Pluto takes about 248 years to transit the whole zodiac and he’s been visiting with Capricorn since 2008. Pluto will transit Aquarius from 2023 to 2044, spending about 18 and a half years there in total, with a few dips in and out at either end. It promises to be a challenging and revolutionary time that will turn society upside down. Here are the dates for your diary:
- Enters Aquarius on 23 March 2023
- Retrogrades into Capricorn on 11 June 2023
- Re-enters Aquarius on 21 January 2024
- Final visit to Capricorn from 1 September 2024
- Enters Aquarius to stay from 19 November 2024
- Dips into Pisces on 9 March 2043
- Final visit to Aquarius on 31 August 2043
- Enters Pisces to stay on 19 January 2044
Pluto represents the principle of transformation and the evolutionary forces of life and death expressed through the primordial instincts and Kundalini energy. It’s associated with the collective shadow and mass movements, the will to power and the underworld, whether geological, political, social or spiritual. Its purifying action brings about regeneration through the destruction of outmoded forms with both positive and negative consequences.
If Pluto in Capricorn means the transformation of social structures, corporations, authority, and the established hierarchy, then Pluto in Aquarius will bring about the transformation of the rules and social norms that bind society together, as well as our ideas about humanity, and how we use science and technology to manifest those ideas.
Depending upon what happens in the years before Pluto changes signs, we may see an uprising and rebellion against the oppression that has taken hold in some parts of the world under Capricorn. We need a new vision of society and the future, one that works for all peoples and the planet as a whole, so under Pluto in Aquarius we can expect a social and technological revolution.
Before we get into that, let’s explore some of the changes from previous transits of Pluto in Aquarius, some of which also lined up with either Neptune in Aries or Uranus in Gemini…
First, going back a long way, the Romans invaded Britain in 43 CE when Pluto was in Capricorn, and founded the city of London. When Pluto entered Aquarius in 60 CE, there was a revolt against the occupation led by Boudicca and the Iceni tribe. Unfortunately, it failed and Boudicca was killed. Interestingly, Neptune was also in Aries at the time, and Saturn was opposing Uranus.
The next transit was in 305 – 329 during the reign of Constantine in Rome. He converted to Christianity in 312 and was involved in the Edict of Milan in 313 which established religious tolerance for Christians in the Empire. And in 325, the Council of Nicaea agreed their version of orthodox Christian doctrine and discarded many of the gospels.
Pluto was in Aquarius in 795 – 819 when Alcuin, an English theologian, founded a university under Charlemagne for the study of the liberal arts, helping to spread knowledge and learning that would create the Carolingian renaissance in art, music and architecture. Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800, and he codified many Germanic tribal laws.
In 1041 – 1063 Pluto was in Aquarius along with Neptune in Aries. This era saw the schism between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches become permanent, and many churches were built in England, such as at Westminster and Winchester. Innovations of the time include movable printing type invented in China in 1045, and the use of the astrolabe which spread into Europe from Islamic countries and India.
The next transit ran from 1286 to 1308, just after the shift into the last Jupiter Saturn air cycle – similar to now. This era saw the expansion of cultural trade routes across Eurasia and into Europe. Innovations of the time include block printing in Europe, imported from China, and the invention of spectacles in 1290.
In Britain, the Houses of Lords and Commons were founded and parliament gained the right of taxation. Edward I codified English Common Law in 1293, but his reign was marked by constant fighting with Scotland. He also standardised the imperial weights and measures in 1305, although they were continuously tweaked after that.
Pluto was next in Aquarius in 1532 – 1553 while Neptune was in Aries. This was when Henry VIII told the Pope to get lost and then set up the Church of England so he could marry Anne Boleyn in 1533. He seized the assets of the Church in the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, and this break with Rome triggered endless fisticuffs between Protestants and Catholics.
In France, John Calvin started his Protestant reformation in 1532. And in Rome, Pope Paul III established another Inquisition in 1542 to deal with the rising tide of Protestantism. But the Church would soon be on the run because Copernicus published his heliocentric theory of the solar system in Of the Revolution of Celestial Bodies in 1543.
Other notable writings include Machiavelli’s The Prince, about how to get away with unethical practices when wielding power, published in 1532. And the predictions and visions of Nostradamus which were worked on during this period but not published until Pluto moved into Pisces.
The first African slaves were brought to the ‘New World’ in 1525 during Pluto in Capricorn. This marked the start of the transatlantic slave trade which took off under Pluto in Aquarius. Meanwhile, the Spanish were invading the Incan empire in South America in the early 1530s, plundering their gold and destroying their culture.
