Posted by: Donna Cunningham | January 25, 2010

Pluto and Bullying: How to Recognize and Deal with It

©1-25-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 Bullying is a hot topic these past few years, and seems to be hotter still since Pluto went into Capricorn. It’s hard to say if  it’s a growing problem under these aspects or if our awareness is just growing as more people speak out—perhaps a little of both.

The rates of domestic abuse and violence have long been known to rise during economic downswings. So have hate crimes, which often start off as group intimidation and escalate to violence.  I also read one article about how this recession has been tied to increased incidence of workplace bullying.

Tough Pluto aspects are connected with abuses of power of one kind or another at any level from international to personal.  Bullying is most definitely an abuse of power, whether it occurs at home, in school, at work, or in online communities, and so I’d classify it as a Pluto-related problem. Today I want to look at bullying indicators in the astrology chart and then at some resources you can turn to if you or one of your loved ones is being bullied.

An Astrological Who’s Who of Bullies

The best place to look for bullies in the astrology chart would be the house Pluto is placed in.  A house that actually has some Scorpio planets in it MIGHT be an indication of bullying  if they were tough planets like Saturn or Mars, but Scorpio alone on the cusp of a house would probably not apply.

Here are a few suspects, but don’t conclude that everyone has faced or will face bullying in the house their Pluto is placed in, because the aspects would have to be pretty tough for that to be true:

Pluto in the 3rd:  Brothers, sisters, cousins, neighbors, and maybe mean aunts or uncles.

Pluto in the 4th:  People you live with. Parents. Sometimes grandparents.

Pluto in the 5th:   Bullying is not romantic, not a turn on. And don’t take it from your kids.

Pluto in the 6th:  Coworkers, fellow employees. Possibly rich, powerful clients.

Pluto in the 7th:   Sweetie, do you need to talk to someone about your marriage?

Pluto in the 8th:   Do NOT allow a “benefactor” or sexual partner to abuse you!

Pluto in the 9th:   Don’t get me started on mean-spirited preachers and teachers.

Pluto in the 10th:  Parents, bosses, and other authority figures who abuse power.

Pluto in the 11th:  Bullying by peers in school. Cyber-bullying on Social networking sites.

Pluto in the 12th:  Don’t keep bullying a secret—don’t become a chronic victim.


 Oh, did I leave out the 1st house?  The person who bullies you the most might just be yourself.  If you have an Inner Bully, speak back sharply and tell it to SHUT THE F#/*& UP every time it happens. It will stop, believe me, and the sudden silence will be a blessed relief.

 As for the planets, some Pluto aspects can correspond with a bullying experience. Tough Moon/Pluto aspects might indicate a verbally or emotionally abusive mother; with the Sun, self-esteem may take a beating from a father who dismisses or demeans the person’s abilities; and with Mercury/Pluto aspects, sibling rivalry can turn into a caustic sort of one-upmanship.

Again, not all such aspects go along with being bullied, nor do they indicate for certain who’s the bully and who’s the bullied party. People with these aspects in their chart do sometimes wind up being bullies themselves. It’s known that many bullies or abusers started off being bullied when they were smaller and weaker, then took on the more aggressive role in order to protect themselves and to vent their rage.

Transiting Bluto comes to the Workplace

Remember Bluto?  He was that bully that was always harassing Popeye the sailor man.  Once I began studying astrology, I quickly figured out that BLUTO was a typo, and that the bad guy’s name was really PLUTO.  So look for a Bluto character in the house occupied by natal Pluto and you’ll probably know exactly who we’re talking about here…and you’ll stock up on spinach to be able to face him down.  You should also be watching out for the house that holds transiting Bluto, because you might want to stash a case of spinach there too.

Let me spin you a tale about transiting Bluto in the 6th house. It’s just a made-up example, but  I’ve worked with many, many clients who were having this transit, so at least one of you out there is going to have the  eerie feeling that I’m reading your mind and seeing exactly what’s going on. Let’s say that you’ve always gotten on well with coworkers, but the economy has everybody on edge, and tension is mounting.  Bluto is a newly arrived transfer into your department. He hated the move, but Personnel gave him a choice of either a piddling severance package or a downgrade to your level. 

