Astro Journal

Pluto in Capricorn: the Evolution of Power and Empire

Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008 and has been busy turning the world upside down since. There are several more years of this structural upheaval to get through, so what’s in store? And when will this madness end?!

Pluto transits Capricorn from 2008 to 2024, with a few dips in and out:

  • Entered Capricorn: 26th January 2008
  • Retrograded into Sagittarius: 15th June 2008
  • Re-entered Capricorn: 27th November 2008, where it stays, until…
  • Enters Aquarius: 23rd March 2023
  • Retrogrades into Capricorn: 12th June 2023
  • Re-enters Aquarius: 21st January 2024

Pluto takes 248 years to move through the whole zodiac and spends about 12–30 years in each sign. It varies so much because Pluto has a wildly elliptical orbit, meaning its own sign of Scorpio sees the shortest visit, while Taurus endures the longest.

As an archetype, Pluto represents the deep evolutionary forces that work through our collective psyche. Anything that’s no longer useful or doesn’t work anymore, is broken down so it can be renewed. Pluto makes sure this mysterious cycle of birth, death, and rebirth keeps turning, and nothing will stand in his way. It’s non-negotiable. A case of evolve or die.

And if the old refuses to die, Pluto will come along and do the deed to make way for the new. It dredges the unconscious and brings up anything past its time. Corrupted or degenerate systems and complexes are brought into the light so life can be renewed.

When Pluto was in the previous sign of Sagittarius, our feelings about religion and belief were transformed. During those years (1995-2008) we saw a rise in violence motivated by religious fundamentalism, as well as the blooming of New Age beliefs and the Mind Body Spirit movement. It was a time of idealism and optimism: that we could change the world if we just believed it was possible.

When Pluto entered Capricorn, we hit the ground with a bump and it’s been tough going (for most of us) since. Now it’s time for the Capricorn archetype to get the Pluto treatment. But what does that mean?

With Pluto in Capricorn we’ll see changes to the structure of society and the laws that govern nations, business, finance, and global trade, as well as how we relate to and define hierarchies, authority and power. Pluto will bring to light corrupt structures and abuses of power – collectively and individually.

A positive expression of Pluto in Capricorn could give rise to more realistic politics and economics, shrewd use of resources, protection of the environment, planning and contingencies for future generations (in housing and healthcare, for example), building structures in society that work for everyone, and the use of power in alignment with higher moral virtues that genuinely serve others.

Capricorn is about pragmatism and realism, finding practical solutions to problems and building structures that are designed to last a long time. Its highest expression in an individual is the bodhisattva – compassion in action and serving others to build a better world for all.

These positive Capricorn qualities take discipline and time to develop, and depend on a worldview that extends beyond the next fiscal quarter or shareholder meeting. Which is why we’re seeing a lot more of the downside of Capricorn: austerity, suppression and the denial of rights won during more open times, ‘realpolitik’ and the rise of authoritarian governments, ‘strong man’ leaders and tyrants.

Pluto’s transit of Capricorn tends to coincide with the rise and fall of empires, and sees big changes in the rules and structures that shape society in politics and religion. Theories and ideals are brought down to earth and put into practice, and anything that doesn’t work is thrown out – no matter how noble.

For example, way back in the early days of the Age of Pisces two thousand years ago, there was an explosion of religious idealism that expressed itself through the teachings of multiple gnostic sects. This happened during Pluto’s transit of Sagittarius, and included some bloke called Jesus – you may have heard of him. It didn’t end well for him (if he even existed), but once Pluto moved into Capricorn, his teachings were codified (and distorted) and turned into the new religion of Christianity.

Pluto in Capricorn today

Every where you look, the forces of destruction and rebirth are transforming society – it seems like a free for all, but there’s wisdom behind the chaos. The social structures we have built are collapsing because they’re based on values and ideas that no longer work for the mass of humanity.

The destruction has been so intense over the last few years because this transit has coincided with other powerful alignments. For example, the Credit Crunch of 2007 that triggered the financial crisis in 2008, coincided with the Uranus Pluto square that began to build from 2007 to its peak in 2012-2015. When Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008 it was also square Saturn which deepened the financial crisis and turned it into a depression.

Pluto in Capricorn has six years left to run and we’re not out of the woods yet. The Uranus Pluto square is fading, but we’re now entering the orb of the next Saturn Pluto alignment – the conjunction in January 2020. Then as Pluto nears the end of Capricorn and approaches Aquarius, Saturn aligns with Uranus (the ruler of Aquarius) in a square.

And to top it all, Pluto returns to the place it was when America was ‘born’ in 1776. The Pluto return marks the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new era, so this will be a time of great soul searching for America. Although the country was born as a result of its rebellion against British Imperialism, and officially declares itself the upholder of freedom and democracy, its actions speak otherwise. It’s clear the US has become the monster it once despised.

