Astrological/Astronomical Insights

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Unveiling Pluto Researched & written by Gregory Clare ©

On 19 January, 2006, at 14:00 EST+5, NASA, the American Space Agency launched the New Horizon space craft bound for Pluto and beyond (Kuiper Belt). New Horizon was launched from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The probe is expected to make contact with Pluto on 4 July 2015.

Discovery & Astronomical Data

 The image of Pluto was first captured on an Astronomical camera by amateur astronomer Clyde Tombaugh on the nights of 23 and 29 January, 1930 at 21:00 MST +7:00, at Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff Arizona , (Fig 1). Tombaugh had been studying the faint shots of Pluto for several days. The sightings were confirmed on 18 February, 1930 at 16:00 MST +7:00 (Fig 2). Pluto's discovery was announced to the world on 13 March, 1930. The naming of the newly discovered planet was done through a competition, won by an 11-year-old English girl, Venetia Burney. Pluto entered into the history books on 1 May, 1930.

"Tombaugh exposed the photographs on the nights of Jan. 23 and 29 using the Observatory's 13-inch Abbott Lawrence Lowell Telescope. Then, as part of the carefully planned and executed planet search, Tombaugh "blinked" the two exposures using a machine called a comparator, looking for motion of objects captured on film.

"One need only visit Lowell Observatory and view copies of the discovery images through the same eyepiece used by Clyde Tombaugh to appreciate what a remarkable discovery this was," notes Lowell's Director, Bob Millis. "The images are extremely faint and testify to the skill, concentration, and dedication that Clyde Tombaugh brought to his work."

All the planets in our Solar system lie within 7 degrees of the ecliptic except Pluto, which has a plane of approximately 17.5 degrees toward the ecliptic. Pluto has an orbit of the Sun of 248 mean years, which makes it somewhat of a legend, when it comes to time travel. The time the Pluto spends in each zodiacal sign is extremely varied. The longest period is 31.5 years in the sign of Taurus and the shortest period of 11.5 years is in the sign Scorpio. Scorpio is referred to by contemporary astrologers as Pluto's Dignity. The fact that the planet spends the least amount of time in the sign it is said to rule may suggest we need to think a little more about assigning rulership of Scorpio to Pluto!

On 18 February 1930, Pluto's Latitude was 0° 12'. This meant that Pluto was in close conjunction to the fixed star Wasat in the constellation of Gemini. The star Wasat has 00° latitude, which means it lies on the ecliptic. Pluto's close conjunction with Wasat and the fact that Pluto was descending in latitude to cross the ecliptic would have accounted for the ability to track its movement against the background of the sky at that time. Just for the record, Pluto crossed the ecliptic on quite an unusual date; Pluto reached 00:00:00° latitude on 9 September 1930 at 03:00am, Flagstaff Arizona.

According to Bernadette Brady: The fixed star Wasat is of the nature of Saturn and according to Robson, the constellation to which Wasat belongs (Gemini) indicates "trouble and disgrace, sickness, loss of fortune, affliction and danger to the knees." Wasat itself brings violence and malevolence .

Pluto's elliptical or cigar shaped orbit varies enormously according to the distance Pluto is from earth, from 49au when in the signs Aries/Taurus to only 28.5 au when in the signs Libra/Scorpio. (Here may lay some evidence for the validation of rulership for Scorpio)

Pluto made its tropical zodiacal ingress into Cancer, the sign where it was discovered, , on 9 July 1913, at 22:26:42 G.M.T.. Pluto, also known as Hades, the Lord of the Underworld, spent 25 years in Cancer and 18.8 years in Leo. In recent times Pluto has spent 11.5 years in Scorpio. Pluto is currently in Sagittarius and having spent almost 12.9 years in this Mutable Fire sign will enter the Cardinal sign of Capricorn at 13:37:13 AEDT on 26 January 2008. This is Australia Day, the day in 1788 when Governor Phillip raised the flag and claimed NSW as a colony of the British Empire. Pluto's ingress to Capricorn (Australia's Sun sign) will be honoured during a ceremony at the upcoming 17th FAA International conference, which is to be held at The Women's College, University of Sydney from 23 - 28 January 2008.

