How To Burn

by | Sep 24, 2015 | Pluto the Transformer | 9 comments

Fire flames background abstract nature of heat.

This bubbled up during the last solar eclipse, which occurred in my twelfth house where my natal Pluto resides. It came out as a letter to my former selves. When I was 17,  I lost everything and being stripped to my foundation radically shaped me. Pluto is the blowtorch-wielding hand of fate. I believe the recent wildfires of Northern California, those who lost everything, brought this up for me.  I am sharing this with you because I think it is honest and ultimately encouraging. We can always start again. Today, I have everything I ever wanted -far more than I could envision at 17. Twenty-five years later, I am still discovering Pluto’s “hidden treasures” in my soul -spiritual gifts gained from that period. 

You wake up one morning to discover the world is not the same as it was yesterday. The rules have changed. Life was once solid, predictable, wooden-like, sometimes boring even, but today you are swimming in an unfamiliar sea. Uncertainty rules the day now. You reach out to grip onto something, someone, a hand to hold but only panic grips your heart back.

It’s a new day, a morning unlike any other you’ve ever known. For now (and for a very long time to come), every morning you will awaken to feel too vulnerable, naked and afraid. You are uncertain you have what it takes to make it in this new world, a world where everything you once knew so well, everything you relied upon, has turned to dust.

The rug has been pulled out from under you. How will you make it? How will you survive? Your dream life has become preferable to waking. At least in dreamtime you temporarily forget your terror, only to awaken each morning with the cold hard fact of life staring at you: You are not in control. You will have to learn to submit to life, because Life always gets its way.

What do you trust when the landscape has become as foreign as a new country?
Who do you turn to when your guides have fallen, your Gods forsaken you?
Who do you become when you look into the mirror and see a stranger looking back?
What is solid and real in a world where nothing is solid and real anymore?

At first you resist everything. You become Medusa, turning everything and everyone you see into stone. Terror seizes you from within, and you turn it outward, your stony gaze rendering life into death, your rage and pain a destructive force that you had no idea was within you. You have become a pariah, you want to hide. People are afraid of you. Those you once loved, and those who still try and love you, no longer recognise you. You no longer recognise you.

Each morning you awaken, wondering if this will be the day you die or you live. Wondering who decides, wondering how…how you will live in this new reality. You wake up again, and again, each morning the now familiar terror, each morning the pain rising like bile in your throat, the nausea, the fierce desire to hang onto any scrap of control you can.

You burn. You don’t know what it means, but you’re on fire from the inside. Rage. Anger. A fierce sense of injustice. A need to blame someone. Who? Your skin is inflamed. More anger. More rage. Nothing makes sense. You are the wildfire, burning in front of you.

Yet the Sun won’t stop rising. The bed is solid and here. The familiar urge to pee is predictable at least. You awaken, because you can, because you’re not dead yet, and because one day you decide that you have nothing better to do than to see how this story unfolds.

You are told this thing keeping you here is called courage. Though it feels like anything but. You are still very, very afraid. But the decision to discover what happens next holds, and the mantra “this nightmare I’m experiencing must mean something I can’t see right now but will understand later” begins -a ballast, an anchor to what you don’t know. You no longer believe in anything. You are still waist-high in muddy fear and confusion, but yesterday it was up to your neck and filling your lungs so you couldn’t breathe. An improvement.

It takes a very long time to come to terms with this loss, far longer than you believe you’ll be able to tolerate. You no longer have friends. Some were too fearful that what was happening to you could happen to them. Others moved on with their own lives. You no longer have a family- at least not the one you used to recognise. You no longer have a home. That place doesn’t exist for you anymore. You no longer have your vibrant health, nor the energy to do what people say must be done. You’ve lost everything. You spend a lot of time crying, lost and in denial. The day you begin to accept your new reality is as sad and terrifying as it is liberating. You realise you still have a heart, at least, beating wildly for air, and maybe that is enough.

