Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Youth Vote 2016, Part Two: the Pluto in Scorpio Millennials

They, like their older Pluto-in-Libra siblings, have lived through the 2008 Wall Street crash—which made finishing their educations, finding decent jobs and launching their independent lives even more difficult than usual. They know the “rigged economy” Sanders rails against first-hand, so convincing them to work against it hasn’t been difficult. 
My first article about the Pluto in Scorpio generation—the November, 1983-January, 1995 cohort of the so-called Millennial generation of young adults (now ages 22-33)—was published in the October/November issue of The Mountain Astrologer, just prior to that generation’s stunning turnout in favor of Barack Obama. So, here we are 8 years later, approaching Election 2016, wondering how today’s Millennial vote—estimated between 80-91 million strong—will shake out this time. Astrology studies generations in terms of Pluto signs; mainstream demographers segment by age (usually 18-29 years olds, but some studies use 18-33), so the population figures vary somewhat.

Of course, today’s youngest voters are no longer Pluto in Scorpios—Pluto transited Sagittarius between January, 1995-January, 2008, seeding the newest crop of 18 to 21-year old voters out there (a story for another day). For now, let’s consider the impact this Pluto-in-Scorpio cohort is likely to have again this election.[1]

For the sake of space and clarity, the Pluto-in-Scorpio group will be referred to as Gen Scorpio.

The most intensely studied generation ever

Analysts William Strauss and Neil Howe[2] have written several studies on Millennials and their observations are a good starting point, particularly for Gen Scorpio. They say that Millennials have an irrepressible,“can-do” attitude, are civically engaged, other-oriented, team-spirited, possessed of progressive values and reassuring self-esteem and confidence. So far so good—but wait…

To psychology professor Jean M. Twenge, there’s a darker side to the Millennial esprít de corps and bluster: in her book, Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before, Twenge cites survey data that shows the Millennials are “the most narcissistic generation in history.”[3]

So, how can two generational studies differ so widely? Their subject was mostly Gen Scorpio, the first generation to come of age in post-9/11 America (the youngest turned 18 in exactly 2001), so if they didn’t embody extremes in all possible directions, we’d have to wonder why not. Besides, as we’ll see in their generational chart, the tension between focus on Self and focus on Others is a major theme.

The Scorpio generation: (roughly 22-33 years old in 2016)

Before we consider this generation’s chart, one key point to remember is that young voters do not act in a vacuum, but within the current astrological dynamics and in ways that either resonate or clash with preceding generations. These interactions are intriguing—first, because they drive social evolution, and second, because the process of political change is far from linear, or even logical at times.
But how could this intergenerational dance not be intriguing? We’re dealing here with Pluto, after all—primal upheaval, unfolding over long periods—is its modus operandi. This Scorpio generation was born into the most intensely fixed sign of the Zodiac, so while they resonate with their fixed Pluto-in-Leo parents or grandparents, they also blame that generation for a lot of today’s problems. So it’s interesting that the Leo generation is staging a political last hurrah this year—and that Sanders, the oldest Pluto in Leo running, seems to have captured a lot of their hearts. More on specific candidates to come—let’s consider their generational chart (below):

First, a disclaimer: a generational chart sets the “tone,” so to speak, for the broad, collective trends a society is likely to see during that time period. This does not speak to individual behaviors or potentials within that generation. Collective trends may well impact individuals, but they are not the primary factors to consider when analyzing a natal chart.

Pluto enters Scorpio—Gen Scorpio debuts

Capricorn-Cancer AS-DS; Scorpio-Taurus MC-IC; Pluto conjoins MC and inconjoins Chiron (Gemini). With Saturn as their chart ruler at the Capricorn As, this complex suggests a generation that is fundamentally conservative (by character, if not by politics), no-nonsense, proactive and hard-working—they are an exquisitely intense lot, with ambitious goals. These “heirs apparent” resonate with the WWII generation because that generation won against great odds, and that validates their own competitive drive. Winning, even by ruthless means, is essential for self-validation in their chart—besides, as Pluto’s favorite children (in its home sign), they equate winning with survival. The potential for a wounded, degenerate, Mad Max-style world—totally destroyed environment, scarce resources and sadistic repression—is not lost on them. For some, Trump’s “winners v. losers” mind-set hits them where they live; for others, the wound of wealth inequality and the resulting social injustices (Pluto inconjunct Chiron) drive them in Sanders’ direction.

