In This Chapter
Plugging into Uranus, the planet of electricity
Imagining nebulous Neptune
Brooding over Pluto, the dwarf of transformation
Contemplating Chiron, the asteroid of healing
Until 1781, astrologers cast horoscopes using only the Sun, the Moon, and the five planets visible from Earth: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Then William Herschel, a professional musician and amateur telescope maker, made a momentous breakthrough. After years of staying up at night with his devoted sister and obsessively (he was a Scorpio) mapping the skies over Bath, England, he became the first human being in history to train a telescope on the night sky and discover a planet. That discovery — of the planet Uranus — rocked the astronomical world. That oddball planet, identified in the midst of the American War of Independence and only a few years before the French Revolution, transformed the commonly held view of the solar system. In astrology, it soon became associated with revolutions of all kinds, including the personal, political, and scientific.
In the next century, scientists realized that anomalies in the orbit of Uranus could be accounted for by the presence of another planet. In 1846, after a search marked by total confusion (in keeping with the nature of the planet), European astronomers identified that unknown body and named it Neptune. A third discovery further expanded the solar system in 1930, when Clyde Tombaugh, a 23-year-old amateur who was hired to examine photographic plates of the night sky, found what he was looking for: A tiny, distant body, which is now named Pluto.
All these celestial bodies — Uranus and Neptune, as well as Pluto and Chiron — differ from the visible planets of antiquity. The visible planets reflect individual disposition, and were consequently known as personal planets. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, which can found in the outer reaches of the solar system, don’t describe personality as much as they shape generations. After all, the Sun swings through all 12 signs in a year — but Chiron takes 51 years to travel through the signs, Uranus requires 84 years to make a single orbit, Neptune needs 165 years, and tiny Pluto requires almost two and a half centuries to complete its tour of the zodiac. These celestial bodies have a minor impact on day-to-day activities. Instead, they define generations, spark momentous events, and bring hidden potentials to light.
The outer planets are also harbingers of change, both external and internal. These planets shake you up (revolutionary Uranus), inspire and confuse you (nebulous Neptune), and push you to the brink (take-no-prisoners Pluto). They represent the invincible, unstoppable, cosmic forces of change.
The generational dates given in parentheses later in this chapter for these planetary placements aren’t exact. What actually happens when Neptune, Uranus, or Pluto changes signs is that for almost a year (and occasionally for longer than that), the planet appears to ricochet back and forth between the old sign and the new one. As a result, if you were born during (or even close to) the first or final year of a planet’s journey through a sign, you can’t rely on the ballpark dates given in this chapter. Flip to the Appendix instead. Or go to the Internet to get a copy of your chart (see Chapter 2).
Poor Pluto’s demotion
When it was discovered, Pluto was hailed as the ninth planet. Since then, astronomers have discovered many small, icy, celestial objects orbiting the Sun. And so they’ve begun to rethink what it means to be a planet. Is it enough to simply orbit the Sun? Well, no. After all, asteroids revolve around the Sun, as do comets. Is it enough to be above a certain size? Or to orbit the Sun from within the plane of the solar system? By those standards, Pluto doesn’t qualify. It’s small, its orbit is tilted, and it has a peculiar gravitational relationship to its largest moon.
As a result, Pluto, the most idiosyncratic of the traditional planets, has been demoted. In 2006, astronomers dubbed it a “dwarf planet” and turned their backs on it. Astrologers are sticking with it. Okay, maybe Pluto, which is slightly smaller than our Moon, isn’t as imposing as the other planets. Size isn’t everything. Besides, Pluto isn’t the only small object that astrologers heed. Another such body is Chiron, which wasn’t discovered until 1977 and is now routinely incorporated into natal charts. (I discuss Chiron at the end of this chapter.)
Uranus: The Rebel
As the first planet discovered through the use of technology, Uranus is the planet of revolution and the modern age. It rules electricity, technology, and everything on the cutting edge. It’s also said to be the planet of astrology.
Uranus is a shocker. In a birth chart, it represents the part of you that’s most original and inventive, that shuns convention, craves freedom, and attracts — or creates — abrupt change. It can stir up senseless rebellion, studied eccentricity, restlessness, turmoil, and agitated states of mind. It can also herald unexpected, life-altering events, typically in areas where you haven’t been paying attention. Uranus, it must be said, can shatter your world.
