Pluto can be a very misunderstood planet in astrology which is no surprise as the house and sign it rules, the 8th and Scorpio, are also often misunderstood. Astronomers barely understand what it is as well as they decided it is not a planet after all and instead is one of a “new” class of celestial bodies or dwarf planets they now call a plutoid—depending on which astronomer you ask.
In 2005, a dwarf planet called Eris was discovered and because it was a bit bigger than Pluto yet similar astronomers thought they needed to reclassify what a planet was. Since then, they have reclassified several celestial bodies as such including Ceres, so far the only known dwarf planet in the asteroid belt. Most plutoids and dwarf planets are beyond the orbit of Neptune yet still within our solar system in what is called the Kuiper Belt. Pluto has also been called Planet X, a plutino, a subplanet and a planetoid at various times as astronomers continue to try and understand what it is.
Astrologers mostly don’t really care what astronomers call Pluto. What we call planets, in addition to having the usual characteristics determined by astronomy, are celestial bodies that have rulership over a zodiac sign and house, and a large variety of symbolic influences. In relationship with other celestial bodies astrological planets tend to indicate particular major situations and events. Astrologers also call the sun and moon planets in astrology. The term planet has an extra and specific meaning to astrologers which you can read more about here.
A few years before Neptune was discovered in 1846, astronomers began to theorize that there was at least one or more planets beyond Uranus and possibly several. From the 1840’s to 1915 a few astronomers claimed to have discovered an elusive planet, each giving it different names such as Hyperion, Oceanus, Hades(!), Planet Nine, Planet O, and finally most settled on Planet X, the name given by a wealthy Bostonian, mathematician and astronomer named Percival Lowell. He established the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ where Pluto was actually photographed in 1915 but it was thought to be a distant star.
Lowell’s death in 1916 resulted in a halting of the search for Planet X until 1929 when a young 22 year old named Clyde Tombaugh was given the job of finding Planet X once and for all with the aid of a new larger telescope lens at the Lowell Observatory. Using a blink comparator Tombaugh finally discovered this tiny hidden planet in February 1930 and the names Minerva and Cronus were quickly proposed along with Pluto, the name of the Roman god of invisibility (and the underworld). Pluto was adopted by the astronomical societies to continue the usual nomenclature of planets named for mythical gods. It was noted that the first two letters of Pluto also represented the initials of Percival Lowell. Many astrologers today prefer to use the glyph that is a combination of the two letters P and L.
Technically, based on Lowell’s mathematics and theories, Planet X was never found and now is thought to not actually exist. But, his work led to the discovery of Pluto and he shares that honour with Tombaugh who died in 1997. In a twist that can only be called Plutonian by astrologers, some of Clyde Tombaugh’s cremated remains were placed on the New Horizons space probe in 2006 which arrived at Pluto in 2015 giving astronomers invaluable information and photographs of Pluto and its moon Charon. Some astronomers believe that Pluto and Charon are actually a binary planet system adding further mystery to its origin. Pluto has four other moons that have been discovered to date.
Pluto takes 248 years to orbit our sun and is in each sign for an average of 20+ years. It spends the shortest time of 11 years in its own sign of Scorpio and its longest transit in the sign of Taurus at 32 years due to it’s elliptical and tilted orbit.
Pluto can be a formidable and at times odd influence in astrology and the unusual history of its discovery is appropriate to its nature as Pluto’s influence is not always what it appears to be.
Pluto the mythical god was greatly feared by the ancient Greeks as he was associated with the underworld and also death, wealth and the spirit world, and in fact his real name was Hades. They thought that to invoke the name Hades would invite his wrath so he was given the nickname of Pluto (or Plouton by the Greeks) which means “the wealthy” a euphemism that is decidedly sarcastic and humourous likely in an attempt to deter the opposite result! Pluto was considered the god of riches as it was thought that all wealth came from the underworld (underground) where jewels and gold could be found. Throughout history the wealthy have much more power than the poor.
Hades/Pluto was the son of Rhea and Cronus and was regurgitated by Cronus/Saturn and brother to Zeus/Jupiter who defeated their father. There are many mythological stories of Hades and Pluto and some are a bit contradictory. Explore these mythologies of Hades/Pluto here or here but let’s examine a few as they relate to the astrological rulerships.
Pluto was not really considered to be a devil or even evil; he was the ruler of the spirit world, the underworld and darkness and not the fiery horrors of Hell as described in many religions although some have believed that the terms Hades and Hell are interchangeable. They’re not really.
After Zeus restored order and released his siblings from imprisonment in their father’s bowels, it was decided by drawing lots that Zeus would retain his position as king of the gods and rule the sky. Brothers Neptune and Pluto ruled the seas and underworld respectively. This “holy” trinity gave primary importance to these three gods in the mythological pantheon and it’s important to note this because Pluto’s role in astrology is sometimes thought to be of little influence. That is far from the truth and not befitting his status as a primary mythological deity.
