My dad passed away on the last New Moon, during the total solar eclipse in August. That’s a sentence I wasn’t expecting to have to write. His death was shocking and swift, carving an enormous void in my life that will undeniably change the course of it.
Tragedy and loss seem prevalent lately, whether it be violent social behavior or destructive weather. To say that times are tough trivializes the high degree of suffering on planet Earth, and that stress is taking its toll on our collective psyche. Today I listened to the President of this country threaten to totally destroy another one. Hearing that from a world leader sums up the hopelessness that a lot of us feel– the fear of ultimate, irreparable destruction resulting from ignorance and intolerance.
Pluto corresponds to this darkness. It’s not that Pluto is evil or destructive, but that Pluto is the symbolic basement that we shove the stuff we fear or hate. We are seeing the cost of corruption, pollution, and greed– all the things that our capitalistic civilization has been burying for hundreds of years. The polarization of politics, the impact of global warming, social inequality and racism– all of it, in our face, all at once. Pluto is slowing down to a crawl, hovering at the same degree of Capricorn until it finally begins moving forward again at the end of September. When a planet (particularly an outer planet that moves slowly to begin with) is ending its retrograde phase, the energy represented by that planet is intensified. And since Pluto is in itself intense, there’s a feeling of impending drama and irrevocable change to this astrology.
Pluto, however, is also symbolic of transformation and renewal. It’s the fortitude that we show when we help rebuild a home annihilated by a storm, or the guts that we have when we stand up to a bigot. It’s getting out of bed in the morning feeling the weight of an unbearable loss. It’s being an American who loves the country and doesn’t want another war. There is always hope with Pluto– not the lighthearted hope of thinking positively, which is nearly impossible when Pluto is active– but the unrelenting tenacity of human will.
The Sun and Moon meet together at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, marking a new lunar phase. The luminaries will join Mercury, Mars, and Venus in earthy Virgo, accentuating the need to start the clean-up process. The strength of this energy helps with practical and simple effort– we are more likely to get down to business, get our hands dirty, and very literally start fixing what is broken. The danger is that Virgo is hypercritical, which can serve to amp up the stress that is already palpable. We have to actively remember to be constructive rather than adding misery and defensiveness into an unsettled atmosphere. And the Sun moves into peace-seeking Libra this Friday at 4:02 p.m., beginning the fall season in the northern hemisphere. The ideals of harmony and cooperation are the gifts of this air sign, reminding us that we are all in this together, so we may as well try to help.
Many of us are overwhelmed by despair right now, and that feeling is so heavy that I’ve personally wished I could just give up on life itself. But I owe it to my dad to advance, just like the people in Texas and Florida are rebuilding, with sorrow and pain. One of my teachers, Steven Forrest, said something during an astrology webinar this past weekend that I keep repeating over and over in my head. “Of course our bodies hurt. Of course our hearts hurt. But live, and do something. Create something.” September’s waxing lunar phase calls on us to stop confusing fear with hopelessness, and anger with hatred. Create something good in the place of something bad.