January 25 2008 - November 19 2024
The dwarf planet Pluto is one dark and icy rock, floating on the edges of our planetary system, like a lone pebble on a windswept beach at night. It is smaller than our own Moon, and so distant that the sunlight which reaches us within eight minutes, doesn’t touch Pluto until a full five hours later. Yet Pluto’s powerful effect as a catalyst for worldly change is akin to splitting the tiny atom, and producing a massive nuclear explosion. And it’s about to rock our world, as it moves into the corporate sign of Capricorn from January 25 2008.
Capricorn governs the wheels that turn our society – its administration, pillars, traditions and institutions. Pluto refers to custom and convention, only to challenge and change it. The archetypal resonance of Pluto is one of cathartic and evolutionary transformation. Pluto’s mythological associations with death and rebirth define the principle that breakdown and decay are an essential part of the ongoing life process.
ROME AT THE CROSS ROADS
When Pluto moved through Capricorn from the first century 42 AD, St Paul had experienced his own ‘plutonic transformation’ on the road to Damascus. It set him on a new path of missionary zeal. Along with St Peter and James the Just they laid the foundations for what would become the world’s largest religion. Meanwhile the Romans at the height of their empire began building Londinium. But their pagan gods were about to fall. Over the next millennium the face of Europe changed under the new banner of the cross. Each time Pluto accessed Capricorn the rate of Christian influence multiplied.
Christianity was a perfect vehicle for Pluto. Here was a religion whose foundations were built on death and resurrection. Jesus taught the resurrection as a Doctrine of 'Rebirth'. One must be willing to die to their former selves to access the true kingdom of heaven. And the martyrdom of the early saints was a physical embodiment of the same principle.
The Roman hierarchy’s suppression of the seeds of change greatly empowered the process. During Plutos return to Capricorn from 0287 AD, Emperor Diocletian, presiding over a then divided empire, instituted mass Christian executions to stem the religious tide. These mass killings were famous for their failure, and during the same period Constantine the Great was declared the new Emperor. Constantine’s baptism into the new faith would elevate Christianity to the religion of the state, and assist him to reunite the empire.
FROM SPIRIT TO FORM
The following arrival of Pluto into Capricorn witnessed the material phase - temple building. It came in the form of the grandiose reconstruction of the most famous church outside the Vatican – the magnificent Hagia Sophia of Byzantium. Dedicating the new building, (which utilised columns from the wondrous Temple of Artemis), Emperor Justinian declared, ‘Solomon I have exceeded thee’. By Pluto’s fourth and final cycle of the first millennium the devout Frankish King Charlemagne had subjugated the Saxons to Catholicism, in establishing his vast European Empire. The religion and the state were now united across the majority of mediaeval Europe and Eurasia.
During the Pluto in Capricorn phase from 1269 until 1287 Thomas Aquinas wrote the quintessential work of the Catholic faith – Summa Theoelogica. In it he argued the five proofs of God’s existence. Yet this same period saw the father of experimental science, Roger Bacon jailed for daring to question the morality of the church and its administration. New seeds were being planted.
The universal church had grown from the ‘true believers’, to an institution, with its attendant hierarchal corruptions. In doing so it had inadvertently made itself a target for Pluto’s major charter of ‘Reformation’ midway through the following millennium. On 31 October 1517, with Pluto back in Capricorn, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. It led to a new divided Christianity rising like a Phoenix from the old.
NEW WORLD VISIONS
Pluto in Capricorn, so often ruthless in application, always takes humankind on a journey of discovery - forever changing the cultural mix. It marked the original Viking cross-pollination of England, and long-ship conquests. It pinpointed the years of Marco Polo paving the famous Silk Road connecting Occident to Orient. It signalled Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. Each time our worldview got bigger, yet ironically smaller simultaneously.
Intellectually it has given us books that have changed our world, from the early Christian epistles, to Thomas More’s ‘Utopia, Rousseau's ‘ The Social Contract’, Goethe’s ‘Faust’. The compass was invented with Pluto in Capricorn and no doubt it will direct us still.
In ruthless mode, Pluto is like the being in the inescapable grip of a remorseless hand of fate, whose imprint always reminds that resistance is useless. This was evidenced with Cortez and the Spanish conquistadors and the cultural genocide of the Aztec civilisation, or the capitulation of the Incas. It signalled Captain James Cook claiming the ‘great south land’ for British colonisation. And today, more than ever, indigenous cultures are the unwilling, outmoded victims of economic and technological ‘globalisation’. In dealing with what seems like inevitabilities, a painless transition may seem the wisest, albeit historically unlikely, answer. Yet there are sure to be challenges to the corporate greed that threatens to destroy our planet.
