A History of Pluto Through the Zodiac

I recently finished interpretations for every planet in every sign, house and aspect for my new “Natal Horoscope Report”, an automatic report which will give you my interpretations of the specific features of your chart. Over the course of writing it, I put some thought into placements I have rarely seen. Since Pluto takes nearly 2 and a half centuries to go around the Sun, I don’t get many clients with Pluto in Pisces from the 19th century, y’know? I’ve been a bit underwhelmed by online resources about Pluto in the signs, so I thought it would be nice to have this out there as a reference or at least a good starting point for thinking about Pluto in the signs. The following is adapted from my report interpretations, pardon its US-centricity!

First of all, what’s Pluto about again?

That’s how far off the ecliptic Pluto is compared to the other planets.

Pluto’s orbit is extremely eccentric, wildly off the ecliptic and sometimes closer to the Sun than Neptune, spending 14-31 years in a sign. It was discovered in 1930 at a time when fascism was ascendant in the world, when humanity gained awareness of fundamental atomic forces which if broken cause apocalyptic explosions. Accordingly, Pluto is popularly associated with the notion of extremes, making big things small and small things big. It’s also associated with tyranny and corruption, absolute control and absolute power, movers and shakers in elite systems such as government, banking corporate boardrooms. When it transits through signs of the zodiac, it empowers, warps, distorts, corrupts, deconstructs and transforms the topics of the planet that rules the sign. Astrologers are often wary of Pluto transits which can be traumatic and portend upheavals, transformations, deaths and rebirths of a sort.

Pluto in Aries

This cardinal fire sign is ruled by Mars, associated with boldness, courage, bravery, passion, but also violence, treachery, villainy. So Pluto in Aries empowered, warped, distorted, corrupted, deconstructed and transformed these significations. People from this span of time may stand out as bold, entrepreneurial, rough and tumble, hardscrabble as a group. Individuals with aspects from Pluto in Aries to more personal planets and points may stand out as their cowboys and rugged individualists.

People also take on characteristics of the time they come from. Accordingly, the 1822-1853 Pluto in Aries period distorted the notions of leadership, entrepreneurship and courage into tyranny, exploitation and villainy. “Manifest Destiny” resulted in the mass forced relocations and genocide of Native American peoples as the white Americans aggressively expanded westward for new territory, and the tensions over the enslavement of Africans was reaching a boiling point. Many robber barons, outlaws and gunslingers of the old west were born in this period. Several prominent gun manufacturers have their origins in this era, such as Smith & Wesson, Colt and Winchester. The handles of these guns from the 19th century were often constructed using ram’s horn, and the image of Aries is a ram! In short, Pluto in Aries was the savagery and cruelty by which the rugged individualism, violence and lawlessness of the Wild West was born.

Pluto in Taurus

This fixed earth sign is ruled by Venus, associated with material value, the senses, property, luxury, patience, object permanence. So Pluto in Taurus empowered, warped, distorted, corrupted, deconstructed and transformed these significations. People from this span of time may stand out as materialistic, leisurely and down to earth as a group. Individuals with aspects from Pluto to more personal planets and points may stand out as their industrialists and homesteaders.

People also take on characteristics of the time they come from. Accordingly, the 1852-1884 Pluto in Taurus period transformed the notion of property and value, producing extreme wealth, poverty and opportunity. On August 20th 1619, the first Africans were brought to the American continent as slaves when Pluto was at 12 Taurus. When Pluto reached that degree again in 1863, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had granted freedom to Americans in slavery, striking a fatal blow at the twisted concept of property that slavery entails.

While legal slavery was abolished, sharecropping and wage slavery of an increasingly industrial economy tied people down with subsistence living, poverty and debt. At the same time, the most influential of the Homestead Acts were passed, enacting the Free Soiler’s wishes of freely granting millions of acres of land to all those who applied those who had not joined the Confederacy. The mass migration of settlers moving westward to take advantage of the opportunity tamed the Wild West.

At the same time, the wealth generated by the Second Industrial Revolution of this period was consolidated by monopolizing “captains of industry” and corrupt “robber barons”, fantastically enriching corporations and their leaders to an unprecedented degree. This is also when the National Banking Acts were passed, establishing the current system of state and federal banks. This is also when the New York Stock Exchange first opened on Wall Street, which would become a global financial center over the next century. A favorable market for investors is called “bullish”, and the statue of a charging bull can even be found in New York’s financial district. The image of Taurus is a bull!

Pluto in Gemini

This mutable air sign is ruled by Mercury, associated with communication, language, calculation, mutability, ambiguity and duality. So Pluto in Gemini empowered, warped, distorted, corrupted, deconstructed and transformed these significations. People from this span of time may stand out as intellectual iconoclasts as a group. Individuals with aspects from Pluto to more personal planets and points may stand out as their transformational writers and communicators.

