Pluto Takes on Sagittarius
by Michael Star

a Predictive Astrology article in
STAR SIGNS Astrology Zine


Pluto is like a volcano - the hidden pressures slowly build until they blow off with cataclysmic force. Pluto or Hades was the mythological God of the Underworld. A look at the symbolic themes of Pluto and Sagittarius, and how they may possibly play out as Pluto passes through the astrological Sign of Sagittarius. Pluto's purpose is to renew or restore, but Pluto may have to remove or destroy what is stagnant or stifling. Pluto and Scorpio are much misunderstood and maligned, but here you will see both the bright side and the dark side of Pluto the Planetary Policeman.

The information given here is relevant for several years beyond 1996, since Pluto moves VERY slowly through a Sign!
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Pluto Takes On Sagittarius Part 1

by Michael Star, Astrologer (c)1996

SUB-title: Seeing Signs of the Planet's Purpose...

Pluto the Power Planet, while still in the starting stage of its sojurn in the Spiritual Sign of Sagittarius, sets people to prognosicating and positing theories about what may be the ramifications of this relentless and ruthless planet passing through the new Sign. In this article I am going to explore the significance of Pluto in Sagittarius by investigating the symbolic themes of the Planet and the Sign, and then speculating on some scenarios that might possibly play out when the themes are threaded together. It's a long story, so I'm going to publish it in two parts.

This week I'll be discussing the planet Pluto and its function in the Horoscope of individuals. The same themes which apply in the birth horoscope of an individual will also apply in a more general world-wide way to the times when Pluto passes through the Sign of Sagittarius, as we will see in the second part of the article.

"HE'S B-A-A-A-ACK!" (from the film "POLTERGEIST")

Look for the sequel in STAR SIGNS Astrology Zine the week of NOV 25 1996, when the Sun has passed out of SCORPIO to enter SAGITTARIUS - like PLUTO did again in the year 1996 (He's ba-a-a-ack!). You Scorpions may find this interesting, since the Sign of SCORPIO is involved through its ruler PLUTO.

We will be also looking at the opposing Signs of Gemini and Taurus to see the similarities and contrasts - so you Geminis and Taureans may find this of special interest too!


The planet Pluto symbolizes TRANSFORMATION, as well as the necessary DEMOLITION and RE-BUILDING of things that are OUT-worn, OUT-moded, OUT-dated, and generally OUT OF TIME. Things that were timely and useful at one time get time-worn and less useful as time goes by. Just look at last year's state-of-the art computer, or yesterday's old news. If a slum tenement needed to be demolished to make room for a newer, better building to serve as public housing, or serve some more useful function than the old and worn-down building, then it would be a type of PLUTO function to do the demolition and then RE-BUILD on the "ashes" of what was destroyed. You could say that PLUTO is a TRANS-FORMER or RE-FORMER whose function is to change the FORM of things. In the material world, PLUTO changes physical forms. On the mental plane of ideas and imagination, PLUTO changes ways of thinking. On the spiritual plane of inspirations and intuitions, PLUTO changes what we believe is the highest Truth.


When a planet appears to be moving day-by-day across the fixed background of stars in the sky, it is said to be "making a transit" or "transiting" a particular section of the sky. When it passes from the sector of the sky called the "Sign" of Scorpio and moves across the next Sign of Sagittarius, it is said to be making a transit of the Sign of Sagittarius. All the planets moving in orbit around the Sun are indicators of TIME, and PLUTO is the outermost and slowest-moving of all the known planets in our solar system. When it enters a new Sign, it signifies a shift in the focus of its "energies" (as some say) - or in the way its symbolic function will manifest in our world and in our consciousness.

It may manifest in material form as events and physical actions, or in mental form as ideas and pardigms, or in emotional form as feelings and psychological drives, or in spiritual form as shifts in conscious awareness and beliefs. With an average orbital motion of about 20 years per 30 degrees, PLUTO takes nearly a generation to go through one Sign, so PLUTO entering a new Sign becomes "a sign of the TIMES", and "the times they are a-changin'", as Bob Dylan sang in the 1960's. Now they are going to be changing again, for PLUTO is the TRANSFORMER and it is TRANSFORMATION TIME!

