Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why I'm Glad Pluto was "Demoted" and etc.


My first great teacher of astrology explained the way it works like this: She said we are cyclical beings living in a cyclical universe. All cycles are intricately interrelated and those relationships (they would be called "entanglements" now) are more complex than we can imagine. She told me that in many ways, the cycles of the stars and planets are exactly the same thing as our internal rhythms and the seasons of our lives. They are not separate or distinct. One reflects the other. That's why astrology works.

She was quite dismissive of the idea that the planets are "doing" something to us. What she said instead was that the more we know about the planets and their movements across the background of stars, the better we understand ourselves. Also true: the more I know about my own internal rhythms, the better I can comprehend the cyclic nature of the multiverse.

There is no such thing as objectivity. Every observation we make is colored by filters that are genetic, cultural and based on personal values. If our species was capable of objectivity, it wouldn't matter who was chosen to sit on the Supreme Court, right? The tricky part of astrology is in the interpretation of it, just like everything else. Of course.


The fact the Pluto became such a powerful force in astrology is emblematic of the way we thought during the last century of the last millenium. Pluto is the god of underworld, though originally he was the Roman god of metals. What does it mean that we decided to name a planet after Pluto?

Almost every astrologer links Pluto with transformation through ego death and rebirth, i.e. being dragged down into hell and then clawing your way back. From About Astrology:

You might be brought to your knees [by the power of Pluto's influence], but while there, rest assured that Pluto's dark and punishing face is that of a tough, but loving teacher, leading you toward a more authentic experience of yourself.


Liz Greene, a great (though very psychological) astrologer, links Pluto with the transformation that comes through Fate. She is brilliant and has written almost as many books about astrology as there are objects in the Kuiper belt. I highly recommend "The Astrology of Fate" which is all about astrological Pluto. If you're into it, that is.

Interesting that there was no planet exclusively linked to transformation via ego death and rebirth prior to 1930. The impact of Doctors Freud and Jung on the collective mind was absolutely Plutonian. Just after they put their theories out into the world, poof - Pluto was discovered. Wow. Just as interesting as the timing of its appearance in the night sky is what it means that the object representative of this kind of intense transformation is demoted. If you ask me, it's a good sign about how we view ourselves and the world.

What do I think it means astrologically that Pluto was demoted? I think it means that the areas in life in which we encounter these intense transformations are no longer an assignment of Fate - that our ability to transform ourselves is not fixed by Pluto's location in the natal chart. I think we now have access to a variety of choices around how to face this challenging aspect of being human at this moment in history. We're past the heroic age of Pisces, a time that was all about The One, but still getting used to the new age of Aquarius, which is about the many. We are befuddled and need options.

When Pluto was first demoted, I added a second Pluto to my natal chart, just to see what it would be like. Though I subsequently removed that second placement, I'm still intrigued with the idea of one thousand Plutos out there in the Kuiper Belt. I "see" a thousand fateful intersections out there at the far reaches of the Solar System. Instead of one crossroads that will break us or make us, there are now many possibilities for change and rebirth. We are not locked into one destiny. It's the mind's true liberation, it is.


By demoting Pluto, we're giving ourselves a lot of wiggle room for transformation. We have 999 options we didn't have before. I'm for it! Bravo!!


Butternut Squash said...

I love that picture of you on the side contemplating Pluto. You look like a Fairy Tale princess.

I'm all for a new less warlike non metalic future. Let's go.

willow said...

Intriguing stuff. You've reminded me it's time for me to do a little post on Cancer.

Love your dreamy new pic. And the street where you live, too!

Hammer said...

It's like the great astrologer Jay-Z said. "I got 99 problems but the Pluto ain't one."

Sorry, couldn't help it.

mum said...

What your teacher said makes sense for me. It's the Mars or Pluto doing this or that I just can't take seriously. But that the universe is one complex system in which all parts are interconnected and interact? That we're not aware of most of the influences affecting our behavior? All that makes sense to me.

here's to new readings on old realities. Love the collage view of your street.

best, Reya.

Merle Sneed said...

Lovely photos, my friend.

Demoting Pluto was right from an astronomy perspective.

lakeviewer said...

You got lots of neat pictures of yourself on the side bars, here and there. Now, that's capturing your own transformation. Brava.

p.s. I truly appreciate the sweet comments you leave at my posts.

Reya Mellicker said...

Butternut, that's why I wanted the wood purbha. Iron is not a great metal for me personally, no offense against it.

Reya Mellicker said...

Hammer, no use in holding back. You're an Aquarius after all. Say it all. yeah.

Mary said...

I've never read a post of yours that was too long! Often, I wish your ever-interesting posts were Brothers-Karamozov-long!

ellen abbott said...

I think the 999 options for transformation were always out there but our human experience as individuals was very limited. Now, with world travel at our fingertips via actual travel or the internet we are encountering the full range of options for personal transformation.

