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  • Pluto in Capricorn: part 1 | part 2 | The Runes | Rune Magic | Odin's Runes | The Sacred Art | Celtic Fire Festivals
    Cerberus by Paula Schricker
    Cerberus by Paula Schricker
    Odin's Runes

    Pluto in Capricorn
    another kind of power

    Leading astrologer, mythologer and historian, Neil Giles, discusses the meaning of the transit of Pluto through Earthy Capricorn, a major elementary shift that begins on January 26, 2008 and sets firmly into place on November 27, after the temporary re-entry into Sagittarius due to a retro phase. Pluto, marker of generations, has spent the past thirteen years in Fiery Sagittarius, so the ingress into Capricorn marks the last part of a signal transition from Fire to Earth that has been restructuring our experience over the past few months. Neil examines the historical measure of Pluto's past transits through Capricorn and draws some startling conclusions.

    On Jan 26th 2008, a new measure begins here with life on earth as Pluto, lord of the underworld returns to the sign of Capricorn for the first time since 1778. Looming at the outer reaches of our solar system lies Pluto, dark and mysterious, first sighted in 1930 and named for the Greek god of the dead. It is instructive to remember this god's true appellation was Hades. However, to speak that name aloud was deemed an ill-considered act of human arrogance, one that would court destruction or ruin.

    Hades was not a popular deity nor did he have a large following in the temples, yet he was seen as powerful and as inevitable as death itself, not to be presumed on or offended. If lowly mortals wished his attention, they called him 'Pluto', meaning 'wealthy one', a title bearing elements of flattery and truth in equal measure. He was a god of agendas, subtle machinations and strategies, a god with whom we had to negotiate if we dared to face him at all.

    Subterranean Riches

    Pluto ruled the earth's hidden wealth, the richness of her agricultural gifts and her subterranean hordes of jewels and precious metals, gifts he could dispense to a petitioner. Pluto also sat in judgment on the dead, binding them to his realm, determining their labours and setting suitable punishments for those deserving of them. If he wished, he could return a spirit from death to the world above and did so from time to time, for his kingdom was not the Hell of misery, suffering and punishment for wrong-doers. Rather, it was the place where the dead spent the days beyond the measure of their lives. Pluto was neither the Devil nor a doer of evil, except of course to Christian prejudice in the era of the White Christ.

    Nonetheless, the overlord of the underworld was a formidable being, ruthless, grim and secretive. Generally, he remained in his eponymous den, a brooding recluse who would brook no disturbance. From time to time, he rode forth as an invisible traveller who allowed no plea or imprecation to divert him from his course. He wanted little from the upper world, but what he did desire, he took without compunction. Equally, he resented intrusion in his domain and made the petitioner bargain for even the tiniest of concessions. He was inaccessible to all but the courageous or the desperate. A three-headed dog named Cerberus preserved the sanctity of his realm. He was the ruler of all he surveyed and, like his brothers Zeus, lord of the air, and Poseidon, lord of the seas, the underworld god loved power.

    Pluto's Governance: Hidden Forces

    Powerful, hidden forces are the gift of this unseen and distant planet, elected by some in modern astrology to be the true ruler of Scorpio though tradition still accords that role to Warrior Mars. Pluto rules obsessions, driven behaviour, the subconscious and our deepest urges and desires. He is a god of hidden forces, of the depths where they gather and of their ruthless, irresistible or uncontrollable eruptions. He works secretly or for reasons concealed or unknown, sometimes even to himself. It's important to remember our discovery of Pluto marked the rise of Fascism and the Third Reich, and oversaw the experiments that created The Bomb. As Pluto's looming presence was detected, we split the atom, releasing its hidden forces, but we also discovered something about the makers of the bomb – ourselves. We discovered a shadow force in our nature that aspired to wield an ungovernable power, thus risking extinction by our own hand. From Hiroshima to the Cold War to the threat of nuclear holocaust, Pluto forced us to face a bomb inside us, one waiting to explode and unleash our hidden feelings or desires as we stood at the brink of global catastrophe, wondering if we could survive the war that no one might win.

