PLUTO: A Review of the Literature Part One
Have you been experiencing a thinning of the veils accompanied by much intensity recently? Is the mystery of death visiting you in any way, shape, or form? With this last Solar Eclipse of the year falling at 0 degrees of Scorpio it makes sense to review what Pluto and his turf of both sign and house is all about. Since Pluto’s discovery in 1930 astrologers have been studying its meaning and learning to identify this particular energy as it manifests both on a personal and collective level.
In my blogging world I get periodic requests from publishers to review books with the hope of furthering their sales. This is obviously free advertising for them. The nice thing about writing your own blog is that you are not beholden to anyone other than your readers and yourself. This liberates you to say it as you see it! So while I have agreed to read and review one new book on Pluto coming out on November 4th I have decided to review the literature that I have read thus far on Pluto so that you readers can pick and choose what might prove worthwhile in increasing your knowledge of this very distant icy and dense body from our star/Sun.
But before I give you my list and a few relevant comments on each, I’m going to blast you with descriptive words/phrases from THE RULERSHIP BOOK that I have extracted running just from A to G that Pluto is associated with: abduction, abyss, alias, alibis, ambushes, amnesia, ambulances, archeology, astral world/plane, Atlantis, autopsies, animals that are poisonous, annihilation, anonymity, anonymously conducted activities, anus, assassination, atomic energy/bombs/scientists, atrocities, bandits, bedlam, Beelzebub, Belial, betrayal, birds that eat carrion, bladder/urinal, body regeneration through burning up & casting out of dead material, bogs, bombs, bootlegging, brothels, brimstone, burning of debris, calamities, callousness, cadavers, carrion/animals who feed on, catacombs, casualties, catastrophes/great, cesspools, cemeteries, chasms, clitoris, coffins, contamination, contempt, convicts, corruption, crime, crimes, criminals, crime/organized, crime/gangs, colors/murky, coroners, corpses, cremation, crucifixions, death-rays, debacles, debasement, debauchery, death, the dead & matters connected with the dead, death/life after, debris/burning of it, decay, decomposition, decadence, decrepitude, defilement, degeneracy, degenerates, degeneration, degradation, defiance, demolition, demons, depravity, derailing, derelicts, destitution, destruction, destroyers, devastation, devils, devilry, detectives, detection, dice, divination, diviners, dictators, disablement, disasters, earthquakes/movements & shifts, elimination/organs of, embalmers/embalming, energy/atomic, cosmic sources of energy, electrocution, epidemics, erosion, espionage, evil, executions, executioners, enigmas, enzymes, epitaphs, eradication, erasing, erasers, evacuation, exclusive, excretion/organs of excretion, exploration of ocean depths & outer space, extremes/good & bad, fanatics, fatalities, felons, fiends, filth, flotsam, feces, fermentation, fertilizers, firebugs, floods, foulness, fumigation, funerals, garbage & collection of, gallows gangsters, generation: generative system……. Had enough? You get the picture I’m sure. No need to finish G through Z for now.
Let’s proceed to look at the literature written by brave authors willing to tackle this heavy-weight Pluto. The new book sent to me for review is entitled HARNESS ASTROLOGY’S BAD BOY, A Handbook for Conquering Pluto’s Tumultuous Transit by “Renown Astrologers and Authors” Hazel Dixon-Cooper & Bridgett Walther. My hat tips to these two seasoned astrologers for writing a book on Pluto for more popular reading. The book is a little over 200 pages long. It starts off with a very brief description of the mythological Pluto and why they wrote the book, “to help you understand how Pluto works in your life, and to use that understanding to enact positive change.”
Part One takes a fast look at Pluto through the generations with less than a page description of each 12 to 30-yr. period. These are pretty mainstream, sound bite descriptions.
Part Two fleshes out each solar sun sign with a paragraph given at the end to how Pluto now in Capricorn might be impacting you. This section seems to be a platform for the author’s wit and sarcasm directed at each one of us depending on our signs. They start with a quick ‘Snapshot of Your Sign’ and then launch into the most negative characteristics that they can think of such as “You’re supposed to have a dry and wickedly funny wit. However, your gags are just that—-gag worthy.”, or “You’re on a hunt for the perfect lover, and you don’t care how many relationships you destroy to find your fantasy.” Hmmm. Let’s try one more, “You’re the zodiac’s emotional garbage dump. If you didn’t have bad karma, you’d have no karma.” After sticking each sign with barbs and pins they give a positive spin as anti-dote albeit still rather condescendingly such as “…as noble as your penchant for fairness seems, your ulterior aim is to avoid conflict. Only anxiety-ridden Pisces will run faster from a battle.” Or, “You’re known for loving luxury and high living. But unlike some other signs that will drive themselves to bankruptcy court to have the latest gadgets and the biggest house on the block, you’ll work yourself to death to create your ideal lifestyle…”
I did give this section a second read relating to both my Sun sign and Ascendant sign and have come to the conclusion that these women are used to writing for main-stream media where it is trendy to be ‘edgy’ or ‘sometimes outright dark’ as they describe it. If you like this style of writing, you’ll probably like how they describe you in the least of flattering terms. My main criticism is how they preface everything with ‘you are this and you are that’ rather than stating that possibly your less conscious side, or shadow side may be like this or that.
