The Question of Pluto

Today, the Sun reaches the middle of earthy Virgo after about two weeks in that sign (since Aug. 22). In doing so, the Sun moves to within 120 degrees of Pluto, in an aspect astrologers call a ‘trine’. Pluto has taken nearly eight years to reach the middle of earthy Capricorn since its second ingress to that particular sign in late 2008.


Trine aspects form between signs that share the same element (fire, earth, air or water). Sharing the same element implies a conductivity that conveys information over the wide separation of 120 degrees almost as efficiently as a conjunction (two objects sharing the same degree of the same sign).

Among other things, the Sun represents consciousness in the way most understand it: awake, alert, present, interactive. Combine that with the fact that the Sun’s subconscious complement (the Moon) is today in Scorpio and it’s a good time to consider the question of Pluto.

The reason having the Moon in Scorpio matters is that Pluto is considered to be the modern co-ruler of Scorpio (along with Mars, the classical ruler of Scorpio). Hence, the astrology implies that you are today in some way connected on both the conscious and subconscious levels to the complex nature of Pluto’s place in astrology. The timing is interesting, to say the least. That’s because the question of Pluto is coming up in the midst of a series of eclipses which have also been subject to question.

Because the Aquarius Full Moon of Aug. 18 took place just barely within Earth’s shadow, there was no readily evident darkening of the Moon. For some, that means there was no lunar eclipse at all. For those who think that way, the current series of eclipses started on Sept. 1 with a Virgo New Moon and annular solar eclipse visible in the Southern Hemisphere.

Because Pluto is not visible to the unaided eye, there are some astrologers who do not consider it a planet at all. Combine that perception with astronomers who ‘demoted’ Pluto from planet to ‘dwarf planet’ shortly before Pluto left Sagittarius to enter Capricorn, and you have an object that amounts to a highly contentious subject. Indeed, the controversy only seems to become more pronounced with the passage of time.

Now that the New Horizons spacecraft has returned close-up photos and other unprecedented information regarding Pluto, its astronomical claim to being a planet has been strengthened. In parallel, the recently concluded continuum of seven consecutive square aspects (separations of 90 degrees) from Uranus in Aries to Pluto in Capricorn, from 2012 to 2015, has only served to bolster Pluto’s legitimacy as an astrological tool.

If there is anything to astrology, today’s aspects imply that it’s time for you to have a say. After all, why not you? You are as much a part of the system we call solar as anybody else. Your life experience is as valid as that of any other. After a weekend of contemplating when the eclipse cycle started for you, it’s only fitting that you continue to claim your place in the cosmic order of things by holding forth on Pluto. Just so you may know what to look for, begin with the concept that Pluto has layers, much like consciousness itself.


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The top layer has to do with Pluto’s name. The names of planets discovered by telescope cannot possibly carry the same weight of meaning as the names of classical planets, which have always been visible to human beings from our first days on Earth. Nonetheless, there is evidence that serendipity does frequently take a hand in what results from the bureaucratic and somewhat arbitrary process of naming discovered planets.

So as a first layer, you have the mythological character of Pluto, ruler of the afterlife’s shadowy realm. Not exactly glee club material, that fellow. Even so, somebody to be reckoned with inevitably.

Which leads to the next layer of Pluto’s meaning: the subject of not only death, but also two other things that are not often considered the material of polite conversation (unless, perhaps, you are a solar Scorpio): sex and taxes. In other words, Pluto manifests not only as mysteries hidden from us, but also in what we often hide from ourselves and others.

Finally, there is at least another layer, which has to do with some of the most profound natural mysteries that take place just out of sight. Two examples might be limestone converted to marble in the depths of the Earth, and a caterpillar turning into a butterfly within a chrysalis or cocoon. In other words, Pluto is something other than merely scary or the subject of denial. Pluto is also related to the miracle of metamorphosis and transformation that takes place every day, albeit in a veiled way.

Based on what’s going on in the sky right now, today would be a good opportunity to for you to unveil Pluto and make your own decisions about it. Keep in mind that you would best draw upon your experiences since late 2008 to do so, but also pay attention to what part of your immediate experience you are either compelled or unable to ignore. Don’t be scared: it’s not as though the Sun — and your consciousness — won’t move on.