So now Bluto’s got an edge to him, and he’s dying to take it out on somebody who won’t fight back.  For some reason–maybe a nasty chart contact–he’s singled you out to pick on.  He’s also a bit touchy feely in places on your bod that creep you out. 

That’s transiting Bluto for you, and, no, I wouldn’t venture to advise you on a delicate situation like that, even if I did have your chart in front of me.  You probably need a good career advisor who’s familiar with marketplace realities in your industry. One bit of advice, though. I’d bet good money this guy is connected to someone high up in your company, and if you don’t watch how you handle this one, you  might wind up the target of office politics. 

More Astrology-Related Articles to Help:  I’ll be giving you some excellent self-help and psychology links for information and resources in the section below, but first here are a few more articles  on this site that you might want to read:

 Information and Resources for those Who’ve Been Bullied

 I’m quite a fisherwoman, though I’ve never once handled a rod and reel. Google is my main watering hole when I’m up for a session of what I call fishing, and what you probably call research.  I’m forever enthralled by the wealth of sites dedicated to common issues like these—information libraries, support groups, blogs, and services I would never have found without the internet.

This ayem,  this figurative fisherwoman donned her figuerative hip-high waders and raincoat, grabbed her tackle box, and ventured  out into the grey Pacific Northwest dawn to fish for information about bullying. Here are some excellent sources of information I found. is dedicated to reducing bullying and aggression by teaching wisdom, for wisdom is the solution to life’s problems. Israel C. “Izzy” Kalman has been working as a school psychologist and psychotherapist since 1978  intensively helping victims of teasing and bullying. For years, the modern world has been trying to reduce bullying through a legal/law enforcement approach. This requires society to protect us from, apprehend, and punish those who bully us. Unfortunately, as research and plain experience have been showing, this approach hasn’t been working and is even leading to an intensification of the bullying problem.

Here are some useful  features of the site:  Victim Proof Program; Webinars; Newsletter; Free Downloads; Phone Therapy; Article Categories.

 Informational articles about bullyinglinks below all come from an extensive series on the Blogger News Network:

Bullying at Work:

Bullying in the Family:

Bullying at School:

More from Blogger News Network:

Bullying in Dating and Relationships:

How to Stop a Bully:

 On-Line Bullying:


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About the Author:  Donna Cunningham is an internationally-respected author of books, articles, and columns about astrology, flower essences and other metaphysical topics. Her insights reflect her dual background in astrology and psychotherapy. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and over 40 years of experience in working with people. Her ebooks can be found at Moon Maven Publications ( Visit her blog at



    bullying in Holyoke Ma

    What a synchronicity – read your article and then ran into this –

    • So it’s the wealthy (read Pluto) kids who get away with bullying? Stands to reason. Donna

  2. Pluto conjunct SA in Leo in the 12th here. They both square Mars and Jupiter in Scorpio in the 3rd. (10/04/1946, 2:16 a.m., Philadelphia, PA–for those who would like the visual.).

    Most of the bullying that was done to me was done in a subversive way, and then made to look like I was the one with the problem.

    I learned to become very verbal and use that skill in a positive (although sometimes forceful) way to defend myself. A little knowledge of the law (Jupiter) didn’t hurt–and made me just dangerous enough to scare the pants off people with threats of lawsuits (although, in reality I had NO idea that what I was saying was fact).

    MAJOR problems with younger brother (Mercury in Libra in the third conjuct Chiron). With ME and Chiron in the same house as the MA/JU square to the 12th house SA/PL, his sneaky little ways constantly won my parents approval over me.

    The bullying (and my response) was always verbal.

    I’ve tried to reconcile so many times with him; but, today we are distant relatives who only communicate when necessary.

    • Pat, those 3rd house Pluto or Mars positions really can leave some damage in their wake. Shining in mental/academic pursuits does seem to trigger siblings into heavy-handed attempts to squelch you. Hard to effect any change in the relationship as adults because they’re not hurting so not motivated. Donna

  3. As for the second house Pluto, I would interpret that as being bullied for what you do or do not possess.

    For example: “You don’t have designer cloths, so therefore you can not come here.” Being bullied for being poor. Or the opposite, “You are too wealthy, so you don’t fit in with us.”

