This is a modified version of the article published in NCGR (National Center for Geocosmic Research) Newsletter July/August 2015. With Moon Pluto aspects, the emotions become the medium through which transformations can occur. When Moon is aspected by Pluto, the person can go through some dark and intense experience that could shake up her inner core of safety and security.
This often happens through an actual or perceived loss which instigates lifelong grief and a need to control the feeling of powerlessness. The person with Moon Pluto aspect does this by developing strong attachments that are too rigid or vowing never to get so close to anybody. Generally, this aspect plays out in the immediate family environment especially with the main caregiver. It could be someone who as a child observed the mother go through a life threatening illness and in the process developed a strong bond with her and vowed to be in her close proximity. Very often, the mother or grandmother or another caregiver is often the only source of nurture since the father has left through divorce or is not emotionally available. On the other hand it could be a situation where the mother can range from being protective or manipulative to being a total control freak, and yet the Moon Pluto person hesitates to break away due to the unsaid oath of loyalty and passion that binds them for life. In any case, the Moon Pluto person can grow up with an underlying anxiety which propels them to manage and control everything in their environment including their eating habits. So it is not surprising that when I researched celebrity charts, there was a distinct correlation between Moon Pluto aspects and eating disorders.
According to NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association), “while eating disorders may first appear to be solely about food and weight preoccupations, those suffering from them often try to use food and the control of food to cope with feelings and emotions that may otherwise be overwhelming. For some, dieting, binging and purging may begin as a way to cope with painful emotions and to feel in control of one’s life. Ultimately, though, these behaviors will damage a person’s physical and emotional health, self-esteem and sense of competence and control.” . Based on research findings, family dynamics of people with eating disorders is very similar to what one would expect from those who have Moon Pluto hard aspects. They are typically called “enmeshed family system”  wherein over-protectiveness, rigidity and lack of conflict resolution are often present. In comparison to conjunctions, squares and oppositions seem to have more awareness, which can lead to creative solutions. The more the Moon Pluto person tries to control, the more destructive this aspect can get, creating depression, mood and/or eating disorders.
Even in mythology there is a correlation between Pluto, grief and food. Pluto kidnapped Prosperina, the beautiful daughter of Ceres, the goddess in charge of crops and harvest. Consequently, Ceres in her grief and pain, neglected the crops which led to starvation. This story of the mother’s grief that led the mortals to starvation is a very Moon Pluto story and it seems that people with this aspect during certain period of their life go through experience similar to walking into Pluto’s dismal cave and limiting their food intake is probably reflective of Ceres’s loss and subsequent grief.
Case Study 1
Karen Carpenter. the diva of the 70’s was one of the most popular and unfortunate examples of a celebrity who succumbed to Anorexia Nervosa and her death came as a shock to all her fans. She was very controlled by the two people she adored, her mother, Agnes and her brother, Richard, who was also a singer and with whom she formed the group “Carpenters”. She made desperate attempts to break out from the emotionally boxed-in environment, but did not really succeed. Her mother threw tantrums when she wanted to leave home and even after she finally succeeded in moving out, she often returned, spending months at a time with her parents. She developed the eating disorder at the peak of her career and in spite of some attempts to get help, she died at the age of thirty two. As shown in the chart below, she had Moon Pluto conjunction with a very close orb, which made it difficult to separate from her family. Research has shown that Anorexia Nervosa tends to be exhibited by those who have one or more controlling parents, lack self-esteem, are people-pleasers, and perfectionists . Her disorder was a desperate attempt to thrive in a highly controlled and manipulated family environment but which, in the end, cost her life. 
Her natal chart has a trine between Moon Pluto conjunction to Ceres and Hygiea. Ceres, the dwarf planet is also indicative of food and nurture while Hygiea is an asteroid often related to health. So controlling the food was an easy way for Ms. Carpenter to deal with emotional intensity of the Moon Pluto dynamics. Ceres square to Saturn could be an indication of food restriction, and Uranus conjunction to Ascendant shows the potential for change in appearance.
As seen in the 90 degree dial, when she reached her low point with her eating disorder in the end of 1975 and her subsequent struggle for the next few years, the solar arc progression of her Moon Pluto conjunction was aspecting her natal Ceres Saturn square, and also triggering the natal Uranus Ascendant conjunction (indicating the acute loss of weight). Soon after, in 1981, solar arc Neptune began triggering her natal Moon Pluto midpoint. Although she was hospitalized and gained some weight, the damage to her body was done and in February 1983 she died of poisoning from ipecac syrup, which was commonly used to induce vomiting.
