Squares offer up creative challenges for growth. Hard angles and oppositions mean that the ride may get bumpy as you figure things out. With the presence of a grand cross in all of our charts, the universe is asking each of us to dig deep and find a way to grow our souls. How you are being called to do this depends largely upon where the cross is falling into the houses of your birth chart. In April, the heavy hitters involved in this celestial tug of war, which looks like a great square in the heavens, is Pluto in Capricorn, Jupiter (and Black Moon Lillith) in Cancer, Uranus in Aries and Mars in Libra. Think super powers on steroids and you begin to get the idea! Let’s break each one down so that we can understand the players. Getting to know the personalities provides insight into the psychological motivation of each planet.

Pluto is the great transformer. He does not mess around. He wants change…and nothing cosmetic will suffice. We are talking deep, gut-level transformation. Change that scares the you know what out of us. Change that will blow your socks off and leave you whimpering like a baby. Transiting Pluto wants you to plough under anything that has gotten moldy in your life. Toss it down the kitchen sink. Flip the switch and let the garbage disposer dice it up…and if you don’t have the guts to do it, he’ll gladly spin the blades for you.

What do you need to let go of in your life? An attitude? A false belief about yourself? A relationship that undermines your power? Your need for security? Maybe it’s an outworn dream…perhaps even a dream that you were pursuing more because you thought you were supposed to chase after it than because it was genuinely heart-felt.

Pluto is a psychological force to be reckoned with and he will demand that you go to the depths of your soul to find that hidden diamond inside yourself that wants to shine. Like a lot of diamonds, however, you have to ax-pick out a lot of dross to find it. Maybe you’ve been dearly holding onto that dross because you think it is somehow necessary in your life. Pluto has another idea. It sees the dross for what it really is, pointless rock material that has encapsulated and gotten in the way of a light filled gem. To get to the gem, it is going to take a jack hammer to that structure you hold so dearly. You may weep. Feel like the your teeth will cavitate out of your jarred head. Or cause you to curse into a howling wind…but the structure is going to fall. Why? Because the universe knows that for growth to happen, someone has to take away your binky. Remember, all diamonds are formed under the most intense heat and pressure. Think metamorphic change.

Now let’s place Pluto in the sign of Capricorn (sign of the mountain goat) for that is where he will be in all of our charts. Capricorn is about rules, structure and slow steady building. The mountain goat is a steady paced climber. Not one to go off half-cocked, this goat is disciplined and he is used to walking close to precipices without falling over the edge. He is a planner. Careful with each step he takes towards his goals. Calculated in his advances. Strategy and determination fuel his desire to reach the top of any summit he names. Often, with Capricorn, this summit has to do with business, large corporations or the government. There can be a spiritual side to this sign as well so the structuring, in this instance, can also be related to the structures of your own consciousness.

Obviously, leadership capability is inherent within this sign. But if not in balance that could play out in dictatorial roles. Workaholism can be a problem and as such, life may bear a shadow of sadness. “Show me the money” lends itself to structured discipline but joy may be lost in the balance.

Put Pluto and Capricorn in a mixer and shake them all up. What structures in your life are begging for an overhaul? To determine this, you must take a look at the astrological house this planet is transiting through.

In the first house, you may be stepping into your own power in a business setting. And as a new leader, you may be bucking the worn out systems you are encountering. Challenging businesses to change in a meaningful way. Shake ups with your skeletal system or teeth also come to mind as Capricorn is ruled by Saturn which governs these bodily structures. Releasing toxins from the body is another.

In the 2nd house, you will be digging deep to unearth what you truly value. Income may fluctuate wildly (up or down) as a result. This is where my sister’s transformer is currently sitting. She had a chance at a big raise but could not buy into the way the business was running, so now she is neck high in the trenches and is rethinking what is important. And trying to figure out how to reorganize her life to get that. At 45, she wants to reinvent herself entirely and follow a more spiritual path and that means risking her security and the fat paychecks. The trade-off is that she gets to leave behind the enormous power struggles and find a true way of being of service. A path with heart is what she’s seeking.

Speaking your truth will become all important as Pluto moves through the 3rd house. You will find that you are now willing to speak the unspeakable. Things that you might have kept a lid on before no longer can be held down. The time to speak and be heard is here. Treachery and or jealousy may be experienced in the realm of your friends, siblings or community at this time as well. Someone close to you, such as a sibling, may die. Changes to community structures such as schools are also possible.

