Pluto in the Fifth: The Alchemy of Love

Bell Book and Candle

Kim Novak in Bell, Book and Candle

Gillian Holroyd, a free spirited Greenwich Village gallery owner selling rather gruesome primitive art, is bored, restless and dissatisfied with her life. Beautiful, college educated, and financially independent, she is ahead of the curve of the usual late 1950’s woman. She is a woman in charge and in control. What she doesn’t have, however, is love. There’s a special reason for this. Gillian Holroyd is a witch with supernatural abilities. In the landscape of the 1958 movie Bell, Book and Candle, love is forbidden to witches if they wish to keep their powers.

When we meet Gillian, she is working in her shop on Christmas Eve, and hapless building neighbor Shep Henderson, a book publisher, wanders into her shop to use the telephone. Gillian admires him from afar, so as she chats him up, she is disappointed to learn that he is engaged to be married. Worse yet, as she later finds out, he is engaged to an old college adversary. For spite, revenge and just because she can, she decides to cast a spell so that Shep would fall in love with her. What she does not anticipate is the rebound effect of the spell, and she finds herself falling in love with Shep.

Gillian struggles with the unintended consequences of her sloppy spellcraft, and finds to her dismay that she was not an unwilling victim of her own spell. As her powers fade, the events of her and Shep’s life slide out of control. While the whole of New York’s underground of witches and warlocks faces exposure, Gillian and Shep experience the highs and lows of love. Gillian must make a choice. Should she submit to her feelings for Shep or should she forswear them and regain her powers?

Natives with Pluto in the Fifth House share with Gillian the themes of power and control in the matters of romance. Like the witches and warlocks of Bell, Book and Candle, love for these folks is an emotion that must be locked down rather than expressed. Feelings of love and affection have a frightening intensity and threaten to spin the lives of these natives out of control. Yet, Pluto is a planet that will not be denied. Suppressing the urge to love is like depriving these natives of light and air.

As many of us know, control is an illusion, and anything we attempt to control may consume us in the effort to do so. In any matter relating to Pluto you are not so much offered choices as to what to do, but choices as to what you submit to. The life mission of Pluto in the Fifth individuals is to decide whether to submit to love or submit to their inner demand to control their feelings.

Yet Pluto doesn’t ask, it demands that we transform the area it rules for a productive expression of its energies. Like the nuclear process that Pluto rules, it will nuke us over and over again until we come to a pure expression of Pluto’s intent. The mission of Pluto in the Fifth is to live pure and universal love without games, without control, without conditions. It is a deep and abiding alchemy that shakes the roots of self and soul if we submit to the process.

Does Gillian submit to the process the alchemy of love, or does she reject it? If you have Pluto in the Fifth, you know the intensity of this struggle.

About the Author

Beth TurnageBeth 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.

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About Beth Turnage

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.


  1. Wow, excellent article, Beth! I have Pluto in my 5th natally (in Scorpio, no less), and it is EXACTLY as you describe. In trying to establish better relationship habits, it’s not simply as easy as “Oh, just don’t do what you were doing before.” (Most of the time you weren’t even DOING anything before, it’s so beyond your control.)

    I will definitely have to add Bell, Book and Candle to my Netflix queue. I love Kim Novak, I love witchcraft, and I love Pluto in the 5th, even though it hurts me. For what it’s worth, I also loved Basic Instinct, but I’m sure that’s to be expected. 🙂

  2. i also have pluto in scorpio in the 5th house
    icannot thank you enough for this article ! ive searched this aspect many times before and still have been pretty confused as to what it exaclt means ..SO THANK YOU!!

  3. @Lucy and Mermaid–

    Thank you very much! I do not have Pluto in the Fifth myself, (it is in my fourth) but I do have Scorp on the Seventh and a very hot Mars in Taurus/Neptune in Scorpio opposition, (running from the 12th to the 6th house) so I am no stranger to Plutonic love experiences.

    Lucy, I love your phrase “better relationship habits”. So on point for someone with a Pluto/Scorpio signature embedded in their love nature.

    Mermaid, I am so glad you found this post useful. I think you may not have found succinct articles on this aspect because even for those that experience it, it is pretty hard to write about it. Who would want to spill their guts on that period in their lives? And though I adore Jeffrey Wolf Green, (author on two major books on Pluto) sometimes his writing is a little undigestible.

