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Pluto and Time (again)

Posted by William Fennie at Aug 22, 2012 08:20 PM |
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When your intestines are being hoovered into a black hole you tend to lose track of things . . . .

Pluto and Time (again)


It's been a looong time since I've posted on any topic, but I think years since I last updated on the ongoing Pluto transit. There are at least two reasons for this: 1) I've been unbelievably busy which, of course, one would expect from this aspect and 2) I found that I just couldn't bring myself to share a process that involved confrontation with the most personal parts of my life.

The aspect is now exact (7 deg 55 min) and has been hovering in close proximity to natal Mars for quite awhile.

It's simply a fact that my father passed on in late March 2011 and that my mother passed on one year later - to the day. This changes my personal landscape radically and has instigated a lot of review of my childhood and my history with those two individuals and other members of my immediate family. It required two trips back to my home town and all of the uninvited remembrance that comes with wandering around those streets, those neighborhoods, and encountering the specific types who inhabit that locale. There is one more family event - a wedding - and I hope to end this revisiting of the state of consciousness I was born into with that happy event.

The Astrology of Fate

In the last month I have had the great pleasure of reading Liz Greene's excellent book, published in 1984 and just as pertinent today as it was almost 30 years ago. She dedicates two full chapters to Pluto - who she calls "the rampant phallus of the Mother" - and argues that the placement of the planet and aspects to it give insights into the kinds of things that an individual will be forced to deal with during their life, not once but many times. Being a Jungian analyst as well as an astrologer, she amplifies the Pluto image using stories from Greek and medieval times. After exploring different phases or modes of "fate" she looks at each of the astrological signs and amplifies the stories associated with them, as well. Fate wears different faces, appearing as both retribution (for overstepping bounds) and destiny - this is a thorough and nuanced look at an old and vexing question.

Liz Greene is a very effective writer and I kept finding myself nodding as she described archetypal patterns which I have seen play out in my life over and over, notwithstanding my dedicated practice of Translation and Releasing the Hidden Splendour. Of course, the experience of the pattern shifts radically when it's approached from an Ontological perspective - but there they are, nonetheless.

The book has provided a priceless window into a process that had been painfully opaque. I haven't gotten as much good fodder from a book since I worked my way through W. Hugh Misseldine's "Your Inner Child of the Past" back in the 1970s.

A Gnostic Book of Hours

June Singer, another Jungian, compiled this collection of meditations drawing on materials from the Nag Hammadi library to which she brings her decades of therapeutic insight. It is organized according to the Benedictine offices, with meditations for Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline - the seven daily offices - as well as for Matins, the night office. I'm almost always up at least once during the night, so practicing the meditations in order for several weeks didn't pose any special challenges and yielded some eye-opening insights.

Of particular interest to Singer is the role of the feminine in the creation story, and her selections from the Apocryphon of John, The Thunder, Perfect Mind, and the Exegesis on the Soul outline an assertive feminine principle playing a central role in the unfolding of the divine plan and acting as an essential link between the world of appearances in which we wander and the divine and ever-perfect Mother-Father from which all is born.

One passage has particular applicability to an Ontological approach to the Pluto transit experience. From the Gospel of Philip, she excerpts :

They are wrong who say, "a heavenly man exists and one above him."

For the first of these heavenly men, the revealed one,
  they call, "the one who is below";
  and the hidden one is supposed to be above him.

It would be better for them to say, "The inner and the outer,"
  and "What is outside of the outer."

Because of this the lord called the outer darkness "destruction,"
  and there is nothing outside of it.

Of this, she comments : "What can there be that would exist outside the Totality, outside the All ? Surely no thing. However, this answer is not likely to be satisfactory, because our logical minds cannot help imagining the All as something, as opposed to no thing, or nothing. Therefore, the lord ingeniously provides a better answer; he calls the outer darkness 'destruction.' Whatever we imagine the outer darkness to hold, destruction immediately destroys it. If the darkness were truly outside of the world of light it could not exist; it would vanish as the night vanishes in the daylight."

Anything that belongs to the outer darkness is immediately destroyed (rendered null, void, vacant, absent - whatever). It has no substance, appearance, or efficacy in the world of our experience. This seems to me to be almost a literal definition of a black hole, and Thane's occasional comment that he was "looking for a black hole for this stuff. . . " takes on a whole new meaning.

Light vs. Darkness : The Big Lie

In the middle of all this digging around in archetypes, meditations, and images of the divine, I came upon a mother and child painting by Li Li, an artist based in Atlanta (sorry, no link available). This is a monumental piece, larger than life size, in which the mother and child are surrounded by a kind of cubist background - and it is arresting and powerful. Unfortunately, I don't have the space for such a large work, so I looked around his collection until I found this piece which, at 24" square, is more suitable to the spaces I have available.

Rooster by Li LiI didn't have it in mind when I bought the piece, but the rooster has played an important role in French cultural history and at different times has been said to represent the national character. A Wikipedia article (caveat emptor) notes that "the association between the rooster and the Gauls/French was developed by the kings of France for the strong Christian symbol that the rooster represents : prior to being arrested, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed on the following morning. At the rooster's crowing, Peter remembered Jesus's words. Its crowing at the dawning of each new morning made it a symbol of the daily victory of light over darkness and the triumph of good over evil. It is also an emblem of the Christian's attitude of watchfulness and readiness for the sudden return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment of humankind. That is why, during the Renaissance, the rooster became a symbol of France as a Catholic state and became a popular Christian image on weathervanes, also known as weathercocks."

Bet you didn't know that about the weathercocks.

This fine fellow now inhabits the wall space above the computer in my office and I can't avoid looking at him when I'm doing my standing meditation in the morning. This has convinced me that the unconscious decidedly has a sense of humor. I had intended to get a buddha image for that wall but couldn't find the right one. Now instead of peace and tranquility I get the Christian reminder to Peter that he sold out his teacher.

But it's appropriate, in the end. Pluto as agent for the mother often shows up as an agent for dragging back into the unconscious elements that you've taken a lot of time and effort to make conscious - an agent contra to the individuation process, as it were (read Liz Greene's book). This guy seems to me to be the antithesis. He's going to stand forth no matter what. And Li has rendered him against a background of darkness and light, a kind of statement about the opposites and their relation.

The image of St. Michael in French culture (and in my own Catholic "rearing") is the image of light triumphant over darkness. It's an image that permeates our worldview to this day.

A mature understanding of Pluto and its exigencies makes it clear that darkness is not something that can ever be subjugated and, further, that to attempt to do so creates a false division in which the gifts the mother has to give are repudiated along with her outrageous demands. The gnostic vision of shards of light embedded in the world of appearances awaiting our cognition to bring them forth does not propose an easier or more palatable task, but it clarifies the real job at hand : Light is all around us awaiting our call of recognition. The instrument is our consciousness, and we have a choice every moment of every day as to whether we will seek to liberate that light or allow it to continue wrapped in the ignorance of Yaldabaoth's world.

See Pluto transit project initial page.


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