Pluto used to be considered the most distant known planet in our solar system, although it was ‘demoted’ in 2006 and is now astronomically classified as a dwarf planet rather than a full planet. Astronomy has no direct correlation with astrology, however, and astrologically speaking, the planet Pluto is still alive and well.
What Does Pluto Symbolize in Astrology?
The astrological Pluto is rich with symbolism in the natal chart. This planet speaks of power, rebirth, transformation and evolution. Pluto energy can be very destructive, but only in the sense that something must be torn down before anything new can be built in its place. Through Pluto’s energy and influence, we undergo metamorphosis, emerging from chaos and tumult as new – if not always better – people.
In your natal chart, Pluto’s position shows us how you view power and how likely you are to manipulate those around you. This planet can tell us about your darkest obsessions and your hidden jealousies and resentments. It can also reveal your inner powers and your extraordinary ability to transform yourself and to evolve. Pluto brings radical change into all of our lives, which is often deep-rooted, lasting and transformative. Pluto is also symbolic of secrecy, and of things which must be uncovered.
What Is the Mythology of Pluto?
For the ancient Romans, Pluto was the god of the underworld – the equivalent of Hades in Greek mythology. The astrological association between the planet Pluto and sex and jealousy stems from Pluto’s obsession with and kidnap of Persephone; his rulership over the underworld is why we also associate the planet Pluto with secrets, darkness and all things hidden – including our own subconscious or unconscious mind.
How Long Does Pluto Stay in a Zodiac Sign?
The planet Pluto has a very erratic orbit, so it spends varying amounts of time in each zodiac sign – for example, Pluto spends 11-12 years working its way through Scorpio, but a whopping 32 years heading through Taurus. Because Pluto spends so long in any given zodiac sign, the planet is said to have a generational influence as well as a personal one. Because everyone born within that period of time, whether it’s 11 years, 32 years or any of the signs in-between, will have Pluto in the same zodiac sign, Pluto’s house position in your birth chart is often more important than the sign.
What Does Pluto Retrograde Mean?
As seen from earth, each of the planets regularly appears to spend some time moving backwards through the sky. This is an optical illusion – all the planets are in constant orbital motion forwards – but this is what retrograde means; it’s that period of time when the planet seems to be in reverse. For Pluto, this happens for five months every year. When Pluto is retrograde, it’s a very good time to turn inwards and to examine your shadow self. Pluto retrograde reveals us as we truly are, nasty bits and all, so giving us a chance to work on self-improvement.
Key Facts About Pluto in Astrology
Positive expressions of Pluto energy: renewal, regeneration, transformation, evolution, rebirth, hidden gifts, inner resourcefulness
Challenging expressions of Pluto energy: abuse of power, manipulation, obsession, secrecy, jealousy, destruction, violence, resentment
Pluto rules: Scorpio. A ruling planet in its own sign tends to be the purest and most positive expression of its energies.
Pluto is exalted in: Aries. An exalted planet is usually strong and works positively.
Pluto is in detriment in: Taurus. A planet in detriment is typically quite weak, with its energy manifesting negatively or being misused.
Pluto is in fall in: Libra. A planet in fall is usually weakened, although positive aspects to the planet will help.
What’s Your Pluto Sign?
Remember, because Pluto spends so long in any given zodiac sign, its sign influence in your chart is likely to be shared with your generational peers. If your Sun or Ascendant sign is Scorpio, or if Pluto occurs very close to your Ascendant or to your ruling planet, it’s personal influence in your chart will be strengthened.
Pluto in Aries
Nobody alive has Pluto in Aries; it was last in this sign in 1853.
Pluto in Taurus
Nobody alive has Pluto in Taurus; it was last in this sign in 1884.
Pluto in Gemini
Nobody alive has Pluto in Gemini; it was last in this sign in 1913.
Pluto in Cancer
Pluto was in Cancer between 1913 and 1938. The planet’s generational influence can be seen here in that many children born during this period will have suffered extreme disruption to their homes and family lives during the two world wars.
Pluto in Leo
Pluto was in Leo between 1938 and 1957. We can see a generational influence again as the leadership of Leo was manipulated and maligned via Pluto through a variety of wars and conflicts. We can also see how Leo benevolence and generosity of spirit led to breakthroughs in leadership, such as the formation of the United Nations.
Pluto in Virgo
Pluto was in Virgo between 1957 and 1971. For much of this period, Pluto was conjunct Uranus in Virgo, and the combination of these two planets influenced a generation of protest movements. This generation challenged established values and a change in how we view diet and fitness.