Due to the stories about Pluto he was regarded as a dangerous and scary god and depicted as dark, brooding or an “angry looking Zeus”. This is kind of humourous because many Scorpios appear to look angry, sad or miserable when they are not at all like that; many are truly good, kind and loving people but some, like Pluto, appear to be born with Resting Bitch Face syndrome. Pluto appears to like to throw people off and hide his true self and honestly, one has to admit that the whole RBF thing is funny as… hell. It’s like Pluto himself is saying, “Lighten up people! Stop taking life so seriously! Things are not always as they appear.” That may certainly be true in the case of Pluto in a horoscope.
There are few artistic representations of Pluto and he is rarely described in appearance as he was so feared, especially by the Greeks. The Romans viewed him more positively and they depicted him as holding a cornucopia as a symbol of his many riches and gifts to humankind. This general lack of portrayal compared to other mythical deities adds to his mysterious and hidden character traits.
Pluto was described as having a “cap of darkness” that enabled him to hide in the shadows or be virtually invisible. It has also been called the cap of invisibility, the Helm of Hades, or the helmet of Pluto. Other symbols for Pluto are the pomegranate, black sheep, a key (to the gates of the underworld) a staff or scepter (of a king) and a two-pronged bident (similar to Neptune’s trident) which he was said to use when a departed soul was reluctant to enter Hades. His domain was guarded by Cerberus a gigantic three-headed dog who would happily allow you in to Hades but would prevent you from leaving. You can read more about these symbols at the web links on his mythology above.
The primary myth associated with Pluto has to do with his contribution to the Earth having seasons and it’s quite a story and a primary reason why he is considered rather dark. Most stories about Pluto indicate that he was not as rapacious as Jupiter, Mars, Uranus or Saturn. However, he will always be associated with the abduction of Persephone (Proserpina to the ancient Romans) to make her his wife and queen consort.
Persephone was the very beautiful daughter of Ceres/Demeter, goddess of agriculture and the harvest (her name Ceres is the root of the food cereal). Some stories suggest there was a rape as well as a kidnapping but my intuition is that it was more of an obsession he had for Persephone and like a modern day stalker, he couldn’t control his compulsion to make her his wife. Whatever myth is believed most accounts agree that the Queen Consort of Hades (as Persephone eventually came to be known) didn’t really have a lot of choice in the matter. It is said that he hid beneath a very beautiful flower knowing her interest in botany and when she bent to smell its fragrance (or retrieve it) he burst from his underworld lair snatching and surprising Persephone whom he then “imprisoned” in Hades.
As one would expect, her mother Ceres was bereft with grief and searched the world for her missing daughter, ignoring her job of ensuring agriculture and a good harvest which caused crops to wither and die leaving the Earth in a now-permanent winter. She appealed to Jupiter/Zeus the king of the gods who sent Mercury/Hermes to the underworld to ask his brother to release Persephone back to her mother’s care. Unfortunately for Persephone, Pluto tricked her into eating a few pomegranate seeds (it was said anyone who ate while in the underworld was doomed to stay) and Zeus/Jupiter decided that she could stay with Pluto for six months of the year as his consort but for the rest of the year she was to be released to be above ground with her mother to restore order to nature, the mortals and other gods. This seemed to make everybody happy, even Persephone who some accounts say actually fell in love with her captor (shades of Stockholm syndrome!) and accepted her fate as his queen. That is how the ancient people explained how the seasons were created. The ancient Greeks and Romans certainly were imaginative.
The Romans saw Pluto in a more positive light and he was seen at times as a very generous benefactor who could magically make one wealthy since he ruled all metals, precious metals, gems, jewels and any wealth that came from underground. As it was thought that the dead wound up in the underworld Pluto became a god of the dead and the afterlife. The Romans thought that the underworld had a few “rooms” which included Elysium (the happy place) and Tartarus (the bad place). Pluto and Persephone ruled all of these rooms and all souls were guided to Hades after crossing the River Styx by their faithful servant and ferryman, Charon.
Although Pluto was a male deity the underworld in many mythologies was thought to be a feminine realm. It’s interesting that Pluto and Persephone were considered to rule Hades together. Pluto was thought to be cold and rigid but also fair in his decision-making capacity of deciding in which room of Hades a soul should spend eternity. Pluto is considered a male god ruling a female sign (Scorpio) and while most planets rule a sign of the same gender/sex, Neptune is male ruling a female sign, Venus is female ruling the female sign of Taurus and the male sign of Libra. Mercury rules the male (possibly bi- or multi-gendered) sign Gemini and the female sign Virgo. Today, gender and sex roles have less meaning and most astrologers agree that any sign or planet may portray traditionally masculine, feminine or neutral symbology but with the old traditions still having some validity.
