by Boots Hart, CAP

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pluto-Facies: Moving On

  A broad-scale photograph of constellation Sagittarius, including the band we know
as the Milky Way which crosses Sagittarius end to end. The Galactic Center - currently
in Sagittarius and representative of the need to give of ourselves in some way to others
and our world in order to succeed in our own right  - in this photo is located just above
above center and to the right of the thickest part of the galactic presentation. 
(photo credit: 2MASS, G Kopan, R Hurt, Caltech)

Astronomers know astrology’s ‘fixed star’ Facies as "M22" – a nebula way out there in the vastness which is constellation Sagittarius.

Any time we talk about a nebula, we’re talking about many stars...and thus, in the astrological sense, ‘many things which appear as one’ - or something which is complicated because it has many factors. Or maybe many pieces of a puzzle which need to come together. It could even signify many factors or perspectives on any given idea.

Every nebula, like every fixed star has its particular meaning. In the case of M22 (Facies), in true Sagittarian form, whatever is at stake the issue is about growing your life. Or finding out why you keep stumbling in your attempts to grow your life.

Considering that Sagittarius is the polarity sign to Gemini, it's also useful to remember that Gemini is a wholly personal sign about our personal choices, how we think (or don't think!) or our individual ability to stay organized, keep to a schedule or have productive priorities. Against this, Sagittarius is the 'testing ground' - the phase of life where we put those ideas to work. Or where people react to what we have done - which would be why Sagittarius is both a sign of the media (as a means by which "the word gets around") and a sign which has a rather unpleasant reputation for fostering judgmental (or dogmatic) attitudes.

It's in Sagittarian mode that we try our ideas out...and when we find out what needs tweaking. Or refining. Or learning better (which would be why Sagittarius is the sign of education and all things theoretical, from law to science fiction to religion and all that).

That said, Facies doesn’t have all that good a reputation. Allegedly representing the eye of the Sagittarian archer (the hunter)…this nebula has a reputation for bringing out victim-perpetrator vibes, which in real life may be our own tendency to hide or flaunt what we think of as our best or worst traits.

After all, that's how we learn better, right?

That's one of the core ideas which often gets lost in astrology...namely that astrological energetics - particularly as applied to (or in) our individual lives are about OUR growth and OUR need to - for example in this case - understand where we may be weak or asking for trouble. Or where we may be acting without regards to others and their needs.

Or maybe just where our plans or methods of going about what we're doing don't quite work in realistic terms.

Given the 'victim-perpetrator' concept which goes with Facies along with the fact that Sagittarius is a sign which belongs to the zodiac's interactive quadrant, Facies situations or issues tend not to be simply about our Self. They're about something we do in public. Or with others. Or which we want to appeal to others. Or as part of something which has to work well within an ongoing structure if we're to get ahead.

Certainly since the time when Pluto came into orb of Facies back in early 2010, we’ve seen a lot of many a person’s best and worst traits.

But the hardest part of this move into…and now the process of Pluto conjuncting Facies…has been having to see our own tendency to be victimized or play the victim…our own tendency to be a ‘perpetrator’ because we were so focused on our own goals that we didn’t fully take into account what we might be doing to others. Or to that delicate balance between moving towards change and damaging our personal or world environment might be.

And this gets to the very important thing to remember about Pluto. For whatever reason, this particular dwarf planet which wanders around way out there beyond Neptune (whose orbit is controlled by Neptune)...when its energetics reach us, even the best of us tend to go haywire.

A good part of that is because we seem to think that Plutonic energies in our life are "about them." And that's incorrect. Pluto energies in each of our lives are about our need to grow and transform and regenerate and let go of whatever is toxic or malfunctioning because whatever that is...because it's preventing us from growing. It's preventing us from using our passions and talents and abilities for something useful or good.

When Pluto goes awry, we experience obsessions. We experience addictions. We experience a sense of 'I can't help it' which draws us to do things we often know aren't all that productive, but which we just can't seem to let go of.

We think it's 'them.' But it's not. The energy in our lives is finding a way to evoke or provoke that feeling of helplessness or that tendency to abandon self control or ownership of our own feelings so that we will either get hold of what the real (and underlying) issue is, or that we will go through such a powerful (and often negative) experience that we will learn not to do 'that.'

