Advanced Vulcanology: Aspects of Pluto

One of the least understood factors in astrology is that there is no such thing as a good Pluto aspect; there is only a less bad one, but even this rather sidesteps the reality of all applications of Pluto, Pluto is an imperative to transform, most especially in the mode of configured signs and houses, and whilst a square might be experientially more stressful and tense it also provides a greater impetus to the necessary psychic metamorphosis that the lord of the underworld requires. A trine to Pluto therefore might not be nearly so distressing, but by the same token, it creates far less urgency such that the transformational urge might be put off, perhaps indefinitely, and (once again) if we understand that all aspects are squares, then the undealt-with trine to Pluto very quickly degenerates into a square-like experience. I read a lot of very subjective Plutonic philosophy from astrologers (although I am not for one minute proclaiming the superiority of my own philosophy in this respect), and it drives me nuts when I read about how somebody enjoys their Pluto aspects, they love to transform themselves and make-over their affairs in whatever house. This view more or less contains the unquestioned premise that Plutonic experience is positive experience. Certainly, it may – with hindsight – appear beneficial, but it is in the very act of having our most compulsive opposition to change challenged, broken down, and decimated that the benefit is manufactured: thus if we enjoy Plutonic experience it cannot be – by definition – Plutonic; it may be Uranian, or even (as I have seen) Lunar, since it might be easy to assume that those things which fluctuate and change in our lives are prompted from a deeper realm than the emotional ebb and flow of our innate monthly cycles.

unlikely to be first on the christmas card list
Pluto: unlikely to be first on the Christmas card list

I have seen numerous cases of Moon trine Pluto develop into a maternal relationship far more debilitating in the long term than any hard relation between said energies. The square creates an instantly accessible tension in the relationship which simply must be addressed, otherwise the relationship must suffer annihilation. The trine on the other hand makes the Pluto influence much less stressful; the experience of an overly controlling and powerful mother (negative matriarchalism) is still the main hallmark of the aspect but it is at the same time easier to live with: indeed, very often the mother’s power is often hailed as a benefic influence, although more subtly, it creates several difficult psychic conditions (for example an inability to assert needs, a tendency to overreact or to not react at all – no middle-ground), and just as compellingly, the impetus of Pluto under the trine is still to transform, it is just not felt in the same way.

Consider then the various combinations:

Sun: Combinations create a craving for leadership, the square makes the craving uncomfortable to the self, the trine or sextile creates the same craving but it is not felt as uncomfortable, while the opposition will literally bring opposition to the power-seeking ambition from others. The conjunction and ‘good’ aspects will change the experience of the craving, but it also supercharges the ego and sense of entitlement, thus it makes an element of psychological brutality feel easy and natural. The desire nature, the psychic impetus though is exactly the same in all cases, it is a megalomania to one extent or other, so therein lies the requirement to transform the will. The unchecked Sun Pluto trine will eventually run amok with easy access to dominating psychic force and overpower others. This will ultimately create disharmony within close relationships although its cause may not be easy to ascertain due to the very insidious and subtle emanations of Plutonic force.

Conjunct: Myra Hindley, David Koresh, Madonna, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Easy: Nicholas Cage, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Hoffa, Billy Connolly.
Hard: Tony Blair, Marlon Brando, Rutger Hauer, L. Ron Hubbard.

Moon: Here is intensity in emotion and a sense of feeling things too keenly. The Moon Pluto combination is extremely difficult because it creates volcanic feelings that may have a profound depleting effect on the spirit; sudden outbursts are quite possible under all combinations. The good aspects will create less of a sense of tension with these upheavals, leading the native to suspect that all is good and no doubt the cathartic aftermath of such events might even become a source of emotional affirmation, however, once again the need is to transform the emotional nature, and to find a way to channel the emotional intensity in a positive manner. Once again here is a great difficulty: because as with any combination of Cancer and Scorpio the tenacity is overpowering; Moon Pluto can hold on emotionally with such force that it quickly becomes overwhelming for others, this is as much true for the trine as the square: the square’s crisis is precipitated more quickly however and often much more spectacularly, but the trine is just as compelling and violent, even though it is not so sudden or painful. In any case, the feelings must be purified and exalted; emotional self-reliance must be developed so that others are not configured into the expulsion of harmful feeling-energy.

