Everyone seems to have some sort of obsession in life, from a need for dark chocolate to a need for something much darker.

In astrology each planet is said to exert some influence in our lives that helps us grow and evolve to our potential. As the planet Pluto travels through each house of our horoscope it brings us the opportunity to transform ourselves in a way that heals and improves us.

Take out the psychic garbage.

When Pluto transits our 8th or 12th house, our energies become intensely focused on our inner growth, spiritual development and transforming ourselves profoundly on a deep psychological level. We become an excavator, digging into our past and bringing to the surface, fears, psychological problems and neuroses that have plagued us over the course of our lives. Think of Pluto as a roto-rooter that allows us to drill into the center of our psyche and uncover the psychic garbage contained within us.

We can then bring it up to the surface of our consciousness to confront, change and improve ourselves for the better.

Astrologers believe that Pluto’s influence can connect us to the psychology of who we are as we become aware of how our subconscious mind has repressed unpleasant experiences from our childhoods. Pluto’s energies give us the remarkable capacity to tap into our intuition and psychic abilities to discover knowledge we were never aware of before. Our keen ability to access our unconscious mind helps us uncover compulsions and obsessions that have influenced us. This can be a time when we seek enlightenment through activities that bring self-knowledge such as psychotherapy, meditation, or frequenting a spiritual retreat.

Our secrets can poison us unless we face them.

We may have learned from childhood to hide elements of our personality and behavior that aren’t likely to be approved of by others, as well as society in general.

Since the 8th and 12th house of our horoscope rules our secrets, during this period of our life we may discover hidden aspects of ourselves that we’ve avoided showing others or that are buried in our psyche. Pluto is like a high-powered flashlight that lets us see into places where the light has never shone—allowing us to understand things about ourselves we never knew. Unless we confront those hidden secrets, their toxic effects can sabotage our self-esteem and life in a powerful way, as they did for a client named Jonah.

Jonah came from a poor family with only one parent to take care of him and his five brothers and sisters. In order to survive he learned how to shoplift food, clothing and anything his family needed. Then, he graduated to committing worse crimes such as muggings,

burglaries and even armed robberies. He is now an adult, but he continues to feel a great deal of shame over his past criminal behavior. He searches his mind for how he can repay the debts he owes and ponders what he can do to right these wrongs. The stores he stole from are no longer there for him to make amends and his neighborhood victims have moved away. His punishment for his crime has been a life of feeling guilty, inferior and inadequate.

It’s now time to finally get help to confront the secret he’s had for so many years, since he can no longer live with the pain and shame.

We can confront our unconscious compulsions.

When Pluto transits a person’s 8th or 12th house, their unconscious motivations rise to the surface to help them understand the ways they are empowered by them, as well as how they may be sabotaged by them. At this time, we are compelled to come to grips with an obsession, compulsion, or even an addiction—and confront it. Pluto’s influence may force us, in a positive way, to overcome it.

Ironically, we may find that our conscious attempts to change, are undermined by unconsciously motivated actions that end up subverting us. We become frustrated because, despite our sincere efforts, we aren’t able to control certain behaviors, even though we may notice things not working out the way we had intended. This is when we finally admit to ourselves, “I can’t seem to control my temper,” or “I know I should stop eating so much,” or “I’m addicted to pornography, but I can’t stop.”

We feel powerless to change a part of our personality that is unhealthy or unproductive to our goals and desires.

A Pluto transit gives us the opportunity to confront unconscious behavior that has produced unfavorable results in our lives. This behavior may have originated during our childhood, only to cause us problems and upsets in our relationships as an adult. However, now we may finally be able to purge it from our personality so it can be replaced with a new way of behaving. But to accomplish this transformation, we must get to the root of why we have behaved this way in the first place. This is not always easy, as a client named Danny found out.

Danny is a handsome young man and easily attracts women with his intense personality, masculine physique, and seductive magnetism. He’s grown used to having sex pretty easily and early on with women he dates. Despite the many women he goes out with, he seldom has more than one or two dates with any of them. His dates complain that Danny seems to be interested in “only one thing.”

Danny tries to move slower and not be so sexually aggressive, but he ends up forgetting his intention and screwing things up repeatedly. A case in point was his last dating experience with a woman he met at a party. Danny was really attracted to this woman’s personality,

character and beauty. He could see she was a special woman he might be able to enjoy a relationship, not just a one-night stand. So, he wanted to make sure to restrain his sexual desires this time, promising himself he’d focus on letting them both get to know each other first.

The first dinner date went well and he felt in control of himself. On the next two dates with her, he made sure not to be alone with her at either of their apartments, for fear he would come on too aggressively. This strategy worked because they were having a nice time getting to know each other. Then, on their next date the young woman invited Danny into to her apartment. She made it clear that she wanted to enjoy a glass of wine and then go to bed early, explaining to him that dating was new to her, and that she liked going slowly before becoming intimate with a man.

He acknowledged he understood, realizing it was important he respect her wishes. But as he sat on the couch close to her, something changed as felt a real sexual attraction for her, no longer caring about his pledge to himself or her words to him. He leaned over to kiss her and when she pulled away Danny got angry, calling her a tease. His date ended up asking him to leave. Danny left, and as he got into his car he tried to understand how he had suddenly lost control of himself. He asked himself, “What happened? I knew how I wanted to behave; yet I felt like I just couldn’t.”

Danny experienced the power of Pluto’s unconscious energy to interfere with his conscious intentions, especially because he was unaware of the psychological issue driving his behavior: he doesn’t respect women, only seeing them only as sexual objects for his personal gratification. If he wants to really change his deep-seated behavior, he’ll most likely require professional assistance.

Pluto’s influence makes it possible for us to understand the hidden side of our personality. It is important to recognize that its energies can also activate the dark side of our nature. I consult with many clients who are sure—because they intellectually are aware of their bad behavior, they can now regulate their problem and remedy it. Most of the time, they are as powerless to control it with mere will alone, as Danny discovered.

The reason they fail is because their behavior emanates from their subconscious. Therefore, correcting it requires going to the root of the problem, not trying to resolve it just on a mental level. I had one client who had a similar problem to Danny’s and she said, “Yes…I know I have that problem, so I just watch myself to make sure that I don’t act that way.” But she was only fooling herself, since the same behavioral problem in her relationships came up each year that I consulted with her.

Pluto’s influence offers us the potential to transform ourselves on a deep level.

When it transits our 8th or 12th house, it may give us an awareness of how our behavior has caused our relationships or actions to succeed or fail. This provides us with the opportunity to confront our underlying emotional patterns so we have a better understanding of how they affect our behavior and our lives.

Only once we get to grips with this, can we consider whether we need to make any radical changes to improve ourselves, or if we need some professional help to assist us.

If you want to find out how Pluto and other transiting planets may be affecting you, go to the Free Horoscope Calculator and enter your birth date. If you want to learn about your unique personality, strengths, weaknesses and talents you were born with, order your: Personal Horoscope Report. It includes a copy of your birth chart.

Or, if you want to know how the planets in your horoscope may be bringing changes to your life, go to the Free Transit Calculator and enter your birth date.

And, if you’re curious to learn what your Horoscope says will be happening this year in such areas as your love relationships, and marriage prospects, as well as career, investments and health: Order your customized Report: Your Horoscope & Future in 2016-17.

If you’re in love and want to find out if you’re really compatible for marriage with another person, go to the Free Love Compatibility Calculator and enter your birth date and theirs. And, if you want a customized report on your compatibility together, order Your Love Compatibility Report.