Uranus also generates flashes of insight, brilliant ideas, and new vistas when you need them the most. It’s the iconoclastic lord of genius, inventiveness, originality, and everything that captures you by surprise. When lightning strikes, be it in the form of an unexpected pink slip or a bizarre career opportunity, love at first sight or an unforeseen divorce, a lottery win or a housing crisis, you can bet that Uranus, the emissary of disruption, is at work.
It takes 84 years — a human lifetime — for Uranus and its 15 moons to travel through the zodiac. Like Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune, Uranus is a gas giant. But while every other planet rotates on its axis in a more-or-less upright fashion, unconventional Uranus seems to roll around on its side with its north pole pointing to the Sun. As a result, the Uranian day is 42 years long, and the night is the same length.
The symbol of Uranus (see Figure 10-1) looks like an old-fashioned TV antenna — an apt image for the planet associated with electricity, technology, and the future. The symbol also incorporates a letter H, a reminder of William Herschel, who discovered the planet in 1781.
Figure 10-1: The symbol of Uranus.
Uranus spends about seven years in each sign. Like Neptune and Pluto, it makes its greatest impact on generations. In an individual chart, its influence is subtle — most of the time. But when it’s prominent in a birth chart, Uranus is the mark of geniuses, idealists, iconoclasts, nonconformists, eccentrics, inventors, revolutionaries, and astrologers.
And when, over the course of its 84-year cycle, it stimulates the Sun, the Moon, and the other planets in a birth chart, it can beget turmoil, foolish accidents, hair-raising relationship upheaval, amazing job shifts, and — in short — whatever mayhem it takes to loosen you up and liberate you.
Uranus, like the other outer planets, primarily influences generations rather than individuals — unless it happens to occupy a strong position in your natal chart. It’s prominent in your horoscope if
It occupies an angle — that is, it’s in the first, fourth, seventh, or tenth house of your chart. It’s especially powerful if it’s within approximately 8° of your Ascendant or Midheaven. (See Chapter 11 for more on Ascendants and Midheavens.)
It makes a number of close aspects to other planets and, in particular, to the Sun, the Moon, or the planet that rules your Ascendant. (See Chapter 13 for a discussion of aspects.)
You have one or more planets in Aquarius.
To check the position of Uranus in your chart, turn to the Appendix.
Uranus in the signs
The sign that Uranus occupies in your birth chart determines the way you and other members of your generation shake off the burden of expectation, rebel against the established order, liberate yourself from fear, and express your most original self.
Uranus in Aries (1927 to 1935): You’re feisty, indomitable, and impatient, and you value your freedom to an extraordinary degree. You’re a pioneering spirit, brave at your core. When change is called for, you rush in, preferring the risks of being impulsive to the so-called safety of the slow-and-sensible approach. You’re intrepid and inventive, even if your enthusiasms do flicker on and off. Change exhilarates you.
Uranus in Taurus (1935 to 1942): Once you admit that you want something and begin going after it, nothing can stop you. Your willpower helps you overcome all obstacles. You also feel strongly about money and possessions and you may suffer financial ups and downs. You gravitate toward concrete, innovative methods of making money.
Uranus in Gemini (1942 to 1949): You’re clever, inquisitive, nervous, chatty, versatile, and mentally restless. You deal with change by reframing it — you’d rather feel like an unconscious architect of your own fate than like a victim of circumstance. You gravitate toward original ideas and new ways of communicating. You’re also easily distracted with a tendency to procrastinate.
Uranus in Cancer (1949 to 1956): You have an active imagination, a sensitive disposition, and an unusual family life. You may move frequently or experience disruptions in your home life. Much as you long for the security of a nuclear family, you also rebel against it, and when you’re in a traditional family (or even a standard-issue house), you may alter its structure.
Uranus in Leo (1956 to 1962): Assertive and freewheeling, ardent and talented, you enthusiastically throw yourself into creative endeavors. Offbeat love affairs (the more reckless the better) entice and excite you, and you approach times of change with gusto. But you can also be egotistical, imperious, and — in a word — obnoxious.