    Or, “I own 15 houses and you rent, therefore I am a better person than you are. And, oh by the way, I will make sure everyone else makes fun of you as well for being a renter.”

    Perhaps it can also mean being bullied by those who are obsessed (Pluto) with what you have.

    • Quite possible. Donna

      • (I am from another country and I’m using online translator , so forgive the text errors ) .
        I went through a Pluto transit in the house 2 years ago, and is exactly that: I felt inferior because I was in a private college scholarship and my colleagues were much richer than me, I felt it as a deep humiliation. There were ” heavy ” planets like Saturn, Uranus and the Moon in this house and all involved with stressful aspects as ” Uranus opposite Mars.” Today the traffic is gone and I could improve my life in a better place than those who unconsciously beset me .

      • Sorry you had to go through that. But it sounds like you came through it strong. I always say that Plutonians have the strength of diamonds. Donna

  4. Izzy of Bullies 2 Buddies is my hero!!! The ironic thing is that he gets lots of really bullying email from people who disagree with his approach! If that doesn’t maintain his sense of humor, I don’t know will. Thanks for highlighting his valuable work — it’s peace-making at its finest.

    • Thanks for the recommendation of this site–you were the one that turned me on to it to begin with. Donna

      • Well, I do have such fine discernment. Including in friends. 😉

  5. I have Pluto in my 2th house and when i was a kid 6 – 9 years old i used to think that everything was about money Thanks God i realized that there are many more important things in life.
    Later when i was 13 – 14 there was a girl that wants to be my girlfriend so her Mother wanted to gave me a Car and money so we can be together but i didn´t like the girl neither the aproach from her mother so i went away but the girl who show me this girl went married later with one of the richest man of my country even he was 25 years older the this man died and she became rich but as the time goes by i don’t see that she is happy and money has made many problems into her life but she has the benefits of money also and the girl that wanted to be my girlfriend she was very intelligent and became a Ocean biologist and i think she is happy even having a Mother like that for me it was great because i start learning that money has good things but also bad things is another energy that should be weel directed like the energy of the Planets i think !!!

    I am a Taurus Ascendant in Leo With Uranus 26° from Leo 1st house and Pluto 7° Virgo 2th House and now Pluto is Starting to get into my 6th Hose so i will be very careful for peolple at my job while Pluto was in my 5th house i fight with people that bother Kids some of them i call them white collar neck because they are their parents or uncles or people that use a protected position to abuse from kids and there is more white collar abusers that i have seen like Politicians, Priests , etc. so we all have to be careful and share
    Info !!!

    Thank You Donna Cunningham for This Great Site & Info so we can prevent for us and people we can share it and to keep growing and trying to stop all kinds of abuse for all people !!!

    Best Wishes !!!!!!!

    • Thanks very much for sharing that, Jorge. I seldom get to see such a clear and detailed example of what Pluto in the 2nd can mean. Although if you’re born with Leo Rising and both Pluto and Uranus in Virgo in the 2nd, then you are very much like movie star Johnny Depp in those respects. Have a look at the article about him on this blog. (It’s something like “Johnny Depp: where do the dark roles show up in his chart in the category Famous People’s Charts along the right hand side of the blog.)

  6. Pluto conjunct Sun in 11 here. I was severely bullied (read like the movie/book “Carrie”) in Junior high school.
    My father had Sun conj. Pluto/Saturn in Cancer sitting over my Moon in 10 and was a domestic bully of the 1st degree.

  7. Hi Donna,
    Not sure if those kids were wealthy or not, but the parents seemed to be afraid to do anything about it. I lived in Mass for 7 years, and I do know you had to stand your ground sometimes or get run over.

    Wondering if the ancestral culture has anything to do with all this? The reason I am asking is my family was Scots – dad was (is) a warrior (military air force) I was born with Mars in Leo on the Ascendent – and I had to learn how to stand up to things quick – a very male environment. Several of your articles stated that being kind and civil does not help with a bully (I agree) – but I think standing your ground and making sure they understand consequences for their bad behavior works better. Those horrible Holyoke-Girls have suffered no consequences.

