The financial crisis of 2008 onwards was like this. Uranus and Pluto had both been activated: Pluto had just entered the sign of Capricorn, and Uranus was being opposed by Saturn. Suddenly in late 2008, as Pluto re-entered Capricorn and Saturn exactly opposed Uranus, banks started collapsing as it were out of nowhere. Some people had seen it coming, but many major and influential people in the financial world were taken by surprise, they could not believe it.
And that was not even Uranus square Pluto, it was just the precursor. Although I think you could say that because Saturn was involved, through dispositing Pluto as well as its opposition to Uranus, the effects were more obvious. Saturn is a planet of manifestation, he connects the outer planets to this world. This was why the Uranus-Neptune conjunction was so dramatic in its early stages, around 1989-90, when the Berlin Wall fell: it was because Saturn was conjoining these 2 planets. Similarly 9/11 was dramatic because you had Saturn opposing Pluto.
When you have just 2 outer planets hard aspecting, as we do now, then there is certainly deep underlying change going on, but it is hard to see. There is an atmosphere of crisis, but it drags on, you can see events could occur that would dramatically change things, but they’re not, and you don’t know whether they will or not. It will be years before we can look back and see what this was about. It’s rather like the later stages of the Uranus-Neptune conjunction, the mid 90s, and the deep cultural change that occurred as the internet started and globalisation developed. It was gradual, and you had to look back to see it properly.
So it’s possible that the main drama of Uranus-Pluto is almost over before it has begun. That was the case with Uranus-Neptune. The first exact conjunction was in 1993, by which time the Cold War had ended, Eastern Europe had had its revolutions, and the New World Order, with America as the lone superpower, was in place.
Uranus-Neptune, incidentally, you can see as capitalism vs communism. As ever, you can argue about which planet is which, but I think usually it is Neptune that is communism and Uranus capitalism.
In the case of Uranus-Pluto, Saturn was hard aspecting them in 2010 and 2011, and they were dramatic years, financially for the west, politically for the Arab world. But it’s perfectly possible that the next few months will see dramas resolve – Syria will topple, Israel will take out Iran’s nuclear capability, Greece and maybe Italy will default, and the next few years may just see a deeper and gradual working through of the seismic shift that has already occurred. Or not. You never know.
Incidentally, I’ve always been quite optimistic about where the world economy is going under Pluto in Capricorn, even as it squares Uranus, because the Ingress chart seems to me quite favourable. When I say optimistic, I mean in the sense of a return to growth. I remain pessimistic about the bigger picture of waste of resources and the environment, and I’m not sure this Uranus-Pluto is going to address that, as we seem able for now to drag ever more resources from the earth.
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You can ignore the Angles, it’s incidental that I’ve set it for London. But Pluto is in a stellium with the 2 benefics, Venus and Jupiter, and trine to its dispositor, Saturn. It’s opposite Mars, but it is wide, out of sign and separating. So certainly we are looking at a sort of profound re-adjustment, the Saturn and Capricorn influence is in the case of the west saying we need to cut our suit to fit our cloth, we can’t keep overspending and we have to go through a hangover. But it doesn’t suggest collapse to me, it’s not apocalyptic. It doesn’t mean Europe may not unravel to some extent, but that doesn’t have to be disastrous.
So I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. As I said at the beginning, I could start listing off events and charts associated with Uranus-Pluto, historically and currently. But I think what’s of real interest is the nature of the change that these planets bring about, or reflect, or synchronise with, or however you like to put it. So I’m going to be weaving in and out of this as I use national charts as illustrations.
So what we’ve got is these 2 powerful planets for change making a hard aspect, a challenging aspect. The function of Pluto I think needs more definition than just moving life on to the next stage, and I think another way of putting it is authenticity. A particular way of being or situation ceases to be an expression of who we are, of a free choice made according to our values. I’ve pinched this, by the way, from existentialism. I think there is quite a lot of common ground between what existentialism calls authenticity and what we would see as the function of Pluto transits. The opposite of authenticity is sometimes called ‘bad faith’ with oneself, and Pluto addresses this.
