The Memory Of Trees

“The Dryad” – Evelyn De Morgan

Trauma responses are funny things.  I recently observed a very peculiar phenomenon occurring with my Weeping Cherry tree that made me wonder if perhaps it was undergoing a Pluto transit.  I’ve known this tree for quite a long time and have witnessed its behavior from season to season, year to year and something strange happened where it did something I’ve never seen it do before.  Usually sometime between April and May this tree will have a profusion of pink blossoms arcing gracefully downward from its slender whip-like branches, but this year my locale had an unexpected late frost that must have stopped dead in its tracks whatever budding was in the process of occurring.  I’ve seen something similar happen once before; very few (if any) blossoms on the tree and it went straight into the leafing stage.  But this year it was so shocked it didn’t do either.  I checked it for signs of life (the branches were indeed still alive) and waited patiently – by mid-June, it still looked as barren as if it had been mid-January instead.

I knew straight away what was going on: Trauma response.  This poor tree was in a delicate and vulnerable state when the temps abruptly plummeted below freezing, and it was apparent to me that my Weeping Cherry was having a really hard time overriding the memory of that difficult time and believing that it was safe enough to bring forth new foliage.  How could it trust there wouldn’t be another freak cold snap?  I understood – put anyone’s (physical, emotional, psychological) sense of survival in jeopardy and shock their system like that and, well, all kinds of screwy things can happen.  It’s not the tree’s fault; this is merely the result of it having to find a way to exist in a very abnormal and seemingly precarious environment. Pluto transits tend to symbolize these trauma responses – all kinds of “crisis situations” (pick your least favorite hellscape) can arise under this planet’s influence that are likely to test one’s ability to “live through this”.  With Pluto they love to say “What does not kill you makes you stronger”, but I can tell you that is trite and bitter consolation to someone who is right in the thick of it.  They’ll also conveniently forget to mention that too often with Pluto, “strength” is actually a code word for self-imposed isolation à la “I don’t need anyone or anything” – it is a rejection of love, help, care, or anything else that might make one seem “weak” or “needy”.

This is preposterous of course – even if this is a trauma response, no (wo)man is an island and everybody needs somebody or something.  Trees too, and clearly it needed my help.  We don’t judge plants for their failure to grow or thrive during periods of extreme climatological duress; we see what we can do to support their recovery.  Sometimes just making it through the ordeal is enough. Maybe we might give them extra water in a drought, prop them up with a supportive stake in high winds, or mound up a heavy, protective layer of mulch over their root bed for the winter.  What I decided my tree needed was a little gentle reassurance and reiki, so I went over and spoke to the Plant Spirit of my Weeping Cherry; giving it ample assurance that winter truly was over along with my word that it was safe to come out as I laid hands upon it and channeled forth healing energy. Roughly 4-5 days later it started springing forth small and wispy green tendrils.

If the memory of trees is strong enough to hold onto the experience of a single isolated trauma so strongly, what must this mean for the more complex human organism?  And more importantly, what will we do about it; will we help?

“Young King of the Black Isles” – Maxfield Parrish

06/26/2020

Emerging From Your Pluto Transit

After spending what seemed like an eternity in Hades ripped away from all you previously held dear and stripped naked of any pretense or false assumption about who you truly are at your core, you emerge from this prolonged Dark Period newly reborn.  The haters and those who once sought to subjugate you now crushed like dirt under your shoe as you come into your own and claim your power. Congratulations, you’ve just made it through hell and back – as the last vestiges of flame lick at your back, take a moment to fully appreciate the newfound strength this Razing has stoked within you.  Arise; you have just received the ultimate in astrological empowerment!

03/06/2018

Pluto’s Spider Medicine

I have a rather naturalistic view of astrology and the animistic perspective is something I always enjoy providing for clients when they are open to exploring this angle of interpretation. There is so much interconnectedness between zodiac symbolism and the natural world – Heavenly archetypes have their Earthly counterparts and there is much we can gain by exploring their resonance with each other.

