A Tale of Losses and Esoteric Gains
**The nature of Pluto’s transits is unique to a Soul’s natal chart. No single aspect defines or predicts which choices we make, nor the the impact of others with millions of their own choices.** This transit has become easier as I expanded my spiritual practice with rituals and learned astrology. If you read something here that doesn’t sit well, I suggest giving it time to marinate.
As the planet of transformation begins it’s transit into Aquarius on March 25, Pluto asks me to reflect on it’s time in my first house and as a Crone-share what I’ve learned.
Capricorn is the energy of traditions, religion, discipline, government, authorities, military, and career. When Pluto, named after a Roman god of death and the underworld, began transforming all things Capricorn in 2008 I recall several transformative culture and political shifts including:
- Stock market crash/Great Recession began with bank fails
- Michael Phelps winning eight gold medals
- Heath Ledger’s death from sleeping pills when he played the role of The Joker in The Dark Knight
- Twilight series launch by Stephanie Myer, and in the United States
- The first African-American President, Barack Obama, was elected and changed the face of politics forever.
- Miley Cyrus announced that Hannah Montana grew up when she wore a backless gown and sent protective Moms into a tizzy.
- Britney Spears was placed in a conservatorship that lasted until November, 2021.
On the surface, Pluto’s influence may appear as fate, but I’d have jigged where I jagged a few times if I knew then what I know now. Revealing these personal truths is not about victimhood or blame. Chiron at the zero Aries Point indicates my “unhealable wound” is showing who I really am, underneath the personas I create for acceptance. Like many souls, my complex history didn’t grant me tools of self-confidence, self-worth and emotional regulation. In 2008, I still looked to the world to tell me what kind of day I was going to have.
Pluto entered Capricorn at 0° in January, 2008 in a wide conjunction with my Moon at 8°, and my Ascendant (represents physical body and public rep) at 14° Capricorn. A planet’s expression in a sign is most pure at zero degrees of any sign, as evidenced by Pluto’s dramatic influence on 2008 and 2009.
- I gave a successful talk at a National Conference and became a resource for others in my profession.
- I was given a big raise in pay.
- My daughter, an only child, graduated college and got engaged.
- I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis/disease from a biopsy of a nodule. I began an anti-malarial medication for it.
- My daughter’s first job began at The U.S. Dept. of Defense and she moved six hours away.
- I worked from home occasionally if my RA flared, with my Director’s, but not my supervisor’s knowledge.
- I also started working on weekends in order to keep up with an increasing workload.
- I often felt like 2 people.
In the 1st house, Pluto slowly chipped away at my identity by both giving and taking away power and wealth starting with foundational aspects such as being a Mother of an adult student, and being a respected coordinator in medical education. My ego was methodically dismantled from 2008 to 20015. I knew what made me feel good about myself and fought losing any of it, especially after my daughter became fully independent.
In 2009 Pluto started his long game, moving from 1° to 3° Capricorn. In the collective & my career, we can see Pluto’s secretive influence, as well as big ambition and self-destruction:
- President Obama was sworn into office as the 44th President of the United States and a ruthless campaign began in Congress and among U.S. business leaders to disempower him.
- Michael Jackson, The King of Pop, died from an overdose of propofol, a surgical anesthetic given by his personal physician because he couldn’t sleep while creating This Is It, a show he considered his masterpiece.
- Avatar was released.
- I gave another successful presentation at a national conference of medical education program directors, and was elected to a board position by my National Coordinators organization.
- I continued to hide my disease from my supervisor and HR, having reason to fear for my job and most importantly-insurance. I witnessed two other coordinators lose their jobs after gaining a national reputation in their respective specialties, and one of them warned me about taking the board position. I accepted it, anyway.
- I became friends with an older gentleman who volunteered for me; a cerebral, yet light-hearted, friendship that often took me out of my comfort zone, in a way that changed how I view friendships, food, and gratitude.
- I took and passed a certification exam which qualified me as an expert in my field, one of only twelve in a field of over 200.
Archetypically, Pluto is Lord of the Underworld and our worst fear-Death
Nothing transforms us more powerfully than death. In my immediate world these loved ones left, each unexpectedly and dramatic:
- Grandma, Flossie Blocher, 2009
- Dad, Greg Blocher, 2010
- Son of friend who committed suicide in 2007 did the same, 2012
- Dear Friend, David Garvey, 2013
- Husband’s old friend, a teen counselor, is murdered, 2013
- Furry Friend of 20 yrs, Jack, 2014
- Father-in-law, Ronald Schultz, 2015
- Other Father-in-law, Dick, 2017
- Another much-loved cat Kiki in 2021
My husband and I lost childhood friends, and I lost cousins, in unexpected & tragic ways, death dancing in our periphery, each loss hurting and changing people we love. Each refining what I value most.
1st House of Self/Life
Rheumatism and bone/spine diseases are Capricorn’s territory in the physical body, an earth sign which is foundational. While the Capricorn energy of hard work and ambition were familiar to me, secrecy and calculated plotting in the work place lay in my unconscious fears about losing my job. My need for security drove me forward despite painful rheumatoid joint inflammation. Ten years prior, I was a waitress and single mother. I was proud of how far I’d come.
