Decent writers don’t usually start their pieces with interludes, but your correspondent makes no claim to decency. And, of course, when discussing Pluto, a planet that takes us beyond current and generally accepted dualistic notions, one should not worry whether one qualifies as decent or not. Pluto reminds us, after all, that death leads to life, as dying vegetation enriches the soil for the next cycle, and that the purportedly non-sacred may open doorways to realms of experience lying beyond duality. 

            As some readers perhaps remain unclear about how Pluto appears in its less pleasant manifestations, and as a certain Mr. Vladimir Putin has been much in the news of late, we might take a brief look at his horoscope. Though we should regard the birth-time as speculative, it seems to me, on quick inspection, to come fairly close. (The birth-data gets a C-rating in the Rodden data-classification system, indicating that something in the birth-data remains open to question. See note at the end.)

           Despite the uncertainty about the birth-time, we know that Pluto, having reached the 14th degree of Capricorn (13+), has come into an extremely close square with Putin’s natal Sun at 13Libra55 (for the Sun’s zodiacal position won’t change much in a few hours). This suggests power-struggles for the Russian leader, as his will (natal Sun) finds itself at odds (square aspect) with powerful forces in the transitory world (TR Pluto). Though the transit can also indicate a search for more awareness of the power of unconscious factors in one’s life, world-leaders, generally not much interested in awareness of any sort and almost always driven about by unconscious factors instead of taking an interest in them, usually find themselves acting blindly against apparently-external forces that we may usefully interpret as projections of the ignored unconscious factors. The square suggests that Putin, probably for reasons not obvious to himself and rooted in the transformative powers of the world itself, finds himself pitting his will against forces that seem to come up from the underworld. (In the process, of course, he provides us with yet more evidence, should we feel we need any more, that a person’s obsession or concern with external power, particularly power over others, has an inverse relationship with the person’s concern for self-awareness.)

            This horoscope has Scorpio rising and Pluto closely conjoined the midheaven. Remembering that the ascendant (and thus the house positions) derives from the precise time of birth, which we don’t have, we can consider as speculative any remarks about it. However, I suspect that this birth-time comes pretty close. If Mr. Putin has Scorpio rising, as here, Pluto rules the horoscope; natal Pluto’s position at the midheaven (also time-derived) tells us that he will seek public power and that, particularly during important Pluto-transits, power-struggles will occur in his vocation, in the public sphere where he will continually seek power. (That his current struggles qualify as vocational and that they involve his drive for public power suggest that the birth-time comes pretty close.)

         Recall that in an earlier blog-installment, we saw that Pluto’s transit to Syria’s Sun brought on severe power struggles in that country. Also – a matter we don’t have time to go into now – the solar arc movements of Pluto to the U.S. ascendant (13+ Sagittarius) over the past 200 years have brought some of the power-struggles that have served to define the national character, for better or worse. More on that in another installment. For now, we can note that Putin’s Sun squares the U.S. Sun, so the current transit of Pluto opposite the U.S. Sun coincides with the current transit square Putin’s Sun. We shouldn’t feel surprised if the events associated with those two transits get mixed together to some extent. Further, because the United States tends to project its Pluto onto others – an important matter, and one to which we will return – Putin, acting with apparent dictatorial ruthlessness, serves as a perfect hook for the projection of unconscious elements in the national psyche (so to speak). Thus the U.S. objects to Putin’s actions while domestic developments accelerate their right-ward movement. The U.S. propensity to project Pluto onto others should induce us to question any conclusions drawn about Mr. Putin by this nation’s press (reflecting the U.S. natal Mercury-Pluto opposition, the aspect that suggests the projection of Pluto).

         As Pluto aspects the two Suns, it also conjoins both Putin’s Saturn and the U.S. Saturn. (In other words, Putin’s Sun-Saturn conjunction conjoins the U.S. N. Saturn.) This suggests that both will retain a link to established patterns of law-giving, and Pluto’s transit has brought Putin into conflict with the United States on matters related to international law. Though some of us may find it ludicrous that U.S. spokespersons, particularly Obama, have criticized Putin for his failure to abide by international law, pushing down the memory whole the scores of times the U.S. has apparently considered such law as nothing but an inconvenience, the U.S. suddenly finds itself in the role of “upholding justice and freedom.” The astrological material accounts for the U.S. condemnatory judgment (Saturn) of Putin’s actions, even should Putin find himself playing a role that the U.S. has played so often, deciding to invade another country simply because it serves his interests to do so.

         U.S. judgmental tendencies should come as any surprise, as the U.S. 10th house Saturn tells us that the U.S. will take on a law-giver role in public and that in its public actions it will generally support status-quo arrangements that accord with its own authority, a pattern we see in evidence at least as far back as the so-called Monroe Doctrine. Further, Putin finds himself in the unenviable position of serving as a hook for the projection of the United States Pluto, a position occupied in earlier eras by Native Americans, African slaves, the empires of Europe, the Soviet Union, the Vietnamese, and the Iraqis – and things did not turn out well for any of them. Because the series of Pluto transits has just begun, having come quite close a few weeks ago before Pluto turned retrograde, I suspect that the struggle will not go away right away. I suspect that both Putin and the U.S. will find themselves dealing with forces rising up from the underworld, things perhaps previously hidden but with enormous power. 

            But let us push Mr. Putin temporarily aside and return this fair country, lying resplendently at the western edge of the Atlantic and causing all sorts of problems.


