Pluto: Transformation & Change
Pluto was first seen by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, although astronomer Percival Lowell had previously assumed that the planet existed on the basis of his mathematical calculations. Roughly 3000 miles in diameter, the planet’s orbit is 17 degrees inclined to the ecliptic, and it is some 3600 million miles from the sun.
Pluto completes an orbit of the sun once every 248 years, and is therefore the third and final planet that forms a ‘generation effect’ in the natal chart. It’s orbit is somewhat erratic, however, and brings it very close to a collision with Neptune – although an actual collision is thought highly unlikely.
So far, much about Pluto remains mysterious, as no space probes have yet been able to reach it.
In astrology, Pluto is known as the planet of transformation and change. Pluto was an agricultural God who ruled over the underworld – it was to his land of death beyond the river Styx that every living creature was eventually transported. Pluto often wore a helmet which rendered him invisible, and (probably helped by the helmet!) was known as being a great seducer.
The planet that bears his name rules the sign of Scorpio, and is connected with the sexual organs and human reproduction. It is also concerned with with the unconscious buried emotions, however, and whilst it can encourage us to overcome obstacles, it can also make us sly, critical, secretive, cruel.
Pluto through the Signs
Pluto takes 246 years to travel through all twelve zodiac signs, although it’s orbit is erratic – it will take 13 years to travel through some and up to 32 years for others. It’s generation influence is quite potent, and it is a very strong planet if it is personalised in the natal chart (i.e for anyone with Sun or Ascendant Scorpio, or Pluto as a rising planet, or Pluto in strong aspect to the Sun, Moon or ruling planet).
There is no-one alive with Pluto in Aries or Taurus, and the first children to be born with Pluto in Sagittarius arrived only in 1995 – it is a little too early to assess how Pluto is making itself felt from that sign. We will return to generation influences in a later lesson, but for now let’s take a look at how Pluto through the signs acts if it is personalised.
Pluto in Gemini (until 1912/13): Elderly people with Pluto in this sign are usually very sceptical, but also have an intense inquisitiveness and curiosity, possibly because they have lived through so much themselves. Those with good intellects are very wise, but those less well gifted are rather dogmatic about change.
Pluto in Cancer (1912/13 – 1937/38): This placing has a powerful effect on the subject’s intuition and emotional levels. However, if Pluto is negatively aspected by the Sun, Moon, ruling planet or Ascendant then there can be some psychological blockage. If the chart shows business acumen, then this placing certainly increases it, and Cancerian tenacity is also increased.
Pluto in Leo (1937/38 – 1957): Powers of leadership are heightened with this placing, and indeed if the Sun, Moon or Ascendant are also in Leo there could be a power complex. If Pluto is near the top of the chart, especially in the 10th house, this person is a real empire builder, but often in danger of becoming power mad.
If Pluto is more helpful aspected, however, then here is a person who has great capacity to work for the good of others as well as themselves.
Pluto in Virgo (1958 – 1971): If obsessive tendencies are shown elsewhere in the chart, then this placing will compound the problem. If Pluto is negatively aspected, the ability to talk through personal problems may also be affected.
However, this placing does confer the desire to see problems in a coherent perspective and to think rationally about them. If Pluto is aspected by the Sun there may be a tendency towards constipation, since Virgo rules the bowels.
Pluto in Libra (1971 – 1983/84): In many ways this placing spices up Libra, but it does also increase the Libran tendency to cause arguments in order to ask a loved one to prove themselves. If there is a Libran Sun or Moon then there will be a very active sex life, and the pure romanticism of Libra will not be so strong. Jealousy and possessiveness can be a problem with this placing.
Pluto in Scorpio (1983/84 – 1995): This placing adds intensity and a sense of purpose, but if Pluto receives negative aspects from the Sun, Moon or ruling planet then there may be minor psychological problems.
If Scorpio is also the Sun, Moon or Ascendant Sign then this child will have boundless energy – but energy that must be channelled, not frittered away. Competitive sport or some kind of challenge is essential to keep this youngster from becoming depressed.
With all of the above descriptions, it is important to remember that we are not referring to everyone born within the stated years, but only those who have Pluto personalised in their charts.
The following descriptions of Pluto through the houses are, however, relevant to us all.
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