Pluto – the fiery transformer


Pluto is the god of the underworld, wealth and criminality, a cleaner-outer of sewers and harbinger of slow, grinding transformation, symbolised by the phoenix who only arises after all is reduced to ashes. Slowly nearing the end of fifteen years in Capricorn, it will dip a toe into Aquarius in late March 2023 and hovers around the cusp through the year, retrograding back into Capricorn, before moving forward in January 2024 for a twenty-year stay.

Pluto’s modus operandi is to pull down old structures, not explosively like Uranus, but by exerting great pressure and stress-testing to show up flaws. What is no longer functional, is broken down and dilapidated needs to go. Pluto doesn’t do pitch and patch, baling twine fixes.  It insists on getting right down to the foundations to conduct a major overhaul, complete clear out and then a rebuild that can stand the test of time ahead.  Aquarius is a sign that fosters ideas and learning. It can be humanitarian but also can on occasion have an ideologue’s  failing of stubborn adherence to dogma and ‘ideals’ without considering feelings. The French Revolution was a Pluto in Aquarius movement, which swept away the old corrupt aristocracy and lauded liberty, equality and fraternity. But it was a bloody, vengeful affair which ended up, during the 25 years of Pluto in Aquarius, with the dictatorship of Napoleon Bonaparte.

What is curious, looking back at the sign changeover years back to the 1770s, is that Neptune has a much clearer pattern of significant events when it shifted sign. See previous post 29 April 2020 below. Which isn’t to say Pluto doesn’t have a massive impact but it doesn’t leap out in quite the same way, with the exception of 2008 when it moved into Capricorn and the financial world crashed and one or two others.

The rise and fall of empires or power figures is one Plutonic theme with Catherine the Great taking over the reins of control as Pluto moved into Capricorn in 1762 and dying two cycles later as Pluto was about to exit Aquarius; and Napoleon Bonaparte fighting his way towards becoming Emperor as it moved into Pisces. The Manchu Qing Dynasty in China which started on a Pluto in Gemini finished 268 years later on the dying days of the next Pluto in Gemini as the Republic of China was established in 1912.

There were rebellions aplenty and revolutionary independence wars through two centuries on Pluto changeovers – in America, various South American countries, France China, Spain, Hungary. Irish history, not surprisingly, has shown periods of turbulence when Pluto shifts sign.

Computers also flag up as early Pluto events, from Charles Babbage’s early Difference Engine as Pluto moved into Aries in 1822; up to modern day first Mac computer in 1984 as Pluto moved into Scorpio, and TED was also founded then.

As with Neptune, many iconic books and films were launched as Pluto sashayed into a new milieu.

1851 into Taurus the New York Times and Reuters were founded. Moby Dick and Uncle Tom’s Cabin were published.

1892 into Gemini Sherlock Holmes collection was published.

1912 into Cancer Tarzan of the Apes hit the public via a pulp magazine

1937 into Leo Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not. The Dandy comics and Detective comics launched. Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

1957 into Virgo had a bumper crop perhaps Neptune also shifted sign that year into Scorpio. Wizard of Oz. Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. Dr Seuss The Cat in the Hat. Perry Mason. West Side Story.

1971 into Libra The Godfather and Alex Comfort’s The Joy of Sex. Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida.

1983 into Scorpio A Christmas Story. Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.

See also post August 24 2019 for previous Pluto in Aquarius events.

12 thoughts on “Pluto – the fiery transformer

  1. Tempted to ask when Pluto moves into Pisces, Neptune to Taurus and Uranus to Cancer/Leo,
    but think I can wait.Thank you Marjorie, a great read!

  2. Marjorie your comments on Pluto in Aquarius echo many of my feelings about the shift that is take place. Utopian Revolutions often end up creating dystopian outcomes.

    The Terror in the French Revolution is one of the indicators of what can go wrong when the negative aspects of Pluto in Aquarius manifest. It has best been described as the European Enlightenment run amok. It was one of those archetypal, futile and fatal attempts to remake humanity at a year zero. Indeed, this was done quite literally in the case of the calendar. The Terror began circa 5 September 1793 under a Pluto in Aquarius opposition Uranus in Leo square Jupiter in Scorpio.

    Similar manifestations occurred in the English Reformation where the actual split with Rome engineered by Henry VIII minister Thomas Cromwell was undertaken while Pluto made its transit of Aquarius. The new ideological regime was enforced under the Act of Supremacy in 1534 where every adult Englishman was forced to swear an oath to accept Henry VIII as head of the Church. It should be noted that Neptune had just entered Aries when this occurred something which will also happen in the mid 2020s.

    Edward I launched his war to try to join England and Scotland by force in 1286 just as Pluto Ingresses into Aquarius.

    Aquarius is the sign of cold reason. It can fire rational revolutions but it brooks little in the way of dissent to its own rules though it will dress up its authoritarianism in the disguise that it is chopping off people’s heads for the general good of society. Rationalism untempered by feeling is it’s own form of madness as the Ancient Greek playwright Euripides showed in his drama the Bacchae.

    • Thanks Hugh, ‘Rationalism untempered by feeling is its own form of madness’ – makes great sense, and explains some of the contradictions of Aquarius and indeed the heavy Air charts of ideological fanatics.
      There’s another imbalance that has been niggling at me – from the Aquarius myth of Prometheus, the source of knowledge and science for mankind, whose ‘punishment’ is to have his liver torn out every night. Giving undue importance to the conscious thinking mind not only has a negative impact on the unconscious wherein madness lies. It also has a negative impact on the body.
      Negative earth might explain the carnage and revelling in blood during the French Revolution. The ‘unused’ functions tend to operate in an out-of-control way.
      Much to ponder.

