Pluto, Pain and Initiation

An initiation (a rite of passage into adulthood) frequently involves pain, but it also involves a new birth. Let’s take a literal example: Sometimes transiting Pluto to an Angle correlates with a time that a woman gives birth to a baby.

There is something that happens to the psyche of a woman when she gives birth: it’s as if after experiencing the extreme pain and the sacred process of birth, she becomes a lot stronger, more confident, almost a new being.

This makes me feel that giving of birth is a kind of initiation for a woman* (I believe there are more ways in which a woman can go through similar process in order to gain strength without actually giving birth.)

So some pain can serve as initiation – the kind that will let you experience the depth of your soul through sheer terror, grief, or rage: in short, extreme, Plutonian pain. But pain without purpose becomes mere cruelty and abuse. To serve as an experience of initiation, there needs to be a sense of meaning and higher purpose to the pain.

This suggests that we will have a better chance of going through the pain of psychological healing if we understand the ultimate purpose behind the work – to regain wholeness of the soul. Same goes for overcoming addictions – when the work becomes about healing the primal wounds and lack of love that led to the destructive behaviour, the work begins to gain meaning despite the pain. Anyone that went through the underworld of their soul through such works comes up stronger and more individuated than before.

So what kind of measurements suggest the need for initiation? Natally, any place Pluto is in may be your entrance into the Depth. I have Pluto in 7th house, and this means I tend to attract partners that have gone through the Plutonian process described above, and/or relationships basically tend to put me in the underworld (help!) I’ve seen it happen both ways – in general relationships encourage me to go deep into my healing process, and I’ve come a long way in healing my soul through them.

Natal Pluto in 8th house often suggests that you’ll gain a lot of benefit from psychotherapy and other similar processes. Pluto in 9th may suggest that the issues around your core religious beliefs and worldviews may cause you to slip into the Underworld, when those beliefs are shaken.

Pluto in 12th may mean the path to the underworld is hidden from you – which is to say you may have a hard time staring into the depth of your soul, making you feel like a stranger to yourself – until you completely surrender your need to control (which seems to be a key for many 12th house placements.)

Pluto transit to the natal hotspots (Angles and planets) may trigger an initiatory experience, especially if the 8th house is also involved. It doesn’t have to always mean pain – it can be a profoundly inspiring experience – but if it happens to come with pain, try to find the meaning behind it.

About Hiroki Niizato

Hiroki Niizato is a professional consulting astrologer in Florida, serving clients in US and abroad. He has been practicing astrology professionally since 2001. Hiroki is a highest honor graduate of the demanding Master’s Degree Certification Course in Astrology by Noel Tyl.

You can contact Hiroki via email at: or Phone: 727-470-4056 to ask a question or schedule a consultation.


  1. António Rosa says:

    Hi Hiroki

    I have Pluto transit my 8th house.

    What an inspiring experience!

    Nice text.

    Tudo de bom.


  2. Hiroki Niizato says:

    Hi Antonio,

    That is good to hear!


  3. Hello Hiroki
    Fascinating and indepth blog.
    With Ascendant at 25 deg Leo, I have Pluto in Virgo in the 1st house two degrees from my second house at 14 deg Virgo. Using your reasoning above would my issues be with identity. It’s funny because I have always referred to myself as a displaced person over all these years.
    A brief thought on this from you would be most welcome.
    Many thanks

  4. Or is it issues with how people see me?

    I would be so grateful if you are able to steer me with this because I think my Pluto is strong, being sextile my sun, trine my MC, sextile my IC/Neptune, square my Mars, conjunct N. Uranus. So my issues of whatever will greatly impact on a number of areas as well? Now that I list it like this it looks scarey / I look scarey?
    Many thanks

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for commenting. From what you wrote your Pluto can be considered as “rushing into” the 2nd house, which is a house of self worth concerns. I would pay attention to Pluto’s square to Mars (if Mars rules the 9th house and the education was interrupted, it limits the perspective of growth that 2nd house Pluto requires.)