Conjunct: Jodie Foster, Ross Perot, Karen Carpenter, Gordon Brown
Easy: Agatha Christie, Ted Bundy, Danny de Vito, Stephen King
Hard: Tony Blair, Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, Meryl Streep

Mercury: All combinations give a propensity for deep thought, although where the trine is often darkly intense, the square comes across as simply compulsive. Good aspects increase the sharp aspects of communications, insight of course, but also cunning, sarcasm and a tendency to tell it rather frankly. With the square this tendency is ramped up until it becomes nigh-on brutal. Any aspect creates a tendency to persuasion but once again, in keeping with the principle of atomic weaponry, whilst these aspects give great power, it is one that we really need to forego if at all possible, because the fallout can be quite devastating. Thus even the trine or sextile can be quite devastating: the native may well pride themselves on their ability to happily cut others to shreds in an argument, but eventually they’ll find themselves with a reputation that may see others being less than honest with them out of apprehension, this will not fool Mercury Pluto for one minute, an element of paranoia creeps in and gradually, the trine degenerates into a rather compulsive and suspicious square.

Conjunct: Whitney Houston, Madonna, Sylvester Stallone, Robin Williams
Easy: Gary Kasparov, Pamela Anderson Lee, Annie Lennox, Uma Thurman
Hard: Winston Churchill, George Patton, Oprah Winfrey, Luciano Pavarotti

Venus: Here the desire nature gets a real injection of hot-sex and a tendency to experience devastating biological urges and psychically overwhelming attractions. In a sense this is a rather self-defeating combination because it creates almost irresistible attractions that in themselves evince plenty of fallout in the broader scope of life. Here stalkers are made (no really) so before you ditch that boyfriend with the Venus Pluto square, make sure you introduce him to your more attractive best friend first. Transformation is required in the love nature, and here there is almost an ascetic requirement, the love nature has to be purified and because of the Libra influence there is rarely any middle ground, the love-life can be almost completely pornographic, or alternately very pure and celibate, but the demon needs to be faced before there is much hope of redemption. The trine aspect might take great joy from his or her kinky indulgences, but the transformation will ultimately become compelling regardless.

Conjunct: Antonio Banderas, JK Rowling, Olivia Newton-John, Dean Martin
Easy: Tony Blair, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Charles Manson
Hard: Glenn Close, Kurt Cobain, Ted Bundy, Annie Lennox

Mars: Here is astonishing power, which might be experienced as an easy ability to subjugate others (with the easy aspects), or alternately as a tendency to brutality (with the hard ones); much depends on the quality of signs too, fixed squares in particular are incredibly powerful but quite frighteningly ruthless too. The square and opposition, because of their psychic discomfort often manifest out and provoke Plutonic urges in others, which is why this aspect (along with Mars square Uranus) often attract violence. The Mars – Pluto square is one of the most difficult and certainly needs transforming double-quick. There is also no good method of hiding Mars Pluto aspects and unless your profession is one that gives you an outlet for all that force an power (as with Muhammad Ali) then you will probably have the square or opposition resolved fairly early on in life. Gandhi had the opposition incidentally.

