I'm catching up so, I'll continue from where I left off, about my friend, with Pluto transiting from the first through the second and into the third house, where it is today.
After the gauntlet of Pluto through the first, my childhood friend really retreated into her own world, transiting Pluto in Scorpio through the 2nd. Trying to avoid dangerous physical activities, and loud, violent, angry people--and any potential physical confrontation. Feeling very limited in her ability to provide for herself in the event of fallout with her family. Unfortunately, for her, that meant less time outside. Locking herself in her room she went inside, into books, sketch books, 'anywhere but here.' Truly 'frog in the well' she felt more connected to dead writers, mystics, saints and artists than anyone known in the flesh.
"The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours." Alan Bennett
She just did not create any openings other than for the things she absolutely valued and cherished or absolutely had to deal with relative to her basic survival needs, very 'lock and key'. She only wanted to hear from the masters, the ones closest to spirit. When Pluto transited Uranus she committed a social suicide, of sorts by going to a different district (over an hour away) for high school, where she was never accepted. This was extremely painful at times for her because she had constructed in her mind ideas about how mature and open she though everyone would be. Not the case as this was an unrealistic expectation based on her personal values and entitlement that others come to her. In the three years she attended (she did her senior year in college) classmates thought she was a) in another class or b) a teachers assistant or c) a college student auditing (Pluto's helmet of invisibility here) For the few friends she had, who she rarely saw, she mostly functioned as a soundboard and therapist. Not feeling 'heard' she became increasingly depressed until therapy became necessary. Her family's support came via a psychiatrist and heavy medication, which created the psycho-somatic experience of anxiety escalating to panic attacks. (I think the lack of social interaction during the 'formative' years of junior high and high-school still echos in her life today. As does the reflex to consume in order to avoid emotional pain.)
Fast forward, Pluto in Sag (retrograde) transiting natal Venus: when she had reached a point with school and writing where she said to herself 'if you keep continue isolating yourself in this way, you will not actually know anybody, or really be known; really love anybody, or be loved.' And then she 'threw the baby out with the bathwater' (studies, writing, art) and tried to 'join the world,' desperately trying to 'feel' and have meaningful experiences that were her own. Also, I think, she was just really lonely and tired of all the work and efforting without any clear purpose or goal other than personal curiosity and to perpetuate a self-image of specialness and unique value. (No context, no market, no value.) This was actually not a period of growth but, of involution, a drifting from her true self, and an immersion into sensory (separating) desires. It took years for her to see it as a reaction to the extremity of her years estranged.
Later, she met the person who she 'loved the most in this world' and who got the closest to her. Still, her outward life gained beautiful possessions, while her inner life lost meaning. Five years later, when Pluto transited (retrograde) her natal Neptune, to the degree, this man died. (For a moment she had a transcendent experience and understanding of his passing, their connection through time. But then, just completely indulged in depression, self-medication e.g. smoking, drinking, and 'retail-therapy')
When Pluto, still in Sag, was crossing the third house cusp and transiting natal Mercury she had a frantic agitation with herself. (Pluto was in crescent phase to itself.) She was in massage school and still ran around everywhere learning new healing modalities, trying to get help, doing lab work, taking tests, in and out of therapy, astrology, talking/reading constantly. She tried everything she could that sounded feasible, just 'bleeding' and 'making a mess everywhere'. She enrolled in a three year spiritual studies program which focused on emotional awareness and personal accountability which, was indispensable.) Also, Pluto was transiting inconjunct to her natal Ceres retrograde in Cancer in the 9th. She became vegan and did many cleanses for the intestines, liver, and kidneys and unlocked emotional dynamics through yoga, meditation, and fasting that no about of chatter however 'deep' could come close to revealing. She confronted deeply rooted emotional dynamics that were completely embedded in her belief systems, Sag ruler Jupiter in the 12th that were extreme idealistic concepts (Libra). Through cleansing she was learning the direct effect on mood and psychological health the gut (aka second brain because of the degree of nerve innervation) but she did not understand the power of these 'holding' dynamics i.e. the level that she was unwinding until much later.
Pluto, still in range of Mercury, transited her Sun (Cap) to the degree, within seconds, and she was referred by an astrologer who knew JWG, to the Pluto book. My friend described reading it for the first time like wearing an oxygen mask. (She says she still feels this way) SN Aquarius, ruler Uranus in the 2nd/ house cusp Scorpio, Pluto in the 1st, conjunct the ASC. Owing to the many layers of unworthiness and insecurity in her chart and active in her awareness, she held off her study of astrology. In true cardinal shuffle form (two steps forward, one step back) she'd make an effort, and drop it. Find another direction, make an effort, and drop it. Until last year 'when things got really bad...' she says and she just made a decision to 'be here' and make the self-determined effort to study the one modality she has total faith and confidence in, regardless of outcome.
Now Pluto is no longer in transiting range to her Sun, or any other planet, in the third house --though it will be transiting Mars in a few years. A very compassionate and loving astrologer told her, "I think on some level you know you need to do this on your own" At the time she said 'it felt poignant, it had a Sisyphean gravitas.' In the wake of these transiting conjunctions (and the information overload, which came to a crescendo) a recognition set in for her to recognize the underlying dynamic of needing to be a 'knower' or to 'have all the means and answers'. She is now looking at the dynamics within herself of the compulsive search which, is a thin artifice of staying busy and informed in order to feel worthy and secure- a distraction from the pain of powerlessness. However, it seems, the more effort she puts in, getting back to her instinctual self, cooperating with her evolutionary growth, and speaking with integrity (Pluto in Cap, 3rd) about things 'that really matter' the more her tasks sound and feel like the right fit.