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About Len Wallick

Besides endeavoring to be of service to all of you here at Planet Waves, Len strives to live in Seattle while working as a professional astrologer. To contact him for an astrology reading you can send an e-mail to: His telephone number is 206-356-5467. In addition to his profession, Len contributes to the Seattle community without monetary compensation by serving as a Reiki practitioner and teacher through classes and outreach offered by the Seattle Reiki Mastery Series modality.

2 thoughts on “The Question of Pluto

  1. Barbara Koehler

    This was good Len, yes indeed Pluto is more than merely scary and I base that on his opposition to my Sun and his conjunction with my MC and his square to my Jupiter since 2008. But I’m more intrigued with this idea of limestone becoming marble while hidden away in the depths of Earth. Caterpillars into butterflies. Who could not marvel of the magic in that trick, although I know some who fear caterpillars only because of their strange way of moving!

    But it does seem magical doesn’t it? These transformations that come about through some metamorphosis that defies explanation (unless you are of a scientific bent). They don’t happen overnight either, Pluto’s transformations, and one wonders what is happening to the U.S. as transiting Pluto opposes the U.S. Sun and squares the U.S. Saturn. Only historians (and a few astrologers maybe) will be able to pinpoint just when and where the U.S. becomes a butterfly. That might mean that the U.S. could disappear for a while; slip into its cocoon mode and reappear with wings spread wide.

    Not that there aren’t any clues to that transformation. Even during this Virgo solar eclipse transiting Pluto was opposite transiting Vesta who was conjunct the U.S. Sun and square the U.S. Saturn. Vesta laboriously works away at the U.S. consciousness (Sun) while transiting Pallas strategizes as she conjuncts the U.S. Aquarius Moon (the U.S. People) several times over, one of them at that barely-an-eclipsed-Full Moon in Aquarius last month. Might not the transformation be happening even as we write and read today?

    And we must consider the importance of transiting Vesta as well as the U.S. natal (Sibly) Vesta, she whose “return” last April coincided with transiting Pluto’s station retrograde. U.S. Vesta was also hostess to the transiting Mercury’s occultation of the Sun this past Spring when it took place in the same degree she occupies in the U.S. Sibly chart.

    We should consider too the new cycle between transiting Vesta and transiting Mercury that took 3 conjunctions between them to consummate, all between mid April and late June. This latest iteration of (transiting) Vesta with her emphasis on the hearth fire and its all-encompassing protectiveness , now conjunct the U.S. Sun while opposing transiting Pluto during a solar eclipse, might imply a more welcoming U.S. transformation. Welcoming once again the tired and poor and huddled masses. Spread those new wings USA!

    That’s my take on the simultaneous Pluto effect on both transiting Sun and Moon today. For the U.S. anyway. A transformation that includes a return to its traditional and more welcoming stance in the world as opposed to the more recent rejection of outsiders it has projected. That isn’t just the influence of Pluto though, since the solar eclipse had a grand trine between Vesta, Neptune and Juno. Still, Neptune seems willing enough to let poor Pluto take the credit.

    Thanks again Len for a thoughtful, feeling and provocative piece we can all use in these times of unrelenting pressure to change, magical though they may be. Bless you.

  2. Len Wallick Post author

    Barbara: Thank you especially for pointing out that events corresponding with Pluto don’t happen overnight. One of the hallmarks of Pluto in astrology is that it takes a lot of time to get one’s attention. One possible correlation is what some prominent athletes are bringing to our attention by sitting out the Star Spangled Banner ceremonies at the beginning of a game. The issues being addressed by these athletes are not new, and have been either glossed over or inappropriately linked to other issues for too long. The support these athletes have received from at least some veterans of armed service is an indication that patriotism does not mean going along with injustice or being a “yes man” when the U.S. violates its core principles. Perhaps there is the correspondence for transits to the U.S. (Sibly) “natal” chart that you so regularly and adroitly share. For this and everything you share with us, thank you so very much, Barbara.

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