Latest podcast is all about reclaiming lost power. The planet pluto, the 8th house, or scorpio in the chart points to where we assess our relationship to our own sense of power. The serpent wisdom is a healing, renewing and all-pervading one. Join me in a jaunt to hell, to learn what we can from myth, a dash of science, cultural icons and of course, astrology.
PODCAST — then scroll down to find “Pluto, the hidden physics of power”
Today we are going deep into the astrological makings of a very complex man. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Howard Hughes!
The first thing that really draws my eye into his chart is that Mercury at the very bottom of the chart. It is in Virgo (the ever over-analyzing, perfecting and exacting scrutinizer) and it is under some serious pressure.
Howard Hughes seems to have acquired the brunt of his OCD from his mother, who used to scrub him clean all through his childhood and teach him to be afraid of germs.
His Mercury is found at the bottom of the chart right on the 4th house cusp. This is the place in the chart that is associated with the Mother and early childhood (because it is the house that is connected to the sign of Cancer).
Mercury is the planet associated with our thinking. It is always listening and responding to our environment (like DNA!)
Hughes Mercury (thinking) is under pressure from both Mars and Pluto via the square aspect (an aspect of 90 degrees). So let’s meet the personal “bullies” of Hughes’ mind!
Mars is energy! It is motivation and stress. The stuff that propels life along. Hughe’s Mars is located in the 7th house of relationships. It’s a common know fact that Hughes did “go (very) big” in the dating field.
Hughes was infamously entangled with a bevy of beautiful starlets. The glitz and glamour would satisfy his Venus in Leo as well as his Moon in Leo. Venus for a man will point to something he is drawn to in a woman. The Moon points to an emotional hunger that we yearn to satiate. This is also connected to the mother and early life.
It’s interesting to think of all of that OCD doting that his mother did for him was still a form of constant attention. Hughes was known to be a hypochondriac in childhood to secure the constant attention of his parents, both of whom died within his later teenage years. Hughes went to court and bought out the rest of the family for the inheritance and became a billionaire.
Ok, so back to the pressure on his Virgoan mind.
Let’s meet the next “bully”, the ever secretly-up-to-something Pluto. And as a side note, these “bullies” are not inherently bad, they are just motivators. The aspect of the square suggests that it’s a bit more challenging for Hughes.
Pluto motivates in a very hidden way. In Gemini this may take the form of always seeking mental stimulus, and variety of thought. It lies opposite of the Mars in the 7th house of relationships so we can expect to find a lot of variety there too (and there sure was!).
Pluto is like a rabbit hole. It’s job is to constantly renew us and purify us through emotional purging. Hughes’ rabbit hole was so very mental, so full of variety and choices. For a mind that is suited towards precision and order (Mercury in Virgo) this influx of variety might have been a bit overwhelming.
It would have been nice to see Hughes’ Virgo mind take the Virgoan modest approach to these heavy-weight bullies. To humbly (Virgo) take things in stride and be aware of his own tendency to over-worry (Virgo pitfall). We can bring so much peace back to our psyches with a bit of awareness. This is the department where the horoscope truly shines as a tool. It serves us to give ourselves a break and be on the lookout for unhealthy habits!
Picture something innocent. A child for example, enjoying an ice cream cone, sitting on the front steps to his house in the early evening. All that is happening is the sounds and sights around him and the wonderful taste of the ice cream.
Then he hears his mother scream so he runs into the house and finds her crying hysterically on the floor holding the telephone. His older brother was killed overseas.
Now I want you to picture what became of the ice cream, the sounds and sights outside. 30 years later are they still there? We wouldn’t think twice in agreeing that this event changed this little boy’s life forever. But what we might not think about quite as readily is HOW.
The planet in focus is Pluto, the lord of the underworld. In the natal chart he is lord of your own private underworld. It’s the moment you lost your childlike innocence and descended into a darker place.
Persephone is a young innocent maiden gathering flowers in a field until the groundopens up and Pluto (aka Hades) abducts her, sending her mother Demeter into unspeakable grief.
What is interesting about Persephone’s character is that she eventually became “pardoned” from hell. Demeter’s grief was rendering all agriculture dead so Zeus finally caved and insisted that Pluto release her. But she ends up only being able to live 6 months of the year above the ground. Why?