In 2010 Pluto squares Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, and became extra:
- WikiLeaks Julian Assange released millions of classified documents detailing U.S. military operations, toxic waste dumping in Africa and executions at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp along with hundreds of other secrets.
- Chile has one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded (Pluto rules the deep earth and mined resources).
- The tallest building ever is opened in Dubai on January 4, 2010 (AMBITION).
- Polish President Lech Kaczyinski dies in a plane crash (change in government).
- Haiti has a 7.0 earthquake killing approximately a quarter of a million people.
- My Program Director announced his resignation and my workload continues to increase.
- The new Program Director doesn’t allow me to work at home and expects 10-hour days, even at Christmas time.
- In December, 2010, I’m diagnosed with fibromyalgia and given Xanax by my doctor when I claim powerlessness over my stress.
Elementary Plutonic Lessons
- It’s just as important to be liked at work as it is to be competent (see The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene). Being likeable is often MORE beneficial to success than work output or innovative ideas.
- I engaged in a power-struggle with the new Program Director I couldn’t win because I felt like I was “right” and it made me much sicker.
- Power corrupts.
- Incompetent physicians are propped up/covered for sometimes by their colleagues. It’s a powerful “club”.
- Pluto is harsh when we refuse to let go of what is clearly departing. I regret giving fear of the unknown any power.
- Always listen to your gut, especially when it comes to people.
- When I was offered severance in 2011, I should’ve taken it rather than the offer to work with someone I knew was horribly dishonest and manipulative. The toxicity and plotting that ensued cost me mentally and physically, while I suspect it was a game to her. When I received a copy of my employee file a few months later, the last of my naivete “exited the building” of my psyche. My file read like Shakespeare, and some betrayals hurt like hell. They’d padded it because I filed a complaint with the EEOC when I was denied an accommodation to continue working at home (ironic, I know) when needed. It was small consolation when I heard the two liars primarily responsible for my termination were found out a year later; management not only planned it, but negatively coached them. I remembered the manipulator asking me before I was fired, “What would you do if you didn’t work here”? There’s no amount of money that’s worth working with snakes.
- When in doubt, do what you were put here to do. In August, 2011 I started my blog “The Fifth Decade”, my answer to what I’d do if I didn’t work there.
During this time there are two good friends I am very grateful for (both disabled themselves), as well as my husband. Ableism isolates people like me. I felt as though people thought I just wasn’t trying hard enough; such feelings are common among disabled folks. I continued to push myself for the next few years, even starting my own virtual assistant business and working online for mTurk with microtasks. Multiple rounds of physical therapy resulted, my tendons swelling with repetitive tasks, my mind often foggy from inflammation.
Financial losses and windfalls (also Pluto’s domain):
- Loss of work income several times, working for $2/hr at one point
- Extended unemployment benefits in 2011, 2012, and 2014
- 401k used in entirety for living and medical expenses
- Social Security Disability approved in 2018 using a “less than sedentary” work ability after 2 yrs of no income
- In 2012, David and I went to see Cinema Paradiso, a 1988 Italian film where he broke down crying next to me in the tiny art museum theater. When I asked what was wrong, he whispered he was just so happy to have such a good friend. He changed something for me in that moment.
- In January, 2013, Pluto squared my Venus in Aries and I quit smoking cigarettes.
- In 2014, despite finances, we took a week-long trip to Ireland, a true dream where I felt well right up to when we arrived at the airport to leave. Lines for Customs or anything else aren’t RA-friendly, I learned.
- In 2016, I found an online support group where new friends are amazingly empathetic and loving. A few of us in this area of the country get together in-person once or twice a year.
- My flower garden, although much smaller, is a sanctuary. Nature is a balm.
- My parents have always been supportive and share their cabin in a wooded island paradise.
- I have time to write.
- My first and only grandchild was born in 2016.
- Our daughter, who lives here now, is thriving.
In 2018, when Pluto was at 18° Capricorn squaring my N. Node in Aries (symbolic of life’s mission) exactly, Rheumatoid Disease attacked my lungs and resulted in a cytokine storm which almost killed me because the doctors only heard the “arthritis” part of RA, unwilling to even consider my suggestion that it was a catalyst. For several days they ordered tests, which came back negative, except for C-reactive Protein, an inflammation marker. A huge dose of IV steroids saved my life after one hospitalist finally called my rheumatologist. There were at least 4 others who ignored me. I fought for my life, and won that year.
After having what they term “critical hallucinations” during my hospital stay, I started meditating and reading a book I inherited from my old friend David, Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph. D. I facilitated a women’s New Moon circle centered around sisterhood for a year, and began studying astrology. Five years later I know a little bit and can feel the energies around me and in the collective.
I feel like I’ve been given another chance at life, so now I write and take better care of my heart and mind. Over the past few years my vision of myself as a writer has changed. The hustle-culture of poorly-paid traditional publishing doesn’t fit my needs, nor my gifts. While I’m unsure where this road leads, I’m confident and emotionally mature enough to take the wheel now, with my spirit guides and ancestor’s blessings. While life proved how cruel it was long ago, the past fifteen years has shown me deeper darkness and grace than I imagined possible. Every day I anchor myself in the knowledge that everything, except love, is temporary .