Case Study 2:
Portia De Rossi who played the role of a savvy confident lawyer in the TV show “Ally McBeal” shared her struggle with eating disorder in the book “Unbearable Lightness”. She had a great need to be accepted by her mother, not just for smartness but for her beauty; hence she became a model, hoping her mother would finally be proud of her. As an adolescent, she also struggled with her sexual identity. This sent her on a precarious path of losing weight through limiting her food intake, until she got down to 82 pounds. She collapsed on a film set and was diagnosed with cirrhosis, osteoporosis, and organ failure. This was a turning point which motivated her to seek help and fortunately adopt a healthy lifestyle .
She has a first house Moon square Pluto (chart 2) which can make one sensitive and obsessive about looks and appearance and hence the need to control them. However, hard apsects generally create awareness (with supporting aspects) which can help overcome issues. Luckily, she has Moon sextile Uranus which probably aided her in making timely changes to her predicament. The 90 degree dial shows solar arc Ceres and Hygiea at the Moon Pluto midpoint in 2000 when she lived on a diet of 300 calories per day, took laxatives and over exercised, leading to her physical breakdown in 2001. It’s also interesting to see that solar arc Uranus is conjunct her natal ascendant indicating the steep weight loss.
Case Study 3
Sandra Dee,the popular film idol of the 60s era had a typical Moon Pluto childhood. By the time she was five, her parents were divorced and she never saw her dad again. Her mother, Mary Cymboliak was overbearing and intrusive, and got her into school by the time she was 4 yrs old, and into modeling when she was just 8 yrs old, often lying about her daughter’s age. Sandra Dee has a Moon Pluto conjunction and had a difficult time separating from her mom. She later claimed of being abused by her step dad that triggered the eating disorder. This began in her teens and could sometimes get so severe with her weighing just 90 pounds. Unfortunately, it was at a time when not much was known about this illness. When she divorced her husband, Bobby Darin, her career started to dwindle. But her all time low was in 1988, when her mother died and Sandra dropped down to 80 pounds and became a recluse. She was very dependent on her mother and says in an interview with Sally Jesse”I didn’t know how to write a check, I didn’t know how to get groceries”.  Fortunately, she turned her life around with the help of her son, Dod and by going to therapy, which by the way is a great tool for anyone dealing with Pluto aspects. Sandra Dee has a Moon Pluto conjunction and Ceres square Hygeia. The 90 degree dial for the year before she turned her life around in 1988, shows solar arc Pluto Moon midpoint aspecting her natal Ceres and Hygiea.
Case Study 4:
Paula Abdul is one of the foremost spokesperson for the National Eating Disorder Association and was awarded their highest honor in 2005. This pop singer and “American Idol” judge battled with bulimia for 17 years. She started ballet at the age of 8 and felt too short or too fat when she compared herself to the other dancers.  She is quoted as saying “It is one of the toughest things to talk about, bar none, and it is one of the hardest disorders to deal with because it’s not black or white. Eating disorder really have nothing to do with food, it’s about feelings.” She finally got treatment in 1994 when her weight plunged to 86 pounds, which brought her battle with food to an end. She has a Moon Pluto sesquiquadrate with a tight orb, and Pluto is opposite Hygiea and sextile Ceres (also with a tight orb).
Celebrities like Diane Keaton with a Moon Pluto opposition, Lady Gaga and Kate Winslet with Moon Pluto conjunction and Amanda Bynes with a Moon Pluto square are among many who have battled eating disorders. The common thread that people with Moon Pluto aspects and eating disorders is the feeling of powerlessness that comes from losing someone, dependency, or being raised in an environment of shame, manipulation and control. Also, Ceres and Hygiea often seemed to be linked to Pluto Moon in the chart to serve as an outlet for this aspect.
Birth Data :
Karen Carpenter, March 2, 1950, 11:45 AM, New Haven, Connecticut, 41N18, 72W55 (Astrodatabank, Rating AA, Birth Certificate)
Portia Rossi: January 31, 1973, 3 AM, Geelong, Australia, 38S03, 144E21 (Astrotheme, from Autobiography)
Sandra Dee: April 23, 1942, 5:35 AM, Bayonne, New Jersey, 40N40, 74W07 (Astrodatabank, Rating AA, Quoted Birth Certificate)
Paula Abdul: June 19, 1962, 2:32 pm, Los Angeles, California, 34N03, 118W15 (Astrodatabank, Rating AA, Birth Certificate)
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