A Whole New Way of Looking at Libra

by Valerie Vaughan

The wholistic view is something we aim for in astrology. When a client or someone unfamiliar with astrology asks, "What does it mean that I'm a Libra?" Astrologers say, "Well, it depends," and then we try to see how that Sun in Libra is operating within the whole complex of the person's chart.

This wholistic approach is one of the major ways that astrology differs from the modern scientific approach. Science gains much of its information by breaking things down and isolating the parts. When scientists use their familiar methods to analyze their superficial understanding of astrology, they can't make any sense of it and thus they claim to have a scientific "reason" to dismiss astrology as illogical. They pick out isolated statements and make a hasty conclusion in the following way. "According to astrological principles, Capricorn rules administration, but we've divided everyone into sun-signs, and there's a lot of Capricorns that aren't CEOs. In the same way, Scorpio is said to rule surgery, but there's a lot of sun-sign Scorpios that aren't surgeons. There are too many exceptions to the rules, and therefore, astrology is wrong."

To this, astrologers would answer, "The problem is, you're trying to apply a literal approach, a limited method we would call cookbook astrology. Beginning students of our discipline might go through a phase that involves this kind of thinking, but eventually, with serious study, they get past that stage. It's rather like a future mathematician learning two-and-two makes four, but the same literal words may be useless or even misleading for understanding more advanced or complex concepts involving the whole pattern, such as fractals."

Astrologers say, "Yes, the chart contains many individual symbols, and each individual part has many different potential associations, any of which might manifest depending on the whole situation." All people born with a Libra Sun do not share the same whole chart. One person's Libra Sun might be in a square with Saturn or it might be located in the 5th house. The Libra Sun is qualified by other factors, just as the "two" in the equation in the math analogy listed above might be qualified, depending on whether it is in base ten or base twelve. The meaning of Libra Sun (or the "two") can change, depending on all of the information contained within the whole context.

There are literally hundreds of these individual factors in any astrological chart. If you attempt to understand the whole chart by simply breaking it down into a long list of individual factors, you lose the sense of wholeness and complex interconnection. It's like taking a machine apart so you can identify individual components. The information you gain about individual parts will not necessarily lead to an understanding of the overall purpose of the machine itself.

Those of you who have spent considerable time in the study of astrology might think back to when you were learning the first principles. You memorized all the individual factors, including planets and their rulerships, the signs and their characteristics, the aspects, etc. Then, at some point you made The Big Leap -- you started to be able to blend the parts and see them within the context of the whole chart. This is a very important conceptual leap, and it is so subtle that it's hard to explain how it happens. From what we know about how the brain works, however, conceptual leaps appear to be fostered by the ability of the right side of the brain to "get" the whole picture.

People who have more literal minds (concentrating with their left-brains) have trouble with this leap in developmental thought. This may explain why certain people who place emphasis on left-brain thinking just don't "get" astrology. Much of the work of scientists involves a concentration of literal, left-brain thought, and this is possibly a contributing factor in their rejection of astrology. (Scientists who reject astrology also do not generally bother to study the subject long enough to get past the 2+2 stage.) People who are less attached to a strictly literal view, who make more use of their right-brain, may find it easier to make the leap into perceiving the chart as a whole entity, and the individual as a whole person.

In this article I will attempt to assist the reader in a conceptual leap. I shall list many individual factors and then attempt to draw them together into one perspective. In this attempt I may seem to be wandering, but I'm really gathering together many apparently disparate elements.

Each one of the astrological symbols has many potential associations which must be considered. Let's take an example. We can't talk about a planet without implying the sign it rules, and vice versa. Each of the twelve signs is ruled by a planet; that is, each sign has one planet that is closely associated or compatible with the "energy" of that sign (the Sun rules fiery Leo, the Moon rules the watery sign of feelings, Cancer, etc.). The ancients knew of only five planets in addition to the Sun and Moon, and they gave each of these five the rulership of two signs (5 planets times 2 signs is 10, plus one sign each for the Sun and Moon, equals 12 signs). In the traditional rulership system, Mercury ruled both Gemini and Virgo, Venus ruled Taurus and Libra, Mars ruled Aries and Scorpio, Jupiter ruled Pisces and Sagittarius, and Saturn ruled Aquarius and Capricorn. These are the dual rulerships.