  4. LovelyLibra says:

    I also have my Pluto in my 5th – Libra, of all places!

    This article couldn’t be more true – thank you for the enlightenment!

  5. I will have transiting Pluto in 5th house soon. Perhaps some of the intense attraction and power-games, will be evident in my life. As a Venus-Pluto I love to express depth and intensity in love, to be honest, I prefer my partner to express it for me. When I watch people in dramatic love scenes of jealousy, passion and sexual intensity, I do find it compelling. A relationship in times of crisis reaches real depths of honesty once you get past volatile emotions, and eliminate anything superficial in the relationship. I feel kind of jealous when people have so much depth, but when I have been in the middle of a “love crisis” I long for safety and predictability. Pluto through my 5th house will spice things up in the romance department. I hope my partner can survive it with me ;-p.

    Nice article thanks, Julie.

  6. What about pluto in the 1st? 🙂

  7. where can i find this movie? i want to watch this lol.

  8. Rozanna says:

    Great summary. I have Pluto in the 5th in Virgo, along with the Mars/Neptune opposition you describe for yourself (2/8 houses), and in all honesty, I have struggled and struggled with love – usually finding that when I’m interested, he’s not, and when he’s interested, I’m not. And there haven’t been that many he’s!! Pluto also trines my natal Moon directly, which just adds to the whole story. Transiting Pluto is just about to directly oppose natal Venus for a while (while trining natal Uranus, which is conjunct natal Pluto in the 5th). Let’s see whether this is what finally does it :-)!!

  9. Maybe Beth will write up Pluto in the First one day …

  10. ahhh the great debate… love or not to love

  11. i commented on this about 6 months ago and i still cant get it together. i mean i know once i make the attempt to love, i will feel much better but its so much harder than that. what is it going to take?

  12. Feelings of love and affection have a frightening intensity and threaten to spin the lives of these natives out of control.


  13. Dear Sag,

    Sounds like you are struggling with this issue since it has been going on such a long time for you. There is only so much that can be done in a forum like this. Plutonic experiences are often great times to seek the services of a helping professional, like a therapist to help you find clarity and relief from the stress you feel. If you were my client sitting in front of me I would recommend this.



  14. @beth,

    thanks for responding. i was involved with a passionate person who helped me break through this barrier but it only did but so much.

    The mission of Pluto in the Fifth is to live pure and universal love without games, without control, without conditions.

    im trying to acheive this. maybe talking to a professional would help me isolate whats preventing me from taking the leap. i just dont want people to use my love aganist me.

  15. I have pluto in fifth house, saturn/uranus/neptune in seventh house, ruler of descendant (jupiter) in twelfth house and venus in virgo tightly conjunct my lilith. my love life is challenging, to say the least!

  16. Wow! That is the truth!!

  17. Thank You

    I am Sag with Pluto (libra) and Venus (scorpio) in the 5th – this article is interesting, but I am not exactly sure how to process it. My soon to be ex husband (Scorpio pluto in Scorpio 1st, Venus Scorpio ret.) is currently having an affair of sorts. I have known him half of my life and we just had twins! Pluto and Uranus are tearing up our charts right now. I find in my relationships (only 2 really) that it is the men in my life who play the games – and me struggling to hold on (control?) or break free (be true to myself). This has been a difficult time. Just realized with your article the impact Pluto has in my Natal chart. As I try to figure out what it all means – Fatal Attraction??? Thank You

  18. This is SO accurate! I’m a Leo and I have Pluto in Scorpio in my 5th house and my romantic life has been nothing short of intense. The feelings that come with love are so intense and they really cannot be ignored. There’s so much truth in astrology, I recently found out Lady Gaga is a famous Moon/Pluto in Sco 5th house and watching her express myself and be vulnerable whether it’s on screen or stage is such a sight to see. You can feel her transforming as she expresses herself.

    I gotta add, as a Fire Sign (Aries [Gaga], Leo and Sagittarius) having Pluto in the 5th house must be so INTENSE. I’ve attracted so many intense love affairs and I feel as if I rewire these men and when they decide to go back to their lovers and fix things I believe they take everything I changed about their expressions in love and incorporate it into their marriages / relationships (I have attracted married men before not on purpose, but I also have Uranus in my 7th house)

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