Part Three takes up the bulk of the book with a discussion of transit Pluto moving through each of the houses. This is, for me, the best part of their book, yet it conflicts with Part Two where popular sun-sign orientation is used. Part Three only works if the reader knows their Rising Sign and the degrees of each house in their natal chart. If, for example, you are a Sagittarius Sun sign with Cancer Rising, like Steven Spielberg, do you heed Part One which says Pluto in Capricorn is moving through your Second House of Money and Values, or where it actually is moving, which in his case is now the 7th house of Partnership? (His 7th house cusp is 10 degrees of Capricorn) They have created a confusing situation for lay readers or beginning students of astrology, and an annoyance for those of us already disturbed by popular sun sign write ups that are geared more for mass entertainment than a serious raising of consciousness.
These are some of my concerns with this latest book, in spite of the fact that many of you readers may actually enjoy it. Is the book designed for a good laugh? Will it entertain you? Possibly. Will you gain a deeper knowledge of Pluto and how it really works? This book barely scratches the surface. Can you actually dare to think that you can ‘harness this bad boy’? The cover shows a ‘40s woman serving coffee to a chained Pluto. Take a look again at those key words gleaned from The Rulership Book. Is Pluto really just our Americanized ‘favorite bad boy’ that Hollywood has tended to glorify? I’m personally struck by the current account of the impending lava flow on the big island of Hawaii. Pluto rules volcanoes and such. Who is going to ‘chain and curb this flow’? This is Pluto at work in the natural course of things, and humans may just have to get out of the way. Yes, we can personify Pluto to a degree, but Pluto is a FORCE to be reckoned with.
To their credit they do write up a lot of concrete examples of real people in this section and give ample suggestions for how to use a Pluto transit to become more aware of our negative patterns that tend to run us unconsciously based on prior programs and conditioning. They also give through their straight talk some honestly good advice including some excellent tips at the end of this section on breaking the patterns, though I feel they could have fleshed this out more thoroughly. (I’ll be reviewing Donna Cunningham’s book covering this topic in Part Two.)
It appears the author’s have intended this to be a handbook as long as Pluto is in Capricorn, which happens to last up through 2024; good for the next 10 years.
Alive and Well with Pluto, Transits of Heart and Soul by Bil Tierney covers the transits of Pluto without addressing which sign Pluto is moving through. This book has an extensive bibliography citing books on Pluto, All Outer Planets, and Mythology showing that Mr. Tierney did his extensive research and homework prior to giving us his own version. If you read all 289 pages once through you’ll get a pretty good in-depth view of how Pluto works as a moving force.
Part One fleshes out the mythology while also bringing to our awareness the actual ‘gifts from the rich one.’ Such headings as ‘Alone and Loving It’, ‘Fearless Soul’, and ‘Facing Death’ are described. By chapter three he takes us on ‘a Plutonian tour of our natal planets’ Here’s one example from his section on Mars: “It wouldn’t be uncommon for astrologers to look at a transiting Pluto square or opposition to Mars and wonder how bumpy will be the ride that awaits the unsuspecting client. Of course, Jupiterian-type astrologers will immediately want to focus on (and stay focused on) the invigorating possibilities that libido-arousing Pluto can offer to a high-energy planet like Mars.” Chapter Four, within Part One, covers the fast view of Pluto moving through each of the houses.
Part Two goes deeper. He calls it ‘Our Revitalizing Pluto Transits’ and in Chapter Five describes the process of finding ‘Hidden Light Within Our Darkness’. After this introduction he goes into great detail and added depth looking at Pluto transits through each house as well as transit Pluto aspects to the planets ruling those houses.
This is an excellent reference tool for both lay people and professional astrologers. Yes, you can read it straight through, but it’s probably more valuable looking up the sections that apply to yourself or others and gaining added insights into how you can work with Pluto as it moves along.
The Book of Pluto by Steven Forrest has 12 chapters covering over 300 pages with an appendix of sample delineations, a great bibliography, and an added index which makes it easy to look up key words or terms. This is a comprehensive look at Pluto the planet, Pluto in the houses, through the signs, and then recognizing your major Plutonian passages including both transits and progressions. Yes, Mr. Forrest wanted to cover it all and he does so with his characteristic folksy story-telling style making it a nice fire-side read on a cold winter’s night sort of book.
