Pluto/Facies: The Condition Our Condition Is In

by Boots Hart, CAP on January 1, 2012

Pluto in astrology

We like to think we know the astrological Pluto. But do we? For most of a century now astrologers have been pointing at Pluto as a symbol and timer for personal transformation. In noting its affinity with “Things Scorpio” and the thematic connection of Pluto’s “create, deny, destroy” keyword stream with acts, attitudes, attributes and eventualities Scorpionic, our understanding of the sign and the dwarf planet (Pluto) have both been enhanced.

Obviously people like Pluto—or think they like Pluto—I’m not sure any of us really want to live so very far from our Sun. And apart from there still being those who think the celestial object was named for the Disney character of the same name (and not the Roman version of the Greek god Hades), about the worst thing which has happened in our youthful relationship with Pluto is that dwarf planet thing.

Artist's rendition of Pluto's surface

On said scientific point, I rather agree that Pluto is not a full scale planet—starting with the fact that Pluto is only about a fifth of the size of our earthly Moon. Still, I honor the outrage over Pluto’s “demotion”; that’s real human love for a hunk of space rock. And on the astrological front, I loved the astrologer (whose name I unfortunately have misplaced) who said it was all well and good for a bunch of scientists to demote Pluto, but who’s going to tell Pluto?

Therein lies the truth of what one surly astrologer-type I know calls modernist astrology. Astrologers really do seem to fall into two camps. In one camp we have those who would (as was put to me by inestimable astrologer Robert Zoller) love to go back to when the earth was flat (and just when was that, Bob?). And in the other camp we have those who are all bushy-tailed about new discoveries, new points and taking a holistic approach to the solar system and universe we live in.

Beyond that lie the essentials of Pluto as an astrological object. Anyone who knows astrology has only to hear “I’m doing a Pluto transit” and up go the raised eyebrows. (And yes, I think “doing” is apt when we talk about Pluto.) Pluto transits are notoriously difficult…just about the time you think you have adjusted to ground quivering beneath your feet, something falls on your head. Just about the time you think you understand, you find out you don’t have a clue.

And why is that?

The answer starts with Pluto’s “create, deny, destroy” keyword stream. Pluto transits tend to reverse streams of action/activity (or) to challenge us with a reverse of action or activity that we then have to cope with. Which of these emphases we encounter, more often than not, is the individual part described by the Pluto in your chart. But there are some commonalties, staring with Pluto’s relationship to Scorpio.

Scorpio’s first ruler is Mars-the-initiator. So whether we “do” or “don’t do” and what/how we choose to do—that’s the Mars part. Scorpio being an interactive sign and Mars coming first-and-foremost from the “I BE ME!” sign of Aries, the challenge is to get ourselves to take others into account. Those who find solutions which fit everybody’s aims (and not just their own) tend to do far, far better in the Scorpio arena. That kind of Scorpio “plan” (aim or proposal) earns the respect and support of others, in time rewarding us with credit for (in essence) being willing to get past your own ego in (emotionally) leading the group to success.

And once that success manifests as success, everybody awards you with power. That’s the Plutonic key. People make a lot of power grabs, but such successes often don’t last. Lasting power is power which is earned. Pluto is the outcome ruler of Scorpio. It’s about the benefit or emotional sense of loss which is the “report card” on how well we did or didn’t deal with that Mars/Aries “me/us” question.

But why is this so hard to predict? Why do people so consistently delude themselves with visions of power and grandeur?

The answer to that is simple, if mysterious. It’s all about the fact that Pluto (the dwarf planet) orbits the Sun along an orbital path dictated by Neptune. And Neptune isn’t any dwarf! By golly, no—Neptune is a big honking planet, the real-deal planetary thing. Where Pluto is only about one-fifth the size of Earth’s Moon, Neptune is about seventeen TIMES the size of our mother-planet, Earth!

More and more, science is revealing Neptune as akin to Jupiter in being a major “mover and shaker” around our solar system. But as pertains to Pluto, in shortest terms, Neptune exerts a lot of influence out there in cold dark space through its power of “magnetic resonance.” And what this turns into is the fact that the entire tribe of objects known as “Plutinos” (with Pluto as the archetype) orbit our Sun in a 3:2 “orbital resonance” with Neptune—meaning for every three times Neptune goes around the Sun, Plutinos go around twice, describing orbital patterns which are rather pretty and curlicued.

orcus orbit

Orcus' orbit as an example of 2:3 resonance with Neptune

It’s this “Neptune connection” which really explains so much about Pluto. With Neptune, the prime astrological directive is: allow yourself not to know. Considering Pluto (and all Things Scorpionic) that clearly spells out why Pluto (Scorpio) desires are so clearly felt, but not always realistic. And even when we get that thing we’re so desirous of, sometimes the reality doesn’t live up to the vision. (That old expression “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it” is about as Scorpio and Pluto as it gets!)

