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.
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.