The Pluto Cycle
Like Mars, Pluto represents a great source of personal power within us. However, in order to harness Pluto's power, we must transform it. Our greatest source of power and strength starts out as our greatest fear and deepest pain. Something in us hurts deeply for reasons we may or may not understand, and we have deep rooted fears surrounding the possibility that these wounds may be triggered again. We may inherit or form these wounds early in childhood, when a child's openness can make them especially vulnerable to being hurt by others. Whatever the cause, we grow up learning to just barely cope and work around these things that hurt and scare us. We build in defense mechanisms that protect us from getting hurt again. So often, though, those defense mechanisms stay in place even when we have outgrown their need and have become strong enough (maybe just barely) to begin to face and heal our wounds ourselves. This is where the transformation comes in. In order to claim the deep rooted power that we have in our souls, we must face what scares us and deal with what has hurt us. Like a wound that was covered up, it has festered and continues to sap our energy, will, and strength. When we air out that wound as tenderly as we can, we can begin to heal it. We start to transform that fear into power, because we have faced our own personal hell and come out alive, and when you can do that, you are powerful, and you can feel it and also help others who have suffered the same kind of fears and wounds to begin to overcome them as you are.
Pluto in Transit
When we are in a Plutonian time, meaning transiting Pluto is touching a sensitive point in our natal chart, we are asked to transform that part of ourselves. Something in us is ready to let go of the old, comforting lies we have succumbed to and move toward a greater truth. I always think of a Plutonian transit as a cosmic face peel of sorts. The truth lies under the surface of the old skin and we must do the often painful and not so pretty work of uncovering it, by getting rid of what we have outgrown. It is time to embrace the Phoenix: allow something to die that is done living and therefore make room for yourself to be reborn. In the practical sense, it's not all that glorious. While this is one of the most deeply meaningful transits you can go through, it is never easy -- it is intense and raw. We generally experience something in our lives, literally or symbolically, dying. Letting go of something, even if we sense it's for the best, is difficult and can be painful. We are going through a period where we can't see what's in our future, only what we have lost, not yet what we are to gain.
The Plutonian Cycle
Pluto moves so slowly that we only experience a small number of aspects to itself. In the average human life cycle, the most useful aspect to discuss here is the square. The Pluto square, because of Pluto's elliptical orbit, happens at a different age for different generations, so it is impossible to pin down an age here.
The location of Pluto in our natal charts is a place where we can find deep truths and power about ourselves if we are willing to claim it. Pluto represents our greatest fears and wounds. So, when Pluto squares itself, the issue is pushed. You have probably had several opportunities and prods by the Universe to face these issues during your life and hopefully have taken advantage of them to some extent. However, when Pluto squares itself it indicates that the tension in your life and the situations that you are getting yourself into because of these fears & wounds is mounting to a breaking point. The time has come where the defense mechanisms and even lies that you told yourself to comfort yourself and hide from these fears are now hindering you too much and showing up in your life and choices in damaging ways. The guardian at the door to your power is fear (and it's certainly frightening) and you are asked to square off with him. This is the nature of Pluto work, regardless of whether or not it's squaring itself. The fact that it is squaring itself now is an indicator to you that it is time to deal with the fears more directly, honestly, and diligently than you ever have.
If you have been hiding from these fears and claiming the power that you are destined to claim, then the situations that you have been using as a crutch fall apart. You are stripped of all that is false in your life surrounding this issue -- beliefs fall apart, faith crumbles, material and emotional losses may accompany. You are given the chance to renew your faith from the foundation up, by forming a foundation of truth. What in life holds real meaning for you? You now have the opportunity to get your priorities straight because what you were allowing to hold you back is now gone. Something in us, whether we go willingly or are dragged, says it's time to stop hiding from the power inside of us and playing victim to our subconscious dodges. This is no time to be a wimp. Darkness and fear must be turned to wisdom and courage and you are thrust into the ring to deal with the beast.
We may feel empty during this time, like all meaning to our lives has been lost. It can feel overwhelming. When we rely on defense mechanisms to deal with our fears (or avoid them, rather), it's like building a house on sand. It's meant to only be a temporary residence until we are strong enough. If we hold on to those crutches too long, the sandy foundation washes away, and the house along with it. We can feel like we are left with nothing. We are asked to re-align ourselves with what really means something to us, and are asked to courageously rebuild on a proper foundation.
During this time we are vulnerable to falling under the rubble of the hurricane and never getting up again; to give up, to believe that we have been kidding ourselves all along and that life really is empty and meaningless. If we focus too much on the loss that we have experienced and the void left behind, or we scramble too quickly to fill the void with something else just as fake and meaningless, then we miss the point. When we face our fears, we have gained a power inside of ourselves that no house on sand could ever supply us with. We free up all the energy that was being sucked down into the black hole of defending and dancing around our fears, avoiding our wounds. At the Pluto square, we now have a chance to rebuild on truth and meaning, using the power that can be found inside of ourselves at this time.