            In the last installment, I made a connection between Pluto and paper money, tracing some dates back in the 1760’s and 1770’s as the United States took its place as an independent nation and financed its war for independence with forty-two issues of the stuff. Decades later, as Pluto moved toward a square with the U.S. Sun, Andrew Jackson, elected to a second term after promising that he would destroy the National Bank, promptly fulfilled his promise, thus unleashing a flood of paper money from the multitudinous banks that rushed to fill the void. (According to J.K. Galbraith, who refers to Jackson as “confused” about such matters, Old Hickory advocated “hard money” even though his policy ensured that soft money would gain ascendency.)

            Pluto symbolizes power, of course, and physicists tell us that power equals the rate at which one does work, with work defined as a function of change. Thus power refers to the rate at which one brings about change. With the flood of paper money emerging from the variety of banks filling the aforementioned void, all sorts of enterprises found a way to get started, for people of all sorts could now get loans from whatever bank would do the lending. Thus Galbraith writes:

         For the new parts of the country as they opened up, there was the right to create banks at will and therewith the notes and deposits that resulted from their loans. No central bank tested the ability of these banks to redeem their notes…..In consequence, as civilization, or some approximation, came to an Indiana or Michigan crossroads in the 1830’s or 1840’s, so did a bank. Its notes, when issued and loaned to a farmer to buy land, livestock, seed, feed, food or simple equipment, put him into business. If he and others prospered and paid off their loans, the bank survived. If he and others did not so prosper and pay, the bank failed, and someone – perhaps a local creditor – was left holding the worthless notes. But some borrowers from this bank were by now in business. Somewhere someone holding the notes had made an involuntary contribution to the winning of the West. (Money, 104)

         A flood of paper money generally ensures that work of some sort will get done, whether that work take the form of a revolution, a flood of farmers purchasing land and transforming the landscape, or plutocrats gaining ascendancy in the national economy. Not all work qualifies as “good work,” but all work, understood in the scientific sense described above, brings about change. Furthermore, though Galbraith doesn’t mention it, along with the furthering of business and farming and other enterprises came death on a scale that not even Hitler and Stalin could match, for the “winning of the West” meant the slaughter of the Native Americans in uncountable numbers.

         Thus we see the connection, in the history of 18th and 19th century America, between the two manifestations of Pluto, one having to do with money and national finance, the other having to do with death and power. Generally speaking, dictators who kill have a great concern for profit in some form, so we see the connection just about every time we see a dictator’s wake – or that of a “democratically elected” officer of some sort – strewn with corpses.


            As noted, Pluto squared the United States Sun in the early 1830’s, the aspect remaining in effect from roughly 1833 until 1837, with Pluto not only squaring the U.S. Sun but also opposing the U.S. Saturn, as Saturn squares the Sun in the U.S. horoscope, an aspect noted above. However, an earlier aspect has an even closer connection to current developments: Pluto’s opposition to the U.S. Sun and square to the U.S. Saturn in 1768-9. Both aspects form part of a series, part of which we can trace now, leaving the other parts until later. In considering the following dates, add a year or so to the earlier date, for just as a hurricane causes damage before the eye arrives, so the changes associated with outer-planet transits appear before the transit actually arrives:

Pluto opposing Sun and squaring Saturn: 1768-1769 Pluto squaring Sun and opposing Saturn: 1834-1837 Pluto conjoining Sun and squaring Saturn: 1924-1927

Pluto squaring Sun and conjoining Saturn: 1976-1978 Pluto opposing Sun and squaring Saturn: 2014-2017


Closely linked to this series of aspects is Pluto’s series of aspects to the U.S. Venus-Jupiter conjunction:
Pluto opposes U.S. Venus-Jupiter: 1763-1765
Pluto squares U.S. Venus-Jupiter: 1824-1829
Pluto conjoins U.S. Venus-Jupiter: 1915-1920
Pluto squares U.S. Venus-Jupiter: 1972-1974 P
luto opposes U.S. Venus-Jupiter: 2009-2011

And a third series: Pluto’s aspects to the U.S. midheaven-nadir axis (which somewhat coincide with the previous series because the U.S. Venus-Jupiter squares the U.S. midheaven-nadir axis):
Pluto squares midheaven-nadir axis: 1763
Pluto conjoins nadir and opposes midheaven: 1824-1825
Pluto squares midheaven-nadir axis: 1914-1916
Pluto conjoins midheaven and opposes nadir: 1972-1973
Pluto squares midheaven-nadir axis: 2009

We should note the following events associated with these developments: 1. In 1763, with Pluto squaring the midheaven-nadir axis and opposing Venus-Jupiter, George III issued the Proclamation of 1763, forbidding the expansion of the colonies beyond the Alleghenies and reserving that territory for the Indian Tribes. 2. In 2008-2009, with Pluto making the same series of aspects, the U.S. experienced, largely because of the machinations and depredations of plutocrats, an economic depression-recession-downturn-plutocratic takeover (take your pick). 3. In 1768-9, with Pluto opposing the U.S. Sun and squaring its Saturn, anti-British riots broke out in Boston, Boston merchants adopted a non-importation treaty, and the Virginia House of Burgesses rejected Britain’s right to tax British colonists – acts strongly suggesting a projection of Pluto onto Great Britain, as local plutocrats preferred their own control to that of the plutocratic mother country.

At present, we see Pluto not only projected onto Mr. Putin, but also in the pervasive plutocratic power-grab taking place throughout this country, evident not only in the actions of banks, but in the efforts of the courts to give corporations ever more political power.

More on these connections next time.

 Note: The Rodden data-classification system gets its name from Lois Rodden, a pioneer in astrological data-rating. Her system has four basic categories, ranging from A (“Accurate Data,” as from a birth certificate or officially recorded birth time) to DD (“Dirty Data,” used when two conflicting statements about birth data exist, or when all available sources seem questionable for one reason or another. See for more information.



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