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I think the Euro is a good example of this process. The creation of the Euro was initially authentic: it was a choice made by European governments with the value of a politically and economically united Europe behind it. Of course, being political institutions making the choice, we could argue about how much freedom was involved, but that was what those collectives, in their own way, decided.
13 years on and the values according to which that choice was made, of a united Europe, are being betrayed by events. The Euro is currently fragmenting, rather than uniting Europe, with Greece being destroyed as a nation, and probably eventually having to leave the Euro. Italy and Spain have the same potential fate. So the Euro as an institution is no longer authentic, it does not support the values on which it was founded.
The Euro was officially launched on 1st January 1999, with the Sun at 10 degrees Capricorn. Pluto will come to within 1 degree of the Euro Sun this summer, and Uranus will come to within 2 degrees of squaring it. So there will be intensifying pressure for change in the coming months.
Europe has 2 choices: it can either change its values, and try to create a new situation based around those new values. Or it can try to remould its institutions in accordance with its original values. That is what it seems to be trying to do with its current idea of European Fiscal Union, agreed last December. It may not work, the Euro could still unravel over questions of surrender of sovereignty. Germany is the most influential country, and will play a central role in any decisions in a tighter political union. One aspect of a surrender of sovereignty will be, to some extent, a surrender to German decision-making on your national budget.
So there is another value here for individual countries to consider, a value that made the Euro unstable in the first place: it is the value of national self-determination versus the value of political union. Pluto is asking Europe to address those conflicting values.
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I think the chart for the EEC, what we now call the EU, shows this tension. The Moon is the member countries, it’s in Taurus, wealth creation, and it’s in the 8th house of shared endeavour. 8th House sharing is Pluto sharing, it’s the house of the bedroom, it’s intimate. So that’s financial union, and the opposition to Neptune also suggests a dissolution of boundaries. But then you have Moon square Uranus, the tendency to split apart. And the Sun is the leadership, and it’s in harmony with the member countries, the trine to the Moon, those countries elected the Commission that runs the EU. But then you’ve got Sun inconjunct Uranus. Inconjunctions aren’t resolvable, they are about reaching a compromise, so this is what it’ll probably always be, an uncomfortable compromise between union and independence.
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Above is the chart for the Treaty of Rome, the initial agreement, the founding vision of the EU or EEC. The chart for the EEC is the organisation itself. There’s the Uranian tension again between the Moon and Uranus. And of course the Sun and Angles are all currently under pressure from Uranus and Pluto. As it’s a chart for the vision, it does suggest that the underlying values also need to change, it’s not just about radical organisational change.
The reason Europe has come to this pass is because it attempted monetary Union without the necessary political union that would give it the control over individual economies that is needed to run a currency. Of course, many people could see that this was what would happen, and it has happened. But that doesn’t mean the original decision wasn’t authentic. That decision occurred with the Maastricht Treaty on 7 Feb 1992. That was when European leaders formally agreed to create a common currency by 1 Jan 1999, which is when the Euro was launched.
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On 7 Feb 1992, the Sun was in Aquarius in an applying square to Pluto in Scorpio. This strong involvement of Pluto points to the attempt by Europe to put itself behind what it valued, and the power that comes with that – that is why Pluto is associated with power: when you act on what you most value, you bring your whole being with you, you are integrated and therefore powerful.
But just because you are acting in this authentic manner doesn’t mean you have the wisdom to act in a way that will actually support your values. Or that it will even be possible. And perhaps that is the square from the Sun to Pluto in the chart for the Maastricht Treaty. It is dynamic and powerful, but also challenging, suggesting actions that can eventually lead to disempowerment and inauthenticity as well.
So that is Pluto, a god of necessity, the necessity for anything living to move on to the next stage. And where people and collectives of people are concerned, the need to move on to a stage that is a fuller expression of who we are, of our underlying values. When you’re doing that, then life has meaning. And that connects to something that Jung said, that at bottom all psychological difficulties come down to a search for a life that has meaning. Existentialism is big on meaning as well, and I think Pluto transits have a lot to do with that sort of search.