Pluto: Transit from Hell?

When you have a Taurus Moon like I do, you get a great deal of pleasure from the simple things in life:  eating, sleeping, sitting outside on a sunny day.  Yes, I admit it, I’m a little like old Bossie, basking contentedly in the fields having a grand time chewing her cud without a thought in her head.  Little did I anticipate how transiting Pluto would enter my life like the burning brand of the OK Corral on my backside!  At times during this two-year period, people and events would shock me into action like cattle prods.  Suddenly I was the raging bull in the ring with the matador and his red cape:  I knew he could kill me, but I was so mad I couldn’t care less!

Pluto transited opposite my Moon a long time ago, but its events are branded in my memory.  They clearly involved the home and domestic situation, and plenty of emotional turmoil.  Pluto transforms and eliminates.  In aspect to the natal Moon, it brings emotional sensitivity, change and personal transformation.  The events surrounding a Pluto-Moon transit can be difficult, and because of Pluto’s slow movement, they last a relatively long time.  You have to make yourself let go of the past.  For one with a fixed Taurus Moon, that is not an easy thing to do.  When I look back, I see it really all began when they started tearing up our street.

Oh, sure, our quiet city block was already being transformed into yuppie city.  Daily work crews began demolition and construction at 7:30 AM, six days a week, complete with jack hammers, cement mixers, the works.  Garbage trucks arrived during the wee hours to drag away heavy dumpsters, and keep us awake and alarmed for 20 minutes at a stretch, regular as clockwork.  As it was springtime, we had the windows open, and the noise was deafening.  Finally my husband and I moved our bed to a quieter part of the apartment.

Okay, the Moon rules domestic life; Pluto on my Moon upset my daily sleeping habits.  But it wasn’t really until Uncle Jerry died that I took a closer look at my aspects.  Jerry wasn’t my real uncle, but he’d lived next door to my parents for over 30 years.  I had just seen him – he’d been complaining about how his doctor was forcing him to quit smoking and lose some weight.  His death upset my sense of security.  But I certainly am not the first person who lost a loved one during a Pluto-Moon transit (which doesn’t mean that everyone with such a transit will have this exact experience!).

I cried on my bed (now located in the middle of our living room) but I came to realize that Uncle Jerry had not been a major part of my life for many years; I’d grown up and moved away, after all.  The fact is, Jerry had become more of a concept than a reality in my life; he represented the comfort of the status quo.  When he was gone, it was more of a shock to my emotional security system than anything else.

Our daily lives continued to be disrupted as our quiet 70-year-old landlady sold the building and a new tenant moved into the apartment upstairs.  She seemed like a pleasant, if reserved, character.  But when she decided to have the floors refinished, and tromped back and forth in the wee hours on the bare floorboards, we began to wonder if we’d judged her too quickly.  We decided to move our bed back to its original place to escape the new noises.  Then leaks began to appear in our bathroom ceiling.

My once deep and restful slumbers were soon permanently upset.  As Pluto came closer to my Moon, the problems intensified.  I became anxious that I would never again get a good night’s sleep.  By now there were parties, dancing, all-night revels.  “The bad one,” as we’d come to call our upstairs neighbor, chose not to speak to us face to face, but would shout from the other side of her locked door.  It takes quite a while and much aggravation for a Taurus Moon person to lose her temper, but I finally did.  This, of course, turned out to be the worst thing I could possibly have done.

Legal affairs involving money, property and power plays often characterize a Pluto transit (remember that Pluto is the ruler of Scorpio, the 8th sign, representing legal and financial matters, among other things).  The Bad One turned out to be a lawyer who now called several city agencies.  Caseworkers visited, hearings were held.  By this time, we had urged the landlord to intervene, with little response.  Bathroom leaks continued unabated.  We withheld rent for several months, went to court.  Pluto went retrograde for several months, and the whole process was repeated on a grander scale.

As Pluto acted on my normally stable emotions, I became more and more Scorpio-like.  By this time, my attitudes had definitely changed.  I’d become obsessed with the idea that I wasn’t getting enough sleep.  A non-drinker before, I found myself taking a shot of whiskey at bedtime, and now believed I was spiraling down into a drunken existence.  When kept up by the noise, I plotted revenge, and developed a spy-like attitude.

After discreet inquiries, I uncovered The Bad One’s birth date and even her unlisted telephone number.  Knowing her chart, I now felt I had control over the situation.  Her Moon conjunct Uranus in Leo squared Venus conjunct Neptune in Scorpio.  “She thinks she can do whatever she damn well pleases,” I thought to myself, “but she’s out of touch with reality!”  And after calling her on the phone, I was horrified when she immediately hung up on me and then changed the number!

Pluto opposite my Moon was stressful, and my Scorpio-like behavior often reflected the negative aspects of that sign.  I periodically had fits of “the mean reds” (something like the blues, but angrier).  Thinking about some frustrating situation, I’d immediately feel the adrenalin shoot into my system, my heartbeat speed up, and sweat break out.  I was snappish to those closest to me.  On the positive side, I suddenly heard myself saying, “I’m sorry, I was next in line” at the grocery story, instead of letting myself be elbowed aside.

