I’ve been musing about Pluto’s long transit through Capricorn (until 2023) and its effects upon an individual chart; especially when we have personal planets or points being contacted by this astrological heavy hitter. One thing that occurred to me is the importance of metaphorical “deco stops” throughout our (individual and collective) Pluto in Capricorn journey. Deco stops – scuba diving slang for “decompression stops” – are a technique utilized by divers who descend to great depths. The further down a diver swims, the more intense the pressure exerted upon their bodies. This pressure causes the gasses they breathe through their air tanks to expand as they ascend, and if they try to rise to the surface too quickly and aren’t careful, this abrupt change in pressure can cause the gasses to create tiny bubbles in the bloodstream; a potentially life-threatening condition known as decompression sickness or “The Bends”.
To avert this, divers deliberately slow down their ascent and pause at marked depth intervals for a specified period of time, waiting until their body gradually decompresses at each stop as they return to more normal pressures. The body needs time to acclimate to this transition, for it is not naturally designed to withstand these kinds of forces and then just bob right back up to the surface; no – it needs time to assimilate the intensity of this experience before it can return to operating as normal.
This is not unlike dealing with Pluto in Capricorn…if we think of a Pluto transit as a symbolic journey to our Center – all the way down to the very core of our souls – we can start to see how this metaphor has resonance. When we experience Pluto in Capricorn contacting a planet or personal point in our chart, what we are dealing with is some heavy-duty, industrial-strength transformation somewhere in our lives. The changes and challenges we encounter along the way can be profound – often, an old “life” or old way of being “dies” in some way. Our physical, emotional, psychological, and energetic bodies therefore require time to process the intense experiences that are part and parcel of this metamorphosis; we need metaphorical “deco stops” as we make our preparations to ascend back into the Light.
It is understandable that when one spends a prolonged period of time in the Underworld, one might then find themselves in a rush to return to the surface and feel sunlight upon their face, for Pluto in Capricorn is the epitome of dense and heavy…at times its energy can feel like concrete cinder blocks that may threaten to drag us toward a cold, dark, bottom. Proper integration is essential for this reason; especially on a psychological level. We must therefore begin our ascent slowly and carefully, periodically checking our watches to ensure that we are spending enough time at each and every stop (hmmm…perhaps this entails processing loss to a degree, à la the Kubler-Ross 5 stages of grieving) on the journey upward. These pauses should be thought of as a time to take stock, gradually releasing as we go the weight – the ballast – associated with such a serious transformational process.
***See also: Pluto in Capricorn Transits, Part 4