When Pluto comes up in astrology, we know it’s about power. But what is power? Have you ever really thought about what you think power is?
The Pluto Retrograde encourages us all to go even deeper in our exploration of these essential questions.
(I’m teaching and counseling a new perspective on Pluto and what power is and isn’t, and that will be my focus here. While this article is about Pluto’s 2016 retrograde period, I need to make sure you’re familiar with the basics of how I see this intense little planet before you’ll really grok my ideas about its retrograde period.)
Pain, thieving, corruption, coercion, lies, backstabbing, rape, murder, genocide — we associate so many atrocities of human history with with Pluto. We’re so distracted by the awful things that people do to each other, we miss more creative reflection about the gifts Pluto can bring.
Pluto in your birth chart represents the empowerment journey your soul is having you live out. Soul in this model is a portion of divine consciousness, or Goddess/God, or whatever other term or image you prefer.
Its human incarnations (ahem, you and everyone you’ve ever met) give the soul the chance to move from fear (and its related energies and emotions) into love (and its related energies and emotions) while embodied.
As a brilliant spark of the divine, your soul is loving and feels entirely connected to the rest of the souls. It’s not wounded, can’t be harmed, and never hates you for having a second bowl of ice cream.
But from the human vantage point, you appear to be separated from the rest of the souls. Being born into third-dimensional Earth begins the fear of being alone; it requires a bit of an adjustment each time. There’s no wonder that a chunk of spiritual seekers long for the love and safety of the divine.
As a function of learning to be empowered, the Pluto journey for each individual naturally includes at times feeling confident, strong, and powerful, while at other times losing those feelings or perceiving the self to be powerless or overpowered.
Consider that for millennia, we’ve defined having (or not having) power based on externally-focused criteria.
And then consider that — from a consciousness-based perspective — power, confidence, and strength can be seen as absolute, unflinching, unashamed self-knowledge followed by absolute, unflinching, unashamed self-acceptance.
If you do your shadow work and bring compassion to all the feared, resented, and hated parts of yourself – all the ones that could do awful things to yourself and others – then you’re embodying the kind of all-encompassing, compassionate love that is your soul’s true nature.
In short, you carry the power of the divine while in this human body. You’re not afraid of what you might do (what your shadow selves might do) because you accept all parts of you and are willing to make positive choices based in self-respect and self-care.
Pluto’s transits seek to nudge you toward understanding more deeply what makes you feel powerless so you can change your perception about what power is and is not.
Done gracefully, you can shed the millennia-old misunderstandings about the nature of power (that it’s about money, status, the fear/respect of others, eliminating what/who you hate, etc.).
You can embrace your divine essence as a powerful, creative being.
And Now the Pluto Retrograde
All of that’s to set up how I view Pluto’s annual retrograde period.
Pluto’s retrograde unfolds over approximately five months each year. In 2016, it begins Apr. 18 and continues until Sept. 26.
During this time, you’re invited to see that your normal ways of thinking about — and gaining confidence and strength from – power might not work well or serve you.
Whatever you might do to avoid fears of powerlessness or the loss of strength and confidence may be thrown back at you, backfiring or threatening to blow up in your face. It can feel awful coming up against a brick wall again and again, especially one that seemingly has your name written all over it.
But all of this is actually about your relationship to power, what you think it means to have or not have it, who gets to have it and who doesn’t, and what you’d have to do to get or hold onto it.
In other words, for five months during the Pluto Retrograde each year, you’re treated to an insider’s view on your own projections about what power is.
Is it about money? Do you think others who have money have power? Do you believe money gives you the freedom to make your own decisions, free of the expectations, complaints, requirements, judgments, and constraints of others?
Or maybe you believe if could have that one thing, person, or trait that you really, really want, then you could feel good about yourself? Or maybe you just want the right to feel what you feel, to be as angry or resentful outwardly as you feel inwardly.
Whatever it is, it’s your very own sliver of the human collective’s processing of externally-focused images of what power is and isn’t that’s up for review during the Pluto retrograde periods.
If you fully, truly know yourself and own your hot-button issues about power, then your buttons don’t get pushed by others or by circumstance.
Pluto’s retrograde period is your chance to get deeper into why you think you don’t have power. Release attachment to the externals so you can deepen your self-awareness and self-acceptance.
Love Your Inner Monster
“Love your inner monster” is some of the best advice I can give you regarding anything about Pluto.
In fact, this year, the Pluto retrograde period begins a couple of days before Adolf Hitler’s birthday. So I’m using this article as an invitation to you to love your own “inner fascist dictator willing to do much harm to create what he thinks will be a better world.”
It’s time to move away from fearing what we do with (externally-focused notions of) power and move into choosing to know and accept ourselves on all levels.
Stop obsessing over evil and who does what to whom! Stop fearing because you’re not sure how you’d react when pressed or painted into a corner.
Start focusing on what you can do for yourself today, given that you know the ins and outs of what makes you feel powerless or overpowered.
The power of Pluto is the power of choice.
In fact, each day you have the option of how to interpret what happens to you and what you experience. Every day you have the option to manage your energy, emotions, nutrition, exercise, thoughts, and everything else about you in self-interested ways.
If you love that inner monster (it’s really a gaggle of them, to be fair), then you will be able to gracefully accept that you might have used confidence, strength or power in ungrounded, unhealthy ways in the past.
If you love that inner monster and file all you’ve chosen thus far under “part of the soul’s human learning journey about free will and how to deal with the consequences,” then you can make all of your choices in terms of self-awareness and self-acceptance.
Don’t choose something because you judge yourself or fear others’ judgment. Don’t make a choice because you’re afraid of choosing what you really want and would make you really happy.
Self-interested choice on a daily basis to improve your life is conscious work with Pluto. It is the route to shedding our fears of evil. It is the path to healing our deepest pain, fear, grief, rage, embarrassment, regret, shame, guilt and self-hatred.
Retrograding in Capricorn
Since early 2008, Pluto’s been in Capricorn, the sign of building, structuring, and maturing.
Pluto’s retrogrades in Capricorn ask you to be realistic about to whom or to what you've given your power and why. It's a call to get serious about owning your power now.
Some will see that you’ve given your power to the having or not having of certain externals such as money, youth, attractiveness, influence, etc. Or perhaps you’ve given your power to self-judgment, the fear of being bad or doing harm/evil, or regret, shame, guilt, and self-hatred inspired by your past choices.
Pluto’s retrograde in Capricorn asks you to evaluate who or what you believe to be in charge of your life. If it’s not empowering you, it's time for an upgrade. You’ll know when you've succeeded — a healthy relationship with Plutonian energy gives you a depth of drive, motivation and purpose. It gives a ton of energy to make what is most important to you happen.
Use this five-month retrograde of Pluto in Capricorn to be more honest with yourself about what you can do to take charge of your life in the right ways and for the right reasons.
Pluto in Capricorn is telling you that no one else is going to acknowledge, validate, and care for you in the ways that you need. Make sure you’re taking the opportunities to dig below the surface and own what you find so you can make better choices now and going forward.