But the really positive effects of my Pluto-Moon transit came when I relinquished all hope for outside change and tried to change myself.  I took a meditation course.  I began to do yoga.  These were the only things that could calm my mind and body and help me sleep.  (After a few weeks, the whiskey had only made me sick and not tired.)  Sometimes I had inexhaustible energy and used it scraping old paint and wallpaper in the finally no-longer-leaking bathroom.  Doing renovation work certainly is in keeping with the goals of Pluto.

A year after Uncle Jerry’s death, my father nearly died, spending a few weeks in intensive care.  I became obsessed with death, even downright paranoid.  “My father will die,” I thought, “My mother will die!  No, it’s my Moon and my Pluto:  I will die!  My husband will die!”  Two clients who I’d recently done charts for actually did die, and I started to feel creepy and wondered, “Is it my fault?”

Pluto relates to burning energy, and although my Taurean nature enjoyed preparing meals, cooking was no longer soothing.  I kept remembering how the stove blew up in my Scorpio grandmother’s face, singing off her eyebrows for life.  I no longer liked to use the gas.  This was soon of no consequence, however, as I came home one day to find that The Bad One upstairs had smelled gas in the building and called the landlord, who disconnected my stove and left it standing in the middle of the kitchen floor.  There wasn’t a thing wrong with it.  But we wound up paying a licensed plumber a hefty sum to reconnect it.

Pluto forces us to deal with tough emotional issues.  Into the second year, the noisy tenant got worse and I had severe arguments with my husband:  “We should move!  What else can we do?” I pleaded.  He disagreed, vehemently, stubbornly.  (By this time, transiting Pluto was opposite his Taurus Sun.)  I took to spending the night at my parents’ house in order to get some rest.  Finally fed up, my dad forced me to go back home and “deal with it.”

Although Pluto brings up power struggles, financial matters can also cause problems during its transit.  The noisy neighbor miraculously moved!  I began to feel I could breathe again.  But by this time, my pleasant, part-time job had become a nightmare.  Calls were pouring in to the company from suppliers, collection agencies, attorneys, the IRS.  Who was the lucky recipient of all this negative energy?  None other than yours truly.  “Other people’s money,” a common phrase connected to Pluto, Scorpio and the 8th house, came to mean much in my life.  I had to take these calls, make excuses, get yelled at, threatened.  I started yelling back.  I felt lousy.  I quit.

Pluto moved forward and neared my Moon again.  As a new commitment to our home, I finished painting an papering the bathroom when the leak began anew, now with a vengeance.  Pluto in Scorpio – harbinger of all things that go down the drain – not only embodied our plumbing woes, but also the landlord-tenant problem that arrived when the building was sold.  A slow drip in one place became a veritable downpour from several spots whenever the new upstairs neighbor used toilet or shower.  We rigged contraptions made of plastic trash bags to funnel the waterfall into one place.

The landlord was slow to respond, and when he did, the plumber made a grave mistake and had to redo the entire bathroom upstairs.  I was trapped in my apartment for weeks while the work was being done.  Niagara Falls had finally receded, but every day debris, plaster, nails and bits of tile rained down from above.  Taking a shower became such a risky proposition.  And one day we really did find mushrooms growing on the ceiling.

The domestic scene continued to undergo fierce transformation, as all the buildings on our block received citations for broken sidewalks.  Over a period of several weeks, the workers came back, along with the dumpsters, and as often as not I stepped out of the house and into wet cement.

Friends and clients seemed to have only one thing on their minds:  sex.  The most talked about influence of Pluto in Scorpio is its association with our more passionate urges.  I was regaled with stories about the tumultuous office liaisons of one, another’s failed extramarital affair, the kinky details of someone else’s intense new romance.  The current upstairs tenant had guests in at all hours, banging around, doing who-knows-what.  They were all obsessed with sex, but why was I involved?  Pluto-Moon.  I absorbed it all, hoping this was a positive move, in alignment with the cosmos.

Since a Taurus Moon relates to clothing, it’s no wonder that mine soon took on a Plutonian aspect.  My usual pastel pinks, blues and beiges had been replaced by black.  Black tops, black slacks; it all matches – it’s all black!  And who was my image consultant?  Pluto in Scorpio, of course.  “Is this what I’ve become?” I asked myself, stunned.  I used to wonder how people could wear sunglasses indoors or when it wasn’t sunny.  I stopped wondering when I realized I’d become one of them.  Catching a reflection of myself in a store window, I speculated, “Next week I’ll be carrying a revolver and kicking cats!”

And yet, after numerous wild emotional episodes, I was oddly balanced and contented.  I felt sometimes more in charge and in control of my life than ever before; a result, perhaps of the I’ve-been-through-hell-and-I-can-deal-with-anything philosophy.  At times like these I suddenly felt there’s nothing more stabilizing and reassuring than Pluto opposite the Moon.

It’s human nature, after all, but now that the transit is long past, it doesn’t seem like it was that big a deal.  Why did I get so upset, so angry, so obsessed?  Why did I blow everything out of proportion?  The next time Pluto opposes my Moon, in 240-odd years, I’ll be better prepared to handle it.


Thanks to American Astrology magazine, who published an earlier version of this article.