Astrological Data;

Before making a prediction for Pluto's ingress into Capricorn, I should point out the distinction between mundane and natal Astrology. Mundane astrology is primarily used for the study of Cities /Nations, Kings and their fortunes; it is location specific. There are specific rules for prognostication in mundane judgments, such as the consideration of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn every 20 years, known as the Great Conjunction and marking the beginning of each Jupiter/Saturn cycle. The Sun's quarterly ingress into each of the Cardinal signs is important. The first Lunation cycle after the cardinal ingress is also of great benefit in mundane judgements. To-day we also have the ingress of the slow moving outer planets. Using all these methods we compare the charts when possible to the national foundation chart. The angles of the various charts are used to indicate focus and as there are number of house systems in use, which sometimes can be problematic. Also of major consideration are the mundane aspects made by the ingress planet to other major planets during its stay in the sign.

Pluto belongs to the group of planets known as 'The Transpersonal Planets', which includes Uranus and Neptune. This group of planets came into the collective consciousness (were discovered) from the 16th Century onwards, Pluto not until 1930). They are referred to as non-visual planets as they can't be seen by the naked eye. We know the originally assigned nature or temperaments of the five visual planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

This comes from the Traditional method known as Essential Dignities.

Natal astrology is of a personal nature.

One way we can look at the Pluto ingress is to study past ingresses to gain some insight into what may lie ahead. However, does a planet that is unknown to the people of the time have an influence on their psyche, individually and/or collectively?

Pluto made its ingress into Capricorn on 24 December 1515 (Old Style calendar) at 18:01:46 LMT, Greenwich and on 8 January 1762 (New Style calendar) at 05:07:51 LMT, Greenwich. Note: On the last two occurrences of Pluto's ingress into Capricorn the planet was within orb of a conjunction with Venus, and the 2008 Capricorn ingress will also be conjunct Venus. This is because Venus has a synodic cycle of 8 years and 8 divided into 248 = 31.

So what was going on from 1515 to 1530?

In 1492 the Americas were discovered and by the 16th C, the settlers were battling the indigenous people over the land. In 1519 Cortes conquered the Aztec capital, which is now called Mexico City. In 1517 Egypt fell to the Ottoman Empire, leaving Arabia under Ottoman control and in the same year, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral attacking the sale of indulgences. In England, Henry V111 reigned from 1509 - 1547, a period that began one of the most noticeable struggles for religious power in the British Isles. From 1515 - 1529 Thomas Wolsey took up the battle, challenging the power of the courts and the Nobles on behalf of the poor and lower classes. These are some of the events that took place during Pluto's 1515 - 1530, passage through Capricorn.

The next passage of Pluto through Capricorn was from 8 January 1762 to 1777, and will be most remembered for the foundation of the United States of America by the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776. Here we have a chart for the foundation of nation.

In 1770, James Cook landed in Botany Bay making a claim on Australia for the British beginning another struggle of land ownership. In 1772, The Danish nobility rebelled against Count Johann Von Struensee, who had held absolute power for a year, torturing and beheading him. In the same year, George 111 secured the passage of the Royal Marriage Act to control whom the Royal family may marry. In 1773 the first stock exchange opened in London and in 1774 Joseph Priestly discovered Oxygen. In 1775 Paul Revere warned his fellow Americans of the British troop movement and opened the way for the War of Independence.

Examining the above events a pattern of power-plays, dispossession and dissolution of the invalid emerges. Any astrology textbook would apply similar keywords to Pluto. Words like death and transformation, rejuvenation, secret group activity, big business finance and lawlessness, to mention just a few.

Jeff Green, in his book "Pluto, the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul" makes these opening remarks on Pluto in Capricorn, "Pluto in the 10th house or Capricorn represents a condition wherein an entire chapter or cycle of evolutionary development has come to a close and another has just begun within the recent past. This evolutionary development can apply to countries as well as individuals" .

Unlike contemporary astrology, traditional astrology does not assign a description for each sign. Rather it ascribes specific temperament to each sign. Traditionally Capricorn is a Tropical sign, cold and dry. Contemporary astrology describes Capricorn as an Earth sign and describes it as (among other things) a sign of understanding, concentration, motivation, reverence, security, conservatism, responsibility, patience, morality and self-preservation; governments and their structure and land associated foundations. Here we have some themes that may be combined with hindsight to give us a sense of what we may see in coming years during Pluto's next sojourn in Capricorn.