Table of Traditional Rulerships

Ladder of the Planets

Planet/Ruler and the Signs of Rulership
Sun Leo Moon Cancer
Mercury Virgo Gemini
Venus Libra Taurus
Mars Scorpio Aries
Jupiter Sagittarius Pisces
Saturn Capricorn Aquarius

This system is really quite orderly. As you can see from the Table of Traditional Rulerships, it forms what is called the Ladder of the Planets. Beginning with Leo and following the order of the planets, the signs progress in Zodiacal order down the "ladder," and then back up again. This system worked just fine for thousands of years until the discovery of Uranus, which disrupted the order (not surprisingly, for it is the planet that rules disruption and anti-tradition). Uranus was given the rulership of experimental Aquarius, and the old ruler Saturn, the planet of limitation/restriction, was the first planet to have its domain restricted to the rulership of just one sign, Capricorn.

In modern times, as each new planet has been discovered, the system of rulership has required adjustment. Each traditional planet had to "abdicate" one of its thrones, and give over part of its rulership, one of its signs, to the newcomer. Neptune took over Pisces, formerly ruled by Jupiter. Pluto became ruler of Scorpio, originally ruled by Mars. According to many astrologers, the rulership of Virgo was "taken" from Mercury and given to the Asteroids (headed by Ceres) or to Chiron. You will note that, so far, only one planet remains that is said to be ruling two signs -- Venus. Hang on to that idea because we're going to get back to that particular point later on.

Table of Modern Rulerships

(with Traditional Rulerships in Bold)
Sun Leo Moon Cancer
Asteroids (Ceres) Virgo Mercury Gemini
Venus Libra Venus Taurus
Pluto Scorpio Mars Aries
Jupiter Sagittarius Neptune Pisces
Saturn Capricorn Uranus Aquarius

Of course, even with the newly-discovered planets, we have not totally abandoned the traditional system because, for example, we still refer to Scorpio as being co-ruled by Mars and Pluto, and we still call Jupiter the "old" ruler of Pisces. Also, many astrologers recognize that astrology still works quite adequately by using only the traditional rulers, as the ancients did. Using the traditional planets instead of the modern ones is rather like using classical, Newtonian physics instead of quantum physics. You can get adequate results using classical physics, even with its "outdated" methods. In some situations, however, using the newer planets (like using quantum mechanics) is more appropriate and provides more accurate results.

It is interesting to observe how the "meaning" of each sign has been refined or changed somewhat since it gained a new rulership. Pluto, for example, was discovered just as we entered the Atomic Age, and we must admit that the nature of Plutonium and nuclear power has dramatically changed humanity's view of death (ruled by Scorpio). Likewise, the rulership of the Asteroids has given Virgo a much more feminine meaning than that bestowed by the old rational-logical ruler Mercury.

Meaning -- that's what it's all about. Humans seek meaning. From the time we can talk, we start asking why. People consult with an astrologer because they want to know why. We hear them say, "My wife is leaving me, my boss wants to fire me, I'm so depressed these days -- why?" Or, "Most of my planets are in fire, what does that mean?" As a consulting astrologer, you might mention to a client that their Moon is conjunct Saturn, or Neptune is transiting their natal Ascendant, but you don't stop there. You tell them what that means. And they, in turn, will tell you what it means to them. It's all about meaning and the content of consciousness.

Science gives us information, not meaning. Scientists in general are not looking for this type of understanding which they assign to other disciplines such as religion, philosophy, or psychology. They know that scientific methods do not work well with the "messy" nature of consciousness, which is too loaded with contradictions and fuzzy borders. Consciousness and meaning cannot be taken apart by literal scientific methods, or at least not without losing the sense of the whole.

On the other hand, a growing population of debunkers claim that the scientific way of thinking is the best way to approach all potential realms of knowledge, and some of them use this assumption to debunk alternative ways of thinking. They use rules that work for literal endeavors such as science but which fail (or give false impressions) when applied to wholistic disciplines such as astrology. It is easy to debunk astrology with the use of literal thinking, and because science is now touted as the ruling paradigm, society generally assumes that its methods must be universally appropriate. But, as we all know, the key to getting a job done well is using the right tool. Science has been using the equivalent of hammers and knives to pry open the secrets of the universe. How can such literal, mechanical minds understand that, in some situations, a paintbrush might be more appropriate?