The Pluto return in 2022-23 could be an opportunity to reaffirm the values of the Constitution and apply them to all peoples, no matter their colour, gender, religion, or level of wealth. It might also be the high water mark of American dominance around the world and the beginning of a new era of global power sharing and playing nicely. (I’m not holding my breath)

Meanwhile, the corrupting influence of power has become so obvious it’s painful to watch. It’s like world leaders can’t wait to demonstrate their clay feet and incompetence in the face of the overwhelming complexities of the world. The real powers behind the throne are also being revealed – the super-rich who control governments and buy influence in order to maintain their slippery grip on power, and the unscrupulous intelligence networks that enable them.

We’re seeing the extent to which the world has been overtaken by self-serving plutocracies lining their pockets at our expense. Austerity is crippling the poor while the growth goes to the top tier of society, and the entire social structure is being hollowed out as a result. The system actually rewards the destruction of the environment and the sacrifice of humane principles in the pursuit of profit.

This is just capitalism following the logic of the market to its obvious conclusion: self-destruction. The current system can only fail. Pluto is demanding that we reform and change our approach. If we don’t, the end is obvious.

Pluto in Capricorn is testing the foundations of our power structures to see if they’re built in alignment with the laws of deeper Reality. Anything built on lies, deception, delusion or egotism will be torn down and transformed. This is why we’re seeing so much corruption and darkness bubbling up to the surface. Pluto forces open the cracks and out comes all the crap we’ve been denying or avoiding for decades.

Old hierarchies are being challenged and overthrown as we move away from centralised control to decentralised self-determination and cooperation. The dominance of Western Imperialism is starting to collapse – finally – and we’re seeing the rise of alternative power structures and networks in preparation for the move into Aquarius.

By the end of this transit the UK will have ‘done Brexit’ (one way or another), and we may even begin to see the break up of Europe. Whatever happens in the US, the balance of power is shifting away from the West towards the BRIC nations – Brazil, Russia, India, and China – and others. A new consensus is building that rejects the status quo, refuses to trade in dollars, and wants to create a multi polar world order.

The materialist worldview that fuels our consumerist culture is now under scrutiny like never before. Even the scientific method is being picked apart and scientists are having replicability problems. An increasing number of clinical trials are failing and many companies simply don’t publish the results they don’t like. BTW, that doesn’t mean you can strap yourself to a rocket to prove the earth is flat. Science is struggling because it’s running into its blind spots.

As the structures and ideas of the old order disintegrate, even older ideas and beliefs resurface and come back to life. We’re seeing a resurgence of interest in astrology, witchcraft, and practices that honour the earth. There’s also a growing realisation that our knowledge of history may be totally skewed as new breakthroughs overturn long-held assumptions.

Pluto in Capricorn also demands that we become more realistic and respectful towards the environment. How we use material resources is being questioned as we become painfully aware of the consequences of our rapacious appetite for stuff. Old forms of energy are fading and we’re seeing a mad dash away from fossil fuels (triggering weird shenanigans in Saudi Arabia). The smart money will start to pour into renewables, and perhaps as Pluto enters Aquarius, we might see the glimmer of free energy on the horizon.

Expect more disruption as this transit plays out over the next six years. Vested interests that try to maintain the status quo will be tested to the extreme in the ultimate reality check. Power must be made accountable and transparent.

But whatever ‘they’ tell you, it’s not the end of the world.

It’s the end of ‘their’ world.

There’s now a growing awareness of how inequalities between people are deliberately created and exploited by those in power. This has led to a breakdown of trust in government and disillusionment with authority and experts. But that doesn’t mean you can blame what’s happening on ‘them,’ the people in power.

Pluto in Capricorn is telling us it’s time for all individuals to step up and take responsibility for themselves as global citizens. The lesson doesn’t just apply to those who hold positions of power over others. We must all live with integrity and truth based on our own authority centred in knowledge of the true Self.

On a personal level, Pluto in Capricorn is about how you use your power and inner sense of responsibility for yourself. This could be the perfect time to explore the spiritual side of Capricorn by allowing Pluto to guide you through the underworld where you can transmute pain into wisdom. You may undergo the slow death of the ego or false self, and experience a psychological and emotional rebirth.

True spiritual growth and wisdom doesn’t come easy, and Pluto reminds you to have humility in the face of the powerful forces that operate beyond the Self. You can either descend willingly, or not. But if you resist this opportunity, you’ll be dragged into the underworld, and one way or another, forced to let go and change.

Pluto in Capricorn is encouraging you to redefine your relationship with authority – not just with those in power over you, but also to your own inner authority. It may be time to accept your own power and do what you can to serve humanity at this critical time. It doesn’t have to be a big deal – just ask yourself some questions:

  • How do you take responsibility for yourself?
  • Are you a leader or a follower?
  • Do you allow yourself to be herded like a sheep by those in power?
  • Can you learn to become more self-sufficient?
  • Are you aligned with your true moral compass within?
  • How solid is the ground on which you have built your life structure?

Saturn joins Pluto in Capricorn at the end of December and he demands the same of us: be your own authority. That doesn’t mean you can just think and do what you like and to hell with the consequences. Pluto in Capricorn is showing us exactly what happens if you live like that.

“Know what is in front of your face and what is hidden from you will be disclosed.” – Gospel of Thomas

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