Skip to the content

Big Sky This Week: Just Keep Shining

IIn a week of quiet skies, the most important planetary connection is a fleeting one: the Sun’s square to Pluto (Monday, Oct. 14, 0:34 am PDT). It’s quick and it happens twice each year, so it’s rarely of long-term consequence in and of itself. But if you’ve got a lot of old, dried-up kindling lying around, this is the match that can light it into a roaring brush fire.

Here’s how Pluto appeared in my world today. I read that Alex Trebek, longtime host of the TV quiz show Jeopardy, has had a recurrence of cancer and is near the end of his life. A good friend reports that her cat’s latest round of chemotherapy seems to have left kitty feeling both better and worse. Another friend was the victim of fraud; his entire bank account was wiped out (but, mercifully, later restored). And over the weekend, in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, families had their whole lives turned inside out when the latest round of wildfires erupted.

These are all reminders that life throws a lot of stuff at us, and part of being a grownup is learning how to handle it. Most of us do our best. And in the process, we develop so many tools for coping that we begin to believe that we’re in control of our lives.

And then, a loved one is lost to dementia, a disaster destroys our home, or a trusting pet looks up at us with eyes that say, “Make it better.” Faced with something terrible, unacceptable, something over which we’re powerless… that’s when we’re looking into the eyes of Pluto.

It can be hard for astrologers to talk to you about Pluto. We don’t want to scare you, and we want to be constructive when we describe even the most difficult planetary pictures. But that’s the problem with Pluto – it isn’t constructive; rather, Pluto’s job is to deconstruct, to take us apart as one might a dangerous, poorly-built fireplace. Pluto shows the flaws in what we’ve constructed, the weakness in the foundation, the rot in the eaves; it’s what we’re holding onto even though it’s not truly ours to keep, maybe because we fear it’s all that’s available.

“Pluto” is how astrologers say “power.” Power is neutral. The same nuclear plant that provides electrical power to your city also has the potential to destroy it. As astrologers, we naturally want to help you wield Pluto’s power rather than being overwhelmed by it. So we use gentle, encouraging language about his presence in your chart, using words like “transformation” and “empowerment.” And those words are not inaccurate.

But ask anyone whose life has been transformed by tragedy or who has had to fight for power over their destiny to tell you their story, and the story will not be a gentle one. It will be a story of confronting dark forces, both within themselves and without. They will describe facing the possibility that everything they believed about life is untrue, and finding a way to carry on despite that discovery.

Sometimes, Pluto goes easy on us, bringing no more than a little self-doubt or an existential crisis our way. Occasionally, Pluto brings us into alignment with powerful forces, propelling us to fame (or at least its suburbs). Of course, that can bring complications of its own.

But always, Pluto’s land is dark territory, and each of us will eventually pass through it. When clients come to an astrologer fearing that they will be told something terrible and scary, it’s Pluto’s lessons of loss, illness, and powerlessness that they fear. Very often, their birth chart is experiencing heavy Pluto patterns, and they’re already knee-deep in hard lessons. They just want to know when it will all be over.

And so, we point to the end of the transit. But that’s not enough; it’s important to explore what’s being deconstructed, and to honor a difficult process instead of reaching for platitudes. Pluto moves very slowly, and when it aspects your chart it takes several years to play out. That’s a long time to spend hiding out in a cave, waiting for the storm to pass. It’s important to let ourselves be changed and guided by difficult times.

If you’re traveling through one of these long, dark, Pluto times, this week’s aspect from the Sun to Pluto introduces a note of brightness and new awareness. The Sun is a beacon of rejuvenating warmth and brightness, and its spotlight reveals everything. When the Sun shines at Pluto, the troll under the bridge is exposed. Nosferatu hides his face and screams. Those who rely on stealth to do their dirty work are rendered powerless in the bright light of day.

My friends, there are gremlins underneath the staircase. Sickness, pain, loss, and betrayal are part of life. There are things we can’t control. Pluto teaches us the limits of our personal power and dares us to find meaning in our lives, even when we have every reason to believe there is none.

Enter the Sun, which celebrates the weird miracle that we exist at all. When Pluto says, “You’re not much and you won’t live forever, so what’s the point?”, the Sun just laughs. “Ask Gandhi the point, or Rosa Parks, or Mr. Rogers!” he tells Pluto. “Meanwhile, I’ll just keep shining.”

© 2019 by April Elliott Kent

Featured in my online shop…

7 comments to " Big Sky This Week: Just Keep Shining "

  • This is so tenderly brilliant. Thank you.

  • Jo

    Loved this April, thank you. Your words are encouraging and helpful.

  • Tamara

    I always look forward to your beautifully written essays but this weeks offering seems to be meant for me. I received a phone call a couple of hours ago to tell me my elegant, dignified, Father is transitioning from this earthly realm. Your words are a comfort.

  • Magical….your way with words, April. I imagine we, your community of subscribed readers, feeling the wisdom of your writing and realizing we can keep on keeping on. ‘I’ll just keep shining’.

  • Jayne

    A classic example of this week’s Sun square Pluto transit was DNC candidate Tulsi Gabbard (Sun) calling out Hillary Clinton for progating a smear campaign (Pluto) against her presidential run.

    This year, three of my doctors have announced their retirements. Pluto is transiting my Capricorn 12th House. I will miss their valued expertise and advice.

Leave a Comment