In the kind of transformational astrology that I practice, Pluto’s rule in the astrological pantheon is to take us deep into the Underworld and reveal all of the dark and nasty corners of the psyche in order to illuminate that darkness and therefore aid in the process of personal evolution. Pluto is the Lord of Death – he causes obsession and has the potential to bring out the worst in us but also the best in us. Pluto’s placement in the chart shows where we can be undone by our own psychology, but also where we can be transformed and reborn.
Pluto, as the ruler of the underworld, represents the shadow side of the psyche, whether in an individual chart or the chart of a nation. With Pluto in the second house of money and finance, the American shadow is a dirty little secret – an obsession (Pluto) with the power that money can provide (second house). The persona of the country is the sunny Jupiterian/Sagittarian nature of optimism and faith that everything will turn out fine. But the Plutonian shadow of greed hides in the darkness.
Pluto first opposed the Cancerian Sun of the United States back in 2014 – at the time it was locked in a stressful aspect to Uranus, planet of revolution and we started to see a steep increase in the number of shootings of unarmed young black citizens culminating in riots over the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Racism is one of the dark spots in American history and it’s not surprising that it emerged with such ferocity at this time.
Since 2014 Pluto has been no more than two degrees from an exact opposition (stressful aspect) to the Sun in the US chart. (Geeky astrological detail: because Saturn squares the US Sun, Pluto is also transiting in square to US Saturn which applies even more pressure.) The candidacy of Donald Trump with his openly expressed xenophobia has opened the door to the dark Plutonic realms of the US citizenry. His campaign rallies have resembled WWE spectacles more than political events. Racists of all flavors and types feel ennobled to express their views which have long been hidden under a guise of respectability.
This, my friends, is Pluto in action. Trump didn’t cause this to happen – together with Pluto, he opened the door to the circles of hell and the demons began to emerge from the underground.
This particular cycle will end towards the end of the year, just in time for the presidential election, but we are not out of the woods. Transiting Saturn, the Celestial Taskmaster, is crossing back and forth over the Ascendant (identity) of the US chart over the next year. Saturn crossing the Ascendant demands that we examine the way we are seen in the world, and the way in which we see ourselves and challenges us to see the Truth instead of what we want to see.
The United States has a strong national identity of freedom and liberty for all, but the truth is very different and we are seeing this more and more under the influence of Pluto. It is no longer possible to hide from the uncomfortable truths of racism and classism and the anger and rage that is driving so many in this country. Hopefully we can use this as a nation to begin to create the necessary transformation to survive the century.