And one by one the nights between our separated cities are joined to the night that unites us—Pablo Neruda.
Few of us go willingly into the kind of initiation that accompanies a Pluto transit. When Pluto stirs up all that has fermented, all that has been banished in the dark basement of our psyches, we emerge irrevocably changed.
When Pluto slowly moves across the horoscopes of nations, what has been collectively repressed, conveniently ignored, rises to the surface.
Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008 as the fissures in financial systems widened and the blight in governments exposed disturbing division and misuse of power. As Pluto razes down façades with relentless ruthlessness, it also regenerates, and in Capricorn this means governments, police, corporations, infrastructures.
As Leonard Cohen released his prophetic single, You Want It Darker in the September of 2016, Pluto and Jupiter were forming a square that intensified in January 2020 by conjunction. Neptune, purveyor of contagion, illusion, deception, and deceit, slipped in behind the green curtain, a making a slippery trine to Mercury in the US birth chart. The star-spangled banner fluttered in the winds of change.
Pluto’s opposition to Mercury in America’s birth chart (2017-24) reminds us that the foundations of The Land of the Free are dug deep into the black earth of genocide, slavery, and appalling exploitation of the natural world. Mercury presides over communication, intelligence, propaganda, paranoia, media, and travel. Old certainties are unmoored.
This month, America experiences its first Pluto Return (February 22nd) as Pluto circles back to 27° Capricorn, returning to the place it started from on July 4th, 1776 when the nation of America was born. Pluto moves slowly through the darkness of outer space, so we’re collectively steeped in Pluto’s darkness which permeates American culture well into the 2040s.
A Collective meeting with Fate.
Mercury, Venus, and Mars escort Pluto this month, accentuating the caution, contraction and discipline that has been attributed to the archetype of Capricorn, a sign ruled by frugal Saturn.
Banners of “freedom” flutter alongside boarded-up shops that offer cold comfort to the homeless as howling ghosts of debt haunt governments and the millions who have lost jobs and homes during the pandemic. As the rich continue to shore up colossal gains and coal factories continue to feed the illusionary bitcoin industry, grandiose Jupiter sails nonchalantly through the heavens, trailing promises of salvation.
Jupiter meets nebulous Neptune in early April, an obtuse union that inflates blind faith and optimism, engorges debt balloons that will explode as Jupiter moves into heated Aries in early May.
The triple conjunction of Venus, Mars and Pluto herald a sobering warning, perhaps a small crack in our collective denial, as Pluto returns to 27° Capricorn three times this year, (July and December.) This is a year that many believe is a make-or-painful-break year for Joe Biden as Pluto opposes his 8th house Jupiter. Pluto also is in a tense T-square to Vice-President Kamala Harris’ Libra Sun/Aries Moon opposition.
As an impending catastrophe in Ukraine dominates mainstream media, the Moon makes her monthly round, ripening to fullness on February 16th in the sign of Leo.
Weeks of negotiation show no signs of progress and now as embassies hasten to withdraw their staff, and nations urge citizens to leave as Venus (diplomacy) and Mars (war) descend into Pluto’s blackness. Psychologist, Terry Real reminds us, “under patriarchy, you can be connected, or you can be powerful, but you can’t be both at the same time because power is power over, not power with, it is dominance. So, if you move into power, you lose connection.”
On March 6th Venus and Mars move into Aquarius, activating the degree of the Saturn/Jupiter conjunction of December 21st 2020, a union that symbolised the dawning of a new era.
Venus and Mars make a tense square to President Putin’s Venus in Scorpio from March 17th-23rd, energising his four Libran planets.
In our highly individuated narcissistic culture, we may ask what values are being unearthed… equality, liberty, diversity, or McCarthyism, Jim Crow, an idealised Camelot? As Pluto’s gravitational force dredges up the grisly truths that lie buried under streets and skyscrapers, America journeys down into the Underworld to be scooped out, humbled, reimagined and reborn. What do the colours of the American flag symbolise now as the earth shudders beneath our feet?
Pluto will be in Aquarius from 2024 to 2044 as we begin to make reparations for historic injustices and re-image a world where exploitation of people, animals and nature will be relegated to his-story and we (hopefully) begin to address the collective grief and trauma that defines the experience of so many people whose lives are still curtailed by inequality and blatant injustice.
The first Industrial Revolution was under way as Pluto moved through Aquarius. Herschel “discovered” Uranus, that planet associated with breakthroughs and revolution as Pluto moved through Aquarius. Captain Cook and William Bligh searched for new consumables in southern lands as Pluto’s passage through Aquarius marked the beginning of the climate crisis and a soulless sense of alienation and loneliness that now threatens our survival as a species.
Carl Jung used the word, Shadow to describe the repressed, denied aspects of our lives, and that the Shadow doesn’t lie languidly, waiting to be redeemed, it regresses, becomes scaled, archaic, clawed. It rattles through our homes, our streets and our nations. It emerges as school shootings, rape, gang violence, and suicide filmed on social media platforms. It screeches as mountains are gouged out for metals and coal, as oceans are scraped empty of fish, and underground creatures are bulldozed to make way for yet another mall or motel. It emerges in the sanctioned bloodletting of war, the slaughter of nameless innocents.
As we all experience the potent alchemy that strips us of our excess as we travel the via negativa, the road through the depths that leads us to what mythologist Michael Meade calls dark wisdom, may we trust Pluto’s power to pull from our souls what is most authentic and loving. May we transform our suffering into wisdom and compassion. May the monuments that we erect to our power and importance, topple.
Rilke speaks to the soul muscle and faith we all need in our grief-phobic, death-denying culture.
“…but the darkness pulls in everything: shapes and fires, animals and myself, how easily it gathers them—powers and people. And it is possible a great energy is moving near me. I have faith in nights.”
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