Sunday, March 5, 2023

Between Earth & Sky: Pluto enters Aquarius



As if the Cosmos hasn’t given us enough to think about lately, we are now just days away from another major milestone:   

on March 23rd, just three days after the Sun’s ingress into Aries, signaling the new astrological year and the onset of Spring, Pluto will shake the dirt off its feet from earthy Capricorn for its initial “flight” into airy Aquarius. The image of a coal miner snatched out of his dark habitat and transformed into a fighter pilot comes to mind, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  

In fact, Pluto will meander back and forth over the Capricorn/Aquarius divide a couple times before finally committing itself fully to the “Uranian sky god” experience awaiting it in Aquarius in November, 2024, where it will stay until Neptune lures it into Pisces in March, 2043.   

That November 2024 date is significant in the U.S., of course, being so near our next presidential election. If I had to tie-dye one idea about this transit and hang it in my mind space, it would be “Take NOTHING for granted; assume EVERYTHING is up for grabs.”  

No surprises here: we’ve had hints that a cosmic free-for-all was in the works for a while. The Sun’s Aries ingress (discussion here) suggests a period of prominent Mars energy ahead: this will be whatever we make of it, of course, but considering how violent and combative this year has been already, it does feel like the gloves are off on multiple levels.  


More troubling, perhaps, is the nihilistic, Orwellian energy driving a lot of the divisiveness. The solution to growing gun violence is making more guns available with fewer background checks? And supporting American freedoms in Florida is assured by imposing one religious ideology on everyone in regards to the basic realities of human sexuality, severely limiting what children can learn in school and what healthcare they can receive? On the banning of books and limiting what teachers can teach that Florida and other extremist states are enacting, The Guardian maps out the challenge well: 

“Democracy involves informed decision-making about policy. These [Florida] laws are intended to render such deliberation impossible when it comes to minority groups. The United States suffers from immense racial disparities, which result in periodic outbreaks of political protest. Without an understanding of the structural factors that keep schools and cities segregated, and certain populations impoverished, Americans will not be able to react to these outbreaks with understanding – they will find them befuddling. These laws eliminate the knowledge and understanding required to react democratically to Black political protest to structural injustice. 

The authors targeted [for banning] by these laws do not just theorize about problematic structures – their work is also essential for understanding solutions. For example, Roderick Ferguson writes about social movements for liberation, including student movements. These [Florida] laws make it illegal to teach students about the history and strategy of social movements targeting structural injustice. More generally, these laws make it illegal to teach students about how to form social movements to challenge dominant interests and structures. 

Most frighteningly, these laws are meant to intimidate educators, to punish them for speaking freely by threatening their jobs, their teaching licenses, and more. The passing of these laws signals the dawn of a new authoritarian age in the United States, where the state uses laws restricting speech to intimidate, bully and punish educators, forcing them to submit to the ideology of the dominant majority or lose their livelihoods, and even their freedom. 

It is clear that the chief agenda of the GOP is to advance a set of speech laws that criminalize discussion in schools of anything but the white heterosexual majority’s perspective.” 

In what universe does this not call for a fight? 

And by what mandate do GOPers think they are empowered to spread this tyranny across the nation? No mandate exists for what they're doing, and this is not a racial or public health issue: what DeSantis is trying to foment in Florida will overturn American democracy for everyone.  

This is relevant to our discussion of Pluto’s movements because the answer to America’s karmic baggage around the issue of race is to face it straight on and do the hard work of healing, not to deny it and force it all back into our collective subconscious where it can fester and explode.  

And for what?  

Unfortunately, with Neptune lingering in late Pisces and Saturn entering Pisces at the same time Pluto is taking flight in Aquarius, we probably need to soberly accept that irrationality is the fuel for such overturning efforts, and in fact, that Orwellian irrationality may be the point, after all, because it’s like a toxic venom that paralyzes public discourse and renders it easily controllable. This is happening in Russia as we speak, as Putin’s official narrative of the war against Ukraine and his threats of imprisonment for anyone straying outside that narrative basically render the Russian people paralyzed and unable to stop his madness.   