The discovery of Pluto was announced to the world on 13 March 1930 amidst a wave of kidnapping and when the world was in the grip of the Great Depression. In Europe, dictators were emerging; In America racketeers and gangsters ruled. In 1932 the Atomic Age began with the discovery of the positron.

"The discovery of the positron (a positively charged particle of an Atom) in 1932 by the American physicist Carl David Anderson proved the existence of antiparticles and was a triumph for Dirac's theory. After his discovery, subatomic particles could no longer be considered immutable. Given enough energy, electrons and positrons can be created from a few particles in a vacuum tube. They also can annihilate each other and disappear into some other form of energy. The history of subatomic physics from this point has been much the story of finding new kinds of particles that can be created in vacuums" .

The mythology of Pluto varies in different cultures. One story is that of Persephone, daughter of Ceres, goddess of the harvest being lured into the underworld by Pluto the god of wealth. Persephone was secretly given pomegranate seeds signifying the insoluble sexual union . However due to the efforts of Ceres to get her back, Pluto shares his power with Persephone, but only for half the time as she has to spend half the year above the ground with her mother. (Pluto's has a retrograde cycle of 6 Months, half a Solar year.)

The Greeks knew the god of the underworld as Hades (the unseen). After the overthrow of Kronos the universe was divided and the brothers Zeus, Poseidon and Hades took the sky, the sea and the underworld respectively. Hades was also known as Polydegmon, receiver of many guests. His kingdom continuously grew with the souls of the newly dead. The dead souls were escorted by Hermes to the boatman Charon on the River Styx, and prevented from returning to the upper world by Cerberus, the three-headed dog.

Hades was not regarded as an evil god, but he was grim and implacable, and worshippers averted their eyes from his image when making sacrifice. In order not to draw attention to his role as king of the dead, he was referred to obliquely by the Romans as Pluto (giver of wealth). This is just one story of the many that surround the myth of Hades/Pluto, king of the underworld.

Chart Delineation

There are several varied times mentioned by astrologers and others as to the exact moment of Pluto's capture on camera. I have spent considerable time examining these times and the rectification I have concluded is from my own research and application to the relevant charts. I used an astronomical program which is updated regularly from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Astronomical data. Particular attention was given to the altitude at which Pluto would need to have been to be photographed against the stellar background. When retracing the nights of 23 - 29 January 1930 from Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona and using my astronomical program (Starry Night Pro6+) I was able to obtain a good picture of the night sky over Arizona at that time.

Note: All charts are cast as Regiomontanus, as these are seen as Mundane Events.

The first chart, 23 January, 1930 is the primary exposure taken of Pluto and its birth into Human Consciousness

The first noticeable aspect in this chart is the Mars/Pluto opposition which Ebertin describes as "Superhuman power, (force, brutality) the ability to demonstrate extraordinary force and vigour, great self-confidence, the obsession to work without any break and great ambition."

The quote says it all, a fitting description of Pluto and its power of rejuvenation. This is the birth of a force unleashed into the psyche of modern man. The conjunction of Chiron and the North Node along with Jupiter in the 9th House is can represent religious and philosophical events, foreign lands, laws, culture and immigration. Chiron could be described as signifying the pain and suffering to be endured to reach one's goals and the North Node could be described as the destiny of Humankind. I should also point out the Yod (The Finger of God) formed from the South Node sextile Saturn (Saturn lord of Karma, traditional ruler of the underground, earth, stone and ruler of time.) both inconjunct Jupiter. The South Node is also inconjunct Uranus. Mars is the lord of both planets. Venus is at 00° of Aquarius combust to the Sun and lord of the 9th and 2nd. The planet Venus represents money, social life, music and when in good condition is responsible for unification and reconciliation. Venus is receiving some help from a sextile from the Moon and a trine from retrograde Jupiter, which is in opposition to the Moon. The opposition shows the optimism of the Collective, but the Moon is also applying a partile square to Neptune describes the emotional and idealistic misunderstanding of what maybe of value to us in the future. Retrograde Mercury is in the diligent sign Capricorn and is Lord of the Ascendant and MC, conjunct Mars opposing Pluto insuring we have still more to learn about how we express ourselves. In the Classical Period (Hellenism) Mercury/Pluto is reputed to be the only god able to communicate with Hades (Pluto). Hermes was the deity who had access to both worlds.