In other words, you might say that Pluto gone wrong is nature's form of aversion therapy. That's why, when Pluto hits us by transit (which, by the by, can either be to our natal or solar return chart, just to make things more interesting...) we will tend to find things which we think will "fix" some long-standing issue. Plutonic energy often engenders the classic 'this time will be different' energy which ends up being just the same...just as wrong...and as we encounter it time and time again, maybe even worse.

The issue is not 'them.' We'll think it's them, or something we did. But the real issue is that we're in "denial" of something we don't want to have to deal with...that being why Pluto's keywords are create, deny, destroy. When we have a Pluto problem, we 'create' something we think is going to make everything about our life better, and in doing so we 'deny' the real problem...and we end up experiencing the 'destruction' of our illusion.

At some point - hopefully - we get to the real issue. That issue is read through our natal Pluto, and specifically (beyond its sign, placement and aspects) wherever Scorpio is in our chart, whatever objects are in Scorpio in our natal chart...and at some quintessential and important level, the issue of how we/why go about choosing to get involved 'here' (or not get involved 'here') - that being the Mars 'instigation' level of Scorpio.

You know, the "I want that" part.

Where Pluto is concerned, we also have to care about Mars - which is why one of the best ways to deal with a problematic Pluto is to keep ourselves invested (a good Scorpio keyword: invested) in something which is for a known other words, by investing in our Self in some way which we know (not hope) will turn out well.

With all that now noodled this case, in this moment, since there's also said to be a ruthless quality to Facies, you can see why this might just go very bad. And with the Sun currently in Virgo, there is a naturally 'obsessive' quality to our thinking at the moment.

In other words, gawd forbid anyone try to interrupt us with facts...we're so invested in wanting what we want to be true to turn out true that some of us (read: those with problematic placements in either Virgo, Scorpio, Taurus or Pisces - with an emphasis on the first two) are going to be acting up or acting out in pretty unproductive...even de-structive ways.

(Note: those who qualify under these signs are most likely to find someone who also qualifies under these signs to have issues with. Why? Because life is very efficient: your triggers match their triggers and why would energy miss a trigger which needs triggering?)

How things (Virgo) work is likely to be of issue at the moment. Mental and emotional health - inclusive of long-standing emotional wounds are likely to get stirred up by this energetic. Our spirit, our psyche is trying to get us to work on where we are over or under functioning...and thus its wherever we tend to function - or through something which relates to 'functionality' where this energy is likely to surface.

Whatever shape it takes, the thing which gets out of joint or which is the thing we're refusing to discuss - that is pretty much specifically the thing which will point us towards the greater issue.

You know, our Pluto issue.

Now, if we only will just go there and deal with it!

(Easier said than done, yes.)

During the time that these two objects (Pluto and Facies) have been playing astrological footsie there's been a greater-than-average tendency to think in terms of the optimal (or the 'idea of the thing') while forgetting that real life doesn’t work exactly that way.

Way to go, Sagittarius...right?

On the other hand, this combination has another side entitled 'going by the book may not work either' which is also Sagittarian, since Sagittarius is all about learning and learning better.

That means as an individual.

Sometimes what we've learned from others isn't us. Or maybe we've internalized some tradition or early 'way of doing it' which life has simply outpaced or grown beyond. Society changes. Morays change. People change. Economics change. What's acceptable and even possible changes.

So sometimes we get to a place where we get confused because 'what we thought' (the "old way") doesn't fit. Or maybe we've grown up to be a person who just doesn't think the way our parents did...or in the 'mold' of our native culture.

Are we allowed to change? Life seems to say that weighing up what works for the many against what works for us is important. And in the light of Pluto/Facies, that can mean  ‘nebula/nebulous’ factors. If we try to 'adhere' to what we thought we were supposed to do (or the way we thought we were supposed to do it) we may just end up being a square peg trying to fit ourselves into our own round hole.

(So to speak.)

The point is, sometimes it doesn't fit, not even when we push, shove, insist or sulk.

And sometimes that's exactly what we're supposed to learn at a time such as when Pluto conjuncts Facies. Through experiencing defeats and confrontations and feeling aggrieved and being forced to take stock of who we are (the energy being ours and inside us) we end up learning something very vital about who we really are as opposed to who we thought we were.

