We use clocks to tell time by the movements of the hands: seconds, minutes, hours. Astrology, in a way, is a look at a life, or a life process, using many different “hands of clocks” to interpret the positions of each planet or other celestial body. In astrology, planetary movements can be timing devices.
At the moment of your birth, there would be a sort of celestial freeze-frame of you on earth, in a mathematical matrix of planets, points, and placements, which, astrology suggests, sets up a blueprint of the possibilities for your life. Everything that has a birth can be charted – a person, a building, a corporation, or a country. But the planets keep moving – planet means “wanderer’ – and their transits around that initial structure move your life story along. Planets orbit, and (from our perspective) return to their original points in space. Your birthday is also known as a solar return; we perceive that the transiting Sun returns to the same place in the zodiac (by sign and degree) as it was at your birth. A lunar return takes 29 days to make the full circle. A planetary return (the complete transit of a planet around the zodiac) refers to a planet returning to the same degree, sign, and place it was at the birth of the individual’s birth chart.
Pluto – yes, astrologers still consider it a planet – is the furthest out, and therefore the slowest moving planet in our solar system; he takes 242-248 YEARS to make a full orbit around the zodiac to come into conjunction with his original degree. Humans, therefore, never live long enough to experience a single Pluto Return. But nations can and do have a Pluto return. It’s a very important moment we’ve long been approaching in our nation’s history, portending momentous re-birth pains. America was born in 1776, when Pluto sat at almost 28 degrees of Capricorn; after these many years since the American Revolution, transiting Pluto “returns” there, back to its same position/degree/sign, and for the first time in American history. It will go over that return point 3 times in 2022. The first pass just happened.
In mythology and ancient astrology, Pluto rules the underworld, chaos, death/rebirth, sex, power, cults, toxins, mass movements, taxes/ collective resources, addiction/ compulsion/ obsession, the shadow, taboo, resurrection, revolution, transcendence, and renewal. Pluto represents slow-moving forces which alter life forever in a life cycle. It’s a disruptive force which brings some version of death, then transformation, necessary to move evolution forward, the way an acorn ‘dies’ when it falls from a tree, to be ‘born’ in the spring.
The Two Meanings Of Revolution
The word revolution as associated with Pluto has a double meaning; one is of planetary movement, the other of political transformation. I don’t think that’s an accident!
Think slow, hidden, transformational forces over time, and volcanic energy. Foundations are shaken. Pressure beneath the surface builds extremely slowly, for decades, centuries; after a powerful eruption, the landscape is transformed. Like Lord Shiva, Pluto destroys so that (re)creation can take place. Or as they say, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. Will the ashes be followed by the Phoenix? Our national ‘healing’ as we sort out how to proceed is not pretty, and it’s full of pain and death. But America has the opportunity to be reborn after the end of the Pluto return, and by 2024, when Pluto leaves Capricorn to enter Aquarius.
We’d been in the shadow of the imminent Pluto Return for several years, feeling the pain of corruption, abuse of power, social division, the pandemic, market upheavals, exacerbation of religious fundamentalism and white supremacy, cult behavior, environmental degradation, looming fascism, a slow-moving coup – enough yet? Pluto at America’s birth was also representative of old power structures which wrought slavery and Native American genocide; will these institutions which insured lasting power imbalances and economic injustice be overturned? PLuto – think PL for a plow, which plows up all that needs to be removed or destroyed. Pluto will shake our value system too, as dysfunctional. A Pluto Return asks – is this working? If not, plutonian energies may kill it off – these unsustainable structures, the things we’ve built which don’t work, or perhaps even the country itself.
I think we’ll become another kind of nation within the next several years. It may happen the way the earth is transformed with terrible volcanic destruction when lava flows over the landscape, followed by new forms of life. It is and will be very painful, the way birth is painful, but necessary. Will we lose our democratic experiment to fascism, economic collapse, or civil war? Or will we begin to resemble something like the best dreams of the founders, a more perfect union, with liberty and justice? We ought not stand on the sidelines. Pluto will long be rehabbing the United States, far past our own lifetimes. But let’s live a long time and be a part of what happens, shall we?
Dinah Kudatsky is a resident of Amherst