/ Athena's Web Weekly Column

Athena's Web Weekly Column

  Week of October 26th - November 1st,  2001

Pluto's Venom

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   In the May 18th, 2001 edition of the Web,
The US Flag

we took a look at what was then an aspect which still lay in the future,



ruler of all that lies
beyond the River Styx

of transiting Pluto inconjuncting the US Sun. Due to retrograde motion, this alignment generally happens three times in a chart. The last of these alignments occurred just recently, on October 16, 2001.

   The nature of this aspect is powerful and deep. Pluto is the Lord of the Underworld. In Greek mythology, he was known as Hades. It was said that all of creation was divided between him and his two brothers, Zeus (Jupiter) and Poseidon (Neptune).

   Pluto's epitaph, Lord of the Underworld, is a polite way of saying that he is the Lord of Death. When the Sun enters Scorpio, the sign ruled by Pluto, we celebrate a number of holidays which relate to death and dying, most notably Halloween, but also All Saints or All Soul's Day.

   The Sun, on the other hand, was personified as Phoebus Apollo, and has been long associated with life and the living. Creatures of the night, such as vampires and werewolves, were said not to be able to face the light of day, while many of the souls of the underworld long to see the 'light of day.' Life and death, symbolized by day and night, represent two opposite ends of the spectrum. In a hard aspect, such as an inconjunct, these are two powerful forces which are fundamentally different, and yet are held in a state of powerful tension.

   The nature of Pluto is forceful. As captured in the myth concerning the Rape of Persephone, Pluto (Hades) abducts and forces his will on unwitting victims. He takes them, without choice or voice. Their entreaties fall on deaf ears.

The Rape of Persephone

The Rape of Persephone

   Like the venom in the tail of the Scorpion, Pluto also rules over poisons and powerful drugs. As we built into this final alignment between Pluto and the Sun on October 16th, the national focus was examining precisely these issues of force, coercion, and the unmitigated use of power. Death through terrorism, death through the the dispersal of disease through Anthrax.

   The headlines in the New York Times for October 17th, reporting on the news of the previous day, read:


Wednesday, October 17, 2001
Page One


Sign of Escalating Threat
Experts Now Believe Somone Has Access
To a Sophisticated Bioterrorism Weapon

   "The discovery of what government officials say is high-grade anthrax in a letter mailed to Congress is the most worrisome development yet in a series of bioterrorist attacks that has already rattled the nation."

   "The officials and weapons experts said yesterday that it suggested that somewhere, someone has access to the sort of germ weapons capable of inflicting huge casualties."

   This sentiment, however, is not a one-way street. The US is responding in the same, 'We will not negotiate, nor show you any evidence, just hand him over becasue we say so or we're going to beat you up' mentality. Biblicly it might have been considered 'fighting fire with fire.' From the same front page we read:

Pressuring the Enemy

U.S. is Counting on Unrelenting Firepower
To Overcome Resistance in Afghanistan

   "WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 - The intensified air strikes now under way against the Taliban, a blitz of day and night operations, are intended to crack the leadership in its moment of weakness."

   "Not only are United States forces pouring on the firepower, but they are also expanding the list of targets and permitting pilots to fire at will within designated zones. Warplanes have begun to strike Taliban troops defending Kabul, the Afghan capital. And today the Pentagon hinted that the raids would soon be broadened to include Taliban front-line forces that have been battling the Northern Alliance, the anti-Taliban group."

   "Yesterday was a particularly heavy day," said Lieut. Gen. Gregory S. Newbold, the director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "Today is another intense day."

   "The waves of airstrikes- more than 100 warplanes were dispatched Monday against targets in Afghanistan, including two AC-130 gunships- far exceed the expectations of many analysts who took to heart Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's observation that Afghanistan is not a "target rich" environment."

   "But the Americans have every reason to keep the pressure on. Ever since the Vietnam War, United States military doctrine has called for unrelenting operations in the hope of breaking the enemy's resistance. And there are increasing signs that the Taliban is beginning to show the strain."
   As transiting Pluto inconjuncts the US Sun, each side was pulling out the stops to go for the jugular. Hit them as hard as you can wherever you can that will hurt them the most. Actions here are not being guided by reason so much as they are being propelled by the passions of animosity, hatred, and a desire to get even. What we often lose sight of is that both sides feel the same way, but for different reasons. Eventually these misgivings will clear away the cobwebs of confustion as we make our way towards a brave new world, but the intoxicating drug of revenge has powerful side effects which will still need to be dealt with in the future.


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