PART 1: VENUS OPPOSES PLUTO RETROGRADE; Rediscovering the Hidden Power of Softness, Compassion, Delicacy and Grace
The next 33 hours are going to be unusually intense as we’re heading towards two powerful oppositions involving personal planets such as The Sun (conscious focus of awareness, vital essences), Venus (relationships, femininity, material connections and value systems) and trans-personal planets such as Saturn (the karmic task master) and Pluto (the Great Transformer, Lord of the Underworld) – both of whom are Retrograde. In this first Part, we discuss the Venus-Pluto opposition. Part 2 will address the Sun-Saturn opposition tomorrow.
The exact Venus (15 Cancer) -Pluto Rx (15 Capricorn) opposition will take place at 9:56 am (GMT + 8) on the 22nd of May, in about 9 hours’ time. The Sun (1 Gemini) -Saturn Rx (1 Sagittarius) opposition takes place at 9:34 am on the 23rd of May, nearly 33 hours from now (and almost a whole day after the 1st opposition).
Venus in Cancer addresses the way in which we relate to our family, home, notions of domesticity, traditions, cultural contexts and a deeper sense of attachment to some sense of ‘origin’. We may also feel more comfortable with and desirous of sensual experiences and expressing/experiencing feminine aspects of the personality within the traditional domain of the home. Be it in cooking, cleaning, ‘making a home’ – however you define it – it would of course depend on which astrological house that falls in for you. There is also a strong sense of connectedness with the Mother archetype anchoring us all to some larger, collective identity.
Cancer is particularly delicate – as it is the Crab – the one whose tough shell protects a soft interior. And together, the Crab and its shell have the power to plumb to the depths of the ocean and retrieve pearls of wisdom that no other sign is able to. A profound combination of strength, vulnerability and the ability to access hidden wisdom. It works well with the more traditionally feminine expressions of Venus.
Pluto in Capricorn, whilst Retrograde, focuses upon the kinds of transformations we can make within our psyches that lead us to evaluate the truth of what we consider our legacies in this material plane. We are asked to get deeper to the truth what we believe we have incarnated into life to eventually leave behind. We are asked to transform outdated ideas of what constitutes: success, achievement, prestige and social status. At a collective level, Pluto in Capricorn has been transforming the way we view power and the legitimacy of institutions that claim to have authority over the populace (governments, corporations, banks, etc.).
When Venus opposes Pluto Retrograde in Capricorn, here we see the opposition between the private and the public sphere, between the energy of femininity and (often brute) authority. There is strength to be found in the Venus in Cancer placement as it brings with it a hidden power, drawing from the depths of the sub-conscious and appealing to (often-forgotten) essence of tradition, forgotten as it becomes ritualized and codified as a social norm. Think of the way an otherwise bitter grandfather might smile at his granddaughter’s attempts to make him a meal. There’s a certain, softer, kind of power that Venus can yield over the mighty Pluto – softening the blow of the otherwise brutal power such an opposition can unleash.
This is of course not the same as saying ‘take what you get’, ‘accept injustice’, ‘be submissive’ or any lark like that. It simply means that there is a position of delicate strength that can lead to to a more balanced outcome in this opposition. Alternate outcomes often see the Pluto placement to be the stronger one, where the force of transformation and crisis wounds the Venus-in-Cancer placement. Whilst the Crab has its shell, it might withstand a full blow from the Lord of the Underworld in the sign of Ultimate Material Authority. Hence, the challenge is to find a different kind of strength in such a tender, vulnerable, beautiful and delicate energy.
Let me clear when I say that not all women are going to play Venus, and not all men are going to play the Pluto role in the upcoming opposition. Femininity and authority go beyond sex and identifications of gender – it is an essence in all beings. You might find the weight of authority wielded by the female member of a unit, whereas the call for tender compassion from the male. The possibilities are endless, and I do not wish for my words to be typecast into gendered stereotypes.
