Jeff Jawer: Pluto


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Copyright 1999-2002, StarIQ.com


by Jeff Jawer

"Birth, and copulation, and death.  

That's all the facts when you come to brass tacks."

T.S. Eliot, 1930

This quote from T. S. Eliot is about as concise definition of Pluto as one could make. A1I the elements of Pluto are contained within those two short sentences. After all, isn't that what Pluto’s about, getting down to root causes, elimination of excess, brass tacks? There are a wealth of quotations relevant to this outermost member of our solar system. Einstein wrote, "the most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." The year of this quote was 1930, the year of Pluto’s discovery. In 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt said, ''The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." And in 1934 Benito Mussolini said, "We have buried the putrid corpse of liberty." These all express the symbolic power of this tiny planet at the edge of our solar system. From Pluto, the Sun is so distant it appears as only another star in the sky, yet to astrologers on Earth Pluto has great significance.

The birth of Pluto in our consciousness has brought the god of the underworld to the fore. Though some are careful to separate Pluto from Plutus, god of great wealth, we can not help but make a connection between the two. In 1929 the United States suffered the Great Depression beginning an event that affect almost all the world in a few short years. 1929 was also the year of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago, at highpoint (or lowpoint if you like) for the American gangster (underworld character). The great dictatorships of the axis powers and the Soviet Union grew up in the daysof Pluto's infancy. Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931. The Nazis came to power in 1933. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf in the early 1920s and was appointed chancellor of Germany in 1933. The years following brought us World War II, genocide and atomic devastation.

1930 was the year of the first jet propulsion aircraft, following by only two years the first differential analyzer or basic computer. In 1931 we developed the first cyclotron and produced deuterium (heavy hydrogen). In 1932 the positron and eventually, in 1938 nuclear fission. FM radio made its way into the world in 1933, so things couldn't be all bad. But bad they were in many, many ways. The discovery of Pluto has opened up a level of technology unheard of in history. As our consciousness brought us to the edge of space, our machines have become powerful enough to destroy us.

Dictators, Bombs, Repression

The search for Pluto was begun in 1905 by Percival Lowell and continued beyond his death at facilities he paid for. Pluto was found within six degrees of one of Lowell's predictions, but astronomers considered this a matter of luck as the required Pluto mass for his prediction was more than six times that of Earth. Yet, Lowell did have his wish fulfilled beyond the grave. His influence in the search for Pluto was so great that some consider the planet's name to be more than an accidental extension of his own initials, P. L. Actually, it was a young girl who named Pluto, some say after Mickey Mouse's dog. In any case the mythology of the god of the underworld is an appropriate name for the astrological function of Pluto.

The actual discoverer of Pluto was Clyde Tombaugh, an Illinois farm boy turned astronomer. Tombaugh's parents hadn't enough money to send him to college, so he practiced telescopic observations on his own. He made drawings of his own observations of Mars and sent them to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. This so impressed the director that he offered young Tombaugh a job in photographic observing. His function was to scan the sky in an attempt to find Planet X, Lowell's name for the as yet undiscovered Pluto. Tombaugh worked outdoors in an unheated dome photographing that part of the sky where Lowell predicted the planet would be found. He would photograph an area one night, then photograph it again a night or two later. He would use an instrument called a blink microscope to compare the two plates for any motion that might show a planet. The plates showed an average of 160,000 stars each and the work was long and painstaking. Finally, on February 18, 1930, 25 years after Lowell began the search, Pluto was found.


Pluto was located at 17 degrees and 46 minutes of Cancer in the tropical zodiac. It was in wide opposition to Saturn, made closer by the contraparallel between them. The Moon is in Scorpio as it was in the two previous planets' discovery charts. In all three cases, the common elements are hard aspects by Saturn, two oppositions and a conjunction, and the Moon in Scorpio. All three cases were searches that resulted in new discoveries of planets. Saturn, the reality principle, and Scorpio, sign of deep investigation, work well to describe the nature of such events. Uranus was discovered by accident. Neptune was discovered based on calculations made independently by two men. Pluto was discovered by an obscure self-made astronomer who didn't attend college until after his famous work. The search for Pluto was primarily financed by one man whose work was completed after his death.

The Pluto discovery chart shows a trine between Mars and Jupiter in air signs. This might refer to the expansive discovery made possible by high technology machinery. Pluto does symbolize atomic energy and the release of unlimited power, another expression of Mars-Jupiter. A square between Saturn and Uranus might indicate the many years’ work involved in this scientific breakthrough, as well as symbolizing the necessity for our control of unexpected inventions that soon followed. On another level it could indicate the repression individual liberty symbolized by great dictators of the discovery era. The midpoint of Sun-Saturn conjuncts Mercury showing the careful observations over a long period of time that led to discovery. Mars-Jupiter conjuncts Uranus, a symbol of expansive new discoveries or breakthroughs.

Pluto was discovered- in the Scorpio decan of Cancer. This places it in its ruling sign just as Uranus was found in the Aquarius decan of Gemini. The dwadashamsa of either Capricorn or Aquarius again evades direct significance.

