“There are no Excedrins for the heart.”
When Pluto makes challenging aspects to our personal planets there is often a crisis leading to a sense of loss. Buried aspects of the psyche and repressed tensions in relationships emerge, leaving the heart wounded.
Pluto’s wounds to the heart are invisible, just like the mythological Pluto is invisible. But a broken heart, or an abused or neglected heart, can be as painful as any other wound, even though we can’t see it.
Pluto seeks to transform and not to hurt, but it often begins this transformation by ruthlessly taking away from us the very love that we think we most need. The healing work of Plutonian wounds happens beneath the surface of consciousness, just like a physical wound heals from the inside out. We need to tend to this wound in a very similar way to any other wound—here are some things to consider:
1—First slow down. When you are wounded you stop! I like to think of this natural impulse to slow down, as the call to go inward and begin to “cacoon.” Just as when you are sick you go to bed, so also, when your “heart is breaking” your energy flows inward to question and grieve, leaving you little energy for anything else. Give yourself a break, slowing down, and taking care of your basic needs: food, rest, and basic self-care.
2—Diagnosis: What do you have? Is this the last wound of a broken relationship? Or is this a warning sign, an “angina” of the heart? How do you describe the condition, how long have you had it, and how did you get it? Why did you get it? The wounded heart needs professional help with this, just as we often need to see a doctor. But if this isn’t possible, you can do this with a friend or with your journal. Take out pen and paper and write it all down. Clarity is a beginning.
3—Create a Treatment Plan—Apply something to calm the pain down. Some have said there are no excedrins for the heart, but you can do several things to ease the pain:
* Go inward to find the healer within, and follow instructions! Your own intuitive healer may say you’ve got to write it out, paint it out, cry or rage it out, or simply clean your house with a passion. This inner healer might ask you to do something radical—and if it’s not too rash, do it. Example: you may benefit by getting away for awhile from your home or circle of friends—consider a retreat or vacation to some place where you can gain perspective. Even a day away can help. Another example: consider surrounding yourself with things you love. This could be buying something you’ve denied yourself till now, such as a cat, a special piece of furniture, a musical instrument, or whatever you may have put on hold. (After my divorce, I hated the loneliness of my double bed. So I bought a large aquarium and delighted in creating a Neptunian underwater scene. I put this in my line of vision across the bed and lit it up at night.) You’ll intuitively know what’s right for you to do.
* Go outward for help. Surround yourself with life affirming supportive things and people. When artist Georgia O’Keefe was suffering from heart-wounding depression early in her life she was delighted to discover how surrounding herself with color, plants, and bright light restored her. Could you repaint your bedroom? Could you change the lighting? Next, get yourself a therapist, coach, astrologer, or friend (or all!) and delve deep into your life until the sting is out of the story. You’ll need to tell and re-tell your story until you can see it as one drama within the larger story of your life. Consider what lessons or insights can be gained and be open to the idea of how this experience can generate new possibilities for you.
* Find the invisible Plutonian germs. What unconscious elements have led up to this? How have your expectations, fears, or old patterns created or irritated this wound? This important unconscious element is like the dirt or germ in the wound. You may not be able to see it all at first. Keep cleaning and poking around. It hurts, but you need to understand the part you played in this wounding. Bring it up to your awareness so it won’t be repeated in the future. During Pluto transits we often regress to obsessive-compulsive coping patterns, so by admitting your anger and your less-than-perfect behavior you cleanse the wound with a deeper level of understanding.
*Apply a clean bandage. The bandage is your attitude and your healing plan. It will be temporary and will need to be changed. Stick with your Plan even when it’s hard. If you re-expose yourself to the wounding partner you risk contagious anger and depression. If possible, don’t expose yourself to re-infection or more wounding.
4—Give the tender wound time to heal. Protect your heart from the toxic “advice” of well-meaning friends, and resist the urge to expose your vulnerability to the world. But yes, you will sometimes break down crying in the produce department in your local supermarket. So be patient and pace yourself. Can you create some scheduled routines and “dates” in your week? This could be as simple as knowing that every Wednesday night you go to the library, and every Friday night you go out to dinner with friends from work, and every Sunday night you call an old friend for a heartfelt talk. Perhaps part of your treatment plan is to go to the gym or out for a walk every other morning for 30 minutes. Put the schedule up in a place you see frequently, and forgive yourself if you’re not perfect. The wound is healing beneath the surface.
5—Find the “healing medicine” you need. Here’s where astrology can be helpful. What other aspects do you have besides this Pluto that’s wrecking havoc? Have you not seen that your 9th house of the higher mind, education, and travel is being activated this spring? Could you take a class or plan a trip? Could you mentor someone or teach a class? And what about that Uranus in the 5th house? Maybe you find yourself attracted to someone very much outside your normal life? Why not? Look at your chart to see where you can play with new possibilities and also to see the length of the “illness.” Like all woundings, full healing takes a long time, but we don’t have to suffer unduly in the early stages, and the final stages of healing can be full of light and unexpected epiphanies. Two years of a Pluto transit does not mean two years of hell.
A last word of caution: be honest about your wound. Don’t attempt any new relationships without being very honest about what’s been happening with you--tell the truth right in the beginning. Astrologers will remind you to trust that new life cycles happen naturally, and you’ll be given more chances to heal your heart. But attempting a quick fix such as trying to remain zen-fully detached and unfeeling is like attempting a spiritual bypass on an emotional wound. It won’t last in the long run. What we feel, we can heal—and though a wound leaves a scar, scars are like tattoos and tell an interesting story. Why not make your story inspiring as well as interesting?
Elizabeth Spring, MA is a counseling astrologer and writer. You can contact her and read other articles on her website: www.elizabethspring.com