“All love that has not friendship for its base,
Is like a mansion built upon the sand.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
As Jupiter prepares to enter his shadow he runs into an opposition with Pluto, an aspect that will be repeated twice more before the end of the Jupiter retrograde and which indicates a tug-of-war between opposing forces. Jupiter is ever the optimist, looking to find the positive in everything, sometimes unrealistically so. Meanwhile Pluto can be something of a brutal realist, insisting on seeing things as they are – he’s neither glass half full not glass half empty but more ‘there’s 50cc of liquid in this glass’. Jupiter thinks he can achieve what he likes with a hefty does of smiling persuasion whereas Pluto believes that willpower wins the day. Together these two can be pretty powerful – if Jupiter uses the stark facts of Pluto’s view of the world to build his vision then that’s ok. Problems come when Jupiter refuses to hear what Pluto is saying, if he does this he tends to build himself castles in the sand which look wonderful but crumble under the least bit of pressure.
In our lives we are likely to see this dynamic play out in relationships and depending on where this opposition falls in your own personal chart will influence whether you are witness or participant in the push and pull that goes on while these forces seek to find some balance between themselves. It is a time when the rule of law will be challenged by forces that insist it is not up to the job, when dreams of distant travel bring us up close to corruption and political forces we might rather ignore and when the religious institutions we might have once found faith in fall apart before our eyes.
In the chart for the first of the oppositions Jupiter is conjunct asteroids Lumen and Eriphyla. In Greek mythology Eriphyla betrayed her husband in order to possess a necklace she coveted suggesting that Jupiter here can be tempted by something that looks bright and shiny but that may cost far more than it is worth. The necklace actually belonged to Harmonia, the child of Aphrodite and Ares (Venus and Mars) indicating that in the right place it is one of the gifts of achieving a balance between male and female, yin and yang, Shiva and Shakti energies, or the energies of being and doing – this balance is to be earned not to be gained by deceit and Pluto looks on across the skies to remind us of that. Jupiter may want to say that all is fine in our relationships or in our own sense of balance and interaction in the world but Pluto will insist on uncovering even the smallest thing that is not fine and demand that it is addressed.
This first opposition follows hot on the heels of a new moon and so carries much of the energy of that new moon and the repeating oppositions will build on what was set in motion at that time.
In the second pass of the opposition, at the end of January 2014 Venus comes more clearly into the picture as the retrograding Venus comes within spitting distance of Pluto before turning direct. Pluto here is conjunct asteroid Narcissus, highlighting the dangers of becoming self-absorbed and unable to accept love from others. Meanwhile Jupiter is full of beans conjunct asteroid Fortuna and thinking that everything is going his way – this is a story of people refusing to recognise one another, refusing to understand where the other one is coming from. The chart shows a time full of tension with the only outlet for the opposition the square from Uranus indicating sudden and surprising reactions. In fact Jupiter will go on to back right into that square suggesting that his little bubble will be burst. In personal relationships this is a time of testing and tension and in the world around us we will find that there are challenges to the status quo, to the workings of the legal system and within our religious institutions.
Venus does bring some hope to this dynamic as she moves forward immediately after the Jupiter/Pluto opposition linking up with Psyche. Meanwhile Echo, the nymph who loved and was rejected by Narcissus sits on the degree where Mars will soon go retrograde, indicating that Mars has yet an important part to play in balancing this battle between the king of the gods, Jupiter and the ruler of the underworld, Pluto. It may be that the persistence shown by Echo is the key to winning through the self-absorbtion and hopelessness of Narcissus’s empty love – she urges Mars to go back and try again rather than fade away pining for something that can never be. It’s a time of re-doing, re-vising, echoing and reflecting and not just in a vague and dreamy way – there will be reverberations felt in the physical world, things will crumble and be rebuilt.
In April 2014 we have the final pass of the opposition and here we can see more clearly that Mars is intimately linked into the playing out of the story, in balancing the energies of optimism and realism, power and hope. Mars is heading back right into a very powerful and tense cardinal cross, in opposition to Uranus and square to both Jupiter and Pluto. This is the hero’s test and it is no accident that at this time Mars is conjunct Isolda, heroine of one of the most powerful, influential and tragic love stories of the western world. Do not be surprised if at this time you ask yourself whether it is all worth it – be prepared for that, and also for the sense that despite it all the thing you are striving for is the only thing that seems to make your life worthwhile.
Mars, retrograde in Libra and so ruled by Venus is tasked with winning the hand of the woman he loves or put another way, he is tasked with making his dreams of balanced and fulfilling relationships become a reality. Meanwhile Venus is conjunct Chiron, feeling wounded and unable to connect with Mars – the requirement here is for our spiritual values (Venus in Pisces) to find some healing within this story of power struggles and finding balance in relationships. Meanwhile the Moon brings an extremely emotional tone to the picture, moving into a conjunction with Pluto and so right into the turbulence of that cardinal square. Even if you are able to keep your head at this time you will probably see plenty of other people losing theirs.
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
Rudyard Kipling – ‘If’
Mars is planet of physical energy and making things manifest in the physical world, and that is his task here – to mediate between Jupiter and Pluto (the rule of law and the rule of might) and to prevent the excesses of Uranus’s urge to revolution. Can a new balance be found? Our ability to stay centred and focused will be tested here, as will our belief in the ideals of law and philosophy and through it all we are expected to show results.
Venus does point towards a hopeful future as she brings together a wide trine between Saturn and Jupiter – this reminds us of the dreams we set in motion during July 2013 when these two large planets were in an exact trine to one another. Those dreams were part of the grand water trine, cardinal square energy that showed us how to make our dreams real. At that time Pluto was the focal point of a kite formation indicating an opportunity to be expansive and ambitious in our dreams, and giving guidance on how to achieve them. This final pass of Jupiter opposite Pluto with the cardinal cross so emphasised and Saturn retrograde is a final test for those dreams. If you have worked hard in the real world to make them come true then you will be able to see beyond the immediate tension and understand how it helps you achieve your dreams. If the hard graft has not been put in this will be a time of disappointment when things fall apart.
All in all the Jupiter/Pluto connection through the Jupiter retrograde brings the opportunity to bring balance between unrealistic optimism and wishful thinking and a belief that will power and force alone can achieve what you hope for. This may be in personal relationships, at work, or in the wider world around you but in all cases the test is being able to work hard at achieving physical or tangible results whilst keeping a sense of balance and remembering why you are doing all this.
Links to other astro articles on Jupiter opposite Pluto
Bill Attride (included under the cardinal t-square write up a little down the page)