The next chart to examine is the confirmation chart which should indicate the unveiling of Pluto's hidden nature

This chart shows the release of Pluto's energy and the excitement that Clyde Tombaugh must have felt with the confirmation of his discovery. Imagine the emotional high knowing that he had just discovered a new planet! Venus is in the 8th, the house of discoveries and in Pisces, the sign of its exaltation, opposing Neptune, "Is this for real?" The Moon in Scorpio applying trine Pluto indicates that Pluto, the lord of the underworld, was here to stay and that Planet Earth would never be the same again. Pluto's Triplicity lord (Diurnal chart water lord) is Venus, Mars and Moon, with the Term Lord Jupiter and Mercury is partile conjunct the angle. These planets will also have an effect on how the energy is released into the collective consciousness.

Chart 3 is the announcement of Pluto's discovery by Lowell Observatory 13 March 1930 , I have speculated on the time of this chart, as I could not find any supporting data. Of interest is the Moon's Node degree as mentioned earlier 3° Taurus is the exaltation of the Moon and there is a grand trine involving Moon, Saturn and Chiron. There is also the partile square between Saturn and Uranus, which could be described as a conflict between patience and impatience or a rebellion against the old and established ways. In addition, Jupiter is 9° Gemini, a degree which has become known as the nuclear degree!

Fig 4 is the chart of the launch on 19 January, 2006 of the Horizon spacecraft on its way to Pluto. This journey is expected to take nine years, the craft coming into visual contact with the first of Pluto's Moons, Charon in July 2015.

The Horizon chart showcases synchronicity and astrology with its links to the discovery charts, 23 January (fig 1)and 18 February 1930 (fig 2). The Ascendant lord for 23 January1930 and the 2006 launch chart is Mercury, the impetuous inquirer, in the sign of Gemini in both charts. Chiron in this chart is at the same degree as the Sun in the 23 January chart (fig 1). Mercury in the 18 February chart (fig 2) is at the exact degree of Chiron in the Horizon chart (fig 4).

The first noticeable aspect in the Horizon chart is the T-square from Mars opposing Jupiter and squaring Neptune, the discovery chart (fig 1) has Mars opposition Pluto. Here we see the extraordinary effort described by Ebertin, now appearing in a new form Mars/Jupiter; "Successful creative activity, a fortunate decision. Will power directed harmoniously, a love of enterprise, the joy of living, the urge to live an active life, the urge for freedom, Rebelliousness against rules and regulations as well as against superiors, an inclination to exaggerate, hastiness or premature action and also immoderation". Mars/Jupiter/Neptune; "Feeling of inferiority, falsehood"

Like the discovery chart (fig 1) the Horizon chart also features a Yod; this time it is from the South Node to Saturn and picks up Uranus in Pisces. The random chance of this being in both charts is remarkable!

As I have already mentioned the 23 January (fig 1), and the 18 February (fig 2) charts also feature Jupiter in Gemini at 06°56', which is conjunct the Ascendant of the Launch chart (fig 4).

The Horizon chart has Chiron at the same degree as the Sun in fig 1, the same degree as Mercury in fig 2 and Mars in fig 2 is in opposition to Saturn in fig 1, which is bit of a concern. Ebertin offers this description of Mars/Saturn; "Harmful or destructive energy and inhibited or destroyed vitality" . Saturn in fig 2 is in rulership and in detriment in fig 4. Venus in the Horizon chart (fig 4) is the same degree as Mars and in opposition to Pluto in fig 1.

Therefore, I pose the question, does this synchronicity suggest things are not as good as they should be for the Horizon spacecraft? Is this telling us something about Flagstaff? Or perhaps, do these indications give us sneak preview into the future of this planet? In fig 4 Venus is retrograde in the 8th House, the house of discovery and hidden meaning and Venus rules Mars in the 12th, another hidden house. Mars opposes Jupiter in the 6th and both planets are in a partile T-square to Neptune.