To this end, I find myself musing about spiders and their connection to Pluto energy. Plutonic people are sensitive to the intangible matrix that surrounds everyone/everything; the etheric “web” of invisible energy currents that envelops us all. In a figurative sense, Plutonic peeps have the same kind of radar for vibration that arachnids do; not necessarily for the purposes of pouncing on prey (although lower life form variants of this species certainly do use it this way), but for reading the subtle signs that allow them to size people and situations up accurately and get an overall impression. Plutonic individuals read into things like body language, mannerisms, intonation, and even what’s *not* being spoken to “see” your energy signature on a deeper level and know what you’re really about.

They also have a fabulous “sixth sense” for danger – if you’ve ever seen a kid poke a stick into a spider’s web, you’ll note the spider always knows the difference between this vs. a meal arriving at its doorstep. Whereas an ant or fly’s thrashings will trigger it to pounce, bigger objects exerting their force upon its gossamer net elicit a “flight” response where it will actually run away; perhaps sensing the amount of power being used is vastly greater than anything it has encountered before. If you’re a Scorpio (or have a concentration of celestial bodies in this sign), have a plethora of 8th House planets, and/or have Pluto wired to many personal planets/pinned to the angles of your chart (say, contacting your Sun, Moon, Ascendant, and/or Chart Ruler), embrace the gifts of Spider Medicine as it has much to offer you.

01/04/2018

Pluto In Capricorn Reminder: (Governmental) Corruption Has Corporate Sponsorship

…and it is impacting global leadership. Surely we all know this by now; especially in the wake of the 2008 Big Bank Bailout? Executives surreptitiously making out like bandits as their companies imploded within; the cost of which was financed by government tax dollars. This whole ugly ball of wax kicked off back when Pluto first entered Capricorn, the sign of Big Business. But the most sinister part of all of it is how these corporations play Master of Puppets – it’s positively Machiavellian. Raping and pillaging wherever they go, and then turning around and use these ill-gotten funds to install sponsor our leaders.

Here we are halfway through Pluto’s transit of Capricorn, and most of us acknowledge the existence of this very real corruption. Yet we still don’t have campaign finance reform laws in place to prevent this kind of thing from continuing. How can any candidate claim to be “for the people” when beholden to Big Business to fund their election? In this writer’s humble opinion, it is a pretty jacked up state of affairs here in the USA as we prepare for our Pluto Return…we’re veering dangerously close to a plutocracy, which is something one might expect when a nation has Pluto in Capricorn nation occupying its astrological second house of money and resources. Money is power, and it’s being wielded by companies to get their dirty little hooks into government – when those running for office are heavily indebted to their evil corporate overlords, it effectively means the rest of us are, too.

So what do we do about it? Campaign finance reform laws are a great place to start, but realistically speaking no politician is likely to vote for such a thing because it would mean biting the hand that feeds. My proposal, then, is to figure out a way to defund the current power structure, and I think we can do this over time. It won’t be overnight, but when Pluto is in Capricorn the transformation is never overnight, as it’s a marker that things have been in a long, slow, steady state of deterioration for some time.

The first part of this strategy – since we’re acknowledging the world is, in fact, run by corporate interests – is to look at the energy behind the products we use. If we’re going to defund the current power structure, we have to look at how to eliminate our support of the companies that prop it up. For example, there is a reason Monsanto is colloquially referred to as MonSATAN for its global environmental fuckery – stop financing corrupt businesses and they won’t have the funds to keep installing candidates via campaign “donations”. Do a background check of your “brands” – it doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but put some energy into researching the companies you align yourself with and whenever possible divert resources instead toward supporting the companies whose energy and mission resonate with your own.

Secondly, there is a concept that has really started coming into its own ever since Pluto entered Capricorn, and specifically since 2012 when this planet started squaring revolutionary Uranus: Socially Responsible Investing (sometimes also called Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing, or simply abbreviated SRI). The principle behind this is stands in stark contrast to the typical Wall Street slash-and-burn approach that creates wealth without considering the environmental and social implications of where and how the money is allocated – broadly speaking, SRI aims to align the return on an investment with ethical, social causes that create change; such as promoting investment in eco-friendly companies, for example.

