Working with Pluto Retrograde
Updated: Oct 6, 2021
"If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own transformation." - Lao Tzu
Pluto was discovered only in 1930, so astrologers do not know a whole lot about him. The most notable is his size as he is only half as big as Mercury and is therefore considered a ‘dwarf planet’. It takes Pluto a little less than 250 years to orbit the Sun. Because of his late discovery, we have only managed to track him through six of the zodiac signs. Currently, he is in his seventh sign of Capricorn, where he will remain until 2024 when he moves into Aquarius.
Pluto is unlike any of the other planets when it comes to his orbiting cycle. His inclinations are a little on the wild side and from 1979 – 1999, he was closer to Earth than Neptune, making him the eighth planet from the Sun instead of the ninth. It's also uncertain as to how long it takes him to travel through a sign. So far it has ranged from eleven years in Libra, to thirty-two years in Aries. Similar to Saturn, Pluto is retrograde every year for at least five months.
In Roman mythology, Pluto (Hades in Greek) is the ruler of the underworld and the Souls of the dead. He is the god of transformation and renewal – death and rebirth. In the same way, Pluto is the planet of destruction and resurrection out of the rubble. We all have Pluto somewhere in our chart, and wherever his location will be an area in your life where you will experience great transformation. You see his power reflected in the greatest of utopian leaders as well as the most ruthless tyrants. He represents humanities best and worst.
But Pluto doesn't tap on the shoulder. He sets off an atomic bomb that annihilates on one hand, yet sets the stage for new growth in the other. He chips away at the ego, forever in search of your authentic self. He pulls deep within your Soul, ripping and stripping at the layers of your subconscious. He exposes, purges and transforms until your truest form emerges.
Pluto's lessons are about control, and the fear around letting go of that control. Whatever house (and related themes) he is transiting in your chart, will undergo a series of intense teaching that will forever change who you are.
His lessons of grief, or loss, or emotional eruptions brings on a pain so intense, looking back is not an option. You will be tempted to escape, or reach for an external salve to numb the pain and intensity of Pluto. But it is best to sit in the extreme intensity and feel it deeply.
Just like after any natural disaster, there is fresh ground to rebuild. As Pluto moves back into direct motion, the hope is to have a fresh perspective on what it is we actually want and why in a very pure way. We've walked through the darkness and are reborn into the light. We've learned. We realize we've held on too tightly to that which we thought we could not live without. We're better than we were before.