Moon Pluto mothers – witchy and unnerving

Both the Moon and Pluto crave closeness but of a different order. The Moon wants nurtured like a baby with unconditional love. Pluto demands ownership, dominates and controls. The Plutonic mother disregards the needs and wishes of the possessed child and assumes the right to be invasive even into adult life.

   One analogy which fits the Moon Pluto mother is the psychological quirk of not experiencing the child as a separate being but as being similar to their own arm – a lifelong extension of themselves. There is no mine and thine, it’s all me and me. In extremis a Moon Pluto mother is felt as death-dealing because she tries to suppress all separation and attempts to deny the child’s developing identity.

  Individuals with a Moon Pluto mother learn to protect themselves by shutting their emotions away and becoming defensive in other relationships. They fear being smothered, suffocated and controlled if they open up.

  It creates in adult life an intense and dramatic emotional life with a tendency toward dark moods and fears. It can bring psychic experiences as well since there is a pull towards what lies beyond reality or what comes from deep in the unconscious.

  As with all difficulties it can be overcome with psychotherapy – and it does seem to be more obviously burdensome for women than for men.

 Jennifer Aniston, 11 February 1969 10.22pm Los Angeles,  has a Moon square Pluto and had a famously difficult relationship from her late mother from whom she was estranged for 15 years after her mother wrote a tell-all book in 1999 called Mother to Daughter to Friends: A Memoir. Which is a classic taking-ownership of my daughter and invading her privacy.

  In an interview Aniston said: “She was very critical of me. She was also very unforgiving. She would hold grudges that I just found so petty.”

 Karen Carpenter, the tragic singer, who died young from anorexia, 2 March 1950 11.45am New Haven, CT had a Moon Pluto conjunction in Leo and a difficult relationship with her parents who invested their hopes in her elder brother’s success but were unprepared for her ambitions and achievements.

  John Lennon, 9 October 1940, 6.30pm Liverpool, England, had a Moon opposition Pluto and fell into that odd category (which happens with Sun Pluto fathers as well) of not having a strong connection with his mother. He was effectively abandoned by her and largely brought up by his aunt Mimi – which left him with a constant sense of not quite belonging anywhere, or to anyone. He ended up hitched to Yoko Ono, seven years his senior, who was herself a controlling type with Pluto in her 10th.

  So Pluto isn’t just about extreme possessiveness; it can also accompany abandonment and indifference to the child’s needs.

  Anne Heche, the troubled actress who killed herself recently in a car crash recently, with a religious mother from hell had a Moon Pluto conjunct in her 12th. See posts 6 and 14th August 2022.

 Skipping down famous examples what stood out were three children of high profile mothers/parents – Lisa Marie-Presley, Athina Roussel (daughter of Christina Onassis) and Suri Cruise. All of whom have hard Moon Pluto aspects – in part a reflection of an over-exposed or over-protected childhood.

  Suri Cruise has a Moon conjunct Pluto trine Sun – and part of that may stem from a sense of being a pawn in a tense stand off between parents.

Princess Margaret with a 5th house Moon Pluto conjunction lived out the drama of her Moon Pluto to the full but she led a self-destructive life which took its toll on her health. And neither she nor her rigidly dutiful elder sister the Queen ever escaped from the clutches of the Queen Mother. The Queen evidently phoned her everyday in life and noticeably relaxed after her mother died.

  These are extreme examples and there will be those who manage to resolve the problems to live a reasonably balanced emotional life.

43 thoughts on “Moon Pluto mothers – witchy and unnerving

  1. I was just talking about such a mother with a friend (very selfish towards me, decided when I was born that I would take care of her subsequent children, as I am the oldest, as well of her when she gets old). Exactly as you state, she assumes that I am an extension of herself, up to wanting to include me in my parents’ grave (I loudly said NO as soon as I found out). As she is reaching the stage when she will ultimately need care, I was able to tell her that, no, I will not take care of her (she never asks my brothers), tho of course I will make sure she is cared for.
    It took me decades to reach a certain equanimity towards her – yet I still see how easily a sense of obligation can take over just anytime I am with her, compared to my siblings (who know to leave asap and do their own thing). As I contemplate whether or not to move back in her declining years for a short of period of time, my friend warned me about the risk of sacrificing my life, as she has another friend who did that and became bitter. My Sun is also conjunct those planets (with her Neptune) along with more planets, all in a big stellium in my 7th.

    To defend myself, I’ve had to ‘use’ my Pluto, instead of letting it use me, as well as, I think, my Saturn, but it’s never agreeable. On the upside, with the 12th in Capricorn and Saturn in Capricorn, I have close friendships with generally older women who have Plutonic influences (eg moon in Pluto, Scorpio Ascendant), so I suppose that, in a way, they are both friend and surrogate mothers.

