If in the scheme of Eternity we consider Earth and human history, we may liken our current stage of development to that of an embryo. It is within this framework of our planetary ‘gestation' and progress that the study of the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are of particular interest. This is why astrologers refer to these outer planets, as transpersonal. These celestial bodies exert a generational influence and impact humankind politically, spiritually and sociologically - being historically related to them.
The relatively recent discovery of Pluto on 18th February 1930 by Percy Lowell coincided with the invention and ultimate explosion of the atomic bomb. With its discovery, the world has been confronted, probably for the first time, with the notion of a power so great that humanity could possibly cease to exist due to its misuse. When J. Robert Oppenheimer, the famous Atomic Physicist spoke of the Atomic destruction (Pluto), he referred to the famous Hindu classic, the Bhagavad Gita and said – “We knew the world could not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Bhagavad Gita: "I am Death, the destroyer of worlds" It comes as no surprise then to see why astrologers have assigned rather destructive attributes to Pluto.
Pluto most closely aligns itself with the zodiacal sign of Scorpio – intense, destructive and dark. Pluto, however, represents more fundamental aspects of human evolution like willpower and more importantly the process of elimination and transformation. Naturally, Pluto's manifestation is determined by our grade of evolution. For example, if in a horoscope the tendency is towards material acquisition and self-aggrandizement, Pluto's influence will impel an individual towards an abuse of power. Adolf Hitler epitomized this ruthless, abuse of power with his eighth house Pluto. Many political and business leaders, successful criminal and underground figures are influenced by Pluto especially if associated with personal planets like Sun, the Moon, Mercury or rising sign.
Pluto is referred to mythologically by the Greeks and the Hindus. In Greek mythology, he was nominated as Hades, the God of Death and Sovereign of the underworld. This concept of death is limited, however, as Pluto's deeper significance has as much to do with rebirth as it does with the traditional concept of death per se. Death is simply another transformative stage followed by rebirth. Pluto represents the decay and eventual disappearance of the old in preparation for the new. Likewise in the Hindu and Vedic traditions of India, Pluto as Lord Rudra ( Shiva ) is in truth Time personified. The feminine counterpart of Rudra relating to the Cosmic expression of Pluto is Kali, the Goddess of Death. The name Kali is a derivative of the Sanskrit Kala loosely meaning time and perfectly describes the action of Pluto i.e. in Time all things are born, grow, decay, die and disappear.
Due to the extremely slow and eccentric orbit of Pluto, its effect on the individual personality has yet to be fully determined by astrologers. It takes approximately 248 years to make one complete round throughout the zodiac and can spend between 15 and 20 years in a sign. This is why those who argue against its use in delineating the personal horoscope, will say it is more generational than personal, as literally millions of people are born during its transit through one sign. We observe, however, in practice, that Pluto does, in fact, have a tangible and long-lasting impact on us. These consequences can be seen in the following descriptions-
Pluto in the Twelve Signs
Pluto in Aries – (1823 – 1852)
When Pluto is associated with the personal planets as mentioned earlier, the desire to do something entirely original is uppermost in the mind. This is a pioneering vibration, both personally and historically as shown by the events that took place during 1823-1852. This craving for power may work positively or negatively depending on how diplomatically one is able to assert oneself in a social context. There's certainly a passion for great power when Pluto transits through Aries.
Historically, throughout Europe and even America, revolutions emerged and were a reflection of the desire for communities to assert their independence against a prevailing yet outmoded political and societal system.
Pluto in Taurus – (1852-1884)
Taurus is the second sign of the zodiac and being earthy, fixed and material in nature signifies deep and possibly obsessive striving for wealth and financial security. People born with Pluto in Taurus or aspecting their Sun sign have fanatical urges to prove themselves materially. Depending on the overall pattern of destiny in one's horoscope, this placement can produce either great gains or immense losses. The action and lesson of Pluto here is the transformation of one's security base of the material world into a spiritual sense of well-being.
It was during the transit of Pluto in Taurus that the Industrial Revolution grew at an ever quickening pace with the birth of corporate/business organizational structures such as the railroad industry and steam engines becoming more prevalent.
