This week I have been thinking about the mythology of Pluto (who else) and his effects on our lives as recognised by the astronomer priests of the ancient world. They did not know of Pluto’s existence as an actual planet as the discovery came 1930 in the UK. A nationwide competition was held for schoolchildren to name the new planet. And it was won by a small girl from Oxford. As a ten year old, she didn’t know about Pluto the God of the Underworld, she only knew about Pluto, Mickey Mouse’s dog.
The name was given and the nation watched as Pluto the planet worked his energy over the first decade of his conscious existence in front of their very eyes. Power seemed to be the watchword here, with the development of nuclear bombs, the rise of the 3rd Reich, the Great Depression and vast wealth going to the few who held it tightly in their coffers.
We don’t really have much mythology relating to Pluto except through his relationship with Persephone, the beloved daughter of the grain goddess Demeter or Ceres. We know that he was associated with wealth – another of his names was Dis, the Rich One; and that he resided in the Underworld of the dead. He had a three headed dog called Cerberus. And that’s all about him.
However, it is Persephone who is at the centre of this story, as it is about her rape and abduction as a young girl by Pluto. It is an important myth as it is the only female Rite of Passage myth in Greek, and later, Roman mythology. Persephone was playing with her friends in a grove when suddenly the ground opened at her feet and a black chariot emerged pulled by 4 black horses and driven by the God Pluto. He seized her and carried her down to his dark depths.
Her mother Demeter was bereft and told the Gods on Mount Olympus, the parliament of the day, that until her daughter was restored to her, there would be “no more Mrs Nice Guy” providing grain and fruit to the people of the earth. In fact, she threatened, eternal winter would reign. The Gods ignored her until they realised that they were not being worshipped any longer by their subjects, who like their Earth Mother, had also gone on strike and/or died of starvation.
Of course, something had to give and Zeus, the chief of the Gods, sent Mercury to bargain with his half-brother down in the Underworld. Please note that all the Gods were interrelated. In other words, the planets are all made of the same star stuff, so they all had a common origin and shared the same stellar genes. As does everything on earth.
Mercury being the conscious mind was the only one who could go from the Higher Consciousness of Mount Olympus down into the nether regions of the Unconscious. So, he went down to see his brother and somehow struck a deal that let Persephone return to her mother. However, due to the fact that she had eaten three pomegranate seeds that Pluto had given her, the agreement was that she must spend three months of the year with Pluto and the rest of the time with her mother. So, growth was once again flourishing, except for the three months of winter, and balance was restored once again.
However, this story is more ancient than that – it is actually a 4000 year old Babylonian myth about the Goddess of the Underworld and her sister Innanna, Astarte or Venus. The myth involves the same ideas about the harvest, replenishing the earth, etc, as one of Innanna’s roles was as corn goddess. She was also the powerful feminine energy of womanhood in all her splendour. The patriarchy of the Greeks killed her off. Her story was forgotten as was the power of the eternal feminine, with the result that women were reduced to soulless beings, according to Greek culture only fit to give birth to more men. Now where have we heard that before?
All of which brings me to now, in case you’re wondering where I’m heading next with this lovely story. And yes, it’s all relevant. First of all, Pluto really did act as a rapist and a destroyer, particularly through the events of World War II. I have noticed that when Venus is in either conjunct, square or opposition aspect to Pluto in real time, a girl child is abducted and may even be murdered, though not always. In some cases young girls were held for years in captivity by their abductors (in their chariots), who sometimes even lived in the same neighbourhood as the parents of these children.
There is also a myth that Pluto had a helmet of invisibility that prevented him from being seen when he went walkabout on the face of the earth. This enables secrecy, power deals and even murder to be perpetrated on the innocent, all in the name of “security” and no one is any the wiser that it’s actually happening. They just have a false sense of being safe in their beds when they sleep at night.
It was in the early 30s that Pluto was facing up to Uranus, the planet of technology, and were together during the creation of the nuclear bomb. This aspect of Pluto’s attribution would also fit as the after effects of a nuclear strike is known as a “Nuclear Winter”, where nothing grows any more for a long time. If we look at the famous dustbowl in the USA in the 30s then you get a good idea of how the greed of the few destroyed the land of the many, making it infertile. I know it wasn’t a bomb but it was another of Pluto’s attributes of destructive wealth.
And Uranus and Pluto are facing off again now – and may be seen this time through the invention of weapons that can be fired off by computer gamers thousands of miles away from their targets. These weapons are called “drones” and are going over countries that have nuclear capability, dropping their bombs and murdering people in their homes from 5000 feet up in the air.
Some people may never notice their natal Pluto, while others certainly do. However, I do think that we all notice Pluto by transit as it comes into our lives either through others, or through events that change us forever. Pluto’s positive attributes can be transformation, regeneration and rebirth – but we have to go through “stuff” to get to them.
Psychologically, Pluto is associated within us all with difficult childhood events that we have to live through and create substance in our lives from them that enable us to achieve personal power – to use as we choose. Pluto’s effects on a psyche can enable an individual to seek truth, through the forensic sifting through of decay and destruction – great for detectives and scientists. It can also show up in the charts of people in the advertising world (remember Hitler’s use of propaganda in the 30s?) who use it for good rather than negative reasons. It is also useful to surgeons who cut through to eradicate disease and psychologists who aim to do the same using gentler methods. Even crime writers will have Pluto strong on their birth charts. And of course, it can indicate a person who may become extremely wealthy.
And then recently the powers that be demoted Pluto to non-planet status – how do we think that makes him feel?