Astrology has no order that makes any sense to the literal view. But if you put serious effort into studying astrology from a wholistic view, you discover that it has an incredible, albeit subtle, internal consistency. Astrology has a highly complex internal order such that the individual symbols and meanings all make sense with regard to each other. We can see this consistency in the planetary rulerships. Mars rules Aries -- an aggressive planet rules an assertive sign. Jupiter, the biggest planet, rules the most expansive sign, Sagittarius. When presented with the traditional dual rulerships, we say, yes, there are many ways that Mars is an appropriate ruler for Scorpio, but something's missing in this connection. Scorpio is secretive and there's nothing very secretive about the nature of Mars -- but Pluto, the new ruler, really fills that gap; it embellishes and expands our understanding of the meaning of Scorpio. In the same way, Jupiter does "work" as the ruler of Pisces, but some aspects of Pisces are really more Neptunian.

We can look to ancient mythology to confirm these associations. For example, Pluto was the Greco-Roman god of the Underworld, so his hidden nature fits with a rulership of Scorpio, and Neptune was the ancient god of the ocean, which fits with Pisces. Ancient mythology is, in fact, entirely consistent in supporting the themes and characteristics of the astrological signs and planets. Because I knew mythology to be a dependable resource that confirms astrological principles, I began to wonder about Venus being the ruler of Libra.

Astrology says Venus is a benefic, right? The planet that rules the sign of love and cooperation, Libra. What are some of those familiar keywords for Libra? Diplomacy, peace, balance, marriage. The nature of a planet is supposed to match the sign it rules, but, according to Greco-Roman myths, Venus was not happily married. Many people assume she was hooked up with Mars, but she actually had an ugly, deformed husband, Vulcan, whom she rejected a lot, and she was constantly running off to have extra-marital affairs, and in the process she was usually disturbing the peace and causing arguments. If you look up all the Greco-Roman myths about Venus, you will see that her behavior does not fit our understanding of Libra at all. The nature of mythological Venus is in total contradiction to our modern Western astrological idea that Venus is a benefic.

And we can see more contradictory evidence outside of Greece and Rome, because other ancient traditions identified the planet Venus as an out-right malefic. The Babylonians lived in fear of her wrath; their written astrological records are full of dark warnings about what happened during Venus transits. Studies of ancient Mexican astrology have likewise shown that the Mesoamericans believed Venus was highly dangerous. If any of you are familiar with the work of Immanuel Velikovsky, you will remember that he documented a great deal of this -- ancient writings and traditions from all over the world, pointing to the evil nature of the planet Venus. If you read up on ancient Mesoamerican myths or any of the early Mediterranean myths, you're going to have some serious doubts about Venus being a benevolent planet. You will also wonder, as I did, how she came to acquire her modern associations with peaceful, cooperative Libra.

The Sun entering the sign of Libra marks the halfway point of the Zodiacal year. In the Northern hemisphere, this period is the end of the growing season and the beginning of the "dying" season. In this regard, Libra is the end of the beginning (of the year) as well as the beginning of the end. The symbol for Libra ( d ) is the setting Sun, telling us that day has ended and night has begun. With this half-and-half symbolism, it would seem that Libra is a sign of dualities, but the scales are balanced. Libra may sit on the fence, but it has a good view from there of both sides of a situation. It is known as the sign of compromise: "Half for you and half for me -- some of each for both of us." Libra can see the bigger picture and is thus related to the "right brain" function of the bicameral mind. It's because this ability to see both sides that Libra has more of a wholistic view of life.

So, going back to the Ladder of the Planets, let's look at Libra and Venus, using a wholistic view rather than isolating them as separate parts. Now that all the newly discovered planets have been assigned rulership, there is only one planet left, Venus, that still rules two signs -- Or does it? If history repeats itself (and it usually does), we could expect that Venus would be reduced to one sign rulership whenever the next new planet is discovered. There seems to be a great deal of evidence that such a discovery is going on at this time, though the story is not unfolding like previous planetary discoveries. Let's examine this evidence.

Ever since the discovery of Neptune (over 150 years ago), many astronomers have suspected there was at least one planet, maybe more, beyond Neptune. They knew this because both Uranus and Neptune were "straying" from their predicted orbits. There was evidently at least one more planetary body out there exerting gravitational force to pull these planets off their intended paths. Although their predictions varied as to exact location, several astronomers agreed that a 10th planet could be found (in 1930) in one of two opposing vicinities of sky, areas that astrologers call tropical Cancer and Capricorn. There are two opposing areas because:

In working out predictions for hypothetical planets, mathematical derivations of the position of an unknown planet from its gravitational effect on another planet will yield two solutions of 180 degrees apart. The reason for this is similar to why high tides occur twice a day, when the Moon is directly above our location (near the Midheaven) or on the opposite side (at the I.C.). We cannot tell by looking at the high tide whether the Moon is above or below us. Similarly, we can observe that something is exerting a tidal pull upon a known planet, but we cannot tell at which end of the "axis-of-pull" it is located.