Finally, the most recent Pluto transit of Aquarius was in 1777 – 1797 while Uranus was in Gemini. This was when the Enlightenment reached its peak and the ideas of individualism and rationalism were spreading. In Russia, Catherine the Great came to the throne in 1762 during Pluto in Capricorn, and reigned until 1796. As Pluto entered Aquarius, she made many reforms encouraging the ideals of the Enlightenment and was a great patron of the arts and sciences.
Revolution was spreading elsewhere too. America declared its independence from England in 1776 under Pluto in Capricorn, but the revolutionary war lasted until 1783, ending with the Treaty of Versailles. The US Constitution was established in 1787, followed by the Bill of Rights in 1789.
Meanwhile, the French Revolution started in 1789 with the overthrow of the monarchy, the abolition of the feudal system and the declaration of the ‘Rights of Man.’ The first state-sponsored atheist religion was declared the ‘Cult of Reason’ in 1794. The revolution lasted until 1799 and quickly descended into a bloodbath in the Reign of Terror.
The Industrial Revolution was also picking up speed and steam power was revolutionising transport and the textile industry. There are too many innovations and discoveries from this time to list, but here are a few:
- first cooperative workshop set up by tailors in Birmingham, England in 1777
- Lavoisier, the father of chemistry, discovered the composition of air in 1778
- Herschel discovered Uranus in 1781
- first hot air balloon flight by the Montgolfier brothers in 1782
- John Michell published his theory of black holes in 1784
- metric system developed during the French Revolution and formally defined in 1795
- workers built and ran a flour mill as a cooperative in Hull, England in 1795
- first successful vaccine for smallpox developed in 1796
There was enormous growth in corporations and global trade, including the slave trade, although opposition was beginning to build. Virginia was the first US State to ban the import of slaves in 1778. In Sierra Leone, a settlement was founded for freed slaves in 1787. But Denmark was the first nation to abolish the slave trade in 1792. In the US, the Slave Trade Act of 1794 prohibited American ships from engaging in the slave trade, but it wasn’t fully abolished until Pluto was in Pisces. However, we still have slavery today. 😢
In the world of philosophy, Kant published his Critique of Pure Reason in 1781, and inspired by the revolutions in America and France, Thomas Paine published The Rights of Man in 1791, and The Age of Reason in 1794. Utilitarianideas took off and fed into the discussion around welfare and how to maximise happiness for the majority. Jeremy Bentham published his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation in 1789.
William Blake, who was highly critical of the industrial revolution and the Enlightenment focus on reason, wrote The Marriage of Heaven and Hell in 1790-93, and published his Songs of Innocence and of Experience in 1794. Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792. She was also the mother of Mary Shelley, born with Pluto in Aquarius, who went on to write Frankenstein.
Finally, the Classical form of music reached its peak in the genius of Mozart, as well as Haydn and Beethoven. Classical music was less complex than the earlier Baroque styles and made use of clear melodic lines. Orchestras became larger and innovations in the manufacturing of pianos made them more robust so you could really hammer away at them – Beethoven loved that! – and this influenced composition styles.
Pluto in Aquarius 2023 – 2044
Whatever happens in the coming years, we can be sure there’ll be no sudden shift into a liberal and progressive paradise of freedom and equality. And we won’t be jetting off to Mars or popping to the Moon for a weekend break anytime soon. 🙃
Aquarius is a tricky sign and prone to being misrepresented and viewed through rose-tinted New Age specs (with heart-shaped lenses). It represents our need to reform society by introducing new ideas and working together in friendship to create greater freedom. As an outsider, Aquarius takes an objective view so it can make theories and plans for change. But that doesn’t mean the theories are correct or that they’ll even work in practice.
Aquarius isn’t as objective as it thinks it is and can get caught in groupthink and fanaticism. Despite proclaiming its love of humanity, it has serious issues with messy human stuff like feelings and the body. And that means its shadow side gets pretty murky. More here: Aquarius Myths
When Pluto enters Aquarius we can expect the desire for reform and revolution to grow, especially in the areas of science and technology and how society is organised. But first, all the problems with these things will have to come to the surface. We have to be aware of what needs to be changed, and why, before we can figure out what to do about it.
And that requires self-knowledge – the one thing we suck at. Pluto in Aquarius will probably make that painfully clear.
It’s time for us to figure out what it means to be human and how to live together on this planet without fighting over everything. Aquarius is future-oriented and wants to make society, and the future, a better place. But before you can do that, you have to understand who you are and why you’re here.