Really finding out who you are will be the theme as Pluto moves through the 4th house. Your emotional roots and upbringing may get rawly exposed as you begin to sift through what parts of your life you want to keep and what parts you want to leave on Highway 101. Power struggles in the home or with family members are possible at this time. Choose well for what you decide to keep and nurture in the 4th house will have a strong bearing on your achievements in the world, as the 4th house reflects into the 10th.

A powerful need to create and express yourself in the world falls to the realm of Pluto in the 5th house. Finding joy and activities that have heart are important. Being admired for who you are is also important during this transit. Transformative issues with children and love affairs are also highlighted.

Obsession with organizational detail is typified by Pluto in the 6th. Restructuring organizations or your daily life becomes important. Finding a meaningful way to be of service to others is a good way to focus this energy. Pluto in Capricorn in the 6th house is the perfect example for reworking health care in America. On a more personal note, it is also a warning for your own well being. If your life is out of balance, a major life threatening illness could result.

Your social world is on the hot plate as Pluto moves through the 7th house. Relating at a deep level with others becomes important. False notions regarding relationships must be faced and there is a strong need to look at your own shadow. Meeting new business partners and forming alliances helps you to build your future and can have a huge impact on your business or career path. As always where Pluto is concerned, power struggles within relationships may erupt requiring attention.

Dark mysteries may be faced as Pluto moves through the 8th house. Births and deaths may occur. Intimate relationships may start or come to a screaming end. Fifty shades of grey might be the new color on your bed sheets as issues of dominance and taboos crack the whip in your life. Underhanded tactics regarding inheritances or shared resources can be a problem. Or, if working in a more enlightened fashion, you may realize that working together can help you to build financial security. Metaphysics, the occult or shamanistic practices are also possible as Pluto in this area is interested in your psyche and mysterious things behind the veil. You may find yourself helping someone cross a deep divide in their life as they face a gut wrenching situation.

With Pluto in the 9th house, in Capricorn, churches and religion may be tasked with changing their structures or dogmas. Seedy issues within the legal system, universities or churches may arise and if you are not careful you could find yourself embroiled in these issues, especially with the law. Hierarchical power struggles can be expected. On the flip side, you may do some soul searching on your belief system and make some drastic changes such as embracing a more expansive philosophy. Travel to Plutonian locations such as caves or volcanic areas may be on the menu. Trips to other countries could also change your world view.

In the 10th house, Pluto seeks power and status and a drive to succeed at work. It also wants you to find a soul purpose, a means of making a living that matches what is on the inside. Ladder climbing or career changes can be expected. Parental problems can manifest via control issues, especially with “Mommy Dearest.” Or you may see your mother face major life changes as well.

Powerful friends or a change in your friendship base is possible. Careful that you don’t encounter the dark side in those you sling a beer with. Rethinking what you want out of life is also up for grabs as you rework your own world vision. Once you have that new vision in mind, joining groups that further your interests can help you to build the future you desire. With Pluto in this house, that world vision likely has a humanitarian bent to it and you may find yourself thinking about ways that you can give back.

Digging into the deep recesses of your mind and bringing the darkness to light is the power of Pluto in the 12th. All things hidden want to be revealed and healed. A course in hypnosis may provide just the structured approach for digging into past memories and lives to clean out the karmic dust. Insight, intuition and dream work may also become revealing.

To learn more about the transformative power of Pluto, please read my series on “When Pluto Runs Amuck.” I provide much more detail on the life-altering powers of this dwarf planet on a house by house basis than is listed above. The series also illuminates what Plutonian powers look like when they are unbalanced causing what astrologers fondly call “Pluto Problems,” thus indicating a sure need for change and/or a better means of harnessing the energy in your life. Each of the other primary characters in the Grand Cardinal Cross (Mars in Libra, Uranus in Aries, Jupiter and Black Moon Lilith in Cancer) also has a post on it as well so you can move into April well informed.

Now you have met the first player in the series. Pluto is dark, treacherous and soul changing. He takes no hostages. His mission? To burn the outworn structures in your life into a pile of hot ashes thus leveling the playing field. Why, you ask? Removing that which is no longer needed will make you stronger. As you rise from the ashes and rebuild something more meaningful in your life, you will understand that this Plutonian trail of tears was worth every tear drop shed.

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