Second, only to allow yourself not to know in the Neptune realm is also the astro-fact that wherever the wafting blue of Neptune allure is to be found, there also comes the experience of emotional honesty and honest emotions. Neptune being the outcome ruler of Pisces…and Pisces being the sign of our confrontations with (or denial of) emotional truths, that leads us to the stomach-quivering and oh-so Neptunian construct which says: what you think is true probably isn’t, what you think unlikely or impossible is true.

Thus Pluto—the astro-symbol describing the “emotionally transformative outcome” of interactive relationships/interactions in relationships is “controlled” by Neptunian illusion against reality, the longing against the truth of things. With Pluto, we experience the instinctive craving to be in control, particularly in areas and life arenas where our feelings are on the line or likely to be evoked or provoked.

So…astrologers raise eyebrows at Pluto transits because we know all about the giant tendency to begin with an incorrect premise where Pluto is concerned. We tend to think “us” and “me” instead of maintaining a perspective on the greater affect, the whole of the situation and yes, the needs of everyone’s egos. Yes, we humans have a terrible time getting past our own ego. And to the extent that that’s a problem, Pluto’s transits (and wherever Scorpio lies in our chart) is going to deliver a dose of Neptunian ego-negation, time after time after time after time.

pluto system

Pluto's local system

And why is this so important right now? It’s important because Pluto is about to conjunct Facies.

First, the timing: as Facies is currently positioned at 8 Capricorn 28, we can say the conjunction begins on January 20 when Pluto hits 8 Capricorn…or we can say the conjunction is “perfected” as Pluto reaches the exactitude of 8 Capricorn 28 on February 3. Either way, this is just the opening round of a year-long process: come November 22 (after retrograding) Pluto will again enter 8 Capricorn and again “perfect” its conjunction with Facies on December 7 …with its exit from 8 Capricorn occurring on December 23.

And for all you orb-loving folks (nope! I didn’t forget you!) Pluto actually entered the 5-degree (standard conjunction) orb for Facies in late December 2009. And it won’t exit Facies’ orb until November 2015.

All such dates become more evidently important as we begin thinking about the Facies part of this equation. In astrology, Facies is a “fixed star.” But astronomically, Facies is a Messier, specifically, Messier 22 (or NGC 6656, if you prefer sounding all Star Trek-ish).

A Messier is a group of stars which from Earth look more or less like a single object. This is a vital part of the astrological lore with any Messier as it tells us that such a point represents a “conglomeration” of issues. Or thoughts. Or challenges. Or feelings, situations or dynamics. That Pluto entered Facies’ orb late in 2009 in Capricorn (sign of government and life’s structure and structural elements) says we shouldn’t be surprised if things have seemed “tangled” since that time.

Then add that “Pluto reversal” quality. Many a collective “thing” which was at least holding together have since that time come apart. And some things which have been scattered or disparate have come together. Events have “come together” to conspire (what a Plutonic word!) to cause things to happen. Undercurrents have been building up in some areas and brewing in others. This would be a time when our desires and all which we have ignored because of our desires (or our unwillingness to get involved) “hit” us in the face—or pocketbook—or as we relate (or don’t relate) to others.

The lore about Facies speaks of it as “the eye of the archer”—a telling comment as the archer was in olden times the most feared warrior because of the “reach” of their weapons. Long-range missiles, anyone? Or is your life’s “Facies matter” something of long standing or something which has long-term implications?

Another thing said about Facies is that it embodies a “violent” energy, or the energy of violence, against which there is the wound of the victim. For those of you who know psychology, this combination is the heart and soul of narcissism. So just as we have seen an upsurge of violence and victimization, there is much to be said about this being a time when we will wrestle with our own willingness to deal with the “narcissistic traits” we all have—as well as with full blown Narcissists, be they people in our personal life or headliners of spectacular selfish insensitivity.

And let’s remember, this is Pluto conjuncting Facies. So the “trick” is to be honest (most of all with ourselves!) and to face whatever situations, decisions arise (replete with whatever emotions, temptations and fear of risk they may bring) with a healthy dose of realism. Don’t go for ideals, don’t relegate yourself to everything dismal. Eventualities will, like as not, fall somewhere in-between.

And the not knowing…? Well! That may be the hardest part of all to deal with!

In my own astrological work I’ve seen Facies as a symbol of latent injuries and burdens which cost far more in the long run than we suspect. There seems to be a “reactionary” factor amounting to a desire for “retribution” which comes with some sort of acting out. Seeing that this is Pluto connecting with Facies, desires are likely to run high; throughout this connective period the sense of being “owed” or having it be “your turn” is likely to run high.

This is not a simple time. No matter what you take on, there will be more “lurking under the surface” than you suspect. Many a conversation and consideration is going to be made doubly difficult because of “inherited perceptions.”

Anyone with a natal point between 3 and 13 degrees of Capricorn, Cancer, Libra or Aries knows this problem intrinsically—you live with it. However…how that operates will now change. With Pluto involved, the more you aim for solutions which benefit you as well as others (each according to their need) the better off you’re likely to be. Just don’t expect things to be easy. Eight Capricorn is all about what we build. To the extent that any of us now build anything based on false premises (or if we have built things on false foundations), we can expect just those things to become exceedingly problematic if not downright toxic over this period to come. There’s a lot of good and not-so-good comments about 8 Capricorn…there is a tendency towards boredom and aspirations beyond the ordinary. There’s an aloofness which in the form of perspective can be useful and/or various forms of chilling, dispassionate lacks of care which can be destructive.

