Make no mistake, Pluto is strong stuff. Hard to handle, and while there is much to understand about Pluto and his mechanisms and expositions it is important to remember that the planets do not control us, they cannot ‘make us’ do anything at all, it is only our determination to be the master of our astrology that frees us to be persons of integrity and self-awareness. Pluto is seen as the planet of compulsion for the most part because his energetic frequency is so very base; like Hades, it is well below the surface, in the unconscious murk, and so we have to be very attendant to our behaviour, which is the external symptom of our internal state. Because Pluto is very subtle however, we frequently hide his influence even from ourselves, through rationalisation. In my life, I study Plutonic compulsion on a daily basis and it’s fascinating. I think that perhaps 90% of people I interact with in my life are more or less totally unaware of Pluto’s influence in their lives and in the dramas that they create. Pluto always creates drama, and this is one of the key manifestations of his effects.
So, if there is drama in your life, a big hoo-har about this or that and a great deal of excitement, particularly where there is condemnation, mocking or contest, then chances are, Pluto is pulling the strings somewhere in the situation.
Another important insight lies in the fact that Pluto is an octave of Mars (I hesitate to say ‘higher’ perhaps we should say a more subtle octave), so while he may not manifest in direct, overt expressions of anger, he has the same agenda; he is pushing to get things working how he wants. Passive and covert aggression are therefore invariably signs that Pluto is in the mix. The classic Plutonian power struggle therefore becomes quite easy to spot when you understand all of these factors. Typically, the symptoms of Pluto in the driving seat are very clear once you’re familiar with them:
- A grimy, uncomfortable, edgy feeling in the air. If you zone in on it, you’ll realise that it is hitting you in the solar plexus chakra. You may have digestive ‘issues’ as a result. One common (and suitably Plutonic) feature of being unconsciously ‘violated’ by a Plutonian therefore manifests through a need to rush to the loo after the drama is over. You’ll note that you only need to think about certain people to cause an upset feeling in your solar plexus. Those people are Plutonic and toxic and they invade your subtle body with casual disregard. Plutonians are entitled.
- Plutonic people dehumanise. This can be as simple as calling the opponent a loser, a thief, a liar, through to something more extreme, like vermin, parasites, scum etc. This is all Plutonic language, and is designed to make the opponent appear less than human. A dehumanised person is much easier to target, isolate and annihilate than an equal. Plutonians thrive on dehumanising tactics, so if they can make you appear to be beneath respect they will. They will intimate that you’re dangerous, mentally ill or deranged, evil, abusive or dishonest. In this way, others will automatically begin to treat you contemptuously which serves the controller’s agenda.
- Inappropriate relationships. Healthy relationships should be based on love, trust and mutual respect. If you are involved in, or witness to, a relationship that does not have those features, then chances are, it’s a Plutonic relationship. Relationships without these features usually form out of mutual self-interest, and serve agendas rather than love. Once you see that the relationship isn’t based on love, it’s quite straightforward to deduce which agenda is being served.
- Covert evaluation. You will note that when you come into contact with a negative Plutonian, while they might be all smiles, you come away from the exchange feeling somehow judged, evaluated or doubtful about yourself in some way. You might feel angry or resentful without really being able to say why. This is achieved through the Plutonian’s subtle, hard to spot evaluations. For example, if you’re a parent and you value yourself as a competent Mum or Dad, the Plutonian will accost you and wax lyrical about somebody else who is (self-evidently) half the parent you are, while not mentioning your dedication to your children. If you get riled, you’ll just look churlish and self-centred! Neat huh? Welcome to the ‘whatever you do, you lose’ world-rules of Pluto.
- The smear campaign. When the power struggle has escalated, the Plutonian always resorts to a smear campaign. This is like a big flashing beacon for Pluto issues. The Plutonian won’t say anything to your face, but they’ll be undermining you for all they’re worth behind your back, with anyone who’ll listen (and most people love a bit of gossip, right?). Usually they’ll take something with a grain of truth and omit or distort facts to make you look guilty. So, for example, if you had an argument with your partner and they were upset and hurt, they’ll tell people that you’re ‘emotionally abusive’ in your relationship – after all, they know that your partner was upset on that occasion, so they’re not really lying. Or, if somebody else tells them something about you that isn’t true, even if they know it isn’t true, they’ll repeat it, because they didn’t originate the rumour and they’re not therefore responsible for it. It allows them to tell lies about you, without being responsible for formulating the lie.
