One of the more troublesome astrological events for anyone is when Pluto goes over the same place in the sky where their Moon was when they were born. Astrologers call that “transiting” Pluto (Pluto in the sky now) over the “natal” Moon (where it was when you were born). The snapshot of where the Planets were when we were born still lingers in the Heavens, and those spots are sensitive, like bruises. Pluto-Moon gets troublesome because Pluto’s very domineering, and the Moon is very emotional. So anyplace where we aren’t fully competent at dealing with our emotions, we get bigtime opportunities to practice.
I like to divide emotions into two categories. Venus triggers our values – the things that will always get us excited. And the Moon triggers the inconstant side of our emotions. When our emotions are triggered for no apparent reason, that’s the Moon. And more important, when we do have a reason for being emotional, but we don’t always feel the same way about this reason, then we’re looking at the Moon, and the reason is just mental noise that’s hiding something from us. We need an example.
Suppose someone insults our mother. Well, lotsa folks would always get very upset about that – to them respecting one’s Source is a value. But some folks might usually take such an insult much more lightly. They’d wonder why that person would want to insult their mom, or they might stop to think whether it was a fair criticism. But then, once in a while, they’d get really angry at such an insult. That’s the key to the Moon – once in a while, or sometimes. When the Moon’s involved in an emotion, think subterfuge. No, you didn’t get mad because they insulted yer mum.
You maybe got mad because that person reminds you of some part of yourself that you haven’t learned to fully love, or something like that – the insult reason is just an excuse for not examining your dislike for that person. No, I’m not saying that’s always the “real” reason – it’s the Moon after all, so always isn’t involved – I’m saying that something is hiding. I don’t know what, depends on the person and the circumstances. But if you get upset about something that doesn’t always upset you, then the reason you think you’re upset probably isn’t the real reason, and asking for the “real” reason could be illuminating.
Angie Arrien, in her fabulous book The Tarot Handbook, speaks of the Moon as Authenticity – “the ultimate work to be done each day is to choose whether we will support our authentic self or support our false persona or dutiful self.” This is what we mean. The Moon is a teacher, a window into our Authentic Self. She is Uranus, our Soul Chord, mirrored into manifest hardcopy “reality.” So when Pluto, who leaves NO stones unturned, crosses our Moonbone, we are in hot water! It’s all good, but man, does it come at us fast and furious, and do our emotions fly all over the map faster than we can keep up with them! I know, that happens for “other reasons” too – but those reasons are usually about some major life change that is asking us to surrender one set of identities and accept another set – same diff, eh?
In the early 80s I stumbled onto David Keirsey‘s book Please Understand Me and discovered that I was dual! I had one set of answers for popular consumption, and another whole different set for the truth, which no one could ever know! I was an INFP masquerading as an INTP! So, Pluto being in Scorpio at the time and the Recovery movement being in full swing, I set out to recover my feelings, which I worked at with some success for several years. That led me to discover that I also had to recover my intuition, because all that masquerading as a Thinking person had seriously weakened, relatively, my iNtuitive quadrant. So I worked very hard at doing that.
Now this is Recovery, mind you – Recovered is not defined. It will always be Recovering. While I was starting these Recoverings, I was living in a daylight-basement apartment, and often working late nights, writing the newsletters that were the pre-internet predecessors of this here blog. So it’d be 3am, and I’m sitting at ground level with the curtains drawn, and I’d feel this sudden surge of fear. Not paralyzing fear, but a vibration in the body that rises up from the feet, like when a dog snarls at you. Very primeval fear. This happened many times. Usually my mind would think prowler, and I’d mentally review the locks, stay alert for inappropriate sounds, and go back to work.
So one night was different. I don’t recall whether the vibration was unusually persistent, or if I was just in a more adventurous place, but I was called to throw open the door and confront this prowler face to face! Quite dramatic, actually. Well, there was no prowler. Instead, there She was, the Full Moon rising! And instead of fear, I’d feel Power rising in my body. This actually happened several times – I’d sorta forget in between times, and throw the door open again. There is immense Power in Authenticity, much much stronger than the Fear in our need to act out our Dutiful Self.
But where is the lever? Our Dutiful Self has all this inertia behind it, and our Authenticity lurks behind the couch, hidden. We seldom even notice the Choice. Angie says “It is through Choice that we can 1) create new realities, 2) sustain and maintain current realities, or 3) release and let go of realities that no longer serve us.” Of all times, here at the initiation of a new Chiron-Neptune cycle, Reality is wide open for us to use as our palette. We need to review that, don’t we. You’ve forgotten already.
Neptune symbolizes our relationship with everything that is larger than ourself, and specifically, our relationship with The Creator, with Source, with the Universe, with the Unknowable. Chiron was a Centaur wounded by another Centaur – he was the unhealable healer. But what is it that heals? It is empathy. To be present with our despair, to be loving and gentle with our unhealable self, is what will heal the unhealable. Our mental constructs are birdcages that keep Sylvester at bay, that keep us safe. But to change our Reality, we need to expand the cage.
We sit content in our Safety, looking out at the Unknown which does not threaten us because our cage protects us. Or looking out at an Unknown which does not protect us, because the Old Order has broken down. Either way, what we enjoy or seek is Safety. Now, breathe, and slowly turn yourself around. What you felt as Safety, see as imprisonment. You’ve been a prisoner in your Birdcage all your life. Yes, PuddyTat has not eaten you, but you got Wings, fer gosh sakes! Think about it – did Sylvester ever win? No! TweetiePie lost a few feathers now and again, but he always got away.
So let’s do Both/And. Yes, I’m Safe. I’m threatened, but for this moment, I’m Safe. I’m grateful for that! But I’m also in prison! When I turn around I see the Sky and the Sun and the Green Hills like I’ve never seen them before. I can just glimpse the joy and freedom of Authenticity, dancing out in that hilltop meadow. Has my Soul ever died? What is there to be so afraid of? I know, it’s inertia. You start with one step toward Safety, and pretty soon it’s a thousand steps. It’s just a habit. The door is open, and the Sun is out, it’s a beautiful Spring day, and the Unknown awaits out there.
The Moon is the fourth stage from the end. Authenticity is the 18th archetype in the Major Arcana. The next step is Collaboration (The Sun), then Timelessness and Curiosity (The Aeon), and finally Creation (The Universe), where we write our own script. Of course the end is also the beginning – we come back to Fearlessness (The Fool) – to the place where there is no longer any upside in acting our Dutiful Self.
You remember the story about the Moon being out of bounds, or stronger than usual, from 2001 till 2011, right? Making our “irrational” emotions more volatile, right? Starting at 9am New York time on September 11, right? So all this polarization and wars, all these Tea-Party brownshirts, all this locking and loading, all this clueless avarice and helpless despair and superminority, is just drama for the sake of drama. Just a long string of invitations to return to Authenticity.
Pluto drives this process. Pluto is the engine, the energy that repaints the status quo as just a touch boring, just enough that we’d like a diversion. Oops, no no, don’t change that. I’d do anything for Love, but I won’t do that. Pluto is The Fool hisself, Fearlessness. Discrete, but fearless. Pluto was outabounds from 1938 to 1953, in the early part of each of those years. This happens every 90 years or so. A generation of Transformers. Pluto opens the door to the prison. Scary, but liberating.
Pluto’s retrograde now, eh? Does that mean the door’s closed now? No, it means the door opens to the inside. It means that what’s being transformed is our internal processes. And it’s precisely our internal processes that create our Limiting Beliefs, the bars that form our cage. The Fear invites us to throw open the door.