PART 1: VENUS OPPOSES PLUTO RETROGRADE; Rediscovering the Hidden Power of Softness, Compassion, Delicacy and Grace

Venus opposes Pluto Retrograde

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 We are asked to transform outdated ideas of what constitutes: success, achievement, prestige and social status.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:

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,

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD
Astrology with Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD ; ; @theskypriestess

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.

Dealing with T.O.B.Y – The Other Bit of You


We all have parts of ourselves which we intensely hate, desperately deny or seek to suppress wholesale. Sometimes it’s a way of thinking, an energetic legacy you’re ashamed of or a part of yourself that seems to contradict all that you stand for.

We often call this our ‘Shadow’ side or ‘Dark’ Side – terms which I don’t quite use in this way as there are certain forms of healing, nurture and profound reconnection with Spirit that can only take place in the more sacred understanding / space of Darkness. It’s not something that you banish with the Light lest you seek to erase your own cosmic, biological and energetic origins. It’s a very different energy from what one might call malevolence or evil – just to be clear, for those of you new to my work.

You find it when you gaze at the stars, when you swim with your eyes closed in the ocean, when you lie down on the floor of a cave, when you nestle in your Mother’s womb. Sacred moments in Sacred Spaces of Darkness.

So what to call this side? The parts that you’re trying hard to stuff in the spiritual wardrobe? Let’s just call it – The Other Bit of You (Apologies to the TOBY-s of the world).

Some might prefer the strategy of denial, which often ropes in that classic crowd favourite … ‘self-sabotage’. Others might stride in with self-righteous courage and seek to banish T.O.B.Y, or flood it with healing light. Another opted-for strategy is self-punishment, where you’re aware of it, and keep beating yourself up for being a ‘bad’ person.

Having done all of the above — speaking for myself here — none of that worked in the long run.

Pretending I didn’t have those bits, feeling sad/bad I had them, casting them away whilst perched on my high ethical/moral steed didn’t quite cut it. I’m sure humanity has found other ways to deal with their Tobies … but you get the gist.

The only thing that did work was Acceptance. There was just no way around it.

I had to be able to look in a mirror and see – both the parts of me that I did love, and those that I didn’t.

And to be okay with that. To come to peace with it.

And in that process, with myself as well.

For you see – over time – The Other Bit of You stops being ‘The Other’ .. .and all you have … at the end … is just You. It doesn’t go away, but you realize that it is a part of you that you do not need to be controlled by or to shy away from.

Many of us do the same time we see an old self, a memory, and realize that who we were back then is not the same as who we are now. It’s a similar process, I find, in dealing with the parts that we dislike about ourselves.

Eventually, once we’ve reached the state where we can simply Accept the Self for ALL that it is, I’m sure we’ll each find a new chapter opening in our continuing journey with the Divine.

Remember that each of us faces this question at some point in life, and very often, we judge ourselves far harsher than we need to.

There is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ , ‘flawless’ person who has never done anything wrong in their life! Try not to judge yourselves by impossible standards 🙂

To Sum it Up:

Practice Compassion, Forgiveness and Acceptance – starting with You!


Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD

Image Info: Woman in front of a Mirror, Mose Bianchi.jpg [Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons]



Quite a few people I know seem to be in a state of spiritual limbo or some kind of inner breakdown/turmoil right now. The energy of Mercury Rx in Libra, with the Scorpio Eclipse approaching feels as though one’s life & life choices are under review and intense scrutiny. For some, long-forgotten wounds are rising to the surface to be acknowledged. With all that shifting – for those who experience it in this form – here’s a couple of commonsensical ideas that often get missed in the intensity of it all:

(1) Be gentle with yourself. Chances are whatever’s happening is not done ‘on purpose’ or ‘by design’ just to make you miserable. It’s a process, and one you’re going through as you move towards Wholeness. You’ll emerge from this part of it, just as you always have. Have faith in your capacity to learn, bounce back and integrate all these intense lessons.

(2) Be gentle with yourself. You aren’t ‘evil’ or ‘bad’ for having a ‘shadow side’. Yes, it exists. No, you cannot slay it into oblivion (well, you could try if you liked). Ideally, learn to accept the fact that there are things about you that you would rather not have. And know that even those parts teach you something valuable. If you can’t see the gifts they bear, at the very least work on the fact of accepting their existence in the first place. Denial will not help, in the long-run. And it’s okay – we’ve all got shadow selves. You’re probably not as ‘bad’ as you think.

(3) Be gentle with others. Those going through the ‘internal churning process’ may not be quite as pleasant as normal to those around them. Most people aren’t mind-readers, just communicate your needs if you have them. Assuming you have decent people around you, you’ll probably get some of those needs met by asking – ,if they are valid demands (e.g. I need a hug, I need some space, I need to talk, etc.). Remember that they are people too, undergoing their own internal processes at the same time that you are. Try to return the favour/kindness/attention when you can, if they are in need of it at a later point.

(4) Be gentle. The Universe throws us enough challenges and opportunities for growth and epic transformation. We do not need to make a bumpy ride even bumpier. Take it one day at a time and know that each little step on each day adds up to a mountain of progress in the long run. Baby steps. Nothing wrong with that.

(5) Laugh. Be Inspired. Be Moved. Watch or do something that takes your mind off all of this. Whether it’s a cheesy sitcom, a soap opera, a sunset, a baby giggling – get out of that headspace, or that funk.

(6) Love and Be Grateful. You’re still standing. You’re alive. You have the ability and opportunity to make better decisions than you did in the past. You have the chance not only to change your lives but the lives of those around you, for the better. Be grateful that you have that opportunity, even if it doesn’t seem like you could ever do that now. Gratitude works wonders. Try being grateful for yourself, your existence, at the very least. You were born of Love, even if you may not feel it at this time.

(7) Rest. Sleep longer if you can. Sit under a tree if you find one you like. Visit a temple. Go someplace where you can simply stay still and just sigh with relief. You need that moment of peace and respite from whatever it is that you’re facing. Don’t be afraid to take a little time out just to wind down.

Blessings, and I hope this is of help for those experiencing the current energies in a ‘rough’ manner.

With Love,
Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

Image Information – Rainbow Tunnel.jpg – By Mark Chandler10smark (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons