Keep Climbing :: Pluto & Saturn conjunct the South Node in Capricorn
On Thursday, March 28th, Mercury finally stationed direct after quite a messy and memorable Piscean rx trip… but its forward lurch also delivered us right into the open arms of Neptunian slush and Pluto conjoining with the South Node in Capricorn by degree.
Mercury’s direct station thus brought some forward momentum, but its prolonged conjunction with Neptune could have created a “one step forward, one step backward” type of experience for the few days following.
For example, on Friday, March 29th, the day after the direct station, here are some very Mercurial things that happened:
- Someone I know thought they lost their wallet. They took action immediately and cancelled all their cards. And then… found their wallet. They also had a successful long-planned business meeting.
- Someone else I know received notification that they had been awarded grant money they applied for months earlier. And then… their car broke down and they had to get it towed away, shelling out money for its repair. They also moved forward on a new residence opportunity that weekend.
- For me, I finally confirmed a big decision that Friday evening and I made it official via filling out forms. The next day I started hyperventilating in a panic state while sharing the news with a colleague, as I internally questioned if it was the right decision (Mercury + Neptune in Pisces can increase anxiety). I continued to navigate confusion about my next steps. Mercury’s three week rx was in my 8th house where my Sun and natal Mercury live, so I found it to be particularly significant and challenging.
The perfecting conjunction of Pluto and the South node, brought a heavier gravitas, greater depth and seriousness to Mercury’s station throughout the weekend into this week.
This is a massive shout-out to everyone battling adversity and to all those climbing gigantic Capricorn mountains where perhaps you feel you are too high to turn back, but still so far from the top.
Keep climbing, keep going – even if you need to adjust your direction! Rest often. Pack light. Receive and allow in nourishment of all forms at every possible resting ledge you reach.
Saturn, an energy of constriction and limits, can act as a nutrition and nourishment blocker or barrier, so you may need to be proactive in absorption.
If this week has been a delightful breeze and an exciting break-through thus far, then this post may not be for you. You may be working with different cosmic clay. And that’s wonderful! Ride that wave.
If this week has been difficult, if this long-term Capricorn climb is directly relevant for your chart, then perhaps you will find solace and validation here.
I wasn’t sure if it was a good time to write a post or not, because I’m not in a great place and this Capricorn mountain we’re all facing (to a greater or lesser extent) is pretty overwhelming right now. I am really feeling the weight of this mission. I didn’t want to be overly negative and dreary. But… then again, maybe others are also overwhelmed and may appreciate the solidarity. So! Here’s a scattered (Mars in Gemini type) collection of words to boost morale (hopefully).
My last post a few weeks ago was a general overview covering some of the themes of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of January 12th, 2020… which is an ongoing dynamic of 2019, even though the aspect only perfects in 2020.
The Saturn-Pluto dynamic is strong all year, but there are specific months/weeks in 2019 when you will feel this energy more intensely. I would say this dynamic is particularly activated throughout this month of April.
Consider each time that the Capricorn trio gets center stage in the sky, that it is an opportunity to work through the challenges this area of life is presenting, step by step (as per Capricorn’s thematic position in your birth chart). The more proactive we can be with strategically climbing this mountain, perhaps the less overwhelmed we will be the next time this area is in the spotlight and we’re feeling the pressure even more (e.g. mid-June to July, December-January 2020, etc.).
This blog post focuses on April’s astrology, Pluto and the South Node, and general Capricorn-type inspiration.
As Pluto conjoins the South Node in Capricorn (exact on Thursday, April 4th, but sharing the same degree since last Saturday), LET’S TALK ABOUT MOUNTAIN GOATS.
Tenacious. Resilient. Daring. Determined.
These impressive bad-ass creatures scale sheer cliff edges that make me dizzy just looking at them.
I’ve been recommending to everyone with personal planets or points in direct contact with this Capricorn Saturn-Pluto-South Node transit (and those with a challenging relationship to Saturn in their birth charts) to watch videos of mountain goats, to look at photos of mountain goats, to meditate on imagery of mountain goats, to invite mountain goats into your dreams.
Embody the strength of this animal. Mountain goat medicine every damn day.
P.S. It’s also a good time to start rock-climbing and mountain hiking.
Capricorn is symbolized by the mountain goat. Now with Capricorn’s ruler, Saturn, back in its home sign making world-changing contact with Pluto over the next two years, we need to summon all the Capricorn mountain goat power available to us.
On that note, below, here’s some footage of goats climbing a near-vertical dam. WTF.
Impossible, I would have probably said when looking up at this sheer wall of rock prior to the goats’ ascent.
But apparently the impossible is possible for these courageous creatures.