People also take on characteristics of the time they come from. Accordingly, the 1882-1914 Pluto in Gemini period transformed the Mercurial notions of communication, duality and indeterminacy. This particular Pluto in Gemini period was especially dramatic because of Neptune’s concurrent transit through Gemini and its conjunction to Pluto from 1887-1902. In general, the Neptune-Pluto conjunction accounts for the remarkable dynamic of empowered imagination and the blurring of boundaries, with profound impacts in accord with the nature of the sign.

The telephone became mainstream, the radio was invented, the phonograph was first commercialized, bringing music into people’s homes for the first time. This is the beginning of the era of mass communication and mass media, bringing the first nationally syndicated magazines, enabling the distribution of standardized information and entertainment which also revolutionized advertising. The invention of the telephone in particular utterly transformed the nature of communication heading into the 20th century, facilitating global communications and blurring the boundaries of time and space between people in an unprecedented way. This is when the twin theories of Einstein’s relativity and Planck’s quantum physics emerged, which overturned classical mechanics while destabilizing and relativizing our understanding of time, space, energy and matter. In short, Pluto in Gemini was the mathematical dialogue of the tension of opposites and paradoxes that furthered understanding and communication about our world.

Pluto in Cancer

Here’s my Spam recipe. Step 1: Throw in trash. Enjoy.

This cardinal water sign is ruled by the Moon, associated with community and tribe, parenthood and domesticity, sustenance and nutrition. So Pluto in Cancer empowered, warped, distorted, corrupted, deconstructed and transformed these significations. People from this span of time may stand out as wholesome, communitarian and service-oriented as a group. Individuals with aspects from Pluto to more personal planets and points may stand out as their transformational caretakers and protectors.

People also take on characteristics of the time they come from. Accordingly, the 1914-1939 Pluto in Cancer period distorted love of country into nationalist tribalism and fascism in WWI and its aftermath. It transformed the role of women and mothers as women’s suffrage was first recognized in many countries in this time. It featured the first industrialized, processed, canned and frozen foods, followed by food shortages and rations during the Great Depression. This fundamentally and traumatically altered the relationship between people and their food, between markets and farms with the government and impacted everyday food preparation in the domestic sphere.

Pluto in Leo

This fixed fire sign is ruled by the Sun, associated with lights, royalty, leaders, stars of the entertainment industry, heroes, people in places of high visibility and power. So Pluto in Leo empowered, warped, distorted, corrupted, deconstructed and transformed these significations. People from this span of time may stand out as proud and regal as a group. Individuals with aspects from Pluto to more personal planets and points may stand out as their rock gods and superstars.

People also take on characteristics of the time they come from. Accordingly, the 1937-1958 Pluto in Leo period empowered and distorted global leaders into twisted evil or benevolent dictators, such as Hitler and Roosevelt. With the awesome and terrifying explosions of nuclear bombs, WWII ended. This resulted in a massive explosion in birth rates, producing the Baby Boomers, the supremely confident and willful Pluto in Leo generation. Kings and queens of the golden age of Hollywood were enthroned, and the first superhero comics were published in this period, often reflecting the hopes and fears of the Atomic Age. In short, Pluto in Leo was a blinding flash of light that burned brightly in its children through the following decades. Destroying everything in its path.

Pluto in Virgo

This mutable earth sign is ruled by Mercury, associated with practicality, technicality, modesty, the pursuit of perfection, work ethic and the pride of service. So Pluto in Virgo empowered, warped, distorted, corrupted, deconstructed and transformed these significations. People from this span of time may stand out as prudent and conscientious as a group, potentially leading the way toward Earth’s ecological renewal and sensible management of its resources. Individuals with aspects from Pluto to more personal planets and points may stand out as their transformational stewards and troubleshooters.

People also take on characteristics of the time they come from. Accordingly, the 1956-1972 Pluto in Virgo period transformed the Mercurial notions of calculation, duty, service, stewardship. This particular Pluto in Virgo period was especially dramatic because of Uranus’s concurrent transit through Virgo and its conjunction to Pluto from 1962-1969. In general, the Uranus-Pluto conjunction accounts for the remarkable dynamic of empowered liberation and individualism of the 1960’s, and profound impacts in accord with the nature of the sign.

The period featured a Plutonic focus on several interconnected Virgoan themes and topics. This period featured the invention of the pocket calculator, the first ATM, the first easy-to-use programming language of BASIC, the invention of the first prototype of the Internet, the first email sent, the first hypertext link, the first mouse click, the first supercomputer. Virgo has medical associations, and it was also when Medicare and Medicaid were established, extending subsidized medical care for the elderly and poor.