These are big questions and they require bigger answers than we’re currently giving them. The meaning of life isn’t to be found in the latest app or overblown promises about our shiny new future in the stars. Many things will change over the coming years and we can expect our relationship with technology to be radically transformed, but probably not in the ways we’re imagining now.
We have too much faith in technology and believe it can solve all our problems and save us from ourselves. We assume certain developments are inevitable, a sign of progress, without ever considering whether they’re necessary. We may start out aiming to improve life but then discover the unintended consequences of technological development create even more problems.
This appears to be driven by the myth of progress and the idea that we can somehow escape the laws of nature and death. It’s a religious urge: the desire for apotheosis via technology instead of via God. This creates distortions, such as the transhumanist fantasy of solving the problem of human nature by turning it into a machine. Or using technology to mimic capacities we have naturally, such as telepathy and empathy.
Obviously, technology doesn’t have to be used in these unbalanced ways. We don’t have to reject science and technology completely – they’re not the real problem. It’s our attitude and our thinking that needs to change.
Our current attitude is infantilising and based on the Robot Butler fantasy where you get to sit on your arse and be waited on like an aristocrat (or child). This may be fun for a while, but it makes you dependent on a technology (and science) that you don’t understand and can’t control. It also makes you passive and easy to manipulate – hence the attraction to this fantasy in the ‘powers that be.’
This technocratic worldview isn’t going to survive much longer. It’s already running up against natural limits and over the coming decade it’ll probably implode. Pluto in Aquarius is likely to dredge all the corruption in science to the surface and reveal the fantasy behind our technological obsessions. It will also reveal the dark side of technology – wars fought via screens, drones and robots, biotech and DNA. Read this article on the military roots of the internet for more: The Secret History of Silicon Valley
At best, we could see an increase in open source technology and a decentralised internet that overcomes the problems of surveillance and loss of privacy. There could be more interest in low tech solutions for communities with greater self-sufficiency, sharing resources, repairing and recycling – networked and run by the people for the people, rather than through top-down hierarchical bureaucracies.
At worst, we could see greater control of the individual and society in a digital dystopia run by algorithms. But it won’t last long. It’ll shake itself apart and implode under the weight of its own madness and inherent contradictions. It also won’t go unchallenged and we should see a rising tide of people fighting to overthrow the old order and reject that kind of dehumanising control.
As well as dredging the useless old crap out of the system, Pluto in Aquarius could trigger breakthroughs and new ideas in science. We may finally see the back of the Big Bang Theory and the nonsense of dark matter. Plasma physics and new theories of consciousness could radically alter how we see reality, providing solutions we can’t even imagine now.
There’s a connection between the type of physics a culture uses and what it believes about reality. For example, if you see physics as being a closed system with finite energy, it determines how you create energy and manipulate matter. It leads to the extraction of resources to run a society based on debt that can never be paid. You’re always in arrears because the cost is projected into the future. It’s a system of slavery.
However, if you see consciousness as primary and physics as an open system, this gives rise to a radically different worldview and society – one free from debt and slavery. A breakthrough in some form of free energy would achieve this.
But don’t wait around for freedom to fall into your lap. Humanity needs to become more self-empowered and stop living like children/slaves – told what to do and where to go and what to think by algorithms and the people that code them. We need to stop handing our power over to people who don’t deserve it and corrupt everything they touch.
Pluto in Aquarius means the power shifts to the people and society at large, rather than a small group that dominates from the top down. But they won’t give up their power easily. That means things won’t change unless we change.
Then again, we might get bounced into changing by the environment, which could also separate the ‘elite’ from their power. We’re dependent on our technology and that makes us vulnerable to shocks, such as grid failures and extreme weather events. The total loss of our technology is highly likely, and becomes more likely as time goes by. More on that in the Uranus in Gemini post later.
Rather than assuming that every solution must be technological, we should be focusing our innovative energies on rethinking how we live together in society. Perhaps we’ll see a revolution in politics with new parties that represent the people rather than the ruling classes. This would mean that instead of using ‘power over’ to dominate and control, we would shift to ‘power with’ to empower individuals by working together in networks. More here: Active Hope and a New Kind of Power
Society is made of individuals – like you! – so if you want to change society, you have to change yourself – and not at the behest of some technocrat! We need real inner change if we’re going to survive beyond the middle of this century.
Next time we’ll explore Neptune in Aries…
More Aquarian Possibilities:
- The Age of Aquarius: History and Misconceptions
- The Age of Aquarius: its Meaning and Possibilities
- Jupiter Saturn Conjunction – the start of a new age?
- Saturn in Aquarius: Social Reform and Identity Politics