The conjunction of Pluto and the Sun happens yearly: since 2008, it’s been happening in the zodiac sign of Capricorn. This is the last time the conjunction ( 28 Capricorn 13) will occur solely in Capricorn for many years. As the last hurrah, we’re set to feel it strongly. Also, Saturn, the planetary ruler of both the Sun and Pluto, is strong in his own rulership (Aquarius).
Astrologically, the Sun symbolises the quality of one’s individual spirit, which makes shine special. In the northern hemisphere, the Sun in Capricorn presides over the darkest, coldest part of the year. In Capricorn, the Sun is in the realm of Saturn, and in traditional astrology, Saturn is known as the greater malefic; he represents boundaries, limitations, and ultimately death itself. In close contact with Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, we think of this week as when the Sun glows with the darkness of the Underworld. During this time, it would not be surprising if how each of us shines seems dull.
Little wonder the image of the Dark Sun (Sol niger) is connected with the nigredo, an alchemical process that Carl Jung associated with the psychological breaking down of ego defences in preparation for authentic engagement with the unconscious, which, if successful, furthers the process of individuation, the healing psychological process by which we become whole.
This is not an easy process. It is dangerous strewn with obstacles. In CG Jung Speaking, Jung describes it as ‘difficult and strewn with obstacles’. He goes on to say that ‘in psychological terms, the soul finds itself in the throes of melancholy lock in a struggle with the shadow’.
I suggest that for many, this may manifest in what the Existentialists have coined ‘angst’ or a deep-seated, irrefutable, insatiable anxiety. This often occurs when some aspect of life that we’ve taken for granted, is challenged or removed, opening the way for something new and different. Consider this akin to pruning the deadwood in preparation for spring. Certainly this is the lesson of Saturn (who presides over this time); who in Greek and Roman mythology was killed by his own son, Jupiter, to make way for the new world order.
We would do ourselves a service to remember that living only in the light is impossible. Darkness is as much a part of the world in which we live as in the light. Nor is it possible – or even desirable – to deny ‘negative’ emotions, such as anger and fear, in favour of more ‘positive’ emotions, such as love and joy. As the Stoics remind us, whether something is negative or positive is down to how we choose to judge it.
That doesn’t mean that in your moment of fear or anger, you’ve permission to punch people or otherwise engage in unlawful behaviour. But it does suggest you’d might cut yourself some slack when you feel inclined to do so.