The modern environmental movement developed in this period through apocalyptic claims in the books “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson and “The Population Bomb” by Paul Ehrlich. They marshaled numbers and facts which supported the likelihood of deadly scenarios of ecological devastation. This increased awareness led to the banning of certain pesticides and the establishment of Greenpeace, the Environmental Protection Agency and Earth Day. Rachel Carson suggested the way to save the environment would be humility before nature and self-control over our appetite for nature’s resources, consistent with the Virgoan penchant for modesty, purity, prudence and practicality.

Pluto in Libra

This cardinal air sign is ruled by Venus, associated with balance, relationships, equality, peace, harmony, beauty, love. So Pluto in Libra empowered, warped, distorted, corrupted, deconstructed and transformed these significations. People from this span of time may stand out as being unbalanced against imbalances, or redefining balances as a group. Individuals with aspects from Pluto to more personal planets and points may stand out as their transformational rebel hearts for harmony, equality, justice.

People also take on characteristics of the time they come from. Accordingly, the 1971-1984 Pluto in Libra period coincided with Uranus’s co-presence in the sign from 1971-1976. This period roughly corresponded to the divorce revolution of the 1970’s generated by the legalization of no-fault divorces, and a transformation in traditional gender roles with the legalization of abortion and the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. This was also when the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment was in full swing, and also when it was defeated by turning women against each other. Feminists were also turned against each other, with the late 70’s and early 80’s featuring the Feminist Sex Wars, as anti-porn feminists squared off against sex-positive feminists on issues such as pornography, prostitution, BDSM, etc. This was also the height of Libran John Lennon’s peace activism, releasing songs such as “Imagine” and “Give Peace a Chance” which became associated with the anti-war movement of this period.

Pluto in Scorpio

Sun conjunct Pluto in Scorpio, Colin Kaepernick

This fixed water sign is ruled by Mars, associated with the profane, obscene and scary, as well as combativeness, dark matters and secrecy. So Pluto in Scorpio empowered, warped, distorted, corrupted, deconstructed and transformed these significations. Scorpio is the sign Pluto spends the least time in, which has some interesting implications for its transit through this sign. The last time Pluto was in Scorpio was from 1983-1995, roughly spanning the period sociologists assign to the birth of the oft-maligned and misunderstood millennial generation. What’s so Scorpio-like about millennials? They’re a generation of children brought up on Harry Potter, and show more interest in the occult and witchcraft than organized religion. Addictions to the horror series Goosebumps as kids has led to millennial fascinations with horror genres, zombie apocalypse scenarios in particular. They turned Tim Burton’s charmingly macabre “Nightmare Before Christmas” into a cult hit. In their teens they were emo and shopped at Hot Topic.

Since Scorpio is ruled by Mars which rules blades, cuts and scars, it’s interesting to see how millennials have distinguished themselves by largely embracing and mainstreaming tattoos and piercings, even in the workplace. The millennials were the first generation to go to school as mass shootings at schools became a tragically common phenomenon. Pluto makes big things small and small things big, accordingly millennial sensitivity to trauma, triggers and microaggressions have led to debates about whether it’s more extreme to allow hate speech or too extreme to protect others from it. This generation may have its demons, but in time, millennials may prove themselves to be ruthless, brave, savage, fearsome and uncompromising as a group. Individuals with aspects from Pluto to more personal planets and points may stand out as their transformational iconoclasts and resisters.

People also take on characteristics of the time they come from. Accordingly, the 1983-1995 Pluto in Scorpio period distorted the notions of aggression, danger and covert warfare into apocalyptic arms races and other close encounters with death on a grand scale. The fear of nuclear war reached a new height with the terrifying realistic depiction of a nuclear attack in the movie “The Day After”, as well as the actual real-life close calls with nuclear war between the US and Soviet Union in the same timeframe. The Chernobyl disaster also underlined the grave danger posed by nuclear power. AIDS killed millions through sex and the transmission of blood.

On a pop culture level, this is when many classic cult horror movies were released, but even more family friendly movies took a turn toward the dark, gory and supernatural, with movies like Ghostbusters and Gremlins, and Tim Burton was at the height of his powers in crafting dark, gothic fairy tales. Pluto in Scorpio also featured the advent of industrial music, a dark and extreme rage-filled anti-musical art form that was characterized by a focus on transgressive, violent, sexual and disturbing topics and themes, use of shock tactics, employment of noise music and a flirtation with fascist iconography and the occult, typified by acts such as Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails. In short, Pluto in Scorpio was when we stared down the abyss to see apocalypse staring back, and we quickly moved on.

Pluto in Sagittarius

This mutable fire sign is ruled by Jupiter, associated with wisdom, knowledge, the expansion of one’s horizons, faith, religion, excess, wealth.  So Pluto in Sagittarius empowered, warped, distorted, corrupted, deconstructed and transformed these significations. People from this span of time may stand out as zealous and wise as a group. Individuals with aspects from Pluto to more personal planets and points may stand out as their transformational pioneers and prophets.