That’s how fascism (often associated with heavy Aquarius influences) works, it seems: as an overwhelming upswelling of accumulated thuggishness that feeds off the hate-driven fantasy world imagined by its perpetrators. Like so many venomous furies, these haters eventually consume each other, but not until they’ve laid societies like ours to waste. Apparently, the horrors of WWII weren’t quite enough to purge this curse from human experience forever: the will to twist the legitimate ends of American government into the means for fascist control is alive and well.  

Prime example: Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) floats outrageous antisemitic and racist claims on Twitter and most dismiss them for the nonsense they are, but for those in tune with her, she’s putting calls to action out there: threats surface against Michigan public officials who happen to be Jewish...threats pop up here and there like fungi nourished by an underground network, and we act all surprised and shocked when people die. And those abusing their positions to poison people’s minds and hearts and to exploit the mentally ill go merrily on their way. As for the nation they are poisoning, World affairs writer Frida Ghitis, writing for CNN.com, had this to say: 

“That American Jews now feel unsafe in a country where they thought that could not happen is a sign of a society beginning to lose its moorings.” 

Ghitis goes on to identify what she sees “unmooring” us as a nation: “it’s conspiracy theories, poorly moderated social media platforms and a country awash in weapons.”  Toxic Pluto and Neptune are having a heyday here. Unmooring implies passive destruction, either drifting aimlessly or being carried away by some relentless tide that washes away all that grounds us in functional communities and in our larger shared reality as Americans: it's an unsettling, if not dystopian choice of words.

The trouble is, we know all this; we feel all this in our bones. And we know what the solutions are. Yet, any attempt to effect practical solutions to any one of these perils is consistently blocked by the extremists in our Congress and on our Supreme Court, which now rules on what Americans can and cannot do, as if they have become an authoritarian wing of our government. As Chinese activist and artist Ai Wei-Wei told interviewer Margaret Hoover on a recent edition of Firing Line, “In America, you may be living in an authoritarian government and not even know it.” And he, imprisoned for 81 days by the Chinese government for his socially critical art installations, would know. 

So, with all this in mind, let’s examine the role that Pluto’s transit into Aquarius is likely to play in the drama that is unfolding all around us.  

 

Chart 1. Pluto enters Aquarius, March 23, 2023 (cast for Washington, D.C.) 

 


Pluto is elevated in the 10th in this chart at 0°00’ Aquarius, cast with Equal Houses for Washington, D.C. Considering the tone and culture war issues of our times, it’s no surprise that an intense Mars rules this Aries rising chart from Gemini in the 3rd house of media, transportation and elementary education. This energy seems to already be surfacing, with another train derailment in the news just this week—maybe not surprising, considering the Sun’s Aries ingress is also due soon.  

So, Mars energy is potentially powerful in Chart 1, and with the 12th house packed with seven Aries points (Sun, Mercury, Chiron, Jupiter, Vesta, Eris and Moon), the volatility is somewhat submerged, but alive in our collective awareness: a late Aries Moon conjoins Eris and the ASC and widely conjoins the Taurus No. Node, while Pluto t-squares the Taurus-Scorpio horizon and the Nodal axis.  

Long story short, the People (Moon) are caught in a polarized, yet potentially disruptive dilemma here, but with so many key points falling in the unconscious 12th house, the dangers we’re facing are not yet on everyone’s “radar.”  

Two dispositors (planets in signs they rule) play prominent roles in this chart, Venus in Taurus and Neptune in Pisces: from the 1st house, Venus rules the 2nd house of finance and the 7th house of allies, partners and enemies; Neptune co-rules that packed 12th house with Jupiter. Because Pluto is “turning the screws” on the Taurus-Scorpio Nodal axis and on the Aries-Libra horizon (ASC-DSC) at the same time it is widely squaring Venus herself, these dynamics suggest challenges regarding federal spending, especially in the increasingly fraught arena of the Ukraine-Russia war. Fittingly for all this, any spending that would strengthen the IRS and federal Intelligence agencies also seems to be controversial.

