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Sime~Gen Inc. Presents

Recommended Books

April 2002

"Pluto In Power"


Jacqueline Lichtenberg

 To send books for review in this column email Jacqueline Lichtenberg, jl@simegen.com for snailing instructions or send an attached RTF file.  
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To send books for review in this column to: Jacqueline Lichtenberg, email jl@simegen.com for instructions.

Down Came a Blackbird by Barbara Karmazin, Atlantic Bridge Publishing (e-book) 2001. http://www.atlanticbridge.net 

Servant of the Shard (Paths of Darkness) by R. A. Salvatore  Forgotten Realms hc, Oct. 2000.

Astrologically Pluto rules the Natural 8th House, the sign of Scorpio, which is associated with a long list of concepts which are apparently unrelated.

In Astrology as in Tarot, the long lists of "meanings" or "correspondences" for a card, a House, a Sign, a Planet, an element, a plant, animal, metal or gem, or other symbol all appear to be fundamentally unrelated at first glance.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Pluto is a good example to study to penetrate this mystery because it is about mysteries, about the subterranean, the unseen foundations of things.

Consider how a house (a mystical concept) rests on its foundation. The foundation is partially underground, and partially hidden by plaster, brick, wood or shrubbery. You don't notice it, but if it fails the roof will sag, crack and fall. If it moves (as in an earthquake) the walls can crack, the building become unsafe.

A foundation is what holds a structure up -- and Pluto represents (or rules over) the concepts that hold a foundation together. Those concepts form the 8th House of the natal chart.

The Value System of your peers, partners, and the prevailing society is represented by the 8th House.

Notice the reversal of the usual terminology there. Most astrology books say the 8th House represents or symbolizes the Value System of others. But that syntax is misleading.

It is the Value System that is a manifestation of the 8th House - not the other way around. The 8th House is just pure Power -- it is your Soul that transforms it into a manifestation in Reality. It is you, your Will, your Values, your Mentality (1st, 2nd, 3rd Houses) who takes that power generated by the Others you have chosen to associate with (karmically or otherwise), and transforms their Power into the various forms of manifestation of the 8th and Pluto.

In other words, the 8th House and Pluto are all about Relationships, and the confrontation and blending of Your Own Values (2nd House) and the Values of Others (8th).

You may choose to take the impact of Pluto on the Value System axis of your life where it affects your point of view on the world, your measure of your self-worth, your idea of just how much angst a Victory is worth. Or you may take the impact as a sexual experience of the Pluto (survival) kind. Or it can become a life-or-death impact. 8th House also represents Death.

When you are in the power of Pluto, you often are confronted by a knock-down-drag-out with critical illness, and though often you win by consulting others and taking the advice of physicians , Pluto changes your lifestyle (Death Card).

A writer looks at Pluto's array of Choices of Life-Experiences and rubs her hands gleefully. Characters in the grip of Pluto's Power are pure plot-heaven for a writer. Sex, violence, and morals make a sure-fire formula -- and sometimes even undying love at first sight (taking the PLUNGE is a Pluto manifestation.)

This month we have two books that show how Pluto works in our lives. These two books contain moral challenges, life-or-death trials, wisdom about when to take advice ("Wisdom" or Minerva are manifestations of Pluto), and either the presence of sexuality or its flipside, violence. Study Pluto and the 8th, then read these two books.

The first is one I mentioned last month, Down Came a Blackbird by Barbara Karmazin, but I hadn't finished reading it then.

I devoured every page, and though this book has many of the flaws usually found in the under-edited e-book, it has strengths not usually seen in paper books these days.

It is an sf adventure novel in which secrets (of non-human heritage and power) figure in the small group of independent individuals being overshadowed and nearly smashed by the power of a huge Mining Conglomerate out for profit at any price. And it's all about mining (another of Pluto's manifestations, mining and metals underground).

These folks are mining the asteroids, which are the remnant of a planet that broke up (whose foundation was shattered) possibly as the result of a war.

Another Pluto manifestation, war, combines Violence, Secrets, Power, Possession, in various blends.

The main motivations in this novel are romantic and sexual, with more Pluto than Venus sex involved until the very end. Motives are hidden, and then all of it erupts in a combat stealth attack.

If you're studying Pluto and the 8th House, this is definitely a book to read -- the symbolism is very strong. On the other hand, if you're only looking for a really good read in download form - try Down Came a Blackbird.

R. A. Salvatore has been churning out Forgotten Realm and other sf/f steadily over the years and has perfected the art of the action-tale. Servant of the Shard is part of a long episodic story-arc about several characters, most notably the two point of view characters of this novel, Artemis Entreri the Assassin and Jarlaxle the Dark Elf.

Still, wedged between the sword fighting and unarmed combat scenes and the Playstation Sequences there are bits and pieces of some deep considerations.

In Servant of the Shard, Salvatore tackles the problem of magickal artifacts made sentient and malevolent -- i.e. the "Doomsday Device" - the ultimate weapon that can't be turned off and eventually turns on its wielder, then goes on to seek another. The kind of legendary Magickal Device that can't be destroyed - or at least not by any ordinary means.

The "Shard" of the title is one such item. It lures wielders to it with telepathic promises of Power, Glory, satisfying Violence, and Sexual Mastery.

Jarlaxle is a "Dark Elf" from deep underground, a leader of a mercenary band. He has acquired the Crystal Shard and it has tricked him with his own lust for power into putting his band at unconscionable risk. And it coerced him into building a Crystal Tower to be its power source by making him feel it was his own idea. (values, power, subterfuge, -- manipulation -- all 8th House, Scorpio, Pluto symbolism). Then Jarlaxle fights to the surface and decides to destroy the Crystal Tower.

After a huge mental/emotional battle with the Shard's mentality, wherein he believes he has won, we have the following on page 181 of the hc edition:

Jarlaxle smiled even wider. Yes, he would keep the tower, and he decided in the morning he would construct a second one beside the first. The twin towers of Dallabad. Jarlaxle's twin towers.

At least two.

For now the mercenary leader did not fear those towers, nor the source that had inspired him to erect the first one. No, he had won the day and could use the might Crystal Shard to bring him to new heights of power.

And Jarlaxle knew it would never threaten him again.

Meanwhile, Jarlaxle's human cohort, Entreri the Assassin has acquired another magic sword and is subduing it thusly:

"You are mine!" the assassin growled through gritted teeth. "You are a possession, a thing, a piece of beaten metal!" He lifted the gleaming red blade before him and commanded it to bring forth its black light.

That lustful, savage, "MINE" emotion is very, very much a Pluto/Scorpio/ 8thHouse manifestation.

The nature of the 2nd House/ 8th House opposition is often expressed as the notion that what you possess, possesses you. In order to possess (which is a very deep, primal sexual relationship component) you must open yourself to being possessed.

Read this book, examine how you respond to that "mine" lust, the lust to possess. Then go back over this column and see if you can highlight every Pluto-associated keyword in it (there are a lot, and I haven't counted them).


To send books for review in this column to: Jacqueline Lichtenberg, email jl@simegen.com  for instructions.



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Reviewed by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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