    I’ve also realized with age, that contrary to what I thought were my emotional and social preferences, both introversion and an Uranus conjunct N.Node influence has made me learn to live on my own, and *want* it – because, being of an agreeable nature, going solo is almost the only way I can do what I want instead of bending to another’s will (that stellium in the 7th), nor would I want to force my will on theirs even if I could. Introversion on top of that means that, even after having a great time with friends, I need a lot of time on my own to revitalize.

  2. Marjorie, I want to express my appreciation for your recent series on Moon/malefic combinations and their effects on mothers and children. By way of brief explanation, I was born with a T-square with Moon/ascendant on one side, Mars/Pluto/descendant on the other, and a focal Saturn. So each post has been personally relevant to me! Thanks as always for the generous way you share your astrological knowledge.

    • I second this!

      As someone who was born with a moon/malefic combo, I say to everyone with the same, do something loving for yourself everyday, no matter how small. Kind words, affirmations, good food, music you love, etc.

  3. Oh my. My youngest boy has the Moon square Pluto and my eldest has the Moon conjunct Saturn in Cancer… Eeek.
    Aspects to ponder. Any positives? Lolol

    • Didn’t want to leave you without a reply, so will do my best. Don’t worry, not everyone with these aspects has a terrible mother! Sometimes extreme examples are used for purely for illustration in astrology so it’s best not to take it personally.

      I rather like Moon/Saturn, anyone who’s been a parent knows that you need a mix of both of these. Good boundaries make a child feel secure just as much as the fluffy, emotional moon stuff but in a different way.

      I heard someone likening parenting their daughters to acting as the sides of the swimming pool – you let them go swim out into the water when they’re ready, but they know that you, like the sides of the pool, are still there to hold on to if they need it. A constant support.

      That struck me as a very Moon/Saturn process; and for some people it will sadly be broken, but for many it will be wonderful.

      I think we can get very stuck in bénéfic/malefic, good/bad planets, but the world isn’t that black and white. My brother, who I was very close to, died when we were children. It really affected my early schooling afterwards and I had a terrible time all the way through. I have “lucky” Jupiter in the 3rd house, no hard aspects, only trines and sextiles. Looking at something in isolation will often throw you way off.

      I hope that helps

    • The standard orb for squares, oppositions and conjunctions is 8 degrees though that can be widened occasionally if they are tied into a larger configuration by other planets. But 8 degrees is a good rule of thumb.

      • Your write up on this aspect has finally made me understand a lot. Among other things it explains why even with my Moon sextile Venus there is an emotional and mental distance between us.

  4. Appreciate this post and all the comments, thanks.

    The Moon can be about what we need to feel emotionally secure and satisfied, and how this was modeled and reinforced, positively or negatively, in our early childhood/family life. A Pluto-Moon contact can be about a passion, desire, craving or obsession that fulfills that need.

    Astrology fulfills that need for me and my Aquarius Moon opposing Leo Venus-Pluto (1-7). I heartily agree that Pluto can clue personal interest, intrigue or involvement with psychology and individual motivation. That’s certainly true in my case. I had a strong personal, intellectual interest in psychology when I discovered astrology and psychological astrology, which was-is astronomically satisfying to me.

    An Aquarius Moon growing up with Aquarius Sun parents, I had a stable, loving, and supportive childhood and enjoyed adulthood with them. Their Aquarius-style parenting generally suited me – interested, friendly, and tolerant. And their individuality and special interests (aka independent-minded passions) impressed me; my mother was very creative and artistic, my father very community-oriented. My parents knew nothing about astrology, an unconventional and uncomfortable subject for many in the mainstream, but they were able to encourage my interest when it became my passion.

    • I knew someone who was raised by her grandmother as her mother was very young when she was born and she felt so much closer to her grandmother as a result, whereas the relationship she had with her mother was strained. She had Moon/Pluto in Virgo.

      • @Virgoflake, I have Pluto in Libra square Moon in Capricorn. My mother died when I was 4, and my father moved us to his parents. While we did eventually did live in the same semi-detached house with his new family, I was at my grandparents’ “side” up until I went off to study. And I also was very close to my grandmother emotionally, not very surprising, since we shared an October birthday and her Sun/Moon/Jupiter was conjunct my Sun, so she was very attuned to people in general and to me in particular. Although I wasn’t always an easy child, she instinctively knew how traumatized I was by my mother’s death.

