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Pluto - Astrological God of the Underworld

Pluto is the Roman god of the underworld - who (for the most part) was based on the Greek god Hades.

In Greek mythology Hades was likewise the mysterious, dark, and powerful ruler of the underworld.

The Greek god Hades originally got his rulership of the underworld as part of a "land deal" arrangement with his two brothers, Zeus (Jupiter) and Poseidon (Neptune).

In this unique "real estate deal" - Zeus took control of the upperworld and heavens... Poseidon got control of the oceans and waterways... and, for better or for worse, Hades got (stuck with) the underworld.

In Greek mythology, the underworld was a subterranean kingdom where the shades of dead humans resided. It was also the place where certain immortals were imprisoned as a consequence of ticking off Hades' upperworld brother, Zeus!

The God of Invisibles
The Greek god Hades was known as the god of the depths,
the god of invisibles... and as the god of the invisibles, Hades had no temples in the upperworld and no sacrifices or tributes were ever made to him.

Archetypal author James Hillman (The Dream and the Underworld) tells us that in ancient times Hades' name was seldom used or spoken; as it was considered extremely bad luck to even mention Hades' name. According to Hillman, at times the ancients simply referred to him as "the unseen one," but more often he was called Plutoun that literally means "riches or treasure." Other times he was called Trophonius, that literally means "nourishing."

Hillman conjectured the reason why there weren't any temples or sacrifices made to Hades/Pluto was that Pluto was already "the wealthy one," the "giver of nourishment" to the soul. Thus Pluto needed no more wealth! Hmmm... that sounds a wee bit like Sun Sign Scorpio ruled by Pluto, Bill Gates...

Astrologer Richard Idemon pointed out - in his brillant workshop, "The Serpent and the Garden (the Scorpio-Taurus polarity)" - that peoples in ancient times were most often buried with their most precious and valuable earthly possessions as a sacrifice to honor the gods of the underworld. This was likely how Pluto got his riches.

The Unseen One
Hades was so completely invisible and remote that there's no "ideal" Greek/Roman art piece immediately identifiable as being a portrait of him (as we're used to with most of the other Greek gods). The few recorded myths we do have about Hades' contact with the upperworld are generally associated with themes of violence and violation, like the story of his kidnapping Persephone
and his ruthless assaults on the nymphs, Leuce and Minthe.

Hillman tells us that Hades had no representative attributes, except for an eagle, that (oddly enough) brings out Hades' duality with his more popular sky brother, Zeus (Jupiter).

The mysterious, forbidding Hades left no traces on earth. He wore a helmet of invisibility that by certain accounts was said to rightfully belong to the god Hermes (Mercury). According to Hillman, (The Dream and the Underworld) this unusual association with Hermes implies that the two gods shared a certain style of "covering their heads" that served a two-fold purpose.

(1) It hid their own thoughts and
(2) it perceived the hidden thoughts of others.

Whoever wore the special helmet was endowed with invisibility. Athena (Pallas) put the helmet on to defeat Ares (Mars) - and Perseus wore it to overcome the Gorgon.

Pluto and the Pony
In the spirit of Pluto, I've ruthleaaly stolen this section's subtitle from a small section of Donna Cunningham's classic book Healing Pluto Problems.

In her book Donna retells the all too familiar story of the optimist that's been sent to Hell, only to discover he's up to his shoulders in manure.

He immediately jumps into the pile of manure and gleefully starts swimming around. A pessimist walks up (they always do) and asks the optimist why he's so darned happy.

The optimist replies that with all this manure, there's got to be a pony in there somewhere.

Ms. Cunningham then goes on to explain that there are overly optimistic astrologers that, in their efforts to always remain positive, focus solely on the more positive and transformational characteristics of Pluto.

"Wonderbread metaphysicians don't tell you that sometimes during that Pluto transit it's going to feel like you're getting a bone marrow transplant without anesthesia. They don't mention that you're probably going to be obsessed with people and events from the past that you hoped you'd never have to think about again... there may be a pony in there somewhere, but... you have to move layers and layers of manure to get to it."

So What's The Real Skinny On Pluto?

"We have a date with Destiny... and it looks like she's ordered the lobster!" The Shoveller - Mystery Men

Granted... for astrologers when dealing with those folks who know zilch, zip, and nada about astrology, Ms. Cunningham is right about the trap of being too positive.

However, when it comes to all those folks that do know a little more about astrology - watching and waiting for a slow moving Pluto transit to "do it's thing" is typically cause for sheer unmitigated terror and dread.

I've seen and heard it a thousand times. You can't kid a kidder. If Pluto's headed your way, then you're likely terrified and cowering in the corner.

So to all you astrology enthusiasts out there waiting for Pluto to pound you into the pavement?

Speaking as someone that has more Pluto in his chart and has undergone more Pluto transits than any other three average people combined...

Yes... there is a light at the end of the tunnel; and yes, there is (potentially) a pony in there. It may be one of the wild and untamed fire-breathing ponies of Greek mythology, called the "hippoi athanatoi"... but it's a pony, nevertheless.

"The only bad planet is the planet that isn't honored"... Richard Idemon

Pluto Comes Bearing Gifts
Archetypal Pluto, as with all the planets, does comes bearing gifts.

The problem is that the moment I say the word "gifts," most folks naturally think about jolly old Santa Claus and joyeous gifts at Christmas.

Unfortunately, explaining the "gifts" of Pluto is not a simple thing to do. One can potentially expect marvelous things, but as Donna Cunningham has so brilliantly illustrated they most normally aren't wrapped in Christmas cheer.

How To Better Understand The Gifts of Pluto
Once upon a time... when attempting to better explain the unusual and fated gifts of Pluto to a client (and friend), it dawned on me that there just happens to be a marvelously Pluto themed movie, released in 1991, that perfectly describes the nature of the gifts bestowed by Pluto.

The name of this movie is "Grand Canyon," starring (Sun Sign Scorpio) Kevin Kline and Danny Glover. I happen to know, since I've got my own copy, that "Grand Canyon" is readily available on DVD (and streaming on Netflix). As I recommended to my client all those years ago (and to all clients since then) - rent it, buy it, steal it, or borrow it. Much like this fascinating movie, there can be a happy ending, but you have to go through a lot of hell (and shit) to get there.

I promise I'm not (merely) being lazy recommending you do this. Trust me... if you don't "get" astrological Pluto and his potentially painful, but awe-inspiring gifts after watching this fascinating movie - then you're pretty much hopeless...

April 4, 2009 Postscript: I swear on a stack of bibles it just now occurred to me (based on information I've known forever) that the planet Pluto was discovered by Clyde William Tombaugh while he was at the Lowell Observatory located in Flagstaff, AZ - which is (synchronistically) just south of the Grand Canyon National Park.

Buy It At Amazon - The Dream and the Underworld - by James Hillman at Amazon.com

Editorial Description: "In a deepening of the thinking begun in The Myth of Analysis and Re-Visioning Psychology, James Hillman develops the first new view of dreams since Freud and Jung."

Buy It At Amazon - Grand Canyon DVD Pluto revealed!

Buy It At Amazon - Healing Pluto Problems Donna Cunningham's Classic Book on astrological Pluto.

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