April 19th, 2020

The United States’ Pluto Return: A Primer-Part 1

“The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a variety of morbid symptoms appears.”
–Antonio Gramsci

In this 3-part essay, I’ll attempt to put in high detail one of the most convoluted and difficult aspects of the United State’s natal horoscope — the house position of the planet Pluto in the sign Capricorn and the ensuing overture to the nation’s Pluto return — a mega-historical and unprecedented astro-configuration.

Every Person, Place, and Thing Has A Horoscope

“No one knows how you become French — no one knows where Germany comes from — it sort of emerges from the mist. We know the afternoon, July 4, 1776, and we know how to become an American. You come here and assent — then you’re an American. You’re in. You’re it.” –George Will

In her book Soul Sick Nation: An Astrologer Looks at America, Jessica Murray suggests that “…our individual reality and our collective reality are two sides of the same coin. Every culture is blessed and benighted with its own peculiarities, each of which is tailor-made for every individual who chose to belong to that group.”

This begs the puzzling question of volition regarding one’s birth, the notion that the ‘soul’ zeroes in on where to land and set up shop.

But regardless, and if you are an American reading this inquiry, you can simply pause and sense the atmosphere and mood that’s in the air right now; notice how our government has a particular manner in handling COVID-19. Ponder how compliant some of us are when faced with an invisible enemy, while others have politicized the moment, turning the Republican party into a death cult.

Our compendium of group actions and reactions is part and parcel the American experience. Different from how, say, Icelanders are facing the pandemic.

So yes, a country is an abstract of each unique individual that lives within its boundaries. And with that in mind, yes, every country has a birth chart.

As George Will remarked, it’s quite easy to mark the birth of the United States (a more arduous task — sometimes impossible –for other nations or states). For the US we know the exact date. And historians and astrologers, over the years, have rectified the ‘birth time’ to a near-exact moment.

A blueprint for the collective psychology of a country is marked by its moment of independence — just like a person comes into the blueprint of his or her own being after escaping the womb room of his mother, who as Alexander the Great once put it, “…demands an exorbitant rent for nine months lodging.”

And a Pluto return also demands exorbitant repayment, especially when configured as the planet is in the United State’s second house of accrued wealth, power and ownership.

The Returns

You’ve most likely heard about — and maybe even lived through — your Saturn return, and this same cyclic formula is applied to all of the planets, including the Sun and the Moon.

Your birthday is a Sun return, the solar “I am” principle is reignited when the Sun returns to its natal position in your chart, coloring your next journey around the Sun.

A Jupiter return is a twelve-year cycle that, for each of us, revitalizes our enthusiasm for life; our Jupiter return confirms that it is OK to trust in the benign nature of reality.

The Saturn return, around the age of 28, is our first attempt to step onto the stage of life as an autonomous being — free from our family matrix — our parents’ binding doctrines.

A Pluto return no one ever lives to experience unless they are a vampire or Rip Van Winkle.

Pluto takes 248 years to make a single orbit around the Sun and return to its place in the birth chart. A person can’t — but a country can.

And the United States is experiencing its Pluto return right now, the exact return — to 27 degrees of Capricorn –will occur in February of 2022.

With Pluto presently located at 25 degrees Capricorn, we are well within the ‘orb’ of exactitude — a whisper away from the 2022 return.

Right Here, Right Now

What makes this present moment doubly emphatic is that Jupiter has recently linked with Pluto, forming a conjunction — just as the coronavirus pandemic gained traction.

Given that the US’s natal horoscope contains a Sun Jupiter conjunction, Americans are predisposed to ‘larger than life’ experiences, a kind of grandiosity embodied in the compelling notion of Manifest Destiny. A tendency that’s also echoed in our Sagittarius ascendant.

This present Jupiter/Pluto moment is akin to the cosmos saying, “Well, since Americans can’t seem to register anything unless it’s inflated (Jupiter on the Sun) here’s a confrontation with death that is time-stopping, all-encompassing and seemingly directed by Steven Spielberg.

You could say that the just-passing Jupiter conjunction to Pluto amplified the prelude to our actual Pluto return in 2022. And with it, all of the themes astrologers associate with Pluto: breakdown, decay, rebirth and titanic shifts in power. All of those experiences feel inescapable, free from the nonsense of partisanship — like an epic equalizer — which death always is.

But worse, especially for Americans, is that this crescendo into a death state is occurring without any logical meaning.

Jupiter conjunct the Sun, in an individual’s birth chart, can be read as someone who has a specific philosophical view intertwined with all of his experiences. Life (the Sun) has meaning (Jupiter) because some higher-order, enlightened type of reason, or divine protector, decrees it.

The problem with Pluto’s subatomic nature is that there is no moral purpose. As Albert Camus wrote in The Plague, the microbe has no meaning.

Pluto moves in the underworld where the forces that link (and unlink) life operate in ciphers, zero-numbers that we can’t track. Regardless of your religious beliefs, no one’s ever returned from the dead to say: “This is what it’s all about Alfie.”

If you recall your childhood mythology lessons, Pluto was the god that ran around in a helmet that made him invisible.

We can ascertain that given this ‘coming attraction’ phase the Pluto return in 2022 will involve a radical dismantling of the ideological framework we — as a culture — base our lives upon.

Given that money is the predominant religion in America, our 2022 Pluto return will cleave the same demarcation as pre-Great Depression America and post-Great Depression America. Post being the operative marker.

Death on the march, indifferent to borders, as typified in a global plague, works in such a mind-numbing, cut and dry manner. Death usually has about it, always, randomness. As in no one knows the time, the place.

But amidst a pandemic, we sort of do know. It comes down to distinctions like: Inside or outside. Solo or groups. Telecommuting or hazard work. Rich or poor.

‘Out there’ is dangerous. ‘In here’ is harmless. Those who can — sit safely indoors and watch fretfully while other souls are removed from life’s chessboard.

Survivors, like Tacitus and Suetonius who documented life after Nero‘s reign, will stay around to remember and assist other citizens with the reconstruction. Read more

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Filed Under: Mundane Astrology