The heavy element plutonium was named for Pluto. It was the primary element used in the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II but today it is primarily used in nuclear power plants to create energy. It is a fitting element for Pluto as an element of creation and destruction.
Shortly after the 1930 discovery of the planet Pluto Walt Disney in 1931 changed the name of his minor dog character previously known as Rover to Pluto. It’s been said that he wanted to cash in on the Pluto-mania of the 1930s and from then on Pluto has been a relatively major Disney cartoon character who is not an anthropomorphic (talking, human acting) dog like Goofy. Pluto is just Mickey Mouse’s dog.
Oddly, the Popeye cartoon franchise character named Brutus was originally called Bluto. The original creator of Popeye the Sailor Fleischer Studios declared that Popeye’s nemesis Bluto was based on a character named Red Flack and played by Tyrone Power Sr. in the 1930 western film “The Big Trail” starring John Wayne but the name sounds very close to Pluto. Bluto debuted in 1932 but when Popeye was brought to television in the late 1950s there was confusion around who owned the copyright for Bluto and his name was changed to Brutus. A common storyline in Popeye was the abduction of Olive Oyl by Bluto/Brutus (similar to Pluto/Persephone) who was then usually saved by Popeye.
Anyone who knows a Scorpio sun sign person may find they could have a wonderful sense of humour although it is often hidden and sarcastic. Many Scorpio types hide their better qualities behind a grumpy exterior and we can’t but wonder if that is to keep their real self deeply hidden as a form of self-protection.
Regeneration & Rebirth
In the soul’s evolution first we have awareness of self (the Sun), followed by our emotional responses (the Moon), our ideas and thoughts (Mercury), our feelings (Venus), etc. and finally with Pluto we become aware of our ability to transcend the physical plane entirely through transformation specifically through regeneration. We begin to understand that the universe is constantly evolving, that matter and energy are the same force, and that energy cannot ever be destroyed; but it can be transformed which in itself is a form of regeneration.
Pluto is considered a higher octave of Mars (it’s former or co-ruler) by astrologers as its effects can be felt in the physical body itself but like any form of matter it also coexists as energy and symbolizes the hidden forces of nature in a manner we barely understand. Where Mars symbolizes matter and energy in purely physical form, Pluto resonates with matter and energy at the quantum or atomic level. Pluto represents deeply hidden forces of all kinds both seen and unseen and reminds us that birth and death are not finite situations. We are actually in a constant state of rebirth and regeneration throughout our lives.
In Mars we understand that the body is essentially a human machine. Human beings evolved from single cell organisms and all physical life existing on our planet evolved from life forms that are microscopic in nature. These microscopic organisms still exist and through a never ending cycle of life, “dead” matter and energy is transformed to create new life. We see this in nature when we add vegetable scraps to a pile of compost and in time these scraps of plant matter are transformed into nutrients essential for growing new fruit and vegetable plants that in turn feed our bodies when consumed. These same nutrients contained in foods become building blocks for growing new cells, tissue, fluids and even energy itself within our bodies. Pluto reminds us of the mysteries of this amazing life force that is never really destroyed, and that nothing is ever truly lost or dies; all matter and energy is reborn into a new state of being that continues the processes of life inside and outside our bodies.
Pluto symbolizes the philosophy of microcosm and macrocosm. In the tiny essential part called a microcosm is represented something much larger, the macrocosm. Everything that exists then is a tiny part of and contributes to a greater whole or a system. In Mars we see matter and energy as two distinct forms but in Pluto we see that they are just two different states of the same thing. It has always fascinated me that the more humans create bigger and better microscopes, we can see that everything is comprised of something else and science keeps giving different names to these infinitesimal parts; atoms, protons, Golgi bodies, etc. And the more we develop bigger and better telescopes we discover a greater size and variety of celestial bodies proving that life truly is infinite.
Due to its tiny size and location in our solar system, and because of the discovery of other celestial bodies, Pluto was demoted and lost its designation as a planet in astronomy and is now thought to be a bit insignificant in the greater scheme of things. But to astrologers we understand that Pluto is a very powerful symbol of life, energy and matter that is always in the process of regeneration and rebirth; a symbol of the cycle of life itself. We are born into a physical body and when this body dies and is returned to “dust” our spiritual “body” lives on through rebirth of the soul in an afterlife. Our consciousness is transformed within the physical realm to a spiritual dimension that few understand or even care about. Many mysteries of life remain hidden from our view and comprehension.
Pluto symbolizes all forms of regeneration, whether physical, mental, emotional, sexual, spiritual, mechanical, at the quantum level, or in a size and manner we can’t even imagine. It is the mysterious and universal symbol of rebirth. At every “ending” is a new beginning. At every “death” is a rebirth. Everything appears to be part of a greater whole no matter how large or small.
