Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Pluto Challenges


July 28, 2006


Dear Eric


Over the years, I've become aware of stressful Sun/Pluto contacts because my mother was born with Sun in opposition to Pluto (early Aquarius/Cancer -- January 24, 1936). Astrology texts say that this is an indicator of someone who was tyrannical in a past life and now meets similar people in this one. Also that this person is dictatorial, intimidating, and has a horrible temper. All true of my mother. I've noticed that I've had a series of friendships with women who also have Sun/Pluto aspects. Three of my past friends had Sun square Pluto. All were Sagittarius with Pluto in Virgo.


All were very difficult friendships for me. Texts indicate that these are people who will run over others without a thought for the harm it may cause. One colleague at work -- a woman in authority over my work -- also had Sun in opposition to Pluto. And a longtime friend has Sun conjunct Pluto. Texts also indicate that these individuals have very difficult relationships with their fathers. Some have absent fathers.


So recently, with the death of former Enron CEO Ken Lay on the local news in Houston, his birth date was revealed to be April 15, 1942. I looked up his chart and discovered that he has Sun square Pluto (late Aries/early Leo.) I surmised that this aspect gave him the audacity to think that he was more important that those whose trust he carried -- his employees and stockholders, and to run roughshod over their interests. I suspect that he could not face his own wrong doing, and so conveniently had a heart attack and died to further escape responsibility. Can you comment further on Sun/Pluto contacts, particularly the stressful ones?


Thank you and regards,





Dear Tyra

It sounds like you're having a hard time with the Sun-Pluto energy pattern. Plenty of people do. Unfortunately we don't have your chart to see how this expresses itself in your astrology. But let's do a little overview of Pluto and see where that leads us.


Speaking as objectively as we can, I don't think you could credit Sun-Pluto with anything but intensity. Intense in what way is up to the individual involved. While Pluto possesses certain traits, they are not inherently filled with, or lacking, morality. One's chart is one's vehicle; with it, you go where you can, and where you want. Your chart is your tool; like a knife, you can make dinner with it, or you can attack people with it. And I am extremely reluctant to associate any astrology with a past life condition unless I have other confirmation that this is true. Reading it in a book is NOT enough.


Pluto is a particularly sharp knife; a hot torch; a point in the personality where there may be focus to the level of obsession. This can be self-obsession, or an extreme focus on a viewpoint, or on growth. It can also emerge as celebration and revelry, or the drive to get rid of the old and change ourselves, or society, for better. Pluto represents the brightest light of soul, and some of the deepest shadow of psyche. But it does not grant, or remove, integrity. Our decisions do these things. Astrologers need to be particularly sensitive to the fact that while the planets shape our personalities and may reflect our karma, everyone really does have a choice in what they do and how they respond to existence.


Admittedly, the kinds of dimensions that Pluto usually represents are not the ones that people commonly do well with, inherently, or as they express themselves as passion, sex, power and the extremely strong personality type. Face it, the Western world is pretty milquetoast, and these days, the solution to everything is to ignore it or stuff it. But we are still learning about the Pluto archetype. One writer who really gets it is Richard Tarnas, whose new book "Cosmos and Psyche" I reviewed here a few weeks ago. He compares the Pluto archetype to Dionysus. We could use a lot more of this particular god these days.


"The Plutonic-Dionysian principle appears to act by compelling, empowering, and intensifying what it touches, with profoundly transformative and sometimes overwhelming, destructive consequences."


With regards to Ken Lay, we would expect any person capable of focusing their energy well enough to found a major corporation to have some Sun-Pluto contact. The Sun is particularly useful in the equation because the sense of self, ego, glory, expression (whatever you like), needs to be focused in the charts of pioneers, largely because they need to blaze a trail and face adversity. Kenny Lay, whatever may have become of him, certainly did both.


I'm aware of the strong bias against Sun-Pluto aspects in astrology texts, which are often described as "stressful" -- the conjunction, square and opposition. They are stressful in different ways. The conjunction of the Sun to any planet can create so much emphasis on the other planet, focused through one's sense of self, that the rest of the world seems to lack it entirely. A square is often an internal level of stress; most people alternate between the two sides of a square, back and forth, for years. Some people, if they are devoted to maturity, integrate the square and take it as the enormous gift to the character that it becomes.


An opposition can work within relationships. Sun-Pluto is going to need to be truly realistic about authority, whether from the outside or that which they emanate themselves. They may have what are called authority issues, or they may figure out that they are powerful; at which point they will hopefully do something constructive with their power. Circumstances of life may predispose either creative or destructive tendencies, but the choice is always our own.


Even the most enlightened writers can come out biased against these placements. I'll give an example in a moment.


But if you read most astrology books, you get a pretty ugly picture of Pluto. Let's use one of the first writers to take up Pluto in the English language, Isabel Hickey. She sees the difficult side but also offers remedies, of a sort.


Of the square, she says, "There is too much self confidence which borders on egotism. However, this may be a cover up for a deep-rooted inferiority complex." But she adds, "The person with this aspect must go deep to regenerate his negative attitudes as there is a resistance to change, along with a very strong self-will."


Of the opposition, she states: "The ego which has been blown out of proportion must now be reduced to its proper size."


The bias I see is that she does not leave room for people to express these aspects creatively as a matter of freewill or instinct. It is true that most natives with Sun-Pluto in a conjunction, square or opposition seem to face a kind of uphill struggle, but they also have the resources to work with the challenges they face.


There are, however, plenty of times when people take what you might call the low road. You cannot usually tell this from the chart.


I was fortunate in that before I started reading astrology books, I was reading The Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley, who takes a truly enlightened view of Pluto, equating it with the "prime mover" of ancient cosmology.


In practical language, Wikipedia states, "The term prime mover is used to describe the main power source where the application is complex. For instance, the engine which pulls a semi-trailer is sometimes referred to as a prime mover, although the term is much more common in industrial applications. Simply, in the case of an automobile, the engine is the prime mover whilst associated equipment such as the electrical generator, power steering pump, fuel pump etc., are secondary movers."


He is not saying it's good or bad; he's saying it's primary and not anything else. It would be great if more people recognized Pluto as an essential elemental force in their psyche and consciously put it to creative use. Not everyone chooses to do this, however.


Personally, I would suggest you do two things. One is get to know your own Pluto placement very well. Second, I suggest you seek and find examples of people who are using Pluto as a tool of construction, creativity, problem-solving and focus. Notice their inner processes; listen to their story.


Yours truly,


Eric Francis