I wrote this piece long ago and simply accepted that it was not ready to be born yet, even because of its über supernatural woo content, which some folks will find entirely unpalatable. In the past few weeks, however, I’ve understood where it belongs – as an explanatory story about power, a description of the Jupiter-Pluto square, and an indication on what energy we can start embracing after a series of political events that have shocked many of us to our core.
The TL;DR is this: there is a difference between fighting back when we’ve allowed ourselves to be pushed into a corner, and fighting for something from a place of power.
When we fight someone (physically or ideologically) with the ruthlessness of Pluto, an energy that likes total domination, we force the other party underground until they have to fight back with a vengeance.
While there are already many posts describing the astrological mechanics of Jupiter in Libra square Pluto in Capricorn (an aspect we will revisit again on 30th March & 4th August 2017), this post is more about what it looks like on the ground when you fall prey to hard Jupiter-Pluto square or opposition dynamics.
All of what I write below occurred while I was undergoing a personal transiting Jupiter opposition to natal Pluto as well as a transiting Pluto conjunction to natal Jupiter, something that I did not realize until recently.
Power & Office Politics for Dummies
Before I became a super-spiritual walking beam of light (sarcasm), I used to be kind of an asshole, and the office was the stage where I performed some of my best material.
To deal with the stress of work I had developed a ‘mean girl’ alter-ego: I acted tough, cursed often, never cried (publicly) and worked 10,000 times harder than required. I was one of the boys.
One of my finer moments is when I announced to everyone that I was once again deleting an email from our ‘insufferable’ colleague who ran the charitable division of the company. Besides the fact that she was sweet as pie, she also worked endlessly to better the lives of suffering children, for very little money and thanks.
‘Oh, here’s another email from XXXXXX, asking me for more free shit and money – DELETE. Why does she even bother?’
In small offices, news flies fast. By the end of the afternoon, I had a letter from her saying how hurt she was that I had been dismissive of her work in front of the entire office. Of course, I felt horrible and went to find her immediately so I could apologize in person.
Hahaha! NOPE. Didn’t do that. Actually emailed back implying the real issue was the way she approached internal fundraising.
Tough girls don’t apologize, right?
The feedback was for her own good…right?
There was another time when we had a brilliant intern from America in our London office for a few months. In short order, everyone started to compare us, as we shared an accent and were somewhat similar in appearance.
Due to largely undigested feelings of inadequacy related to my hick town childhood, I made her the butt of incredibly tasteless jokes in an effort to distance myself from her…which she naturally overheard. She never showed up to work again – how mysterious! When the internship coordinator called to talk about why I naturally took full responsibility for my actions.
Hahaha! No, of course, I didn’t! I blamed it on the intern and insinuated that she wasn’t emotionally ready to work in the UK workplace.
I’d like to tell you these were isolated incidents, but the truth is I have infinitely more stories I could share about snippy comments, backchat and hurt feelings.
Ooooh, she was a mean one, Mrs. Grinch.
Except for the fact that she was plagued with massive self-esteem and insecurity issues.
My top coping mechanism against impostor syndrome was funneling exorbitant amounts of cash towards bags, clothes, and shoes. It’s the armor of sad urban girls everywhere.
Almost 100 years ago Guy DeBord wrote that society was in “[a] decline of being into having, and having into merely appearing.” In other words, if you can’t be the part, just buy some stuff and look the part. Said another way: fake it until you make it.
When I wasn’t busy faking it, I did what any reasonable person would do – which is that I routinely overreacted, took everything personally and made sure that I was always one step ahead of the rumor mill by actively twisting narratives to my benefit.
And then I got ‘spiritual’ and slammed on the brakes.
After a decade of being a perpetual firecracker, I began to really see myself for the first time. I understood that I was not only complicit in these office dynamics but that my OTT reactions were just fuelling more drama. No matter how good it felt to fight back in the moment, I realized that I truly won nothing in the end. I could sling cutting remarks around, but I couldn’t negotiate a pay raise. Who was really winning?
I decided that I wanted to be like the great spiritual teachers: calm, passive, peaceful.
A few years later, in a different country and with my new ‘spiritual’ attitude, I approached work like water off of a duck’s back.
You stole my ideas and presented them as your own to the CEO? No big deal. I’m sorry for that you feel you have to do things like that. You must be so insecure.
You’re deep into mansplaining concepts to me that I actually taught you? Yeah, sure, that’s your problem, but it doesn’t bother me. I can sit here as long as it takes. Please, continue.
I didn’t have the same problems at work like before, but I was sick a lot. I had reoccurring colds and fevers. I had intense acne covering my cheeks that couldn’t be explained. I was mostly fine but would have blow-out moments when I realized how out of touch I was with a sense of power or purpose.
Enter the Jellyman
Although I had intensely focused on spirituality at the beginning of my journey, after 2 years in Dubai I was ragged. I never meditated and subsisted on a diet of swallowed bullshit at work and cheap delivery food at home. After several months of a new soul-sucking job, I returned to the Sevilla countryside to go on a retreat with my Shaman and try to unravel some of my tension.
It was great to be back in a space of warm-hearted, spiritual-seeking folks, but beneath the immediate comfort I found in the beauty of both the countryside setting and the pleasurable company, my anxieties were brewing.
My mind whirled with agonizing thoughts about my shitty job, my condescending bosses, the diminished pay and power – oh yes, all those things I had decided to spiritually ‘accept’.
I wondered: what was I doing with my life?
I worried: was my disheveled life the punishment for living so ‘un-spiritually’?
After a fun dinner of exchanging stories and getting to know one another, we returned to our communal houses to get some shut-eye. Tomorrow was a big night, as we would be working with our teacher plant, San Pedro.
