As much as we like to believe that we control nature, that we are in control of ourselves, the truth is we are just playing clay in nature’s hand. Our sense of control is just an illusion. A storm or an earthquake come along and change everything in a second.
In astrology, Pluto represents the uncontrollable, the unavoidable, the repeated regeneration of nature, the indestructible cycles of life and death, of constant return. Pluto rules our survival as species, our basic instincts and needs such as food and safety, as well as our basic emotions such as love and fear . As a transpersonal planet, farthest away from the Earth, Pluto has seen it all –and he knows what we need, what is in our best interest, not necessary as individuals, but as pieces of puzzle in the Grand Scheme of Things. That’s why Pluto carries on our ancestral memories that can threaten our basic survival such as war, famine, or natural disasters. We all carry on this information in our genes and we pass it from generation to generation, because Pluto wants us to be well equipped to survive as spices.
Pluto is ultimately the Gate between the Matter and the Spirit, ruling the invisible connections between our physical body, the Earth and the Universe.
Trying to conceptualize Pluto, I related to the Triune Brain Theory. According to this theory developed by Paul MacLean, there are three distinct brains that have successively developed during the course of evolution: The Reptilian Brain, The Limbic Brain and the Cortex Brain. The latest development of neuroscience suggest that there is no such thing as three different brains, however the theory is useful in understanding how the brain works.
The neo-cortex (or cerebral cortex) is responsible for the development of human language, abstract thought, imagination, and consciousness. The Cortex represents our relationship to logic, how we view the world and how we operate in it. Science, logic, control, numbers, statistics are examples of the cortex brain priorities. In astrology, the neo-cortex is ruled by the masculine principle of the Sun, the Yang.
The Limbic Brain is brain’s emotional center, representing feelings, tensions and contradictions. This brain controls our logic of emotion, the structure in which archetypes and the emotions associated with them are imprinted. In astrology, the limbic brain is ruled by the feminine principle of the Moon, or the Yin.
And now things get interesting.
The reptilian brain, the oldest of the three, controls the body’s vital functions such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature and balance. The main structures of this brain are also found in reptiles, hence the name Reptilian Brain. We are all born with it – it is not acquired or developed. This brain represents the center for our most hardwired instincts – reflexes, sexual impulses, fight, flight or freeze.
The Reptilian brain also corresponds to the collective unconscious of Jung. According to Jung, the collective unconscious is a storehouse of latent memories of our human and prehumen ancestry, symbolized by universal archetypes. Universal archetypes only change with evolution, and can last millions of years. In astrology, the reptilian brain is ruled by Pluto, the archetype of primordial energy.
Just like the reptilian brain, Pluto represents the indestructible forces of nature, the cycles of life and death, the imprint of the Universe. Just like the reptilian brain always wins over the cortex, nothing can defeat Pluto – because Pluto is the life force itself.
Just like the reptilian brain, Pluto governs the act of ultimate survival in the never-ending cycle of beginnings and endings, or regeneration and metamorphosis.
Just like Pluto senses the truth beneath the façade, the reptilian brain knows what we really need in order to survive. It makes no sense to fight our instinctual nature, and the earlier we learn this, the less painful Plutonian lessons are. The reptilian brain /Pluto represent the ferocity of life and the undying resilience of the Universe. They will do whatever it takes to secure our survival.