©2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
Every member of my immediate family spent years wallowing in bitterness—except for the two of us that are still alive. Living in a family like that is like living on a toxic waste dump. Bitterness poisons your relationships, your daily life, your chances of a better tomorrow, and even your health.
A strong natal Pluto or a series of long, slow Pluto aspects by transit can provide clues to areas where bitterness can build up over time if you let it—and where your repetitive thoughts and feelings may wind up being a daily dose of self-administered arsenic.
It doesn’t matter if you consider those feelings justified. It doesn’t matter what they did. Allowing yourself the satisfaction of prolonged bitterness is not going to make the miserable bastards any better people and not going to make them sorry they did it. They’ve moved on.
What bitterness is going to do is ruin your day if you dwell on it, your night’s sleep if you take it to bed with you, and eventually your whole life if you wear it every day like a uniform. If you persist for any length of time, it will isolate you—friends start to drift away, coworkers shun you, and even relatives put your number on their blocked caller list.
Being a Plutonian person by birth and family legacy, growing up in a cesspool of bitterness made me wildly allergic to being around it. I don’t quite break out in a rash, thankfully, because there are no shots for that. But my stomach churns and I can hardly breathe.
When I used to do consultations for a living, I got so I could pick the really toxic ones out when they called for an appointment, and though I ought to be ashamed to admit it, might tell them I was all booked up if I didn’t feel up to par. Self-preservation is a hard-won skill for any professional astrologer, because much of the time, we’re out there without a net.
Most of the people who are getting a great deal of satisfaction from nursing their grievances aren’t going to listen anyway. They still write—at wearying length—to my Dell advice column. The latest batch of letters included one that was a 5-page, single-spaced, typed litany of complaints about family members, every one of whom was long dead.
The reason I dragged my soap box out of the office closet this morning is because Neeti Ray is going to interview me for Astrology Expressed—calling all the way from India, if you can imagine! She sent questions for me to use in preparing for the interview, and one of them was, “Are there times when you get bitter and wish you’d never heard of astrology.” WELL! The tirade THAT let loose in my head was too good to waste on the four walls of my office!
So, let’s imagine that you’re on the whole not a bitter person, but there are one or two people and situations in the past that gall you and that you can’t let go of. If something in the present is reminiscent of that era in your history, let’s just suppose that it sets you off and running laps around the bitter track in your head. If you look closely at that history and the area of life it touched, let’s just note whether that’s an area of life where you’re really stuck. I’d speculate that in that house or connected with that planet, natal Pluto might just be a factor.
I would have said that I was pretty clear of Pluto fallout—after all, the 40+ years since I first learned the meaning of my natal Pluto have been spent in working on letting go of all that. My allergic reaction to bitterness also extends to an inability to tolerate it in myself, so I get right to work on myself the minute I spot it in my panoply of daily moods.
However, as far as I think I’ve come, when I read Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now, an extremely useful and inspiring paperback, there were some major revelations. He says that when we have parts of our life where we’ve been stuck for years, and nothing but nothing seems to budge them, then the root cause is often an area of unforgiveness. (You can read more about my work with that idea here: Stuck For What Seems Like Forever? Maybe Areas Of Unforgiveness Are The Cause.)
Okay, let’s say that you can identify a stuck area or two. Maybe you really, fearlessly looked and you honestly didn’t find any bitterness. Good for you. Now repeat the same process with RESENTMENT. Bitterness is just resentment that’s outstayed its welcome, wearing itself into a groove. Let bitterness fester a little longer, and it’s apathy and stagnation. It’s a matter of degree. So not only can we ill-afford bitterness if we want to be healthy, happy, and whole, it would be prudent to weed out resentments as well.
The most important part of getting free of resentment and bitterness is persistence in noticing as quickly as possible that you’re slipping into it. Then yank yourself right out of that rut and get to work on understanding what’s going on inside you to create that emotion. Here are some of the Pluto-related questions I find productive to ask myself when my insides are churning with resentment.
- What was my part in creating this situation and allowing it go to on?
- Who does this person represent in my unconscious
- How is their presence in my life repeating an old pattern?
- By what behaviors do I give away my power to this person or situation?
- Why do I remain powerless in what’s going on and what am I getting from it?
- Does the old adage, “you can’t cheat an honest man” apply to this situation?
Other than insight—and that can be augmented by a first-rate astrology session—what are some other healing tools that can help you free yourself of bitterness? You can find a few on this blog in the “Healing Tools–Essences, Light, etc.” category. Among the colors to use are a deep purple, for resentments, and a lavender, for the guilt that so often lurks side by side with it. I often find a mental wakeup call by opening my Post-It studded volume of A Course In Miracles – Foundation for Inner Peace at random. The place my eyes fall on the page is always the (somewhat incriminating) answer to the question I wasn’t letting myself ask.
Among the Bach flower remedies, available in most health food stores and some metaphysical bookstores, the three most powerful are Willow for letting go of resentments, Holly for healing hate, envy, jealousy, and spitefulness, and Star of Bethlehem, for healing old shocks and traumas.
Don’t just start taking those remedies without understanding them and how they work—it’s not at all like conventional medicine. Use the search engine on Vibration Magazine — educational journal on flower essences, a free online educational journal I co-create with Dr. Deborah Bier. If you want more in-depth information about the remedies (a.k.a. flower essences) have a look at my ebook on the subject here: Donna Cunningham’s Astrological Mysteries and Flower Essence Book. My hard-copy text, Healing Pluto Problems is still available from the publisher,
I hope that the tools and ideas in this piece bring a new peace to the Plutonians among us. I’m a recovering Plutonian myself, so I’ve been there, and this is what I’ve learned so far that helps. I still flip into a head full of resentments from time to time, but I refuse to let myself stay there for any length of time and I generally know enough not to perpetrate it on others. I’ve heard that there’s a 12-step program called Plutonians Anonymous, but they won’t tell me where they meet.
PS. Whoa!! After I post a piece, I often follow the links to see the reaction on the net. The morning after this was posted, I followed a link to ElsaElsa.com, where they were having a discussion on bitterness. One of the people posted an important link to an article in the LA Times’ health section article on May 25, 2009 about the annual American Psychiatric Association meeting . They’re having a serious discussion about whether to declare morbid bitterness like I’ve described here as a mental illness.
They link it to post-traumatic stress and propose to call it Post-Traumatic Embitterness Disorder. One of the things they say about it is that embittered people are extremely resistant to treatment, for they feel they don’t need to change, the world needs to change. And that these are often good, hardworking people who turn bitter after a terrible event. (What’s weird is that I have tried and tried to post the link to that article, and it will not transfer. Possibly the LA times does that.) But here’s a link to another article on the same topic: Bitterness the newest mental illness?
Related articles on this blog:
- Stuck For What Seems Like Forever? Maybe Areas of Unforgiveness are the Cause
- How to Forgive–Moving from Pluto to Neptune
- Forgiveness–the Final Frontier
- How to Handle Chronic Complainers
- Healing Tools For Plutonians: Transforming The Self And Others
More Posts about Pluto on this Blog:
- 6 Things You May Not Know about Pluto
- Pluto in the Career Houses–The Power to Manifest or Fail for Spite
- Vocational Angst for the Pluto-Uranus in Virgo Generation
- The Steamy Side of Venus-Pluto Aspects—A Photo Gallery
- High Maintenance–a Venus-Pluto Vignette
- Mars-Pluto Aspects? Use your Manifestation Mojo!
- Pluto in Capricorn: A Laugh and a Half, by John Marchesella
- Pluto and the transiting Antiscia–not Over ’til It’s Over
- Planet or Not—Pluto IS Something!
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