Pluto transits can be excruciating. It can feel as if the gates of hell are opening underneath your feet and the more you hold on to something and obsessively try to protect it, the more you can be sure Pluto will take away just that.
To understand how to survive a Pluto transit we must first understand Pluto. It is the planet of Scorpio, it wants to transform, purify, destroy anything that isn’t good anymore, and rebuild fresh from the ground. So when Pluto aspects a planet in your natal chart, it wants to do just that: Destroy anything that isn’t evolved in this planet and rebuild it from scratch.
To give a few examples, when Pluto transits your Sun you are in the process of readjusting the ego and the identity, when Pluto transits your Mercury you are in the process of transforming how you think and how you communicate, when Pluto transits your Moon you are shedding your old emotional patterns.
Now the type of transit (opposition, square, quincunx, trine and so on) will give you an indication as to how this process of transformation will occur. There is a false idea that trine=positive, square=negative. All the transits occurring in your life are positive in the sense that they are only occurring because you need it and you need to grow. The problem is, if you aren’t aware of this growth need, if you don’t look for the reasons and lessons of things and if you feel like a victim of your life events, it just feels excruciating. And it’s a circle as the less aware you are, the more events are being triggered in order for you to become aware, and so on.
Now if the transit is challenging (quincunx, square, opposition, conjunction), there is usually a clear before/after cut. If you resist the changes (and you will), not-so-pretty external events can be triggered, in order for you to reflect and integrate the lesson. If you are flexible, aware and open to the Universe's words, it will be hard and challenging to change but the drama can be lessened. Do note, as an Astrologer, I've tried what I could to "avoid" transits - and here is the answer: You can't avoid it. Shut the door, it comes through the window.
On the contrary, easy transits such as trine and sextile are not automatically a gift. Even if it’s a trine or a sextile, Pluto is still trying to teach you something. Therefore it is really up to you to make the most out of this transit and learn in fluidity, but if you don’t provide the work, Pluto will do what it does: Rip off the things you hold on to in order for you to change.
As Pluto will approach your natal planet, you will start being extremely conscious of the things at play way before the transit actually hit exact. I personally don't feel anything dramatic before the planet reaches an orb of 1°, but I've come to understand that each person has different sensitivities and experiences when it comes to orbs. With Pluto, you get 3 to 5 passages on your planet depending on the degrees and years. Here is how I'd sum up Pluto transits:
1st passage: WTF???? IT'S NOT FAIR. Something quite dramatic enters your life and rocks the boat. It comes as a shock, you don't really know why this happened.
2nd passage: WTF, AGAIN? You remember the 1st occurrence, but this time you're served a dose of drama in another shape and form. Still struggling to understand what you're supposed to learn.
3rd passage: Alright, I've been there before, what's the deal? By now, you're getting used to this energy and you're even getting some serious insights about yourself and about life in general. You're done blaming people, circumstances, and you're doing inner work.
Passage 4th and 5th: Empowerment. Normally, by now, you've done some serious inner work and you're even capable of getting some strength out of these transits.