Nothing stays the same
Everyone will change
No one stays the same
It’s hard to imagine a more fitting description of the energy of Pluto than these words by composer and lyricist Bernard Ighner. While his time of birth is unknown, there is a high probability that this jazz artist was born with the Moon in a trine to Pluto. A trine. Easy as pie, right? Not necessarily. When it comes to Pluto, any lunar aspect—whether one considers it a flowing or dynamic alignment—comes with an inevitable degree of regular upheaval or change.
A trine represents an unobstructed channel for two planetary energies to communicate within. That often means the energy is easily accessed through one’s awareness and focused intention. Contrast such an open and unobstructed channel with an opposition. There is a channel, but it is blocked in some way. Think of a bottleneck or a narrow strait through which energy must pass with considerably less ease and flow. Now imagine what that bottleneck might feel like if it involves the Moon and Pluto in your birth chart.
The Moon signifies one’s emotional body and how one responds to and processes their feelings. Astrologer Steven Forrest speaks of the Moon as representative of one’s reigning need. Taken in that light, the Moon is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. The sign and house placement of the natal Moon describes the conditions one requires in order to feel nourished, comfortable and safe. The Moon is also associated with motherhood and the instinct to nurture and care for ourselves and others. As we develop from infants, through adolescence, and into adulthood, we learn to become our own caretakers and, hopefully, the mother archetype is internalized in a wholesome way.
Of course, the journey from infant to adult is anything but linear. This correlates with the fact that the Moon is the very embodiment of cycles—the antithesis of linear motion—as the fastest moving body in the solar system. When the Moon changes signs or applies in aspect to another planet, the emotional landscape shifts rather rapidly, just as the tides do.
Slow and Steady
Pluto, on the other hand, is the slowest-moving planet that has rulership of a zodiac sign. As compared to the Moon’s 29-day journey through the zodiac, Pluto will take nearly 250 years to transit the entire wheel. So it’s quite a juxtaposition to connect the fastest moving celestial body with the slowest one. We’re talking tortoise and hare. And—spoiler alert—it’s the tortoise that actually wins the race. The Moon is moving at top speed, a la hare; Pluto appears to barely budge, a la tortoise.
In order to avoid a head-on collision, it’s the faster car that needs to adapt its path and velocity, not the the one that’s moving at crawling pace. Using that illustration then, when Pluto and the Moon meet in opposition, the onus is on the Moon—the emotional body—to adapt and to refine its expression in order to accommodate Pluto’s long-term pressure to change.
Perhaps it’s hard to conjure up feelings of emotional refinement in connection to the obsessive and compulsive energy of Pluto, aka Lord of the Underworld. Pluto represents self evolution through confrontation and struggle. The Underworld that Pluto rules is comprised of all of those disowned bits and parts that we refuse to integrate, much less acknowledge. Until that happens, we tend to project Pluto’s energy on to others.
Change or Be Changed
When Pluto and Moon are engaged in any kind of natal aspect, there will be an imperative to evolve one’s emotional nature and responses. And a trine won’t necessarily feel like a walk in the park. However, it may imbue one with an acceptance that change is a constant in life, and that it is usually for the good. An opposition, on the other hand, may not feel like an invitation to shift, but like a battle or a power play. It takes a great deal more applied awareness to acknowledge one’s shadow when an opposition is present between any two planets—and all the more so when those planets are Moon and Pluto.
And yet all planetary angles are imbued with cosmic medicine. Over time, the opposition brings into one’s awareness one’s own reflection and, eventually, wholeness or integration of two seemingly different aspects of self. That’s the rosy picture. Getting to that place of self-awareness and integration, though, is not quite so rosy when Pluto is at the controls. Controls. Now there’s a Plutonian word. The Moon in opposition to Pluto can pressure one into thinking s/he must gain and/or maintain emotional control. That’s a trap, mind you—control. For the moment we think we’ve got it, life brings about a new circumstance… and so change is upon us again.
