Pluto & the USA Horoscope: The Long Slow Transformation
Have you ever wondered why the USA, the “land of the free” and of “we the people,” has such a tumultuous history of struggle to achieve civil liberties and social justice for all its citizens? Particularly, why must this struggle conducted by its citizens be against their government to challenge its resistance to expanding such liberties?
To complicate matters, American citizens hold vastly different views on how those freedoms should be codified in law and how they should be allowed to be expressed in daily life—or not!
To track our nation’s struggles on these ever evolving issues, in this post I’m focusing on the planet Pluto, its prominent placement in the USA horoscope and key astrological triggers over the past 235 years. But first, why Pluto is so important in any chart.
About Astrological Pluto: Pluto is the planet in our solar system farthest from the Sun. His journey to complete one orbit takes 248 years, so he (I like to use a personal pronoun describing a planet’s energies) spends an average of 20 years in each of the 12 signs. He has a lot of time to make his long slow turns, digging deeper as he progresses, his thorough excavations expose what is decaying side by side with new emerging growth.
Pluto represents power, specifically the power to transform on large scale, global levels because he contains the necessity to do so for the greater good. It’s important to keep that in mind because when Pluto goes to work it’s easy to forget.
He reminds us that evolution and change happen over long periods of time covering several lifetimes so it’s impossible for a generation or even several generations to properly view the far-ranging changes in motion even with studied historical perspective. So we remain largely unaware of Pluto’s death/rebirth process simultaneously going on before our eyes. Remember, in mythology he’s the Lord of the Underworld and the always changing process of life to death to life to death . . .
His focus is on collective thought and action, not individuals, something most people don’t spend time thinking about. However, specific individuals and positions they hold will be the lightning rod for calling attention to issues–usually dramatically–and act as the fulcrum for illuminating trends and calls to action, both positive and negative depending on your viewpoint.
I don’t think many would take issue with me when I say that Donald Trump is such a lightning rod. Whether you agree with him or not he does focus attention on identifying the need for change—as seen from many angles. And he certainly has brought “we the people” out of the shadows and into the streets on all sides of the issues!
He redistributes power. He specifically exposes malignant and destructive concentrations of power relative to the sign he is in, eventually providing opportunities to clean the whole mess up. Pluto’s influence results in:
- Supporting and rewarding what is working well for the masses.
- Eroding and even plowing under what doesn’t work well for the masses, making room for something new to emerge.
Pluto in the USA Chart: At the time of our country’s “birth,” (July 4, 1776, 2:13 am, Philadelphia, PA–Gemini rising) Pluto was at 27 degrees in Capricorn, the sign of executive function, business, career and reputation. He is also in the 9th house in the US chart, the house of higher education, foreigners and international relationships, religion, court systems and policy development giving him double influence. Capricorn is also the natural ruler of the 10th house, so in the chart of the USA Pluto is definitely the CEO.
Pluto’s placement here enables the US government to have a powerful influence on “we the people” through business, religion, and policy.
Even though our founding fathers were brilliant visionaries they were still white European males whose heritage was to conquer and colonize other people and their lands. So from the beginning of our nation, “we the people” were several lengths behind the starting gate in spite of rhetoric to the contrary as these examples demonstrate:
- There were no protections from being owned by other human beings. That didn’t come until nearly 90 years later through the Emancipation Proclamation’s ban of slavery.
- Roughly 60% of Americans–women and slaves–were denied the right to vote, a right male freed slaves eventually got following the Civil War, but women had to wait until 1918.
The fundamental expression of any planetary placement meets its initial test when that planet makes its first square to its natal position. Newbie astrologers and astro-muggles, don’t panic! Cross this bridge with me now. Squares mean conflicts you can’t ignore and require resolution. Oppositions are to bring awareness to situations about which not enough is known. The signs and planets involved show the nature of the issues and conflicts.
Following are major power and policy shifts in the USA initiated by Pluto’s energies working through the energies of the astrological signs and aspects involved.
Pluto in Aries—1822-1853, opening square: When Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, moved into Aries (sign of the individual) a cultural eruption over the exercise of individual rights ensued which history would call the First Reform Period. That was when the drive for the abolition of slavery started to gain ground resulting in events leading up to the Civil War. This was followed by the first organized women’s rights movement established by leaders such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Pluto in Cancer: 1914-1939, opposition: How well did Capricorn’s policies provide for women and all that is associated with them? Poorly at first, a fact made most evident when Pluto took up residence in Capricorn’s opposite sign, Cancer, sign of home, children, family, food and mother. When a planet moves opposite the sign of its original placement, what was overlooked or ignored relative to those two signs now roars out of the darkness demanding to be recognized. And because it’s Pluto he brings large scale cataclysms no one can ignore.