4th quadrant Sun and Moon (Scorpio). As mentioned earlier, the personal (Self) and the collective (Other) are hopelessly entwined in Gen Scorpio—but that’s as it should be, given their Sun-Moon placement. As Haydn Paul says, in The Astrological Moon, “When both Moon and Sun are placed above the horizon, the appropriate individual response should be directed toward collective activity in the group evolutionary path, which may involve political, cultural, or scientific unfolding, inspired by firmly held personal values and ideals.”[4]  This generation wrestles with where the line should be between individual and public domains, and rightly so—many of today’s key challenges depend upon where that line is drawn (i.e., privacy v. security, privatization v. “the environmental commons,” and so on). This generation is going to be instrumental in drawing those lines and managing those challenges.  

6-planet Scorpio stellium in 11th, bracketing the MC, Saturn, Sun and Mercury between Pluto at 0º and the Moon at 22º. Spanning their collective-oriented 10th-11th houses, these placements also fit the intensity of today’s social and environmental challenges—the world the Scorpios are inheriting. They grew up with The Lord of the Rings films and the Harry Potter 7-part saga, so they’ve been primed for the transformative, “all or nothing” heroic quest their Pluto has assigned to them. This stellium, of course, may also explain why, in a 2014 Harvard Institute of Politics study, so few of them claimed to trust Congress (14%), the Federal Government(20%), Wall Street (12%), and the Media (11%). Hillary Clinton (whose chart features strong Leo and Scorpio placements) suffers with them on the trust issue, too. Scorpio gifts them with exquisite skepticism, so Hillary’s commitment to the “extreme makeover” they want may not ring true.

Mars in Virgo disposes Scorpio stellium, squaring Jupiter/Neptune (midpoint) in Sagittarius. This generation is clearly capable of analyzing information objectively; they can see both the parts and the big picture of any situation), although relying on their Scorpionic “gut” is an easier default mode. Unfortunately, such instincts—centered in the primitive reptilian brain and limbic systems, ruled by Moon and Pluto (their Moon disposed by Pluto)—react identically to real and imaginary threats, and are thus subjective, rather than objective sensors. According to Noel Tyl, the Mars square to their Jupiter/Neptune suggests “strong idealism; a need for practical focus.” Many seem to be channeling this idealistic energy into practical protest tactics these days, in a growing determination to shut down Trump rallies.

Jupiter conjunct Uranus (Sagittarius) at their Scorpio Saturn-Capricorn AS midpoint; Saturn (Scorpio) semi-sextile Uranus. Already blessed with Scorpio’s exquisite hogwash-meter, Gen Scorpios are not naïve idealists: this dignified Sagittarius Jupiter rules their 12th house and co-rules their Pisces 3rd—their growth has been stifled and they’re looking to bust loose. With Jupiter conjunct Uranus (ruling their finance-minded 2nd house), they are keenly aware of the opportunities available in the “anything goes” globalized economy, and make no mistake, they want theirs!

With the co-rulers of their 2nd house in an irksome semi-sextile, however, they’re suspicious of Wall Street’s model of limitless growth. They, like their older Pluto-in-Libra siblings, have lived through the 2008 Wall Street crash—which made finishing their educations, finding decent jobs and launching their independent lives even more difficult than usual. They know the “rigged economy” Sanders rails against first-hand, so convincing them to work against it hasn’t been difficult.

Virgo Venus-Mars sextile Scorpio Moon. With a strong perfectionist streak, this generation can be quick to pounce on others’ “imperfections”—brutally, at times. Social media provides an outlet for this aggressive energy, which seems to “come out of nowhere:” more likely, it’s lurking in that repressed Sagittarius 12th house Jupiter-Uranus conjunction and its lackluster semi-sextile outlet (mentioned above). There are no “excuses” with this generation—they are very demanding with themselves, and when they put their trust in a candidate, that candidate better deliver!

