Persephone returns from the underworld, Pluto’s domain
I recently bought a copy of the 1984 book, THE ASTROLOGY OF FATE by Liz Greene, at a used bookstore, which was fortunate because it’s $29.95 new and is so packed with mythology and intensity, I believe it was written for astrologers. But I couldn’t resist—what an intriguing title!
I’m only on page 64 of 370+ pages and I find I cannot resist reading it, yet I dread picking it up. It is not a book for the faint of heart. It is, so far, about the planet/god Pluto and his affects on our human natures, from Liz Greene’s learned, experienced, astrological point of view. She tells stories of Hades and other gods and of the unforgiving, grinding nature of Pluto, who strikes at the core of who we believe we are, and what we most desire, so that we will ultimately acknowledge we humans are made of both the light and the darkness.
I’ve chosen some quotes to illustrate:
“The river of hatred and poison that encircles the underworld is like Old Man Willow [in Lord of the Rings] at the heart of the forest, and it is not always conscious in the individual. More often we do not know of its existence, and think of ourselves as decent people who can forgive another his transgressions; but we suffer instead from mysterious ailments and emotional disturbances, and subtly sabotage our partners, parents, friends, children and ourselves without fully recognizing that somewhere we may feel them as ‘destroyers and usurpers’ who must be made to pay.”
Here’s more: “The irrevocable turn of fate, whether toward gain or loss, is characteristic of Pluto. So too is the experience of frustrated desire. That which we want more than we have ever wanted anything before, but which is the one thing we cannot have, or can only have through great sacrifice or the death of some cherished part of ourselves: all this is typical of Pluto. Naturally the sexual arena is one of the most obvious places where this kind of experience occurs. So is the arena of power and position. Power and sexuality, power or loss of power through sexuality, are themes which are intrinsic to Pluto…Confronted with Pluto, we meet our abhorrent compulsions, our unsatisfiable passions: the impossible repetitive pattern of struggling with something, only to meet it again and again…Pluto is therefore a great and divine balancer of hubris. Without him man would believe himself to be God, and would in the end destroy himself: a situation that grows increasingly likely with the passage of time. Faced with Pluto…one experiences the unpassable circle of the limitations of the soul, the limitations of fate. These are not the worldly limits of Saturn, but the deepest savouring of one’s vulnerability and mortality.”
At 60, I am grateful that I’ve passed, to a good degree, through my Pluto-the-destroyer period of life, but I wondered, ‘If I’d read this book and learned of the depth of devastation that must be experienced by each of us who deny that darkness lives within us—would I have seen my own undoing coming?’
Greene explains, “Pluto, it would seem, governs that which cannot or will not change. This is a particularly painful issue in an age of self-help therapies and a growing belief that one can make oneself into anything, given the right techniques, books or spiritual leaders. Humility before the gods is an antique virtue, promoted not only by the Bible but by the Greeks as well. ‘Nothing in excess’—not even self-perfection—was carved before the door to Apollo’s temple at Delphi, along with ‘Know thyself.’ These were the chief requirements the gods asked of men. But it is just this issue that Pluto forces us to confront. It is ironic, and paradoxical, that the genuine acceptance of the unchangeable is often one of the keys for true and deep change within the psyche. But this little piece of irony…does not appear to be learnable in any school but life’s fires. Therefore it remains a secret, not because nobody will tell it, but because nobody will believe it, unless he has survived the fire.”
In 1997 I was re-granted life, to survive a ‘death by fire,’ an exposure and burning of the lies I told myself, and suffered a tearing and rawness in my body that still hurts today. I’ve written here before of the anguish I felt after each of my children was born—how will we protect them, shield them from the darkness that is life at times? Each time I went deep into myself and realized I had no control over what could happen to my children—that the truth was, I had no control over anything. Each time, I gave my children to God because as much as the spark of God lives in me, I have not the power to keep them from their personal, or others,’ Pluto-the-destroyer experiences.
A spiritual teacher once explained to me that our karma, which I’m now certain means the effects Pluto will have on our pretending-selves, is alleviated by giving ourselves over to God, as in becoming a priest or nun or another kind of jumping in. mind, body and heart focused on service. Not that we won’t uncover the lies we tell ourselves in that service, just that it will be easier to live through the process. I hope I’ve got this right, but I believe Liz Greene writes that for some, the Pluto-affect is not as traumatic as it is for others, but that we must all face the truth to some degree.
There is a healing movement at work in our world today—an invitation to become Godlike, to know that we are God. This is a very good thing, because it has awakened an awareness within that as we practice tolerance and loving-kindness, we change our own lives and others’ lives, adding healing to the collective that is us. In Lord of the Rings, all are tempted by the Ring of Power (except Frodo, the hobbit) that belongs to the Dark Lord–even Galadriel, the beautiful and mighty queen of the elves and forest. She rises above her test but had she not, Pluto-the-destroyer would have reigned terror on the elves, through her. I was unable to beat my tests, so my tests beat me!
What within me still awaits the touch of Pluto’s hand? What within you must go if you are to grow into a higher spiritual being? Is an awareness of your cravings and imbalances knocking at your door? Though Pluto scrubs and scrapes away our lies to ourselves and others, with a sharp, serrated instrument, it seems there is no other way to get our attention.