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A reflection: Pluto in the 4th House

Part 1

What is the nature of Pluto?

Renn Butler, in his tome The Archetypal Universe, contrasts The Sun which in astrology represents the light, with Pluto which corresponds to the dark or the shadow elements in the unconscious.

Pluto relates to processes of breakdown, destruction and creation. Impulses towards regeneration and transformation. Volcanic feelings.

Pluto represents our struggle to confront and transform the shadow side of our psyches, which for many people involves working through leftover physical and emotional traumas - such as the events of childhood or the life threatening experience of birth with its deep imprint of human vulnerability and mortality.

Pluto’s influence can feel ruthless and brutal. But it is a necessary part of a profoundly liberating process.

My transits: January 26th 2008 11.33am

Pluto entered my fourth house just as I was preparing to wed my long term partner and father of my  two children.

I felt huge resistance to the wedding and couldn’t find any enthusiasm for planning it.

In the few days before I experienced huge doubt, not helped by the fact that my wedding dress, that I’d had handmade, was hideous and had to be replaced with just a day to go. An ominous sign if ever there was one.

But I was not one for self reflection of any kind at that point. In fact I was a master at denial. I was doing what I thought I should do, what you’re supposed to do when you have a lovely house and children with someone. Of course it was the right thing to do.

I shoved down the nagging feelings that this was not how planning a wedding should feel. And I squashed the thoughts that the relationship wasn’t healthy and I wasn’t happy.

Deep down, in a hidden part of me that only peeked out when watching a romantic film or glimpsing enthusiastic lovers in the park, I longed for a glorious romance. For unbridled passion. For undying love.

But that was for other people. I was fine with what I had and where I was…

Pluto entered my fourth house like a slow rumble of thunder in the distance. A storm was brewing. But at that point it was too quiet to be concerned about.

Part 2

What does the 4th house represent?

In traditional astrology the fourth house is named The Subterranean Angle for its place at the very bottom of our chart and as such, representing us at our base; our roots, our sense of security, of safety, of home. Being on an angle it is a powerful place and when the Gods wind up here in the birth chart or by transit, they tend to shout.

From Carole Taylor’s, Astrology:

The 4th house describes both our concept of ‘home’ as a place of retreat and belonging as well as bricks and mortar. It will reflect the role your home fulfils for you, sanctity, security or a place you lay your hat. Here we find an inner centre of gravity, our place of sanctuary. It reveals what we’re like when the front door is closed and we are no longer on show to the world.

My transits: January 27th 2010 11.33am

You’d think it would be obvious to a person that they were living a life they would never have chosen for themselves, in a home that looked good from the outside but felt anything but good on the inside. But normal, is normal. And even difficult environments are safe and comfortable in a funny kind of way.

It was only in the quiet moments, 3am whilst my tiny girl slept next to me, her little body tucked up under my arm, that the thoughts crept in. A fantasy: of a little house of my own. Just me and the kids. My fantasy was very simple: A peaceful life.

I may have continued that way forever; not questioning whether I was in the right place and how I felt about where I was. But Pluto had other plans.

One day someone asked me how I was and didn’t accept my usual response of, “I’m fine”. In fact, they told me that was bullshit, I wasn’t fine, I was anything but fine. And, for the first time, maybe in my whole life, I wondered if perhaps they were right and asked myself how I really felt.

That storm that was rumbling in the distance? Two years after Pluto entered my fourth house, the lightening started and my foundations started to crack.

Part 3

Aspects to the natal chart: 1, Pluto opposite Saturn.

My natal Saturn in at 0 degrees 18 minutes of Cancer in my 10th house and Pluto first opposed it exactly, on the 4th of February 2008.

‘Saturn is the God of Authority and Maturity. Saturn is serious and formal, honouring traditions, limits, and rules. Saturn in Cancer suggests a strong sense of duty and responsibility in you towards anyone (or anything) placed in your care.’ Carole Taylor, Astrology.

My transits: February 4th 2008 2.30pm

Saturn is the greater malefic of a night chart (like mine).

When a God can ‘see’ another God by aspect, they have the potential to act as witnesses to each others significations and provide testimony regarding certain matters or topics. Antiochus (Hellenistic astrologer) holds that the opposition is adversarial, even worse if one of the stars is a malefic.

When Saturn approached His return and I approached my 30th birthday (in 2002-3), all I could think about was having a baby. It’s all I wanted. We’d never talked about having children and all we really had going for us in terms of relationship was that we’d been in one for a long time. I pushed aside any thoughts that we may not be suited or stable enough to build a family on and pushed us into it, following my heart's desire for a child over my head’s and Saturn’s nudge, to really think this one through.

So, it’s no surprise that seven years later, now our children were three and six, and our relationship was still far from stable and supportive, when Pluto’s rays hit on my Saturn, those truths I should have considered at the time started to rise to the surface.

We married in June 2008, shortly after Pluto passed through another exact opposition, this time moving backward.

I stood alone at the bar as our guests partied after the service and tried my hardest to get drunk. I failed. There was no escaping the feeling that this had been a mistake.

By December 2008, when Pluto made a final exact opposition to my natal Saturn, I was cultivating alone time. Evenings to myself after the children were asleep were what I longed for most and I spent most of them watching old romance movies. Was I looking for inspiration? Or torturing myself?

To be continued.


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