The degree systems, however, do prove to be almost uncanny in some cases. La Volasfera calls the 18th degree of Cancer one of satiety. Charubel symbolizes this degree as, "A bull tossing a man with his horns." He says, "this denotes a willful person, one who will be always on the defensive, and too often on the aggression. Personal property will have but little sacredness with him, his motto being, 'what I can get is my own.' " Kozminsky sees this degree as, "An old man sitting alone in semi-darkness with an old book before him, from which emanate bright rays of light." He goes on to describe it as a dauntless search for truth and calls it a symbol of "essentials," another Pluto keyword. Sandbach refers to manipulation of others in his description of this area of the Zodiac. The Sabian Symbol is, "A hen scratching the ground to find nourishment for her progeny." This might seem meaningless until we recall that the Pluto myth of taking Persephone below the earth for half the year was symbolic of the winter months when seeds rest beneath the ground.

Powerful Leaders

Pluto's discovery degree is prominent in the charts of powerful leaders, those with great wealth, powerful communicators, those involved with overt or repressed sexuality and some of those with mental powers that far exceed the ordinary. Julius Caesar and Henry Vlll had the Sun conjunct Pluto's discovery point. Richard Nixon's Sun opposed it. Napoleon's Pluto opposed it from 16 Capricorn. Lenin's Uranus was at 18 Cancer, Mussolini's Jupiter at 19 and Hitler's North Node was at 16. Harry Truman's Mars was at 17 Cancer.

Among the very wealthy with contacts to the Pluto discovery degree we find Andrew Carnegie with his Jupiter at 15 Cancer. Aristotle Onassis had his Venus at 17 Capricorn in opposition to the discovery point. J. P. Morgan had his Pluto at 15 Aries and his Venus at 19 Aries both square the discovery point. William Randolph Hearst, the famous yellow journalist, had his Moon-Mercury midpoint at exactly 18 degrees Cancer, conjunct the Pluto point. In the field of sexuality we have Mae West with Venus at 15 Cancer and Marilyn Monroe with the North Node at 18 Cancer. Sufferers of sexual repression include Alan Leo (a man with a celibate marriage) with Venus at 18 Cancer, Queen Victoria with Mars at 18 Aries in square, and J. Edgar Hoover with Venus at 19 Capricorn. (Notice that the planets contacting the: discovery point are either Venus, Mars, or the Node in this category.)

Pluto is considered to be related to propaganda when in contact with Mercury or Jupiter. Powerful communicators with contacts to the discovery point were Daniel Webster with Mercury at 19 Capricorn, Richard Wagner with Saturn at 18 Capricorn and his Moon-Neptune mid-point at 15. George Bernard Shaw had his Mercury conjunct the discovery point at 18 Cancer.

Two other interesting cases are the famous seer Nostradamus with Mars at 18 Cancer and Saturn at 16 Cancer (and the Moon in Scorpio) and Buckminster Fuller with Jupiter at 18 and the Sun at 20 degrees Cancer. Many consider Fuller one of the towering geniuses of our age. While these degree contacts work well, it’s the transits to this point that are most fascinating.

It seems no accident that Plutonium is a basic necessity for the production off nuclear bombs. When Pluto was discovered its position was in the 18th degree of Cancer. The Atomic Age is said to have begun on July 16, 1945 at Alamogordo, New Mexico when the firstly atomic blast took place at 5:30 a.m. The ascendant there was conjunct Saturn at 15 degrees Cancer. The Mercury-Uranus midpoint was 17 Cancer 29. Uranus-Neptune conjuncted Pluto, Sun-Node conjuncted Saturn, Venus-Pluto conjuncted the Sun, all within orbs of one degree. On August 6,1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Transiting Saturn was at 18 degrees Cancer conjunct Pluto's discovery point. On October 31, 1952 the United States tested the first hydrogen bomb. Transiting Uranus (as in uranium) was at 18 degrees Cancer!

At the present time, Pluto has come within the orbit of Neptune. This rare event might indicate that power or force will break through Neptune's veil of piety. Religious violence has already manifested itself most unpleasantly in Guyana and Iran. This might continue to be an issue until Pluto again moves outside Neptune in 1998. In a more positive vein we might hope that concentrated efforts will enable us to transcend the limits of our imagination in the years to come.

Throughout this article, the basic point has been to remember that the moment of any birth (or event) is an appropriate one. This is true for individuals as well as planets, plants or puppy dogs. Too many who study astrology fail to remember that each life has its purpose and its time. Our earthly perspective often makes history look a fearful thing, but this is not so. Each moment is right, each birth the precisely correct the fully ripe time for emergence. Our understanding of these forces can help us eliminate prejudices and doubts when bringing our astrological skills into the service (not evaluation) of others.

The following is from the Taoist Book of Days:

Birth is not a beginning. When things are born, it is always the result culminating from good conduct and contentment that establishes calm wherein things act together in harmony. This evolvement is positive; creative forces unite unobstructed, producing a new time of flowering, a time of meaningful manifestation. All beginnings are a result of harmony for all new things emerge when the necessary creative forces unite without obstruction.



The Degrees of the Zodiac Symbolized (La Volasfera), Charubel, 1943, Aries Press

An Astrological Mandala, Dane Rudhyar, 1973, Random House

The Combination of Stellar Influences, Reinhold Ebertin, 1970, Ebertin-Verlag

Dwadashamsas: Degree Analyses, John Sandbach, 1978, Seek-It Publications

Zodiac Symbology and Its Planetary Power, Isadore Kozminsky, AFA




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