by Boots Hart, CAP

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pluto Station-Retrogrades in Capricorn

Image based on a photo of cocktail straws taken by Dave Gough (September 2006)

Amidst threats of violence and a rash of difficulties and damaging deeds, Pluto goes retrograde on April 12, 2013 at 7:33 in the evening UT/+0 time at 11 degrees of Capricorn, a sign astrologically ruled by Saturn.

That means the 'station window' (or 'allowance') begins on April 10th and extends through to April 14th, which does not mean that acts which are undertaken or committed to prior to this time don't apply. What the station and its two day 'allowance' to either time represents is the heart of a period which changes our perception (in this case, in a Plutonic manner) depending on what else is going on.

That said, in this case, Saturn went retrograde back in February at 11 degrees of Scorpio – in a perfect sextile to the station Pluto is taking now.

And since Capricorn is ruled by Saturn and Pluto is the ‘outcome’ ruler of Scorpio, in astrological terms this is something of a self-feeding loop.

 Since ancient times the Ouroboros - the snake (dragon, fish, etc.) swallowing itself
has been a symbol of a process which is either difficult to escape or which
is entirely self-supporting.
(From the Codex Parisinus, a late medieval Byzantine Greek
alchemical manuscript - c. 1478)

Okay…so maybe in our lives this isn’t so literal. (Or as literal.) But for some of us...maybe it is.

Saturn in Scorpio is all about building our lives and what it takes to get where we want to go.

Scorpio is an emotional sign which tests us through others and through the situations we encounter in life. Sagittarius is a fire sign which tests the viability of our ideas and the implementation thereof. And Capricorn is a sign about real world, real time, real life ‘commerce’ (be that business or otherwise) and how well or how badly we structure our lives…or how well or badly we have already structured our lives.

So the ‘outcomes’ we are experiencing now, or the challenges which are really ‘getting to us’ now are a combination of this back-and-forth sign rulership between Pluto and Saturn. (Which by the by has an astrological name – it’s called “mutual reception.”)

And the thing to remember is that all signs being polarities, this calls in some bigger questions – those posed by nationality, family, culture and upbringing (Cancer as the polarity to Capricorn) and our feelings of risk or security or threat to that security which are emblematic of Taurus as the oppositional sign to Scorpio.

Some of us are likely to come into this time – the Pluto station or the period surrounding it – trying to figure out how we can please everyone.

And yes, sometimes it’s too bad that people aren’t flex-straws.

 A contortionist playing 'Man-in-a-box'
(photo credit: Keith Allison, December 2006)

Evidently we don’t stop trying. And some of us (evidently) succeed at getting pretty good at it, whether it’s at being a human flexi-straw or finding our way through the thicket of human hopes, disagreements, conflicts and realities.

11 Capricorn is symbolized by this image:  

An illustrated lecture on natural science reveals little-known facts of life.

With Pluto taking its station and going retrograde in this degree, the effort we have put into things (Saturn in Scorpio) is now either bearing fruit or bringing to light ‘little-known facts’ which we need to consider. A lot depends on what kind of energy you have been putting out there, obviously. Some people have been resisting making changes, some people have been resisting knowing the truth, some people have been resisting taking responsibility for what they’ve done or their life or relationships or success, failure – what have you.

Saturn is the symbol of all we either put into something to build and grow and create lasting life structures, or Saturn is some sort of wall or limit you set up in your life, or which life confronts you with.

Of course there are many limitations and challenges to which we say ‘I just have to live with it’ or ‘that’s the way it is’ when that’s not really the truth.

And here we get into the big and karmic world of what we can do versus what we want to do – which is exactly the sort of concept Pluto generally brings to light.

And it brings them to light because Pluto represents not merely our psychic shadow (that which we don't want to admit to or see in ourselves) but that which brings out evidence of that shadow.

Hence so much violence and the taking of stances by those in our personal world as well as on the world stage who don't feel entirely good about who they are. Jealousy, grasps at power and control and a wholesale thrust to have what we want no matter how it affects others are very Scorpio-Pluto concepts. Add in Saturn and you have a 'making it real' factor which is particularly apt where something hard and sometimes tangible but always consequential is put forth as the means or the "weapon" of choice.  

But there is a whole other side to this Pluto-Saturn mutual reception. For those who have been working towards some goal ("earning" being the key idea here) this is a time when a rational approach and clarity of method yields results. So this can be an entirely positive mostly just depends on whether you are working productively, honestly and openly with or within your Self. Those who have worked for something which is viable and ‘a positive’ in life will find a path forward being revealed. And though the forward path may not be easy, at least you’ll know it’s there for the doing...the taking on as a task and personal responsibility to yourself.

Conversely, those who have erected too many walls, or who have allowed their lives to get 'walled in,' life will now present challenges which seem exceptionally trying in a very primal, personal sense. Some will find themselves having to do with out - or face having to do without something "easy" in order to get to something less 'glossy' but more valuable on some intangible, intrinsic level.