No wonder we don’t grow ourselves up alone. Once parental authority yields to self autonomy, we start growing ourselves up with our chosen friends, lovers, partners. With peers, bosses, even strangers. All of the figures we come into contact with on a daily (Moon) basis have the potential to teach us something new about ourselves. Those born with a Moon-Pluto opposition will regularly encounter their disowned splinters and fragments in other people, even if they don’t recognize it as such.
When the Student Is Ready
We tend to attract the people whom we are most ready to learn from. In keeping with the idea of the Moon representing one’s reigning need, whatever issue is calling the loudest to be resolved will be embodied in whomever shows up next in one’s life. The person whose natal chart has this Moon-Pluto signature will likely attract people who have a great deal of intensity. Or perhaps there’s a manipulative streak. Maybe it feels like a control freak has entered the scene. It could be that there’s a fixation on sex or some type of behavior that is deemed culturally taboo. Maybe this person’s life has been marked by trauma or profound loss. Or it could be that someone comes along who’s got some kind of obsessive and/or compulsive attribute. Those may be some of the shadow aspects of Pluto. Higher vibrational Pluto energy can show up in the form of a healer or shaman, a psychologist, a mid-wife or grief counselor.
Consider that the opposition aspect is, by nature, one that brings us into confrontation with another. And that ‘other’ is no less than yourself in the guise of another being. Some people thrive on confrontation; it’s how they most effectively triumph—ultimately over their less refined character traits. A person born with a Moon-Pluto opposition is unlikely to back down from a good fight and they may, indeed, get off on it. So it’s wise to consider relationship strategies within this context, because not everyone will welcome an intense emotional battle with the kind of frequency that Moon-Pluto may. And that can lead to unnecessary heartache for all parties.
If you’re marked by Moon and Pluto in opposition, you may want to adopt some of the agreements that are made between people in BDSM relationships (which are, by the way, Plutonian in nature). Often those with a natal Moon-Pluto opposition have the gift of discerning what’s going on beneath people’s social masks; that ought to help you determine with whom it is safe to engage in intense struggles with. A soul-beneficial strategy is to commune with people who will help you recognize the virtue of connecting to your inner power source, rather than attempting to exercise power over others.
How about a safe word that can be invoked by either party when there’s a crucial (and potentially difficult) conversation that needs to occur? If the safe word gets spoken, then the conversation is tabled until both parties can encounter (there’s the opposition aspect) each other from a more evolved (Pluto) emotional space (Moon).
For some, the idea of having a crucial but necessary conversation is terrifying; it triggers issues of perceived safety or survival. A Moon-Pluto opposition can really up the stakes. If that’s the case, it may help to have a rehearsal of the conversation with someone you can trust who has the emotional depth to meet you in that sacred and vulnerable space. Think of it as Plutonian role-play without the sexual contact. Should you adopt this practice, then you will ‘play’ not yourself, but the person with whom you must have this scary convo. Your trusted friend or partner will ‘play’ you. He or she will open the conversation as you. You (as the person with whom you will eventually have the actual conversation) can counter with some or all of the ways that you can imagine being countered in the real conversation. Your role-play partner may have some surprisingly brilliant ways to reply to your “yes, but’s….” You may learn some useful coping techniques, gain some handy phrasing to keep up your sleeve, and increase your courage to meet your perceived foe on an equal footing. That is, after all, one thing a Moon-Pluto opposition pushes you towards: sharing equal footing.
In the aftermath, you may also want to plan a reward of sorts. (Is it the equivalent of the post-sex cigarette?) The element of your Moon sign will help you determine the kind of activity that will most comfort you or bring about a sense of reward. Regardless, if you’ve got integration or grounding work to do in order to apply beneficial changes into your emotional landscape, then it will help to have a solo activity.
Everyone of us has natal markers that indicate the ways in which we are most wired to experience a breakthrough. Those with the Moon in opposition to Pluto will ‘do’ their growth in an intense, often confrontational manner, over a long period of time. Yet Pluto is connected to quantum growth, given its connection to sub-atomic particles. Thankfully, Moon-Pluto people possess a storehouse of regenerative powers, along with the will to overcome their perceived imbalances. By adopting some relationship and coping strategies—along with appropriate partners who can help along the way—Moon-Pluto peeps can eventually become way-showers for the rest of us.