This time, the transformation will take on the form of a SAGITTARIAN shift - all the things related to the Sign of Sagittarius will be changing or being replaced: from philosophical paradigms to physical property-lines of nations, from atheism and airplanes to zealots and zoological species.

"RE- RE- RE- RE-" (from the song "RESPECT" by Aretha Franklin)

Always remember that PLUTO is about RE-building, RE-placing, RE-moving, RE-furbishing, RE-novating, RE-forming, and RE-newing. PLUTO has as much to do with RE-storing as with DE-stroying! (Note the similarity in the letters of those two words.) Yes, Pluto is often the Demolition Man, but he is also the Restorer. Like a doctor of oncology who kills cancer cells with radiation therapy to restore the health of a dying patient, Pluto is a Healer of what is creative and constructive, as well as a Killer of what is crippling and destructive. Sometimes Pluto just has to "be cruel to be kind", when that is the only way to heal what is not healthy, or to thwart what is threatening to our greater good or our generation's growth and evolution.

"PHOENIX, The FIRE-BIRD" (the Myth, not the motorcar)

The legendary Phoenix, the bird which flies into the FIRE to destroy itself, and then rises renewed from its own ashes, is a very good symbol for the energy or function of PLUTO in the horoscope. Nothing new can be formed unless something old is re-formed by breaking it down and rebuilding from the components. Your own body breaks down millions of its own cells every second, and uses their chemical components to build new cells. To establish a new habit, you have to eliminate the old habit. To have a new belief, you have give up the old belief. Even as you think, new thoughts are replacing old thoughts. The data in the random-access memory of your computer is constantly being replaced with new data. Nothing is created until something else is transformed or destroyed. Pluto is the agent of the TRANSFORMING process, and while it may not appear to be a "nice" thing at times, it is always a necessary thing. It is simply the way this Universe works, through creation and re-creation of all things.


If you accept the theory of "the expanding universe", then the implication follows that the Universe may also contract at some point in time - and eventually effect the reverse process of "the Big Bang". What was created in an instant of time, from a nothingness we cannot conceive, will return to its original state eventually - pure potential or energy, without material form. And then maybe the Universe will re-create itself with another "Big Bang". The Hindu religion has a god called Shiva, The Destroyer, and his symbolic function sounds so similar to this function of Pluto - what Vishnu creates, Shiva eventually destoys.


The planet PLUTO is said to "rule" SCORPIO, the Sign which is related to sexual union, conception, birth, death, and re-birth - the endless cycle of construction and destruction as it applies to human life, as well as to all material things. Scorpio is often said to be about "Sex and Death" - but actually it is about the entire CYCLE of birth, death, and rebirth, of which sex and death are two of the stages. This applies literally to human sexuality, as well as symbolically or metaphorically to all things that are created and re-created, or formed and re-formed. Scorpio is not so much about making love as it is about making babies. Strictly speaking, it is the union of the sperm with the egg, the SEX act, that is what Scorpio is all about; for the courtship and romance is more of a Leo function, and the sensual pleasure is a Taurus function.


Scorpio is concerned with what happens DEEP DOWN, where things are hidden from view. Can you see why the womb of a woman and a cave or a cavity in the Earth are symbolically related to Pluto, the God of the UNDER-WORLD? Human babies grow in a water-filled cavity inside a woman's body, and a dead man is cremated or buried in the Earth and becomes a part of the earth again - "ashes to ashes, and dust to dust". Plant seeds grow in a moist cavity in the Earth, and dead plants decompose and become earth. Crystals grow in water-filled cavities in the Earth, and broken crystals become sand. See the symbolic similarities? Earth and Water just happen to be the Elements of the Signs of Taurus and Scorpio, which lie at opposite ends of the Fixed axis of all fits into the same symbolic scenario!


