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Pluto unannounced

I hadn’t planned on writing about Pluto this week. I was thinking more about Thursday’s solar eclipse with the Sun and Moon conjunct Pallas Athena and the fine ability to recognize patterns.

But, I spent time this week with several people who had a current and exact Pluto aspect, and I was moved in a different direction. In the Greek pantheon, Hades, who we associate with the planet Pluto, wore a helmet of invisibility. He appears unannounced.

We know that the square between Uranus and Pluto is precise again this month, on May 20, with the planets at 11°14’ Aries and Capricorn. Uranus is direct now and Pluto is retrograde.

One friend has transiting Pluto exactly on the natal Sun (in the 8th house). She has been in an ongoing process with a shamanic healer serving as guide to the underworld. Many memories have surfaced and she is in a passageway in life that is exhausting and rigorous. But at that moment, as I happened by, with Pluto to the minute of arc on the Sun, she was raw, completely untethered from the life she had always known. On the outside, everything in her life looks completely normal and could not be better. Pluto rules the invisible process of soul growth.

When transiting Pluto was opposite my natal Moon (2° Cancer), I worked with this therapist/healer/shaman for more than a year, so I am familiar with the process she is in the middle of. Part of this particular method of journey is to retrieve lost parts of ourselves that are disowned through trauma or the rough and tumble of life. (There are many therapeutic approaches to address the lost, disowned, or unintegrated parts of ourselves. Yogic traditions, for example, teach many methods to purify the toxins in the body and the poisons of the mind.)

The view into the landscape of Hades, as described by the Greeks, is evocative. Just as the brothers Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades drew lots to see who would have dominion over which parts of the earth, maybe it’s not everyone’s lot to have this kind of call. But when it happens, it is unmistakable. Events can occur in the visible world and have an obvious impact, but the alchemy occurs in the interior life.

Brian Clark describes the different regions of Hades in his beautiful essay Hades as Place: The Underworld in Myth and Antiquity. (1)

Tartarus is the darkest, deepest, bleakest sphere of Hades. “Tartarus is reminiscent of the place in all of us that feels futile, repetitive, stuck and unresolvable. This is the aspect of Hades that has been most repressed and denied. It is a place of despair, depression, compulsion and rage: aspects of the psyche that are denied the light, yet need to be honored and recognized.”

Erebus is a middle region of Hades, where the souls of the dead, the “shades,” roam.

The third region, Elysium, the Elysian Fields, is for the heroes or those chosen by the gods. Clark says: “…in contrast to Tartarus or Erebus, it represents the outcome of a more conscious relationship with Hades and death.”

Clark describes The Rivers in Hades, which “carry the flow of feeling through our psychic underworld.” There are five different rivers: the hateful, the woeful, the wailing, the burning, and Lethe, the river of forgetting. Souls cross Lethe when entering or leaving the underworld: “the experiences of the world before were lost to conscious memory.”

We cross the river of forgetting and leave well enough alone until the next time Pluto suddenly appears; its unannounced quality is especially strong now with Uranus pressing in, with all its brilliance and promise.

As I see it, we are taking turns traveling in the realms of Hades these days. Maybe we’re getting better at it and can help each other along. Astrology is such an amazing guide for walking thorough life. Thanks to all of you for being present for each other.

Have a good week everyone. May the eclipse bring just the right amount of agitation and insight.

(1) My quotes are from a printed version, Hades as Place: The Underworld in Myth and Antiquity, Astro*Synthesis, The Chiron Centre, 407 Johnston Street, Abbotsford Victoria 3067 Australia, 1998.
There is a free download of a 2001 version of the essay at:


  1. Hi Mary, thank you for this week’s blog. I’ve got T-Uranus opposing my Mercury, Sun, Neptune and T-Pluto serves as the focal planet in this T-square set up.

    I’ve been on quite a journey the last couple of years. The loss of my dear father in January 2012 and a host of other irrevocable changes have brought me to the brink of “soul” places I couldn’t have encountered any other way.