Of course there can be many ways of interpreting this. The direction that I like to take it in starts by taking a closer look at a pomegranate.
Persephone only lives above ground half of the year to signify the fact that she is no longer only an innocent maiden. She is also a new and regenerated person because of these seeds from hell (new motivations birthed from the deep subconscious).
In your own private underworld a transformation inevitably takes place. Something is reborn. And that reborn something continues to grow. It is a new motivation. It is driving you in your newfound desires and directions. But since it is born from such a deep place you may not be aware of it.
Back to the example of the little kid eating ice cream. The traumatic event (aka the ground opening up) is where he meets Pluto. The seeds that he will eat is the implantation of a new motivation. This will likely remain unconscious but will still be in the driver seat of many of his future choices.
Pluto is where we look in the birth chart to attempt to shed light on our hidden motivations.
One of the most significant tragedies of his life was the death of his mother, Julia, that occurred when he was 17. She was hit by a car while crossing the street. The death of his mother ended up being a powerful common ground he shared with Paul McCartney, who’s mother died when he was 14.
The car that hit his mother was driven by an off-duty police officer which contributed to Lennon’s distrust in people in authority (Aquarius Moon). Also the fact that Lennon was not raised by his mother but by her sister Mimi instead further illustrates this Aquarius (themes of abandonment) Moon (mother).
The Leo pomegranate seeds so to speak, eaten from the time Lennon spent in hell continued to grow and motivate him from the depths. The boys’ friendship turned into the Beatles (Leo 5th house Pluto).
Not to mention that both Pluto and his Moon square his Mercury (thinking processes) in Scorpio (always transforming and evolving). Lennon could never just be a Beatle, no matter how successful they were.
To summarize, Pluto is the planet that shows us where we lost our innocence. This is a repeated process in life so it is not always just one defining event.
Pluto is the underworld where we ate the seeds that started new and hidden motivations within ourselves. They are likely to be very powerful and it is worthwhile to ponder them. After all they are very much in the driver’s seat as we careen down the long and winding road!
Planets conjunct the Ascendant are fun to study because they jump right out. They were literally on the horizon at the moment of your birth. The Ascendant is your own personal “dawn”. It is the way you dawn on others too. Everyone has this Rising sign to effectively project and best express the rest of the Horoscope.
When Pluto is on the Ascendant what might manifest is a kind of cultural icon-energy particular to the sign it’s in. This is because their identity (Ascendant) is merged (conjunction) with something much bigger than themselves (Pluto).
Ascendant troubles arise when you notice that you are not feeling so comfortable in your own skin, so to speak. I have Libra Rising and I notice that I will start to feel very un-myself when I’m frazzled (Libra likes peace) and also if I slip into the habit of being too anti-social (Libra needs to mingle).
Anybody with Leo rising will be settling into a style of self projection that is not shy of attention. Leo is the sun, it is bright and warm and radiant. Pluto in Leo is a whole generation of people (the Baby Boomers) who share a very deep perspective (Pluto) on what it means to stand out and be this radiance (Leo).
Christopher Reeve’s “S” on his Superman shirt may as well also stand for “Sun” because they both do the same thing. He saves the day, the Sun creates the day and saves every living thing again and again. Hulk Hogan embodies the King-like energy of Leo. He struts around in Royal costumes and golden belts to further intimidate his competitors and excite his fans.
Tim Curry gives us the taste of Rock n Roll as Dr. Frank n Furter in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. This is fire energy, more specifically FIXED fire energy. The sun blazes a constant fire, it sustains, it is FIXED. It is confident and it needs do nothing else but radiate in it’s own glory. The other fire signs need to take the energy forward (Aries, Cardinal) in the pursuit of something new, or let the energy change them into new ways of thinking or being (Saggitarius, Mutable). Leo just basks and lives for the day.
In the spirit of this present moment exuberance we have kids falling under the spectrum of Leo. Andy Kaufman and Eric Idle are sparkling images of the power of silliness and laughter. They pick our spirits up when things get too drab with the flick of a facial expression. The warmth of humor sustains us like the warm rays of the Sun.
As a Leo Sun, I deeply appreciate these cultural icons who remind us to dream big, lighten up or go for a little flair. After all — YOLO!