Looking at SCORPIO's OPPOSITE SIGN of TAURUS, we see themes of growth and preservation, protection and conservation, and keeping things the same. Taurus wants to build, but may hang onto things long past the point of their usefulness (I know I do, and I have Sun in Taurus). Scorpio's function is to tear down and rebuild what Taurus has built and maintained. They are complementary opposites - things which "complete" each other - and we need to make use of BOTH their energies.

Life is a continual cycle of construction and destruction - you destroy millions of your body cells every second, and within seven years you will have destroyed and replaced every cell in your body, including the bones! (It is interesting to notice the obvious implication: that when you die your body cannot be more than seven years old! Perhaps if we learned to REBUILD ourselves better from better materials, we could live longer?)


We have to remember that PLUTO is not the nasty planet who wreaks havoc and destruction all the time - PLUTO may be ruthless, but only in tearing down or throwing out the things which are not WORTH keeping anymore. Some of the ways we WERE are no longer the best way to BE - and if we continue to hang onto the old ways we cannot live in newer and better ways. In various areas of our life we may need to CHANGE some things, and to do that we may have to let them change, let them grow, let them go, or lose them. This may include (among other things):


Any or all of these things may now be actually RETARDING our growth and well-being. We may not be making the best USE of our RESOURCES. We cut off dead growth on trees and plants because we know the pruning allows new growth, and we cut off our own limbs if they have gangrene and threaten to spread the sickness and death to the rest of the body. Lightning destroys entire forests, yet the forests grow back by using the nutrients in the ashes, and utilizing all the sunlight which is no longer obstructed by the taller plants and trees. It is a natural cycle in Nature to continually destroy and restore itself. That is accomplished in most living things through SEXUAL REPRODUCTION, which is why Pluto's sign of Scorpio is often called the sign of "Sex and Death".


PLUTO functions freely in its own Sign of SCORPIO, which is all about determining what is VALUE-LESS, then DE-VALUING it, and getting rid of it. Scorpio works as the complementary opposite to TAURUS, which is all about determining what is VALUE-ABLE, then VALUING it, and holding on to it. VENUS, the ruler of TAURUS, is always looking for what is BEAUTIFUL and COMFORTABLE and PLEASURABLE. PLUTO, the ruler of SCORPIO, is always looking for what is UGLY and UNCOMFORTABLE and HARMFUL. Both their functions serve a valuable and necessary purpose in the lives of individuals, in the grand scheme of Life on Earth, and in the stable operation of the Universe as a whole. PLUTO got the dirty job, but some heavenly body had to do it!


Now that we have looked at some of the THEMES of the planet and its functions, let's see how they might be activated or played out in the SIGN of SAGITTARIUS. Sagittarius is about MEANING (as in "the meaning of Life") and PHILOSOPHY and RELIGION (a specific philosophy), as well as FOREIGN THINGS - ideas, philosophies, cultures and their people, and anything that is DIFFERENT than what we have become accustomed to perceiving in our immediate environment. One of the SAGITTARIAN strategies is to be TOLERANT of apparent differences in people and things, and appreciate the sameness that is apparent in a broader view of the larger group. A Centaur has the upper body of a human and the lower body of a beast, the horse. Man is more highly evolved than a beast, yet his body, his brain, and his behaviour bear some similarities to the beasts. The Centaur is a good symbol for the Sagittarian acceptance of apparent differences and the appreciation of similarities, wouldn't you say? He pretty well has to, being BOTH man and beast! The symbol for the opposite Sign of GEMINI is The Twins, two similar but separate bodies and brains. In SAGITTARIUS the separate brains and bodies are together as one. Does this give us a clue as to what PLUTO in SAGITTARIUS is going to be changing? Do the words "integration" or "co-existence" or "symbiosis" sound like the stuff Sagittarius symbolizes?


