Today, I wanted to make a study of the various effects experienced under the transits of Pluto, but I would like to make a few remarks before I attempt that article about the particular ambience of Pluto in the signs, from Cancer through to the present time. The two themes cannot be treated entirely separately, a Pluto transit will inevitably take on the character of its natal expression and we ought always to consider it in this way. For this reason I will begin with an analysis of Pluto’s various manifestations through the signs.
I have written about outer planet transits before, specifically in relation to their purpose in the ongoing process of soul-purification. This is the existential expression of Plutonic pressure in the arc of a human life. You may wish to read that article before proceeding here.
Thus, Pluto in Cancer (1914-1939) creates a focus on traditional, territorial and inherited values. It contains the essence of the Moon-Pluto contact but writ large across an entire generation. Pluto made his first serious foray into the sign of Cancer on June 27th 1914 and within a month Franz Ferdinand was dead and the first world war had effectively begun. Pluto’s final days in that sign occurred in June 1939, just 3 months before the start of the second world war. Cancer of course rules the homeland, those inherited clannish values of belonging, of our family, our home, our country and our heritage, so inevitably, the extreme nationalism, indeed jingoism of the period was a direct manifestation of these lunar and 4th house qualities negatively supercharged by the Lord Hades. Consider all the many innovations related to domestic science: the refrigerator was invented during this period which created a death and rebirth of family values: Pluto very often creates this dichotomy, the labour-saving innovations of this time actually freed women from the home and the drudgery of the kitchen which in itself sounded the death-knell for the old order of traditional tribal gender roles. It is this falling away of an outdated paradigm which is required to be taken up by the subsequent generation thus Pluto in Leo was required to redefine the role of women in society, but crucially, they inherited this necessity, even if they would actually like to claim it as their doing.
Obsessed with: Tradition, family, the home country.
Responsible for: the refrigerator, the BNP, the KKK and women’s lib.
At best: thrifty and supportive.
At worst: racist and cranky.
Pluto in Leo (1939-1958) has problems all its own – every Hadean generation does without doubt – and here the themes of the Sun and the 5th house are given especial focus. Status, egotism, self-centredness and pride are the most difficult facets of these years and the broadly narcissistic focus of Leo is given a difficult dose of Plutonic force. The characteristics of this generation are more in keeping with the 5th house and solar principles: being the centre of attention, enjoying life, music (Elvis was 3 when Pluto crossed into Leo), rock and roll lifestyles became the order of the day and the need to be loved because one is a person of importance in the world; this is the royal persona writ large. More difficultly, there is the underlying quality of Sun-Pluto to consider which is the classic indication of megalomania. Hitler’s blitzkrieg was unleashed on Poland within 3 months of Pluto crossing into Leo and his attempt to manifest a glorious Germanic empire, a third Reich (kingdom), echoed the dreams of dominion of the European kings of old. Consider too that when the Pluto in Leo generation was at its zenith it voted an actor into the White House and a woman (newly liberated by Pluto in Cancer) with a Sun – Pluto square into Downing Street. This generation has been dubbed the “Me Generation” and they created the phenomenon of personal psychotherapy to feed the great appetite of their own self-interest. Leo is also the sign of the child, and this for me strikes to the core of the Pluto in Leo condition. Here is a generation that didn’t want to grow old (plastic surgery is their invention too), who wanted to remain eternally youthful which fundamentally shifted the attitude to childhood. In the same way that Pluto in Cancer ‘killed’ the role of women in the home, requiring it to be redefined by the next generation, Pluto in Leo killed the role of the child. Pluto in Leo, needing to be the centre of attention the whole time, raised an entire generation of children that felt they did not matter, that was forced to play second-fiddle to their dramatic, showy, self-obsessed Mum or Dad. The result? A generation of parents who are determined to let their children be the centre of attention and who have subsequently made out of their children’s early lives a fiercely idealistic and protected idyll, where their little ones cannot be exposed to any manner of hardship, unpleasantness or harsh reality. Pluto in Virgo then has been tasked with recreating childhood, and they have done it in a typically Virgoan manner: for the children of this generation, everything must be perfect.
Obsessed with: status, appearances and youth.
