The Pluto Conjunct South Node (Ketu) Transit

Shortcut to the March tarotscopes here.


Annieglia, About Now VI. Wikimedia Commons.

Maybe you feel it, maybe you don’t yet, but we have already entered the intense energetic period that is going to bring Plutonic forces to the fore as a sort of beginning of the end of Pluto’s transit through Capricorn where it has, since it first entered the sign in 2008, dredged up the hidden power, money, psychological and sexual dynamics that have been playing out on the shadow side of what we know as society, tradition, government, patriarchy and structure (all Capricornian playing fields).

About Pluto

Pluto or Hades (in Greek), is the lord of the underworld who has the dirty job of claiming debts (including that which every human incarnation owes: of death), and rounding up the dead and judging their souls. After his insecure, power-hungry, offspring-devouring father Saturn (Kronos) was overthrown as ruler of the world by his brother Jupiter (Zeus), and the kingdom was being divided into the three realms of sky, water and underground among the three brothers, the third being Neptune (Poseidon), Pluto drew the short stick and got the most dismal realm of all. But the underworld isn’t only just about rot and stench. The Romans viewed Pluto in a more favourable light as the ‘lord of the riches’, as within his chthonic realm lay also the bounties of seed-nourishing fertile soil, gems, and precious metals. Still, one of the only stories that is widely known of Pluto’s life is his abduction of Proserpina (Persephone) daughter of Demeter — the agricultural goddess who went on strike till the gods helped her retrieve her daughter from the realm of the dead, which resulted in a cold, dark period which we to this day know as the winter season.

In astrology, Pluto the planet (he was always a planet to me) is a new entrant, having only been discovered in 1930, and his use remains controversial among those of a more traditional bent of mind. Indian astrology does not employ Pluto at all. Most modern and many traditional Western astrologers do. As heavenly bodies not directly visible to the naked eye, Pluto, Neptune and Uranus are said to represent different aspects of the collective unconscious that exert their influence at a generational level rather than at an individual one (owing to really long orbits that cause them to stay within one zodiac sign for many years). However, in individual birth charts, when any of these three forces makes a close contact to an important personal planet or energy point, it does indeed signal an impactful personality or at the very least, a life-changing event, drama or trauma. From the collective unconscious point of view, Pluto can point to the repressed material in our psyche, our traumas and shadows that lay buried deep within, until something triggers them to spew forth, which sooner or later they do.

So this powerful character has been travelling through the sign of Capricorn, which is ruled by Saturn. Everything here says POW POW POW! Anywhere Pluto goes by transit, he either ‘unearths’ or ‘claims’. Now imagine Pluto meeting up with the electric force of Ketu (aka Dragon’s Tail, or South Node)!

About Ketu (South Node)

Ketu is the severed tail of the dragon/snake that tried to steal the potion of immortality (amrit) from the gods through subterfuge, its severed head is Rahu (North Node). You can read the full story of the Rahu-Ketu myth here. Astronomically, the Moon’s orbit around the Earth is slightly tilted with respect to Earth’s path around the Sun so it has a north-south orientation. Ketu represents the point in space where this orbit on its north-to-south journey intersects the Sun’s apparent path across our sky. Rahu represents the south-to-north intersection point. As notional points in space, rather than physical bodies, these are shadow forces that play out in our lives, rather dramatically, through our psyche which experiences objective events as subjective narratives of victimhood, desire, lack, excess, and personal fable.

Ketu (and Rahu) exert far more influence on the techniques used in Indian astrology than they do in its Western counterpart where their significance and use remains slightly uncertain. In my own practice I work with a hybrid of Indian and Western methods (in the true spirit of globalism), so I employ the outer planets as much as I do the nodes. Ketu in a nativity (birth chart) signifies variously an overdeveloped aspect of the personality that must be balanced out in this lifetime; inability to materialise desires, and the spiritual gains that come from such defeats; a compulsion that continues to bring ‘bad luck’; and sudden separations. This Ketu, the smoky one, devourer of matter, giver of spiritual insight has begun to get close to Pluto, the lord of the underworld. How does that sound?