For the record, wars have regularly featured during Pluto's transits in fixed signs because the quest for Power wants what it wants and doesn't give up easily: WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam Wars all kicked off with Pluto in fixed Leo; the U.S. Civil War erupted with Pluto in fixed Taurus; the American Revolution kicked off with Pluto in Capricorn, but from 1777-1791, it was fought under Pluto in Aquarius.

From the Underwater Museum (MUSA) near Cancun, Mexico.
 
As for Neptune’s powerful dispositorship in Chart 1, there’s a strong sense that the submerged Mars energy in the Neptunian 12th will strongly influence how the Mars-Neptune square (Gemini-Pisces) in this chart (echoing a similar square in our national Sibly chart) manifests in our national experience and discourse. At its worst, combative Mars energy waiting in the wings could represent an impending coup that bursts forth from deep-pocketed “Dark Money” forces (11th house Neptune) and their exploitation of local political unrest (3rd house Mars). Some have already said this out loud, but it bears repeating here: was January 6th, 2021 just a dress rehearsal for the coming days?  

More positively, this energy could be channeled into ramping up the transformational technologies suggested by 1st house Taurus Uranus. This Uranus disposes Aquarius Pluto, which rules the Scorpio 8th house of big finance. Aquarius rules electricity as a force of nature, the force that could conceivably power our future transportation systems and technologies, yet we can expect many frustrations as this transformative process away from fossil fuels unfolds: late Gemini Mars sits inconjunct Aquarius Pluto from the 3rd house in this chart, so despite the critical, prominent goals driving these technology transformations (10th house Pluto), the polarization that grips us (especially around where the nation should focus its investments for the future) is likely to continue challenging the progress that is so badly needed.  

 


“Our bodies are the first site of liberation.” -- Imara Jones 

Returning to Venus’s powerful presence in the 1st house of Chart 1 for a moment, it’s important to consider the face-off we see here between “Sky god” Pluto in Aquarius and her fixed earthy substance and values: this Sky-Earth divide represents perhaps the most critical power struggle of our times. Deep-pocketed ideological control is being imposed on bodies in our nation as we speak, under the guise of banning abortion and LGBTQ rights; even the bodies of trans children are being exploited for the sake of Power-writ-large. Thankfully, those bodies can also, as TransLash Media founder Imara Jones has said, be “the first site of liberation.”  

This hopeful flip-side of today’s political landscape does resonate with Aquarius at its liberty-loving best; however, American culture was founded in the airy abstractions of Enlightenment thinking and Revolution, both supported by Pluto’s 1777-1797 transit of Aquarius. Unfortunately, while that strongly yang type of thinking did conceive of (male) human rights and dignity, it has also fatefully influenced our national tendency to view the Earth as just another “body” to be controlled and exploited for the sake of power.  

Of course, the Enlightenment is still very much with us and most of western civilization: it's embedded in the so-called “scientific method” it inspired, and in the scientific and technological developments it seeded that still embrace this abstract, “superior to Nature” perspective.  A perspective that just happens to be shared by today’s white/Christian nationalists whose deep pockets are so dangerously influential at this juncture 

 

 

Between the Earth and the Sky

According to a stunning account of Yoruba tradition recently featured in Emergence magazine, it’s the “middling space” between Earth and Sky “that gives birth to beginnings and endings.” The DNA molecule, as it happens, is just such a bridge, the building block of Creation that links information (Sky/Air) and Earth-bound Nature, and all that entails. I was drawn to this story because Pluto is thought to rule not only gestation and birth, but genetics and DNA, the “ladder” between Sky and Earth at the heart of all Creation.  