Pluto in Gemini – (1884 – 1914)
Gemini is an intellectual, mutable Air sign and Pluto's presence here impacts enormously on the communication of an individual. Pluto's influence on either the Sun or Moon sign in Gemini or Pluto in that sign at birth, will assert themselves intellectually. Unless the softer, aesthetic influences of other planets are involved, bombastic, egotistical and even deceptive characters are born during this transit. Scientists, great public speakers and debaters or explorers under Pluto's movement in Gemini.
This was a period in history when scientists like Alexander Graham Bell, Nicholas Tessler, Marconi, Baird and Thomas Edison pushed forward with their inventions of electricity and communication devices such as wireless, radio, television and telephone. New transportation such as cars and planes also revolutionized the way societies interacted with each other.
Pluto in Cancer – (1914 – 1939)
Cancer, the cardinal watery and sensitive sign of the zodiac has a strong reference to our genetic and maternal roots and regulates our domestic and family matters. It's quite significant if Pluto is found influencing Cancer at birth as the early family life may be dramatically affected by forces beyond one's immediate control. The water signs of the zodiac like Cancer, are considered to be esoteric in nature and people born under Cancer/Pluto's influence become altruistic and delve into the deeper aspects of human nature and spirituality. A person born with Pluto in this sector of their horoscope needs to exercise great control over the emotional energies of their nature and this will be the challenge for them in terms of their spiritual Karma.
On a historical note, the outbreak of World War One (1914), the birth of the United Nations and such upheavals as the Bolshevik Revolution heralded a change in attitudes in societies where government structures and security for families etc., started to take precedence.
Pluto in Leo – (1939 – 1957)
The fire sign of Leo, well as reflecting deeply creative and expressive urges, possesses an element of speculation and dare devilishness, which Pluto's presence will magnify. Those having Pluto here may tempt fate and drive themselves to extreme physical and mental levels. With the positive influence of other planets on the horoscope, some unique or special achievements can be predicted for the individual.
In terms of humanity, the shift of Pluto into Leo saw the emergence of the Second World War (1939). Nations were drawn into the conflict and tested as to whose willpower would prevail. Leo's affinity with the Sun ruling power, Kings and leadership generally expressed sheer destructive energy, power including the supreme war power of atomic energy. This struggle for supremacy between the East and West gave way to the Cold War.
Pluto in Virgo – (1957 – 1972)
On a personal level this will also be seen to be the case and unless the individual with Pluto influencing the sign of Virgo is not careful, they may become intellectual rationalists who cannot but help only believe what they see and feel. This is the extreme expression of pragmatism.
The scientific precision of Virgo, and the striving for perfection reaches its zenith when Pluto transits that sign of the zodiac. During this period humanity became compulsively obsessed by the scientific attitude. Many great discoveries and medical breakthroughs were developed during Pluto in Virgo – including vaccines to help alleviate the suffering of humanity. This stands to reason as Virgo is the sign of health, diet and selfless service of humanity.
Pluto in Libra – (1972 – 1984)
Libra represents the point in human evolution where the spirit begins to transcend the material, the ego and outwardly projects itself through relationships. If the higher spiritual aspirations are developed, altruism, compassion and other noble human traits will prevail. Having Pluto here or influencing the sign of Libra, relationships will have a marked impact on the individual and may at some point destroy the life of the person, if only to regenerate and heal them. This is not unlike a bushfire burning the forest to stimulate new growth. Unusual personalities are born under this combination and depending on other planetary influences may either uplift humanity or may totally undermine and destroy with the same intensity.
Throughout the period 1972-1984, a relatively recent period in our history, a new generation of people were born and this saw the hippy period and the free love generation blossom in the Western world. Matters related to marriage, sex and other traditional social values were called into question and completely blown apart by this annihilating energy of Pluto.
Pluto in Scorpio – (1984 – 2000)
Those born with Pluto in Scorpio, this generation of youngsters who are now aged 20 and under, will find their psychic and spiritual energies highly developed at this time. As Pluto is in its own sign of Scorpio, the emotional intensity of this group will be most pronounced. Anyone having Pluto aspecting this sign or sensitive points in their horoscope will exhibit these characteristics of Pluto as well.