    Of Course – I had to learn to stand my ground through trial, error and some experiences – but I can read situations better and take needed action as necessary (as needed- not perfect). regards!

  8. Interesting Topic. I think bullying goes back to the more animal primal part of ourselves (as does I think Pluto sometimes) and this is part of shadow stuff and is not pleasant – but you have to be honest about what is going on and deal with it. It is about asserting dominance and control. Shadow stuff.

    I did have a work place bully of my own during the time period of the Saturn Opposing Pluto back in 2001,2002. Pluto was oppose my moon and saturn was conjunct it – I could see what was going on and kept my cool.

    Love your website Donna – glad you are here and writing. Best regards – K

  9. Aloha Donna,
    While reading your insights on bullying, it brought back some painful memories for me. I have “Bluto” in my 8th house in sign Cancer, opposed to my Mercury in 2nd house, sign Capricorn. Mecury rules my 10th and 7th houses.

    My relationship with my mother was toxic, as she was a fierce bully, especially with money and material things. She was cheated out of an inheritance when her mother passed away, and took it out on her children, especially me, by telling us “you’re gonna pay for what I want”. And she did this by forcing me to go out and get a job at age 12, working at a cafeteria washing dishes (which my older sister also did). Needless to say, every penny we earned was turned over to her for many years, until we were old enough to leave.

    But I carried this abuse with me into several relationships in which I felt obliged to pay for things other people wanted, but didn’t deserve. It’s amazing how toxic childhood experiences can carry over into adult life. It took me many years to fully realize that I allowed people to manipulate me, even those whom I loved and respected.

    I’m thankful for the wisdom of astrology, and especially your way of shedding light on a most sensitive topic. Many thanks to you Donna.

    • What a terrible story, M. How does anyone grow up to have a healthy relationship with money after that sort of selfish exploitation? The 8th and 2nd house Pluto placements really can muck up one’s way of dealing with finances, such emotional charges on them. It sounds like you’re groping your way toward insight in that slow but sure Plutonian way.

      There’s an article in the Spiritual Insights category called something like, “Stuck for What Seems Like Forever? Maybe Areas of Unforgiveness are the Reason.” Perhaps the insights there would hasten the healing. Donna

      PS. With Mercury opposite Pluto, I’m also going to speculate that your sister somehow complicated the picture also. Whether she took her resentment out on you and bullied you a bit herself, or perhaps it was that you felt guilty somehow seeing her go through it and came out with Survivor guilt that’s hard to let go of.

      I wouldn’t know exactly how it played out or if you have younger siblings too, but the sibling/money equation is part of the dynamic somehow. Kachina wrote a powerful article about survivor guilt that you’ll find in the category “Relationship Help. “

  10. Aloha Donna
    Thank you so much for your reply to my post, and for the references to articles that are helpful. Every time there is a major transit to my natal Pluto, (as there is now with transiting Uranus in Pisces trine to my Pluto) my past experiences are stirred up and I’m given a chance to work on healing them. I did have many blessings in childhood in that my older sister was not a bully to me, she was very protective and sometimes took the wrath of our bully mother to spare me the pain. She had Sun and Mars in Sagittarius ASC, and I have Jupiter in Sagittarius in Asc, a very meaningful connection. There were also several teachers in junior high and high school who saw potential in my high grades in math, english and history, and encouraged me to take business courses, developing my skills in handling finances and making a succssful new life for myself. I have loved learning all my life, and strive to be educated every chance I get. Reading the articles you post and the comments made are very educational. inspiring, and uplifting, and your sense of humor adds a bit of spice to it all. Many thanks to you for setting up this blog and allowing us to share. Meleanna

  11. Hi Donna! Pluto in the 1st trine Moon. Wow, this really hit home, because I DO bully myself constantly!! Never thought about telling myself to shut the f**k up! Excellent advice!

    Moon trine Pluto – my Mom singled me out growing up (4 other siblings). According to her I never did anything right, if something was broken it was my fault, instead of an artist I was a copyist, etc. Moved away to another state and she said I’d never make it and would be back. Ha! That over 15 years ago.

