Beliefnet
Oh My Stars

Pluto is going to be in Capricorn until 2023, which can make it difficult to sort out what effect it will have on your life on any given day, week, or even month. It’s powerful, but often subtle and long-term, and on those days you really feel it there’s undoubted some other transit going on amplifying it.

If you have Taurus or Scorpio Rising, Pluto will be passing through your Ninth or your Third House. The Third House rules your thought processes, communication, and how your mind works on a daily basis. The Ninth House has a lot to do with your “higher mind,” your belief system and philosophical outlook. Having the power of a Pluto transit there may sound less dramatic than if those Houses ruled “love” or “your career”… but is it?

What if it turns out everything else in your life is based on those underpinnings? If you have Taurus or Scorpio Rising, between now and 2023, you’re likely to learn the answer to that. And Pluto’s lessons are rarely easy…

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***

Pontius Pilate stared into the eyes of the marble statue of Jupiter through the final wisps of smoke rising from the remains of the sacrificed swan. Being a former Prefect had its advantages, even here in far-flung Hispania where he had retired to enjoy his sunset years, and the priest had let him in after hours. Pilate’s coughing and retching had gotten worse over the last few days, and now there was blood. It was time to pray.

He waved the rest of the smoke away with his hand. The pain in his knuckles, knobby and misshapen and painful with age and arthritis, refused to yield even to the healing baths in Nova Carthago. Still, he couldn’t blame Hygeia for not heeding his prayers and sacrifices. She may have been a Goddess, but was as fickle as any woman… as fickle as Pilate’s wife Claudia Procula, who had run off to Gaul many years before. Just as well, really: her family connections had served their purposes for his career long ago.

Claudia. Her pleas to spare that Judean rabble-rouser many years past had been out of character for her. It was back then that her mind first began to leave her, entranced by the speeches of that fanatic from the desert.

This brought Pilate’s thoughts back to the agitator, whose name he hardly remembered some days. It wasn’t what most knew him by in these parts anyway. What were they calling him now? Chrestus? The Christ? Whatever that meant. The name often eluded Pilate now, but the man’s strangely calm and even stare had never left his memory.

Judea, of course, was always a source of trouble, and the locals were always raving about this man or that man being their divinely appointed savior. But the cult of Chrestus had only grown over the years, bringing with it a stubborn refusal among its followers to make the proper sacrifices and to obey the law. It would have been easier at the time, Pilate often supposed, to have simply let the raggedy, delusional carpenter go in order to avoid stirring the rabble.

But of course, sedition was sedition, and Pilate loved Rome and all things Roman too much to hear of that. And above all, it had been Pilate’s job to uphold the law. It had been enforced fairly and even-handedly.

Pilate stared at the tiled floor and considered terrible thoughts. What if he had somehow invested all his efforts in the wrong Gods? What if all his years of public service, his regular sacrifices, his prayers, his piety had gone unnoticed by the Gods of Rome? Should he have listened to Claudia? What did that band of rabble she joined offer her anyway, other than the thrill of being an enemy of the State?

What if his love had been… misspent? Should he have listened to his wife instead of to Rome?

Momentarily frightened by these thoughts, he looked up to appeal to the statue of Jupiter Optimus Maximus… the Best and Greatest of all Gods. Pilate’s gaze was returned by unblinking and unmoving stone.

***

Leaving the temple, Pilate clutched his robe closer to himself against the uncharacteristically chilly evening air. Again he found himself missing Claudia. This feeling soon passed when he saw the graffiti on the wall of the temple painted there since his arrival there earlier. A fish, symbol of the Christians. They had spread even to Hispania, half a world away from the Province Pilate had once overseen, where it all began, as if it were following him like a bad debt. He rubbed at it with his sleeve, trying to remove it. Too late. It had dried into place.

“Leave it,” he muttered to himself. “You’re not a Prefect any more. Let the proper authorities handle it.”

There was no need to fear, Pilate thought comfortingly to himself. Rome, and her Gods, were Eternal. Always were, always would be. He was certain of it. And he had given Rome and her Gods all his love for as long as he could recall. And it had worked well for him. And such nagging doubts as he felt this evening were just symptoms of being a tired old man, foolishly questioning the eternal verities of Ritual and Destiny. That’s all those doubts were: a tired old man’s foolishness.

Weren’t they?

He walked on towards his villa, the evening silence broken by his ragged coughing, barely noticing the crows that taunted him from the trees by the front gate as he entered. Perhaps they had been disturbed by a dog. Or perhaps it was an omen.

Pilate chose to ignore them.

 

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