One of the best examples I can think of of a softer, delicate sense of grace interacting a powerful female presence – and transforming the nature of that presence – comes from the Hindu tradition. In it, through his sweetness and devotion for the Goddess, the saint Adi Shankara is said to re-discover the love and compassion in the ferocious aspect of the Goddess. Here’s a beautiful article that describes that dynamic very, very well: http://voices-and-visions.com/2012/03/13/the-transformation-of-kamakshi/
She’s not defeated, and certainly not ‘tamed’ – the relationship between devotee and goddess transforms in a powerful way. For when one loves you so much, and in such a tender way, what place does rage and ferocity have? It’s a very different dynamic from domination-submission, and actually enters a much more sensual, tender, place of devotion.
You can have a look at this song as it expresses that dynamic quite beautifully –
It can be quite a trying time for intimate relationships, particularly where both parties are polarized – one representing the force of authority and conventional/social expectations, and the other in the more vulnerable, (traditionally understood as) feminine position, situated in the home. Other manifestations of this can result in dealing with the government or other authority figures that seem to have some say in the way you deal with the more private areas of your life. You might also find this with a supervisor, or authority figure at work.
A different way to look at the alignment is as a tension between two levels, or realms of sensual experience: Venus, in her more tender, sensual, private form, and Pluto with his more powerful expression of sexual prowess legitimated by socially sanctioned ideas of authority. One is the more yielding aspect of the sensual feminine, whilst the other is the more active, acquisitive variant (remember Persephone). Whether you yield, or hold your ground is – of course – context dependent.
Some of you may find great lessons in learning to hold to your sensual boundaries, whilst others will go deeper within by lowering them.
Again, it depends on the house placement and any other aspects this opposition makes to your natal chart.
Bear in mind that Pluto is Retrograde, meaning some of the brunt of the opposition may be more salient within your own psyche. You may _interpret_ someone behaving unfairly or in an overbearing manner towards you, even if that may not be the case. Consider the role of your interpretation and perception before responding.
My suggestion would be to maintain openness and to avoid becoming defensive. By all means, resist something which is truly unjust, but the trick is in learning how to carry yourself in a way that exudes grace, strength, and a different sort of power. Much like a Queen holding court in a gentle, yet firm manner.
There’s a space for both energies to coexist without one dominating the other, or dictating its terms in a unilateral manner.
In terms of asteroids, Venus is conjunct Burney (14 Cancer) and Cyllarus (14 Cancer). Burney shows us the way that the inner child can arrive at a brilliant conclusion from within, whereas Cyllarus warns us not to charge headlong into some perceived slight to our identity, culture, tradition, ethnicity, or some larger construct.
Pluto, on the other hand is conjunct Kassandra (15 Capricorn) and Asclepius (14 Capricorn). Kassandra reminds us of the voice of ignored, suppressed women’s wisdom – the great Oracle whose words were ignored. I suspect those re-discovering their soul’s history in this way will be bursting forth from the Pluto-placement – speaking that their words may once again be heard, and accepted. Asclepius indicates the possibility of discovering healing remedies, medicine, or simply ways to heal the wounded super-ego (societal consciousness). I feel that Kassandra’s role in delivering truth is major here, which is why you don’t want to ignore the Capricorn aspect of this alignment 🙂
Those with placements at 8-22 in Libra and/or Aries will experience this as a Grand Cardinal Cross (if both are present) or as a Cardinal T-Square – stronger with placements closer to 15 degrees. Bear in Mind that Uranus at 18 Aries already makes this a T-Square (but nowhere near as strong as it would have been , just months ago).
I hope that gives you a heads up for the challenge coming ahead. Some of you may have faced it already. Remember that I cover the Sun-Saturn opposition in Part 2 – tomorrow.
Many Blessings and Much Love,
Image: Brooklyn Museum – Goddess Lakshmi with a Rose and a Peacock.jpg – Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. Housed at the Brooklyn Museum. Artist Unknown.
Text © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2015. All rights reserved.