Virgo Venus-Mars square Sagittarius Neptune. Thousands of Gen Scorpios have channeled their generation’s intensity into military service; that Gen Scorpio women (Venus) are standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the military with men (Mars), in their militarized 9th house of international affairs (Virgo cusp), is literally reflected here. As for the Neptune square, this aspect reflects not only their idealistic motives for serving, but also how a commonplace influence in their lives—video gaming—prepared them for these careers. Social analyst John Leo explores the connection between gaming and the battle simulators used in the military—both employ visual illusion (Neptune) for the sake of building the needed fighting skills; the simulators specifically work on “breaking down the soldier’s aversion to killing.”[5] As transiting Neptune (Pisces) approaches their mid-life square with natal Neptune, however, they may become disenchanted with any abuses of military power they experience.

11th house Moon (in fall in Scorpio) conjoins Mercury (Scorpio); Mars (Virgo) sextiles Moon. These factors perhaps explain Twenge’s view that in their teenaged years, this generation was psychologically troubled—statistics for anxiety, mood disorders, depression and suicide were all above the norm when her study was released in 2006. Interestingly, with these personal placements in their collective 11th house, Gen Scorpios instinctively know that personal problems are rooted in collective failings—and that solving those problems requires collective action. Gen Scorpios have been strong advocates for gender equality, civil rights (for an array of groups), labor issues, the legalization of gay marriage and marijuana.

Gen Scorpios are adept social media-based activists, but their sharp emotional instincts (Mars-Moon sextile) leave them open to misuse; Gen Scorpios are not easily deceived—their sensitive Scorpio energies and especially their Mercury endow them with acute perception—but individual vulnerabilities within the larger group are another matter.

6th house, collective Gemini north node, disposed by 11th house Mercury; Uranus in Sagittarius rules 2nd.  This Node signals an evolutionary direction for Gen Scorpio: toward practical ways of serving their local communities (Gemini=3rd house) via communication, technology and information. They are likely to lean toward solving human problems using intelligent, hands-on solutions, toward sharing rather than hoarding resources, and so on. Alternative transportation technologies should continue to unfold dramatically under their watch, as will local sustainable enterprises. As a generation, their faith in abundance has been challenged by the recent recession, but shaking things up in the financial realm is an instinctive part of their larger Plutonian, transformative purpose. In this regard, they are tailor made for Sander’s anti-Wall Street “revolution.”

5th house Chiron (Gemini) opposite 12th house Uranus (Sagittarius). This placement evokes what Chiron expert Martin Lass calls a “revolution in consciousness, per se…the exploration, discovery and development of radical new ideas and technologies for Healing.”[6] Given the opposition, they may be both wounded and healed by technology, and by the aggressive thrust forward (Sagittarius) in developing that technology. Drones, the latest unstoppable juggernaut industry, are a good example—Gen Scorpios may profit greatly in that field, but some may balk at the privacy concerns. With all their generational Scorpio energy, privacy is important—witness the current dust-up about Apple, Inc.’s dispute with the FBI over the disabling of iPhone encryption. Apple does not want to lose its Millennial following. Uranus’ added conjunction with Jupiter (out of orb for the Chiron opposition) only super-charges the scenario. 

Dramatic generational transits

The cosmic struggle goes on for this generation’s soul. As I pointed out in my 2008 article, Pluto transited slowly over their entire Scorpio stellium, (MC, Sun, Mercury and Moon) in their early years, so—to Twenge’s point—being moody and depressed was understandable for them. As the oldest among them moved through their teens into their 20s, Pluto was slowly moving over their Uranus, Jupiter, south node and finally, their Neptune, which conjoins the Galactic Center (26-7 Sagittarius)—probably a turning point at which many of them woke up to their survival being linked with the fate of the earth.