    There is a land of strange enchantments and nightmares that we visit and confront when processing profound loss and change. You articulated that truth well in this week’s column.

    Processing loss and re-finding my soul’s balance on the earth plane is ongoing. Strangely, the journey itself is the very light illuminating my path.

    Thank you again for sharing a Pluto Walkabout with us this week.

    Warmly, Claudia

  2. Thank you Mary. I love to be reminded about the deep psychological insights that Pluto brings instead of just the weapon and gun fanatics.

  3. I’ve had Pluto opposite Sun for the past year. Over that year, I have had three hip dislocations, two surgeries, several falls. I’m expecting this to last another year and then immediately after that, Pluto will conjunct my moon. It’s been a very hard time and thankfully I have a wonderful astrologer helping me through this.

  4. Yes, speaking of exact Pluto aspects. I was born under Mars in Virgo, just serperting from its exact conjunction with Pluto in Virgo, while both also almost exactly square the Gemini Nth Node & Sagittarian Sth Node. Oh, yes & with the next exact square of Uranus in Aries & Pluto in Capricorn occurring right on my next Solar Return birthday.. Pluto opposed my last degree Taurus Sun, on June 10, 1995. And, my son suddently died, at 4 months, soon after ending my marriage & throwing me off on a whole unexpected journey.. Yes, I was born May 21, 1965, last degree Aries Rising, with a 9th house disseminating Capricorn Moon.. Oh, & add to this event, Uranus in Capricorn, conojunct my natal Moon, exactly squaring my natal Aries Ascendant/Libra Descendant.. And, that natal Mars-Pluto conjunction also being under the mid 1960’s Uranus-Pluto conjunction, yes in my 5th house of ‘children & creativity’ etc, opposing my 11th house Saturn-Ceres-Chiron in Pisces.. My Soul it seems had decided it was time for a real change in direction indeed.. Opening up the whole world to me like I could never have imagined.. And, this next Uranus-Pluto square falls right on my next Solar Return birthday.. Yes, when Pluto calls, the Soul awakes…..

  5. And, all this eventually leading me to explore my 5th house Uranus-Pluto-Mars potential.. eventually exploring playing the guitar, doing photography etc.. leaving my hometown etc et al.. And, all this after doing some group process work, in mid 1998 to 2000, with Insight Seminars – The Awakening Heart series of experiential workshops.. ie.including a profoundly shocking & healing experience of my standing in the middle of the room at an Insight III workshop titled ‘Centering the Heart’ balling my eyes out over missing my son.. And while recieving a ‘group hug’ I suddently sensed a Spirit or something like that in the room above me, then I suddenly heard the words clearly in my mind, “There’s no need to cry, everythings’ perfect just the way it is”.. And, I was suddenly filled with a bolt of calming energy that flashed through my body from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.. And, I istantly stopped crying. Wow, where did that come from??? I also had another experience at Insight IV again in early 2000, with a woman who works with the archeangel Micheal she said, & I also had another strange experience of heat coming into my body during a healing meditation, with my head titling back & my mouth going wide upen.. Ok, I didn’t understand what the heck was going on, but I just allowed my body to move as it wanted to.. I also have Neptune(r) in Scorpio, in my 7th house, closely sextile & trine my Uranus-Pluto-Mars in Virgo, & my Saturn-Ceres-Chiron in the 11th house of ‘like-minded groups’ etc.. While I also have Mercury in Taurus rising, ruler of my natal 2nd house Jupiter-Venus-Gemini Nth Node, also closely trine my 5th house Uranus-Pluto-Mars.. And, meanwhile all this also lead me into the study of astrology, the tarot etc et al.. And, also evenetually to starting a blog in Sept 2007 titled Giving my natal 1st house Mercury, in mutual reception to my Jupiter-Venus in Gemini, something to play with…

  6. In Australia’s Federation chart the Sun is Cap 10. There’s a new culture being born invisibly down under. A under-world-view.

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