J Ray 1 (non-sacred planet)
Method: Reach into the depths, clear the way through esoteric death
|Rulerships:||Orthodox: Scorpio Esoteric: Pisces Hierarchical: Pisces|
|Dignities:||Exaltation: Aries Pisces Fall: Libra Virgo Detriment: Taurus|
|Paired planet (Ray 1):||Vulcan|
|Symbol:||J A cross surmounted by a semicircle cradling a small circle.|
Pluto: general information
Although astronomers re-classified Pluto as a “dwarf planet”, planetary scientists still consider it—along with other Kuiper belt objects like Eris—a planet. As astrologers we may consider the classification irrelevant since so much mythological and sybmolic lore has accrued since its discovery, and even smaller planets are used by contemporary astrologers (Pluto is the largest Kuiper belt object discovered so far). Jyotish (Indian sidereal) astrology doesn’t use Uranus, Neptune or Pluto. However, in esoteric astrology, Pluto is definitely part of the scheme as a planet symbolising the destructive aspect of the first ray…
My idea of destructivity corresponds with Walter Benjamin’s… essay titled “The Destructive Character”, in which he said “The destructive character is cheerful and friendly and knows only one motto: make room”. And there is no particular moral value whatsoever in that […] no good and evil, no apocalyptic alternative motives associated with it. No war and no destructive wrath, there is nothing more than the need thereby recognised (Notwendigkeit) you need to change (or you’re in danger) that for… anything new to emerge, the preconditions must first be created, the old must be eliminated, room must be made, and that’s simply why destruction is needed. —Blixa Bargeld, Einstürzende Neubauten band member, citing Walter Benjamin’s text (originally published in the Frankfurter Zeitung, 20th November 1931)
Pluto as a non-sacred planet has the role of connecting human life in the three worlds to the “liberating destruction” aspect of Ray 1 (see Aries-Pluto-GreatBear), in contrast to the way Vulcan on the same ray works to create and forge anew in the space that Pluto clears. However, until inner awareness or “spiritual growth” begins, people tend to “move within their horoscopes” so Ray 1 “and the will aspect is latent but unexpressed” (EA 66).
At the human level it is present from the earliest spark of awareness to the dissolving of the individual human personality, the process that marks the end of experience in the the three worlds of purely personal endeavour. The non-sacred nature of Pluto means that its sphere of operation is entirely within the bounds of the human personality as it learns and grows through the three worlds or the material, emotional and mental facets of the developing self. The whole journey from the cycles of experience of the Mutable cross to the final personal third initiation on the Cardinal cross is summed up:
Pluto is one of the five non-sacred planets that condition humanity during the long cycle of “reincarnations and periods of manifestation”:
- The Sun (veiling a planet)
- The Moon (veiling a planet)
- The Earth itself
In slightly dated language, the passage below descibes how the solar plexus chakra governing our personal emotional response can pass through the “burning ground” during the growth process (see Pluto and the initiatons, below) an experience that can also be apparent in Pluto’s exoteric rulership of Scorpio:
…Mars and Pluto function in connection with the sacral centre (Mars) and the solar plexus (Pluto). This latter planet becomes active in the life of [those] “becoming alive in the higher sense, [when our] lower nature passes into the smoke and darkness of Pluto, who governs the lesser burning ground, in order that [we] may live in truth in the higher land of light.” (EA 78)
Pluto therefore works throughout the journey taken during the first three strictly personal initiations of the material, emotional and mental worlds. During this time,
…the influence of the sacred planets becomes increasingly effective, until after the final and fifth initiation the non-sacred planets have no effect, though the initiate wields their energies potently… (EA 53)
So the role of Pluto evolves as we move through the “three worlds of human endeavour” and our journey moves us around the three crosses as the learning process progresses.
Spiritual will, Vulcan, Pluto, and the pointers of the Great Bear
In the passage below, Pluto is called an “esoteric planet” along with Vulcan, although the presumption is that this doesn’t mean it’s a sacred planet:
Within our solar system, Vulcan and Pluto are expressions or custodians of this first ray energy and are, as I have told you, esoteric planets. The first indication of the true spiritual will only begins to manifest upon the Path of Discipleship … Vulcan and Pluto are related to the two Pointers and are only now beginning, in any definite and clear manner, to affect human response. (EA 96)
The path of this spiritual will as it comes to our planet is via: the pointer Merak, Aries, Vulcan/Pluto, and Shamballa.