Pluto may represent the hidden and deeper manifestations of rebirth that finds an apt symbol in the mythical phoenix that is destroyed/consumed by fire but is also transformed and renewed. From deep emotional trauma one can become reborn from a victimized state to one that brings healing and leadership to others which may prevent one’s self or another from being victimized in the future. Through psychological counselling or the love of another, the pain of a broken heart, grief or loss can be transformed into a stronger sense of self where we learn that picking up the pieces of our life helps us to rebuild it and to love again and maybe to value love and life even more. Damaged skin and bone can be regenerated into healthy skin and bone through health care and diet. Through recycling of consumer goods we can help restore the health of our planet, economy and ourselves. Whenever anything in life is regenerated that could be Pluto at work.
When Pluto is in aspect to other planets it may lend its regenerative activity or effect pursuant to the planet, sign and house positions. E.g. Pluto trining Mercury may be fortuitous for finances or when positively aspecting the 2nd or 8th house investments may grow and mature which is the regeneration of money over time. Pluto aspecting Saturn may help with work in the earth or construction industries especially when in certain signs or aspecting a work house. Pluto tends to activate signs, houses and other planets in a very mysterious, hidden or long term way. Pluto will never be rushed and is not always as it seems to be. Often its effect is intended to bring rebirth or transformation to the signs, planets, houses and aspects in which it is involved. Its regenerative effect can be slow and long term, painful and unrelenting—yet ultimately appears to bring us right where we need to be.
Obsession & Compulsion
Perhaps because Pluto is the slowest moving of all the planets in astrology its effects appear to “burn a hole” in the chart, meaning it cannot be escaped or resisted it is such a powerful and long term influence. Yet many appear to not be under any influence of Pluto at all. Note that I said “appear”.
It is said that in astrology the planets compel and do not actually impel the behaviour of people but that is never more true than with Pluto. The root of the word compulsion is compel and a compulsion is a force that compels and that may be obsessive, and will likely involve Pluto. This mysterious planet has a lot to do with human psychology especially in regards to obsessions or compulsions that defy our conscious control. We can become obsessed with another person or activity and feel compelled to stalk them or behave as if dependent on the activity, or perhaps we are operating in a way that is not under our own conscious control.
Obsessions and compulsions often involve repetitive behaviour or thoughts that may overtake someone which is usually not a good thing yet at other times has led to greater understanding or progress. Deciding whether Pluto is a positive or negative influence or both is often a tricky matter and not always so clear even in aspects normally thought to be one or the other. Psychology recognizes an obsessive-compulsive nature as a disorder (OCD). There is no doubt that many geniuses have or had obsessive compulsive disorder such as Nikola Tesla who contributed so much to our understanding of AC electricity and energy we use every day, yet he had an obsessive fear of pearls and pearl jewellery. Aside from OCD itself, we all at times may become or are obsessed with certain matters, people or events. No doubt Pluto will be involved. Most OCD types are likely not going to endanger themselves or others yet some obsessions and compulsions can lead to psychoses and pose a great danger to others. Pluto may be involved in any OCD behaviour.
For the average person, we may have a mild obsession with certain foods, hobbies, entertainments and people. We may be a fan of a certain celebrity e.g. but we should not forget that the word fan is short for fanatic—although a fan is generally benign while a fanatic can be scary and dangerous. Pluto may be associated with any behaviour that is compulsive, obsessive, fanatical or any attitude or activity that is uncontrolled or considered a danger to self or others. If you believe you may have an obsession that is a large part of your life and potentially harmful, look to Pluto for ways to bring it under control. E.g. Pluto with Mars may indicate an obsession with sex, aggression or violence which can be very harmful but may find a healthy outlet in sports, gaming or private and consensual sexual activity. Pluto then is often an indicator where an area of one’s life must be brought under control or modified to avoid OCD, antisocial or harmful activities.
Power, Creation & Destruction
Every planet may symbolize a certain power. Venus is the power of love, Mercury the power of thought and ideas, and with Mars the power of action and energy. Pluto’s symbol of power is very far-reaching. It often represents a greater power that few people may attain such as in government or leading multi-national wealthy businesses. In most societies, whoever has the most money has the most power and this directly relates to Pluto’s rulership over wealth. Pluto may also indicate your pathway to obtaining power or wealth.
In many ways, just as Pluto in mythology ruled the underworld and was responsible for the ferrying of souls to the afterlife without judgment its essential influence is neutral and it is our human nature that dictates whether something is positive or negative. In itself Pluto represents neutral power and it is up to us human beings to decide what to do with that power and whether it manifests as a creative power or destructive, and often it is both.