THE SAGITTARIAN PREVIEW
Prior to Pluto’s entry into Capricorn, it begins to change philosophical ideals and worldviews during the Sagittarian phase. It then institutes those new beliefs at some point, usually fairly early, into the Capricorn stopover. For example, Christ’s mission, (according to all historical evidence) began during the fiery Sagittarian chapter, yet its societal grounding occurred during the earthy Capricorn period. We must look at the emergent ideas and philosophies from 1995 onward to get a good overview on the changing forces of the next sixteen years.
Witness the recent rise of religious fundamentalism worldwide, and especially within Christian and Islam sects. The division of the major religions was evidenced in the Taliban’s destruction of the two towering Bamiyan Buddha’s, an ancient religious and cultural icon, and mirrored by the annihilation of the Twin Towers, a modern financial and political one – as Pluto opposed Gemini the sign of the twins. This ideological extremism, a feature of Pluto in Sagittarius, will play out politically as Pluto moves through Capricorn.
A different kind of voluntary martyr, the suicide bomber has emerged. Terrorism as a political weapon is the radical dark side of Pluto. Yet it may be totally defeating the purpose! Isn’t the real blood of these martyrs that of their innocent victims? Change, like that of Rome, happens from within, preferably without confrontation. Dismantling the terrorist threat by going to the root cause will be the political challenge as Pluto travels through Capricorn. Suppression and denial may have dire consequences.
THE LAST REVOLUTION
The most recent appearance of Pluto in Capricorn heralded the Industrial Revolution, and the end of the pastoral age. The perfection of James Watt’s steam engine in 1769 powered the machinery, which fuelled eventual mass production in the factories, mills and farms of England, and across Europe and into the developing USA. Coal and fossil fuels were further mined to power this new turbine technology. Today we question the direction of mass urbanisation, rampant consumerism and the resultant climate change. The environmentalist may be the new planetary saviour. New energy sources are both necessity and a predictive certainty. As we work to preserve our Garden of Eden, we search ever outward for a new one.
Pluto in Capricorn repeatedly represents territorial expansion and the opening of new worlds. Today we lie at forefront of navigating the far-off frontiers of the solar system, as distant as Pluto itself, and beyond. Private space travel is a doorstep reality. The borders of the Moon and Mars replace those of Cortez’s Tenochtitlan or the Appalachians for the new world settlers. And although space colonisation is still only a dream, already there are plans of mining the Moon for the more effective energy sources known to exist there.
The IT revolution gathered pace as Pluto moved through Sagittarius taking world communications to another level of satellite sophistication. Technology now delivers information around the world in a nanosecond and we hold the entire contents of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, (published during the last Pluto in Capricorn visit) on a virtual match head. The industrial revolution has become the techno-information one, and Pluto will accelerate this change even more. Our living environment is increasingly becoming ‘computer controlled’. The Internet is both mentally connecting and emotionally isolating the individual.
THE INVARIABLE BRITISH CONNECTION
Great Britain, a bastion of the establishment, has repeatedly felt the power of Pluto through Capricorn. Successive visits have brought –
first Roman invasion and establishment of Londinium.
This makes the 2012 Olympics scheduled for London (as Pluto squares Uranus) appear even more important- perhaps as much for political statements as sporting contests. The secession of the USA at the last cycle will probably be duplicated by a Republican Australian Constitution during this one. And with the USA, (the current lone superpower), formed with Pluto in Capricorn, are we also looking at the emergence of an Asian dominance in world politics?
Countries with vital planets at the vernal point, such as Indonesia with their cardinal Grand Cross, Pakistan and India with Mars beginning Cancer opposite this ingress, Taiwan will feel the transformative energies of Pluto in the near future.
be little doubt, on past evidence, that humanity stands at the crossroads
of a crucial new direction. We will have merged into a very different
world by 2024. This article merely scratches the surface. On an individual
level we can be part of that evolutionary progress by determining exactly
what role we can play in the larger collective. And if our dedication
to that role changes ourselves in the process all the better. Whether
via St Paul, Magellan or James Watt, world change always begins with
one person’s vision.
Ed Tamplin November 14 2007