Conjunct: Cher, Princess Diana, Rodney King, Carl Lewis
Easy: Prince Charles, Ted Bundy, Albert Einstein, Germaine Greer
Hard: Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali, Margaret Thatcher, Kirk Douglas

Jupiter: Here is easy identification with power although it is slightly different in quality to the Sun combination because it is more philosophical than ego-driven, thus positive Jupiter Pluto aspects, of all Plutonic combinations in the astrology are often the least damaging; in every case though it creates a tendency to plutocracy and the belief that wealth should rightly confer status and power. The transformation here then is often a very material lesson; with hard aspects this is experienced abruptly and can create sudden material death, the loss of everything but the shirt on one’s back. The easy aspects are actually rather more subtle; often the native will spend half a life accumulating wealth and status only to realise late on that it hasn’t actually “done the trick”. I know which of the two roads I would rather take, and though it’s a very bitter pill, it beats slow-poison in my book. Once again, note the key observation: the transformation is the point, and easy or hard, quick or slow, you need to make it in this life.

Conjunct: Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, Tom Hanks, Sean Connery
Easy: John F. Kennedy , Lee Harvey Oswald, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan
Hard: Paul Newman, OJ Simpson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, JK Rowling

Saturn: Here is old “hard labour” and in my view the least desirable aspect in all of astrology. Hard aspects and conjunctions will quite literally make a prison sentence, either literally, or metaphorically wherever the combined planets are found, but once again, even with easy aspects the need to transform the combination is equally acute even if it isn’t necessarily felt to be. The best use of positive aspects are in the execution of difficult and laborious responsibilities; tasks that take many years to complete, or where spectacular endurance is required. The key again though lies in the fact that if you do not respond to that requirement, your psychic requirement to transform your responsibility in this way will create situations and events which resonate with this inner need. The hard aspects do this quickly, abruptly and very obviously, but in one sense at least that is a boon, because it allows you to get the job done.

Conjunct: Nick Drake, OJ Simpson, Billie Holiday, Stephen King
Easy: Jimi Hendrix, Rock Hudson, Marilyn Monroe, Robert Kennedy
Hard: Al Pacino, James Earl Jones, Rodney King, James Dean

The key observation about all Pluto aspects is that they channel too much force, power and compulsion into the combination which ultimately overwhelms others in the life (either insidiously and gently or abruptly and with tension dependent upon aspect) and this is the source of the classic Plutonic power-struggle, which win or lose creates mayhem, upheaval and poisonous fallout: hence the provocation to inner and spiritual transformation.

Help with Pluto (and other) problems can be found here.

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27 thoughts on “Advanced Vulcanology: Aspects of Pluto

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  1. This goes along with your article on Grand Trines for me. I have a Grand Trine in Earth that involves Pluto, Venus, and Saturn. So I’m trying to reconcile the concept that the Grand Trine gives enormous benefit that everyone but the owner can see along with the concept that there is no such thing as a good Pluto aspect, only a less bad one. Does having pluto involved in the Grand trine help to make the lessons less severe?

  2. Hi Lisa,
    The quality of that particular grand trine would be (imo) greatly influenced by whetehr you were born at the start or the end of the 1960s. The beginning might be slightly easier because with Saturn in its rulership and Venus in exaltation they would gain strength. Even so (traditionally speaking) you get a mutual reception by rulership and exaltation of Venus and Saturn and in good aspect they “see each other” which helps the exchange.

    My feeling is that this grand trine will create an ability to integrate great practical responsibility with a very powerful sexual and sensual nature; it would be interesting to look at your whole chart to see how it plays out by house and in respect to other aspects. One possible interpretation is that the strong biological drive (Ve/Pl) can be mastered with your great capacity for self-discipline (Sa/Pl), that is the higher vibration of it and something very similar happened in the case of Gandhi who used the extreme violence of Mars-Pluto to embody the most perfect principle of pacifism (that you see is the transformation that is required). Venus Pluto requires a sexual/sensual transformation, with Saturn a transformation of self-discipline.

    Now if you put all of that together you will probably get an idea that for yourself (subjectively) you may struggle with your intense passions and it might feel very difficult for you to master them, but to everyone else you no doubt appear to be the *complete* master of physical appetites. Does that make sense?