Plutonium (ruled by Pluto) is a radioactive mineral that can be used to create massive destruction as in nuclear-powered weapons but it is also used in nuclear power plants to create electricity needed for our daily activities or to power spaceships for exploration. Like any tool that is neither positive or negative, it is the USER of that tool that may decide whether something will be used for good or bad. In other words, don’t blame Pluto for any destruction that may occur. Accountability rests on the shoulders of the person utilising Pluto’s energies.
Pluto represents any major or sizable force that can be used to create, destroy or both. E.g. A very large but old building may have to be demolished so that a new and better structure can be built in its place. Pluto may represent the large equipment and team of workers used for this. If you wanted to knock down an old shed and rebuild another it is less likely that Pluto is involved (and more likely Mars and Saturn) as a shed is a small structure. But maybe not! Pluto’s influence depends perhaps on how large a project this is considered to be. Confusing perhaps but I did warn that Pluto is mysterious and hard to discern. Generally a rule of thumb for clarity is this: if it is going to take a long time from destruction to recreation or if it is a very large project then Pluto is likely governing. If a destruction and re-creation is a small or short term project it is more likely a Mars ruled situation. This is one of the reasons that Pluto is considered the “higher octave” of Mars.
This tiny dwarf planet may have extensive influences on an individual and more often it is a generational effect; one that has a major impact on society, nations and the entire global population such as the current Covid-19 pandemic. Pluto may not be so much a physical or singular influence as Mars may be; it is more likely to affect entire systems and large groups of individuals in tearing down and rebuilding. Another way to understand if Pluto is involved is that BOTH a destruction and creation occurs. E.g. Venus (or another inner planet) may be involved with creating something, Uranus (or another outer planet) may be involved with a destruction. When both occur it is likely Pluto that should be analyzed.
Pluto is a planet “of the masses” or global society and its ability to indicate creation and destruction that will influence a large proportion of people is its hallmark.
As a force of power again Pluto affects large groups of people, or appears to give one or a few people a very large amount of power. E.g. A nation’s leader(s) or monarch may have very prominent Pluto activity in their horoscope. Queen Elizabeth II has Pluto in Cancer in her 6th house trining an exalted Venus in Pisces. This can be interpreted as her dharma (karmic service) and her job allowing her to be the “mother” of the UK Commonwealth as well as head of state, and being the daughter (Venus) of someone in power (King George VI) and the ancestor of future monarchs (Princes Charles, William and George). Pluto is also the ruler of her Scorpio midheaven manifesting her greatest gift given to humankind and society. She is famous as the longest reigning UK monarch and a symbol of great wealth with her portrait on currencies of the Commonwealth countries. Although her majesty’s power is largely symbolic no one can deny the very large influence she has had on the world and not just in her own Commonwealth countries, or the fact that she is one of the wealthiest people in the world today. Additionally, her legacy will live on forever in history.
Pluto may be a symbol of power in any infinite number of ways. The key being great power with a potential ability to create or destroy or both and that may affect a tremendously large number of people or chunk of society.
Transformation & Slow Change
All of the outer planets from Jupiter on may symbolize transformation that can be physical, ideological or spiritual. Pluto represents transformations that are very long term and/or tremendous in nature, and especially if they are a form of regeneration. Its generational effect or ability to change society or history are also often cited. Currently, we live in a time that endures rapid societal transformations. Pluto will likely be involved if someone undergoes a transformation on the personal level such as a change of their gender or sex, changes of wealth or financial position, psychological states, a religious “rebirth” and much more.
Pluto is also commonly involved when the world experiences transformations through earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters. Geologists often tell us these occurrences are normal “growing pains” of the Earth itself. However, the impact that humans have had on our Mother Earth are also undeniable when we see the effects of global consumerism and damage to our environment. We are and can be an instrument of slow change and transformation of all that is on and in the Earth itself.
As a planet of the masses or global civilization as we more often say today, Pluto symbolizes great societal change. Around the time of Pluto’s discovery in 1930 the world was already experiencing changes in mass communication (rise of newspapers, radio, TV and other wireless transmissions including later the internet), mass manufacturing and consumerism (steady growth through many decades of many home and consumer goods), mass transit and global travel (railroads, air travel and space travel) and we also experienced changes that affected a large population of people (world wars, terrorism, world health changes). These changes generally occurred steadily over a long span of time and transformed society.
As the ruler of the 8th house of investments and other people’s money Pluto can represent the accumulation of wealth over time and the inheritance of large sums of money. It can also represent very large losses of money or investments and long term debts that will certainly transform your life. Pluto often represents government and large financial institutions to which we are governed or indebted. As it has been said before and which Pluto may represent, the only things we cannot avoid in life are taxation and death (endings/beginnings, i.e. transformation and not necessarily physical death). Although some astrologers believe Pluto, Scorpio and the 8th house are the “death” indicators one’s death may be indicated by any sign, house or planet. But Pluto and what it rules are related to “dead end projects” or endings leading to rebirth (transformation).