And you can find many more inspirational photos of goats climbing mountains on the internet – for example @ here, here, here, and here.
The Moon’s South Node (opposite the North Node) is a place of spiritual surrender, cleansing, release, decrease, detachment, purging, purification, and “emptying out” life content from the past. It’s a place where we can collect a reservoir of giftings and capacity, but where we can get too comfortable. Perhaps a point of karmic reckoning. Perhaps past life baggage to let go of. There’s a few different takes on the South Node, but generally the central themes remain the same. The nodal axis takes about 18 years to complete a zodiacal cycle, spending about 18 months in each sign.
While at times we can speak of the South Node location (natally or by transit) as a place where we may want to take a little jaunt out of that cosy comfort zone and get off the metaphorical couch to zoom up to North Node heights to embrace personal growth and development… in reality, often when we have direct and intense encounters with the South Node, it *feels* a lot like encountering painful futility (e.g., “what’s the point?”)... which can quickly slide toward defeat, helplessness, then hopelessness and despair.
Or at least, that’s what I’ve noticed. The South Node is the shape of a cup. When we are moving through South Node life content, we can feel trapped, or perhaps like there is “no way out”.
Feelings, while very real and valid, are not necessarily an accurate reflection of what is ‘true‘ in the situation.
In contrast, the glyph of the North Node is in the shape of a horse-shoe magnet, pulling you forward. And yet sometimes the South Node activation is so strong we can barely feel the North Node’s magnetic pull, offering its assistance.
[content warning for the next couple paragraphs]
For example, when Mars (our vitality, life force, and willpower) met with the transiting South Node in Aquarius on June 8th, 2018, news headlines were full of suicide stories following the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade (along with a number of other public figures). As a collective, we were all experiencing this grief and confusion, this existential pain and despair, as these deaths catalyzed a widespread conversation on this topic in many public forums.
With Pluto meeting with the South Node this week (and really, throughout the first half of 2019), some similar emotions could arise as when Mars met with the South Node. And that’s partially why I feel prompted to write this post.
Remember that this transit (this particular time of life, this chapter, this phase) won’t last forever. It will change, shift, and become something new and different.
As stuck as you may feel right now, you are in constant motion with every spin of the earth on its axis.
Astrology has been a lifeline for me in the past – because of the validation, direction, and hope astrology offers, and through learning the timing and meaning of these lifechanging cosmic cycles. I hope there are many resources around to serve you in your journey, to sustain and nurture your resilience.
Perhaps astrology can be one of these resources for you too. As well as mountain goats.
The other day I told someone that I felt like a round piece of shit with little stick arms and legs, trying to endlessly climb out of slimy, slippery toilet bowl to no avail.
And then I realized a few days later – wow, I just described a Pluto and South Node experience pretty accurately (what it might *feel* like; not the outcome or opportunity that is available for us).
(note: I don’t advise visualizing yourself as a piece of shit – focus on the mountain goat imagery! I do aim for positive self-regard, self-compassion and self-acceptance, but honestly sometimes those embodied perspectives are just unavailable to me!)
Archetypally Pluto is the filth, the dark, the dirt, the heavy baggage, the shadow material – everything we try to hide under the carpet. Pluto activations can involve cleaning grime from places the light doesn’t touch. It can involve toilets, sewer systems, poop, vomit(ing), compost, rot, decay, and cathartic explosions of pent up substances (or emotions).
Emotionally and psychologically, Pluto symbolizes secrets, hidden desires and repressed material lurking underground in our subconscious – the raw naked truth that seeks emergence through a pressurized chamber. It’s what is beneath the surface and shows up in our nightmares. It’s what triggers our survival reactions and fight/flight/freeze nervous system responses. It’s imprisoned life force energy. It is what we are clinging to out of desperation. Pluto is a reflection of our chains, and the tools that can cut us free. It’s how we access our super power… or find ourselves traumatically dis-empowered.
Pluto is deep deep FEAR, intense grief, regret, pain, guilt, and shame. It is everything we do to avoid being vulnerable to perceived loss and threats – silencing, manipulation, paranoid hyper-vigilance, always testing and never trusting, jealousy, obsession, control, projections, abuse and violent defence. It’s compulsive, addictive behaviour and habits that confuse and frustrate you with their persistance. It’s re-enactments of pain, and cycles of inherited trauma and wounding repeating throughout generations. It’s the legacies and ghosts of our ancestors; the well dead, and the unwell dead.
Pluto is the monster potentiality in every human being. And Pluto is also the potential for profound liberation when we let go, trust, and transform through shadow work, healing, and awakening to our true nature.
So when we combine the symbology of the South Node with that of Pluto as they hang out in their close conjunction while conversing with Saturn… it sounds like a significant, ground-shaking, excavating purge perhaps of some rather dark stuff coming up to meet the light… yes? A major death/rebirth transformation moment?