- Dubhe: nearest to the Pole Star
- connected to Pluto, “expressive of a lower aspect of the will, which—in speaking of humanity—we call self-will”
- Merak: furthest from the Pole Star
- connected to Vulcan, “a great reservoir or focal point for divine energy, carrying out [cosmic] purpose”
Aries as “the will to create or to manifest” is the primary transmitter of First Ray energy to the two planets in our solar system, and Shamballa as “the Custodian of the Plan for our planet” (Earth’s “head chakra”) is the agent of transmission, stepping it down to a human level. (EA 195-196)
Pluto as orthodox ruler
“In Scorpio there is the death of the personality, with its longings, desires, ambitions and pride.” (EA 214)
The main concept behind Pluto’s rulership of Scorpio is one of “esoteric death”, i.e. the ending of all that hinders the expansion of our awareness:
the death of forms must eventuate leaving the disciple free; the dissolution of old group structures of thought, embodying worn-out ideas and ideals must necessarily supervene; crystallised old forms must dissolve and disappear, but in their place the undying spirit—impressed by revelation and sensitive to the emerging new concepts of truth—will create the needed new forms of appropriate expression. (EA 260)
Scorpio under Pluto is thus regarded as the “sign of discipleship” or of all those who are “ready for the fusion brought about through the influence of the sacred planets”. The idea is that the death of hindering personality traits “is definitely brought about by the soul…”—the inner self thus liberates us by revealing personal limitations so that we can move beyond them and leave their remains to sink into the depths. The feeling at these times is one that echoes the traditional role of Pluto as one of regeneration and rebirth after trial and experiencing the depths. The “dissolution and detachment” (EA 538) mentioned in connection with the Eigth House are part of this experience.
Pluto as esoteric ruler
“the lure of the probationary path with… transference to the Fixed Cross… begins really in Pisces” (EA 126-127)
Pluto is one of the esoteric rulers of the Mutable Cross, and as one of four influential planets at the time of transition to the Fixed Cross, so presides over that critical initial transition at the initiation of the inner growth process. The trials of personality death are softened under Pisces by the action of Ray 2, creating a desire to break free from personal limitations into a more inclusive consciousness.
Two major rays express themselves through the rulers of Pisces, orthodox and esoteric: The first Ray of Will or Power, focussed through Pluto, and the second Ray of Love-Wisdom. (EA 126-127)
The duality of both the ray and the sign (two fishes) implies a distinction between the dying personality and the awakening inner self, which peels away from the purely personal identifications that pinion us “between the pairs of opposites”. We can then begin to escape imprisonment (12th House) towards the wider consciousness of the soul.
The combination of the Piscean element with Rays 1 and 2 suggests the adaptive and often hidden “will of water”—the need to keep flowing around obstacles and to fill the depths and hollows in order to simply keep going and resist being defeated by problems.
Pluto as hierarchical ruler
“death as the Great Releaser, shattering the forms that bring death to that which is embodied” (from EA 545)
The death mentioned in Esoteric Astrology refers to the dissolution of forms that limit or constrain the expanding inner self or—on a wider scale—the collective consciousness of humanity. Because “Pluto or death never destroys the consciousness aspect” (EA 126-127) this is a process of liberation. On a planetary scale and when working through Pisces, this Plutonic transformative power can stimulate regenerative global changes through an initial process of destruction, a kind of tidal clearing of the land for new growth:
Pisces, through its ruler, Pluto… necessitated the triumph of death… leading to the dissolution of the form… frequently the death or ending of old forms of civilisations which cyclically come and go; of religious teaching when it does not serve the need of the spiritual nature of the people (as is today the case); of educational processes which fail to educate the developing nature… and serve only to delude and imprison. (EA 545)
On an individual level, part of the work of Pluto is to “cut the thread which binds the two opposing lives together”. In Pisces, the exalted Venus can then “reunite the severed lives but with no binding thread” (EA 130) meaning that the inner self is no longer led by the personal needs of the individual, but instead responds freely to an expanded inner consciousness. When a sufficient critical mass is reached within individuals across the globe, or within a nation—and it doesn’t need to be a majority—the mass change can be triggered.
Exaltation in Aries, Pisces
The relation of Pluto to Ray 1 in Aries is obvious as a force of raw will, but Pluto is also given exaltation in Pisces by some astrologers, hinting at its esoteric rulership in that sign.
Fall in Libra, Virgo
The influence of Pluto is dampened in Libra, where balance and a sense of equilibrium enable the crucial “turning point” in evolution. Vulcan is the esoteric ruler of Virgo, where the constructive influence of Ray 1 “falls” or descends into the material realm to give body to the inner self. Pluto’s destructive Ray 1 influence would disturb the Virgoan gestation of the inner being.
Detriment in Taurus
In Taurus the constructive influence of Ray 1 provides direction and the desire to forge ahead, so the destructive Ray 1 method of Pluto is detrimental to Taurean purpose. In Taurus, Pluto would exaggerate the more “bull-headed” traits known to orthodox astrology.
(To follow) The decanates in Esoteric Astrology are not given consistently. They are sometimes reversed and other times given in the familiar direction. Current research aims to provide a coherent system that ensures consistency and reduces ambiguity, while adhering to the basic tenets of the esoteric decanates as well as the “reversal of the wheel”. Alan Leo’s decanates tend to follow the traditional method (i.e. the rulers of each sequential sign by element), yet Alice Bailey often replaces these, sometimes with Sephirial’s planets, and at other times with fresh esoteric replacements.
For now, decanates are covered under the “Details” tab in each sign.