As I anticipate the USA’s Pluto Return to 27-degrees Capricorn in February, I find myself thinking about how each of us in the United States holds within us the power and responsibility of influencing how our country will rebirth itself. Collective consciousness is shaped by individual intention, after all. The United States has been working at the rebirthing thing for a long while now. But it’s not too late for each of us to think even more purposefully about how we are setting our individual intentions and adjusting our behavior as part our own personal rebirthing process, ultimately for the benefit of the whole.
Pluto is concerned with power, but its overall aim is really about wholeness. The Pluto part of our psyche wants us to be whole and fully integrated inside. Pluto works to help this happen within us through three slow phases:
there is first a compelling inner knowing that change is necessary within us, and we sense we may to have acknowledge things about ourselves which we would rather hide away;
if we haven’t decided to run and hide, the first phase is followed by a second phase of deep introspection where we discover and confront that which needs to change within us;
the third phase is that of rebirth, where we use the power of Pluto to manifest the transformation within us.
We go through this cycle continually, throughout life, each time advancing our soul’s evolution as we go.
Terms we use to describe Pluto’s transformative process are healing, catharsis, integration, death and rebirth, regeneration, power, potency, release, metamorphosis, renewal, and cleansing. When the process becomes a psychological complex, we refer to the fear, dread, shadow, gloom, suspicion, paranoia, control, obsession, destruction, oppression, terror, corruption, and even violence of it.
How is your own Plutonian rebirthing going? This is a big question.
Further down, we’ll look at Pluto in the houses—which is the most relevant factor for you, personally.
But first, here are some very quick thoughts of mine on how Pluto has made a larger impact over the last century, as it has transited through different signs. Pluto’s orbit is 248 years. Divided by 12 signs, that's an average of 20.6 years during which Pluto is influenced by the sign through which it is passing. That's long enough that we can regard these periods as distinct generations. People born during these time periods carry the signature of Pluto in that sign with them throughout life.
Pluto in Cancer (1914-1939)
Cancer wants to make sure that our emotional and soul needs are met. It wants to nurture and protect. The people of this generation were and are the pillar of home, family, and security. Those born in the early half of this generation are considered members of “The Greatest Generation”. But on the darker side, Pluto-Cancer's need to protect came to destructive forces at the home fronts during this time. Consider World War I, which left European countries deep in debt, followed by the total breakdown of economic security in the US, leading to The Great Depression.
Pluto In Leo (1939–1957)
Leo is courage, playfulness, ego, pride, and radiance. It is concerned with self-esteem. It expresses itself generously, eager to share its unique identity with others. Think of all of the courageous, proud souls who went to battle in WWII. I also can’t help but think of the classic actors and actresses born during this time. Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Fred Astaire…. the special talent! Many astrologers refer to this Pluto-Leo period as the generation of power. Rock music was born! On the darker side, Leo’s need for validation combined with Pluto’s potential for upheaval can come together in destructive ways, as Donald Trump, born in 1946, demonstrates.
Pluto In Virgo (1957–1972)
Virgo is concerned with perfection and improvement, through discernment and adaptability. Virgo takes care of tasks and pays attention to health. It is in service to. Medical research, world-wide diseases, medical discoveries, and the links between mind and body are central themes for the Pluto-Virgo generation. So was the radical transformation, restlessness, and violence during the Pluto-Uranus conjunction in Virgo of the late 1960s. The civil rights movement, the assassinations, Kent State, the feminist movement.
Pluto In Libra (1972–1984)
Libra cares about relationship, beauty, art, and fairness. Following the radical destruction and transformation of the late 1960s and the spotlight on race and gender inequality, the Pluto-Libra generation is concerned with the cause of justice and transforming human relations. This time period saw the need for change in personal as well as global relations and were empowered to make change. The Equal Rights Amendment finally passed in 1972. Rowe v. Wade in 1973. And how about the social artistry of disco, punk, and new wave music!