Can we collectively free up energy from the clutches of Capricorn’s controlling, exploitative, hierarchical, socially-conditioned, reputation-consumed, petrified-of-failure/humiliation-&-punishment-from-authority-figures, caught-in-historical-loops shadow side… in order to apply our beautiful Cappy capacity for integrity, determined hard-work and commitment… to creating heart-centered nourishing Cancerian communities that serve and take care of us all?
Yesssss! It is possible.
Sometimes we may be tempted to romanticize the “death & rebirth Plutonic transformation process” (I’ve definitely done this!), especially when we read personal stories about these processes after the person has come through the worst of it. Like stories of people who hit “rock-bottom” in every major area of life, and then become wildly successful in their field. The death/rebirth analogy of the caterpillar transforming into the butterfly for example, can make it all sound so dramatic, theatrical, poetic and beautiful!
Maybe ignorance can be bliss… initially, but the eventual processes of disillusionment are harsh. I’m not sure this romanticization ultimately does us any favours!
I mean, at least for me, I appreciate others unwaveringly holding on to hope for me when I cannot, while also validating how deep and dark and painful the trenches of life can be without reverting to a fairy tale Plutonic story about phoenixes rising from the ashes or something, etc. etc. (though I admit I’ve done this – maybe a balanced perspective is best… there’s a place for inspirational heroic stories and imagery of tremendous overcoming).
In reality, these major transformative processes we undergo in life can be so excruciating when we pass through the “dying” phase, when we are struggling to trust and have faith that we will come to life and rise again. When everything solid and firm is taken from beneath us and we feel like we are free falling – without knowing what shape we will be in once we land. It really can be a gruelling, gritty, and also loooooong drawn-out process. Sometimes a MUCH longer process than we anticipated, or that our friends and journey companions seem to have the patience for.
Sure the butterfly is beautiful, but the caterpillar (the butterfly in its earlier manifestation) had to be completely sacrificed on route. It turned into pure GOO while in the chrysalis! As it was dissolving into soup, did the caterpillar know it would take a new form and re-emerge after being captive in the butterfly womb?
Perhaps not. It was the butterfly who has the broader perspective that only the passage of time allows.
The sacrifices on a Plutonic death/rebirth transformative journey to greater freedom and personal growth can be, immense. The path of transformation can be a very risky high stakes journey. This is often the reality of these types of life chapters and I don’t want to underestimate or blithely overlook and dismiss what’s involved, having travelled (/am currently traveling) a couple of these major life changing journeys myself already.
With Pluto involved with the South Node, previously hidden truths, internal realizations or information coming to light, could be an important part of this current cosmic story.
“The Truth will set you free,” they say, but simultaneously the Truth can also cause a measure of destruction and demand an extremely high cost in exchange for its release – for all those implicated. That’s… the difficult truth about big Plutonic Truths surfacing. And it’s why Saturn and Capricorn’s mastery of the strategic art of timing and preparation is so valuable here.
What is freedom worth to you? What cost are you willing to pay? What would the mountain goat say? Or the butterfly?
On the best days, in the best of circumstances, perhaps the South Node is like a dead-end sign telling you to turn around, or to go another route, because you won’t get any further going that direction. Cool. You turn around and you starting traveling another way in a direction that may be more unfamiliar, but you’re up for the North Node challenge.
Or maybe on a good day, perhaps the South Node is a glass of your favourite, familiar go-to drink. And then you have to get on an airplane and you don’t have time to drink it and no liquids can pass through customs… so you have to chuck the entire bottle in order to move on with your exciting North Node trip into the unknown.
And yet on bad days, perhaps the south node feels like a slimy slippery toilet bowl where it feels impossible to get traction or to get a grip… and you’re kinda worried that while you work on trying to get out, someone might poop on you and flush the toilet.
It’s an experience that will shape-shift overtime… from toilet bowl to liberating ocean swims 🙂
Rebirth doesn’t always look like we think it will (during a major life metamorphosis most of the time it looks nothing like we think it will), but the butterfly emerges nevertheless.
Scientists have discovered that a certain grouping of cells in the caterpillar, called “imaginal discs”, survive the disintegration in the chrysalis because they contain the genetic instructions and codes to create the key structures of the butterfly. The imaginal discs remain dormant during the larvae stage. The imaginal discs are programmed to not activate until the caterpillar has begun to digest itself.
Can we dare to ‘imagine’ that we as individuals, since the first moment of our embodied existence, contain similar latent imaginal discs that activate during the transformative process of metamorphosis? That we were born with the innate capacity to rebloom, re-emerge, rebirth, again and again into something that we can not even consciously conceive of, or consider as a possibility before our new self becomes manifest?
