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Monday, May 3, 2010

Archetypal Processes XI: Pluto – CREDO CVIII

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious. – C. G. Jung

Pluto’s Greek name is Hades, and both names mean wealth, which may come as surprise! The archetypal process of Pluto is transformation. I am going to reprint a most powerful poem by the little-known English Victorian Edward Carpenter, because it describes what we have to do individually and collectively with the “evil” we seem to have to deal with as one of the reasons for our privilege of incarnation. Here it is:


And at last I saw Satan appear before me – magnificent, fully formed.
Feet first, with shining limbs, he glanced down from among the bushes,
And stood there erect, dark-skinned, with nostrils dilated with passion;
(In the burning, intolerable sunlight, he stood, and I in the shade of the bushes);
Fierce and scathing the effluence of his eyes, and scornful of dreams and dreamers (he touched a rock hard by and it split with a sound like thunder);
Fierce the magnetic influence of his dusky flesh; his great foot, well-formed, was planted firm in the sand—with spreading toes;
“Come on,” he said, with a taunt, “art thou afraid to meet me?”
And I answered not, but sprang upon him and smote him.
And he smote me a thousand times, and brashed and scorched and slew me as with hands of flame;
And I was glad, for my body lay there dead; and I sprang upon him again with another body;
And he turned upon me, and smote me a thousand times and slew that body;
And I was glad and sprang upon him again with another body –
And with another and another and again another;
And the bodies which I took on yielded before him, and were like cinctures of flame upon me, but I flung them aside:
And the pains which I endured in one body were powers which I wielded in the next; and I grew in strength till at last I stood before him complete, with a body like his own and equal in might – exultant in pride and joy.
Then he ceased and said, “I love thee.”
And lo! his form changed and he leaned backwards and drew me upon him,
And bore me into the air, and floated me over the topmost trees and the ocean, and round the curve of the earth under the moon –
till we stood again in Paradise.

   – From Edward Carpenter, The Secret of Time and Satan

Goethe expresses the same idea in his Faust when he has Mephistopheles complain, I am a part of the Spirit that always contrives evil and always ends up doing good! and I am the Spirit that always denies. Which reminds me of the epiphany I had on the fire escape in Greenwich Village in 1944: A Yes has to come before a No can sound!

My intuition about Pluto’s process is that it rules our Collective Shadow! – all the karma of the millennia, the cruelty, murder, rape, torture, meanness, greed etc. etc. – and that the myth of the Herculean “Cleansing of the Augean Stables” applies. Jung, bless him, suggests that as we work upon our individual Shadow, we withdraw that much darkness from the collective one, so there is one of the purposes of human incarnation. This is where the true meaning of transformation comes in.

Alchemy calls it the nigredo and maintains that this blackness hides the gold, non auream vulgarum, not physical gold, which explains the irony of the names Pluto and Hades meaning wealth!

Whenever we see those black curling clouds like the ones issuing recently from the Icelandic volcano or burning oil or rubber, we are reminded symbolically of the destructive power of this archetype.

The planet Pluto has just entered the earth sign of Capricorn. It is at present the furthest out, and it was discovered in 1930 by Percival Lowell. Its orbit is 248 years, so we really don’t know completely what this process entails. So far, the trans-Saturnian planets have shown their negative processes quite clearly at first, and no sooner was Pluto discovered when the Plutonian Holocaust unfolded, the massacres of WWII, and the atom bomb based on the use of plutonium! The threat of nuclear warfare seems symptomatic, does it not?

As I write, our whole country seems under nature’s siege, but the oil spill is manmade. It is hard for me to see a positive side to any of this, but the only cure is the change in the collective consciousness of humanity. Every atom of creation contains a point of light. I challenge anyone reading this to take a moment to examine your seven highest priorities or values. Write them down, and, oh, may Love be one of them!

lovingly, (what else!)

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