In locational astrology, a paran is a line that circles the earth latitudinally. Each paran has an origin point: a location where two rising, setting, MC or IC lines intersect. It is from this parallel that the paran line emerges east and west, like a ribbon around the globe. Any paran’s orb of influence is up to 2 degrees north or south of the line.

I recently left Minneapolis, MN, on the 44th parallel North, where I lived for 18 months. I have a Mercury rising/Pluto rising paran passing right through Minneapolis, and learned a good deal about what this meant for me by living there and observing its influence.

In my birth chart, I have Mercury and Pluto in the twelfth house, though well above my ascendant. Mercury’s condition: 29 Libra; opposite Jupiter; trine Chiron in Gemini. Pluto’s condition: 8 Scorpio; no tight aspects to other planets; at the exact midpoint of a Mars/Uranus square (so, semi-square each planet).

Mercury is traditionally thought to be representative of siblings in one’s birth chart. I had no siblings within a thousand miles, and so I noticed this representation shifting to roommates, and therefore, living situations. In my 18 months, I lived in four different homes, each of which offered different indications of the Mercury/Pluto paran.

At my first home, I was extremely fortunate to live with another astrologer, and one other roommate. The Plutonian indication for my roommates in this situation was that in my 11 months living there, each of them endured the loss of a parent. The house energy was often grievous because of this, obviously, and I am also 100% sure that the apartment was occupied by a very lonely, longing ghost, and I often felt trapped there, like the ghost was present in my subconscious and wanted to keep me from leaving. This to me seems evident of Pluto in the twelfth house, along with the fact that I was living on my South Node local line.

I looked for a new place to live, but found nothing before I had to move out. So I moved in with my partner who I met in Minneapolis–a very Plutonian/Mercurial goddess–and her housemate, who only agreed to me living there on a very temporary basis, while looking for other spots to live. I set up shop in the unfinished basement, which was overcrowded with Housemate’s aging collections of found clothes, books, cassettes, and electronics (his intentions were to create a thrift store in the basement). My search for a place to live was going terribly, and my partner and I were enjoying pooling resources and spending more time together, so we proposed to him that I stay through the winter. He was very opposed to this, admitted he was on the verge of losing his mind, asserted that he needed the entire basement to undertake his thrift store project. He was also scared that the landlord would grow accustomed to a third person’s rent, and desire to keep three roommates in the house. Here Pluto is found in traits of obsession, possessiveness, and consumptive fear. I kept searching, and finally found a place to live, in St. Paul.

The situation was presented to me as another three-person roommate situation: one homeowner, Wendy, and two craigslist roommates, myself and Eddie from Ecuador. Me and my freedom-needing Sagittarius moon  would not normally volunteer to live with a homeowner–basically a resident landlord–but I was in a position of need, and this was the only place that responded to me and was livable. I got all my things set up in my room and took a trip over Thanksgiving to the Ozarks to celebrate my partner’s birthday. I was mostly out of cell service there, but while driving along a ridge, received some messages from Wendy that informed me of several house rules that she was implementing: no candles allowed anywhere in the house, no overnight guests without her previously meeting them and approving of them, keeping the thermostat at 52 at night and 62 during the day, using the washer and dryer with small loads only, doing laundry multiple times per week… It was pretty unsettling, as none of these mandates had been presented to me before moving my things in and handing over a deposit and half month’s rent, before even signing a lease. I told her I’d be back and we could talk about it, but that conversation never happened. I spent only three nights in the house over the course of the 15 that I paid for, and because I would not agree to her terms she forced me to leave with a day’s notice, and kept my deposit. We had a sit-down discussion on a full moon (exactly opposite my own Moon) during which it became evident to me that each of us thought the other was insane. Pluto was quite aggressive and overwhelming with this roommate, showing its spirit through deception, power games, and fear again. So, I was back at my partner’s house, this time leaving the basement to Housemate to form his thrift store, and storing all of my things in my restaurant’s storage unit in St. Paul and living out of bags in my partner’s room (the one space in the house, and in the entire Twin Cities, where I felt welcomed).

Of course Housemate was very upset with my presence, and continued his patterns of sequestration and self destruction during my month’s stay. It was a very trying period, but I found a good house to move into the next month, and had my life set up there the first day I could. I was pretty onto the whole Mercury/Pluto effect on my living situations, and very curious with how it would show up at the new place, as it seemed to be a largely carefree environment where no one was interested in controlling my experience.

A few days into my stay there, I learned from a roommate that the house was very recently a halfway/recovery house for people trying to get off of “hard” drugs. Two roommates (there were four of us) were in addiction recovery, and were doing a good job staying off drugs, although they were nightly-practicing alcoholics. The other roommate was going through a very Plutonian time, transitioning from male to female, and having very serious issues with bulimia in our bathroom, whose toilet shared a wall with my bedroom. These roommates (and the house itself) seemed to round out Pluto’s significations, covering addiction, transformation, and bile. Still it was my most comfortable situation yet, conducive to recording music and doing astrology readings through the long winter. I learned to sleep with earplugs and made friendly bonds with my roommates.

This place proved to be my final home in Minnesota, as I have since moved with my partner to the Appalachian foothills in Kentucky, where I have a whole new set of lines! Did I mention that the composite Sun of my partner and I is conjunct my Mercury? And our Plutos are conjunct within a few minutes? And our composite Pluto and Mercury are conjunct as well? Living on this Mercury/Pluto paran was tough. But it was worth it. I learned a huge amount about the many sides of Pluto–not just the bad stuff, the deep, magical realms as well–met my life partner, and co-wrote/recorded an album called In the Dark that I’m very happy with. But I wouldn’t want to live on it for any longer than I did.

-Phil