I know a thing or two about (metaphorical) journeys into the Underworld – it’s something that comes with the territory of having a decent Pluto punch in your chart; whether this is innately wired into your makeup via your nativity or simply result of a protracted or pronounced encounter with this energy by transit or progression. Whenever we are dealing with Plutonic resonance we always seem to hear about the old “butterfly” cliché; the euphemism designed to make us feel better about the massive life-altering metamorphoses we typically experience in conjunction with this planet. But in my own subjective experience (read: long and storied history) with this astrological energy, I must say in all honesty that I have found this to be a rather inadequate comparison. Why? Because once the chrysalis stage of the caterpillar’s life cycle ends, it is somewhat implied this new feather-light carefree creature simply spreads its resplendent wings and flies off into some golden summer sunset as if this were the end of story. That has not been consistent with my own personal experience of this planet, as in my view this would seem to trivialize the depth and magnitude of the Plutonic darkness that can swallow us before the actual rebirth occurs. Yes, there is a massive transformation, but a butterfly is far too delicate and ephemeral a creature to survive the fires of Hades.
On a personal level I can say that have been though periods of such prolonged and profound darkness that – instead of the butterfly – I legitimately wondered whether I would wind up some blind cave-dwelling species of salamander that hadn’t seen the light of day in so long it no longer even had eyes. Unsettling as this may sound at first, I actually don’t see it that way as our other senses do have a way of (over?)compensating in this sort of scenario – besides, I quite like the idea of Al Pacino as Lt. Col. Frank Slade in “Scent of a Woman” as my empowering muse in this regard! Blind and yet nonetheless skillfully doing the tango in the middle of a crowded restaurant – now that’s something worth going for! I suppose it all boils down to whether or not we are comfortable with the idea of trading in our sight if we knew it meant we could develop near superhuman use of our other faculties. Because the Ferryman must be paid somehow, after all…
Much as I prefer this musing to the “butterfly” metaphor, it still feels somewhat lacking and doesn’t seem to tell the whole story. The dissonance for me comes via the assumption our troglobite friends remain in this blackened underground environ indefinitely, which simply isn’t the case with Pluto. We may indeed descend into The Abyss, but the law of Pluto also says we must rise again to experience resurrection; this is its promise. There are no guarantees regarding how deep down we will go, but a general guideline is the depth will at least be enough to make us squirm uncomfortably. Nor is there any kind of assurance regarding how long the resultant climb back up to the surface will take, but we can rest assured that it *will* happen.
Pluto’s most powerful function is indeed to take us way down into the cavernous recesses of our souls/psyches – it is through this planet’s influence that we learn what we are really made of on a core level when everything else is stripped away. No other astrological body gives us the kind of enriching insights that Pluto can. But its treasures are not given up lightly – first we have to illuminate the unconscious and come face the darkness within in order to claim that “gold in the shadow”. It can be a scary experience if we fear the dark, but it can also be a tremendously empowering one. For when we spend enough time in this pitch black space, eventually we figure out how to become bioluminescent and generate our OWN light; one that isn’t the least bit externally dependent. It is something that radiates entirely from within. Once we’ve borne this mark of Pluto, we carry this internal luminosity with us forever wherever we go and can use it to be a light for others. And if we are truly fortunate, every so often this glow allows us to recognize others who have made this very same journey so we can connect on a soul-level.