We all have stand-out moments. For me – as for many astrologers – hearing that Pluto, symbolic Lord of the Underworld, had been demoted to a mere ‘dwarf planet’ was one of those. I felt a deep shiver of apprehension. Did those scientists on 24th August 2006 understand at more than a material level what they were doing? The ancient Greeks knew all too well about the sin of hubris. It does not do AT ALL to disrespect the gods…
Shortly afterwards, Pluto abandoned his season of blithe excess during his traverse of ‘leap first, look later’ Sagittarius from 1995, and entered sombre Capricorn, settling in from 2007/8 until 2023/4 to the long job of ruthlessly dredging up and showing us the consequences of institutionalised greed, political short-termism – and disregard for the very Earth on which we depend for our survival. We are having to face all that now…
All a column can do is offer brief engagement with this hugely complex topic. However, with transiting Pluto in Capricorn currently sextiling my third house Jupiter, I have been revisiting my fascination with Pluto’s profound power.
The Big Collective Picture
Pluto’s cycle is nearly 250 years long; he last occupied Capricorn from 1762-1778, the time when the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions were gaining traction. As that cycle ends, we are seeing another revolution beginning with the shift from an Earth-based global economy to one which is increasingly being run from cyber-space. Pluto enters the air sign of Aquarius in 2023/4, following the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction at 0 Aquarius at the end of 2020. We are turning away slowly from exploiting the body of the planet for our energy sources.
Big Oil, your days are numbered…
Stepping down to the smaller picture, the USA is moving towards its Pluto Return in 2022/3 at 27 Capricorn. As such, a process of death and transformation of the old order is already under way. The Trump presidency with all that it has brought and threatens, is an excellent example of this process…
Pluto in recent times has also been having his way with the UK’s 9 Capricorn IC,10 Capricorn Sun and 14 Aries/Libra Nodal Axis. There is more to come as he opposes the UK’s 19 Cancer Moon. This has brought ‘Brexit’: the UK’s momentous decision to leave the European Union. My Nodal research (1) has shown that any combination of Pluto with the Moon’s Nodes and the natal, progressed or transiting horoscopes of either nations or individuals, brings with it very significant endings: the old order bulldozed away so that new life can eventually emerge.
My own nation of Scotland illustrates that. Pluto in recent times has combined with Uranus in Aries to dredge and batter the MC, Venus and Sun. As Pluto crossed Scotland’s 15 Capricorn North Node in 2014, we had a referendum in which 84% of the population voted by a decisive majority not to separate from the UK. However, following the UK’s ‘Brexit’ vote, another Scottish referendum may be likely; Uranus is currently on his last transit of Scotland’s 26 Aries Mars, later to be followed by a Pluto square to that incendiary planet…
Pluto’s destructive but deeply transformative power can be witnessed in personal lives too, as astrologers across the world would affirm. Individuals can work with this planet’s awe and fear-inspiring energies in a deeply satisfying way: the radical psychological x-ray of a good reading at the right time can be profoundly alchemical.
Pluto transits are slow. We have time to work constructively with this life-changing energy. Paradoxically, individuals may thus have more free will in the face of Pluto’s fateful demands than nation states do.
A personal story
I can offer a powerful example. My mother died suddenly, and my husband took up serious mountain climbing, in the summer of 1992. Transiting Pluto was then squaring my natal Sun/Moon conjunction from the third house. I reacted to both those events with a great deal of fear that my husband was going to die in the hills (he didn’t!).This led to much anger, conflict and resentment, mostly on my part, which could have seriously damaged our relationship.
However, some astro-research via the ephemeris showed me that transiting Pluto had last triggered my Sun/Moon conjunction when I was three years old. My father left my mother then, apparently causing me a great deal of distress. I have no conscious recollection of this trauma. It was only acknowledged in my twenties, by which time my parents had long been reconciled.
Old buried pain, grief and separation anxiety was being re-dredged by the Pluto transit in my adult life; I was projecting it onto my husband. That was a hugely powerful, freeing insight. Sharing it enabled him to understand why I was so upset, considerably diminishing his resentment. It also enabled me to own my fears, take back my projections, and work with them – both with my husband and in my journal.
He could then go to his beloved hills without having to struggle with me in order to do so. Meanwhile I channelled my considerable third house Plutonian energy into travelling to London to complete my studies with Liz Greene at the Centre for Psychological Astrology. So – working with Pluto’s tough challenge led gradually to a deepening of our relationship and a win/win situation for both of us.
Without the insights which astrological knowledge offered, and our willingness to work with it, the outcome of that fateful Pluto transit might have been very different: a repeat of my parents’ past, perhaps…
(1) see “The Moon’s Nodes in Action” downloadable for free from my website.
This slightly edited version of my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine first appeared as ‘The astro-view from Scotland’ in the September 2017 Issue.
950 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2018