In fact, Pluto was in Cancer when it was discovered, but its mass and gravitational pull did not completely account for certain discrepancies in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. That is why, even after Pluto's discovery in 1930, astronomers continued to search for a trans-Plutonian planet. According to those who supported the theory of a tenth planet, a body big enough to affect orbital discrepancies could be of varying size, located at a distance of about 50 to 100 a.u. (astronomical units, or multiples of the distance from the Sun to the Earth). Astronomers calculated that this planet would have a period of revolution around the Sun of 300 to 1000 years. You can compare these figures with those of Pluto, which travels at a distance of 39 a.u. and goes around the Sun once every 250 years.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, there were entire observatories, satellites, and spacecraft involved in the search for Transpluto or Planet X. There were numerous independent programs, including ones at Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) and Lowell Observatory, as well as the examination of information sent from Pioneer and Voyager and Hubble spacecraft. The data showed that the area beyond Pluto was very active with comets and asteroid-like material. Beginning in the early 1990s, the fashions in scientific views went into flux, and the search for Planet X lost its appeal. Many astronomers became convinced that there couldn't be another planet (of truly planetary proportions), rather they believed that there was merely a lot of extraneous small debris "out there." They had identified the area just beyond Pluto as a reservoir for comets, asteroids, "rogue planets" -- a sort of catch-all for solar system oddities. The generally accepted view, by the mid-1990s, was that Planet X was dead.

We must always be cautious with embracing the latest scientific theories. Various ideas about a Transplutonian planet have gone in and out of fashion since the 1840s. The latest theory has been that this territory beyond Pluto, called the Kuiper belt, held numerous small, dispersed objects rather than one larger, planet-sized solid body. Scientists envisioned this area to be rather comparable to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Then, in the mid-1990s, studies with ground-based telescopes began to reveal objects in the Kuiper belt that were ten times too big to qualify as comets. In 1995, astronomers using the Hubble space telescope reported detecting about 30 comet-sized objects in the Kuiper belt, but it turned out this figure (like many produced today) was being generated by computer models, not by reality. Astronomers admitted that they were relying on statistical methods, not actual sightings. The Hubble was then used to re-examine the same area of sky, and analysis failed to reveal any comets. The interest in transplutonian objects, as well as the corresponding theories (like the fashion in hemlines) has continued to go up and down.

The point is, it's not over till it's over. We humans are still far from knowing the full contents of our own solar system. An even more recent discovery has certainly made this point clear. In 1996, astronomers discovered an entirely new type of transneptunian object. This object, "1996 TL66," was found to have an orbital period of 784 years and a highly eccentric orbit which takes it as close as 35 a.u. from the Sun, and as far out as 130 a.u. at its most distant point. But what really surprised astronomers was the object's size, 500 kilometers in diameter. This happens to be the same dimensions as the asteroid Ceres. Astronomers now postulate that there must be thousands of objects of a similar size and orbit. So much for the theory about "there can't be any big objects out there." What may interest astrologers is that the position for 1996 TL66, calculated backwards in time, would put it in late Capricorn/early Aquarius, very near to opposition with Pluto in 1930. Thus 1996 TL66 may qualify for exerting a gravitational influence that brought about the discovery of Pluto in Cancer. The object is currently located in early Taurus.

Let's look now at the astrologers' evidence for Transpluto. For many years, astrologers have been hypothesizing about a planet beyond Pluto. Although the physical planet itself was not recognized as sighted, accurate calculations were made from the astronomers' predictions which were converted into an astrological ephemeris. The first ephemeris published for Transpluto's probable positions was produced in 1972, and the calculations indicate that this slow-moving planet was in Cancer around the time of Pluto's discovery (Remember, that's where astronomers predicted and found Pluto.). This ephemeris shows Transpluto as being in Leo since World War II. Having an ephemeris means that astrologers can plot where Transpluto is in someone's chart (and there are several astrological computing programs that do list "TP" in charts). There are only a few astrologers, however, who have sought a way to interpret the influence of Transpluto.