About Transits in March-April

If you have deeply buried or untended relationship dynamics, or psychological and physical issues, they all are going to come out now, especially if these forces make important contacts in your chart. A clue to what might emerge can be gained from what has come to your attention in March, during this period of Mercury retrograde in Pisces. Out of nowhere, and for no specific reason, your dreams and waking thoughts might remind you of defeats, jealousies, embarrassments and traumas from long ago. Perhaps difficult dynamics and situations that you had thought had been finally put to rest also rise up again. The realm of Pluto is not for the faint-hearted. But Mercury in Pisces (empowered by Pisces’s ruler Jupiter in his domicile in Sagittarius) could forearm you with a philosophical perspective, or insight, that will serve to light the way for you as you traverse the dark and smoky Pluto-Ketu environment, battle your demons for one last time, and emerge victorious! Just remember, this is not about winning. If you have a showdown, be it internal or external, you will fare better if you approach the experience as a lesson in understanding yourself or even just learning how to keep your priorities straight rather than just going down with the enemy. This is not a time to do or die, it is time to live and release. Cry if you must. Cry all you can. But keep it about you and you alone — don’t make it about what someone else owes to you or did to you or meant to you. In nature, the organism improves its ability to survive not by focusing on that one creature that almost got it, but by learning about the enemy as a species in general.  In the dance of the cosmos, it is the energies that come into our lives that require reckoning with, not the actors.

Pluto brings life-changing events. It can bring endings too. But it is important to remember with Pluto that only that which is perishable dies, the soul lives on, transformed into something else — manure or a new life. Nothing truly ends, except the illusory concreteness of form.

Here’s a message that might be helpful if you’re in the crosshairs of the planetary wrecking ball just now.

Pluto is at 22 degrees 51 minutes in Capricorn today, Ketu (who always moves in retrograde motion) is at 23 degrees 21 minutes in the same sign. It is already happening. This conjunction will perfect on April 4th, when Mercury will have turned direct in Pisces, bringing forth an expression of everything that came up from your psyche during March — all the attachments, illusions, delusions and even ideas that came up.

…And Saturn’s Here Too!

It is worth no small mention that right after the conjunction with Pluto, Ketu will be headed for an encounter with Saturn, the significator of authority figures, rules, structures and obstacles, who is generally benevolent when he is in his domicile of Capricorn. This conjunction too occurs once in eighteen years and is therefore momentous. But carrying energy from Pluto, Ketu brings to Saturn the dissolution of those structures, duties, traditions, and equations that are no longer serving you. From Pluto to Saturn, family secrets could come up, final decisions could be made. With Saturn conjunct Ketu, ties broken and insights gained will be permanent.

If you get fired at this time, or rejected, welcome the turn of events — you will see down the line how this was indeed, in your best interest in psychological and consequently material terms.

For those on a spiritual quest, these movements are most rewarding — a feeling of aimlessness could be replaced by certainty of purpose, or initiation into occult, magical or esoteric traditions. If you are in a healing profession — physical, psychological, or spiritual — this period could bring forth some of your best work yet.

For others, it’s time to put daddy issues to rest.

Now is the time to liberate yourself. The key is to detach rather than seek closure.

But bear in mind also, the Pluto and Saturn party is not over yet. This right now is an important event — it happens once in 17-18 years (recall what shifted in your life all those years back…that too might be coming to a conclusion) — but it’s just one milestone, at least for our social structures in general. Saturn will turn retrograde on April 29th, turning direct again on September 18th, during this movement he will meet Ketu again! Tectonic shifts are underway and ongoing for most of this year, the point at which they hit you (if they do) will depend entirely on your chart’s sensitive points, and current personal transits (life progressions marked by time lords, profections, and progressions). The aforementioned jargon, for those who don’t know astrology, is only meant to highlight the subjective nature of the celestial events mentioned in this post. I know it is intense, but if you are not scheduled for an intense experience by personal karma, chances are you will have to be there for loved ones who are.  The key to making the most of whatever goes down now will be to stay invested in the learning opportunity it offers rather than material concerns.

A song dedicated to the ghosts that might come back to haunt you just now …


About Ma Megha

I'm the happy medium trying to find the happy medium!
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