What does it mean to have Sun Square Pluto or Sun Trine Pluto in the natal chart? In this post, I will address Pluto Sun Aspects: all the major “hard” and “soft” aspects will be discussed. Please note that these are baseline interpretations and may be modified according to the presence of other factors in the chart. You can also study Pluto Houses I and Pluto Houses II discussed in other posts.
Pluto Sun: Conjunction
In evolutionary astrology, Pluto symbolizes the Soul, and the Sun is perceived to be the symbol of creative self-actualization (according to Jeffrey Wolf Green’s teachings). The proximity between these two symbols, therefore, can be read as an alignment between the evolutionary path of the Soul and what the individual would like to bring forth as part of her urge to manifest the potentials gifted to her in this lifetime.
In psychological astrology, Pluto is perceived differently, though: it symbolizes the painful memories and experiences we have managed to suppress in order to continue living life as normally as possible. These seemingly-forgotten bits and pieces of us, however, can stay alive for years (and sometimes for generations) and ultimately assume an incredible power over our so-called “conscious” decisions or reactions to life.
That is why, in psychoanalysis, for example, we are encouraged to probe into the nature of our suppressed memories by paying attention to our dreams or taking note of our uninvited fantasies, attractions, or repulsions in hopes of finding clues that can guide us back to what we once buried and forgot.
The Sun, on the other hand, symbolizes our Will, and the force which encourages us to become a “whole” individual. The Sun likes to be seen and celebrated; therefore, in this sense, it is in contrast to what Pluto represents: it stands for all that is visible in us, those brave and beautiful rays emanating from our glorious Self and going out to bless the entire world.
Conjunction between Pluto and the Sun can thus be interpreted as an inherent alignment between the dark and the bright, the elapsed and the elevated in us. Here the most profoundly-buried parts of us yearn to be dug up from the damp dirt of the unconscious and be unabashedly exposed to the warm and welcoming light of consciousness.
If the energies symbolized by Pluto and the Sun are psychologically integrated through the conscious work of the individual, the Will can assume a God-like power over the Ego and its many demands; therefore, the individual can become what the ancient Chinese Oracle I Ching would refer to as the “Superior Man” who has “sublimity, constancy, and perseverance.”
However, if this conjunction is under stress in the birth chart and remains psychologically unintegrated, the individual may fall prey to the demands of the rotten and forgotten in her, the pain which can penetrate her sense of Self to such a degree that navigating calm waters may seem like being cheated out of life, as one may only know how to navigate storms or perhaps even yearns to be pushed and crushed in the process.
Either case, the proximity of these archetypes in the birth chart symbolizes a unique, regenerative power in the fabrics of our psyche, an unseen force that helps us rise from our own ashes time and time again, each time soaring higher than before. With this conjunction in the birth chart, one has the potential to heal oneself in miraculous ways, as the Soul and the Self can work in harmony to not only restore what is lost but also to bring forth something which is better.
Pluto Sun: Square
With this configuration in the natal chart, one’s sense of Self may have been challenged by one’s karmic or ancestral predispositions. The Soul may have formed or inherited certain patterns over many lifetimes, which may now condition or inhibit the individuation process or the urge to manifest one’s creative potentials.
In some cases, the individual may have been shamed by a family member with regards to who she truly is, her social identity or her Will to pursue her unique, individual path. In other cases, a family member could have psychologically intimidated the individual or manipulated her to fulfill his or her demands.
If these energies remain unintegrated in the psyche, the individual may “turn into” the Plutonic figures of her childhood and reproduce the same intimidation or manipulation she experienced earlier in life now in her interaction with herself and others as an adult. To self-loathe or to self-destroy is not uncommon if the individual operates from an un-conscious place, denying her pain, or simply trying to avoid working on what is uncomfortable or shameful.
At its best, this energy exchange between Pluto and the Sun symbolizes a dynamic sense of Self, a toughness of character which can help one navigate all the dreadful difficulties of life and proudly survive “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” as Hamlet would describe it.
If the individual consciously works with the energies symbolized here, an array of hidden powers will be gradually revealed to further help her navigate life or survive her own destructive urges in the most creative fashion: as the damp ground of Pluto can be fertilized by the heat of the Sun, as the dark and the bright meet and mate after being initially caged in by one another, this volatile energy exchange can bear much poetic, musical or artistic fruit, usually of the “transgressive” kind, dark and dangerous, yet unmatched. As Georges Bataille, the French writer who had this aspect in his natal chart eloquently stated:
He who transgresses not only breaks a rule. He goes somewhere that others are not; and he knows something that others don’t know.
Pluto Sun: Opposition
With this configuration in the natal chart, one’s sense of Self may have been formed as a result of excluding the primal, the profound, or the taboo aspects of oneself and projecting them onto the other. In this case, the other may be delegated to the position of the “shadow,” and as such, may be detested, empowered, shamed, or sexualized.
