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The meaning of Pluto.

The planet Pluto is associated with death, destruction, and regeneration. In psychological astrology he represents the Underworld of the psyche – the secrets that we hide from others and from ourselves, the dim recesses of the mind where our darkest emotions are tucked away.  In the transformational astrology that I practice, Pluto shows up as what I call the “Will of the Higher Self” – the part of us that encourages us to transform our secret darkness into an awakened Self through wisdom and understanding.

We often think of Pluto as being a ruthless Lord of Death and destruction, but this early association of Pluto/Hades with protecting the dead reveals a secret to the Pluto archetype that we don’t often consider – Pluto’s real role is to facilitate our personal evolution if we allow it to.  Under Pluto’s influence we find ourselves facing life in a far more intense way than might be comfortable, but it’s all for the sake of deepening our awareness and facilitating our awakening.

The discovery of Pluto in the 1930s coincided with the scientific breakthroughs required to release the atomic bomb which symbolizes Pluto’s destructive force which sometimes requires complete annihilation followed by a necessary rebuilding phase.  But it also coincided with the groundbreaking work of Freud and especially Carl Jung into the workings of the human psyche and the idea that if humans were able to better understand themselves, they could change the world around them and ultimately, their destiny.

Pluto enters Aquarius this week, really just dipping its toe at the zero degree point before retrograding back into Capricorn. This is just a taste of what is to come, but it does feel as though we are already in this time of transition between Pluto cycles. Pluto entering Capricorn (banks and governments) coincided with the financial crash of 2008. In 1995 when Pluto entered Sagittarius (globalism, religion) the Schengen Agreement removed the need for visas to travel within the party states. This fostered the beginning of global exchange and the migration of workers across Europe. When Pluto entered Scorpio (sexuality and death) in 1983 the AIDS crisis began to explode along with the idea of repressed memories and Satanic abuse. Etc. etc.

Aquarius and the double rulers Saturn and Uranus

In Aquarius there is great potential for a portal of awakening and change.  Aquarius is the revolutionary thinker – the brilliant mind that puts aside conventional wisdom in order to create something entirely new.  Under the traditional rulership of Saturn, the idealism of Aquarius brings with it the power of critical thinking and meticulous methodology.  Saturn is not kind or compassionate – there is work to be done in order to fit into the idealistic framework.  Under the modern rulership of Uranus we find the inventor, the futurist and the economist; the revolutionary who strives for social justice and the breaking up of the structures of the past.

While it’s true that Aquarius is associated with social justice, the justice meted out by Aquarius under these two rather impersonal rulers is not compassionate. It’s not the kind of Piscean justice which longs for an ideal world of equality. It’s not the kind of Cancerian justice which bleeds for the pain of the world. Aquarius sees the world from a broader perspective; one in which the needs of the few may be sacrificed for the many.

It’s interesting that the entry of Pluto into Aquarius was presaged by an interaction between its two rulers: The Saturn/Uranus square of 2021-2022. Rebellion against old outmoded ways of living in society, the battle for racial justice and awakening, the desperate need of people who don’t fit into their bodies or societies to find a way to live an authentic life – all of these hallmarks of the past two years give us a clue of what is coming.

Pluto’s last journey through Aquarius: 1778 – 1794

During this period Uranus, modern ruler of Aquarius, was discovered. Before then, Aquarius was still associated with the welfare of humanity and the common good, but under the Saturnian model this looked quite differently from what we see today. Saturn creates rules and structures within which humanity can flourish, but prior to the discovery of Uranus and its inclusion in the astrological pantheon the idea of unlimited freedom and liberty was very rare and usually limited to the upper classes. Thinkers and philosophers of the 17th century such as John Locke began introducing these ideas which flowered later and burst into the mainstream after the discovery of Uranus.

The founding fathers of the United States were heavily influenced by Enlightenment ideas (a very Aquarian concept), and the American Revolution was the beginning of a revolutionary period around the world including major revolutionary wars in France, Haiti and Ireland. During this period some freed slaves founded Liberia, an idealistic Aquarian notion in which American ex-slaves could be relocated to a country of their own.

It should be noted that periods of liberalism tend to be followed by a conservative reaction usually led by autocratic leaders. That is exactly what happened in the 18th century when the reign of Napoleon as dictator followed the French Revolution.

The influence of previous cycles of Uranus.

Pluto will be in Aquarius against the backdrop of the current transition from the Piscean Age to the Aquarian Age. There is no agreement as to when the Aquarian Age begins, and rather than an event occurring on a particular day or even a century there is an orb of influence of several hundred years of transition. I have a theory that planetary cycles involving Uranus open portals for new awakenings to emerge. I will be covering this more in a future article, but here are just a few examples:

  • Uranus in Aquarius 1912-1919:
    • The collapse of the last Chinese empire and the beginning of the Chinese republic.
    • The Russian revolution and fall of the Tsar
    • The German revolution which replaced the monarchy with the Weimar republic
    • The Irish revolution which eventually led to the establishment of the Irish Republic.
  • Uranus square Pluto 1932-1934
    • The Great Depression caused many societal changes and a redistribution of wealth and influence.
    • Hitler rose to power in Germany.
  • Uranus conjunct Pluto 1963-1966
    • “The Sixties” – free love, don’t trust anyone over 30, free everything.
    • Assassination of John F Kennedy and the seeds of doubt in the US political institutions.
    • Civil Rights Act codified the civil rights of all Americans.
    • Cultural revolution in China: social, political and economic chaos resulted in the establishment of Communism.

What can we expect under Pluto in Aquarius?

Here are some thoughts on what we may encounter with Pluto in Aquarius, some of which have already emerged with Pluto at the 29th degree of Capricorn over the past few months as it teetered on the edge of Aquarius. (Follow me on Twitter for more thoughts on the intersection between astrology and global current events).

  • The emergence of robots as “friends.” Friendship is an important piece of the Aquarian puzzle, and our human associations are likely to be revolutionized.
  • “Disclosure” – an increased interest in UFOs and perhaps revelations of previously classified material.
  • The Singularity – read this article if you missed it.
  • Increased civil unrest and a backlash of anti-protest violence.
  • Exponential transformative discoveries in the tech realm potentially accompanied by fear of what is being created (Mary Shelley, writer of the book Frankenstein, had Pluto in Aquarius).
  • Pluto in dry Aquarius could see the continued global acidification and drought. This will be followed by Neptune, associated with the god of the sea, moving into fiery Aries in 2025 and wars over water could escalate.
  • We often think that Pluto will bring increased liberty, but it could also bring the willing sacrifice of personal liberty for the sake of convenience and pleasure brought about by technological advancements.

Over the next two years Saturn (discipline and structure) will be in Pisces which can bring about confusion in direction. I can imagine scenarios in which Pluto in Aquarius pushes for dramatic change but it becomes impossible to see clearly where that change could lead us.

These are exciting times with unlimited opportunities to change and alter paradigms in ways we cannot even imagine. There is no way to stop the train once it’s begun, so we might as well enjoy the ride. ❤️

Important dates: 

  • Pluto enters Aquarius March 23, 2023
  • Pluto turns retrograde May 1, 2023
  • Pluto retrogrades back into Capricorn June 11, 2023, completing the US Pluto return
  • Pluto turns direct in Capricorn October 10, 2023
  • Pluto re-enters Aquarius January 20, 2024
  • Pluto turns retrograde at 2 Aquarius May 2, 2024
  • Pluto retrogrades back into Capricorn September 2, 2024
  • Pluto turns direct at 29 Capricorn October 12, 2024
  • Pluto enters Aquarius for the final time November 19, 2024

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