.
The thing is that Lucifer must have absolutely loved god with his entire being, and must have loved god very, very deeply in order to have become this upset and to have had that love turn to hate. After all, that is the story: Lucifer, the Satan, hates god, which is why he and the other fallen angels chose Hell over forgiveness. Lucifer and the others who also loved god very deeply rebelled against this choice that was made for them, and they lost, and they went away forever, never to return to god, never wanting to return to god.
It’s hard for some to have sympathy for the devil, but if you look at this, the Fall of Lucifer is a Plutonian story: the most beautiful, the most pure, the one who loves the most, feels betrayed, that his gifts will be wasted on those who will only hurt his most beloved one, the god who created him. He says no, I don’t want to serve the ones that will hurt you, despite what you want. It then becomes a matter of pride, and then a war with two sides, and a fall from grace into darkness.
Whomever created the Lucifer story was writing about Plutonian love as it truly can be at its core: to preserve love, it will destroy it. To honor love, it will debase itself and rip out its own heart. To protect love, it will kill everything that would harm love. To keep love pure, it will destroy all things impure, even its own self, even the object of that love. And when that love is exhausted, it goes to the extreme, to hatred and a dedication to destroy.
And isn’t that what the Satan does? Hate and attempt to destroy the god by hating and destroying his most precious creations? Is the Fall of Lucifer not them a revenge story of a spurned and humiliated lover?
What this story is warning against is Plutonian love, actually. That’s really the point, I think. When you think about it, so much of Christianity is focused on deterring this kind of love, reserving this kind of intense, permanent, and imploding love only for the god and not for the recipients. Yet, how can we create a god who can love like that without something to model it after? We don’t like the idea of people being “in love” with their god, nor do we like the idea of the god being “in love” with the people. To be in love with god is to expect it to treat you like no other, to treat you like a part of itself, to honor and respect you, to exalt you and make you shine at your most beautiful, and the god is omnipotent and doesn’t owe you that, and you can’t hold it to that standard, but it wants you to simply trust it completely anyway.
But what if it were okay to hold the god to this standard, and it were okay to want to be washed of your sin and stare into the light of the divine and be its lover and protector? And what if you want this so badly because you know too well what is in the dark abyss below?
Save You From Yourself? Embrace Yourself.
Right now in my country, there have been two mass shootings this week at two different cities by people who are the right combination of hateful and entitled. They have destroyed lives for a mere concept of how the world should be, as if any society could really accommodate a misanthropist anyway. Right now, there is a president who embodies the worst Plutonian aspects, a plutocrat who is all the wrong things a leader should be, supported by people who either don’t know the difference and/or don’t care.
In my country, there have been about 250 mass shootings this year. I live in Chicago. The first time I heard gunshot up close was when a Grubhub delivery guy got shot outside my apartment by a teenager who didn’t know that delivery guys don’t carry cash on them anymore. I knew what it was, and I was adamant on calling the police. My boyfriend, who is a Taurus Moon, insisted it must be, has to be something else, like a firework. But I have heard gunfire from a neighborhood not too far away where there is a lot of gang activity, and I knew what that sound was.
The driver was shot in the arm, and he survived, largely because he was expected and let into the building.
But in America, you also hear that it’s not the fact that we allow crazy people who think they’re entitled to kill to have guns. It’s not the fact that we live in a culture that justifies paranoia and xenophobia and insists that everyone has the right to own a gun because of the very slim, very slight chance that a militia would need to be raised against foreign or domestic aggression. You see people defiantly taking pictures of themselves and their families holding guns that are really only designed to kill other humans.
This is human darkness mistaken for the light of freedom. This is Plutonian; this is underworld thinking made mainstream.
But on the other hand, it is utterly Plutonian to insist on the way of peace as well.
Plutonian people make you want to see what’s on the other side. When they come off as all love-and-light, whether that’s phony, or whether that’s simply the only side of themselves they want the world to see, or when they come off as all darkness and lustful, there’s always a hint that there’s more just dying to get out. The good boy that’s obsessed with horror movies. The good girl who jokes about being a whore.
Because Plutonian people can be very, very loving, and very, very scary, and very, very, sexy, and very, very, saintly, and they need to learn how to be all of these things and still love themselves and know they can be loved. This a powerful love though, and one not to be trifled with.
Pluto in the Natal Chart
We generally consider where Pluto is by house and sign to be the seat of obsession, of lust, of power, of manipulation, and applied intuition for material or practical gain. It also where we will dig deep to find treasure. The trines are the easiest to deal with, and the aspects to the other outer planets, Neptune and Uranus, don’t count, because that’s generational. The conjunct is intense, but it tends to be less problematic than the square and definitely less than the opposition, which is the most serious of the Pluto aspects.
After all, an opposition by nature is either-or, and Pluto is the planet of extremes. Having Pluto opposite another planet is the most either-or, all-or-nothing energy in the chart a person can have, especially when it’s oppositions to a luminary or personal planet. These are people who may shock the world when they see what’s on the other side, people who may shock themselves when they let the mask slip, and who are secretly looking to either shed one side of themselves entirely, or to find a sanctuary to refine and purify themselves through indulging their dark side, coaxing it out so they can understand it, own it, conquer it, and let it set them free.
What does this have to do with love? A Plutonian person’s nature is going to play a huge role whenever it’s triggered in synastry. Because it’s the slowest-moving planet, all of their peers will have their Pluto making the same aspects to their natal planets, making it much more likely that Plutonian factors will emerge in any relationship.
But moreover, where Pluto is, and what aspects it makes, colors everything, and affects the way the person sees that aspect of themselves. A Pluto opposition to the Sun may make someone believe themselves capable of much harm, much evil, and to have a deep inner well of intensity to draw from. They may simply look very intense even if their rising sign isn’t so intense. What they will want and see out is someone who will either take the role of Pluto or take the role of the Sun (more likely Pluto in this case) and draw out that power and bring it to light, to embody that power, to draw out the ability to regenerate and to become what good things can be regenerated.
These are not light-hearted relationships, as they’re focused on healing, on the psyche of two people, of the power of emotions, of sex (if applicable), of trust, and surrender. When you’re showing the most vulnerable parts of yourself, you don’t necessarily want to make jokes about it either. Also, when you’re showing the most vulnerable parts of yourself to one person, you’re not so keen on confusing, or even mixing them in with, the people you rely on to make the world seem light and fun. But unlike those relationships that can come and go, Plutonian relationships don’t necessarily fade away or end gracefully. Is it obsession?
Because, if given the chance, Plutonian types will become obsessed, and I don’t have to elaborate on that. But if given the chance, Pluto will also love another person unconditionally, almost in the way that Rilke loves his god, almost in the way Lucifer once loved his god, and will exalt the lover to god-like status, of course, until that god utterly betrays them. Even the hard aspects in synastry show a Pluto that wants to see the angelic light in another, and wants that light to wash over them and fill up every shadow, and then carry them off into the endless darkness that neither one has to ever fear again.
So maybe I’m lucky in a sense to attract Plutonian types into my life, or maybe it’s just all I know. But if I have given them anything, I hope I have made them feel angelic at some point, and let them know that I don’t fear their darkness. I haven’t. Because they are angelic. They’re beautiful on the inside, many of them (most of them), even when they’re behaving as if the world is ending and they will be lost to oblivion.