I’m grossly oversimplifying this, of course – by no stretch of the imagination am I a finance guru nor do I wish to delve into a lengthy explanation of this practice on an astrology blog as my readers’ eyes would likely glaze over, LOL. If you’d like to know more, you can start here and here.  But suffice to say that I believe this is another way to start pulling money away from big business we don’t want to support and certainly don’t want anywhere near our government and start redirecting energy and resources toward companies that actually give a crap about something besides making as much money as possible, however possible; consequences be damned. Call me quaint, but I don’t feel good about investing in a company (regardless of however many millions I might stand to make off the deal) that engages in the practice of using things like child labor sweatshops, for example – I’d rather put it in a company dedicated to paying its workers fair, decent, and honest wages and that give the health and safety of their workers priority over corporate greed.

I think these are two very good places to start in this Pluto in Capricorn Era, which lasts until 2024. We really do have to be mindful of the “Faustian Bargain” now; specifically with respect to corporate sponsorship.

Images courtesy of the RWS tarot. "Judgement" is astrologically correlated to Pluto, while "The Devil" is connected to the sign of Capricorn - if this doesn't pictorially represent the neccessity of heeding the call to raise our consciousness surrounding how we have become enslaved by the Capricorn structures in life (of which corporations and government both belong), I'm not sure what does!
Images courtesy of the RWS Tarot. “Judgement” is astrologically correlated to Pluto, while “The Devil” is connected to the sign of Capricorn – if this doesn’t pictorially represent the necessity of heeding the call to raise our consciousness surrounding how we have become enslaved by the Capricorn structures in life (corporations and government both fall under this same umbrella, BTW), I’m not sure what does!

 

10/7/2016

Venus/Pluto Thought Of The Day

We are only as beautiful as we are in our ugliest moments.

The true measure of beauty is nothing external; it is something found deep within our core and is determined by how gracefully and lovingly we handle ourselves when in the midst of messy, screwed-up scenarios where it would otherwise be all too easy to revert to a more base level of operating.  Can we override our more dysfunctional responses and connect with the love in our hearts by displaying softness and kindness in these kinds of situations?  Will we bring Beauty to bear when faced with The Beast?  This is the mark of true loveliness on a soul-level – everything else is superficial.

VenusPlutoSymbols

05/16/2016

Pluto & Bioluminescence

BioluminescentI know a thing or two about (metaphorical) journeys into the Underworld – it’s something 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 friend remains 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 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.

05/09/2016

Pluto In Capricorn Transits, Part 4

Get caught up on this topic with the other installments in this series:
Pluto In Capricorn Transits, Part 1
Pluto In Capricorn Transits, Part 2
Pluto In Capricorn Transits, Part 3

Continuing our contemplation of Pluto in Capricorn transits, there is yet another invaluable angle to consider if this body contacts a planet or point in our personal astrological chart.  In addition to being deeply interior, Plutonic energies also represent a kind of breaking down process so that healthy renewal might take place.  When we pause to reflect upon Capricorn’s association with protection and defenses, we see how this energy can relate to the beneficial destruction of psychological  walls, barriers, etc. that we may have knowingly or unconsciously put up to keep people at a safe distance.  I will explain –

Whenever we endure some kind of trauma or negative experience in life, sometimes it’s possible to harden over and develop this self-protective “crust”.  The psyche develops this shell to function like shield or armor; to guard us from something that on some level may have seemed to threaten our very existence.  While originally intended as a sort fail-safe mechanism to limit the level of devastation we experience, sometimes the perimeter wall becomes a bit extreme, as in a “No trespassing: Intruders will be shot” kind of thing. What once triggered a “normal” survival instinct actually becomes pathological, where we become afraid of real intimacy.