Deep Inner Psychology
Pluto may also be involved with long term illness and slow changes in mental health. Pluto also rules physical illnesses that are long term or global in nature such as epidemics and pandemics which today have become politicized. Deeply held beliefs and the onset of depression and other mental health conditions and recovery from these can be symbolized by Pluto and often transform us somehow. As mentioned obsessions, compulsions but also oppression, control, rape, abduction, aggression and other forms of violence, large-scale crimes or anti-social behaviour can be associated with Pluto.
In mythology Pluto lived in his underworld realm and rarely ventured out into the “real” world and his realm was very rarely visited by other deities or mortals. Mostly because once in the underworld there was no getting out except in some special cases detailed in mythological stories. In some ways, the underworld was a form of prison. It’s interesting that human beings often imprison themselves by their own beliefs and perceptions of reality which may be very different from the rest of us, and often considered to be antisocial.
Generally, the 12th house and Neptune deals with prisons and hospitals but Pluto is often involved in the horoscopes of people working in those places of confinement and also police, security and any work involving armed forces such as military and secret investigative services. These may involve work with government sponsored services but also organized crime, terrorist, revolutionary and criminal organizations as well.
It is a truth in life that some people’s personal psychology is rather confining. Personal psychology contributes to a mass psychology. What is considered a crime today may not be a crime tomorrow. E.g. Homosexuality, use of cannabis and other drugs, and even some religious observances throughout history and today have been considered political statements, crimes or not crimes. It often depends on who or what is in power. It is power or lack of power that may be at the root of deeply held psychological beliefs.
Basically, any psychological state of mind that has us face our “shadow” or darker nature is governed by Pluto. Pluto in negative aspect in a horoscope can be very debilitating to one’s personal growth and some individuals have proven to be such dark characters that they commit crimes, murder and all sorts of violence because of what they believe. Many believe they have a “right” to be criminal to restore their perception of what is “wrong” or because they are just power hungry and wish to dominate another or others in general. Or like most criminals and anti-social people are just exceedingly stupid.
What is considered right or wrong, a crime or not a crime is usually decided by the consensus of the group, a community, a government body or society but also often because of the actions of just one individual or a small few. Again, Pluto is seen at work here especially when one person or a small group create or destroy others or segments of society but which may create societal change.
One’s individual deep and inner psychological wounds or ideals can have a huge effect on others. A person may join the military, politics or police because they experienced injustice growing up. One may become a doctor to help heal others because a loved one endured a long debilitating illness. Another may seek to become a billionaire due to an impoverished childhood. And unfortunately, people become criminals due to personal wounds or rejection of the standards set by society or just to have power over another.
Every person has a responsibility to their self and society to be the best human being they can be because if they don’t a deep, dark shadow self may emerge which can be very destructive. At best, one may wish not to conform to society and certain ideals and decide to make their own way in life and perhaps very successfully. At worst, due to deep psychological pain and sickness some create great destruction to their self and others.
One of my favourite sayings is, “We are all victims of our own psychology”. This differs somewhat from the acquired personality trait of victim mentality which means that the person identifies with being a victim. This can be very dangerous thinking as due to this victim mentality a person often strikes out at others or self-harms. Within my quote is the reality that we all do at times victimize ourselves because of our own psychology whatever that may be. We become our own perpetrator and our own victim but hopefully come to recognize the error of our ways and gradually change.
Psychology can be very personal to each individual, yet the field of psychiatry has also developed theories and symptoms that apply to many individuals suffering from the same mental illness or antisocial behaviour. Pluto rules most any deep psychological state that forms our personal view of self and others. Therefore, that includes healthy, socially acceptable psychology but also issues such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), depression, OCD, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, mood disorders, eating disorders, dementia and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) all of which may be represented by Pluto in the horoscope.
Friendly Pluto aspects in a nativity may also represent one who works with people with these disorders or who may have recovered from previous illnesses, or who may create work and activities that help all of us feel better psychological health. E.g. Artists, musicians and mental health workers that help us achieve inner peace, political leaders who institute laws or other changes in society that benefit all, and those who work with spiritual and religious practices that truly help others achieve inner peace and successful growth in life may all have strong influences from Pluto.
The Masses & Social Change
When one has power, one often has control. When one feels they have no power or their power was taken away, they may fall into deep psychological states that harm themselves or others and that may create great societal change.
Some may feel that harming theirself or overpowering another restores their own inner power perhaps and this justifies the destruction of the self or other people and again, that may have an effect on larger groups of people. When some individuals state that it is necessary to enforce changes that oppress or they say protect us or uphold their version of God this to me appears particularly un-Godlike, inhuman, and heinous.
