Pluto moves into Aquarius on March 23, 2023
Pluto is moving from Capricorn to Aquarius. This article unpacks the symbolism and explores some of the themes of Pluto in Aquarius.
If you know anything about astrology, you will have heard about Pluto, the dark, mysterious planetoid at the edge of our solar system. While Astronomers have struggled to classify this trans-Neptunian object, – “Is it a planet? Is it an asteroid? Or, is it just a big lump of icy rock that happens to swirl around the Sun?” – Astrologers are less fussy.
Although Pluto was named after the familiar Disney dog by a 4-year-old child, the name fits smoothly into the Greek pantheon. But to everyone’s satisfaction, the dwarf planet’s activities seemed to match the qualities of the Lord of the Underworld.
This month, Pluto is making Astrological headlines. His 15-year residence in Capricorn is coming to an end, and he is moving into Aquarius, which will shape our collective experiences for the next 20 years accordingly.
The Pluto Cha Cha Cha
Pluto enters Aquarius for the first time in 246 years on March 23, 2023, just after the supercharged Spring Equinox and New Moon in Aries – the beginning of a new era!
Pluto is a slow-moving planet and is in no rush to jump into Aquarius. For the next couple of years, he will be hovering on the cusp, dancing the astrological Cha Cha Cha as he moves back and forth between Capricorn and Aquarius.
On June 11, Pluto slides back into Capricorn and remains there for the rest of the year. He returns to Aquarius on January 5, 2024, but still does not shut the door but slides back into Capricorn on September 1, 2024, for the final episode of Pluto in Capricorn. But this time, Pluto does not stay long. He is back in Aquarius on November 19, 2024, and will not change signs again until March 2043.
Prometheus – The Aquarian archetype
Prometheus was a titan, a first-generation son of Uranus and Gaia, but unlike his brutish siblings, he had the gift of foresight and was a great innovator looking for ways to make things better.
In Greek mythology, Prometheus is credited with creating the first human beings from clay and giving them the gift of life.
Stealing fire from the gods
One day, the people pleaded with Prometheus: “we are cold and hungry and have to eat our food raw.” In those days, the knowledge and control of fire were the prerogatives of the gods. But, Prometheus felt sorry for his creation and decided to help them by stealing fire from the gods.
Of course, Zeus soon found out, and he wasn’t pleased. Prometheus’ act was an affront to his rule. He feared, that if humans learned to use fire, they would scorn divine authority. But once bestowed, Zeus could not take the gift away again.
Furious, he punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock and sending an eagle to pick out his liver, not just once, but day after day.
Since Prometheus was immortal, his liver just regrew overnight and the next day, the eagle returned to pick it out again. And if it hadn’t been for Hercules, who came to his rescue, this is where he would be still.
Aquarius – individuality vs social identity
Aquarius represents the social sphere – who am I to my peers, society, and the world? For social creatures, the social sphere is the stage of personal development. Our neighbours, teachers, friends, and family validate our identity, and how we think they see us shapes our self-image. Not fitting the mould can have profound implications for our peace of mind. Yet, we want to be validated for our uniqueness and not just for how well we are willing to conform. This is the tightrope we must continuously negotiate.
Leo, Aquarius’ polar opposite, grapples with issues of personal identity and its validation. But Aquarius is concerned with group identity, a highly complex topic, especially when seen in the light of relations between marginalized communities and the mainstream.
Aquarius Vision: Idealism vs Pragmatism
Aquarius sees things in terms of universal principles. He searches for themes and schemes, and tries to find grand theories for everything. He does not only want to improve things for his personal benefit but is convinced that his solution would be best for all. Aquarius is an idealist and an optimist, but some of his ideas are ahead of his time and clash with the accepted norms of his social sphere.
Like Prometheus, he is chained to the harsh reality. His vision and hope are frequently under attack, yet he refuses to give up. He remains utterly convinced that his vision for the future will prevail.
Aquarius has a similarly authority-defying disposition-he has his own code of ethics.
Like Prometheus, Aquarius also always seeks to improve the human condition. He is motivated by imagining what life could be instead of simply accepting the status quo.
Aquarius is the sign of social theorists and of mad scientists and inventors. But although he means well, things don’t always work out as intended.
Aquarius may be a social sign and deeply concerned with human welfare but, it is also a die-hard individualistic sign that values freedom and independence above all else. It is a colourful, creative and eccentric sign, but he can also be stubborn and righteous (it is a fixed sign!). Aquarius needs to view the world through more nuanced glasses if he wants to benefit all humanity and not just those who agree with him.
Pluto in Aquarius – facing personal demons and fears
In Greek mythology, Pluto is the Lord of the Underworld, a place far from lofty Olympus. Although Pluto and Zeus are brothers, they could not be more different: Pluto, brooding, intense and controlling, despises superficiality, while Zeus is always romping about, looking for fun and adventure.
In astrology, the top keywords for Pluto are death, transformation, and rebirth. Pluto is all about facing our fears and going into the unknown. We must deal with the parts of ourselves we despise and reject, everything we deem shameful or inadequate. This is easier said than done. Our fears may keep us safe, but they hold us prisoners of our comfort zone.
When Pluto comes calling, our excuses will work no more. He simply pulls the cosy rug from beneath our feet and forces us to access our inner resources. Resilience is a superpower that develops when we face challenges. We cannot hold on to our fears when we battle dragons and demons!
Pluto in Aquarius on the world stage
Since Pluto is a transpersonal planet, he will transform many aspects of our social sphere during its transit through Aquarius. Topics like inequality, climate change, changing demographics and the influence of Ai technology on how we work and live will be hot topics for the coming era. Social issues are human stories. We all will have one to tell.
Pluto in Aquarius beckons us to ask deep questions about what it means to be human, how we want to use, and who gets to control the new technologies. Most importantly, it will force us to consider the consequences for our political systems, individual rights and personal freedom.
There is hope
How things will pan out, in the long run, remains to be seen. No doubt, we will get a bit of the good, the bad and the ugly.
Ultimately, it is up to us. Pluto in Aquarius can also herald a time of collective trauma healing, liberation, and emancipation if we put in the work and confront the shadow side of the brave new world we have created. Free lunch will not be available on the Pluto-in-Aquarius menu.