Those who have based their values on things which don’t work for their true life Purpose? They will also find things more difficult. But why should Purpose enter into this? That would be because Pluto going retrograde at 11 Capricorn puts Pluto very much in opposition to fixed star Alhena at 9 Cancer, and Alhena is a premier emblem of Purpose among the fixed stars.

But we have even more to go with than that: in going retrograde at 11 Capricorn, Pluto is also going retrograde in opposition to dog star Sirius at 14 Cancer. So, considering that Sirius is all about personal brilliance and the ‘bright star’ we each can be in life as an individual, in ‘parsing the astrological opposition,’ Pluto’s station is asking us whether we are using our brilliance purposefully, or whether we are really serving the brilliance of Our Purpose, and that Purpose which can be supported by our brilliance properly.

Or even at all.

Considered to be a ‘true to theme’ degree of its sign 11 Capricorn has a bit of a Scorpionic quality in that it poses the opportunity and – on occasion – tests of confidentiality or secrecy. Another form of this ‘secret’ energy with this degree has to do with things we know which we utilize in our efforts to build our life, such as the experience we get on a job or the training we have invested in (“built into ourselves”) so that we can hold a particular job or be involved with a given career.

Pluto in any earth sign is going to ‘test the results’ in real time. All the hopes and dreams and theories of how things “should” work or how we might “want” them to work mean nothing in the earthy Pluto world where all that matters are results. And this goes to Pluto as a signature of transformative energies which, if we don’t keep them in perspective can become obsessions. Or obsessive drives which obliterate everything else.

And yes, that may even include our actual Purpose, which just may be shown up to you now through some little but brilliant fact.

Pluto committed to its transit of Capricorn in December of 2008. It will be in this most worldly sign of earthly personal and societal outcomes until 2024. Being that Capricorn is the third sign from Pluto’s ‘home’ sign (Scorpio), it is through all things Capricorn that Pluto gives ‘voice’ to all the ups and downs of Scorpio-like qualities.

 One from a famous series of photographs known as 'The Blue Marble' which
the Apollo 17 astronauts took while on their way to the Moon
(photo credit: NASA)

So these are the years of high persuasion and verbal manipulation. These years will show up the strengths of the human spirit and the terrible things which can happen to the human mind – and what those minds get put to. Considering that war is a ‘Scorpio thing’ it’s neither surprising that what war does to minds (PTSD and otherwise) and what kind of a mind launches a war is coming out now, nor should we expect this to be an easy ‘fix.’

Being that government is a Capricorn function and Cancer is the sign of 'the people' or a native population, the problems of government around the world are merely manifestations of this time. Whether citizens are trying to get rid of a government, whether governing bodies are taking away the rights of their citizens, this is Pluto working as a transformative and testing factor in the structural sign of Capricorn. Whether the question is states rights versus federal rights, democratic votes being overridden (or voters voting to override the will of those in power), whether it's a head of state refusing to give up the reins of power or a 'functional head of religious state' such as Pope Benedict choosing to step down when nobody's done that for many centuries...this is all part of Pluto passing through Capricorn and in doing so, testing what works and what doesn't work and the relationship between sheer power and negotiated agreement (the Saturn-Pluto cross-rulership quality) really means.

And how it does work, and where it doesn't work, and how the notoriously Scorpio ‘I want it my way’ quality can muck up the works.

Abuse being Scorpio and based on fear of loss with Capricorn being about having not just the authority and ability to punish but the responsibility to act for the greater and long-term "Cancerian" good is going to be a problem. So we will be hearing about tyrants real and fabricated. We will suspect those who accuse and we will oftentimes not want to believe the worst of someone we are in some way predisposed to like or feel loyal to.

And yet, they may be in the wrong. Or at least guilty of being as wrong as the "other side" is.

These years will test our own ability to recognize that might doesn't make right and how against that, sometimes there simply isn't no 'right or wrong' - there's only circumstances. And that’s just the problem. Pluto in any earth sign will tend to say look for results. But if there aren’t any, you have to ask why. Is it for lack of trying? Or as in this case, is there some other force (which at this moment would be represented by Saturn in Scorpio) which is blocking or “limiting” all possibilities for success because they can’t face being wrong or having their values be proven not so (Taurus as oppositional sign to Scorpio) valuable – or even viable?

The last time Pluto transited Capricorn - some two hundred and forty years ago - we were still squarely in the Age of Pisces. In the Piscean Age, Capricorn ruled the 11th house - the house of society.

A wheel representing the Age of Pisces with the border color-coded
to Capricorn's position on the 11th house

And so we come into this time with a lot of built up social 'inheritance,' if you will. The Piscean Age pictures two distinct groups - like the two fish of Pisces.

But the Age of Aquarius knows no gender, no bias, no class or caste or inequality.

At least that's it's purpose.

Aquarius is the most theoretical of air signs, the concept of the World as One which obviously sounds good but which quickly runs into human bias and the habitual human tendency to lust after weal, power, control, social status and all those trappings which prove to us that we're 'worth it' - which is precisely what the Scorpio-Taurus axis shows up: our vulnerabilities, insecurities and (in particular) those issues of self respect and self worth which people try to solve with "becoming worth" a lot of money or doing whatever they think they need to do to garner "respect" from others. 