In the end, how things get done seems like the big divider we’re going to see…and yes, experience. Some will attempt to manipulate others through guilt, fear or otherwise. And some will recognize that the real “cost” in life is the cost of a life—starting with their own life.

We can expect to see a lot of ugliness revealed in this next year or so. We can also expect to witness and hear tales of the plaintive, touching and absolutely horrifying. People are going to sell themselves out and each other out. Then again, some will realize that life is too long and too short to spend living “the lie”—or in pursuit of something which means nothing to them. Many a problem seeded long ago will now bear rancid fruit. Many a choice made in the heat of hopeful excitement will now come face to face with reality.

Some will survive. Some will not. All will be “transformed” through recognition—at the very least. For those who spend this next year being constructive in the truest sense of the word, 2012 is likely to end in a better place than where it began. All will not be done (remember, this Pluto-Facies connection doesn’t end until late in 2015), but they’ll be on their way.

Meanwhile, those who cling to hollow ideals and lies will either hate 2012, or live to look back on 2012 as when they “woulda, shoulda, coulda”…but didn’t. Playing helpless, such folk will hide behind a “woeful fate” card instead of realizing that “fate” is just another name for life as it confronts us in each and every day. Life’s “fated” challenges are our opportunities to dig deep within and through effort, realize that we can be who we really are. We aren’t some dictate. We aren’t some tradition. We aren’t owned by another person. They aren’t living our life—we are. So whether we choose to become that we are capable of being…or whether choose to just lie there like a bug newly sprayed with insecticide, that’s Free Will.

If you’re not familiar with this version of cause/effect, you will be soon. Then you too will get a clue as to the condition your condition is in…and maybe about the conditions under which you’re willing to deal with that condition—and whether you’re doing so conditionally or not.

It’s sooooo Plutonic!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

vanessa July 2, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Hi. Thanks so much for this. You’re spot on!
I have natal Facies exactly conjunct A.C.
Since 2009 I’ve had Pluto transiting A.C / Facies
In 2010 my partner was killed the day i transferred all our assets into a new company in his name.
His sister sued me, claiming no proof of our continuing relationship [Plutonic sex & death & money!!]
In 2013 as a result of this international court case i lost the rest of my assets – $4 mill of a huge victorian mansion i was extremely emotionally attached to & idealistic about. Still doesn’t make good business sense that i lost everything – it was beyond the level of the logical the way things kept falling over. I lost the house in a very ugly way that involved break-ins, violence, theft, police & getting personally trashed in the national media. It didn’t matter that i fought extremely hard to make things right it just kept going sideways.
I hit a personal limit where i ended up exhausted, suicidal & deeply questioning everything in my world. I’ve also been on a journey that’s taken me from being highly idealistic & trusting, to disillusioned with everybody & everything, to turning all that energy inwards on a spiritual quest to find an internal truth
Recently i was looking at buying another building with my adored little brother. He was killed the day before we were due to go & inspect it.
I’m at a point where i’m almost grateful for the very high costs since it’s allowed me to make a lot of spiritual progress – but it does make me wonder how much more this Pluto transit can possibly throw my way…!

Boots December 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I’m sure Facies at the Ascendant must be daunting! So if I’ve been of help I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to do so. There are astrologers writing about Facies (sometimes under its galactic name: M22) and I’d suggest Googling both names to read other opinions and thoughts so as to get the broadest set of ideas to work with.

Anything at/on the Ascendant (or IC, MC or Dsc) is something we need to be constantly aware of. Being a calculated point, the Ascendant (or other) doesn’t have mass and therefore cannot be “trained” as we might work with an asteroid, planet or anything which DOES have mass. This is one of the big things I’ve discovered over the years…things of mass represent attribute and “habits” which CAN be changed, where cusps and things like nodal points can’t. So when we do have a ‘thing of mass’ conjunct an Ascendant or Node or whatnot, the best thing to do is to remain aware of the axis-or-node, but to approach the aligning of your life along that path or in that sense by paying particular attention to the object – in this case, Facies. If you can turn THAT attribute to the positive or productive, then the axis or nodal point will (theoretically) follow.

Thanks for sharing!

Lynne December 3, 2012 at 3:46 am

Having 8 Degrees Capricorn on the Ascendant I found this potentially very instructive and useful. Although I have never heard of Facies before, I have been struggling with this Asc sign and degree for decades. With Pluto ‘up front’, I guess I’ll be able to keep an eye on it all.

Slythindor April 13, 2012 at 10:03 pm

This is so wonderfully written, really insightful. I found myself just the way you described in the article–definitely can’t say I’m having the best time of my life, but still there are some profound changes subtly taking place after some foul months of ‘playing helpless’~ thank you for your sharing, and guiding!

anna January 12, 2012 at 3:28 am

dont usually comment,but just had to say ,
this is brilliant

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