If we look at the mythological evidence for this new planet, we get some valuable interpretive information which will also bring us full circle back to the subject of Libra and its second ruler. In the 1950s, one astronomer was working on Transpluto and he called this hypothetical planet Persephone. Not only was this the first time a modern astronomer gave this planet a real name, but also this is the name that at least two other astronomers currently searching for the planet have said they would use as a name. (In the world of official planet-naming, whoever first sights a planet has the honor of naming it.) These two astronomers have explained that, since Pluto rules the Underworld, the planet beyond Pluto should be his wife-consort Persephone. As of now, there have been no other serious contenders for the name of Transpluto offered by the astronomical community.

Remember the myth of Persephone? Persephone, an innocent young maiden, is the daughter of the Earth Goddess Ceres. One day, Pluto kidnaps Persephone, taking her down into the Underworld to be his Queen. Ceres becomes so angry about this abduction that she stops everything from growing on earth. The earth appears to be dying and experiences its first winter. Eventually there is a compromise, and it is worked out that Persephone will return to her mother in the spring and then go back to Pluto's world in the fall. The yearly cycle of seasons is thus set in motion, so that the earth blooms in the summer because of the Earth mother's joy at her daughter's return, and the earth is dead in the winter when Ceres mourns her daughter's absence.

What does this myth tell us? First of all, it tells us about cycles -- the cyclical nature of life and the seasons, how life is divided into seasons of growing and dying. This is precisely the function of Libra, to mark the border between daylight and darkness, between life and death. There are other hints from the myth that point to an association with Libra (italicized for your convenience):

This myth relates how Persephone lives in two worlds. She walks along borders, and she mediates between two sides: the living, conscious world (the earth, Virgo, ruled by her mother Ceres) and the world of death and the subconscious (represented by Scorpio and ruled by her husband Pluto). Within Persephone's story and her relationship with Pluto are questions about the balance of masculine and feminine forces. Persephone's partnership with Pluto tells of the possibility of the re-definition of relationship as co-independence through the development of more conscious ways of partnering.

We recognize in all of this the characteristic themes of Libra, sign of balance and relationship. Ceres rules Virgo, Pluto rules Scorpio, and the borderline between these two signs is Libra! We also have evidence that the ancient Greeks held a major festival honoring Persephone, called the Eleusinian Mysteries, and that it was celebrated when the Sun was in Libra. Putting all of this together, we suspect that Persephone-Transpluto may be the new planet on the horizon (the symbol for Libra is sun setting on the horizon -- d).

Libra is the sign that divides the year into beginning and end. It rules the seventh house, the descendant and the western horizon. The reality is that the year, or a chart, or even Life itself is essentially whole. It is functional to divide the year or the chart or our lives into sections or seasons, but these are all whole to start with. Where we can get confused is if we assume that divided means separated. We must look beyond the modern Western tendency to define division as the creation of something separate and opposing, an approach that denies the experience of life as unified and whole.

One of the most highly exalted polarities in the world today is the separation into masculine mind and feminine feelings. For example, it is typical for men to fear expressing their feelings and for women to fear expressing their mental capacities. We justify our fears because there are consequences of socialized stress in crossing gender-identified borders. In other words, there is a great deal of social pressure to act in accordance with society's (or biology's) spoken and unspoken rules for male or female behavior. After thousands of years of cultural exaltation of this polarity, particularly with domination by the patriarchy and the male mind, there is now a balancing movement called the "Rebirth of the Feminine" (sometimes called the Return of the Goddess). This widespread movement to balance the relationship of the sexes is a sign that something "Libran" is going on. It makes sense that this would be symbolized astrologically by the coincident discovery of a new planet that rules Libra. As Above, So Below.

To the modern mind, division by two tends to imply opposition. And when we think in terms of opposites, we often use the handy image of male vs. female, astrologically represented by Mars-Venus. Many astrologers use these two planets to analyze relationships, but Venus and Mars function together as the attraction of opposites, and this can produce a rather limited definition of relationship.

The success of a Mars-Venus relationship depends on exaggerated differences and heterosexuality. But once the biochemical buzz wears off (usually after six months to a year of sexual interaction, approximately one Venus cycle), the relationship statute-of-limitations runs out. At this time, the people involved start wondering what else they have in common and whether they can be companions, not just lovers. This is a point at which the "C-word" (commitment) comes up, and there is a choice presented about the possibility of the conscious management of a relationship. Part of that management involves resolving issues of separation. This can be potentially problematic because separation seems contradictory to the attraction principle upon which Mars-Venus is based. We mustn't look to Venus and Mars to solve this problem.