Uranus in Virgo (1962 to 1969): Even though you have an acute and analytical mind, you rebel against routine — especially on the job, where your need for freedom takes you in surprising directions. Your approach to science, technology, and health is both original and practical. And although you rebel against routines enforced by others, you’re skilled at creating your own highly individual, compulsively followed patterns.
Uranus in Libra (1969 to 1975): You’re imaginative and artistic, although members of other generations may be appalled at your taste. They may also be surprised by your relationships, romantic and otherwise, because you’re attracted to unusual people and situations. In many ways your generation is forging an innovative approach to relationships — one that incorporates a high degree of personal freedom. Still, in times of stress, you’re happiest with a companion by your side.
Uranus in Scorpio (1975 to 1981): Deeply intuitive and strong-willed, you’re charismatic and determined, with unusual attitudes toward sex and death, subjects of eternal fascination to you. Sudden infatuations and lengthy obsessions may plague you. Finances also absorb you, and you may experience sudden economic shifts. You’re resourceful and unafraid, and when change is in the air, you choose to experience it deeply and consciously, with an eye to the future.
Uranus in Sagittarius (1981 to 1988): You’re optimistic and free-spirited, with large aspirations. You resent naysayers who denigrate your dreams, and you refuse to be constrained by practical concerns. You’d like to see the world — but not by following someone else’s itinerary. You’d like to achieve spiritual enlightenment — but you rebel against standard religions. Travel and education excite you — but only when you approach them in your own unique ways. You feel liberated by the forces of change.
Uranus in Capricorn (1988 to 1996): You’re ambitious, responsible, and methodical. Yet you instinctively shun the prescribed path and the old-fashioned hierarchy. As a result, your career takes some surprising turns. If you can express your individuality within an organization or a system, fine. If not, your deep sense of discomfort forces you to bring it to its knees and create an entirely new system. You’re a force for constructive change.
Uranus in Aquarius (1996 to 2003): You’re tolerant, unsentimental, humanitarian, and inventive. A nonconformist and idealist at heart, you celebrate individuality in others and number many an oddball among your friends. Amazing coincidences and strokes of luck characterize your life. Uranus works well in Aquarius, so when you embrace change, your world opens up. When you resist it, unhappiness follows. This is also a fine placement for scientific and technological explorations.
Uranus in Pisces (2003 to 2011): Imaginative, talented, and intuitive, you’re susceptible to strange dreams and psychic flashes. You have a deep sense of compassion and an attraction to unusual forms of spirituality, although you may suffer from feelings of alienation or isolation. At these times, escapism beckons and your willpower needs support. Art and spiritual pursuits provide a fulfilling path for you.
The secret of the 1960s
Why are some decades more exciting than others? The outer planets are usually to blame. They travel slowly through the zodiac. When they combine their considerable energies by moving in tandem, things start to cook.
In the 1960s, for example, freedom-loving Uranus and Pluto, the planet of transformation, were aligned in the same sign of the zodiac (Virgo) for the first time in over a century. (The previous time was around 1848, when a wave of revolutions swept across Europe.) Working together, Uranus and Pluto strengthened and stirred each other up, turning revolutionary Uranian impulses into something that made profound impressions on society and in many ways transformed it. The civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, the sexual revolution, the student movement, the Weather underground, feminism, gay rights, the Moon walk, and even the horrific assassinations that characterized the decade are all manifestations of the iconoclastic, revolutionary Uranian impulse deepened by the transformative power of Pluto.
At the time, even such cultural touchstones as Woodstock, LSD, communes, Stranger in a Strange Land, and vegetarian lesbian collectives (for example) seemed fraught with cosmic resonance. Not only did they symbolize the Uranian urge to rebel against the repressive adult society of the 1950s, they also took on the profundity of Pluto and the significance of philosophy — or so it appeared at the time. And if, in retrospect, a few expressions of the era look ridiculous, it’s also true that many repercussions of those long-ago, tie-dyed days will simply not fade away.