So what could government and business policies have to do with disasters impacting protections for homes and families when Pluto was in Cancer? Well, how about World War I, the crash of ’29 and the Great Depression for starters?
Our businesses and finances (Capricorn) were in shambles. But the images forever burned into our nation’s collective psyche are the numbers of hungry, homeless people (Cancer) who roamed our nation on an unprecedented scale. This deeply stabbed at the core of who we thought we were as a people when millions of mothers and fathers couldn’t feed their families and had to rely on what became known as breadlines.
Out of this mess archetypal Mamma and archetypal Poppa for the first time started consciously working together, falling along traditional gender lines. Only this time Cancer initially called the shots. She, like Mom, cleans us up, bandages and kisses all our “owies,” sees that we’re safe and snug, and have enough to eat. Most important she makes sure that everyone at least gets something, a detail that generally escapes Capricorn.
Capricorn energy in response (finally) resulted in government establishing regulations to stem these economic disasters and began feeding everyone, hiring millions of people to put the nation back together. By the time Pluto left Cancer Social Security was in place, a new infrastructure was established so the bulk of the nation was clothed, fed, sheltered and back at work, and women could finally vote .
Pluto in Libra. 1971-1983, closing square: The Libra archetype is about bringing us into relationships, assuring that the individual’s needs and concerns (opposite sign Aries) will be addressed through listening to each voice and weighing every potential action in terms of fairness and justice.
As the “closing” square to our nation’s Pluto in Capricorn, whatever hadn’t been addressed before about the relationship of government authority to individual freedoms and social justice would now become painfully evident and most loudly protested. Mind you, this doesn’t mean it will be immediately resolved but it won’t be relegated to the cheap seats.
Pluto in Libra created demands that this process be at a public level, requiring the voices of the masses, along with their supporters, impacted by such inequities speak and be heard. They did and still do.
Civil rights laws had just been enacted and those supposed to be protected by them now insisted that they be enforced—imagine that!
Significant case law was made by a progressive Supreme Court eager to hear and rule on challenges to the status quo.
However, the largest impact of Pluto in Libra was on women’s rights. I remember the early 70s. It took a blitz of lawsuits for a woman to get her name, not her husband’s, on a credit card and for her income to be considered in the purchase of a home.
Women made enormous strides during that time. In the work place they got out from behind typewriters (remember those?) and started the hard climb to management and executive levels. Divorce became epidemic as women left marriages not meeting their needs.
The proposed equal rights amendment (ERA) had its total life span completely within the Pluto in Libra period. Born in the US Congress in 1972 the ERA died in Oklahoma, killed by a handful of that state’s male legislators in 1982.
However, the most revolutionary and contentious change of this period was the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade which for the first time gave women the legal right to choose whether or not to have a child.
Key points still in debate now are:
- Women may have the legal right (Libra)
- to decide about their bodies (Aries)
- but who has the real authority and responsibility (Capricorn)
- to make any and all decisions about the gestating fetus (Cancer)?
Today Pluto has made its first return to its natal sign of Capricorn in our nation’s horoscope but has seven more years before reaching its starting point. However, he has given us plenty of peeks into the future. Pluto’s entrance into Capricorn in October 2008 ushered in the collapse of the housing bubble, the exposure of unprecedented, unregulated greed and scandal by banks and their Wall Street partners, and both the reluctance and impotence of our government to effectively deal with the resulting precipitous economic crash we will be struggling with for many years.
What has become shockingly more obvious is the participation of elected officials in these travesties and abandonment of any sense of fairness or obligation to the 99% of American citizens who do not live in rarefied air.
With Pluto back in its home place in Capricorn the core issue currently is what will the outcome be of the battle between governmental and corporate ownership and interests currently fighting for supremacy over individual rights and freedoms with individuals increasingly fighting back hard.
An ever-expanding battle field for that conflict is, of course, health care. Pluto is not only in the house of policy and governmental lawmaking but with Scorpio intercept in the 6th house also rules that house of service and disease and its care. The outcome of this battle is becoming more defined: Do all Americans deserve to have affordable healthcare—or not?