“Three-Headed Dog”: PLUTO’s RETROGRADE and the NODAL SQUARES 2023

[image:Alex Russell Flint]

Pluto’s first retrograde in Aquarius, where the ‘old Black Hand of Fate’, has spent hardly 5 weeks. Pluto now heads back into Capricorn, where, from June to next January, exacts the finishing touches upon humanity’s obsession with posting status updates, corporate wealth control and widespread social reforms and restrictions. Governing the psychological processes of transformation, rebirth, and power, when Pluto enters its retrograde period, which happens once a year for about six months, we backtrack over some of the deep-seated control dramas experienced over the past few months, reviewing where we have lost and gained traction with the world around us, where we have reclaimed power, healed traumas and where we have gouged deeper into our sense of impotence and ineffectiveness.

When Pluto is retrograde, it appears to be moving backwards in its orbit. Its energy becomes more internalised, making it a time for introspection and self-reflection; our goal is to transcend unknown quantities within ourselves and bridge the gap between lower life and the higher, evolutionary self. Achieving this allows us to get more in touch with our real identity, which is essentially good. However, dropping off elements that are no longer necessary for our own personal growth can be hard since confronting deep psychological issues related to disintegration, death, and renewal is difficult. Our ego is often so attached to the exterior that we struggle to pause and go internally to face our shadow self.

The backtracking journey into the depths of one’s soul is an arduous task, yet a necessary one to face the challenges of the fate that awaits us. Though we have made gone through some changes in the power redistribution of our relationships since old dark-face went into his Rx shadow zone, Pluto’s retrograde tests our integrity and demands that we confront the symbolic disintegration, death, and renewal that must happen in order to commit. It is a solitary experience, without rehearsal, and though we go through this shit every year, each period is unique. Even if there are recurring themes in your relationships over the past 3-4 years, they are infused with prior experiences, and the actual issues are different every time. It can take years before the impact of current loss and renewal issues wanes, and what’s been happening in the background – culturally, politically, economically etc certainly acts as an underlying theme for many other, more quickly passing transits.

When Pluto enters its retrograde shadow zone, it will form a partile aspect (an aspect within one degree of exactness) with any natal planets or points in that zone three times: first when it enters the shadow zone, second when it stations retrograde, and third when it exits the shadow zone.
• Pluto enters retrograde zone/shadow on January 8, 2023, at 27°♑︎53′
• Pluto stations and turns retrograde on May 1, 2023, at 0°♒︎ 22′Rx
• Pluto stations and turns direct on October 10, 2023, at 27°♑︎53′
• Pluto leaves retrograde zone/shadow on February 1, 2024, at 0°♒︎22′

This triple hit of Pluto’s partile aspect can bring about intense and transformative experiences for individuals with natal planets or points in that zone. The energy of Pluto, which is already intense and transformative on its own, is further amplified by the three-part aspect. This can lead to a deep and profound inner transformation, often accompanied by external changes and upheavals.

[art: Melissa Houpert]

The more isolated the case, the more foreign the experience. The lack of intimate contact with other people makes it difficult to connect your changes to the experience with others and often leads to a more disorienting and disengaged feeling. After all, Pluto acts as a free agent, exhuming suppressed aspects of your inner psyche, and bringing them to the surface to be integrated into your whole self. It can produce an abrupt separation from the past, often experienced as a ‘death,’ but ultimately, once you get past the five stages of grief, leads to a new beginning. The journey to recall our steps and ascend to the upper world requires strength- after all, with his moving out of Capricorn and into Aquarius, we are about to enter a whole new dimension of power struggles. However, by learning to let go of all the Capricornian status, nominal role-playing and obsessions with money, physical body and emotional deadwood bullshit, the rewards of personal growth and evolution are worth the struggle.

Pluto squares the Lunar Nodes throughout the rest of this year, felt most strongly in the coming months as a strong, unconscious urge to band together with influential people or organisations, form new associations and explore potential rewards and consequences, more as a primordial urge for survival. It’s a pack thing that, due to the square, doesn’t bode well for our evolutionary purposes. Instead of endowing us with a sense of unity and spec-ial sense of security, this alignment only conjures psychological and karmic-heavy challenges, such as feeling burdened by the mere association with others (wherever the common thread), feeling cramped by their influence and horrendous power struggles. Watch out for the aggravations of that Hadean three-headed dog.

On the plus side, it does help us to find valuable and influential resources who will help us to let go of some of our most toxic, transgenerational baggage and, through others, make significant gains through them, but be warned – these gains will be hard fought and impossible to keep if you’re hoping to bolster your ego or social power and status. A huge phenomenon is happening from now until January. I would say get used to standing on your own, in your own power, and ensuring that others are not playing with your own personal power switches or siphoning your emergency fuel tank. Once trip wires are triggered, shit gets crazy.

Any tendency to manipulate others or seek revenge, objectify or mistreat partners, and deny dealing with the root cause of issues concerning physical or mental well-being will only accelerate breakdowns. The nodal square from Pluto accentuates suppressed or unused energy leading to deranged desires for power or control, potentially causing issues not just among personal relationships (inferiority complexes or crippling inaction), but has every likelihood of busting out into a full-blown mass psychosis. Yes, worse than anything we’ve seen recently and akin (related) to the last Pluto-nodal squares of 2015.

[art: Pablo Prade]

Now, navigating through the minefield of the next few months is a tenuously precarious journey, and looking at just the transits of this next month (discussed in our most recent lunar eclipse Cosmic Bus episode) is going to take some mindful consideration and a little foresight. Before launching into drastic action, it’s important to ask yourself, “What’s it worth?” – Is it worth taking a heavy risk for potentially light, superficial gains, or is it better to play it safe? Is safety even possible? Are the short-term benefits worth the potential long-term consequences?

Consider what you truly value in this life anymore. You will be asked/pressured/dumped with the situation where you must let go of dead weight in order to move forward. Is it worth sacrificing your values for success or money? Is it worth sacrificing your relationships for career advancement or social status points? Is it worth sacrificing your health or your humanity for a few extra hours of work?

Big, gun-to-the-head style pressures during Pluto’s ultimate Rx period through Capricorn – it’s up to each individual to determine what’s truly worth pursuing in their life. Most of all, take the time to reflect and make conscious decisions based on your inner values and spiritual priorities rather than getting swept up in the chaos and distractions of the world around you.

If you’re not on the Cosmic Bus, you can check it out here; my support for you is a two-way highway, and I expect that you appreciate my work as I appreciate yours. Blessings xx