If you were born between 1962 and 1969, you have both rebellious Uranus and transformative Pluto in Virgo. Although the impracticality of much of what went down in the 1960s probably irritates you, on some level you’re deeply in sync with the urge to break away from old forms, alter the hidebound assumptions of mainstream society, and give peace a chance.
Neptune: The Dreamer
In 1612, Galileo gazed through his little telescope (practically a toy by today’s standards) and saw what looked like a dim star — except that, unlike the other stars, it moved. He even drew a picture of it, and if he’d been thinking, he would have realized that it was a planet. Alas, he didn’t put two and two together, and he missed the opportunity to identify Neptune.
Two hundred years later, Neptune continued to be elusive. By the middle of the 19th century, two scientists, one French and one English, working separately, had pinpointed the planet’s location in theory but neither could gain access to a large telescope to confirm it. If they had, they would have found it in precisely the predicted spot (in Aquarius). But neither of them had the wherewithal to make it happen. Finally, in 1846, one of them asked astronomers in Germany to undertake a search for the new planet. Johann Galle, a young assistant at the Berlin Observatory, found it within an hour.
In NASA photographs, Neptune looks like a luminous turquoise marble, almost without features. Astronomers classify Neptune as a gas giant because, like Uranus, it’s essentially a ball of gasses swirling around a metal core. It sports a dim halo of barely visible rings and has at least eight moons, including Triton — the coldest place in the solar system.
Neptune is named after the Roman god of the sea. Its symbol (see Figure 10-2) resembles that god’s three-pronged trident.
Figure 10-2: The symbol of Neptune.
Assessing Neptune’s influence
Impressionistic Neptune rules intuition, dreams and visions, psychic ability, imagination, glamour, and everything that flows. Neptune finds expression in dance, music, poetry, and daydreams. It stimulates compassion, dissolves boundaries, and sensitizes anything it touches. Idealistic and deeply spiritual, it also has a dark side. Neptune is the planet of illusion, confusion, deceit, vagueness, and wishful thinking. When prominent in a positive way, Neptune brings artistic talent and imagination, spiritual leanings, and psychic abilities. Under negative conditions, it accentuates the tendency to drift and increases the danger of addiction, hypochondria, and escapism.
Neptune doesn’t affect everyone equally. Like the other outer planets, it tends to influence generations more strongly than individuals. But there are exceptions. How can you tell if you have a powerful Neptune? Neptune occupies a prominent position in your birth chart if
It occupies an angle — that is, it’s in the first, fourth, seventh, or tenth house of your chart. It’s especially strong if it’s near your Ascendant or Midheaven. (See Chapter 11 for more on Ascendants and Midheavens.)
It makes a number of close aspects to other planets and, in particular, to the Sun, the Moon, or the planet that rules your Ascendant. (See Chapter 13 for a discussion of aspects.)
You have one or more planets in Pisces.
Neptune spends an average of 14 years in each sign. To discover its position in your chart, turn to the Appendix.
Neptune in the signs
Neptune’s position by sign describes the ways your generation is most idealistic — and most unrealistic. Its position in your horoscope represents an area of imagination, idealism, and spirituality (on the positive side), and aimless drifting, confusion, and deception (on the negative side).
Neptune in Aries (1861 to 1875): Members of this generation had an intuitive sense of self and took an active approach to their spiritual life. They could be wildly inconsiderate, and they had trouble regulating their aggression, being at times far too weak (like Neville Chamberlain) and at other times far too reckless (like Winston Churchill at Gallipoli). But one member of this generation, expressing Neptune in Aries at its most rarefied, transformed the very nature of conflict: Mahatma Gandhi, the prophet of nonviolence (who was nonetheless assassinated in 1948). Neptune returns to this position in 2026.
Neptune in Taurus (1875 to 1889): People born with this placement loved art, soft textures, rich food, real estate, the beauties of nature, and all the sensual comforts. (Casanova, born in 1725, had this placement. So did Pablo Picasso.) They were tuned into the physical world and responded intuitively to the rhythms of the body. But by and large they had difficulties in dealing with the practical stuff — finances included. Examples include Isadora Duncan, Virginia Woolf, and Albert Einstein. Neptune returns to the sign of the bull in 2039.
