Pluto: the underworld, healing, and true empowerment
Pluto is preparing to turn direct on Fri, 9/16/2011, after 5 months of being retrograde. When a planet slows down to stop and change directions, it is often felt more powerfully because if your chart is being aspected by a more or less stationary planet, you are getting a longer lasting and more intense hit, a slow burn, from it (Pluto is basically in the same spot, 4º53” Capricorn, from 9/12-9/21!). Even if you dont have any planets or points in your chart being stimulated by Pluto at the moment, the core features of the Pluto archetype may still be resonating in you right now because Pluto is stationing direct.
Pluto (known as Hades in Greek mythology, god of the underworld) is symbolic of the dark unconscious places within the psyche. This includes all the painful emotions (grief, rage, shame, etc) that we have ever experienced and then repressed in order to go about our daily lives without falling apart. But those shadows do not go away — they simply lie dormant, buried deep within the heart, until something happens in life to trigger one of our old core wounds. And then boom, we explode. Or alternatively we implode, collapse, or dissolve. When this happens, usually we are surprised and caught off guard by our own or anothers reactivity. Read more...
All along Pluto has been waiting and watching. He senses when we may be strong enough to finally face those buried wounds within (possibly showing up as an intense Pluto transit to our natal chart). Perhaps after experiencing a troubling reoccurring pattern, or an addiction, or a painful breakup, etc — we decide we want to get to the root, we want to change, we want to heal. Often this means acknowledging that the current situation or conflict is triggering something deeper. If we are brave and willing to dig around, we usually find a hurt little child self — abandoned, abused, traumatized in some way, and then possibly dissociated or shut down. As children and as adults we find ways to cope and live through traumas. Weve all had them. Its part of life. But Pluto demands that we integrate those painful scenarios into consciousness so that we are no longer unconsciously controlled by them.
Pluto is about empowerment, but true power means being courageous enough to face the things we are afraid to look at or afraid to admit, own them, feel the feelings connected with them, and ultimately find the real truth of who we are. Often the things that cause us the most pain are based on false conclusions, which we came to in order to explain the trauma. Especially as children we take everything personally and we unconsciously interpret someones failure to be present or loving as our own fault, inadequacy, or lack of importance. This all happens at an unconscious level. Enter Pluto: Pluto shows us that by facing the pain, we also get to recover the truth, which is of our innate worth, lovability, and holiness — regardless of whatever we have lived through. Through our healing process we may also rediscover faith in life and in humanity, which we hadnt even realized was lost.
Recently I was reminded of a special tool that works amazingly well at helping to not only uncover the underlying issues that scar the heart, but also to help heal them — in the context of relationships. It is called an Imago Dialogue (or Couples Dialogue) and can be done within any important relationship in which you are experiencing conflict — feeling distant, unheard, angry, resentful, or hurt, etc.
“Imago theory shows that most conflicts that have a painful ‘charge are only 10% about the present situation and 90% about some past wound that is causing pain now. Imagine if you could truly heal old wounds.” (Tim Atkinson)
The Imago Dialogue is a form of communication that requires active listening, mirroring, validation, and empathy. It may feel tedious to go through the structure of this format (and if you are really angry there is the option of doing it over instant messaging so that you have some space and the emotions dont continue to get out of control with one another). However, If you go through with the process, I can almost guarantee it will have some beneficial results — creating insights, understanding, and even lasting healing.