But the relationship of Pluto and Persephone is based on separation -- in the cyclical myth they alternately separate and re-unite; they've worked out a balance between personal needs and the desire to relate. Isn't this what all the current books on love and marriage are talking about?

Pluto and Persephone are in partnership, but they are not polarized in the same way as Mars-Venus. Just think of the signs they rule. Mars and Venus rule Aries and Taurus, the earlier (read: younger, more personal) signs of the Zodiac. Persephone and Pluto rule later, more mature and trans-personal signs. This Persephone-Pluto pairing represents a higher awareness level (and consequently a more challenging one) than the usual Mars-Venus combination that astrologers look for in analyzing love relationships. There are all sorts of reversals and counterbalances present in the partnership of Pluto and Persephone, and this means expanded possibilities for new ways of relating. Their purpose is not to polarize in direct opposition, but to function in the way that "opposites" can balance each other and cooperate for unification -- principles which are the very soul of Libra.

Both Pluto and Persephone challenge the established view of men and women as polarized beings; their partnership elicits a growing awareness of androgyny -- the animus within woman and the anima within man. Pluto rules the "feminine" water sign Scorpio, while Persephone rules the "masculine" air sign Libra. Together they work to unify self- and other-consciousness, a state of being which is more enlightened than the Mars-Venus glorification of "the opposite sex" and "separation polarity."

Another sign that Persephone rules Libra is the fact that she never appears alone in the myths. She is always with someone, her mother Ceres, her partner Pluto. Libra needs company, but it is too accommodating to exert its own ego; Libra seeks the company of strong intense characters, symbolized by Scorpio. And Pluto without his partner is a rather morbid, lonely, and estranged character; he is Death without the complete means to achieve Rebirth on his own. Scorpio is extreme; it needs the balancing, cooperative effect of Libra. And this is not fulfilled by Venus. The Greco-roman myths reveal Venus as primarily interested in her own beauty and gratification. Personal pleasure is her motivation, a sure sign that she rules Taurus, not Libra.

In fact, it was the jealous and possessive nature of Venus (the negative side of Taurus) that set the whole Persephone myth in motion. The myths tell us that the reason that Pluto abducted Persephone was because Venus had caused Cupid to shoot him with an arrow. And why had Venus done this? Ceres, the mother of Persephone, had made derogatory but very accurate criticisms of Venus, slighting her power. So Venus decided to "get back" at Ceres by causing the death-master Pluto to steal her daughter away. And what was it that Ceres had said that had made Venus so spiteful? She had predicted that one day, Venus would be replaced by Persephone!

Venus may represent the sensual pleasures of relating, but Persephone reveals the power of relating, especially on a more conscious level. And Libra is a mental (air) sign, which means it is a sign of consciousness. As supposed ruler of Libra, Venus has been acclaimed as holding the power for what Persephone truly represents. Venus is portrayed as holding a mirror; she is admiring herself. But it is Persephone, the true ruler of Libra, that turns the mirror around and says, "Reflect on yourself. See yourself in others."

The ancient Greeks believed that Hades was a very dreary place and that the souls there were in a state of limbo. Modern versions of the Persephone myth say she was forced by Pluto to go to Hades. In the oldest original versions of the Persephone myth, she is not forced against her will, but actually volunteers to enter Hades because she hears the mournful cries of lost souls and wants to help them. The original version sheds an entirely different light than the modern one. Persephone is not a victim; she is not forced by the creepy rapist Pluto to change her consciousness through a violent act; she makes a conscious decision to brave the unknown world of the subconscious. Choice is of course a major theme of Libra.

Many feminists point to Persephone as some kind of poor victim with a smothering mother complex, all because of a distorted modern version of the myth. Recognizing what the original, true myth of Persephone was about (that she isn't a rape victim, she isn't a "wounded" goddess) might shed some light on the motives underlying the current social fashion of glorifying the disabled and exalting the wounded victim. Not to mention becoming more aware of the difference between conscious choice and biochemical urges.

The "rape" by Pluto is merely an analogy for the trip he takes us on, into the experience of death and separation. Our first response may be to feel lost like the souls in Hades, crying out for redemption. By recognizing deeper meanings for self-reflection and relationship, however, we bring forward the energy of Persephone, who offers us a measure (via the Libran Scales) of our consciousness, and insight (via mirroring/reflection). Through the ongoing deaths and rebirths of our lives, our awareness that we are whole is expanding.

Interested in learning more about Persephone-Transpluto? You can order Valerie's book, Persephone is Transpluto from One Reed Publications.