- Resource control. Plutonians take control of the resources, it’s a kind of scorched earth policy in relationships. This means that all the things that sustain you; material, emotional, whatever, are procured by the Plutonian in order to leave you isolated and vulnerable. If the Plutonian can destroy your support network, then you’re a very easy target, and this is the major reason why they form inappropriate relationships. The Plutonians in your life will suddenly become bosom-buddies with somebody that they have nothing in common with, and never cared a fig for before the power struggle started just to deny you the relationship and to leave you without support. They may keep your possessions too, using the smallest expedience to rationalise their theft into something more ambiguous. This latter is especially relevant in relationship breakdown, where items are ‘jointly’ owned: if there’s a remotely ‘grey’ area about ownership, you’ve lost it!
If you challenge the Plutonian though, they’ll always have a great excuse for their manipulative and underhanded actions. Usually they’re only trying to either ‘stand up for what’s right’, to ‘protect some poor soul who is the victim of you,’ (especially ‘the children’, Plutonians are always doing things to protect the children: by associating their cause with the innocent and vulnerable, their motives become unquestionable: ‘why are you questioning me, do you want the children to be miserable/abused/oppressed etc?) or they’re simply being ‘normal and responsible’ (thus implying that by disagreeing with them you’re being abnormal and irresponsible).
So, using this checklist, it’s easy to spot the Plutonian at work. Of course, they don’t start this way, usually they’ll saunter casually into your life, and all might be well, until you press the right (wrong) button. I see this frequently with Plutonians who are usually very easy-going while you’re behaving in the way that they want. Then you do something that isn’t on their list of tolerated behaviours and suddenly you’re in the power struggle. Once the button’s pressed though, there’s no switching it off again. The compulsive Plutonian will just go on, poisoning everybody and everything in your life until you’re thoroughly sick: often quite literally.
What’s the solution to these Plutonic types? Simple. Run away.
That’s right. Don’t engage, don’t try and get your point of view across, don’t negotiate, don’t reason, don’t capitulate. If you give an inch to the Plutonian, he or she will only deduce that you’re controllable and press their covert agenda all the harder. They are like Plutonium, quite literally; if you are in their proximity for any time at all, they will make you sick and eventually they will kill you. It is, unfortunately, that serious.
Now finally, what if you are evincing these behaviours? I would be surprised if you knew that you were, because subjectivity is a giant obstacle to surmount, but it’s possible (usually after the struggle is done) to understand retrospectively that you have behaved in this sort of way, and been, if you like, the unwitting puppet of your own Pluto. The key is to learn from the experience and to keep a very tight leash on your future conduct. Indeed, try to follow the anti-Pluto checklist:
- If your stomach feels uncomfortable in a situation, try to step back and get some perspective. Ask yourself: “what’s really going on here?”
- Don’t dehumanise, sneer at, mock or denigrate other human beings. It is okay to complain about bad treatment, therefore it’s okay to call out bad behaviour, but it’s not okay to draw conclusions about a person’s character or motives on the basis of it. Therefore you can say that you’re hurt because you feel that somebody deceived you, but it’s not okay to accuse them of being a habitual liar or a fraudster, most especially not to a third party.
- Don’t maintain inappropriate relationships. If somebody you’re associated with makes you feel uncomfortable, drop them. At least minimise your association until you can work out the obstacles to enjoying an authentic and loving connection instead.
- Be very careful what you say to people and examine your motives for saying it. If it’s not kind and uplifting to that person, then it’s probably best to keep your mouth shut. This is especially true in the matter of offering unsolicited advice. By all means express your view if somebody asks for it, and it’s fine to state your position with somebody who is trying to blame, accuse or manipulate you, but you should try to avoid giving even well-meaning advice to others if they haven’t expressly asked you for it.
- Don’t gossip. I have a Buddhist friend who follows a rule of never talking about anyone unless they are physically present during the conversation. It makes it almost impossible for him to get involved in a smear campaign, even if he was compulsively motivated to do so.
- If something isn’t 100% unequivocally yours, don’t take it. Even if you think it should be yours, make your case for it, don’t just assume you have the right. If you follow this simple rule (that is, the Buddhist precept to take nothing that is not freely given), then you cannot go wrong.
Following these rules is not just a moral choice, it is important for the sake of your mental, emotional and physical health that you do so. Remember the tenets of medical astrology: all disease begins in the mind with your thoughts. Your thoughts upset your emotions, and your upset emotions make your body sick, especially in the areas ruled by the corresponding elements. Thus Plutonic people are especially prone to cancers, problems with the elimination system and the reproductive organs. They can also cause these symptoms in others who they target with their control agendas, so this makes it doubly important that you avoid the Plutonians in your life. It’s remarkable the number of clients I’ve had who have suffered from chronic digestive complaints (like for example IBS), who have experienced a complete cure when they finally managed to get rid of the compulsive control-freaks in their lives.
Last, it’s important to remember that in order to live spiritually, you have to live and let live and be respectful of other people’s life choices, even if you don’t agree with them. I find that it helps immensely to follow the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated yourself, Pluto doesn’t have much room to manoeuvre once you adopt this simple maxim.