In so far as the political will exists in our times to manipulate Creation for the sake of Ideology and Power, we must not discount the Machiavellian possibilities that abusing the very stuff of Life—DNA—can be a means to achieve certain powerful ends. For instance, to prove that transgender identities can be genetically modified out of the American people? To enable Big Pharma to use human subjects for twisted, right-wing serving purposes? Or to mandate that certain couples shouldn’t be allowed to procreate because they might produce LGBTQ children?  The list of such horrors could conceivably go on and on.

Some GOP-led states are already pushing bills that ban doctors from providing gender therapy to vulnerable children...what’s to stop these legislatures from taking this to the next atrocious level?  

 

Anne Boleyn's eyes
 

I should mention here that the other significant transit of Pluto through Aquarius in our western cultural memory was in 1532, the year Machiavelli’s The Prince was published, pushing his extreme thesis that for the ruling class, “the ends justifies the means.” It was also the transit that brought the western world the Protestant Reformation and Anne Boleyn’s fateful marriage to King Henry VIII—I can’t think of a better image of “contol over bodies” than Anne’s beheading, all because Henry couldn’t produce a son in her womb! 

Recalling all this reminds me that the bodies of women, children, the disabled and the "different" have been the perennial tools for State control throughout history, and the recent rush to control school curricula is certainly implicated here; parents should place their children in the care of school systems who are committed to manipulating and denying the truth of our history for the sake of their own power? How many teachers now afraid to teach the truth are also mothers with school-age children? 

Bottom line: those who value freedom and human dignity should take NOTHING for granted going forward.

 


Final thoughts 

The Plutonian plot I’ve sketched out above will see many twists along the way, of course, but it’s worth noting here that one such zig-zag is approaching soon, this coming May 17th, when the very influential, Power-related Jupiter-Pluto cycle will reach its waxing 1Q square between Taurus and Aquarius. So, launching a focused, high stakes clash of Earth and Air and all that entails in the coming three years. These years are likely to be very consequential for the issues we've covered here, so we will consider this key cyclical moment in more depth soon.   

On another important note, Chart 1 above also represents the so-called "birth chart" of what will now become the Pluto in Aquarius generation. If you're not familiar with this idea, astrology has long taught that the unique characteristics of each generation reflect the signs Pluto is transiting through during their formative years: i.e., the Boomer generation came into form during the years Pluto transited Leo, undoubtedly influencing their reputation for being the "Me" generation; Pluto entered fiery Sagittarius in 1995, bringing us the Millennial generation (for more on them, click here). And so on: we'll return to this issue in regards to the new generation now poised to make its debut soon.

I choose to be hopeful about the road ahead, but we have to be realistically vigilant, and on that note, I will end with an excerpt from Bayo Akomolafe’s brilliant story in Emergence magazine, entitled “When You Meet the Monster, Anoint its Feet:” 

Obatálá, son of Olodumare—curious, restless, and uneasy with endless bliss—was inspired to create a people and the land they would rest on. With Olodumare’s blessings, he took leave of heavenly places and made his way down to the waters to begin his task. Just before he made his way, Obatálá consulted with Orunmila, Òrìshà of prophecy, who told him that he must prepare a chain of gold; gather palm nuts, with which he might hold the sand to be thrown over the waters; and obtain a sacred egg which contained a bird that would come in handy along the way. Obatálá did as instructed and secured these items. At the moment of departure, he fastened the golden chain to the sky and climbed down. 

Can you take an instant to visualize this event? Imagine it for a moment: sky and swirling blue traversed by a shimmering chain that irrevocably and rudely links the heavens to the terrestrial, the divine to the mundane, the transcendent to the immanent, the infinite to the finite, nature to culture, masculine to feminine, beginnings to endings, unsettling both, re-configuring both just as well. In a sense, Obatálá’s epic adventure recreated everything.” 

And so might Pluto, coming up for Air from earth-bound Capricorn. Courage, love and light to all! 

 

 


 

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and retired educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. For information about individual chart readings, contact: robertsonraye@gmail.com. 

© Raye Robertson 2023. All rights reserved.