On an individual level, working with the Nodal Axis with the goal of continued personal growth, isn’t as simple as “let go” of the South Node house/sign (Capricorn in this case), and “do” the North Node’s house/sign (currently it is in Cancer). It is likely more about balance and integration.
The South Node issue that needs your attention (the one that is currently calling for a Plutonian rebirth process), could be about addressing the overt shadow expression of that sign/house, or addressing the blocks and inhibitions you have in that area of life (as represented by the house and sign the south node is in), rather than necessarily a straight-forward “letting go” of that entire field of life in order to make a flying leap to the North Node location.
A straightforward leap might mean that with a Capricorn 10th house, Cancer 4th house, you leave your career and surrender your work-related position and reputation to become a full-time care-giver within your home/family. Or with a Capricorn ascendant and Cancer descendant, a straightforward leap might mean releasing personal independence and an identity as a single person to become partnered in a caring relationship where you need to trust deeply and be more interdependent.
But is life ever really that simple? Both ends of the Nodal spectrum will require redefinition and re-integration.
Working with the South Node life content, will look different for each person. You can also look at your natal Saturn placement to interpret how your South Node story is playing out (Saturn is the ruler and landlord of Capricorn).
For more information on the current Pluto and the South Node transits, I recommend the recent articles by Kelly Surtees and Steven Forrest.
Kelly concludes her article with the following:
“If April brings a bit of mucky madness and chaos, know that it is very much an integral part of your personal purge and purify process, and that a few months from now, you may be out of the fire, cleansed, clear and lighter. Bearing witness to the steps in a process of transformation can help you make sense of the process as you go through it.“
Rebirth and transformation is universal law – energy cannot be created or destroyed; only transmuted to another form. The world is constantly singing the hymn of rebirth and renewal. Even when the night and the chrysalis seem to last forever, the light will eventually arrive and the butterfly will emerge to test its new wings.
I think we and the butterfly would both agree that the gooey sacrifice was worth it, even if the caterpillar would have disagreed 🙂
I pulled the following excerpt from a 2017 post on the rebirth cycle that I recently re-visited for inspiration:
The death-rebirth cycle repeats continuously throughout our every-day lives and in the environments that surround us. May these examples remind you of your infinite rebirth potential:
Every day, the sun dies… and is born again the next morning as it rises.
Mirroring the sun’s cycle, we too, die each day. Our bodies tell us it’s time to rest and rejuvenate our life force through sleep. The next morning we awaken, our conscious minds alert and our bodies refreshed and alive.
Flourishing green trees and plants collapse under winter’s cold weight … only to be magically brought back to life the following spring.
Once a month, the moon disappears into darkness. The moon dies with the end of a lunation cycle… and then is reborn. A few days later we will catch sight of the baby crescent moon winking at us from the sky.
A healthy tree releases many seeds. When it eventually rots, fertilizing the earth… it is surrounded by its baby saplings.
When a caterpillar has grown into its full size, it retreats into a chrysalis. It undergoes a profound transformation and… emerges with beautiful wings – as a butterfly.
Ice loses its form as it evaporates, and yet… it returns to us as life-giving rain and water. This too is a death, and a transformative rebirth.
As we attempt to align with nature’s cycles, many of our human-made products are now recycled and re-purposed. This brings new life to expired and discarded dead matter.
Snakes grow within their skin until they can grow no more. They shed their tired, restrictive sheath and then… leaving their dead cells behind them, they slither onward with a brand new skin.
Human cells die as well… and regenerate continuously, throughout a human life span.
In fact, every exhale is a death. And every inhale is transformative rebirth, bringing oxygenated life to our cells.
The end of every significant chapter in our lives holds a death seed… from which new life awakens.
The end of childhood. The end of highschool. A major break up. Our first divorce. Fired from our dream job. Retirement. All these endings hold the seeds of a new beginning; your next chapter, your next transformation.
Archetypal death and rebirth narratives weave their way through every major spiritual and religious tradition. From reincarnation to resurrection.
Some believers speak of dying to themselves and being “born again”. And yet we all are. Every day, regardless of faith. Over and over again.
I’m rather low energy, and since this writing these blog posts is currently in the zone of being a hobby or a leisure pastime (or something?) it gets relegated to the back-burner these days when I have other priorities to attend to, now that I’ve released a commitment to weekly posts. But writing astro updates also gives me life, so… it’s an occupational balance thing I’m figuring out. I likely will continue only posting infrequently, but I appreciate you all! Thanks for reading and following along.
Until next time, here are more mountain goat imagery, factoids, and videos for inspiration….
I loved reading this. So much resonance! Thank you ?