    Of course, it is possible for these things to degenerate if they are not handled, so if you are a debauched sex-fiend then you must let me know 😉 My guess would be that with Pluto in Virgo though you have a great deal of self-control within this configuration.

    I would say then that placing Pluto in a grand trine does make things easier simply because he is in an ‘easy circuit’ of energy, you will get plenty of practise, but the key to Pluto understanding is that he does not speak for himself, only through others (by natal aspect, progression, arc or transit), so you need to gauge the quality of Venus-Saturn and understand that Pluto gives superhuman force to that configuration if you want to get how it works. I am struggling to find a suitable analogy.

    Now Venus Saturn is all about self-control, a little renunciation, duty over love and Pluto makes that theme overwhelmingly intense in your life, the grand trine makes it into a gift that is so intrinsic to you that you may not even recognise it as a gift.


    1. Very glad to have stumbled on your blog, was kind of let on by a Plutonian impetus, no doubt:) Wanted to comment on the superhuman force, given by Pluto. I’m not sure if there is any suitable analogy in this world. I have Pl sextile Ve conj Moon and sextile Nept which trines back to Ve conj Moon so there is a triangle with Pluto on top, in Libra. My answers came through imaginative archetypal psychology of late James Hillman. Only later I started reading on astrology and found similar truths only in a bit different language or concepts. Hillman taught me to see through the literal perceptions, to use imagination and to watch the soul in the images. I was so convinced (obsessed even 🙂 that his ideas were a breakthrough and a Theraphy, and I remain convinced so 🙂 even his psychology is in a niche category. On the other hand, it just may suit my own plutonian quest 🙂 Ve conj Moon also inconjuncts Jup in Sagitarius – so philosophy and books must be in!
      The idea of personal demon, which is so lightheartedly being tossed around was my answer. That’s the superhuman force alright.

      Thank you for doing this blog – I hope you are continuing, still haven’t looked around much, but intent to.

  3. Thank you so much. “Duty over love” and “practical responsibility” are 2 themes in my life that I can understand. I greatly appreciate your feedback.

  4. Do you think that inconjuncts and sesqui aspects follow the above line of thinking? I have an exact venus/pluto inconjunct and am having an incredibly difficult time extracting myself (brain and body) from a man who has an exact mars/pluto sesqui, pluto/sun square, pluto sextile asc. and scorpio rising. The venus/mars/pluto descriptions you give seem uncannily relevant yet make me scared this will never go away!! also, our plutos are conjunct (.5 degree) so my venus/pluto aspect is mirrored in his pluto. there are, of course, many, many, strong and quite positive aspects between us and we have been involved of and on since we were children, literally. but i want to be free!!!!! any elaboration would be much appreciated.

  5. Thanks Jen, these things are always a little hard to visualise when written out, but the inconjunct is (I would say) a special case where Pluto is concerned and the same is true more generally of all the transpersonal planets. Wherever an inconjunct is found there is a need to make a connection but no obvious way of doing so; thus you will feel a need to supercharge Venus with Pluto energy but never be satisfied with the result, continual adjustment then is the key, but because you cannot ‘pick and choose’ with Pluto it has to be a big ask even under ideal circumstances. What I would say then is that you probably feel a need to manifest real depth, intensity and control in your relationship, but are always unhappy with how it manifests out. In fact, your comment has something of this ambience to it, needing to transform your relationship (and Pluto remember is all about letting go, about giving up, about less-is-more) but being dissatisfied with the outcomes.

    So, if you are always trying to adjust the way you charge up Venus with Plutonic force then you will eventually begin to question the entire game. I would say that your dissatisfaction might be because you never feel the intensity that you desire within this relationship, evidently it speaks in part to *why* you were attracted to such a Plutonic character in the first instance (the inconjunct is unrequited, it is a need that you cannot fulfil without extraordinary inventiveness), a hope that he might bridge the gap for you because he would manifest a lot of Pluto qualities.

    The solution though has to be of your own making. House positions would be helpful in seeing how you could reconcile these incompatible needs?

