Planet Waves

Burning Down the House
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

WHEN PLUTO went into Sagittarius, I welcomed it with a deep breath and a willingness to grow. At the time, of course, I wasn't thinking "world jihad," and I braced myself for a hit on my early Sag Sun -- so early that I'd already been caught in the backwash of Pluto's last gasps in Scorpio. When Pluto conjuncts your planets, you spend what seems an endless period of time reeling under the revelations and destruction, but after a bit you get your equilibrium.

If you're paying attention to the opportunities all change brings, you rise out of the ashes, Phoenix-like -- older, wiser and certainly stronger. What doesn't kill you...yadda. For a while, of course, you scuttle around bashed and battered, looking like a stray cat and feeling like one. Pluto -- it's a kind of death and resurrection, metaphorically speaking. Not that cute, ditzy Disney dog, not at all.

So it comes as no shock to me that the world is scuttling, bashed and battered -- that the last potent degrees of Pluto in "fire" seem to be burning everything in sight; that our equilibrium is off, our sensibilities wounded, our self-esteem bruised, our mental health assaulted. We're still working toward the "ashes" part -- we haven't gotten to the "rise like a Phoenix" portion. Potent energy, this. Among the many absurdities of the times is Pluto's demotion to dwarf planet status...a mere rock rotating in the heavens. Yeah, right -- the same kind of rock that brought down Goliath, I'd think. I don't know an astrologer who doesn't approach the power of this planet with somber respect.

Sagittarius is the sign of the philosopher. If Aries is the wildfire, and Leo the bonfire, Sag is the banked coals at the hearth. The "fire" progression, as with all the signs, moves from the elemental and essential to the nuanced and thoughtful. I suppose that's a mercy -- Pluto in Aries sounds like the barbarians at the gates (I'm thinking broadswords.) And, again, I hadn't counted on jihad, but I suppose if we're to clear the dross in the human psyche in preparation for a new paradigm, the worst of our misperceptions must rise to the surface. Spiritual folk have used the analogy of fresh water being poured into a glass of murky dregs, floating them to the top -- the water's still pouring, the dregs are still rising, and it all looks pretty dire, at this point. With Pluto retro at 26 degrees, having taken its instructions from its visits with the Galactic Core, we're moving toward a grand conclusion of this purge, the glass half full, the planet on fire and a Phoenix waiting in the wings. Pluto is taking us on a pilgrimage to our rebirth, dragging us kicking and screaming.

I recently rented a movie called Life as a House starring Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas -- it was a chick flick. I like those, being a chick and all. It was billed as a "romantic drama," although the story of a dying man attempting to repair broken relationships and recreate his last days with unaccustomed authenticity isn't my idea of romance. It did appeal to my mood, though. I don't think any of us can wander through the corridors of world news or review reports of natural and man-made disasters these days without thinking about issues of mortality.

The title of the movie reveals what it's about; the building of self -- ultimately, the need to knock down what is old and shabby, what is no longer wanted, and rebuild something that reflects the vision of the better self we wish to inhabit. Extending the metaphor, our hero knows his days are numbered, so he decides to begin the project that has always been on his back burner -- building a long-dreamed-of home. That journey leads to the healing process of his and his families' lives -- painful, funny, tender, sad -- you know, chick flick; but I'd recommend it for all of us. It's a catharsis of a movie, entertaining as well as difficult, inviting us to examine our own lives, ask the questions of ourselves we have long put off.

What IS happiness, anyway? What would we do if we only had a few weeks to live? What would our life look like if every second was suddenly precious to us? What have we endured, tolerated and allowed to steal our life force in daily increments that needs to be discarded? What has gone unspoken and unexamined too long? What sorrows don't we allow ourselves to feel, pushing them into the corners of our mind to "get to later"? And what would happen if we got to them now? If we were honest with ourselves, authentic in our desires, would we quickly outgrow the house we inhabit, the life we've established? Wouldn't it be a relief to see that old house knocked down, and another springing from it?

Life as a House is not a movie with a tidy ending, and the questions it poses remain with you long after you've returned the rental. Life doesn't have tidy endings...or tidy beginnings, for that matter. It's a constant flux of birth and death, rebirth and reconsideration. Plutonian transmutation is just one aspect of the force that moves us along, that purges us of what is no longer tolerable, that reduces the old to ashes and prompts our renewal in fresh new forms.

We have four other planets in fire signs, at this writing. Jupiter has gone direct in Sag and Venus is seconds off retro back into Leo -- Saturn in Leo is trined to Pluto, adding a welcome element of stability. The Sun and Mercury are, of course, solidly in the sign of the Lion, inviting us to lounge in the sleepy pleasures of late summer. Fire energy always comes to us with the sheer warmth of its lively enthusiasm and a bit of childlike mischief -- is there occasionally an element of danger in pleasure and fun? Of course, and we should revel in it. The kicker in the present astrology is Mars moving into nervous, impatient Gemini, ready to opposes Jupiter, square Uranus, and then move to oppose Pluto. Well, we didn't want it to be boring, did we? And it won't be.

We're burning down the house that we have long outgrown. We are challenged to find our willingness, our courage, to do so because to all things there is a season, and this is ours to grow past what is no longer worthy of us. The water's being poured into the glass, bringing up all that is old and tired and mean and heartless, and we are in the process of reviewing and discarding. The world, the nation, the community, the family -- we're all on the same journey, shedding our old skin and working through a transformation that cannot help but be an anxious one, but which comes with bright possibilities for the future. Think of it as a grand adventure, if you can, because there's no stopping the fire now...or the Phoenix that awaits us when the ashes have cooled.

CREDITS: Associate Editor: Priya Kale. Webmaster: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Proofreader and Fact Checker: Sara Churchville. Horoscope Editor: Jessica Keet. Business Manager: Chelsea Bottinelli.

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