    • Infact granny saved me else my mother till now has terribly destructive controlling ..she searches cynically n reaches to destroy all other parts of life which sustain like work to love to place of living

      But the way out is ignore them n see to it that they r unable to get any info where they can cause their destructive tentacles n never forget to keep giving them piece of mind frequently to keep them in check that these r not taken lightly n have legal punishments ..last part is impt for peace of life n growth

  5. My mother has a moon-Pluto 5th house conjunction in Leo. She has struggled all of her life with extreme emotional reactions. She was often absent from my life and was never capable of being a mother figure. My mother was the third child born into an abusive marriage situation & I believe the pregnancy was very much unwanted. My grandmother was already completely overwhelmed with her own childhood trauma, an abusive marriage partner, two young children as well as being a Southern European/Algerian immigrant war bride to the United States, post WW2. I have the Saturn/moon conjunction which was very difficult but Pluto, I think is much worse. My grandmother was very attentive, warm and loving towards me until she passed so I think she was a much better grandmother than a young & struggling mother. I got the best of her and for that, I’m grateful.

  6. I learn so much from this website!
    I have Moon conjunct Pluto in my 5th (Virgo) and could not separate from my narcissistic mother until I was in my early 30’s after the birth of my child. But the orb is quite wide —10 degrees. I believe Jennifer Aniston said something to the effect of “her mother didn’t know where she (JA) ended and began.” That’s how it was for my mother, too.

    In public, my mother was adoring and attentive but in private was the opposite —withholding and frosty, giving me the silent treatment for days.

    I found parenting to be incredibly difficult.
    I’ve told my child (now that he’s an adult) that I always felt like I was auditioning for the role of his mother (and that I often didn’t get the part!). He understood and acknowledged there was truth to that.
    He’s a Leo moon in the 7th, Cap sun (loves luxury) and Aq rising.

    He has also recently acknowledged what he appreciated about my parenting and said that he thinks I will make a fantastic grandparent. That has helped me a bit but it was such a rough slog raising him!

  7. I have moon conjunct Pluto conjunct Uranus in the 4th house and the comment about not been seen as separate existence rings so true. Though I should point out I loved her very dearly nothing was never enough.
    On the night she died suddenly, I was abroad and woken by a sensation in a dream of something grabbing me and trying to drag me down.
    I know it was her not wanting to let go. While I miss her it is a relief not to have responsibility for someone else’s life.
    My daughter has a moon Jupiter aspect so I tend to veer towards trying to make everything right which brings its own problems.
    Parenting is so difficult.

  8. I have natal moon conjunction Pluto in the 8th house and while I rebelled in adolescence, my mother and I became the best friends. She died almost a year ago and the loss is profound.

  9. Chiron seems to echo the Moon/Pluto gift/curse in some charts….which figures! Certainly in my own with Sun/Moon/Pluto in the ninth trine Chiron in the second…….still work in progress…..the Astro journey….
    Thank you Marjorie for this excellent article and indeed all your work….your output is amazing !

  10. As a Moon conjunct Pluto mother myself I read this and go “oh dear!, was I really that bad?” In her early years I found my daughter demanding and I felt inadequate to meet her emotional needs. I was confronted with my illusions about motherhood especially when she reached adolescence and I was hurt by her constantly lying to me (her Libra moon in 9th on my 4th house Neptune). With hindsight I guess it was her way to shield herself. I always did my best to let her follow her own course but she says now as an adult that she felt that I didn’t really ‘see her’ which makes me sad. Maybe I was overcompensating. But with Sun conjunct Algol herself she’s no pushover! The dynamic between us is strange in that my stellium is in Leo in 2nd and hers is in Taurus in 5th, so we mirror one another and I guess that is the path that our two souls have chosen to explore for now.

    • SuHu that is exactly how I have felt and thought about my moon opp pluto daughter. She was always racing off ahead of me and i was failing to keep up. I often couldn’t understand what she was wanting/needing from me. Quite young she started lying, but I always gave her a longer leash than i had ever had. In many ways it was more like she controlled me rather than vice versa. At other times she was a total gem and its a great sadness to me that she died at 29 of muIltiple sclerosis when i still felt I hadn’t understood her and had seriously let her down. A parent should keep her child alive is the feeling although logically of course it doesn’t make sense

      • Oh Wendy, deepest condolences. Cannot imagine how hard that must be to lose a child in that way. Was always my greatest fear, that I would lose my ‘miracle baby’ and maybe that is also a reason to hold onto them too tight. I hope you have fine memories of moments you shared.

    • @SuHu, as a Pluto square Moon I thought the same. 😀 Well, my daughter is still growing up, and I’m waiting for her side of the story. But one thing I can say is that motherhood has been the most emotionally fulfilling experience of my life, and made me a much more stable emotionally than before over all. I have a 5th house Moon, though, and Pluto is also currently transiting there, so this might be part of it.