In rare moments of oxygen you start asking questions. They are big. Why is this happening? is the biggest and it goads you to read books, seek out teachers who may know the answer. This question eats at you for years, gnaws at you like a cancer, until you discover there is no answer, you abandon it and move onto others. You blame your self for a long time -had you been stronger, smarter or wiser your life wouldn’t have burst into flames. It is not your fault. You make discoveries along the way, as if this question were designed to lead you to other places: Astrology, spirituality, mysticism, healing. During which time you are introduced to the radical idea that you chose to experience this adversity (you reason, if this really is true, it was a moment of dire misjudgement on your part). And your search for answers turns into a life. Your search for answers to this horrible black hole in your soul distracts and brings you comfort, until it becomes your salvation, and your soul itself. The search becomes the truth.

You start living your life from the inside out. Eventually, questing becomes more important than understanding “why?”, and you learn that you can survive without stability, money, love from others, your body’s reliability or even a guarantee about who you will see when you look in the mirror. There are no guarantees. You wonder how you will survive this brand new world. Over time you discover you have internal resources you didn’t know you had: Persistence, a stubborn ability to tolerate discomfort, ambiguity, confusion and pain. The sheer act of defiance to go on when nothing of your former life is left. This is more valuable than certainty. When people say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” you want to scream at them: Step into my shoes! One day this phrase will no longer sound cliche. You are becoming.

Of course you don’t realise it yet. You are too blinded by the fear to see, too in the middle of your own rebuilding to be able to step outside of it. So, dear child, just for this one moment I want you to step back and glimpse the view I see from above. You. Glorious you. A phoenix burning… then rising from the ashes over and over until it becomes second nature. Daughter of the High Priestess, Goddess of Questions and Answers, you will someday make this seeking into your vocation, your calling. You, a woman more dedicated to the art of becoming than anyone we can see from here, will hold the light up for others during their time of darkness. You will walk with them into the dark, take their hand and say, I’ve been here, too. 

I want you to know this – from your Future Self. I remember every tear you wept, every lesson you paid for in blood. Nothing was lost. Yes, the world will fall again. Nothing lasts forever. Friends leave. Loss happens. Change comes like waves of anxiety. You learned to stand in the center of who you are, now knowing that’s the only solid ground you have. New lessons will come because Life will always get its way in the end…learn to bend like the willow. Control is futile. So is insisting on THE answer, or needing to understand why. Life is not black or white, dear one, and when you insist that it is you will always suffer. The truth lives in shades of grey.

Yes, you will feel destroyed again. But you cannot be destroyed. You are eternal. When you forget this, go outside and stand in your garden. Feel the air on your skin. Let your puppy lick your face. Allow life to show you its generosity… in giving so much more than it takes away. Trust the beating of your wild heart as you do the rising Sun. Live from inside. Here.



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  1. Mila Demarais

    Beautiful text 🙂 My whole family as I knew it burned up quite recently when Pluto left my fourth house. But it had been boiling and burning underneath the surface for many many years. (As long as Pluto stays in one house) Right now I feel almost relived. I feel like a new person. That is both exciting and scary.

  2. anonynmous

    I have pluto transit natal Ascendant. This article struck a chord. . . . thank you 🙂

  3. Jo

    Jessica thank you. You are speaking to so many souls with the words and experience you share. I relate to so much of what you say and with tears in my eyes and deep knowing and gratitude all I can say is thank you.

  4. Jessica

    Thank you, Jo. <3

  5. Joe

    Excellent ! It is as you wrote this for me. I don’t know if others go through all the things you have written, but it is me. Every word, every circumstance, every feeling described I feel but could never put into words as you have. When others ask questions and you try to explain, it is as if they have no idea what I am talking about. But maybe it is I could never find the words. You found them. I sincerely hope not many have to go through this torment and have a more stable life to enjoy while here on this earth. This article I will print to hand to people in my life that just don’t understand, and know after reading this, they will now understand me. Thank you.

  6. Tiffany

    Thank you very much for this.

  7. Jessica

    Good to hear from you, Tiffany. You are welcome 🙂 Jessica

  8. Tine

    Thank you SO much for this! ? it happened to me too.

  9. Arete

    All those things I could not explain, you did for me. Thank you. Pluto square my 12th house moon in 16* Aries. ????

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