      • Thank you Hugh. It occurred to me that ‘Madame Guillotine’ as used in the FR is such a Pluto in Aquarius method of execution. Although it’s origins go back as early as the C13th (in Scotland it was known as ‘the maiden’ – for some reason it has always been feminised), during the Revolution it was technically improved upon, adjusted for mechanical accuracy and came to be thought of as a more humane as well as quicker method of dispatching the enemies of the Republic. In reality the bloodshed was messy and the lack of respect for remains resulted in a grotesque cast on the supposedly egalitarian ideals of the Revolution. This illustrates well the darkness of Aquarius’s shadow when these high ideals, so bright, so progressive, so radical meet with the stark reality of the crowd baying for blood.

  3. I was at a very intense, Plutonian psychology workshop that was processing World issues of racism, inequality, etc….. on 4-5 November, 1995.
    Pluto was at 29+ degrees Scorpio.
    Yitzhak Rabin was murdered on 4 November, 1995.

    It was one of those moments/events that pierced into me….
    a harbinger of the Pluto in Sag time of the darkness of ideologies..
    of the coming years of “you are either with us or against us”.

  4. There have been some truly dark, , out of the mainstream films in the horror genre in recent years, so Capricornian in nature that it’s almost literal. I’m thinking of two successful recent films in particular – ‘The Witch’ by Robert Eggers and ‘Hagazussa’ by Lukas Feigelfeld for Deutsch Film. In both movies, there is a strong goat motif, both films concern extreme isolation from the community as well as cannibalism (Saturn ate his children), both female protagonists who are perceived as outsiders, ‘The Witch’ located in a remote landscape where nothing will grow and ‘Hagazussa’ set in an isolated community the Alps. They were also released when BML was also in Capricorn. Both film had much to say regarding a dark, collective projection onto female sexuality.

      • thanks Marjorie. There’s quite a Pluto theme with Batman too. I just think he looks so very Pluto anyway. But the first Batman comic, dated May 1939 but released earlier in March, is a year when Pluto enters Leo, with some retrograde in Cancer. The 1989 Warner Bros movie Batman has Pluto in Scorpio, and that Capricorn stellium of Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus in Capricorn. The the very dark Dark Knight was released in 2008 when Pluto enters Capricorn. The character of Bruce Wayne is a wealthy industrialist, he “becomes” Batman after his parents are murdered…..

        And there’s also the fabulous Musidora, French film pioneer and actress. In a series of early films about a crime gang called the Vampires, she wears a dramatic kind of all in one bat costume. These movies were a big success in 1915-6 when Pluto was first in Cancer.

        That old saying about the mills of God grinding very small always makes me think of Pluto. And bats….

  5. “As with Neptune, many iconic books and films were launched as Pluto sashayed into a new milieu.”

    Yes! And to me, it’s even clearer than with Neptune (could be that I’m simply more attuned to Pluto, having Venus/Uranus in Scorpio). The kind of genres and “icons” that are popular. For instance, I really can’t think about a more Pluto in Capricorn story than “Game of Thrones”. Obviously, “A Song of Ice And Fire” was a cult book series during Pluto in Sadgittarius. But the story reached a much larger audience thanks to TV adaptation (for instance, I always were more of a dystopian sci-fi than “high fantasy” reader, and only picked up the books after seeing two first episodes of the series).

    I’m also thinking about Hollywood from 1937 to 1939. Up until 1937, there had been a “women’s film” genre with relatively well paid actresses. They often had rather mundane stories, but beautiful sets and cloths. Suddenly, these actresses became “box office poison” and were, in many cases, dropped by studios. This actually was a major financial hit to many studios. But then, in late 1939, MGM premiered a lavish, grand drama in colors, that became the biggest box office hit for decades to come. Female leads of other dramas became similarly much more “dramatic”, launching Joan Crawford first, and Ava Gardner and Liz Taylor later… Many similar example there, really, although not all fits Pluto – for instance, I think MTV launch and consequential development is definitely Neptune in Sadgitarius going to Capricorn shift.

  6. As I am very Plutonian (5 planets in Scorpio and Moon in 8th) your interesting remarks got me thinking about some cross references with Numerology and the Tarot. Pluto in the Tarot is associated with the Death (number Thirteen; 13) and the Tower (number sixteen;16) Major cards. The Death card speaks for itself. Usually not a literal death but a major transformation in one’s life. The Tower card is associated with the Phoenix bird rising from the ashes, the destruction of structures and false beliefs built on shaky foundations. Demolition to free the way for a new foundation that is built for a better future. The Numerology that corresponds to the Death card is 13 reduced which is 4. And that is the number of…the need to build strong foundations, but also of rigidity ( The Emperor, number four;4 in the Tarot). The Numerology that corresponds to the Tower card is 16 reduced which is 7. A number that is usually attributed to change but also spiritual enlightenment, ‘getting to the core’. (Stephen Hawking had a 7 Life Path). The corresponding number 7 Tarot card is The Chariot; “As Above, So Below”.
    btw I have a 7 Life path too, and transformation is my middle name…aha…(hollow laugh)

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