If this configuration remains psychologically unintegrated, what is buried and forgotten can gradually eclipse the conscious light of the Self, and the individual may eventually feel that a large part of her conscious life is being directed by forces out of her reach. Alternatively, others may appropriate the individual to satisfy their own ego needs or to suppress her freedom to choose the course of her own destiny. In extreme cases, it may seem that the individual has renounced her authenticity altogether in favor of being safe or to simply survive.
If we work with these energies in a conscious manner, others can actually help us by acting as a mirror and providing us with an opportunity to “see” our own shadow. Certain qualities in others that may trigger us in primal ways, or may stir up unexplained infatuations, fixations, or obsessions can thus give us clues regarding the content of our shadow. In this manner, the shadow can be invited back and given a place in us, rather than simply dumped and deserted.
As Robert A. Johnson, the author of Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche mentions in his book:
If we can learn to love the inner enemy, then there is a chance of loving — and redeeming — the outer one.
To create is to destroy at the same moment. We cannot make light without a corresponding darkness.
This configuration may signal that one’s sense of Self has been overpowered or diminished by one’s karmic habits or ancestral patterns, one’s fears, or one’s pain. In some cases, the individual is genuinely scared of living her true self, as the feedback coming from the outside world has not been encouraging or accepting of the individual’s identity or way of being.
Alternatively, there can be an expectation of disappointment attached to the process of individuation, which in itself can hinder one’s urge to self-actualize. Another possibility is that a masculine figure in one’s life (a father, brother, or a mentor) could have been undermining one’s efforts to establish a unique path that is aligned with one’s character or destiny.
Sometimes the individual may be able to find her way back to herself through intimacy with the other. In this case, sex or erotic touch may initiate a process of healing and cultivate a sense of being accepted in the psyche of the individual, which may eventually help her reorient herself to her individuation path in a healthier fashion.
This configuration may signal that one’s sense of Self may have been polarized from one’s instincts, fears, or suppressed emotions. Alternatively, one’s sense of self may have been indirectly affected by an experience of severity, extremity, or crisis.
If the individual consciously works with these energies, she may start seeing her suppressed emotions in their totality, rather than as divorced fragments bearing no relationship to her, and can thus allow them to get incorporated into her sense of Self.
Otherwise, if these energies remain psychologically unintegrated, the individual’s conscious identity may stay in the periphery of her instincts or irrational impulses. The result may be an individual who is good at investigating the pain or shame of others, yet is unable to deal with her own pain or shame.
Pluto Sun: Trine
With this configuration in the natal chart, there usually exists a psychological cooperation between the suppressed content of the psyche (which includes taboo desires, irrational impulses or buried fears) and one’s conscious identity. In other words, the dark has already been invited to come to the light, the forbidden has already been sanctioned, and one’s urge to creatively self-actualize flows in harmony with one’s base instincts, for better or for worse.
If this configuration is psychologically well-integrated, the individual can be a therapist to her own pain, a healer to her own wound, and act as an accepting Father to the less-desirable aspects of the Child within.
However, if the individual has not consciously worked with the energies symbolized by the Sun and Pluto, the dark can take over the light without the individual ever registering the incident. Such reversal of psychological forces may lead to a new form of anomaly: all that comes up from the primal sphere of the psyche may find its way into the conscious Self without ever being examined. Charles Manson, the deranged cult leader and criminal, was a good example of such an un-integrated energy exchange, who stated:
You have to accept yourself as God. You have to realize you’re just the Devil just as much as you’re God, that you’re everything and you’re nothing at all.
Either case, the harmonious energy flow between the Sun and Pluto symbolizes an opportunity to accept ourselves as we are, and not to be afraid of exploring all those dark corners in us which have not been seen for years as a result of fear or forgetfulness. Here comes a truly unique opportunity for the alchemical transformation of pain into healing power, for ourselves and for all who come into contact with us.
Pluto Sun: Sextile
With this configuration in the natal chart, one is often presented with opportunities to develop a sense of Self through extreme experiences, pain or crisis. One’s environmental influences may have included a high degree of volatility, which, in turn, may have added a degree of “toughness” to the way the individual relates to herself.
Alternatively, one’s siblings, friends or playmates may have been exposed to some form of crisis or extreme experience; they may have struggled with difficult conditions (addiction, illnesses, etc.) or positively, they may have been able to get back on their feet after a traumatic incident.
If the energies symbolized here are well-integrated in the psyche of the individual, she will be a “survivor,” no matter how difficult it gets. In this case, pain or crisis can become a genuine opportunity for one to test one’s tenacity or psychological integrity. Regardless of how one deals with these ordeals, there is always an opportunity to develop further self-reliance as a result of accepting a good challenge or going through hardship for the sake of preserving one’s integrity or sense of honor.
Otherwise, if these energies are not well-integrated, the individual may develop a jealous or cruel streak in the face of pain, and later inflict the same pain on others in her environment. In this case, the consciousness of why pain may have become an integral part of one’s identity can be the beginning of a long journey of recovery. Much patience and persistence will be required here, as well as professional help from healers and therapists, in order for the individual to develop a healthy threshold that allows her to endure pain without getting necessarily attached to it or defined by it.
In the next post, I will offer a basic analysis of Pluto in aspect to the Moon in the birth chart.