Discovered in 2003, considered worth including as a planet in 2005, and then named in 2006, this archetype is new to astrology. In the birth chart it describes a place within the psyche that represents, by default, a person’s insecurities and how he or she deals with them being triggered by others.
The ultimate truth is that each person needs others to catalyze him or her into growth, and with Eris this process can be difficult. Consider children competing to come up with the most hurtful insults when they feel vulnerable and don’t know how to do deal with it.
In these pages, I’m covering major hard aspects (conjunction, square, opposition) plus the quincunx. Given the orbits of the two bodies, not all of us have one of these aspects. Included below are the square, the opposition, and the quincunx (only 3 degrees of orb).
Pluto Square Eris
Using an orb of 8 degrees, this aspect is in play in Capricorn-Aries as of this writing in early 2019 (late 2008 for a bit, then off and on until early 2019). It also was in play for some people born with Pluto in Cancer, with Eris in late Pisces, yet this period begins in 1913, lasting a few years, and you will not have many clients coming to you in this age bracket.
As Pluto is about exploring what power is and isn’t, the square between the two bodies brings pressure and friction between a sense of strength and confidence (Pluto) and triggering being triggered by others in ways that can lead to escalations of conflict and competition (Eris). Whatever power seems to be in a given context, the chart holder may find others finding the “weak link” or the “chink in one’s armor” (I didn’t want to overuse “Achilles’ heel” here). If the chart holder feels confident by being in charge of something (related to kids now with Pluto in Capricorn natally), someone else will always be able to point out a flaw in that person’s record, qualifications, or perceived right to be in charge of it. Similarly if the chart holder feels strong because of a developing confidence in taking charge of something in her life, there will always potentially be another person who can point out what isn’t perfect, with the implication that the chart holder shouldn’t feel so good about her efforts and self.
The multilife wounding with this aspect can be that somehow others are triggered into chaos or recklessness when the chart holder makes firm decisions or gives marching orders. Competition from “lower ranks” of people (whoever is being lead if the Pluto-in-Capricorn person is leading) can derail the chart holder’s efforts to get meaningful work done. This also can work the other way, where the chart holder can challenge others’ qualifications to be in charge of things or, in general, be trusted to be competent and deliver on a task or project. In short, the effectiveness of the Capricornian investment of time and energy (empowerment through becoming authoritative, responsible, competent, mature, etc.) can be pressed against by critical others representing the energy of Eris in Aries.
There can be a feeling of the Eris person in the dynamic as a terrorist of sorts, as whatever the structure the Pluto -in-Capricorn person creates, the Eris person has a desire to poke holes in its apparent cogency, security or safety, logic, and stability.
Pluto Opposite Eris
This aspect occurred when Pluto was in Libra (during some of the years 1971/72-1984; specifically mid October 1973 to July 1981). The core mission of natal Pluto in this sign of Venus is to learn to bring harmony, peace, justice, and equality. It is the sign of relating to others, attempting to build bridges, and to make life better for other humans in real, personal ways.
The multilife story of Eris opposing Pluto is that when the chart holder brings efforts to create more justice, others react harshly as they’re triggered by those efforts. The chart holder might have felt locked in conflict, or perhaps a series of stand offs, when trying to work with others to get on the same page. Those others may respond to the chart holder with conflict, challenges to compete, blaming, bullying, abuse, and all kinds of projections regarding their own insecurities.
An example of this is attempting to negotiate with hot-headed, chest-beating others who aren’t willing to give anything up because they perceive compromise to be for losers or those who are weak. Another way this presents itself in various lifetimes is through aggressive situations arising from attempts to create understanding between individuals or groups of people. The chart holder with Pluto in Libra opposing Eris in Aries has been hurt through these escalations of conflict, as well as through the apparent or perceived inability to either not get into conflict in the first place or skillfully come out of conflict. While people with this Pluto sign are learning that all humans need to learn about healthy conflict, the opposition from Eris in Aries has done much harm and (until issues related to conflict, trauma, war, violence, etc. have been worked through) they might be shy, retiring, and unwilling to engage with others for (unconscious Plutonian) fear that any disagreements can spin out of control.
Pluto Quincunx Eris
Using an orb of 3 degrees, those on the planet now who have this aspect are those with born with Pluto in early Virgo (late September 1960 off and on until late July 1965) and Pluto in mid Scorpio (late November 1988 off and on until mid September 1992).
Quincunxes in general can throw a person off course. They can show up as other people or situations, and have an oil-and-water quality. Pluto quincunx a planet means that the chart holder’s empowerment path in many lives can be thrown off course by situations and others who bring or embody the energy. Being thrown off course can be sudden and have traumatic effects, and the chart holder might try to avoid one of the energies (planets) involved to try to avoid repeating being thrown off course.
Eris quincunx Pluto is about competition, chaos, backstabbing, escalation of conflict, and other people’s buttons being pushed throwing the Plutonian empowerment journey off course. This can be information that surprises a person, or a new situation that makes what he or she has been doing no longer viable or possible. As Eris is natally in Aries with these two groups, the other person or situation has brought conflict, bullying, competition, aggression, and perhaps war at various points during the multilife journey.
The effect can be that the person treats part of the psyche, and therefore others who bring that energy, as something to be kept out of awareness. If it’s Pluto kept out, then that person may have a difficult time choosing to be strong and confident and working the empowerment paths described elsewhere in these pages and feel a lot of competition around the self as unhealthy. If Eris is kept out, the chart holder might experience much Plutonian intensity and feel triggered by others carrying any sort of confidence, forthrightness, assertiveness, perceiving all of it to potentially be threatening.
Consciously going back and forth between the two parts of the self is the goal. This healing will be necessarily deep, yet it can be done. The person needs to learn to hold space for both self-confidence and working through deep shadows with loving compassion while allowing that change occurs. This is because Eris dynamics involve people pushing each others’ buttons in ways that–though uncomfortable–catalyze each person into growth. These are the two outermost planets in our solar system as of this writing (2019), and so the effects of doing this healing work can be the deepest kind.