Posted by: Donna Cunningham | March 1, 2010

Cosmic Piñata #3: A Plutonian Potpourri

©3-1-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

The Cosmic Piñata is a series featuring choice bits of information taken from the comment section, questions from my correspondence students, and readers’ emails. Today I’m featuring a selection of questions and answers about Pluto that don’t fit elsewhere, but are too helpful to lose.

To a woman in her 30s who was upset, thinking that a Pluto transit to her Moon meant her mother was going to die:

One possible expression of a transit of Pluto to the Moon is indeed some sort of crisis involving the mother, grandmother, or mother in law. However, without knowing more about your mother’s emotional and physical state, I’d certainly not conclude she was going to die. We all have Pluto transits to the Moon at least once every 11 years, and Mom only dies once.

Our relationship with her, however, goes through many evolutions throughout life, as our own lunar nature matures and changes. So, at any rate, you MAY be right in your apprehensions, but you may also just be feeling the sort of anxiety that often arises when you approach another threshold that changes your status and functioning as a woman.

To a young woman who had read the scant description of Pluto in the 5th in my book Healing Pluto Problems and was afraid she’d be a bad mother, I wrote:

 Like other professionals, we astrologers learn much of what we know through clinical experience, and so we’re only as varied in our knowledge as our clientele is varied in its concerns. We all tend to attract people into our practice who are pretty much like ourselves. Thus, I think that the reason I didn’t write more about Pluto in the 5th in reference to parenting is because at the time it was written, back in the early 1980s, I lived in New York City and neither I nor many of my clients had actual children. It’s a very singles city!

More often, since so many of them were creative people in the arts and entertainment fields, they were using their 5th house energy in their work, so Pluto in the 5th didn’t appear to be much of a problem position, more of an asset, really, for it gave them the passion for their work and the capacity for focus that is needed to succeed.

Of course, since the 5th house is also the house of romance, there was a strong tendency for those folks to get into stormy, passionate, possessive and obsessive relationships with lovers who wanted to merge with them and control their every move. Given the bounteous hormones of people in that age range, they didn’t view that as a problem either.

It wasn’t until I left New York some 15 years ago that I actually began to have clients who were parents. In light of what I’ve learned through working with them, my concern about that placement might be one of becoming too wrapped up in a child, somewhat obsessively, in order to make up for a need for love and attention for oneself, so that the parent might tend to live through the child more than is healthy for the child, the parent, and the relationship.

There would also be the tendency to be fairly controlling of the child, not allowing him or her to grow up and move out of the parent’s sphere of influence. You are wise to be concerned and to be working on healing yourself. It would help to learn to nourish yourself, and to work on any control issues. The major essence for control issues would be Vine, by Bach. I was coeditor of Vibration, a free online educational journal and blog about these tools, and you can look through our archives of over 400 articles and a search engine at .  (Parents will find our Virtual Booklet of articles about children and essences especially helpful.)

To someone who read Pluto and Bullying: How to Recognize and Deal with It and wrote that, even though she had Moon trine Pluto, her mom was a bully, giving details:

All that from a Moon-Pluto trine, huh? We astrologers look so hard for something upbeat to tell clients that we seize upon the trines. You always hope an outer planet trine will be better than the hard aspects, 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 emotional distance between the two of 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.

More about bullying:  I wrote to a woman with in Mars and Jupiter in Scorpio in the 3rd square Pluto in the 12th whose brothers were bullies:

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. I can hear that you’ve tried to mend those relationships in adulthood, but it’s hard to effect change because when they’re not hurting, they’re so not motivated. (See another article about bullying here: Battling the Bully – Standing Up For Yourself with Confidence and Assertiveness.)Healing Pluto Problems, by Donna Cunningham

To a reader who commented on her 11th house Pluto:

One manifestation of Pluto in the 11th is a tendency to form very strong, exclusive relationships with just one or two people and to hold them so tight against the isolation that they become too important. In order to minimize the chances of abandonment, many of them become a friend to the friendless, picking intense Plutonians of the terribly impaired sort who tell you, “It’s you and me against the world, no one else understands me.

You become their healer, but eventually they get better and venture out on their own, and you feel forsaken and vow never to get close again. Ever hear Willie Nelson’s song, “Angel with a Broken Wing?” or maybe it’s “Angel flying too close to the ground.” Or people betray you because you’re holding them too tightly and you decide not to have friends. For more of the dynamics typical of Plutonians, see my book, Healing Pluto Problems, still in print after 30 years. Plutonians are nothing if not persistent!

What about you, Readers?  Are there things about your Pluto you always wanted to ask?  Leave your questions in the comment section.  I won’t promise to answer all of them in the obsessive detail you might like, but you may  stimulate new articles about Pluto on this blog on the order of the ones below.