The glyph or written symbol for Sagittarius is one of The Archer's arrows. Looking at the sybolism of The Arrow, we can see that an arrow is separated from the other arrows in the quiver, flies through the air, then comes to Earth in another place - an apt description of a person who leaves his comrades at home and flies to another country and becomes a "foreigner". "I shot an arrow in the air, and if it lands I know not where." This old rhyme is a perfect metaphor for the flights of fancy a philosophical Sagittarian can make as he boldly forays into the unknown realms of thought on the mental plane, not knowing what truths he will discover as he seeks for new meaning beyond his earthly existence in the material world. Sagittarius is as much about journeys in the Mind as about the traditional "journeys over water". It's just a different way of doing the same things: to explore, to go beyond the usual boundaries, and "to go where no man has gone before".


The OPPOSITE SIGN to Sagittarius is GEMINI, which is about our perceptions of our immediate environment (what we see "out there"), including our own "neighbourhood" or town. If your home town is New York City, but you move to London, England, you will undoubtedly perceive that your surroundings are quite DIFFERENT than what you were used to, and things will appear "foreign" to you, and you will be "a foreigner" to the local people. Your habitual ways of interacting with your neighbours will be different, including your accent, your use of many words, your slang and cliches, your manners and mannerisms, and even your way of dressing. You will find that even though the locals have different WAYS of living, their ways work for them as well as your New York ways worked for you. That is the kind of Truth that can be discovered by looking BEYOND our IMMEDIATE ENVIRONMENT (Gemini is all about perceiving LOCALLY) - and seeing how a FOREIGN environment may appear different in the details, but is really the same in the BROADER scheme of things (seeing the Big Picture is what Sagittarius does best).

"ALL FOR ONE and ONE FOR ALL" - The Musketeers (Horsemen)

Ask any student who has travelled abroad if he has broadened his education by exploring and understanding foreign people and their foreign ways and foreign ideas! Did you notice that ANY AND ALL nouns, verbs and phrases in the last sentence are a KEY THEME of Sagittarius? So is "any and all" -- Universal Truths apply to any and all things. It is the function of Sagittarius' ruling planet, JUPITER, to discover this through SAGITTARIAN strategies. But any other planet connected to SAGITTARIUS will be learning the truth about their particular function in human existence and Life on Earth. (Did you notice that "The Three Musketeers" were "horse-men" and also shot musket-balls? This is so similar to a Centaur shooting arrows that the Musketeer could be a more modern symbol for SAGITTARIUS. The Musketeers were also "comrades" who valued "honour" highly - two other Sagittarian similarities).


Sagittarius is about the MEANING you give to what you perceive. Gemini sees all the DETAILS, while Sagittarius interprets their MEANING in a much broader and universal context. Gemini sees the trees, Sag sees the forest. Gemini is curious about facts, Sag is curious about ideas and philosophies. Gemini explores its surroundings, Sagittarius explores the whole physical world in its body, even exploring the unseen worlds of imagination and spirit in its mind. Sagittarius is the philosopher and the spiritual seeker of Truth. Gemini says, "Just the facts, M'am" or plays with language and words and the logical connections between ideas. Sagittarius explores the philosophical and spiritual connections between more universal ideas and tries to see "the big picture" and visions of future developments. Gemini is clever, Sag is wise like a Sage. Gemini is perceptive, Sag is a visionary. Gemini is logical, Sagittarius is inspired. Like Scorpio and Taurus, they are complementary opposites.


This has been written "just off the top of my head", so please regard it as one man's opinion - and feel free to question or challenge any of it, as you judge for yourself what may be true for you...or not.

(c)1996 by Michael Star

All rights reserved. This article is copyrighted and may not be sold or published in any media without the express permission of the author. Permission is freely granted to retrieve and store this material for personal use only, but not to publish on any web site or to send copies by email. You may publish a hyperlink to this page, provided you link to the TOP of the page.

Part 2 was published in the NOV 25 1996 Edition of STAR SIGNS Astrology Zine.

If you'd like to see if transiting PLUTO is about to aspect any of the "Personal Planets" in your birth horoscope, you may be able to get some insights from my MONTHLY FORECAST Reading.

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First Published on www NOV 17 1996. Last Update October 30 2002 12:00 EST.

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