    Our relationship has improved over the years, but it was a tough childhood. She still tries to bully me at times, but I deflect, deflect, deflect. 🙂

    Thank you for this fascinating article!!

    • All that from a Moon-Pluto trine, huh? We astrologers look so hard for something upbeat to tell clients, so we seize upon the trines. You always hope a trine will be better, but maybe it just means the person is better able to come back from the problem and to learn and grow from it.

      Perhaps the distance between you made it easier for you to move away from home to where you needed to be to actualize your gifts.

      The thing that I come back to time and time again about aspects is that the angle the planets form is far less important than the planets that are forming them. As it happens, an article about trines is my upcoming writing deadline for The Mountain Astrologer in my series about aspects. You’ve given me something to keep in mind about the trine. Donna

  12. I also have a stellium in the 12th house. 🙂

    While childhood was difficult, I believe the trine enables me to cope and understand at a deep level what is driving her behavior. My Dad had also stepped in over the years unbeknownst to me and told her to back off.

    Even with this soft aspect, my Mom was/is a controlling ‘smother mother’. For instance, she did not allow me to get a driver’s license even though I had saved for a car, so I garnered the courage to get it myself with a friend at 21….finally! My self-esteem took quite a beating growing up, which is why it took me so long to make a stand. My other siblings got their licenses early. This is just an example, there are so many more.

    The distance made it much easier and still does. I will never live close, it would be folly.

    Looking forward to the upcoming article. Love the subject matter you choose for your articles! Fascinating! 🙂 GoldMoon

  13. HI Donna,
    I don’t know if you noticed, they are prosecuting the bullies in the the Northhampton Massachusetts case now. Kathryn

    • Glad to hear it. Dr. Phil and his son were heading up an effort a few years back to get high schools to institute anti-bullying programs. I wish they’d get back to it–it’s as much of a problem as ever. Donna

  14. had pluto in the 12th house, being bullied had badly been a part of me since my childhood, where me myself even became the bully myself,it times that is when i really get fired up and very frustrated. had a minor aspect with saturn in aquarius in the 3rd house(a quintile,hehe), and pluto itself with the Midheaven, and having a rather wide conjuntion(about 10) with my mars in sag (also in 12th house conjunct the ASC). with these i went to develop a very thick skin, being verbally abusive and brutally critical myself like that of my mother (i also had a moon semiSQ pluto) from which i saw barbing and cruel words and frequent criticism from her.(she usually becomes a “monster” when she gets depressed or very tired). i feel at most powerless at her “oppression”, either becoming rebellious or ending up being at the mercy of her will. it later gave me quite a defensive and defiant attitude towards others later on, although hiding a lot of insecurities and feeling very discouraged deep inside. i read that pluto in 12th gives one with great healing powers towards the pain of others, only if he has recognized and healed his own wounds, i can say i also feel deep sympathy from others who may have experienced the same as i am, maybe even more terrible.

    • Bang on, Boris. I agree 100% with everything you said – It’s the same with me.

  15. Greetings. I have Venus weak conjunct Pluto in the 2nd (and opposite Moon, T-square Mars in Scorpio). I find that I love nice things, but deny myself the money to buy them. I grew up the oldest of 8 kids and we were poor. There was always guilt associated with money, both guilt directed at my father for not sharing enough (presumedly), and guilt I felt for not being able to buy nice gifts for my family. I started to resent the whole emphasis our culture puts on money and getting ahead.

    A few years ago I recognized how deeply seated my resentment was when my boss where I worked urged us (as motivation) to get out there and make money. I immediately went into serious resistance – and I was a manager, later being assigned to marketing! Couldn’t do it. Put good service first and I will shine. Put money first and I resist. Now, finally, I’m beginning to deal with making money my way and I know I will win.

  16. What if Pluto is Retrograde in your chart? What does that signify? I have Pluto Rx in Libra 9th House.

  17. Great article Donna- I study astrology too and give credit to the Pluto in Libra generation for calling out bullies. Libra likes to know where they stand with others and have an awareness of manners.

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