All of these charts are giving us valuable information as to the energy that may be released during Pluto's passage through Capricorn, where we may see Pluto rise to prominence once more in ways we have not seen before. With Pluto also conjunct the Galactic Centre are we on the verge of New Horizons.

Chart 5 is the Ingress of Pluto into Cancer on 9 July 1913, Flagstaff, Arizona at 15:26:44 MST+7. I have set this chart for Flagstaff the town from where Tombaugh first discovered Pluto. It is traditional to set charts for mundane events that affect the entire world from Greenwich, but I suspect that it is this chart, set for Flagstaff, that will reflect the effects of Pluto on our future with more accuracy.

The Sun's degree in this chart is at the exact degree of Pluto in the 18 February 1930 confirmation chart (fig 2), with both Sun and Pluto in the 8th house.

During Pluto's 25-year passage through the sign of Cancer, the world underwent some monumental changes. The most significant events of this period were two world wars, mass economical restructuring and the beginning of the Atomic Age. The 9 July, 1913 chart has Scorpio rising with the lord of the Ascendant, Mars, at the same degree as in the Horizon chart (fig 4). Taurus Mars is located in the 12th House in the Horizon chart, a house known for hidden secrets and in fig 5, Mars is in the 6th House of the Armed Forces. In this chart Mars is also partile opposition to Jupiter in the Horizon chart. Saturn in fig 5 is at the exact degree as the MC in fig 1, the Discovery chart. While it can be argued that, through chance, planets may appear at the same degree time to time, I think there is a case here for these synchronous events to be significantly more than chance. There seems to be too much "coincidence" for these planet/degree events to be summarily dismissed. There must be a story hidden in all of this!

Is Pluto's location in the 8th House in the Cancer ingress for Flagstaff (fig 5) also telling us something about the destiny that awaits humankind? The 8th House is also known as a "hidden" house and is associated with death, other people's resources and the discovery of new ways from extraordinary effort. In retrospect, could we have foretold the story that unfolded with Pluto's passage through Cancer and its release of energy into the human collective? If we can, can we also read the story of Pluto's passage into Capricorn from a chart set in Flagstaff?

Pluto and its passage through Capricorn 2008:

This chart represents the ingress of Pluto into Capricorn at 19:37:13 MST+7 on 25 January 2008 as viewed from Flagstaff, Arizona. This chart has a Venus/Jupiter/Pluto conjunction across the 5th House cusp, the house of children, pleasure and the arts. Venus/Jupiter/Pluto conjunction is described by Ebertin as; "The enjoyment of an unusually large measure of popularity, the ability to gain favour with the Masses" . Tied to this trio is a trine from retrograde Saturn in Virgo, the sign known for its purity. The Nodes are falling across the angles together with a Mercury/Neptune conjunction, Mercury is slow and poised to station, and stationary Mercury is unable to complete the trine to Mars. Mercury/Neptune can be described as a powerful imagination and when linked to the North Node, a fated reunion. The fixed star Regulus is conjunct the rising degree. Brady's interpretation of this star is; "Success if revenge is avoided". The fixed star Capulus is conjunct the MC degree, about which Brady has this to say; "Male, sexual and/ or aggressive" . We have an interesting story line emerging of fatalistic unions, of sex and pleasure, the arts and children, clouded by the imagination! The Sabian Symbol description for Mars in Fig 6: "Bringing under control nature's power of expansion." As Mars is retrograding the previous degree can also be applied and reads as: "The use of inhibiting circumstances for the development of character and a transcendent approach to the environment." With the above description of Venus/Jupiter/Pluto, could the chart be suggesting that we strive for a world wide reconciliation of differences and look for unification in the areas that are affected? Finally, what does this Ingress of Pluto into Capricorn tell us about the world we occupy? Does it indicate something about the images we will receive from Pluto and the condition of Earth when the spacecraft New Horizon arrives on 4 July 2015?

What I have outlined in this article could be applied to the mundane charts of any nation and we could draw an informed conclusion on the future trends indicated by Pluto's influence on the collective consciousness. Let us hope that the better side of Humankind endeavours to deliver a more harmonising future for the children of future generations.

*My thanks, as always, to Chris Turner for editing this article.

 © Gregory Clare