Neptune in Gemini (1889 to 1902): People born during the last decade or so of the Gilded Age had subtle, clever, complicated minds along with literary talent, a tendency to be shallow, and a vast capacity for spin. (Edward Bernays, known as “the father of public relations,” was born with this placement.) They idealized education and admired the intellect. But many of them struggled with the truth and may have discovered that the more you deceive others, the more you are deceived.
Neptune in Cancer (1902 to 1915): “What a wonderful world,” said the great Louis Armstrong, who was born with this placement. You agree. You’re observant, receptive, and sentimental — and not just because you’re old. The old-fashioned virtues of home, family, and country make you misty-eyed, and you tend to romanticize the past. (Which is not to suggest that your politics are necessarily conservative: Ronald Reagan had this placement, but so did Eugene McCarthy.) As part of the generation that experienced virtually all the great and awful events of the 20th century, you long for security and rely on family. As long as you feel protected, you’re doing fine.
Neptune in Leo (1915 to 1929): You’re extravagant, artistic, and romantic — or at least you’d like to be. You idealize love, children, and the creative process. You take big risks — and you often win your outrageous bets. But you’re prone to infatuation and may refuse to face reality, preferring the glitter of your fabulous ideals to the gritty imperfections of reality. And I hate to say it, but you can become so enamored of an ideal that you fail to see how moth-eaten it actually is.
Neptune in Virgo (1929 to 1942): Neptune, the planet of murky vagueness, isn’t happy in meticulous Virgo. With this placement, you can’t always tell which details matter and which ones don’t — so you may become anxious about all the wrong things. Hypochondria is a definite threat. But work that taps the imagination and spiritual activities that focus on service bring you joy.
Neptune in Libra (1942 to 1957): Idealistic and compassionate, you long for tranquility, balance, and — most of all — love. You respond strongly to art and music. But romantic relationships are mystifying to you, and your high ideals about human interaction (and marriage in particular) are always bumping up against reality. If you were born with this placement, you can expect to experience great shifts in the rules of human relationships over the course of your life.
Neptune in Scorpio (1957 to 1970): Dream interpretation, occult studies, and mystery novels pique your interest, but nothing fascinates you more than the workings of the psyche. A detective of the spirit, you project an aura of magnetic intensity and instinctively understand the concept of sexual healing. But you’re also prone to sexual extremes and self- destructive behavior, and you may be unable to recognize the sources of your own pain.
Neptune in Sagittarius (1970 to 1984): Questions of philosophy, faith, and religious values intrigue you. You find them easy to discuss but difficult to resolve. On some level, dogma makes you uncomfortable because your belief system is constantly evolving. You have a thirst for personal freedom and travel (ideally to sacred spots). But you tend to be gullible, and you’re easily misled. Be cautious in dealing with anyone who wants to be considered a guru. Sooner or later, you’re going to feel mighty uncomfortable about that.
Neptune in Capricorn (1984 to 1998): You’re ambitious, pragmatic, and nostalgic about the old-fashioned values of the past — or the past as you imagine it. You long for success and idealize the world of business, but you may have trouble acknowledging problems you experience there. Vagueness and uncertainty make you uneasy, and you must combat a tendency to overreact by becoming authoritarian. Your spiritual longings are best satisfied within structured organizations.
Neptune in Aquarius (1998 to 2012): As one of the enlightenment- seeking, technologically gifted, altruistic people born since Neptune entered Aquarius in 1998, you possess an intuitive sense of the common good and a progressive approach to social reform. But you may idealize your friends, and your desire to live in a utopian community with a simpatico group of spiritually-minded, ecologically-aware individuals may be more difficult to achieve than you imagine.
Neptune in Pisces (2012 to 2026): You have the typical traits of Pisces — squared. You’re psychic, generous, creative, empathetic, mystical, gullible, possibly self-destructive, a lover of fantasy and film, an aficionado of complex (or ascetically pared-down) music, a daydream believer, and a likely candidate for all manner of addictions. Sigmund Freud, Johann Sebastian Bach, Vincent van Gogh, and Theodore Roosevelt all had this placement. The next Neptune in Pisces generation should be interesting to watch.