And while I had anxieties about that too, being that I had been away from not just spiritual work, but Shamanism as well for over 2 years, I climbed into bed, ready for sleep.
Little did I know, that the night would turn out far, far differently than what I planned.
Disclaimer: what I’m about to describe is weird as shit.
I still don’t have a total explanation of what the hell happened, but what will prove to be most important is the learning that came from this experience (and eventually, how that ties into the Jupiter-Pluto square).
All I can tell you is this: at 3am I was wide awake, my room was too hot, the sheets were suffocating, there was a fly circling my head. I was physically exhausted but mentally in a fugue state.
From time to time, I heard movements in the house. Maybe I wasn’t the only one struggling to sleep. After what felt like an eternity, I started to doze off.
Until I heard a footstep in my room – distinct, unforgettable – had my Shaman come to help allay my fears?
Could she sense my anxiety?
Looking up, and within a split second, all of the following happened:
1 ) As if set about by a pair of invisible hands, I was frozen to the bed. I could actually see how the sheets had been pressure-vacuumed against me. I was awake, and lucid, but unable to move.
2 ) A jelly-like substance started to float towards me from the side of the bed. It was transparent, what you may describe as plasma-like, and as it started to come nearer a man’s face started to imprint itself into the jelly.
3 ) Don’t ask me how, but I realized that the jelly man was trying to get into my solar-plexus and steal something from me. Immediately, I built up a surge of white energy that came from my torso and blasted it at him – the jelly man recoiled and span away, disappearing from the room.
Now, if you can get your head around all of that without dismissing it as a delusion, a bad dream, or just a load of woo-woo, I will unpack parts of what this experience came to show me.
What the Jelly Man Taught Me About Power
Immediately, I went to find my Shaman. I was shaken, but also energized by my experience.
What the hell had just happened to me?
Between pauses where I searched for the right words to describe the bizarre turn of events – jelly man, white light, solar plexus – I explained what happened to my Shaman. Quickly, she went to work clearing the room of energy and asking me a list of questions to ensure that all was okay.
What color was the jelly? (Clear)
What did the man look like, was it someone you knew? (No, just a man, but definitely a man)
How did it spin away? (I think I created a triangular space for it to disappear?)
Did it leave via the triangle space in the energy or just go out of the room? (Er, kind of the first thing?)
How come you didn’t tell me about the flies in your room? (I thought all hippie yoga centers had flies in the bedrooms?)
And while it may not sound believable, there was a lot, and I mean A LOT of laughter. How many times in your life do you find yourself sheepishly knocking on a Shaman’s door at 4am because you’ve been attacked by a man made out of jelly??
The Shaman also asked me to describe what the man ‘felt’ like, as opposed to just the visual effect. My response was that I knew the man was flimsy, cheap, a bully. He was the same kind of thin-on-the-ground man that needs to validate himself by raping someone to make up for a feeling of power that he lacks within himself.
Yet, my power was enough to send him spinning in reverse as if he was terrified…he wasn’t powerful, even if he wanted to seem that way.
I also instinctively knew that he wanted to take something from me – but what?
I’ll tell you what: my power, my creativity, my strength, my vitality.
Make no mistake about it – people that seek to overpower you, dominate you, coerce you in some way – these people want little pieces of your soul and your sacred energy.
You see, I hadn’t really understood that adopting this new mantle of passive ‘spiritual’ acceptance was also wrong. Whilst I had done myself some relative favor by toning down my usual snappy, aggressive reactions, which also reduced the level of conflict in my life I had grown so accustomed to, I didn’t realize that I was just embodying another extreme position.
I had gone from full-on aggressive to churchmouse passive (with a generous dash of passive-aggressive, if my memory serves me well), and while society surely thinks one is better than the other, particularly for women, the truth is that they are just two sides of a coin – and neither is a solid long-term solution.
One makes us feel vindicated, ‘right’, and strong in the moment (aggression) but very rarely plays out to actual success beyond the altercation; the other makes us feel more and more resentful until we start to get ill, deeply angered, or eventually explode (passivity & passive-aggressive). One requires us to have been backed into a corner first so that we fight back in retaliation (aggression), and the other requires we voluntarily put ourselves into the corner (passivity); neither is really powerful.
I think most of us can find easy connections between the archetypes being played out on a global scale and my experience. Are there any Cheeto-coloured men that may represent the energy of my jelly man – a weak bully that wants to exert power, but flys into pieces at the first ad hominem attack?
This is the kind of wisdom we have the opportunity to start unpacking as part of the series of Jupiter-Pluto squares we will experience in the next 12 months.
Pluto is power, obsession, control, and all things done in a subterranean, under-the-radar manner, including the subtle threats a domineering boss uses to extract more work than what they deserve from you or the gaslighting emotional coercions your partner employs to ensure you stay in your place.
Pluto does not always play nice; it tends to take things by force when no one is looking, which is perfectly exemplified in Pluto’s mythical abduction of Persephone into the Underworld.
We need to switch our energies from fighting back to fighting for something, whether that be in politics, the office, or our personal lives. The positive side of the Jupiter-Pluto square is big power, and if we’re going to achieve that, we need deep, solid roots – roots that are based on what we feel is right for us, not just what we want to fight; declarations of what we know we deserve, not just more memes, take-downs, and threats.
What Pluto promises, if we decide to tango with him, is a total transformation, as well as the type of single-minded obsessiveness that can lead us towards monumental achievements.
And if you’re wondering where my Jupiter-Pluto story ended up taking me, after my fatal night with the jellyman?
Well, I went back to the office, finally stood up for myself, quit my shitty job, and eventually – became an astrologer.