But nice and easy philosophically it is not. This book delves deeply into Pluto themes like ‘Repression and The Wound’, ‘Karmic Wounds’, ‘The Dark’ and ‘Living with the Dark’. It delves into the concept of ‘The Shadow’ and how to determine its presence in your own life. I like how in his Chapter on ‘Pluto Through the Signs’ he walks us through The Passion…..The Style….The Blind Spot…The Shadow….and finally, The Saving Grace. He never attacks or throws barbs in all of this. Rather than using the word YOU a lot, he uses the word WE or US. You get the feeling that he is with you in this and has empathy. That’s a great comfort when dealing with Pluto! Even when he does get to Pluto in Capricorn (and he wrote this before it took place) he writes of the Shadow: “In stark language, Pluto-in-Capricorn is ominous of the tyrant or the dictator. At its worst, it is that most corrupt of human spirits: the holder of slaves.”
But he goes on to say, “The Great Work of Pluto-in-Capricorn is, I suspect, the establishment of a sustainable, practical relationship between ten billion humans and their finite ecosystem.”
And The Saving Grace section states, “The controlling Shadow of Capricorn possesses no autonomous reality; it is only a contorted, deformed expression of an ultimately necessary principle. Discipline, realism, and seriousness of purpose can bloom under Pluto in Capricorn, allowing visionary spiritual principles to manifest physically and durably in this material world.” This gives you some of the flavor of this book.
The first five chapters are excellent to simply read straight through. Chapters six through eleven can be used in cook-book fashion to look things up for yourself or others. The final chapter twelve is true Steven Forrest at his best with “Living with the Dark’ where he uses the metaphor of a stained glass window to show us the Plutonian vision which is as he states “a fierce one, and WE must take it in slowly.” This book is a treasure!
Pluto, The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul Vol I by Jeffrey Wolf Green is a densely worded 349 pages of profound insights into the meaning and purpose of Pluto both generationally and personally. This book is my indispensable reference tool when studying how Pluto operates. I highly recommend it for the serious student and professional.
But be warned—-easy reading it is not! I’m going to quote just one paragraph from his Introduction to give you a sense of his writing style, “Because the focus of this book will be on the evolutionary intent and necessity to grow and change, the description of Pluto through the houses and signs will involve old patterns, orientations, and behavioral manifestations that must be metamorphosed so that growth and evolution can occur. This focus implies preexisting limitations and imperfections. Some readers may feel that these descriptions are ‘negative’. However, they are not intended to be negative. The essence and nature of evolution is change. It implies limitations or structures that are blocking necessary change. The descriptions of Pluto through the houses and signs will objectively describe what common limitations and imperfections must be encountered for the ongoing evolutionary intent to occur so that perfection can be realized at some point in the evolutionary journey of an individual. This book is not intended to be an astrological ‘cookbook.’ This book should be read all the way through so that a total and comprehensive understanding can be developed as to the nature and basis of the principles expressed herein.”
In Chapter One he lays out his thesis that Pluto is the primary indicator of the Soul’s path towards evolution. Here he discusses Pluto in relationship to the Nodes, and aspects to the other planets. He outlines what he considers the four natural evolutionary conditions: 1. ‘Dimly evolved or de-evolved state’ (2 or 3 % of the human race); 2. ‘The herd state (75% of the human race—-mainstream society); 3. ‘The individuated state (20% of the human race); and 4. ‘The spiritual state (2 or 3% of human beings will attempt to understand their own life and others’ lives in a universal/holistic context.)’ He then outlines the ‘three reactions to the evolutionary impulse’, and finally discusses the ‘four ways Pluto affects evolution in our lives.’ He covers Pluto retrograde and finally discusses issues of resistance based on old patterns which represent security.
Chapter Two is devoted to both Pluto through the houses and signs with ample chart examples of famous people. Chapter Three covers more extensively Pluto in aspect to the other planets, differentiating between waxing aspects and waning aspects. Chapter Four covers Pluto transits, progressions, and Pluto in Solar Return charts, with an added bonus of looking at transiting North and South Nodes through the chart.
No one before or since has delved with such depth into Pluto. If you are really interested in knowing why you are here and what are your lessons, this book is for you. It will also give you tremendous insight into answering the same questions where others are concerned.
I will review his Second Volume, Pluto The Soul’s Evolution Through Relationships in Part Two where I will continue to review others books as well. Some of these are highly specialized such as Donna Cunningham’s Healing Pluto Problems, and Judy Hall’s The Hades Moon. Please look for this next article before we complete our journey through the sign of Scorpio.
Keep in mind that we have only been studying this planet in earnest since 1930. I’m sure more understanding will emerge in the years to come, and I’m wondering how the Pluto in Scorpio generation will view this mysterious energy once they come into their own prime?