Pluto: The Power of Transformation
Before August 2006, Pluto was just another planet. Then the members of the International Astronomical Union pronounced it a dwarf planet. That demotion is irrelevant to astrologers. Astrologers believe that Pluto possesses the power of transformation, and nothing’s going to change that.
Pluto is small, rocky, and so mysterious that astronomers aren’t sure what to make of it. Its elongated orbit, which is tilted to the rest of the solar system, overlaps the orbit of Neptune. As a result, from 1979 to 1999, Pluto was closer to the Sun than Neptune. Pluto’s major moon, Charon, is so relatively large that some astronomers classified Pluto as a double planet. (That was before they decided it was a dwarf.) Other astronomers believed it to be an asteroid far away from home, a chunk of rock left over from the creation of the solar system, or a renegade moon that once belonged to Neptune. Regardless of its classification, astrologers agree that Pluto represents something profound in human nature.
In classical mythology, Pluto (Hades to the Greeks) was the god of the underworld, the king of the dead, and the god of wealth, reflecting the fact that gold, silver, and precious gems are found buried in the earth. Virtually every major character in mythology undertakes a journey to the underworld, which represents the darkest, most fear-laden part of the psyche. The return to the land of the living suggests renewal and transformation.
Thus, to astrologers, Pluto represents death, regeneration, and rebirth. It destroys, purifies, purges, and renews, bestowing consciousness on that which has been hidden and ultimately bringing transformation. The process can be tedious because Pluto moves at a glacial speed and its path is strewn with obstacles. But the rewards are life-changing.
Pluto has two symbols. One is a snazzy-looking metaphysical design: A small circle held within a crescent and balanced on a cross. I don’t use this symbol because it’s too easy to confuse with the glyphs of the other planets (Mercury and Neptune in particular). But many astrologers prefer it.
I’m partial to the second, more mundane symbol, which has its origins in the world of science. That symbol (see Figure 10-3) represents both the first two letters of Pluto’s name and the initials of the aristocratic astronomer Percival Lowell, who was so convinced that there was life on Mars that he built an observatory in Arizona for the sole purpose of observing it. At the same time, he devoted himself to a search for the mysterious Planet X, which he believed was revolving around the sun in the outskirts of the solar system, way past Neptune. He never found it. But 14 years after Lowell’s death, Clyde Tombaugh worked doggedly at the Lowell Observatory and discovered Pluto. This symbol acknowledges Lowell’s contributions.
Figure 10-3: The symbol of Pluto.
Pinpointing Pluto’s influence
Like Uranus and Neptune, Pluto primarily influences generations. Its influence in an individual’s birth chart is usually subtle — unless Pluto occupies a prominent spot in your chart. Pluto is prominent if
It occupies an angle — that is, it’s in the first, fourth, seventh, or tenth house of your chart. It’s especially strong if it’s close to your Ascendant or Midheaven. (See Chapter 11 for more on Ascendants and Midheavens.)
It makes a number of close aspects to other planets and, in particular, to the Sun, the Moon, or the planet that rules your Ascendant.
You have one or more planets in Scorpio.
Even though Pluto spends, on average, about 20 years in each sign of the zodiac, it hurries through some signs (it’s in and out of Libra in a dozen years) and plods through others (like Taurus, where it lingers for 32 long years). To discover its position at your birth, turn to the Appendix.
Pluto in the signs
Pluto’s placement by sign determines the deepest obsessions of your generation as well as the style with which you approach transforming life events.
Pluto in Aries (1823 to 1852): This generation was willful, rebellious, impulsive, and obsessed with power and independence.
Pluto in Taurus (1852 to 1884): Security brought power for these hard-working folks, but values, particularly regarding possessions, were in flux. With Pluto in an earth sign, ownership was an issue. The American Civil War was fought during those years over that very compulsion.
Pluto in Gemini (1884 to 1914): Wit rules. Novelty excites you. Unconsciously, you seek to transform yourself through fresh ideas. Your mind is ever young.
Pluto in Cancer (1914 to 1939): If you were born during these years when Pluto was discovered, you belong to a generation for whom security is paramount. You were taught to hold on to what you’ve got, and that’s what you do — even when you should know better. It’s no wonder that you feel this way: The Great Depression of the 1930s was a formative event in your life or in the experiences of your parents.