Pluto In Scorpio (1984–1995)
Pluto is in its domicile in Scorpio. A powerful planet in an intense, passionate sign. This period can be defined by destruction and transformation in many forms. The taking down of the Berlin wall in 1989. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Los Angeles Riots of 1992. The Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. I also think of the healing power of Scorpio in its creativity. The poetic lyrics from The Lion King (1994) song, The Circle of Life, speak to Pluto-Scorpio: “It's the circle of life, and it moves us all, through despair and hope, through faith and love…”
Pluto In Sagittarius, (1995–2008)
Sagittarius is about understanding higher truths, justice, expansion, hope, and purpose. It’s concerned with the questions that make life rich. What’s the meaning of life? Those born during this generation are participating in transforming religious and spiritual views to incorporate all philosophies. There’s a focus on foreign culture and beliefs, history, psychology, and general exploration and discovery. This period of time marks the start of a significant decrease in church attendance or affiliation with a specific religion. This period also brought the USA its first black president. The audacity of hope!
Pluto In Capricorn, (2008–2024)
And here we are. Capricorn is concerned with order, time, responsibility, government, structure, law, society, authority, resources, achievement, caution, seriousness, restriction, maturity, and perfection. The restrictions caused by the pandemic are slowing us down and forcing us to restructure our lives in all sorts of ways. Our nation is also in the process of unveiling and facing its shadow. The bottoming-out that we’re experiencing is meant to happen. Pluto-Capricorn’s ultimate purpose in destroying much of what we know is to force us to rebuild and to do things better. Perhaps so that we the people, at this period of our nation’s Pluto Return, can form a more perfect union.
Pluto-Capricorn gives us reason for hope that the current threat and upheaval to our democracy and our collective abuse of our planet’s natural resources will be followed by constructive and regenerative changes. Capricorn is an earth sign. Pluto-Capricorn compels us to take care of ourselves in the most practical and fundamental of ways. The upheaval will continue until true transformation is underway. Whether we can see it right now or not, we are creating a stronger foundation from which we will evolve into a better society. If we need another Trumpianesque administration to unveil more of our collective shadow, then that's what will be delivered to us. We can't fix what's broke unless the vast majority of us recognize how broke it really is.
Identifying and acknowledging our shadow is difficult work.
The Houses: Different areas of life in which we experience individuation.
What transformation is Pluto compelling within you as an individual? Your soul's evolutionary process makes a small shift in the collective conscious, especially when you do your own rebirthing with presence and intention.
I encourage you to consider your own Plutonian journey in two ways, as it pertains to the houses of the zodiac. If you don't know where your Pluto is in your chart, send me an email.
First, look at Pluto’s house on your natal chart, and using the house descriptions below, consider what may need to transform within you in that area of life. What shadow needs to be brought into the daylight so that the healing can take place?
Second, look at the house ruled by Capricorn in your chart, where Capricorn is at the cusp of the house. As transiting Pluto continues to move through the sky in the sign of Capricorn (until early 2024, when it enters Aquarius and stays there until 2044) the way in which you understand yourself in your house ruled by Capricorn undergoes a deep transformation. A healing transformation. A cleansing. Also, are there additional planets in your Capricorn-ruled house? If so, how have or are these planetary qualities being called to transform within you as transiting Pluto conjuncts them?
The following are general interpretations of Pluto in each house of the zodiac. Remember these Plutonian themes (as mentioned above) as you consider your own experience, wherever your Pluto and Capricorn are: Words we use to describe Pluto’s transformative process are healing, catharsis, integration, death and rebirth, regeneration, power, potency, release, metamorphosis, renewal, and cleansing. When the process becomes a psychological complex, we refer to the fear, dread, shadow, gloom, suspicion, paranoia, control, obsession, destruction, oppression, terror, corruption, and even violence of it.