When fascist groups such as Nazis or other political or religious groups enforce their version of what is best for all they may even resort to murdering or torturing people whose crime is only the religion, gender/sex or race in which they were born or how they chose to live. To a civilized society these crimes are ghastly and inhuman. These groups often attempt to demonize and dehumanize certain individuals or groups as justification for their crimes. Pluto unfortunately often symbolizes or appears to influence the thinking of people in some of these religions, cults and political parties. Often, we find they have acted on deep and harmful psychological beliefs or mental states.
Throughout history religious and political factions have committed mass murder to enforce their version of “the law”. Traditional and non-traditional religious groups or cults have murdered millions of people all over the planet due to personal and collective religious or political beliefs in the past and this continues still today in some parts of the world. Why? Why would one group of people decide that another person or group of people deserves to be considered a criminal or to die for what they believe or in the case of another person’s different race, sex or creed? Likely, because of their deep inner psychology that manifests as prejudice, and is cult-like and criminal, anti-social behaviour.
Today we live in a time that is very “black and white” with no grey allowed and although that is not a balanced society it can be typically Plutonian. Current and historical political, racial, and religious wars have forced some people to believe they must choose the left or the right and no middle ground is allowed and those who believe in a middle ground or have the opposite view are called out, persecuted, oppressed and sometimes killed for their differing opinion. What a sad world we have today where there is so much technological progress yet human beings seem to have reverted back to uncivilized and extremely harmful behaviour that does not promote personal freedom. You may wish to blame Pluto but accountability rests on the shoulders of every human being that does not allow free thought and activity, even if it differs with your own world view. The global mentality today appears to have become destructive and is far too similar to other times in history when the world appears to have lost its mind due to deep psychological wounds and beliefs. Pluto symbolizes these things but cannot be discredited as the source of these societal ills. Human beings are responsible for acts of destruction based on their own sick psychology. Pluto however does represent this type of psychology and the cycle of life, of destruction, creation and regeneration which creates society.
The health of any family, community or society is dictated by who is in power and who is in control. The fight for power and control is waged in the home, in political circles and in society locally or worldwide. It is mind-boggling when one can see that the sick psychology of just one person can affect an entire nation and the world as in the personal psychology of individuals such as Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, Putin and Trump. Their very thirst for power, control, self-aggrandisement and oppression over others while selfishly robbing the rest of us of our wealth, independence and freedoms is an unfortunate human condition, but often symbolized by Pluto within their own horoscopes and which thus globally affects us all. Microcosm versus macrocosm is Pluto’s domain personally and worldwide and reflected in each individual’s psychology which contributes to the psychology of nations and the world.
We can today only fantasize about a global society as depicted in Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek” version of our future, borne from healthy individuals and a healthy global psychology of cooperation where people are free and respected and where we help one another instead of destroying another because their world-view differs from ours.
When Pluto is activated in a horoscope we are challenged to not react with our deeper and darker shadow personality. Like Saturn, Pluto can be a “great leveller” in the zodiac because it has a mass or global effect. Like the taskmaster of the zodiac, it may be best to try and get out of Pluto’s way yet like our own inner psychology which we cannot escape, Pluto represents urges that are very hard to resist. But not impossible. The key to Pluto is to learn to recognize and utilize what we can control and not give up and give in to what we think are “uncontrollable urges”. Very often it is just laziness and/or fear that convinces us we cannot have control over ourselves and effect change.
With Pluto we must recognize that change will come very slowly and we prevent transformation by being impatient. Sometimes we must resist laziness, fear and insecurity to allow Pluto to do its work of making us stronger and more powerful. Pluto can be self-empowering while we work through a person, event or situation that forces us to change for the better and that may be more painful. As with the other outer planets, choice may appear to be taken away from us as we are dragged through a Plutonian life trauma but often we are just at odds with ourselves and prefer to blame it on outer conditions. It’s more likely the inner psychology we have created or learned needs to be unlearned through therapy, change and commitment to positive transformation.
Pluto and its symbolic energies can be used positively but it takes great self-control. Pluto is all about power and control. When we are not in control of ourselves we may feel fear or act with aggression, self-harm and self-victimization or we victimize others with our obsessions, compulsions, and oppressive or aggressive behaviour. Think about the opposite of these and ask yourself how do I stop being or doing any of these harmful things? Usually it is with patience, perseverance, and giving time for things to “play out” and to recognize when you can take control of a situation in a positive way. And ask for help! Pluto may represent our own inner psychology but it is also the planet of the masses and we have a world of opportunity available in others to work with and bring under control or correct what is not allowing us freedom to grow out of bad habits and create a better life not imprisoned by our own dark shadowy traits.
