A partially collapsed subway construction site in Brooklyn, 1915
Pluto enters Aquarius for the first of four times tomorrow morning, and that is kind of a huge deal and also not really. Pluto is really far away, it moves very slowly. This means on one hand that unless you are a vampire and were alive in the 1780’s, you’ve never experienced Pluto in Aquarius before! On the other hand, unless it happens to be sitting on something in your chart, this is going to feel more like a constant, low, subterranean rumble in the background than an event. You might imagine Pluto in Aquarius like a new subway just starting to get built in the Aquarius part of your neighborhood, and the press release about it is going out tomorrow. It will take years to even get going. Long before it’s helpful, it will change traffic patterns, close some sidewalks, make a loud mess. And one day, decades from now, if you are lucky and everything goes well, you’ll have all this new access! The ground beneath your feet will become useful–it will take you to new places.
I am being quite literal when I imagine Pluto as a subway–this is the Lord of the Underworld we are talking about here. Pluto coming into a new part of your chart mostly means the incremental progress of a slow excavation project. But what might not be apparent in this metaphor is what the digging brings forth. To keep it literal, do you know how much leverage a good subway system gives the people who live in a city? Have you ever tried to drive from Brooklyn to Manhattan? It can take twenty minutes or more than two hours! A functional subway system is a miracle that puts the entirety of a vast city within walking distance. It is a civilizing tool that enables people, not by putting them into little self-sufficient pods with wheels and letting them crawl along all alone in traffic, but by creating a shared resource. The New Testament is full of river imagery that describes this flowing force that is larger than yourself, and that you are being called to participate in. And call me a romantic New Yorker... I do think of the subway as that “river of life” that we are all called to turn our little individual selves over to, so that we might grasp that life is not about us, but that we are about life. This call to participate and trust–to get in the river–is the full expression of what I mean when I say that Pluto is like a subway project coming to a new part of your life.
Of course, this first little taste of Pluto in Aquarius, which lasts until June 10th, is not going to feel anything like finding grace on the A train. Depending on what the first degree of Aquarius looks like in your chart, you might experience this as some metaphorical signs going up that announce where the digging will happen, or some new metaphorical roadblocks and closures. You might find that it is metaphorically more difficult to park, by which I mean that your old ways that are about preserving what you perceive as autonomy or ownership could start to feel a little threatened. This process of finding power by being stripped of all the things that you think make you powerful is really what Pluto is all about. And the part of your life described by the sign Aquarius is, paradoxically, where you are most likely to get dogmatic about power and authority, and the part of your life that is most likely to accept the proposition that it isn’t all about you. This part of your life has also had a few really intense years of stress testing, reality checking, and getting rid of whatever isn’t real. You might find that you’ve already been stripped to the bare essentials and are ready for the disruption of building a new subterranean access point to the Great River. You might also find yourself clinging desperately, to continue the metaphor, for the right to lock yourself away in your comfortable little car. What’s important, really, is not this moment. What’s important is just recognizing that how you feel about this is likely to change considerably. Pluto will be back in Aquarius January 21, 2024, and will stay longer, all the way through September 2024. Then in late November 2024 Pluto will enter Aquarius and be there until it starts its process of moving into Pisces in 2043.