Pluto finished its tour of Sagittarius conjunct their 12th house Neptune/GC, entering Capricorn in January 2008. Pluto transited within a 5° orb of their generational ascendant (crossing between their 12th and 1st several times) well into 2014, stepping into their 1st house to stay in November 2012, where it remains today. As if that journey of Pluto into the GC’s “heart of darkness” in their 12th house wasn’t enough, the oldest Gen Scorpios experienced Neptune’s 2011 ingress into Pisces as a 3rd house trine to their Pluto-MC-Saturn—an overwhelming influence that probably led many to sacrifice their ambitious plans for the sake of everyday survival. Those able to leverage the creative potential of that trine probably thrived, while many suffered a setback at that critical “launch” period of their lives.

To complicate their lives even further, the oldest Gen Scorpios began their Saturn returns in 2012, with Pluto transiting their 1st house and the collective teeming with “end of the world” prophecies. They responded in great numbers to that year’s politics, helping to re-elect Barack Obama, their 2008 favorite for president. For many this late-20s period inspired a personal quest for fitness and discipline; marathon running, extreme sports and gym memberships.

Relationships became more serious, as befits the age, but the average age for marriage remained above 25. Many returned to school to complete the plans they had put on hold—it was a time to get serious and this time, get the job done.

It’s all in the numbers…

Judging from the outpouring of Millennial support for this year’s most liberal candidate, Bernie Sanders (approx. 80% in Michigan’s primary), it seems that Gen Scorpios see the current power and finance structures of society as an unjust, even dystopian obstacle to their futures. Politicians are taking notes because this generation is going to vote in record numbers. Even a 50% turnout of their 80-90 million total would make a staggering difference.

Granted, Gen Scorpios will not vote as a monolithic bloc—there’s an 11-year age range among them, spanning their 20s and 30s (22-33), and that decade-divide can make a big difference in perspectives. There will be supporters of all campaigns in the mix. Besides, the Dems should certainly not take the Gen Scorpio voting bloc for granted—they can be tenaciously loyal, but look out if they sense your campaign is long on talk and short on action. President Obama’s inability to move a polarized Congress disappointed them, and even though they’ve been somewhat forgiving (Obama compensated with some of their high-profile priorities like marriage equality, more accessible health care and gender equality in the military), this disappointment probably explains their lukewarm feelings about Clinton’s campaign. And, not to be ignored, there are some disenchanted Millennials supporting Trump this time around—an extreme generational chart tends toward extremes.

[1] A number of articles have been published over the years on related generational topics in The Mountain Astrologer. For more information, see the “Back Issues” Article Index at  
[2] Howe, Neil and William Strauss, Millenials Rising: The Next Great Generation, Vintage Books, New York, NY, 2000.
[3] Twenge, Jean M. Ph.D, Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before,” Free Press, New York, NY, 2006, p. 70.
[4] Paul, Haydn, The Astrological Moon, Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach, ME, 1998, p. 37.
[5] Leo, John, “When Life Imitates Video,” U.S. News Online, “Outlook on Society,”
[6] Lass, Martin. Musings of a Rogue Comet: Chiron, Planet of Healing, Galactic Publications, Nyack, NY, 2001. p. 403.

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at: 

© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved. 


  1. I’m exhilarated in finding astrologers researching the generational topic. I’m a longtime fan of the Strauss and Howe research on generations, particularly, the Generations and Fourth Turning books. Now that I have become a beginner astrologer myself I am further exhilarated that Raye Robertson, a Millennial era educator, has taken up a serious conversation on the Millennials and connected them to astrological underpinnings. An interest in Millennials is paramount for those who are as spell bound as I am about the exigent turnings of history being put forth through the Fourth Turning study. The Strauss and Howe and astrology disciplines need to be brought down to the layman’s understanding of knowledge for us to make “collective” use of what is being brought before us.
    Useful would it be for a still closer meshing of astrology’s discipline to the predictions portrayed in the Strauss and Howe books: predictions actually being found far longer in the camp of the astrologer. A combined meshing might establish an exasperatingly overly detailed analysis of our times through the eyes of both of these disciplines, but I bet the results would be astonishingly eye opening, whereby each discipline could claim its rightful place in the contribution to predictable futures. A great article, Raye, and this retired Boomer novice hopes to contact you further. M Cervantes
    P.S. 56 million Millennials are potential voters for this 2016 election cycle based on 3.5 million births per year since year 2000 the year first Millennials turned 18 years of age (my estimation)