Sometimes we have lost control of aspects of our lives because we have not made wise decisions or we have aggressively or subtly tried to control others instead of exercising self-control. We then deny responsibility for our own actions, hiding from ourselves. That seems to be when the Universe uses Pluto to “kick in” and kick us in the backside to say, “Smarten up! You know better now get going and behave properly with yourself and others”. We could all probably put a finger on a time when we were not taking proper care of ourselves so something or someone happened to make us wiser and to find a long term solution. Often, that was to leave something or someone behind, an ending which may bring about a “death” but as you now know, death is but a first step in a re-creation, a regeneration, a rebirth and a new beginning. It takes great courage to face Pluto and what it symbolizes but that is often what is required, and also effort, patience and an appreciation that some transformations must occur over time.
Pluto is a symbol for riches and great wealth. It can also be a symbol of great indebtedness and poverty. When we are left without proper resources to achieve a goal we are often forced to find a new or different resource to succeed. That is called being resourceful! In this way, Pluto forces a transformation to be more part of the process of change and to find a new or better way to do something. It makes us dig deep within ourselves to find that hidden resource and sometimes we find it represents a hidden resource we forgot about or didn’t know we had. Some things increase greatly in value over a long period of time; other times we allow something to be a drain on our resources that should have been “ended” a long time ago, like a massive debt or even a wrong attitude. As we dig into the earth literally for hidden wealth, we must recognize that all answers are within ourselves as the mystics say and we must dig deeper inside ourselves to find them, whether material, psychological, or spiritual and intangible.
Physiologically, Pluto is thought to rule the DNA, reproductive cells and immunological response. By these relationships it is often cited in inherited or genetic traits and diseases, issues dealing with sexuality and reproduction, and the very many diseases relating to the immune system. Particularly when afflicted Pluto can indicate a lifelong disease or life-threatening illness and that often transform us in some way. Pluto may also be involved in recovery of these serious diseases. Like Neptune, Plutonian illnesses can be very difficult to diagnose and treat. It may also involve illnesses that require us to avoid certain foods or microbes (allergy and intolerance) or in which we need to build tolerance or immunity to effect a cure, or that may actually be incurable.
Pluto is called the “henchman” of the zodiac as it is often involved with organized crime, government associations and agencies that are difficult to escape, resist or fight (secret police, “the law”, licensing bodies, military, terrorists, dictators, tyrants, banks, collection agencies, taxation). Pluto may be involved with crimes such as kidnapping, oppression, government and military coups or overthrow, multiple crimes (serial rapists and repeat offenders, mass murder, mass genocide, very large robberies and thefts, spying and theft of personal private data or government secrets).
Pluto is a symbol for all government especially federal and larger governments, big business and corporations (banks, insurance companies, large multinational companies, conglomerates) and those that effect world change (very large tech, entertainment and media companies). These may often be determined more specifically by house, sign placement and aspects to other planets and chart components.
Pluto represents anything or anyone that has real control over you and often things or people from which we must break free, depose or escape and also where we may have to “toe the line”. Pluto sometimes appears to remove our choice in the matter.
Pluto can be an explosive energy but not like a Mars or Uranus explosion it is more an implosion; Pluto relates to nuclear power, disasters and major accidents of great loss, and also represents anything that is underground (gas/oil industries, earthquakes and lava flows especially when aspecting Uranus, tunneling, mining) and very large screw-ups.
Pluto is symbolized by anything occurring at the atomic level, or deep in outer space such as the exploration of other planets and star systems, extraterrestrial life, and black holes. Sometimes in a horoscope Pluto appears to behave like a black hole sucking in everything else it contacts, stretching it out for a very long time and never really finishing or ending; until a transformation occurs which may take a long time to occur.
Pluto is often involved in mass manufacturing and anything that affects a larger or global population or industry. Also world government, dictatorships, superpower countries, “puppet” governments and mass rebellions, massive protests, strikes or changes. It can also be seen in anything we would prefix with “super” and in very large and all-encompassing situations or operations such as business monopolies takeovers and massive expansions.
Pluto is truly the dark horse of the zodiac. The person or thing we don’t really know well but over time reveals more and more of it/theirself and it may even be shocking, surprisingly good or horrifying. Just like the sign it rules (Scorpio) who never reveals all of who they are at first and prefers to keep things hidden or secret Pluto can be very mysterious. Take the time to get to know Scorpio, the 8th house and Pluto however and a very rich, fascinating and rewarding experience may occur.
Like the misunderstood and often maligned mythological god of the underworld, Pluto (and its many other names that are forgotten, hidden, euphemised or well-known) is about as clear as a midnight sky sometimes. Yet hidden in its mysteries are resources of great wealth, power and wisdom, or great pain and dominant oppressive power which may be yielding or unyielding. It is control, obsession or oppression, and it is also the greatest symbol of rebirth and transformation, and eventually over time it may show us a flip side we didn’t even know existed.
That is quite a bit of power and influence for a planet that was demoted to insignificance by astronomers and perhaps just more of Pluto’s hidden sense of humour and desire to hide his real self.
Pluto and all the other planets except the Sun and Moon have a retrograde cycle. Read more about this here.