I believe one function of transiting Pluto in Capricorn touching a natal planet or point may be to show us how this kind of exoskeleton is obsolete; that a transit from Pluto in Capricorn can actually illuminate any kind of PTSD-like response so that we can learn to control it and let time and experience serve as a guide in determining when and with whom it’s safe to drop our defenses a bit and expose what we would otherwise be inclined to keep hidden under lock & key.  It’s about learning to parse “normal” survival instincts that serve a legitimate function and that keep us safe from the ones that have – through no particular fault of our own – become twisted.

There is always strong resurrection potential whenever we are dealing with Pluto energy.  But first we have to be willing to burn off all the dross….

05/02/2016

Pluto In Capricorn Transits, Part 3

**You can get caught up on parts 1 & 2 of this series here: Pluto In Capricorn Transits, Part 1    Pluto In Capricorn Transits, Part 2

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.

From my own deep dives with Pluto: A bioluminescent jellyfish! A message about learning to make your own Light – even when surrounded by Darkness – while floating through the currents of life. ©EmpoweredDestiny.com 2016

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

01/30/2016

The Pluto/Uranus Square’s Curtain Call

David Bowie has just passed over to The Other Side, folks – a sad day for all of Rock n Roll indeed! Bowie was a 17 degree Capricorn Sun and thus strongly affected by the current curtain call of the Pluto/Uranus square; very literally manifesting as his shocking (Uranus) death (Pluto). I would wager, though, with Pluto making its excruciating slow march toward his Sun that he had probably seen that freight train coming on the horizon a looooong time ago, even though it seemed sudden to all of us here on the outside. Pluto transits are like that, though…they are very private and interior. But we can even see the Plutonic themes very strongly in the title of his swan song work, “Lazarus”; the Uranian edge coming in as he sings about being “free”.

May he find true liberation in death…his work will always and forever remain immortal, which I think is about the highest honor any Capricorn could ever hope to achieve.  ❤

01/11/2016

Knowing Your Own (Astrological) Kind

Every now and again, I like to play a little game that’s kind of like the astrological version of “Name That Tune” – with as minimal a series of clues as possible, I try to figure out somebody’s Sun sign or another dominant astrological signature in their chart.

Case in point: I recently attended a viewing of the new Star Wars movie, and while I though the rest of the main cast did a perfectly satisfactory job in their roles, the standout performer for me was Adam Driver as the evil Kylo Ren. Which is not all that surprising, as I am fairly Plutonic so like a good villain now and again and do tend to have a pretty good radar for spotting the energy of the Dark Side in others.

It wasn’t until I was waiting in line with another fellow moviegoer to exit the theater and chatting casually with her that I caught the actor’s name since I wasn’t familiar with his body of work, and it was also at this juncture she informed me offhand that he was a former Marine.

Hmmm…played an über villain AND was a Marine IRL, you say? I sense some Plutonic energy there…sounds like Scorpio to me, I thought. I pulled out my phone in order to either confirmKyloRen or refute my initial suspicion when a cursory search of the intewebz revealed that Mr. Driver is indeed Plutonic; a Scorpio Sun ruled by an extra-powerful Pluto in Scorpio and with Pluto loosely conjunct career-making Saturn!

Yup, I can smell the Dark Side from about a mile away, apparently…I can Name That Sign in just two clues, LOL!

Laughingly, I thought to myself with THAT astrological signature, the dear boy will certainly have to watch out for the possibility of being typecast, as the “Plutonian as Villain” shtick would indeed tend to be a natural fit for him – looks like we have a professional villain on our hands, folks! But perhaps in his next big role, he’ll decide to take on more of an anti-hero role…who knows?

All that aside, I’m thinking the trait of being able to suss out others’ (astrological) energies like this could well be the work of a sharpened Venus/Pluto influence. Plutonic peeps are by nature investigative and energy-responsive anyway, but when I contemplate the quality of Venus added to this I can’t help but think that – on an inner level – we may be particularly able to sense energetic “sameness” in others….what say you?

**Walks away humming “You’re one of my kind…”**

01/06/2016