Pluto in the 1st House
The first house is the area of life that has to do with how we present ourselves to others; it’s about basic identity as an individual. Pluto in the first house gives you a powerful presence, and any Plutonian upheaval is likely to be experienced as an identity crisis. You may even intimidate others with your manner without any intention of doing so. You may struggle with a fear of losing your power somehow, yet people are not likely to see you as anything less than confident. Your gut instincts may be very strong. You may go through serious physical illness that threatens your very existence.
How can you best use this powerful presence that you have? Do you have a power complex? What shadow and fears need to be acknowledged in this house? In what ways might you be obsessive or controlling?
Pluto in the 2nd House
The second house is the area of life that has to do with our security in the material and physical sense. It’s about self-reliance. It's where we build our monetary pool, resources, skills, assets, and talents in order to feel secure. With Pluto here, you are likely to experience some form of significant loss—or a continuous fear of significant loss. You may obsess around things having to do with your security. Whatever upheaval may come to you, it is designed to help you learn to value yourself. You learn that strength, worth, value, and wealth come from within rather than from outside of you.
What are your true assets? What needs restructuring? What shadow and fears need to be acknowledged in this house? In what ways might you be obsessive or controlling?
Pluto in the 3rd House
The third house has to do with learning, communication, data, and making connections. It has to do with our immediate environment, and our intellect. It also relates to our personal understanding of spirituality. Pluto in this house may bring powerful cycles of upheaval in your understanding of different ideas and/or with what you do with the information you gather. You may be an intense communicator or powerful teacher.
Is there something you are afraid to learn, or to share? What understanding no longer serves you? What shadow and fears need to be acknowledged in this house? In what ways might you be obsessive or controlling?
Pluto in the 4th House
The fourth house is where we experience a sense of protection, belonging, and nurturance. We may seek this through our family of origin, our family or choice, or sometimes we seek it deep within ourselves. With Pluto here, we may experience an upheaval and transformation in terms of how and where we seek to take responsibility for our soul connection. The 4th House is the most private part of the chart, so this Plutonian experience is likely to be a very private and personal one.
In what ways are the concepts of protection, belonging, and nurturance going through a death and rebirth cycle? What needs to change within you? What shadow and fears need to be acknowledged in this area of life? In what ways might you be obsessive or controlling?
Pluto in the 5th House
The fifth house is the area of life where we discover what makes us special and unique. It is also the house of play and creativity. When Pluto is present here, you possess powerful creative impulses, and you may invest much energy and passion in the arts, romance, or child-rearing. You are likely to take enormous pride in these passions.
In what ways do you shine with great radiance? What shadow and fears keep you from standing in your truest light? What needs to change within you? In what ways might you be obsessive or controlling?
Pluto in the 6th House
The sixth House is where we become whole. It’s where we take care of everything we need to, to exist as physical beings – it’s about our day-to-day responsibilities, including our health. Pluto in this house makes you intense in these areas and possibly quite protective when it comes to your work output. While you’re excellent at analysis, you can also easily become obsessed with finding an answer to a problem. You may experience great upheaval followed by great growth in your work life. You may experience healing transformation when it comes to your physical health.
In what ways do you approach your work like a powerhouse? What shadow and fears make you obsessive or controlling, or keep you from taking care of yourself and your day-to-day responsibilities? What needs to change within you?
Pluto in the 7th House
Opposite the first house of individual identity, the seventh house is the house of one-to-one relationship. This is where we learn about ourselves through others. We tend to be drawn to others in whom we see something that actually needs to be developed in ourselves. With Pluto here, you may both fear and desire complete absorption in a close one-to-one relationship. You may participate in relationships with a sense of obsession and need for control. You may fear a loss of control over your own life. You may attract to you people who are intense, possessive, obsessive, controlling, or powerful in their own way. In a sense, you may tend to give your own power over to others.
In what ways do issues of control, obsession, and power manifest in your relationships? What shadow and fears make you obsessive or controlling in this area of life? In what way might you give your control and power to others? What needs to change within you?