    Thus, if you are being driven by the inconjunct then you probably do not want to be free as you think, you just have run out of steam in trying to find a way to feed your appetite for supercharged emotional and sensual passions and for that reason have unconsciously decided to try something else. That more than anything is the cycle of the inconjunct, try, try, try again, give up, try something completely different.

    The requirement to transform the desire-nature is still present though, in any Venus Pluto aspect, signs and houses will give more insight for sure.

  6. wow. than you so much for all of that. a lot of it sounds familiar but i have to say, certainly doesn’t make me feel better about escaping it. you see my aries venus is technically in the 6th but 27 seconds shy of an exact conjunction to the descendant and ALSO conjunct 7th house saturn (2 degrees). oh, and venus is retrograde.

    venus/saturn/descendant is in exact trine to 10th house leo moon which is in exact sextile to Libra asc. (at spica). virgo pluto in the 11th. i also have an exact grand water trine conjunct aries point/mercury/n. node which is in exact opposition to a super tight jupiter/uranus/south node conj.

    my ven./sat./desc. is conjunct his n. node and moon. his moon is conjunct my aries sun. it goes on and on from there. i asked him recently if he thought we’d ever really be able to stop seeing each other. he said: “we can’t stop seeing each other because we can’t stop seeing each other.” do you do readings? would be easier to decipher. regardless, i really appreciate your thoughts.

  7. Thank you for such an insightful and informative article. Pluto rarely gets discussed with this much brutal honesty.

    I second Jen’s question on whether sesquiquadrates are worth the consideration or not – as my partner has sun(14Pisces/3rd) sesquisquare pluto(29Libra/11th) down to the minute, and the effects are noticeable.( the only other pluto aspects in the chart are a trine to Mercury, and Scorp rising). The struggle with craving leadership/recognition and at the same time the repulsion of it are very strong. The walk on through the darker side of life is her life’s story :). your opinion – does the sesquiquadrate warrant recognition?

    My sincere thanks ones again for your take on this little devil.

  8. Jimi,
    I absolutely agree that a partile sequiquadrate will be more influential than a 4 or 5 degree square, it is a fairly common observation that in self-aware types, minor aspects can become more crusial and felt than even Ptolemaic contacts.
    The theory rather deserves a workable analogy and an article. It is a question of refinement, rather like a gourmet and his relationship with food. The cultured palate will respond to subtleties and actually be rather switched off by the obvious. Do you follow that logic? By the same token, the evolved individual might feel that the obvious trine is somewhat jaded and thus might enjoy the subtle challenge of a semisquare better.
    It’s an interesting line of reasoning. I have read it expressed before in a slightly different format, possibly by Donna Cunningham or maybe Sue Tompkins, although the exact reference escapes me just now.

  9. Ah I failed to note the partile part of that aspect -thank you 🙂

    Absolutely – that analogy makes perfect sense.In my humble experience working with minor aspects and the frequency with which they appear to affect self-aware individuals is startling. Yet I have hardly come across enough material correlating this.
    The hard aspects especially – hence my confusion as to their importance, as it appears that there’s hardly any research conducted in that area *hint hint :)*

    Thank you for your informative and well-crafted answer.It is much appreciated.

    I think I’ll have another go at investigating this subject – you’ve inspired me.

  10. If there is no such thing as a good Pluto aspect, what’s the deal for those of us with Pluto aspects all over our charts? I’ve got Pluto in Virgo in the fourth house sextiling the Sun in Cancer in the second, squaring the Moon in Sagittarius in the sixth, squaring Jupiter in Gemini in the twelfth, opposing Saturn in Pisces in the tenth, conjuncting Uranus in Virgo in the fourth, sextiling Neptune in Scorpio in the sixth, and even semi-sextiling both Mercury and Venus in Leo in the third. And yes, I’m a very intense person to the point that the intensity is difficult even for me. What would you advise for someone with an overdose of Pluto aspects in their chart?