Pluto in Libra
Pluto was in Libra between 1971 and 1984. We can see a generational Pluto influence here in the laid-back hippy generation and in the challenge to established society which came with increased sexual freedoms, drugs and youth culture. Our view of relationships changed with this influence too.
Pluto in Scorpio
Pluto was in Scorpio between 1984 and 1995. The Scorpio-Plutonic influence on this generation can be seen through the emergence of HIV and the race to find a treatment or cure. This generation has witnessed an increased fascination with the occult and spirituality and is being charged now with fixing a society which in some cases is on the point of collapse.
Pluto in Sagittarius
Pluto was in Sagittarius between 1995 and 2008. Sagittarian openness, via Pluto, is helping to uncover wrongdoings and to challenge institutional corruption and greed. This generation is also more open to ancient wisdom and to understanding that the earth is in crisis. The Sagittarian sense of fair play may bring about a Plutonian renewal of the world’s systems, helping to ensure greater equality and more care for the environment. Dogma and extreme beliefs are also of this generation.
Pluto in Capricorn
Pluto arrived in Capricorn in 2008 and will stay until 2023. This generation has the wisdom to re-create stable, workable world systems, should they choose to tear down the current outdated way of the world. There is a sense of quiet revolution here – much less showy and dramatic than the Scorpio and Sagittarius generations, but potentially much more effective too.
Pluto in Aquarius
Nobody alive has Pluto in Aquarius; the planet was last here in 1798 and won’t arrive again until 2024.
Pluto in Pisces
Nobody alive has Pluto in Pisces; the planet was last here in 1823 and won’t arrive again until 2044.
Pluto Through the Astrological Houses
Because of the generational influence of Pluto by zodiac sign, it’s usually more informative to look at this planet’s house position in your birth chart. Your Pluto house is probably an area of life where you regularly experience problems; you may be re-learning the same lessons over and over again here, until you understand the deeper astrological psychology at play and figure out how to break free.
Pluto in 1st House
If Pluto is very close to your Ascendant, it will be a very powerful influence in the chart. In any case, you may be obsessive and potentially rather manipulative of others. As a result, personal relationships are difficult; you could be the kind of person that people admire rather than particularly like.
Pluto in 2nd House
Pluto in the 2nd house suggests strong business and financial talent, although there can be an obsession with money and materialism. You may like to collect objects, but be careful not to treat your family or your lover as mere possessions.
Pluto in 3rd House
A very strong mind and a talent for research are normally present when Pluto is in the 3rd house. Highly observant, you let nothing pass and you excel at digging deep into a subject. You don’t take no for an answer from anyone, yet you are very touchy about your own privacy.
Pluto in 4th House
A 4th house Pluto may suggest that childhood was difficult in some way, and this could have caused psychological issues which persist into adulthood. People with this placement often benefit from therapy; it’s very important to talk through your experiences.
Pluto in 5th House
This placement is characterized by a compulsive desire to take risks – with money, with love, with safety, even with life. Likely enjoying a magnetic personality, you can be fickle in love and you should check your motives before you manipulate others. Children will play a significant role in your life.
Pluto in 6th House
An obsession with rules or routines can become an issue when Pluto is in the 6th house. On the plus side, Pluto’s energy here powers very hard work and determination. Watch out, however, for a tendency to take exercise or diet to extremes as health can also be a focus.
Pluto in 7th House
Emotional extremes are normal for you if you have a 7th house Pluto; it’s very difficult for you to feel serene and calm. In love, you need to be dominant and you may struggle unless your partner defers to you. Be careful not to allow anger to become abusive.
Pluto in 8th House
Sexual obsessions and jealousy tend to surface when Pluto is in the 8th house. Intensely private, you have a lot of secrets, not all of them whiter than white. However, you do have a definite talent for business and finance.
Pluto in 9th House
An obsession with education may lead to resentment or envy if you feel that you deserved a better situation in life. You may also attract strange experiences while traveling – but both travel and education can be a key to life-changing events.
Pluto in 10th House
You may have something of a power complex and you certainly have a need to be admired, adored and obeyed. Huge ambition often results in material success, but it comes at a cost to your private life, especially when your ego runs free.
Pluto in 11th House
You tend to over-react to events in your social circle or your friendship groups when Pluto is in the 11th house. This can lead to very sudden break-ups among friends or colleagues, which do have a destabilizing effect on your life.
Pluto in 12th House
Secretive and reclusive tendencies can be difficult to overcome when Pluto is in the 12th house. You may struggle to talk through your emotions and there could be trust issues too. An obsession with discovering your spiritual calling can be a mixed blessing.