      I’m also glad my daughter hasn’t inherited hard Moon/Pluto aspect her father has, too. In my husband’s case, he has Moon/Jupiter (and Mercury) -Saturn- Pluto T-square in Cardinal signs from 1975, that’s kind of infamous among our generation astrology enthusiasts (many seem to have this). And I always thought that he didn’t have mother issues. However, her mother (also a Capricorn Moon) is a professional worrier, and this has gotten really out of hand in the later years. And, it seems my husband, very forward looking quadruple Aries he is, has only started to elaborate how this has affected in the past couple of years.

      So, I’m finding solace in thought that my daughter has a well aspected Moon/Jupiter in Cancer, I guess she will find a way to be happy anyway.

  11. Yup. I relate to all that. I have a moon with a rare sesquiquadrate aspect to Pluto. As if to put me on my mettle, the heavens waited for the exact aspect for me to be born. Mother was never easy, and indeed had mental health problems of which she was supremely unaware. People were expected to bend to her selfish will, and you know, sometimes it was just easier to let her have her way. She had no concept of give and take. She made life very difficult for all her close family. To my shame I did not weep at her funeral. I just felt free and relieved that never again would I be troubled by her. Life was a lot better for my family once she was gone. And she did leave me some money – Pluto again!
    Astrology definitely helped me. Knowing that I had this aspect meant I had a sense of perspective.
    As ever, Marjorie explains things very well.

    • I don’t believe there’s anything shameful about not weeping at her funeral. It’s certainly sad that the relationship was so untenable that you found no sadness in her death, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. To miss out on a lifetime’s worth of good and supportive relationships, which so many others seem to enjoy, is where the real sadness lies.

      Having a difficult mother is one of the taboo subjects of our society. I mean, everybody thinks they have problems with their mother fussing about details; but when you have one as you describe it leaves you isolated because others can’t begin to empathise with what you go through. You can’t speak ill of her, so you have to keep it to yourself.

  12. Hi Marjorie, what would you consider the orb for a Moon-Pluto conjunction? Mine are 9 degrees apart, but in the same sign and yes, a lot of what you have written above, does ring true. Especially given that my brother and I share the same parents and yet my mother’s relationship with him was completely different (mainly because he didn’t bother listening to her and put her in her place). I, on the other hand, did my best to please and ended up unhappy.

    • OMG, this following sentence is incredibly, scarily accurate.

      “Individuals with a Moon Pluto mother learn to protect themselves by shutting their emotions away and becoming defensive in other relationships.”

      Do not come anywhere near me with an emotional argument. Either justify yourself with rational, impersonal logic or I will resort to physical violence. And I would not want you anywhere near my life.

        • It is interesting to observe just how many people commenting on this article have the Moon-Pluto conjunction (at at least one of the two) in Virgo.
          My conjunction is wholly in Virgo, as is Aim and Virgoflake’s acquaintance above.
          Marjorie, is there a significance to this particular conjunction being in Virgo (and the other eleven signs)?

          • I’m not Marjorie obviously but it’s because you are all part of a same generation. In your 50s/60s? So that Pluto was in Virgo when you were born. I’m older so any moon Pluto conjunction would be in Leo.

          • Wendy K, that is a very good observation that I had not thought of.

            I had not considered that that generation of mothers would have had similar childhoods themselves, being of the same generation.

            Which is the great thing about this site. It allows others to help you develop your own thoughts.

            For some reason, I could not reply to your post, hence this out of place post.

        • My son has a loose square with Pluto in Sag and moon in Libra. I raised him without much help from his father. So I’m doing the work of both parents and admit that I’m not great at it. His moon does have a nice trine with Venus though and sextile to Saturn so hopefully that helps the matter somewhat. I guess we chose this relationship for some reason lol

    • Unmystic Mom – have you understood how your Moon-Pluto projects some of your own desire for an all-consuming relationship onto your mother? That your brother was able to break away demonstrates that you could have too, but some part of you wanted the relationship to play out a certain way.

      • There is probably an element of truth in that. Of course, keep in mind that I was a child who doted on the mother-figure and I do not doubt that my mother loved me deeply too.
        It’s just that she could not shield her emotions from me (or perhaps it was the other way) and my emotional fuse-box got badly burnt out from over-exposure to her bad days, of which she had many.

        • Sorry, think my comment was a touch more forceful than intended – my own Plutonian pushiness. Anyway it can be useful to find that energy within because you identify it, it makes it easier to see (and possibly avoid) in others.

    • Moon Pluto people can make excellent psychotherapists because the rejection develops empathy for people with trauma. They have to have self awareness and avoid substance abuse and other forms of self destruction.

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