Jul, 2012

Pluto in houses 1-4

(This is the first of part a 3-part article spread across several sister blogs.  You can find part 2 here and part 3 here)

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Painting of Pluto/Hades by Renaissance artist Agostino Carracci

Pluto carries the name of the Roman ruler of the underworld, known as Hades in Greek mythology.  The most famous of the myths about Pluto has him kidnapping Persephone and carrying her underground to be his consort. Pluto’s house position in our natal charts reveals where in our lives we are most likely to experience compulsion, obsession and the shadow side of human behavior.  However, the positive side of Pluto relates to the ability to regeneration and transformation, to survive harrowing events and even become empowered by them, like a phoenix arising from the flames.

Check your own chart to see where Pluto is located:

1st house

This is the house of our physical self, as well as the mask we wear in our interactions with others.  People with Pluto in the first house tend to a laser-like focus which can be almost frightening.  They approach their life goals as if they were guided missiles seeking a target.  They may undergo some physically transformative experience during their lifetimes and are also capable of a deeper level of personal transformation based on their own inner resolve.

2nd house

People with Pluto placed in the house of possessions and beliefs have a need to control their own resources.  At worst, this can make them seem a bit like Gollum fawning over the ring in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  More positively, these people can overcome great obstacles through their tenacity and hard work, achieving wealth in spite of very difficult circumstances.   Some 2nd house Pluto people may eventually transform their sense of values to understand money as a tool for improving the world around them and/or share their financial acumen in order to help others achieve wealth.

3rd house

Natal Pluto situated in the house of communication tend to look beneath the surface of everyday chatter.  They often possess strong persuasive abilities and project an aura of authority.  Their sense of humor often tends to be very dark and sardonic.  They may have a tendency toward depression have a tendency to look on the dark side, seeing optimism as a form of naivete.  They may utilize their third house Plutonic energy to become diligent detectives or researchers.  Some of them become great writers or healers.

4th house

Pluto here sometimes points to secrets or power struggles in the family which strongly shaped early home life for the person with this placement.  Emotional security is very important to them and they may react very angrily if someone betrays their trust.  They guard their privacy fiercely. Individuals who have Pluto in the 4th house are often drawn to the field of real estate.   Depending on Pluto’s aspects, there may be either a strong attachment to the parents or a sense of hostility toward them—either way there tend to be powerful feelings.

Choosing how to handle transits

Does knowing that Saturn, Pluto or Mars is about to form a conjunction with one of your natal planets make you nervous?  When you hear that Mercury is about to go retrograde do you feel apprehensive?

Many students of astrology, as they acquire an understanding of the meaning of planetary transits to their natal chart, also acquire a sense of fear and foreboding about some of these.  I think of this as the astrological enactment of the poet’s observation about a little learning being a dangerous thing.  A wiser course is to understand we can choose what actions we take to enact transits and what attitudes we take towards the external events they bring.

Planetary meanings and opportunities

The planets offer us a language of symbolism, but like most symbols their meanings are complex. Unfortunately, we often tend think of them in very shorthand terms:  Venus=good, Saturn=bad.  It is not always this simple.  A Venus transit to your natal planets (depending on the aspects involved and the level of maturity you apply to your choices) can sometimes bring overindulgence in food, alcohol or drugs or poor choices in friends or romantic partners—either of which can, in turn, bring negative consequences of many sorts.

A Saturn transit can mean limitations, obstacles and problems with authority figures; however this planet also represents maturity, order and structure.  If we choose to enact Saturn’s positive qualities, we can minimize or even avoid its negative possibilities.  For example, I have known many people who struggled for years to lose weight, and then found they actually enjoyed the discipline of regular exercise and a healthier diet when Saturn entered their first house.

Pluto’s many meanings include power plays, manipulation, and crime but also the potential for re-birth and transformation.  A Pluto transit may well be the occasion on which the ugly duckling reveals itself as a swan.  You may find that when Pluto transits your third house that previously difficult relationships with siblings shapeshift into some form of mutual support and sympathy.

Mercury retrograde is another astrology bugaboo for some people.  It is true that when this planet appears from the perspective of Earth, to move backward in the sky, there can be delays and glitches related to travel and communication.  However, we can choose to think of these retrogrades as periods in which we are challenged to revise, re-think and re-arrange.  We can look upon a Mercury retrograde time as an opportunity to utilize the skills we have developed of ingenuity, creativity and flexibility, as well as patience, humor and the ability to re-align our ideas about others and ourselves.

The ongoing Uranus-Pluto square is a good example of a transit which has positive as well as difficult potential.  Historically, this aspect can bring upheavals.  But each of us can choose how to respond to the influences of this aspect in our personal lives.  We can choose to rebel (Uranus) against denial and lies, to transform (Pluto) our lives through deeper honesty and awareness.  Later this month, Mercury goes retrograde in Leo, so in whatever house Leo rules in your chart, the Universe is giving you a pop quiz in the qualities necessary for a successful re-thinking of communications and movement.