This is all about the new paradigm: Scorpio at the top of the wheel of the Aquarian Age...

An Aquarian Age wheel with the border color coded to match Scorpio
on the 10th and highest house of the Age

...and Taurus at the bottom.

An Aquarian Age wheel with the border color coded to match Taurus
on the 4th house of the Age 
As Pluto moved through its home sign of Scorpio in the 1980s it set the trend of fervency (which some would call desperation) off. Yes, even if the attention is sometimes simple lip service or air-headed adulation, even if it's placation, manipulative praise or infamy, there's a lot of people who have already headed in this direction.

And there's more to come. The sign at the bottom of the wheel of any Age is the thing we come into that Age having very little of. In the Age of Pisces that was education - Gemini was at the bottom of the wheel.

Now it's Taurus.

Those who know their history know that education was not at the top of anyone's list 2,100 years ago as something everybody should have. That's a key to understanding where we are - and how likely we are to keep on with the whole 'substitute for self worth' epidemic for some time yet to come.

The truly successful among us - in the human sense of successful (i.e., success equaling satisfaction and contentment with one's life) will develop themselves and then build towards achievement, earning respect along the way. Those who do it the other way around may succeed on the outside, but feel hollow on the inside.

And yes, we've already seen and hear plenty of those stories. They're sad. From the outside you can see the person struggling to have that very thing they won't stop to accept: their own self respect. 

As for Capricorn, in the Age of Aquarius, Capricorn moves to the 12th house of the wheel.

The Aquarian Age with the border of the diagram color coded
to match Capricorn being on the 12th house of the wheel of the Age  

And if you know anything about the 12th house, it's a house which is all about our ability to deal with reality and all about everything we will do to avoid dealing with realities - with all of that involving (and prompting) the many ups and downs which embody the universal emotional experience of being human.

All that is now flowing through Capricorn. So with Capricorn being the sign of commerce and every kind of ‘worldly regulated social standing’ it’s no wonder that we’re hearing so much about the gay marriage and the right of women to be CEOs, priests or anything else of worldly standing.

Once Pluto moved into Capricorn, even reality TV moved on. Reality TV started under Pluto in Sagittarius (which is Pluto in the opposition sign to Gemini). Sagittarius being about how well our choices and ideas work we had shows like ‘Survivor’ and ‘Big Brother,’ ‘American Idol’ and ‘The Amazing Race.’

And while those may have lived on, as Pluto moved into Capricorn (the reality of how we deal with the world and build our lives) reality shows began exploring the Capricorn-Cancer realm of life, lifestyle and traditions or culture, giving us people creating a career (creating a Capricorn structure) rather literally out of their family, heritage or efforts to make their way in this world (Cancer).

We are each doing some form of all of this in our lives. We have shifted out of ‘playing at’ certain things (Pluto in Sagittarius) in favor of doing things ‘for real’ – the hallmark of Pluto in Capricorn. Things seem more real and at once more depressing and more possible with Pluto in Capricorn.

And now Pluto is going retrograde. This means the energy of ‘change’ is now moving from in the world (to which we respond) into us. So for the next several months (Pluto goes retrograde in September) will be a time for a lot of internal shifts, changes and transformations. They won’t all be easy. Plutonic energy isn’t known as anything easy and with the mutual reception in Saturn there are some hard choices and difficult challenges to be dealt with by each and every living last one of us.

But we can do what we need to do. It may mean giving up the easy or the comfy or even the popular. But if you are heading towards manifesting your true Purpose with authentic brilliance, you’re likely to come out on top.

As the old expression goes, slow and steady wins the race. With Saturn and Pluto both currently in retrograde taking the time to do things right and thoroughly is what will – in time – give you the rock to stand on.

And isn’t that what we all want – a rock which doesn’t roll out from under us at the critical moment?
That would be Pluto’s aim in Capricorn. Some of us are going to have to break out of a hard chrysalis shell before we can pump blood into our wings and take flight like a butterfly.

A Monarch Butterfly enjoying a flowery moment in a Birmingham (UK) garden
(Tony Hisgett, September 2011)

But what’s our choice? Do we really want to live and die inside a cocoon? Being ‘cocooned,’ whether in silken threads or not have a difficult reputation in the world of lore and metaphysics. It’s like being crippled, and who would choose to cripple themselves on purpose?

One other thing to stick in our Pluto bonnet here before we slip off into the experiencing our personal world of station/retrograde. That one thing is about the Solar Eclipse which will happen this November. It’s going to be at 11 Scorpio – the degree of Saturn’s February station and in sextile to Pluto’s current station position. (And yes, Saturn will be close enough to the eclipse to be involved.)

This is one of those celestial ‘messages on a wall.’ The message reads: change or be changed.

Those who make the needed changes now, or who are working towards them are likely to emerge from this fall’s eclipse with more clarity and better opportunities than those who refuse, reject or claim they ‘can’t’ change. And while I understand (better than most, trust me!) that when I say ‘emerge from an eclipse’ I’m not talking about an ‘over the weekend’ sort of thing, the implied reality – in its totality - is just as important.

Maybe even more important.

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