In modern astrology the dwarf planet Pluto rules the sign of Scorpio. Pluto was named after the god of the underworld in Roman mythology. Prior to the discovery of Eris in 2005, Pluto was the farthest known planetary body in our solar system. It is composed primarily of rock and ice. Dark, remote and cold, Pluto represents the darkest aspects of ourselves, hidden from the light of our conscious awareness.
The name Pluto means “riches,” and refers to the gems, minerals, oil and radio-active substances found under the surface of the earth. Pluto rules what is buried and hidden in our depths, in our subconscious. This wealth of material is fertile ground for us to probe and mine. It contains our deepest fears and phobias, obsessions and passions that need to be brought up into the light of awareness and processed. Once we summon our courage and descend into our subconscious to uncover its hidden mysteries and secrets, we can face them, transform them and claim our power.
Pluto is sometimes referred to as the “destroyer.” Its energy is destructive as well as life-giving. The year of Pluto’s discovery marked the discovery of radiation, which lead to the development of the atomic bomb, and the potential to destroy life on the planet. This heralded a new development in human consciousness. We became aware of the destructive potential of a new source of powerful energy, and the ability for us to wield this power to create or destroy. Pluto brings us face to face with ultimate power: regenerative or degenerative.
Pluto’s power is potent, forceful, passionate, and sometimes explosive. It rules all intensely emotional transformative experiences, including sex and death. Pluto’s urge is to plumb and probe the depths, the dark and mysterious, in order to uncover what is hidden or in the shadows. Pluto’s force drives us to penetrate to the core of an experience. It deconstructs, surgically removes, amputates or eliminates that which is decaying, dying, or no longer useful. It strips away all that is false or not essential to reveal the true essence and nature of something.
Pluto represents our Shadow Self: our darkest aspects, hidden from the light of our conscious awareness. This is the part of us that has destructive tendencies and can become willful and manipulative, paranoid and withholding, jealous and vengeful. Our biggest secrets, those we have never shared with anyone, as well as anything that is taboo or forbidden falls in Pluto’s realm.
In the astrological chart, Pluto symbolizes how we have used and abused our personal power in our karmic past. This produces guilt and shame carried forward into this life, which becomes part of our Shadow Self. Facing our guilt and shame, we can transmute them through forgiveness and understanding, and reclaim our power and passion for life.
Sometimes we have painful experiences during the first decades of life. Plutonian themes of power and control, betrayal and abuse, play out as part of our karma. By the time we have our first Saturn return around age 29, we have paid our karmic debts, or created karmic balance through these experiences. However Pluto and its fixed sign of Scorpio are reluctant to let go of pain and suffering. They carry them forward in our life, even when we have completed our karma. We need to be conscious of Pluto’s love of suffering, acknowledge and honor our karmic balancing experiences, and then move on. Letting go of our karmic guilt and shame allows us to reclaim the power of our Pluto and use it in its highest, life-affirming expressions.
Pluto represents the principles of transformation and regeneration, of death and rebirth, and for this reason is also referred to as the “great renewer.” It is the force behind personal transformation and change as well as human evolution. Pluto asks, “What needs to die?” What old toxic parts of our ego-identified self need to be eliminated or released, so that we can be regenerated and evolve to a higher spiritual expression of our true essence? The placement of Pluto by sign and house in our horoscope gives us important clues.
We can summon our courage, descend into our subconscious, and wade through our turbulent, swampy underworld, probing the depths of our psyche. Coming face-to-face with our Shadow, we can discover its true nature, purge toxic elements, eliminate falsehoods, and reclaim our power. Emerging from our underworld with new self-knowledge and insight, we are transformed, revitalized and reborn. Like the legendary phoenix rising from its ashes, we are transmuted and renewed through Pluto.
“We all need to look into the dark side of our nature – that’s where the energy is, the passion. People are afraid of that because it holds pieces of us we’re busy denying.”
– La Gitana Eva