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The Basics of Astrology
Is Pluto Not a Planet Anymore?
Should Pluto be dismissed or not?
What are we going to do now that Pluto is not considered a planet anymore? What about our astrological charts? Will you stop taking Pluto into account in your forecasts?
We received this interesting question by email. We could have published our answer on the FAQ page (Frequently Asked Questions), but we thought that this topic deserves a short specific article.
Below, Pluto and his satellite Charon. Pluto represents the unconscious, the will to dominate, impulses of violence, sexuality with its taboos and mysteries, sadism and eroticism, secrets, power, the outburst of forces uncontrolled by the will, as well as all things unknown...
On 24 August 2006, the community of astrologers stopped to consider Pluto a planet. Pluto is neither a telluric nor a gas planet, but a mere ordinary stone which does not qualify for the noble status of planet. But how do we cope since the sign of Aries is not in the constellation of Aries anymore? Astrology is based on the rhythm of the seasons and not on the lining up of signs and constellations. Apart from the people who are determined to tear down astrology, and who are fewer and fewer, the common practice is to laugh at arrogant scientists who fiercely use their conceited causticity to invent facts meant to negate what works well. Actually, the majority of people know that the sign of Aries corresponds to the Spring equinox and not to the constellation of the same name. On the other hand, a related minor question may be put forward rightly, that of the consistency of sidereal astrology and tropical astrology (modern astrology, ours). One could imagine the worst, since planets are spread on the Zodiac with a gap of one sign between the two systems. However, people interested in this issue can see that, here too, there is no inconsistency. Indeed, interpretations made according to the sidereal system are such that, in the end, differences with the tropical system are offset, at least partially. But this is a different topic. Let's get back to Pluto.
A similar phenomenon applies to Pluto, whether he is demoted or not, because astrology is a symbolic and empirical system. These two principles are of crucial importance. Symbolic means that physical and concrete aspects are not what matter the most, but it is the deeper meaning of various keys associated together that is at the core of astrology. It has been so for millennia, and as far as recent bodies are concerned, for dozens of years (Pluto and the atomic bomb, as well as some secondary bodies), and for hundreds of years (Uranus and the French revolution, Neptune and socialist collectivism).
The influences of Pluto are statistically and practically studied since over 40 years, and proved to work terrifically... well. For instance, ask a professional astrologer to tell you about a Venus-Pluto or a Mars-Pluto square when it is activated by transits. You can also ask how such square may affect psychological features in the natal chart. In the former case, the effects may be described as tumbling down an affective slope. The latter case may bring about dreadful fits of violence directed against oneself but more often against other people.
Such energies can be canalised and transcended, for in astrology, tensions (especially squares and oppositions, which are easier to deal with) are forces that enable to move forwards. They never mean harmful fatality, but opportunities which need to be tamed by willpower in order to evolve further and take advantage of contradictory qualities which may be painful if one has not reached maturity. The common practice is to consider that it is only in the second part of life, around 42 years after Uranus opposes his natal position, or sometimes in one's fifties, once this important change is slowly and wisely digested, that squares and oppositions become assets. A good illustration would be a Ferrari in the hands of a young driver who keeps on having accidents and needs several years of training because the car is not easy to control. In any case, the effects of Pluto on personal planets are very obvious. You may want to read our article entitled Pluto: Eros and Thanatos.
A mere astronomical classification neither adds nor takes off anything to Pluto's visible influence. Besides, astrologers have always taken into account the fact that Pluto's orbit is not on the ecliptic plane, and they believe that, unlike other planets, when he is far from this plane, his influence is limited.
The author of these lines is himself an amateur astronomer. I do not mind the change in classification of a body from as astronomy standpoint, because astrology's only purpose is to function efficiently. If it does not work well, it ought to be left aside. If Pluto's influence were not real, we would not have at our disposal thousands of books, and tens of thousands of charts interpreted during the past sixty years, along with their testimonies. The only thing that matters is effectiveness. Thus, the influences of the Lunar Nodes, the Black Moon, Chiron, Vesta, Ceres, and Juno are not easy to clearly identify, despite an abundant literature on these topics and passionate people spending their time trying to understand their impact, especially regarding the Nodes, the effects of which seem relatively accepted although they are tricky to interpret. The same holds true for the Black Moon, though to a lesser extent.
Astrologers do not take things at face value. Demoted Pluto, though not anymore considered a planet, remains one of the important elements that must not be neglected, be it in the natal chart, in forecasting, and in compatibility, since everyone knows that when there is no Venus-Mars tie, a Pluto-Venus works nearly equally well, in a slightly different way but with similar effectiveness. Likewise, Uranus is the superior octave of Mercury, Neptune, that of Venus, and Pluto, that of Mars. Although their meanings are more complex, their influences are obvious most of the time.
Therefore, the astrological chart, the forecasts, and the compatibility studies will continue to take into account the planet Pluto, whether it is demoted or not, not only because its effects sometimes prove powerful, but also because they explain numerous events or offer meaningful elements for the personality and compatibility analyses.
If you are interested in discovering Pluto's effect on your personality, the Comprehensive Astrological Portrait will immediately shed light on this topic, as well as many other pieces on information about yourself.