      The combination of Pluto square Mars and Pluto conjunct Uranus could certainly be intense, and the energy needs to find a suitable outlet. Internal transformation may involve cathartic experiences regarding self worth and identity, much as this article suggests.

  5. Wow thanks Hiroki

    My experiences all make sense now. I have been struggling with major experiences for most of my life (since aged 2) – feelings of abandonment/rejection; displacement/not fitting in, made to feel like I am good enough, lack of emotional support from parents, cot death, disconnectedness/feeling alone. A few years after the cot death experience I started to drink to deal with the pain. It was gradual but became a consistent part of my life for a lot of years, within which came the abusive marriage/domestic violence phase. After depending on alcohol for about 20 years (functioned well in public 10th House Jupiter v. falling apart at home/confused 4th House Neptune) and many holistic therapies, etc I most recently discovered a deep sense of resentment towards my parents (I thought I had dealt with my issues with them) whose actions I perceive as causing me to make choices I would not otherwise have made (free will v. fate argument). I think the whole alcohol dependency was triggered by the cot death experience but there were already deeper resentments that played into it. My father was/is an alcoholic and I was strongly against becoming addicted to anything so of course my addiction crept up on me/took me by surprise and then down the hole of despair.

    Have done a lot of holistics therapies and many readings over the years to help me understand/manage my issues, no one has ever mentioned I must pay attention to my Pluto square Mars in the manner you have (OK, so Mars does rule my 9th house in Aries where my moon is, 17 degs Aries but -my natal Mars in actually in 10th House, Pluto 12 deg Virgo square Mars 11 deg Gemini) . Education was interrupted but I did complete my Psychology degree with Honours a few years ago. I am definitely an advocate of the bucket list and do all the things you desire to do so you don’t regret it. I have a Water Grand Trine and am very creative so that I think is my outlet when I do get going.

    I think a personal reading from you would be very useful for me. I will request one for my birthday 3 July 1964, 9am Doncaster United Kingdom (I currently live in London).

    Thank you for your insightful comment. Just those few words have put my life experiences into context.

    Sorry for the long response. I wanted to show you what my ‘intense’ and ‘cathartic experiences re self worth/identity’ have looked like. I know I am out of the woods now and can see the light and your article above has given me a strength to stay on course now.

    Very best wishes

  6. This is such a clarifying and enlightening right up on the Pluto theme, thank you Hiroki, I always appreciate your posts – As above your thoughts should you have time to spare on my placement, I’d be VERY grateful to hear: I’m 12th house Pluto – my experience seems to support the descriptions, yet I really struggle on understanding ‘letting go of control’ I always read of. Control of what and how to let go of what you can’t conceive or grasp? And the theme seems encouraged by my Saturn in sag on my ascendant/ Virgo sun in 10th (conjunct mercury late leo)/ gemini moon in 7th? If of use I have Capricorn Mars and Neptune in 2nd, pluto is transiting this house, currently conjunct my mars. Again thank you for all of the write ups as they help me understand a lot. You may notice I am undergoing a Saturn return soon so any interest in helping me to interpret my planet combinations, of which I can’t seem to find much online about would be extremely appreciated! Struggling on how best to progress these days : /

    • Hi C, thank you for your comment.

      12th house Pluto is a complex symbol, and often carries a sense of “not being understood” by others. I wouldn’t dare to guess any further without more information – you may find a consultation very helpful, especially if you’re about to experience Saturn return, one of the most pivotal events in anyone’s life.

      • Hi Hiroki, thank you for your fast reply! I am sure a consultation will be useful, I hope to be in the position to organise one sooner rather than later! Thank you again

  7. Oh and both of my parents have Scorpio stelliums in my 12th (sun moon mars & neptune… definitely intense emotional clashes and divorce for my childhood) ruled by Pluto in Virgo at 5 degrees – same degree as my sun. I had started wondering if there was additional influence due to this…

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