  11. Very interesting blog; I’m visiting for the first time – iirc;)
    I have the natal Jupiter-Pluto trine in Gemini-Libra, with Jupiter as my chart ruler. I think the trine in air would be less concerned about money, and more likely to visualize something like rule by philosophers as an ideal:) I’m quite interested in philosohy myself, but I’m not convince at all that I’d like to see pure-bred thinkers in charge! I’ve a lot of Libra and Jupiter is highly aspected, too, so i could go on forever about this… But I don’t want my public rants to get too long;)

    1. Jupiter Pluto does create a leadership impetus, it’s not a saturnine right to rule which can be very oppressive and dictatorial, but it carries a lot of charisma with it and the trine ought to simply make it absolutely fluid. Thus this kind of configuration is likely to make it very easy for you to take charge, most especially in close relationships. But there’s the Pluto thing you know, and Jupiter is not at all good in Gemini, I find it creates an issue with faith (in a very broad sense). Worst case, you try too hard to have a good time and expect your partner to follow your lead, whether or not they like the idea themselves. Pluto in Libra finds it difficult to compromise in relationships and the impetus to transform is often transferred onto the marriage partner as a result. Often (and in air) there can be a sense that one’s ideas are intrinsically more valuable than other people’s, most especially close partners, like spouses.
      On the plus side it’s a very charismatic, focused and attractive, and ought to bring you some considerable benefit.

  12. It’s interesting that Glenn Close has that hard aspect natally and she played it out in Fatal Attraction. I have pluto conjunct sun, trine moon, conjunct uranus and trine neptune plus it aspects mars and jupiter. I am obsessed with someone with venus square pluto…am I searching for my lost pluto puzzle piece? We have pluto square mars in composite and the energy between us is crazy. After reading all this I feel I need to be locked up!

  13. I found your article quite interesting. I’d like to know a lot more could you advise me on similar well written articles? I’m a Libra with 3 planets aspecting Pluto:
    Sun (2nd house)conjunct Pluto;
    Moon(in 3rd house) conjunct Pluto;
    Mars(in 3rd house)conjunct Pluto!

    Many Thanks.

  14. I have Sun trine Pluto, Mars trine Pluto and Mercury trine Pluto. Ppl find me intense, angry, stubborn. I can also be obsessive, compulsive about certain things n ppl.

    My question is: when you speak about transformation, what do you mean? How do we transform these energies to help us in our lives and relationships instead of it deteriorating into power struggles and people we love leaving us because they cannot handle our demands, which are draining to them. Please answer. This has turned into a great issue for me and I am having a crisis bcoz someone very important to me has left me and I did not even know that the relationship was draining them to that extent.

  15. Wow, this article has been around a while; still, I’m feeling compelled to comment. So again, Jeremy’s incredible knowlege sharing has validated my recent experience with my 4th house Moon (Aries) trine 8th house Pluto in Leo. I wouldn’t want to say too much more here, very personal, and all, but I am wondering about Pluto trine ascendant and how to delineate that. It seems that [personal] planets are what we consider most always, and I’m wondering if there’s some basic tenent of astrology that I have missed in all these years. Should I consider it a Jupiter/Pluto aspect (trine) because of the Sagittarius rising? Or what? It’s a fairly tight orb I am dealing with, 2 degrees. Is this matter (rising sign vs actual planets) about traditional astrology as opposed to modern astrological theory/practices?

    Also, is Jeremy very very busy with his book? I am ramping up, getting ready to ask for a second consultation. The first was three(?) years ago.

  16. oh my god, my Pluto is in trine with Mars, Mercury, sextile Neptun, Venus, Uranus, square moon, square jupiter, opposite ascendant ( is a big square)

  17. So does Pluto conjunct Chiron bring out the more “wounding” part of Chiron. They both conjunct my Sun and all three of them are in the 3rd house conjunct the IC. Also they are all in Sagittarius.

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