Pluto in 8th House
Opposite the second house of material security, eighth house is concerned with deep emotional security, and how we seek to have our emotional and soul needs met through merging with someone or something outside of ourselves. Things that create a strong sense of security and merging fall under this house, such as sex, other people’s money, and deep psychological connection (to a person, or to a psychological realm such as dreams or other engagements with the unconscious). Pluto here makes these experiences intense and can create a sense of obsession at times.
In what ways are your deepest needs for emotional security met or unmet? What shadow and fears need to be acknowledged in this house? What needs to change deep within you? In what ways might you be obsessive or controlling? In what ways might you be unconsciously surrendering your power? In what ways are you afraid to share yourself?
Pluto in 9th House
Opposite the third house of the intellectual experience in our immediate environment, the ninth house is concerned with exploring the world, understanding life’s higher truths, and developing our larger belief systems. This is our house of higher education, philosophy, psychology, history, foreign culture, and travel. Pluto in this house may bring on obsessive curiosity, and intense and life-changing experiences in these areas.
In what ways has your intellectual curiosity led you to profound transformation in what you know and believe? In what ways might you be obsessive or controlling in this regard? What shadow and fears need to come forward in this house? What needs to change deep within you?
Pluto in 10th House
Opposite the fourth house where we take care of things on the personal and soul level, in the 10th house we take care of things and contribute on the physical and societal level. This is considered the house of our career and life’s work, whether it’s paid work or other ways in which we contribute. Pluto here creates upheaval in order for us to contribute in more profound ways; in ways that bring out our truest power. Comfortable and cozy on your life path? Forget about that, when Pluto comes along. Time to step out of your comfort zone.
In what ways has your contribution to your workplace or the public undergone intense upheaval? How must you restructure your life’s work? In what ways might you be obsessive or controlling in regard to your work? What deep shadow and fears need to be acknowledged in this house? What needs to change deep within you?
Pluto in the 11th House
The 11th house is the area of life where we align ourselves with our highest ideals. Opposite the fifth house where we learn what makes us unique as an individual, this house is where we find our tribe, our like-minded people. Our friends, groups, and associations. It’s the area of life where we may rally around a cause or causes that are the most important to us. Pluto-Capricorn here would like us to be successful in affecting change for the greater good. You may go through changes in the people or ideas you align yourself with. You may transform in the way you go about achieving what you set out to do in your own way, to benefit the whole.
In what ways is your alignment or affiliation with a group or groups evolving? How can you contribute to the greater good in a more powerful way? In what ways might you be obsessive or controlling in regard to your ideals? What deep shadow and fears need to be acknowledged in this house? What needs to change deep within you?
Pluto in the 12th House
The 12th house is where we are reminded that we are spiritual, energetic beings in physical bodies. It's the only has that has nothing to do with our physical existence. It’s where we reconnect to that which is much greater than ourselves. It’s our channel to Higher Source and inspiration and imagination. Pluto here shakes things up so that we reconnect to this part of ourselves, or perhaps connect for the first time. This is a house of solitude and escape. If we you are not aligned with our spirituality, it may be very hard to understand any planets you may have here in this house.
In what ways is your spirituality calling out to you for acknowledgment and renewal? In what ways is your personal power hidden? What needs to come forward? In what ways might you be obsessive and controlling or especially cautious when it comes to your spirituality? What shadow and fears need to be acknowledged in this house? What needs to change deep within you?
You can do it! “Be brave, little Piglet!” said Owl.
You naturally have all of the astrological tools you need at your disposal to tune into what Pluto is asking of you. If you don’t pay attention, well then Pluto will come in and force you to pay attention. It’s hard not to notice upheaval. Either way, you will take your personal Plutonian journeys. The more willingly you try to be present with the deep transformation your psyche is seeking, the less dark and frightening the journey will be. It takes courage, and you can do it.
For more on Pluto in the Houses, you might like these websites:
Or try these books: "Pluto: The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul" by Jeff Green, and "The Book of Pluto" by Steven Forrest. Great stuff!