It’s for no small reason that gold remains one of the most desirable of our mother Earth’s treasures. Whether as an enriching adornment, a measure of economic power, or as a critical component within any number of the gadgets and technologies that facilitate modern life, this noble elemental metal has been the stuff of lust and legend since time immemorial. Indeed, it was forged deep in the heart of an ancestral star, and so its radiance reminds us that we are but star-dust, and to star-dust we will return.

The issue with gold, however, is that it rarely (if ever) comes out of the earth in usable form. While part of its desirability comes from its malleability, gold is so malleable that it often absorbs the influences and detritus of the minerals surrounding it in its earthen cradle. It flakes and flows down streams to be found by desperate panners, who sift through the muck to find the evidence of richer veins upstream. It is, if left untreated, little more than a chunk of dirty metal.

That’s where the exultant work of the refiner’s fire comes in. We often think of fire as something that can only destroy, that can only erase, that can only consume, but we often don’t consider the ways in which fire can be used to rarefy and purify metals and alloys to states where they can be used in ways only dreamed of by the sleeping metals in their earthen womb.

The raw mineral finds its way to the crucible; the refiner’s fire melts the gold and its purest factors run together, settling at the bottom, closest to the heat source. Meanwhile the undesired matter, which limits the radiance and utility of the gold, floats to the top to be removed and burned off by the unyielding heat.

The celestial gold in our charts, the energy which causes the engines of our souls to turn over, is signified by the Sun, the heavenly king. Whichever part of our natal chart the Sun presides over through rulership (that is, wherever Leo is in our charts), we find our life’s purpose oriented to the pursuit of that house’s priorities; likewise, wherever the Sun stands in our chart by house signifies the resources we have to make that desire a reality. When we uncover that rich vein of purpose for the first time we gain insight into the economics of our soul; we learn where we must invest our energies in order to reap the reward of satisfaction and a purposeful life.

But simply knowing the vein of gold is there does not, by itself, make that wisdom accessible to us. Just as gold must be refined to return to the state it was created to be, so must our natal Suns be assayed by fire and heat and pressure to become truly radiant. There are any number of ways in which this might happen—for me, it occurred in a special way at my Saturn return, for the Dark Lady is in a partile square with my natal Sun. But for all of us, as the Sun makes his yearly course through the zodiac, once a year he will encounter the unseen crucible and secret fire signified by Pluto, the bringer of change.

Pluto, one of whose glyphs represents a crucible, is most potent among the planets for his ability to generate the level of unseen heat required to purify the heaviest of elements. If the symbolic fires which Mars kindles are bright red and radiant, Pluto’s fire is even hotter—so hot that it is invisible to the human eye, its radiation more akin to gamma ray bursts than the fires of war.

The power of Pluto is a power that exists on the level of the edge of the cosmos; just as intensely hot and stupendously powerful quasars form the outer limit of the observable universe, so the astrological Pluto’s stupendous intensity forms the outer limit of our Solar System. No one passes him unchanged, even if that change is not visible to the naked eye at first.

So as the Sun conjoins Pluto on this January morning (for those in the United States), expect the subtler matter of your natal Sun to be melted into a purer form and the baser materials to be vaporized. This is the second act in the Sun’s three-stage purification happening over the first part of the month, too; the first was the solar eclipse last weekend, wherein the Sun’s pretenses were shed, and we experienced the shedding of the comfortable lies that we tell ourselves to contain our brightness.

The second is this conjunction to Pluto, which will render the Sun more malleable than ever and prepare it to be shaped into tools, adornments, and currencies beyond our wildest imagination.

The third will be the Sun’s meeting with the Dragon’s Tail, whose abyssal vortex will humble and rectify the Sun and give it the gift of perspective. This three-fold purification precedes the Sun’s journey into Aquarius, where he will work out the gifts of his re-creation through hard labors, accomplishing Saturn’s priorities with the new Solar tools he has been given (more on that next week).

On the other side of this gauntlet, the Sun will have been refined in the invisible fire, its dross burned away, and the newly-forged ingot quenched in the vortex, that he may offer his radiance in all righteousness and free of the comfortable lies that he tells himself to assuage his fears and the noxious cloud of public opinion that his radiance attracts. Fear not for the Sun’s passage through Saturn’s home of Aquarius, for he shall pass through as a prophet.

Leo Rising

The Sun’s journey of purification is impacting your self-concept, your health, and your appearance, employing hard work and discipline to effect their purposes. Accept the crucible’s lessons with all humility and you shall shine all the brighter for it.

Virgo Rising

The Moon, the Refiner, and the Dragon’s Tail have set their sights on the limiting beliefs that you hold for yourself, using your very creations as a means of transfiguration. Welcome the new work which you will unexpectedly render.

Libra Rising

The refining process for you regards the company you keep and your fidelity thereto. Things hidden will be revealed as a result of this process and new foundations will be laid for you to create peace anew among those who hold your trust, and whose trust you hold.

Scorpio Rising

Ready yourself to embrace the clarity of vision for your profession that the crucible will create for you and be willing to endure the sometimes-painful process of disregarding what other people have to say about your growth.

Sagittarius Rising

Though you are blessed with uncanny radiance for the better part of this year and may not feel like you have anything to worry about, remember that this radiance will come to an end—a little preparation goes a long way. You can’t serve God and Mammon, but you can make Mammon serve God. The refiner will show you how.

Capricorn Rising

Be ready to die to the old ways of containing yourself that you may put on the life that having clarity of purpose bring. And you’ll want to make sure that your credit cards aren’t crushing you, either.

Aquarius Rising

The boon of partnership is allowing you to explore unforeseen depths from your castle of isolation, and as the shackles of respectability come off, you will be able to join your voice to those of prophets and sages past in unexpected and supremely powerful ways.

Pisces Rising

Duty to your friends is demonstrating how much the people in your company rely upon you in concrete ways, so don’t neglect these earthly connections even as you strive after transcendence and success for the remainder of this year.

Aries Rising

Though your creations are being put through the ringer right now, there’s little need to despair, as that very work will be able to set a table in the wilderness for all those wild souls who gather around you once the refiner is through with it.

Taurus Rising

The old is passing away, and behold, the new is bursting onto the scene, drawing your attention to parts and pathways unknown and readying to bring a renewed sense of vision to the work to which your soul has set its hand.

Gemini Rising

Though you pride yourself on your golden tongue, remember all that’s been said of gold here. When the words fail to come, it is at that precise moment that the refiner’s heat has struck you. Do not fail to learn the lesson of speechlessness.

Cancer Rising

Those in partnership with you have much to say about the resources you so jealously guard, and while it may feel now that you are losing control, remember that holding gifts with open palms (or open pincers in your case) allows you to accept the lavish abundance that has yet to come to you.

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