Pluto in Leo (1939 to 1957): Your desire to express yourself dramatically, creatively, and expansively can become an obsession. This placement is the trademark of the baby boomers, who look with disdain upon the previous generation’s search for security — and who are looked upon with scorn by the generations that follow because, in true Leo style, you can’t help showing off.
Pluto in Virgo (1957 to 1972): The excesses of the baby boomers drive you to distraction, and you react against them. You seek personal control, obsess about details, and have every intention of becoming perfect. If you were born between 1962 and 1969, you also have Uranus in Virgo, so unexpected upsets may throw you off track. But these upsets won’t stop you from striving for the perfect Plutonian/Uranian transformation — the one that alters everything in a flash.
Pluto in Libra (1972 to 1984): You’re obsessed with balance, beauty, and social relations. You derive great power from sharing, but only if it’s the real thing. You see no percentage in pretending. On the contrary, you demand a true marriage of equals. The arts have a strong impact on you.
Pluto in Scorpio (1984 to 1995): You’re passionate, resolute, deeply sexual, and intent on experiencing every last drop of whatever life has to offer. But controlling your desires is essential. Fortunately, you have incredible willpower. You intuitively recognize the link between money and power, and you’re interested in accumulating both. This is a formidable placement.
Pluto in Sagittarius (1995 to 2008): You long to find a philosophy or religion that offers intense spiritual and intellectual experiences — but you run the risk of being pompous and fanatical. Freedom is essential to you, and education and travel are transformational.
Pluto in Capricorn (2008 to 2024): People born with Pluto in buttoned-down Capricorn are goal-oriented, persistent, and pragmatic, with an inborn sense of sense of how the world works. You think you’ve seen savvy politicians? Wait ’til these babies come along. Pluto’s last sojourn in the sign of the goat was between 1762 and 1778, years that covered the American Revolution.
Pluto in Aquarius (2024 to 2044): This do-your-own-thing generation is likely to have progressive ideals and to seek transformation through unconventional associations. The group will be increasingly central, but not in the limited, ethnocentric ways of the past. Remember the amazing bar scene in the original Star Wars movie? That’s Pluto in Aquarius.
Pluto in Pisces (2044 to 2068): This placement is bound to be intriguing. Expect to see a self-sacrificing, mystical generation that dips deep into the collective unconscious. The members of this group may face a challenge if external structures dissolve in chaos, as they did in the lifetime of Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Tubman, both of whom, like other members of their generation, had Pluto in Pisces.
Chiron: The Wounded Healer
Is it an asteroid? A burned-out comet? A planetesimal leftover from the creation of the solar system? An errant moon of Neptune, long since torn away from its original orbit? Or a particular type of asteroid called a Centaur? Ever since November 1, 1977, when scientist Charles Kowal discovered Chiron hurtling around the Sun between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus, scientists have been trying to make up their minds. Smaller by far than any planet (its estimated size is 200 miles across), Chiron has a peculiar orbit that causes it to spend more time in some signs (Pisces, Aries, and Taurus) than in others (Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio). A complete swing through all 12 signs of the zodiac takes 51 years.
In mythology, Chiron was a compassionate tutor whose students included three heroes: the warrior Achilles, the Argonaut Jason, and Hercules. One day, Chiron was accidentally scratched by one of Hercules’s poison arrows. The pain was so intense that he wanted to die. But Chiron was immortal. Unable to die, he was forced to cope with the agony. In the process, he became expert in the arts of healing. Yet despite Chiron’s knowledge, his pain never lessened. Nor did he develop a tolerance for it. He did, however, find a solution. After negotiating with Zeus, he bequeathed his immortality to Prometheus, who had given fire to mankind and was being tortured as a result. So Prometheus, having been freed from his agony, joined the society of the gods on Mount Olympus while Chiron, relieved of his agony, was allowed to travel into the underworld, release his bodily pain, and take up residence in Hades.
The symbol for Chiron looks like a letter K balanced on a circle or oval. It resembles an old-fashioned key.
