Pluto and the Psyche

Post date: Jan 28, 2013 9:50:20 PM

On February 18, 1930, a 24-year-old astronomy researcher by the name of Clyde Tombaugh discovered a small planet at the periphery of the solar system. Named after the Greek god of the underworld, Pluto has fascinated astrologers ever since. In Greek mythology, Pluto was responsible for the abduction of the young maiden Persephone from Earth down into Hades. Through divine efforts, she was released from Pluto’s domain, but in exchange she had to return for six months out of the year (three months in some versions). During this time, the land would lay barren and winter would prevail.

This story says a lot about the nature and character of the planet Pluto and how it can affect our health and well-being. In this story of abduction and eventual release, there is a sense of a transformative process taking place. Many of us have gone through a difficult process of our own, such as the loss of a friend or a loved one, or have gone through interpersonal and financial difficulties. The emotional strain that these experiences may cause can directly affect our physical health as well, and we may feel fatigued, depressed and anxious.

Though these experiences often seem frightening at the time, there is often a message of importance that can be learned through the process. By working with different healing modalities, we can go to the core of the issue to discover the underlying root. Through this awareness, a greater sense of compassion can arise along with a transformation of the soul. I want to look at activities that will help us to garner wisdom from these “Plutonic” experiences.

Making Art: A Vehicle for Plutonic Transformation

One powerful way of moving through difficult passages is by working with them in a non-linear and artistic way. Many artists and musicians can more easily and readily release deep-seated emotions through an expressive medium. There is no need to be immensely talented, only to have the desire to channel feelings through words or paint brushstrokes.

I enjoy music and find it can be easier to express myself through writing lyrics to songs or through playing music. This helps me to contact emotional depths that I am sometimes not aware of on a conscious level. If I am going through a difficult process, I can then come to an understanding of its meaning and release it through my words and expression. Oftentimes I will come to a place of deeper self-acceptance and empathy for others who are struggling. I may not have eliminated the pain I am going through, but I am more aware and connected to the meaning of my experience.

Counseling: Diving into the Unconscious

Another powerful tool for bringing clarity and wisdom to difficult situations is seeing a counselor. Good counselors are adept at drawing out the root of the problem and the dynamics that led up to the current situation. When I was going through a particularly difficult time in my life, I worked with a Jungian counselor who was especially adept at dream analysis.

Dreams are often potent symbolic representations of psychological processes going on in our unconscious. By bringing them to light, a counselor can help translate these images into tools for deeper awareness and understanding. Often we lock away and store memories and experiences that were too difficult to process at the time. Counseling can help draw forth these experiences and allow for release and letting go.


Therapies for working with Pluto problems require going to the core of the matter. Physically, the body can store much of the tension and pain from difficult experiences in the muscles and ligaments. To mitigate this effect, it can be helpful to see a trained bodyworker who can assist in the release of body strain and tightness. Deep tissue work like rolfing or soma will often trigger an emotional response when a particular area of the body is worked on. For example, massaging the stomach might bring up issues of personal security. Massaging the neck might bring up issues of communication and self-expression. By working with a trained bodyworker, greater awareness of the mind-body connection can develop and deeply stored emotional issues held in the body have a chance to be released.


In modern times we are more familiar with techniques of suppressing pain and emotional turmoil. We are surrounded by gadgets and devices that help us forget our own experience and numb our pain. Drugs and alcohol also provide ways for losing touch with ourselves. It is much more difficult, but can be enriching and beautiful to allow for difficult experiences to teach us something of value, to have a relationship with ourselves that incorporates these darker elements in life. Pluto, then, can become an ally and an assistant in our awakening. Instead of a dark force to be feared, it can be seen as a transformative agent, helping us to become more compassionate, loving and authentic.


Jonathan Keyes, B.S., is an astrologer, herbalist and plant spirit medicine practitioner. His writing has appeared in The Mountain Astrologer and in numerous Llewellyn almanacs. Jon has written a book entitled 'Guide to Natural Health, The Horoscope as a key to Ancient Healing Practices'. Jon is available for readings and can be contacted at Go to Jon's web site at

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