    Pluto is remorseless in his search to know where the limits lie and what the inner forces will do. He will persist in this until he knows what can be overcome and what cannot. Such a drive is at the heart of sex, life and death from their highest expressions to their lowest violations. Pluto is a driving force using any means necessary to gain his ends or reveal the truth. Pluto's power will test any resistance, pulverizing or breaking down whatever it encounters into component parts to discover what they are and to release their inner force. With this ruthless investigator at work, there will always be a death of the old, a transformation and a rebirth for Pluto is the god of elimination and regeneration, teaching us that all things that live must die and all things that die will live again.

    So what will the dark god do from his new realm in the sign of the Goat?

    Capricorn: Structure

    Capricorn the Goat rules structures, systems, status, authoritative bodies and those achievements made through career or in the public domain. Capricorn is the authority, as autocrat, bureaucrat, leader or administrator. He offers reward for effort and determines punishment for infringement, laziness, non-participation or rebellion. As well as ambition, drive, a need for success and the determination to earn it, there are cautious, depressive, materialistic, laborious and cynical aspects to the Capricorn dynamic. Capricorn rules social organization, vigour and enterprise, but also governs limitation, restriction, poor health, old age, solitude, despair and death. The Goat can be a master of timeliness and patience but also a victim of delay, pessimism and the failure of initiative.

    Pluto in Capricorn will test the durability and regenerative resources of leaders and governments across the globe, as well as business and the corporate world. Old or staid structures will collapse or come apart at the seams if they cannot redefine their nature and cope with changing conditions and needs. The renewal or discarding of traditional practices or beliefs will play a part in this for Capricorn draws from inherited wisdom and practice. Those traditions that find new life will serve to guide modern leadership while those that are uprooted or outmoded will pass into oblivion. On the one hand, we will see the renewal of traditional power or thinking that can endure while on the other, we will see its displacement by the forces of the new, as leaders and systems find themselves under the pump. No doubt, Pluto in Capricorn will bring us a new breed of leaders and administrators, noted for determination, practicality and organizational ability. Some of these will offer useful service where others will be ruthlessly ambitious and materialistic.

    The Lessons of History

    The coming cycle of Pluto in Capricorn is the ninth since the beginning of the modern era and the years AD. The first of those came in 42 AD as the unlikely figure of Claudius came out of the shadows of a speech defect and a seeming intellectual handicap to transform from the least capable contender in the dynasty of the Caesars into the Emperor of Rome.

    Proclaiming Claudius Emperor
    Proclaiming Claudius Emperor

    Claudius proved an able administrator and ruler as he reformed the Senate, restored Roman social order, expanded the boundaries of the Empire, especially with the conquest of Britain, and embarked on a major program of public works. The hidden power in Claudius was revealed through this test of elevation to authority and so the Empire flourished under his guiding hand. In the years ahead of us now, those who've had to wait their turn may come to power late in life and find accomplishment, as the dark lord hovers in the sign of age, delays and time's measure.

    An even clearer illustration comes with Pluto's next entry into Capricorn in 287 AD when Diocletian ruled in Rome. This vigorous, practical soldier rose through the ranks to become a general and was, on the assassination of his predecessor, elected by troops on the battlefield to take the office of Imperator. He fought his way across the empire, subduing rebellious tribes and reuniting a divided realm till there was a stability not known for fifty years. He re-established the tradition of divinity for the head of state and named himself Dominus et Deus.

    He solved the dilemma of succession and, recognizing that the Empire was now too large to be governed by one man, divided it on the line of East and West, also dividing the rulership among the four members of a Tetrarchy, two senior emperors (of which he was one) and two junior emperors. This began what is now called the second phase of the Roman Empire and, by 395, on the foundation of these reforms, the Empire was permanently partitioned, writing a new chapter its history.

    In part two of this article, Neil Giles discusses more historical examples of the influence of Pluto in Capricorn and outlines his forecast for the future under this long-term transit.

    Click here for part two of Pluto in Capricorn Go Forward



    Neil Giles is the author of a number of works on Celtic and Teutonic spirituality, including Odin's Runes and The Oracle of the Trees. For Neil, the storyteller's path reminds us that while the wisdom of the past still lives, we can take wise action now and in the future. Click Here to read more on Odin's Runes.

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