In the years following its discovery, few practitioners were brave enough to insert Chiron into birth charts. It seemed too soon, and astrologers didn’t know enough about it. That has changed. Today, Chiron, referred to as the Wounded Healer, is often included in interpretations. Astrologers see Chiron as both a point of pain and a source of healing — an area where you have suffered or been disappointed and where you must find resolution. Astrologers also associate Chiron with the holistic healing movement.
Note that the astrological Chiron, like the mythological figure, is more than a victim and a healer. As a tutor, Chiron was known for his wisdom and his teaching ability. Astrologer Zipporah Dobyns, PhD, links Chiron with Sagittarius and suggests that it indicates not only the quest for knowledge but also the impulse to share it with others.
Chiron is small, distant, and impossible to see without a telescope. It’s prominent in your chart if
It occupies an angle (and especially if it conjuncts or opposes your Ascendant or Midheaven).
It closely aspects the Sun, the Moon, or the planet that rules your Ascendant.
To discover Chiron’s position in your chart, turn to the Appendix, or go to the Web.
Chiron in the signs
Chiron spends, on average, a little over four years in each sign. Thus it indicates an area of concern both for you and for members of your immediate generation.
Chiron in Aries: Your efforts to express your personality have been thwarted. You suffer from a bad case of fear of failure, and taking the initiative isn’t easy for you. Finding the courage to do so — and you’ve got courage aplenty — is the only way to overcome your fears and feelings of inadequacy.
Chiron in Taurus: Stability and security are key issues for you. On the one hand, you long for economic comfort. On the other hand, you struggle to manage your money. To put your desire for material goods and security into perspective, you need to pursue your deeper values.
Chiron in Gemini: Communicating your ideas is a challenge, and you may not feel up to it. Seeking knowledge and acting as an educator enable you to heal this feeling of inadequacy. And here’s another issue that may envelope you from time to time: gossip. It’s one way people learn about each other — and yet it can be lethal.
Chiron in Cancer: Your domestic life, especially as a child, may be fraught with pain. Relief comes through consciously seeking to create a supportive emotional environment. True healing comes through realizing that ultimately everyone has to nurture themselves.
Chiron in Leo: In childhood, your efforts to get attention were thwarted, and you may doubt your own talents as a result. Creative expression helps heal the hurt. Acting and teaching are also beneficial because, putting aside whatever sorrows you may have suffered, everyone needs to be center stage once in a while.
Chiron in Virgo: You grew up with extraordinarily rigid rules. Now you struggle with anxiety. Seek relief by focusing on wellness, by serving others without sacrificing yourself, and, above all, by refusing to be a martyr. Or try another approach entirely by taking up a craft where your perfectionism — which is so often a problem on the personal level — is actually rewarded.
Chiron in Libra: Partnerships are vital to your well-being, but they’re also disappointing. You’re certain that a healthy relationship can heal you, and yet that doesn’t seem to happen. Balancing romance with objective reality is essential. It’s also important to defuse the pain of rejection. One possible way to do that is through art.
Chiron in Scorpio: You long for love, passion, and phenomenal sex. But your secretive ways and deep-seated fear of revealing yourself (and hence of being rejected) make it difficult to fulfill your desires. Healing comes by plunging into your sorrows and working your way through them. Seek psychotherapy or any other form of self-knowledge.
Chiron in Sagittarius: What’s the purpose of life? The traditional answers leave you feeling frustrated and alone. A personal search lessens the pain. Strange as it may seem, lifelong education, designed to fit your individual requirements, can bring you healing.
Chiron in Capricorn: In your heart, you long for success. You obey the rules, but they let you down. Healing comes when you turn away from society’s rigid definition of status and find other ways to express your own deepest authority.
Chiron in Aquarius: What’s wrong with people anyway? You’re sadly aware of the resoundingly negative impact of ethnic conflict, societal injustice, and isolation. Addressing those wrongs by working for the greater good can turn your life around.
Chiron in Pisces: Pisces is the sign of compassion, sensitivity, and sacrifice. But you can’t help noticing that many people give lip service to those qualities without actually practicing them. Your mission: To see the sorrow and react appropriately without being overwhelmed by it. Finding a spiritual base can ease your angst.