Shining a Light on Pluto

Posted by Amanda Painter

Photo by Amanda Painter

Pluto in Capricorn wants us to address the deepest subject matter of where ‘systems’ — such as family, religion, government, the legal system, and so on — pack all of their values into us, leaving us to sort through the ‘baggage’, usually in our relationships. Amanda Painter considers this in light of Friday’s Sun-Pluto square.

By Amanda Painter

I recently ran across a Planet Waves article from a few years ago that described Pluto in Capricorn as wanting us to address the deepest subject matter of where ‘systems’ — such as family, religion, government, the legal system, and so on — pack all of their values into us, and then we end up with all that as ‘baggage’ that we have to sort through. Ten years into Pluto’s journey through Capricorn, I think it’s safe to say that was a pretty accurate description. Pretty much daily at this point we’re confronting events and experiences that center on these issues, and which ask us to take the conversations ever deeper.

Trail to Vernal Falls, Yosemite; photo by Amanda Painter.

Trail to Vernal Falls, Yosemite; photo by Amanda Painter.

At the top of the list, of course, are the ways the systems mentioned reinforce values around race, sex and the misuse of power in regard to each.

Those topics, in turn, are closely related to our attitudes toward the natural environment (and our place in it), economic mobility, the use of emerging technologies, approaches to and accessibility of health careā€¦ I could go on and on. But I suspect few would disagree that, at least in the U.S., race and sex (or sexual violence) are the two hottest of the hot-button issues in our polarized cultural dialogue.

Pluto in Capricorn is insisting that we dig into these areas as deeply as we can, and sort out what in there is entirely personal, and what is really collective. Yet I have to wonder: given the very large number of people who have direct personal experiences and even trauma involving one or both of those topics, is it truly possible to differentiate personal from collective?

I’m not 100% sure. Though I suspect that tomorrow’s square to Pluto by the Libra Sun could hold some hints. The sign Libra speaks of one-to-one relationships (among other things); with the Sun there, we get an emphasis on how we express ourselves in relation to others directly. As in, how we are in relation to one other specific person at a time.

That said, with Venus — ruler of Libra — in retrograde motion in Scorpio, there’s a stronger than usual sense of how we relate to ourselves, underscoring this idea of relating to others. Perhaps this indicates that the current Sun-Pluto square offers a slightly more introspective version of the typically action-urging square energy.

It’s clear that many people are afraid of this kind of introspection — introspection that must lead to making changes based on what is learned. Right now, I see a lot of people feeling empowered as never before to speak their stories (often stories of pain) in the face of powerful systems; many are working to shift the overarching narrative from one of silently going along to get along, to one of insisting that we all see with clear eyes what has been happening all along, and then work to change it — to change the value systems and institutional systems that perpetuate violation and iniquity. We see the fear of this process every time there is pushback by those in power against those who have been suffering for so long.

Yet I also wonder about a different sort of fear in this process. Is there a fear of detangling one’s personal experiences and values from emerging collective narratives because doing so appears to be a less powerful position? This question might make more sense if I get more specific.

We tend to sort through our baggage within our personal, one-to-one relationships. That’s where our ‘stuff’ comes up in a typically more accessible, visible form. As such, these relationships can offer opportunities for healing; even when there is friction or conflict with another person, it can create a space in which we see more clearly what we want, who we are, what we need, what we’ve been expecting and not receiving, the places where our perspective and what we’ve learned are different from that of another person.

So I guess what I’m getting at is: if you’ve felt empowered by the rage and grief of a current social/political movement, how do you reconcile that with your closest relationships (especially in friendships, partnerships and collaborations with those who in some way do not share a similar experiential history of wounding or oppression)? Is it possible to bring things to a solely personal level, and to detach some from the collective narrative? Does it require that the other person be able to see the established system for what it is, and to understand the ways they’ve been an extension of it? Are there other meeting points?

In a more mundane sense, you may wish to pay particular attention to your interactions with authority figures today and tomorrow (and into the weekend), particularly your own responses — both those outwardly expressed and how you respond inwardly. How are you using your energy in general? If you feel blocked at every turn, is there a pattern to how you’re trying to take action or what you’re trying to do? If so, letting go of that method or behavior could free up a lot of creative energy for more productive use.

It’s also worth noting that Friday’s sextile between Mercury in Scorpio and Saturn in Capricorn could help in noticing what needs to be fixed and then getting right to it. The more specific or precise you can be, the better. As the Moon enters Sagittarius Friday morning, you may feel a little freer to take whatever action is needed.

Because, at its core, this Sun-Pluto square is about doing something to resolve inner tension. Whether your moves are small or large, public and political or internal and relational, something’s gotta give. The Sun in Libra is a reminder that the more creative, the better. Pluto in Capricorn is doing its best to make sure we do enough unearthing that the next foundations are something we can truly build on.


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