The heart of evolutionary astrology lies in the analysis of Pluto, the planet of transformation and intense cataclysmic cycles, with its relationship to the south (Ketu) and north (Rahu) nodes of the Moon, mathematical points in space where the Sun’s apparent orbit (ecliptic) crosses the Moon’s orbit, in the natal chart. Every sign in astrology has a natural ruling planet and then both sign and planet have very similar qualities. Pluto rules Scorpio, a deeply yin and fixed water sign and both have similar manifestations. The water nature is not like the flowing stream or still river but like ice or the gushing, uncontrollable gurgling of a spring.
Plutonian energy is basically the energy of Lord Shiva, God of Death and Rebirth. In Hinduism, Shiva is the cosmic force of destruction where Lord Brahma initiates creation and Lord Vishnu maintains and sustains. Lord Shiva is also Nataraja, the Lord of Dance. Having grown up learning Indian classical dance, I feel an intense intimacy with the imagery and stories of Shiva and his consort, Parvati, the embodiment of Power. Shiva and Parvati are often depicted in one body, showing the equal embodiment of both the masculine and feminine halves of the Universe.
Nataraja is often depicted in a dance pose with one leg bent across and one standing on a demon, showing the destruction of ignorance and evil. There are snakes wrapped around his neck while the Ganga river flows from his matted locks. He holds a hand drum while a circling ring of cosmic fire encircles him showing the cycle of death and rebirth.
We often see descriptions of the ‘dark’ or egotistical side of Scorpio expressing its’ baser emotions of jealousy, greed, revenge, violence and psychosis in various ways. It’s often represented as a poisonous snake, a creepy scorpion, a scary vampire and a host of other blood curdling depictions. Lord Shiva’s pre-Vedic roots describe his origins in Lord Rudra, embodiment of the wild and known to cause much fear through his wrath and ruthlessness. However Shiva’s Light and evolved side is the courageous eagle who flies with integrity and great penetrative insight and the soaring phoenix, who breaks egoic attachments and attains wisdom. He is also ultimately, Lord Shiva, the Compassionate One.
Death and rebirth often occur intensely with anger, both positively channeled anger and negatively. Shiva’s enraged side is described in some Hindu mythological stories as being violent with Parvati even to the point of cutting her up into pieces, which all fell on Earth. Out of each piece of Her bloomed sacred spaces and Hindu places of worship. But Shiva is also the Eternal Yogi and all Pervasive One, within every minutest particle to the greatest, unfathomable vibrations and thus, represents that which is atomical in nature through Pluto.
Destruction and darkness often take us on a path where we dig deep into the trenches of life and experience, into the gunk and shit of this world, to uncover clarity and wisdom. The Plutonian process is experienced viscerally as it submits us to death and not just as an intellectual exercise. Plutonian death is an actual force required for evolution, a concept more accepted in Eastern philosophies than Western.
Whether it’s due to my dance and love for Lord Nataraja, my Pluto stellium in the 8th house house or some other mysterious reason, it is often difficult for me to contain my connection and love for Shiva/Parvati. Even writing that sentence seems odd because I feel I am one with Pluto so how can I love something that is perceived to be outside of me? How can I love That which I Am? Our innermost, essential and formless nature is desirelessness, a state of peace from which we are not constantly acting but are in eternal stillness.
One of the basic Hindu beliefs is that we live many lives due to our desire to separate from Source/Consciousness/God and act out our desires in order to actually exhaust them to some fruition so that we can finally then merge back with Consciousness and become desireless. This life after life play of activating and evolving our desires is the heart of evolutionary astrology philosophy and the principle of Pluto. The founder of evolutionary astrology, Jeffrey Wolf Green, had a dream in Sanskrit received by Swami Sri Yukteswar, guru of Paramahansa Yogananda, which relayed the evolutionary astrology paradigm to him. Greenspent years translating this dream astrologically and was immersed in Eastern philosophies throughout his life.
I remember growing up learning about this belief and discussing it with regards to various aspects of our lives. The careers we aim towards, the families, things and journeys we want and all the good, bad and ugly are all part of our desire nature. Hinduism, say as opposed to Buddhism, believes in a Soul. Green emphasized that Pluto is the Soul, which carries lifetimes of memories, behaviors and karmic patterns and imprints of past forms and desires and the potentials for yet to be forms as all a part of our Evolution. The Pluto keywords are confrontation, change, transformation and metamorphosis, processes the Soul continually undergoes to confront what gives it security and stability to evolve to the next level. The level of confrontation and intensity we experience during evolution is to a certain point up to us depending on how much we resist the change. The more we resist, the more friction we create. The butterfly does often collapse upon itself within its cocoon, as it changes and confronts itself, but ultimately becomes the free butterfly that emerges from its’ chrysalis.
Pluto: Planet of Lord Shiva, Part 2 up next.
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Once again it’s eclipse season and we have another pair of eclipses in Gemini/Sagittarius. In between them, Mercury retrograde (Rx) begins in Gemini giving us a time period of intense Gemini flavor! Mercury naturally rules Gemini so while in its own sign, we can harness its’ natural ability to communicate effectively and also receive what others are saying even during difficult interactions. A Venus/Mercury Rx conjunction during Memorial Day weekend could initiate a moment of needing to find a balance point around a particular communication after experiencing a bump in the road.
Whether on a personal, professional or societal level, it will be incredibly important to take personal responsibility for what we are saying to each other while also asking clarifying questions so as to avoid ugly misunderstandings, intense anger and anxiety. If you find yourself in a stalemate situation, the help of a third-party facility or counselor could help in moving things forward. Gemini and Sagittarius are all about learning and under this Retrograde we will definitely be learning some new and essential communication and interaction skills.
But why? Because Gemini needs movement. We need to move the dynamics of interaction and explore while talking with each other. We need to move around in general to find out what’s out there and what we can integrate into our consciousness. The Jun 10th Solar eclipse tightly conjunct within one degree of Mercury Rx signifies a big rebirth and reevaluation around these learning and movement themes. How do we actually move around physically now and interact with our local environment and how can we further evolve? For example, if you’re working from home now and wondering if and how you will operate in the long term, you’ll probably get a better idea. If you aren’t driving to work, in what other ways are you moving your mind? Is there something else that gives you an energy change or feeds your intellectual curiosity?
Movement of course does not always have to be through a vehicle. It is first a bodily process. This Rx would be an excellent time to explore a new way of moving the body especially with long transiting Uranus in Taurus in the mix. Maybe health requirements might propel you into exploring different forms of movement or exercise. There’s nothing more literally Geminian than learning movement! Maybe we may even have epiphanies around how we learn and synthesize and how our body might function better.
The sabian symbol keynote for this Solar eclipse degree is “the assimilation of multifarious knowledge through the synthesizing power of the mind.” Part of assimilation is exercising discrimination around what exactly we need and don’t need in our minds. Instead of learning by collecting, we might need to learn by deleting, throwing out ideas and dynamics that aren’t helping us anymore. Maybe we need to do some major spring cleaning.
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