Our old friend Pluto has turned direct this week (on Friday, September 13, 2011, to be exact) and he’s bringing to a close this year’s underworld journey. What follows is a repost from last year, with dates updated for 2011.
Yup, Pluto is showing up, right on schedule, to take out the garbage. Today Pluto turns direct, ending his yearly backwards journey. Pluto has traveled several degrees backwards and today turns his face forwards again. He will now retrace forwards the same steps he made backwards during the last few months, bringing a death-and-rebirth experience for everyone who is having a Pluto transit this year.
This Is A Pivotal Day
If you are one of the millions of people having a Pluto transit this year, today may be pivotal for you. Around April 9, you came to realize you were facing a big life-change and since then, you’ve been re-evaluating some the area of your life that’s changing. You’ve been examining it and mulling it over. Perhaps you’ve been researching it. Basically, you’ve been asking yourself, “What is this part of me that wants to transform right now? How have I lived this part of me in the past and what is it turning into for the future?”
This week you’ll experience a pivotal day. It may be that you realize your internal quest for understanding is over. You’ve come to clarity. You’ve recognized the change that needs to occur and you’re ready to implement what you’ve learned. You can now gear up to act on that recognition, sometime in the next few months (between now and January of 2012).
“What is a Pluto transit like . . .”
A Pluto transit is distinct, because it feels like dying. You may feel at times as if you are in meltdown and you don’t know what you are doing in the area of life (i.e. planet in your chart) that’s being affected. Pluto is asking you to let go in this area, to let something die so that it can be reborn. Pluto is asking you to search underneath the surface for the essence of this part of you. And Pluto is demanding that you let go of the old ways, so the new ways can emerge, regardless of how uncomfortable (sometimes very uncomfortable!) that might be.
“. . . and how do I know when I’m having one?”
First of all, you know by feel. If what I’ve described resonates for you, it’s likely you are having a Pluto transit. (If it resonates, but only a little, you may be having a transit, but by a planet other than Pluto.) Transits are almost always accompanied by real-world events, which are woven into your experience of the change. Transits feel distinct when they are happening, and the sensation distinctly fades as they end. When a transit is over, your preoccupation with its themes quickly fades as your attention becomes grabbed by a different transit. Occasionally a person will have no major transits at all for a time period (weeks, say, or months), but that’s pretty rare.
If you don’t have your chart, or don’t know how to read your chart, you might want to order your own personal Astrology Chart Decoder. This is a special tool I’ve invented that puts your chart’s details in English, instead of astrology symbols. Your Decoder tells you where every planet in your chart is located: the sign it’s in, the house it’s in and the exact degree it occupies. When you’ve got your Decoder in front of you, check to see if you have anything at all in 4, 5, 6 or 7 degrees of Capricorn, Cancer, Aries or Libra. If you do, you are definitely having a Pluto transit this year. This would account for the feelings of meltdown.
“What do I do now?”
You can ponder on it and get into alignment with the change that’s happening. This way you can take advantage of it while it’s happening, and not feel like a victim of it. Transits are not fatalistic events that happen to us—they are our greater Selves reaching out into life and drawing toward us the events and experiences that will help (or force) us to grow beyond our old selves. These changes are always the next thing you wanted to experience at the time and the more you regard them with appreciation, awe and a willingness to take them on, the better your experience will be. Even at the 11th hour, you can turn around even the harshest transit into something that leaves you in a better place.
For more insight on a transit, you can schedule a reading of it, which will help you get very clear about what this change is that’s happening in your life, how to handle it and make it turn out well, how long it will last, how various phases of it will feel and (not least!) when it will be over. You might have several changes going on at once and if you do, this could help distinguish one from another. The best thing you can get out of a reading is how to align with the deeper meaning behind the surface of your changes and accept the gift Pluto is bringing you.
Pluto’s gift changes according to the planet it is transiting of course, but one theme always remains the same. Pluto offers the knowledge of essence—the heart, the center of this piece of you, its essential nature. Pluto does this by stripping away all that is not essential and shows you that you will be ok without all that stuff. Pluto says, “you don’t need that garbage!” and takes it away before you are ready because, left to our own devices, we’re never ready. That’s ok—Pluto will always show up eventually, to take out the garbage.
