Few of us make it out of adolescence without forming a few ideals about love. Whether we know it or not, we enter the playing field of adult relationships with certain built-in fantasies and expectations. We know how our partners are supposed to treat us, how they’re supposed to react to our needs, how they’re supposed to feel about us.
Unfortunately, some of our ideas about life and love may be closer to fairy tales than to reality. Enter the relationship lessons from hell, courtesy of Pluto and Uranus.
Both of these outer planets are notorious for shaking up our lives, and their wake-up calls are extremely painful when love is involved. Plutonian/Scorpionic and Uranian/Aquarian relationships can rip your heart to confetti and leave you crying hysterically on the bathroom floor. Both types of relationships have heartbreak in common, but how are they different? Better yet, what’s the point? What are we supposed to be getting from all this?
The hallmarks of the Plutonian encounter are easy to spot. Here’s a typical scenario: you meet this wonderful guy and become madly obsessed with him. After six months of mind-blowing intimacy, things start to deteriorate. The tone of the relationship becomes controlling and manipulative. There are screaming fits of unreasonable jealousy, lies, deceit, and sometimes verbal or physical abuse. There’s often an addictive quality about it — it’s a cycle you can’t seem to break, even though you know your life is falling apart around you. You break up, you make up, you break up again, ad nauseum.
Pluto presides over death, power, deep sexuality, and transformations of all kinds. People who have lived through Plutonian encounters have the scars to prove it, but if they’re lucky, they also get something much more important: the shattering of certain dangerously childish illusions.
People aren’t always good, even the people who love us. Fear, selfishness, and the desire to dominate are an ugly but unavoidable part of human nature. If we make it out of high school believing that loved ones are always unconditionally invested in our welfare, we have no defenses against the raw, self-serving side of human nature. We have no boundaries, no canniness, no internal justification to say “Stop it!” and truly mean it.
Pluto shows us the dark side of love. It’s up to us to face it realistically. Once Pluto’s lessons have been truly accepted, we find ourselves better able to spot fear-based manipulation, even if we’re the culprit. Eventually, forgiveness begins — not forgiveness for the person in question (they usually have to be ditched), but forgiveness for ourselves and for the whole sad, silly, bent, and beautiful human race.
Now, enter the Uranian experience. Uranus presides over humanitarianism, abstraction, and freedom from convention and routine. Uranian relationships can also leave you sobbing in the shower, but their ultimate lesson is somewhat different.
Here’s the scenario: You meet a girl and become close friends; at some point you realize you’re falling for each other. After a few months of great fun and dating, you decide you’d like to take it to the next level. You ask her to move in with you. She says no, she’s not ready to give up her freedom. You begin to press her for proof of her long-term intentions, and one day she simply disappears with no warning. When you run into her in the coffeehouse a month later, she says there’s no hard feelings and sits down to have a chat like nothing’s happened. There you are, still a blubbering wreck, and she acts like it was no big deal. How could anyone be so cold, and how could you have been so wrong about her?
Guess what? You’ve just become the casualty of a different set of childish illusions. These illusions have to do with the subjective nature of emotions. Most of us walk around assuming that our emotional reality is the emotional reality — we know what love is, and we know we’re owed.
We assume that somehow our feelings of longing, desire, pleasure, and pain are mandates to the world at large. All too often, we can’t sense the difference between our emotions and our selves, so that emotions (based entirely on the actions of a few bodily chemicals) get tangled up with our moral will, our higher selves. We set up expectations based on a set of totally unfounded ideas about what love is supposed to be.
These ready-made expectations place unreasonable limits on love, sometimes crippling ones. Love doesn’t always respond well to demands, and assumptions are really demands in disguise. What we’re saying to Love is this: “If you can’t show up in a form that makes me totally comfortable and secure, then go away!” Sadly, it usually obliges.
Uranian lessons are all about separateness. If we accept the separation of ourselves from our emotional assumptions, we can enjoy a wider variety of interactions with the world. We don’t make the same emotional demands, nor do we feel the need to respond to the emotional demands of others. We discover a new sense of self-sufficiency, which ultimately gives us the freedom to make choices that are better for each of us as individuals. We discover new ways to love.
Relationships based on the energy of the outer planets — Pluto and Uranus included — are the “big lesson” relationships. Through them we learn a few broad and sweeping truths about life itself and our place in it. The coursework can be heartbreaking; and for better or worse, once you’re dragged kicking and screaming into the outer planet’s School of Hard Knocks, you’ll usually be forced to repeat the classes until you pass.
You can pass, though. And with the diploma comes a broader, more realistic, and ultimately more satisfying understanding of love, life, and human nature itself.
Believe it or not, it’s worth it.
About the Author
Laura F. Walton is a writer, artist, and arts instructor based in Texas. She has been a practicing astrologer for nearly ten years; she specializes in areas of sexuality, individuality, and creative self-discovery. She has contributed forecasts for print media, and currently provides monthlies on her blog Astro What?
Comment below: What lessons have you learned from Uranian or Plutonian heartbreak?