George Orwell in his book 1984 wrote of the new society, big brother and other intrusive societal control measures that governments would employ between 1984-2000. Perhaps he was resonant with the inherent message and lesson of Pluto during its transition through Scorpio. We have indeed seen civil liberties issues high on the global agenda! It's also interesting to note that Scorpio rules sex, death, and regeneration. Coincidentally, the shocking rise of AIDS in the early 80's came to prominence around the entry of Pluto into Scorpio. This highlighted the need for society to somehow reconsider (and balance) the earlier Libran vibration of free love with the deeper, harsher realities and karmic consequences of action on the individual and on a collective level. The emotional speed of Pluto reaches its fastest acceleration through the two signs of Libra and Scorpio which is why the most fundamental aspects of our human nature, i.e. sexual activity and procreation have been affected so dramatically by this planet.
Pluto in Sagittarius – (2000 – 2008)
The higher principle of Sagittarius is law, order, philosophy and travel. Those born after 2000 will indeed develop a deep need to tear apart and renew the existing structures of knowledge, law, and education as we have known them.
During this current cycle the political climate has also been remarkably affected by this same influence and this has seen the recent laws dramatically revised as a result of terrorism and the assault on the western democratic way of life. Civil liberties have come under fire due to the necessity to overhaul and eliminate those laws and customs which may threaten human life or in fact the way of life as we know it. Travel and the transport industry in particular during the last three years have been particularly hard hit by the action of Pluto in Sagittarius. This coincided with the September 11 Disaster. As everyone in the West agrees – nothing will ever be the same again! That's Pluto at work.
Pluto in Capricorn – (1762 – 1777 & 2008 – 2023)
The ambitious sign of Capricorn is activated dynamically with an obstinate sense of purpose by Pluto when this combination occurs in a horoscope. If the individual is evolved sufficiently he may crack open the conservative and rigid forms of business and commerce to reveal a progressive method of finance and material spirituality as a result. The willpower of an individual with Pluto in Capricorn is immense and unyielding in its desire to achieve what it sets out to acquire.
On the time line of history throughout the period of 1762 to 1777 when Pluto entered Capricorn, we saw new concepts in government come to the fore eg. the American Declaration of Independence and the rise of democracy taking hold as a political ideology. Yet again from 2008 to 2023, a similar pattern will emerge globally and we will likely see the emergence of the One World government that has so often been talked about in novels and alternative subcultures. Due to Pluto's purgative and relentless effect, it's absolutely unavoidable that governments will fall and the conservative system of ruling nations will be overhauled at this time.
Pluto in Aquarius – (1777 – 1799 and 2023 – 2042)
Those born with Pluto in Aquarius have an incessant need to reform the culture and society in which they are born. If the aspects aren't favorable, the individual develops a fanatical and dangerous revolutionary spirit which creates more harm than good.
During the cycle of Pluto in Aquarius the French Revolution and also the American revolutionary wars highlighted the impact of an Aquarian Pluto on human history. Medicine and other scientific pursuits began to take precedence. During the coming phase of Pluto in Aquarius 2023-2042, incredible discoveries for the benefit of humanity will occur and the Age of Aquarius will finally come into its own.
Pluto in Pisces – (1799-1823 & 2042-2066)
Being the twelfth sign of the zodiac, Pisces reflects the pinnacle of human consciousness and represents the most sublime aspect of humanity. With Pluto in Pisces, the individual works tirelessly to develop the psychic and esoteric aspects of his nature. This is a cosmic or universal energy. If Pluto's placement in Pisces has dignity, the individual will work towards the good of his fellow man. The reverse leads to self-delusion and fixated religious expression.
Pluto passed through Pisces in 1799 and completed its transition in 1823 during which tremendous cultural and artistic change occurred. Revolutionary artists expressed a departure from old romantic and medieval forms to accelerate a cultural and artistic consciousness. During the forthcoming cycle of Pluto in Pisces between 2042 and 2066, we will see an inconceivable development of the inner faculties of mankind as a whole and the use of telepathy, psychic insights, and true spiritual healing.
Underlying this material and the unavoidable process of birth, decay and death are the eternal principles of Spirit and self-transformation. This process of Time or Pluto gradually unfolds our individual and collective lives for the ultimate improvement of all. May Pluto in his spiritual essence bless us with self-awareness and the deeper spiritual gifts of Nature!