The Four Astrologies
Recently, someone asked me the precession question. It is one of about four questions I hear over and over again from people who are curious about astrology despite having been taught to be skeptical of it. I have already answered it here and so I don’t need to answer it again, but it leads to another interesting question: if the seasons and the constellations no longer line up, and if Western astrologers use the seasons, why do Vedic astrologers use the constellations, and how come both systems work? Don’t they contradict each other?
All over the Earth, people have observed the sky and discovered correlations between those observations and their own human lives. The body of knowledge that grew out of that study is astrology. Four distinct astrological traditions emerged in different regions, mostly isolated from each other—Western, Vedic, Chinese and Mayan. It should be no surprise therefore, that different peoples observed and measured differing phenomena.
The Mesoamerican peoples (Incans, Toltecs, Maya, etc.) derived a lot of meaning from the cycle of Venus. They conceived of Venus as a warlike, male deity called Quetzalcoatl, who went through a death-and-rebirth cycle paralleling Venus’ shifts from morning star to evening star and back. By contrast, Mesopotamian peoples (whose traditions spread to Egypt, Greece, Rome and finally up into Europe and then the United States) conceived of Venus as a beautiful woman, a seductress and lover. Modern Western astrologers that come from that tradition interpret Venus in a natal chart as an indicator of relationship and don’t much use the morning/evening star perspective. These two perspectives are about as different as it’s possible to be, and yet both perspectives have worked in the context of their traditions.
Similarly, Vedic (Hindu) astrologers use the constellations as the measure of sign placement for a planet (a planet traveling against the backdrop of the constellation Aries is said to be in Aries), while Western astrologers use the seasons as their measure (a planet traveling through the patch of sky where the Sun is in early spring is said to be in Aries). The measurements may be different, but as long as they are used consistently, and as long as their results are applied and interpreted within the same tradition that has used those measuring sticks for thousands of years, they are valid. What does not work is to mix apples with oranges, for example to use Vedic measuring sticks with Western interpretations, and vice versa.
Differing Traditions, Differing Measures
The problem of the equinoxes is not one of differing ways of measuring phenomena. Two ways of measuring can come up with different results and yet both be valid. Suppose you gave two scientists, a mathematician and a chemist, the same problem: define the pertinent characteristics of this chocolate bar. The mathematician might measure the length, width and height of the bar and calculate its volume by displacing water with it. The chemist might analyze the chemical content of the bar and report the temperature at which it melts. What the two scientists choose to notice, observe and measure about the chocolate bar will be different and will be given by their scientific traditions and what those traditions deem important. The scientists may even argue about which measures are the most significant.
It’s the same way with astrology. Different traditions have noticed, observed and measured different pieces of astronomical information and have come up with different ways of interpreting that information. But all around the globe, astrologers have made use of the skies to interpret human lives in ways that are meaningful and useful to the people they serve, despite these seemingly fundamental differences. Traditions do not continue for thousands of years unless they help people survive.
The Real Point—Why Astrologers Do It All (And Please Pass The Chocolate)
But all this is merely data. Add to it the truly exciting thing that astrology does: use of this data in human lives. Astrology is one part science and one part art and it is the artistic/interpretive aspect of astrology that distinguishes it from astronomy. Astronomers might have you think this is astrology’s downfall, but I believe it is astrology’s greatest glory, because the best use of astronomical data is to apply it to astrological interpretation in ways that benefit and improve human quality of life.
Vedic and Western astrologers don’t spend much time arguing about the precession of the equinoxes and the way it has led to differences in types of data gathered. Astrologers would rather move on to using the data to improve human life because for them, the proof is in the pudding. If a tradition works for your clientele, you use it, that’s all.
Similarly, how long is one going to stand around measuring and chemically analyzing a chocolate bar? That soon becomes boring, for the real point of a chocolate bar is, does it serve its intended purpose? Wouldn’t you rather stop listening to someone who is overanalyzing the bar and instead eat, savor and enjoy its melty, chocolatey goodness?
I thought so.