People also take on characteristics of the time they come from. Accordingly, the 1995-2008 Pluto in Sagittarius period saw centers of knowledge like encyclopedias, libraries and newspapers fundamentally transformed and globally digitized through the Information Superhighway, also known as the Internet. Print media died, books have been replaced by Kindles and PDF’s, and the encyclopedia was replaced by projects like Wikipedia. This was the era of the dot-com boom, when scrappy internet startups eventually became the monolithic corporate overlords of today who know far too much about us, such as Google and Facebook. This period also saw parallel religious/philosophical polarization and extremism among Muslims, Christians and New Atheists, especially in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. This generation will be capable of amassing incredible wealth, faith and wisdom, but it will also have to ward against extremism and fundamentalism. Knowledge is power, and this generation may prove it can be abused.

Pluto in Capricorn

This is a fake picture. There really was a sinkhole but it didn’t look like this.

This cardinal earth sign is ruled by Saturn, associated with systematization and structure, the status quo, the old guard, law and punishment. So Pluto in Capricorn empowered, warped, distorted, corrupted, deconstructed and transformed these significations. People from this span of time may stand out as ambitious and determined as a group. Individuals with aspects from Pluto to more personal planets and points may stand out as their transformational architects and professionals.

People also take on characteristics of the time they come from. Accordingly, the 1762-1778 Pluto in Capricorn period featured the beginning of the American Revolution, a time when the most powerful empire in the world was taken down a peg, and a new power arose. The current 2008-2024 Pluto in Capricorn period has seen all entrenched powers get rattled by the square from Uranus, over the course of the 2008 economic crash, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, Brexit, the 2016 election, etc. At the same time, governments around the world have been trending toward corruption, crony capitalism, oligarchies, authoritarianism. The United States of America will reach its Pluto return in 2022, meanwhile China is ascendant. The most powerful have the most to lose, and the scrappiest and hungriest have the most to gain.

Pluto in Aquarius

Bleep bloop your freedom is unnecessary bleep bloop

This fixed air sign is ruled by Saturn, associated with cold rationality, detachment, abstraction, stoicism. So Pluto in Aquarius empowered, warped, distorted, corrupted, deconstructed and transformed these significations. People from this span of time may stand out as utilitarian, defiant and skeptical as a group. Individuals with aspects from Pluto to more personal planets and points may stand out as their transformational non-conformists, abstract theorists and antiheroes.

People also take on characteristics of the time they come from. Accordingly, the 1778-1798 Pluto in Aquarius period transformed the Saturnian notions of reason and skepticism into the establishment of abstract structures of profound significance. This period featured the ratification of the United States Constitution and the formation of the global metric system. This period was the pinnacle of the Enlightenment-inspired clean harmonies and ordered structure of the Classical music era, when Mozart (an Aquarius), Haydn and others were at the height of their powers. This is when Jeremy Bentham (an Aquarius) released his theory of utilitarianism, a wholly secular legal and moral system. Uranus’s opposition to Pluto in this time coincided with the French Revolution, often pointed to as an example of Enlightenment rationalism run amok. The 2023-2044 Pluto in Aquarius period will likely fundamentally transform and reform abstract systems of law and measurement on rational, scientific, secular or algorithmic grounds.

Pluto in Pisces

“Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” by Caspar David Friedrich. Considered a representative work of the Romantic Era. Also it looks like a movie poster.

This mutable water sign is ruled by Jupiter, associated with spiritualism, inspiration, belief, visions, dreams. So Pluto in Pisces empowered, warped, distorted, corrupted, deconstructed and transformed these significations. People from this span of time may stand out as inspired and spiritual as a group. Individuals with aspects from Pluto to more personal planets and points may stand out as their transformational gurus, artists and dreamers.

People also take on characteristics of the time they come from. Accordingly, the 1797-1823 Pluto in Pisces period transformed the resource of water with profound impacts, powering travel by rail and across the ocean through the first high-pressure steam engines appearing in this period. This time roughly corresponds with Napoleon’s rise and fall as he pursued the dream of France becoming a new Roman Empire, spreading liberal reforms wherever the Napoleonic Code was in effect. This was the beginning of the Romantic era, a reaction against the strict rationalism of the Enlightenment, embracing the Piscean boundlessness of free expression, unbridled emotion, solitary meditative connection with nature, myth, mystery and the supernatural. This was also when Beethoven began to lose his hearing and composed his most powerful and celebrated music, the soundtrack of the Romantic era.

I hope this has been as interesting to you reading it as it has been for me making it. Let me know how you see Pluto operating through the signs!

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2 Comments

    • Thank you so much Ashley! I’ve been a bit underwhelmed by interpretations of Pluto as well, I hope this gives people some sort of jumping off point for thinking about Pluto in the signs.

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