Other Editions of the Cosmic Piñata Column:

More Posts about Pluto on this Blog:

free astrology booklet by Donna Cunningham If this post was helpful, sign up for a subscription, and get a FREE EBOOKLET for Skywriter Subscribers Only: Mothers, Daughters, and the Moon, a 50-page excerpt from The Moon in your Life. Read more about it here: New: Free Booklet for Skywriter Subscribers!

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  1. Donna,

    I too have Pluto in my 11th house. I can remember in childhood having a very close friendship with a girl who ultimately “left” me for the exclusivity of another girlfriend. Plus, the other girl was so jealous of our friendship. The friend who “left” me also has issues with exclusivity (via the other girl). Anyway, time and time again I sought out one friend or two. And one by one they would abandon me, or emotionally hurt me. I also attract these “crusaders”, loners, unique individuals who indeed play out the “victim” or “eccentric” role.
    Finally, as I approach middle age I am expanding my friendship base. I still do have this “Achilles heel” with friends BUT I realize now that I need to broaden my friendship base and not take the entire “friendship” thing too seriously.
    Great article and thank you for sharing this information of Pluto with us.


    • As an 11th house stellium, Adela, I can understand putting so much into a friendship and then losing it. I’ve had to learn a lot about how much it is reasonable to expect from friendship. Donna

      • Dear Donna,

        I too have an 11th house stellium as well as a 12th house stellium. Count me lucky as well! BUT- I have learned so much about myself through these houses.
        Currently I am dealing with an eccentric, if not, forward-thinking therapist. We have currently butted heads. I am not a confronter (I suppose this is due to my Libra Ascendent. ) In any case, this is an incredibly difficult lesson to learn.
        With Sagittarius on my 3rd house (speaking; too much sometimes?), all my 11th and 12th house activity , my Virgo sun in the 12th house (and two years of Saturn in the 12th ), and now Saturn in Libra passing through my 1st house, I am EXHAUSTED! Will it ever end?! I guess not.
        I am a newby to astrology but I so love your articles because slowly I am learning how to integrate knowledge of my chart and my personal lessons in life.

        Thank you for your wonderful articles and time.


  2. Hi Donna – My 12th house Pluto (in Virgo) is conjunct my Ascendant, squares my retrograde 9th house Mars (in Gemini), and sextiles my Neptune/Mercury/Jupiter conjunction in (in Scorpio) in the 2nd/3rd houses. And my Pluto is in mutual reception with Mercury, with Mercury ruling my 1st and 10th houses, and Pluto ruling my 3rd. Mars is the ruler of my 8th, and in case you begin to wonder after reading this – the only thing in my 8th is my South Node, and the only other aspect my Mars makes is a trine to my Moon. I think the experiences I’m describing are pretty much due to Pluto’s influence.

    I was just thinking this morning how most people would probably be surprised by the number of people I’ve known in my life who have been “murdered”, or who have “murdered”. My own well-being has been threatened numerous times throughout my life – using my head has kept me safe (good neighbors have come in handy as well). I’ve witnessed some pretty horrible things, one of the worst happened on public transportation. I also worked in an environment where I was responsible for keeping a cool head in emergencies (and we had lots of them) – during one particular crisis, the 911 operator told me what a great job I was doing and how I was the “best” caller she’d ever dealt with — I call 911 a lot, just the other day, while I was out walking (in a very nice neighborhood), and I saw an emotionally distraught man, standing in the middle of the street, screaming and threatening people – guess who called the police?

    I grew up on the outskirts of a real rough neighborhood where I had to learn my place, which mostly was to blend in quietly and learn to project an air of composure. I got in my share of fights (mostly with my sibling), but I made a decision early on that I’d rather learn to stand up for myself in other ways (through words).

    Most people would never suspect the depths of feeling that lay beneath my friendly exterior. In an instant, I can become a seething cauldron of impassioned emotion, mostly set off by situations involving passive aggressiveness, bullying, scapegoating, or someone being unfairly taken advantage of by someone in a position of power. I’ve had to learn to choose my words carefully, and to think before I react. I tend to pick up on the energy that lies beneath the surface of things, and have had to fire up my retrograde Mars several times in my life to battle secret “corruption”.

    I was also very agile and quick as a kid – I could out sprint or out swim anyone around, with short, powerful bursts of speed and strength. I once won a jump-roping competition at the State Fair.

    And on a lighter note — I just recently learned the 12th house rules large animals — When I was a kid, I was chased by a huge bear while on vacation with my family. The only thing that stopped it was my larger-than-life father (Sun/Venus/Saturn conjunct in Scorpio), looming in the flap-doorway of our tent, yelling and banging on the bottom of a dishpan. My sprinting (and my dad) certainly came in handy that day.

    I guess my question would be, with my Mercury and Pluto being in mutual reception, would this lend a double dose of Pluto to all of my 3rd house activities as well as an added dose of Mercury to my 12th?