Favourite things: Hair-dos, sports cars, diamonds and sunbathing.
Responsible for: plastic surgery, psychotherapy, rock n’ roll, Hollywood and the stock market.
At best: warm and generous.
At worst: self-obsessed and hysterical.
So, what of Pluto in Virgo? This generation (1959-1972) has struggled to emerge from the great fixity of its forbears, and with parents demanding to be in the spotlight until their last breath, it is no surprise; an unhappy collusion which is simply exacerbated by the Virgoan’s regard for the qualities of simplicity, modesty and humility. This generation – possibly in part due to the perceived selfishness and narcissism of the generation that has gone before has learned to abhor self-promotion and ostentation. Even the great celebrities and rock-stars of this generation cannot get away with the over-the-top hotel trashings of those of previous decades; such behaviour is deemed to be rather embarrassingly brash and brassy. If Pluto in Virgo does have a vice, it is intellectual hubris, albeit one that manifests as a fierce propensity to pedantry and criticism. This generation loves nothing more than to deconstruct, and witheringly, the perceived flaws of those who raise themselves up onto a pedestal; the fascination with celebrity culture with all its attendant vicarious and voyeuristic sneering is a direct consequence of this Plutonic pressure across the generation. Even more direct is this placement’s obsession with work: Pluto in Virgo works all hours and struggles to maintain any sort of balance between home and career: and weekends are invariably spent mowing the lawns, polishing the car and pressure-washing the patio, so-called leisure activities which to every other generation seem more akin to drudgery than relaxation. It might well be that Pluto in Virgo turns out to be the generation that kills work, in the same way that Pluto in Cancer killed the family and Pluto in Leo bumped off childhood. Pluto in Libra will no doubt be required to reinvent the concept of employment in years to come as a result.
Obsessed with: health, work and being clever.
Favourite things: Health and fitness clubs, reality TV, gadgets, Ikea and dietary supplements.
Responsible for: the end of trade-unionism, environmentalism, recycling and nutritional information labels on food.
At best: meticulous and modest.
At worst: carping and finicky (to the point of OCD).
Pluto in Libra conversely doesn’t have much time for being meticulous about work, they simply want to be appreciated and appear attractive. While Pluto in Leo resorted to cosmetic surgery to fend off the horrors of aging, Pluto in Libra has utilised the same facility to get themselves a bigger pair of boobs and a nicer looking nose. Here, Venusian themes are at the forefront, so this generation wants to present a flawless visage: girls with this placement very often wear so much make-up that their skin appears utterly blemishless. The Pluto in Virgo generation, who are the employers of this age-group are quite often shocked by how poor Pluto in Libra’s attention span is when it comes to the workplace; they’re too busy flirting via text and updating their Facebook profile to care too much about scrubbing the company database. Of course, it is no surprise therefore that Facebook is a uniquely Pluto in Libra phenomenon, as are texting, Myspace and so forth: social networking is a chance to interact on a scale hitherto undreamed of and enormous entourages of admirers can be accumulated to sate Pluto in Libra’s obsession with being socially desirable and – at least superficially – attractive. Relationship will no doubt be the Achilles’ Heel for this generation, they’ll be so busy with trying to be universally appealing that their flailing sense of commitment might destabilise the institution of marriage once and for all, which leaves a fair amount of work for fanatically loyal and committed Pluto in Scorpio to do.
Obsessed with: attractiveness, flirting and popularity.
Favourite things: Networking, cellphones, boob-jobs, style (over substance) and celebrity couples.
Responsible for: Facebook, Extreme Makeover, Trinny & Susannah and What Not to Wear, botox, crop-tops and Ecstasy.
At best: poised and charming.
At worst: vain and superficial.
The Pluto in Scorpio generation are still young, so it will not be so easy to observe their predilections and in any case, here in its own sign, it’s likely that all bets are off. Pluto in Scorpio’s fixations and obsessions are likely to be based around sex, non-materialism and commitment. Watch this space.
Next week I shall begin an exploration of the transits of Pluto in the context of the radix placement and I have some exciting observations to share. In the meatime, if you require my professional insights into the meaning and purpose of your Pluto, then please visit Astrology Hour.