Is Pluto a Planet?
Pluto Demoted! How does it affect us??
In September 2006, as dark Pluto turns direct after months of retrograde motion in conjunction with the Galactic Centre, considerable controversy has been provoked by the decision by the International Astronomical Union in Prague to downgrade Pluto to the status of a "dwarf planet". Astrologer Rob Tillett discusses the
implications for astrology and all those who have long thought Pluto to be their planetary Lord!
The planet Pluto, astrologically speaking a generational force of obstruction, transformation and regeneration, is physically located at the outer limits of our solar
system, beyond the gas giant Neptune. Astronomically speaking, Pluto, a slow-moving outer planet discovered in 1930, is part of the Kuiper Belt, a collection of icy rocks orbiting at a vast distance from the Sun – so far out that the Sun would appear to be no more than a bright star to an observer based on the
As dark Pluto turns direct after months of retrograde motion in conjunction with the Galactic Centre, considerable controversy has been provoked by the decision by the 26th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Prague to downgrade Pluto to the status of a "dwarf planet". It's worth noting that of the 2700 astronomers attending the conference (out of some 10,000 professionals worldwide), less than 500 actually voted on the resolution, which was put to the assembly on the last day of the conference. Not much of a
What is a Planet?
In the earliest days of civilisation, when people first began to pay attention to the lights in the sky, they soon noticed that most of these lights seemed to hold their relative positions in a quite steadfast way. These they called the "fixed stars". Others, including the Sun and the Moon, seemed to follow a livelier, more random pattern. These they called
"planets", or wanderers. In astrology, the planets, Sun, Moon and other movable points (such as the Moon's nodes) are still all described as "planets", the wanderers of the zodiac.
In astrological discourse, each planet symbolises particular sides of your character; for example, Mars
stands for action and passion, Jupiter stands for fortune and higher thought and so on. Planets are located symbolically in the chart: the signs and houses filter their energies through the planets, much as a coloured lens filters the image thrown by a stage-light, or received by a camera. As the Earth is not classed as a planet (being the substantial base from which we view the heavens) there
are five visible planets used in traditional astrology, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, plus the Sun and Moon, which makes seven. If we add the Moon's north and south nodes, which are
shadow planets also known as the Dragon's Head and Tail, we have nine. These are the planets used by traditional astrologers, notably in India, which still holds firmly to the old ways! Modern astrologers accept Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as planets too, with some including a variety of newly discovered cosmic objects,
such as Ceres and Chiron in the planetary fold.
Astronomers, who are generally hostile to and keen to distance themselves from astrology, despite the origins of their science in the bosom of the astrological matrix, have never really
defined a "planet" in any scientific way, at least until this latest conference. Basically, they too have accepted the ancient idea that a planet is a "wanderer" as opposed to the "fixed stars", which, to people looking up from the Earth, appear to be stationary.
Modern science teaches
that, in our solar system, the planets revolve in their orbits around the Sun, held in place by "gravity". It's a serious matter! No room for levity! There are now officially eight planets orbiting the Sun, from Mercury to Neptune, but Pluto, Ceres and any other round object that "has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and is not a satellite" are classed as "dwarf planets". Chiron is
therefore not a planet, and neither are the other asteroids, comets, moons etc (even though Triton is much bigger than Pluto and appears to have been captured by Neptune!). There in fact are countless objects orbiting the Sun, but not all of them can be classed as planets. The advances in astronomy have therefore impelled professional astronomers to come up with a definition, but Dr Alan Stern,
who leads the US space agency's New Horizons mission to Pluto and did not vote in Prague, told BBC News:
no traditional exaltation)
Detriment: (? no traditional detriment)
Fall: (? no traditional fall)
Planetary Node: 20° 02 Cancer
Because Pluto, being invisible to the naked eye, was first discovered in 1930, there is no traditional rulership or exaltation. Modern astrologers generally agree that Pluto is well-placed in Scorpio and may be said to be the co-ruler of that sign, though Mars is definitely the
traditional ruler. Traditional astrologers deny any sign-rulership to Pluto.
- Named after underworld god
- Average of 5.9bn km to Sun
- Orbits Sun every 248 years
- Diameter of 2,360km
- Has at least three moons
- Rotates every 6.8 days
- Gravity about 6% of Earth's
- Surface temperature -233C
- US probe (above) visits in 2015