    • I’d like to amend what I said about how “keeping my head has kept me safe”. Actually, I’ve always believed that I’ve been blessed with a kind of “divine” protection, maybe that’s Pluto in the 12th?

      • Sounds more like Jupiter–perhaps the triple conjunction with Jupiter in Scorpio. Donna

  3. I have a stellium in Virgo (9th house)- starting with Uranus at 1, Sun at 5 and Pluto at 8, and ending with the Moon at 10. So Pluto in Capricorn (in 2nd) is trining all of this and will do for some time. It’s also trining Jupiter in Pisces.
    How different will a trine effect natal planets from a square? Is Pluto ever easier, even in a trine? I can’t really picture Pluto as santa claus (perhaps satan claus would be more accurat).

    • As mentioned in the article, the nature of the outer planets in the aspect is stronger than the aspect itself, so I have seen some very difficult Pluto trines natally and by transit. Donna

  4. I have pluto in the 5th. I have to say i was a really good mother. Ask my sons. I was totally dedicated, and from the beginning I understood just how important that job was.

  5. Leo Pluto in the 4th here. I was raised by a jealous, resentful Scorpio mother with an Aries Moon. Pluto trines both my Moon and Mercury in my Aries 11th.
    Both Moon and Mercury are opposed by Scorpio Neptune in the 5th.
    Pluto sextiles Neptune.

    I have found that most of the people I know with Aries Moons haven’t had an easy time with their mothers or have had a hard time mothering their own kids, myself included.
    Even though I have a Pluto / Moon trine, a trine doesn’t always indicate an easy ride. I tend to ignore aspects sometimes and just view the planets as sharing or blending energies.

    Neptune in my Scorpio 5th is very telling as my own mother prostituted me as a child. So the Neptune opposition to my Moon / Mercury perhaps lessens any harmony that a Pluto / Moon trine may have. Pluto by itself in the 4th house is a difficult placement all by itself in my opinion, regardless of sign or aspects.

    My saving grace and blessing is that my 12th house Gemini Mars conjunct my ASC. has helped me to speak my truth. Saturn in the 7th opposes both Mars and ASC.
    So as you can imagine, I received tremendous opposition and aggression when I finally did speak the truth.

    With Chiron right on my AQU. M.C., I’ve found healing through helping others with their abuse experiences.
    I’ve forgiven my mother. I no longer allow her to be in my life. I wouldn’t change my history. It’s a part of who I am but it doesn’t mean that I’m forever wounded.

    Another point is that my Scorpio Sun / Aries Moon mother and me with an Aries stellium are both strongly ruled by Mars and Pluto.
    As Aries and Scorpio have dual rulerships.

    • You’ve had such a terrible upbringing, Cine. It’s a tribute to you that you’ve persevered to heal yourself and to offer healing to others as well. That’s a very strong Pluto. Donna

  6. Cine,

    It is amazing what the human spirit can endure, and when you turn that around to make something positive from it, that also inspires me. I too have an Aries moon. My mother was a very strong woman. A leader. She didn’t take guff from anyone. I definitely needed her example, except having a Libra ascendent really made it difficult for us to relate sometimes! And yes, I have had issues with/about children.
    Once again, Donna’s blog has informed and enlightened me to understanding the psychological delights and complexities of one’s horoscope.


  7. good advice on pluto. a friend was actually told by a pro astrologer in the UK athat her mother would die because of pluto squaring her moon.

    last year i had pluto on my part of fortune and it translated as becomming successful with my astro bussiness. around the same time that singing show girl in the UK, Susan Boyle, had pluto on her part of fortune when she became successful. so pluto can bring good things too!

    • Cool to know that about Pluto transits to the Part of Fortune. Mine is at 4 Taurus in the 10th, so maybe the trine from transiting Pluto in my 6th will be good for my work, which is now focused on writing. Donna

  8. Hi Donna,

    I’ve been noticing for awhile now that I seem to get along very well with the Pluto in Scorpio generation, much more so than my own Pluto in Libra’s. Would something like that be caused by my Scorpionic Plutonianess, or 12th H Pluto? Or is it really just a fluke? You have my chart info, so I wont elaborate further on my details.
    Thanks Donna!

    • Yes, I’d think that Pluto in Scorpio would be one of the purest expressions of Pluto in the entire 274 year (approx) cycle of Pluto through the signs. I don’t know that generation at all. Donna

  9. Inaress, I am also Pluto in Libra generation, but am strongly Plutonian (Pluto conjunct Sun, Mercury, Mars, square Jupiter, and Scorpio rising). I resonate so much with the Pluto in Scorpio generation also.

    • Hello, Grace. There is a wonderful article on the Pluto in Libra generation by one of your number in the Pluto collection of articles for the blogathon. Look for the collection page as something like “Pluto Problems got you Perplexed? Here’s what helps!” Donna

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