As a believer in reincarnation I wondered where all these souls are coming from, the planet has never been so populated. It was explained to me that the souls have always been there but that for most of our human history, nothing really changed for hundreds, thousands, of years at a time so that there was no need to reincarnate (the purpose of which is to experience the full range of being human). Now however, in the last 200 years, things can change radically in one's own lifetime. The souls are all crowding in to avail themselves of all these new experiences...oroptions for personal growth.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ellen I'm glad you're home! Sounds like it was a great week. I think the billions of humans are creating a version of critical mass to boost us through this big leap in evolution that we're right on the verge of experiencing.

See? I have a theory about everything. Just ask Hammer. He'll roll his eyes and say something funny.

The street collage is not actually my street. It's East Capitol street seen from 11th St. just west of Lincoln Park. It's a beautiful street, also cool because it divides southeast Washington from northeast.

Lover of Life said...

I wonder what my sun means when it is 0 degrees Sage? Trish M. said she had never seen that in the thousands of charts that she had done. ??

I have never believed our fate is fixed.

Cynthia said...

Love the composition of this street photo...especially, how you have the street centered...and the community overlapping. Clever!

Ronda Laveen said...

I like that your teacher was very clear on the fact that the planets are not "doing" something to us and that they are just another way to read ourselves and our relationships.

Great musings in Pluto. Is Hammer really another Aquarian?

Poetikat said...

I laughed at your "THE PART WHERE ..."
I think we always need that "wiggle room". You put it so eloquently.


Laurel Kornfeld said...

To Merle Sneed: Demoting Pluto was not right from an astronomical perspective. It was done by one subgroup of astronomers who classify objects solely by where they are rather than by what they are. Pluto is large enough to be pulled into a spherical shape by its own gravity, a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium and characteristic of planets and not of shapeless, inert asteroids. This is why large numbers of planetary scientists, who focus on the geophysical properties of these objects, oppose the demotion, instead proposing the creation of a third class of planets, the dwarf planets, to encompass these small spherical bodies in the asteroid belt and Kuiper Belt and to distinguish them from shapeless asteroids. It is very likely this demotion will either be formally overturned or ignored by large numbers in the scientific community.

Phil said...

I don't like it.

Pluto has always been a planet to me, and I will refuse to call it anything else.

8 planets? That's absurd, and it throws everything out of balance. And if need be, the Playaz are going to haul "fill-dirt" to Pluto to make it larger until they come to their senses and start calling it a planet again (or better yet, why not send our garbage there? Pluto gains in size and we get rid of our junk. Everyone wins.).

Reya Mellicker said...

Phil and Laurel - OK!

Laurel I'm so happy you've been following this and keeping me clear about what's really happening in the astronomical community.

And Phil - I'm always so happy when you've come for a visit. You know.

Yes, Ronda, Hammer is one of us.

John Hayes said...

The multiplicity of fate is a very cool concept-- tho not a real astrology buff, I found this a thought-provoking read.

Barry said...

Well now were talking about some interesting ideas. Fascinating post Reya!

ArtSparker said...

That cloud is on a mission, speaking of the heavens holding specific plans.

P.S. If Pulto isn't a planet anymore, what is Goofy (apologies to Stephen King)?

Ronda Laveen said...

Why, it all makes perfect sense now.

Pam said...

Interesting post Reya- and I love that photo of you on the side-bar!

Bee said...

"Fate" can feel so heavy, so foretold and predetermined. I like the idea of "wiggle room" much better. Your pictures are so luminous today, and so are you. xx

I've been thinking of cyclical change, too. Impossible not to in midsummer.

Verily I go. said...

Love the pic too, I can feel you thinking. I will champion Planet Pluto. If it eases horoscope pain to shune it, more power. It's just there, runt orbit. Makes no rose difference.

Natalie said...

Yeah, I am sick of Pluto. :D

A Cuban In London said...

First of all, your new byline photo is fabulous. And many thanks for that informative post.

Greetings from London.

Mrsupole said...

Pluto is Pluto and Pluto is a planet albiet a small planet, but it is still a planet and I refuse to let some subcultured scientists change it to suit their needs and beliefs. They did this because this is the only time that anyone has paid any attention to them. We are a 9 planet solar system and we will stay a 9 planet solar system. I tell you it is not nice to play with Mother Nature. She said it was a planet and it circles our solar system and she wants it to be her baby planet and that is what it will be. Her baby planet.

Honestly, it is hard to think of Pluto as anything but our little baby planet. And if it does grow to a larger size someday will those pea brain scientists reclassify it into Planet Status again. So I have decided to keep it a planet until the real astronomy scientists decide.

I hope this does not mess too much with your beliefs if Pluto is not demoted. But for you alone, I will go along with Pluto is demoted to what ever your needs are and then Pluto goes back when your needs are met.

God bless.

poietes said...

I love your jigsaw image. Very, very cool.

Barbara Martin said...

I'm not giving up Pluto as a planet, otherwise my astrology tome will be in error. I still think Pluto's there anyway.

Your photos are so cheery allowing in the light of Universe.