“It seems that destiny has taken a hand,” said Rick Blaine in the timeless movie Casablanca. For most of us, the sensibility that fate and destiny play an inexorable role in love is the stuff of fairy tales or movies. For natives with Pluto in the Seventh House, truer words were never spoken.
Seemingly self-assured, confident and in control, Rick Blaine was the master of his corner of the Universe – a “gin joint,” as he described it – where Casablanca’s international stable of war refugees gathered to wait out the onerous process of obtaining an exit visa. “Everyone goes to Rick’s,” proclaimed Captain Renault, local legal authority of the town, he himself a regular customer. People knew where they stood with Rick. “I don’t stick my neck out for anyone,” Rick said more than once. Coolly distant, no one had a hold on Blaine’s affections. When a girlfriend – who drank Rick’s liquor generously before she saw him – demanded to know where he was the night before, he replied that he didn’t remember that far back. When she asked if she would see him that night, he replied that he didn’t make plans that far in advance. When she fell apart emotionally making a scene, he had an employee whisk her away from the bar. Affair over. Anyone who has ever has loved a Pluto in the Seventh native and not engaged his or her heart has felt such a bitter sting at the end of the relationship. Didn’t he or she ever care?
Such a question is pointless with a Pluto in Seventh individual. Like all Pluto-ruled positions when it comes to love, Pluto in the Seventh finds the process of loving someone so intense that the rest of the world and all its players seem like a lifeless shell of reality. Long before some luckless human falls for the charms of a Pluto in the Seventh person, they have given their hearts to an impossible love. Even after the relationship ends for one reason or another, the memory of the relationship takes on a life of its own, twisting the motives and purposes of the Pluto in the Seventh individual. Rick cast off his freedom-fighting ways after his Paris affair ended, and wandered down to Casablanca, where he established the Café and started a life that is starkly reminiscent of the Lord of the Underworld, Hades. All manner of seedy activities happened in the glitter world of the Café: sex, drunkenness, gambling, theft, black market activity and visa scams occurred under Rick’s watch, but he acted like nothing bad happened – just people enjoying a drink. In fact, the Café was Rick’s personal torture chamber, where he could compare the suffering in his heart with the suffering of others and still come out on top. Nothing compared to his pain, not even that of young women forced to trade in their virtue for exit papers for a safer life. Even when visa peddler Ugarte was shot to death by the police in front of the Café’s customers, Rick proclaimed, “I’m sorry for the little excitement, you can all go back to having a good time.”
Rick’s world and his careful reconstruction of his life falls to pieces when his Paris love, Ilsa, walks in the Café on the arms of the one man Rick respects, a world renowned freedom fighter. Not only was she with someone else, she was with someone “better” than him. We watch as Rick drinks himself almost into oblivion, while his piano player, Sam, cajoles him to go home. “There is no reason to stay,“ says Sam. “She’ll be here,” declares Blaine, certain as any Pluto in Seventh person would be that his obsession is hers, too. Indeed, she does arrive. What follows is a scene reminiscent of Nickelback’s song, This Is How You Remind Me. Ilsa tries to explain what happened. Getting all Neptunian on Rick, she starts, “Let me tell you a story….“ But Pluto trumps Neptune every time. “Let me tell you a story,” Rick cuts in, “of a man waiting at the railroad station with a stupid look on his face, because his guts were just kicked in.” Though she walks out angry and disappointed, you just know that this was not the last of the story, and with Pluto in the Seventh, it never is – unless the native follows the only escape plan possible.
Though it is easy to glibly say that Pluto is the planet of transformation, the actual process is painful and torturous. Whenever Pluto is involved, the Lord of the Underworld demands that you relive your angst over and over again until you’ve had enough of it and want things to change. For some people with Pluto in the Seventh, even though a memory is all they have, they’ll cling to the memory of that lost love like it was the only thing that matters. Make no mistake; this is an addiction as potent as any drug. There is only one solution: Release.
We do not see Rick’s moment of actual transformation. Maybe it was in the hinted-at last night of passion shared. Or maybe it was when Ilsa submitted to her feelings and asked Rick to think for them both. One or both moments of power gave Rick the ultimate momentum to change the fate of not just three people, but perhaps the fate of the world. If Rick ran off with Ilsa, would it shatter the man, Ilsa’s freedom-fighting husband, on whom so many people depended on for inspiration in one of the world’s darkest hours? And how would Rick and Ilsa ultimately feel about an ill-gotten life together?
“It doesn’t take much,” said Rick to Ilsa, “to see that problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this world.” In looking beyond himself and his pain, Rick was able to let go and move on into a new life free of the emotional shackles of his past. And so too must a Pluto in Seventh person. He or she must ultimately realize that “a kiss is just a kiss.”
About the Author
Beth Turnage is a professional astrologer with over twenty years experience counseling clients in career and relationship issues. She writes an astrology column for a weekly newspaper along the Connecticut shoreline and blogs about astrology at Astrology Media Press.