There's a lot of just that going around, as it happens.

Pluto began it’s full-on conjunction of Facies last year around the end of January. And from January 2012 through early July it just sat at 8 Capricorn, with a nice little station thrown in for good measure during April 2012. Theoretically, that turn from direct to retrograde motion at 8 Capricorn would have started bringing home a realization that it isn’t ‘all them’ and that life isn’t what we think it ought to be simply because we have this vision for what life is supposed to be.

This is probably a good way to think of the metaphysics of the Sagittarian hunter with it’s eye in early Capricorn: it’s the reality of what we do which counts…it’s the hunt for the thing which will be the lasting answer which counts. Remembering that the hunter which is constellation Sagittarius is a centaur, it is up to us to balance our ‘animalistic power’ with our human capacity for reason.

So are we going to – as one might say – look ourselves in the eye now?

Maybe yes. Pluto’s passing over Facies has been one heck of a long process of forcing us to look inside. We've met up with situations and people who have pushed our Pluto buttons. Typically when such a thing happens we become 'the victim' of our emotions even as we get aggressive with anyone who tries to tell us that we're about to jump off a cliff without a parachute.

Ah, Facies at work. How unpleasant!

And how very, very human.

Pluto’s passage over Facies has manifested in bringing out many of those irrational out-of-balance things which we may like very much…but which don’t really work. Given that there’s a ‘blindness’ (real or figurative) associated with Facies, Pluto’s conjunction to this ‘fixed star’ has represented a time when we haven’t seen, haven’t wanted to see and when we have been forced to not see some things because others really needed our focus…and when some of those very things we haven’t seen have proved to be our deepest vulnerability.

Messier 22, located in  in Sagittarius
(photo credit: Jose Carlos Castro, July 2007)

Pluto will enter 8 Capricorn – a degree known for various forms of ‘separation’ and ‘isolation’ – on September 14th. Pluto will go direct about a week later, and then roll back through and out of 8 Capricorn as of September 27th.

Count on this as being a time of revelations. Considering the nature of the degree 8 Capricorn, you may realize you have been thinking too “esoterically” and now get more realistic. Or you may realize that your aims are too narrow, too overly defined and that you need to broaden them so that your efforts will lead to lasting results. There is a ‘doing without’ and a not caring about opulence which goes with 8 Capricorn which is in the nature of the degree and which may not reflect at all in your life. But those who are into opulence may now realize they don’t need ‘all that’ as much…while those who have been purists and minimalists may now decide they like a few niceties.

Pluto’s passages represent the transforming of our values at a very deep level. Plutonic evolution is all about what we allow ourselves to appreciate and what we appreciate about ourselves. It’s the balance which is really important here…and how we go about manifesting and achieving that balance in a world we don’t occupy all by ourselves, but which we also exist in as an integral, uniquely individual and viable human being.

That some ‘facets’ of our personal nebula may not be functioning well? That some may be dominating our personal landscape to the detriment of personal balance – or balance as a person among other people in this world? That’s Pluto-Facies. The ‘out-of-whack’ now comes out…maybe to others, maybe to ourselves…and the danger is that our efforts to correct same may be just as (Pluto) obsessive as anything else.

For Pluto’s final pass across Facies (for this round of the zodiac) to be happening under the auspices of a lead-in to a Solar Eclipse in the sign Pluto rules (Scorpio) says there is a lot about us on an integral and individual level which is going to change.

Actually, which is pretty much in the process of changing, even as you read this.

Given that in about a week Pluto will make its station as Venus continues transiting Scorpio (read: fixations run high) as the Sun reaches Libra (really testing our balance) in preparation for Mercury moving into Scorpio - a sign it will then go retrograde in during October...

...yes, we have the opportunity to balance ourselves out. The more out-of-balance we are, the more life and energetics and feelings and situations are likely to unsettle us and cause us to think 'they' are to blame.

But they aren't. Most likely they aren't. Oh sure - they may have their Pluto issues, but if we're all reactive now and if our life feels like it's hit the spin cycle (or the wringer) it's highly likely that we're out of whack. With ourselves, I mean.

On the world stage, we should expect that much will be in flux. There will be a lot of questions about 'what's worth it' being floated for this next little while. We may be asking ourselves lots of questions about ‘what’s worth it’ and who matters - and ‘why.’

