The Shadow Dance Between Pluto and the South Node

On March 28, 2019, Pluto and the lunar south node formed conjunction. Since they both move slowly, the date itself is not terribly important. At the beginning of March, the two points were already separated by less than 2°. And on the last day of April, their separation will only be 1° 55′.The Pluto-node interaction is ongoing, in other words, and we are all very much in the stew.There’s more: we can expect an intensification of these complicated energies around the middle of this month. The all-powerful Sun squares the nodes on April 12th and squares Pluto the next day. That promises to be a colorful week.Another date to circle on your calendar: April 24. When a planet turns from going retrograde to direct motion or vice versa, there is also a great focusing on its energies – a turning of the tide, so to speak. On April 24, Pluto makes such a “station,” so that will mark yet another crossroads. As we mentioned a few lines ago, when that Station happens, the separation between Pluto and the South node will be less than 2° – still very solid conjunction.All of this is happening in the sign Capricorn, where the Pluto-node alignment is aided and abetted by the planet Saturn, also passing through that sign. This further intensifies and complicates the situation. Saturn’s fingerprints play an exaggerated role since Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn. Thus it is extra strong, and its energy pervades that South Node.In Saturn times, reality always faces us squarely – and invites us to do the same.If you have any planets or sensitive points between 20° and 25° of Capricorn, these transits have your name on them. Almost the same level of relevance would apply if you have any astrological sensitivities in the same degree zones of the signs Cancer, Libra, or Aries.The South node always suggests karma ripening. My November 2018 newsletter, The Lunar Nodes Change to Cancer – Capricorn, covers the fundamentals. I do not want to repeat all of that here.Pluto always brings truth to the surface, especially the kinds of realizations that we tend not to welcome.Saturn, as we saw, can also be confrontational: bills come due, hard choices must be made, push comes to shove.It is impossible, in other words, to look at this Spring astrologically without recognizing that both individually and collectively, the karmic chickens are coming home to roost. The personal meaning of all of this for you can only be determined via a full astrological analysis – exactly what are your individual sensitivities to those degrees of Capricorn, and what is the specific nature of your own karmic predicament? Any competent evolutionary astrologer can help you with all that, or maybe you can figure it out for yourself. To do that would require some degree of astrological skill – not to mention emotional and spiritual courage.Massive astrological events such as this one also make themselves felt in the collective. Humanity itself is impacted. They leave their marks on history.Before I go any further, I fear I must afflict you with a brief sermon. I will try to keep it as short as possible, but it is profoundly important to me that I underscore a critical ethical point. I am about to tread out onto the notoriously thin ice of politics and cultural commentary. Just like you, I have opinions, some of them held passionately, about all of that. I think that is a healthy trait; democracy is a vigorous process and if any of us are worthy of its best manifestations, it is only because we think and participates in the collective conversation.As astrologers, however, we must, above all, celebrate human diversity. I find it absolutely toxic when an astrologer – even one with whom I agree politically – pronounces ex-cathedra that the heavens themselves insist that you must vote for a specific candidate. Your politics, just like the rest of your life, are your own business.In what follows, I am going to strive to be as non-partisan as I can possibly be. Within the limits imposed by the nature of my own individuality, I want to look as clearly and neutrally as I can into the mirror of the heavens. I want to bring our astrological attention to bear upon the current dance of Pluto, Capricorn, Saturn, and the lunar South Node.Transiting PlutoPluto, as Lord of the underworld, always brings shadow material to the surface. As it passes through a sign, the darker dimensions of that sign loom large in the collective experience. This is a vast subject, worthy of book-length. But let me prove it to you in just a few words.When Pluto was in Libra (1971 -1983), the sign of marriage, the divorce rates went through the roof. The stultifying, shadow side of marriage was revealed. Collectively, we became much more honest about the soul-misery inflicted on us all by traditional marital values. Necessary healing? Fair enough. An uncomfortable process? For sure. Some of you older readers lived through it – and some of you younger ones – children of those times – bear the deeper scars of it.When Pluto was in Scorpio (1983-1995), the AIDS crisis struck. Suddenly, being honest about human sexuality became a matter of life and death. And we vividly saw the dark side of unbridled sexual freedom.When Pluto was in Sagittarius (1995-2008), the bleak side of big religion pressed upon us from all directions. Religiously-inspired terrorism horrified the world, while the plague of priestly pedophilia dominated the headlines.The Pluto Equals Shadow Work principle is reliable; it does not fail. Underlying it is a broader astrological law: every front has a back. Every symbol in astrology has a divine purpose – and every one of them can be misused and go down a dark road. The evolutionary purpose of Pluto is to support our being honest about those soul-cages.So what about Pluto entering Capricorn? It crossed that line in 2008 and will not enter Aquarius until 2023.Here we enter the delicate territory. Let us remember to respect human diversity, and also to remember that shadow energy lurks in every sign of the zodiac. We should never lose sight of the higher ground, yet Lord Pluto always reminds us that unless we deal honestly with our own darkness, we will never reach it.Capricorn is an innately conservative sign. The word “conservative” has, of course, become very charged lately. Initially here, to keep perspective, let us honor this “conservative” dimension of Capricorn. It is about healthy conservative values such as integrity, loyalty, self-sacrifice, and maturity. It is about taking responsibility for one’s self and for the results of one’s own actions. It is about hard work and stepping up to the plate as a man or a woman in full. Capricorn represents the polar opposite of childishness. If Capricorn energy disappeared and suddenly there were only eleven signs in the zodiac, human consciousness would be radically diminished.Still, every front has a back: there is a dark side to conservatism. On schedule, that dark side is being revealed. Who can look at the current headlines and have any doubt about that? The revelatory process is ultimately about the possibility of some larger healing in the human race, as were the other Pluto-sign examples we briefly explored a few lines ago.Dark Capricorn can be frightening. It invokes the image of the controlling tyrant suppressing the truth and murdering enemies, real or perceived. Ultimately, it is not even really about political ideology. Ultimately it is about fear: the fear of losing control or power, the fear of change, the fear of anything or anyone perceived as alien, and fear of the unknowable future.Add In The South NodeThe South node of the Moon, like Pluto, brings wounded material to the surface. The combination of the two symbols last month and this month suggests that the “boil” of the fear-driven side of conservatism is currently bursting. Everything truly terrifying about it is being laid on the table of collective consciousness.Here in America, the long-awaited Mueller report was delivered just one week before the exact Pluto – South node alignment.So where is it?What taboo Plutonian information does the report contain? Only our Trump-appointed Attorney General, William Barr, knows.  And as I write these words, he refuses to tell us. Two weeks before the alignment, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 420-0 to release the report – lots of political conservatives did the right thing that day.  And yet all we have seen so far is a scant four pages of whitewash summary.I doubt that the situation of futile, desperate control will prove stable for very long. I want to be an astrologer here, not a political commentator, so I am not going to say anything more about that. The deeper question is, do you sense in all of this any sign that “karmic chickens” are coming home to roost? Do you sense fear – and the resultant dark Capricornian obsession with control – behind it? That is the fingerprint of the Pluto alignment with the South Node. With that aspect exact on March 28, the timing could hardly be more perfect.Once again, if you are politically conservative, I respect your right to your own thoughts and your own values. I feel that if those were not my sentiments, I would have no business being in the field of astrology. You have a right to be different from me; I not only respect that, but I also celebrate it. What I am attempting to do here is astrological commentary, not strictly political analysis.I suspect that starting in 2023, as Pluto enters Aquarius, we will see the shadow side of the progressive movement revealed. That is a long story and not the one we are exploring today. Simply said, the pendulum will swing. Some things are truly eternal.More immediately, I am looking too colorful headlines about this collective crisis around the middle of the month when the transiting Sun triggers Pluto and the nodes.And then, of course, we have mighty Pluto standing still in its tracks at the end of the month, staring us all right in the eye, inviting us to stare back courageously into the fierce mirror of truth.

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