Evidently it’s time for that to happen.

It’s always struck me as an interesting metaphysical factoid that Scorpio has more images and more totem animals than any other zodiac sign around. The animals are the scorpion, the gray lizard and the eagle, representing the emotional evolution we make as human beings from the level of living on instinct, striking out at anything we even suspect might hurt us (the scorpion) through the cautious, self-protective lifestyle (the gray lizard) to the most noble of Scorpio formats, that of the eagle which sees all, which takes only what it needs and which serves as an inspiration to cultures around the world.

Scorpio is also the sign of fixed water – which in the real world we know as ice. Ice can be solid enough to walk on…or thin enough to fall through. So too are our emotional assumptions, and this is…probably more than in the totem animal sense…where Pluto tends to operate. The allure of Scorpio, that glittery ice with its silken watery (emotionally provocative) gleam which lures us in then drops us into icy waters is both the Scorpio vulnerability and the tendency to be the (Facies-type) victim, whether to someone else or to our own tendency to be attracted by that which looks good…or as they say in the vernacular, that thing which is so very ‘shiny.’

Thick ice, the emotional structure which can bear us, the negotiation which can support our position in the world and our relationships with others takes time to build. And when ice gets thick enough to walk on, it often isn’t all that super shiny.

But it’s safe.

Pluto’s conjunction with Facies has been a long process of teaching us that while shiny is nice, safe and durable and lasting is better. And that is very much a Capricorn type lesson.

So let’s hope we’ve learned it.

A sky map of constellation Sagittarius. M22 is just at the center of the
constellation, where the centaur's 'head' would be.
(image credit: Grum, September 2004)

Given that Facies is positioned at 8 Capricorn, Pluto won’t be out of the five degrees of ‘departing orb’ until the end of November, 2015. And by then, Pluto will be in the middle of conjuncting fixed star Vega – a symbol of charisma and charismatic connectivity. That these two symbols/concepts (Facies and Vega) are currently positioned so that Pluto will move from one to another with several years of ‘overlap’ involved says a lot. And since fixed stars (including nebulae) do move, if you believe that the whole of What Is functions as a whole and thus is what it is not so that life can be destroyed but so that life and existence can continue to evolve…and that such evolution will at times ‘wipe out’ things that we like but which are not productive to the whole or in the longest of long runs…then we have to think this Pluto (plus) Facies/Vega combination is part of the many signs of our times.

To have charisma is the essence of a gift. What we use it for…and why we are attracted to it…that may well be the measure of our blindness. And as this all comes to us through the Capricorn lens, that we learn or don’t learn is on one side the ability to succeed…and the measure and durability of what we succeed at - and sometimes the benefits or costs of that great human gift we call charisma.

Good luck to us in that, I say. For some of us, the ice is about to crack and a cold, cold plunge will surely follow in time as others – those who have allowed their inner solidity to form while working towards their achievements - will move forward and find that their bridges built so very patiently now not only bear weight, but bear them on to greater achievements.

I hope the engineering of your life is entirely sound. With Pluto, the idea that using the energy lest it uses you reaches a maximal level. If you have a problematic Pluto, you probably know it. Hardly anyone who has one has gone more than a couple of decades without some sort of fall from personal grace.

The issue can be what happens to you...but is often more or less about how you feel about yourself. Pluto often makes us feel really lousy (or ashamed, or hurt) so that we'll turn away from 'that' and devote ourselves to something which (oddly enough...!) is challenging enough to keep us fully invested and which, over time, leads to being a different person.

Which was Pluto's object to begin with. Facies has just been the energetic of complications which have forced us to grow...and forced us to realize that we're more complicated and uniquely special than we thought. 


  1. Well said. And how does one say Facies?

  2. This requires a heap more thought from me. Today may not be the day though, since I'm feeling pretty crappy and sick of being sick ...but I do so hope that I will move forward on a good, strong and right bridge ... and not plunge into an icy free fall after the ice cracks under my feet ...

    As always, thankyou for your in depth, brilliant articles,

    1. It's a rough moment for all of us. I know a whole group of people who are saying 'everything's fine' but underneath that is the ice layer they're simply skating on.

      Bear with, Debbie...Pluto goes direct at the end of next week and that should lighten the load.