Over the past 15 years, Pluto has been transiting the sign of Capricorn, and in this article, we’ll take a closer look at this phenomenon. Pluto’s arduously slow movement through the zodiac is stealthy, and difficult to detect with the naked eye, and unless we focus on its macro effects, our understanding often results in vague and unhelpful generalisations. By studying the long-term effects, we can better understand what’s typically associated with this transit. By doing so, we hope to garner a sense of what’s been happening and provide a pretext for what’s to come when Pluto shifts into Aquarius, temporarily in 2023 and then officially in January 2024. We’ll be using the tropical zodiac system.
During this transit, everything Capricorn – credibility, credit, credentials, verification, reputation, authority, accreditation, endorsement, qualification, certification, celebrity, and acclaim, among others – has undergone a complete overhaul. These socially defined concepts, connected to Capricorn’s earthy, cardinal nature, have been amplified and taken to the extreme over this time. Society’s obsession with status, clout, political standing, and social credit has become so pronounced that it’s made us all sick, stealthily permeating our psyche and external experience to an unhealthy, unhinged extent, breaking us down, leaving us with no option but to accept change and move on.
As we explore Pluto’s influence on Capricorn, we’ll see how our sense of duty to society and society’s duty to us has shifted, often in uncomfortable and overwhelming ways. This planet’s compelling force has brought our demons around these issues to light, leading to profound and far-reaching changes in our economic systems, political institutions, personal relationships, and more. We’ve witnessed a rise in populist movements challenging the status quo, a growing awareness of the need to be recognised and heard, to be popular among our circle, and experienced crises that messed not only with our individual psychology and daily lives but how that feeds into the mass-psychology to transform culture towards more equitable and inclusive prioroties as Pluto prepares to take us into the Aquarian Age.
As we reflect on this transformative period, we see how we have come to terms with our anxieties and obsessions around governance, control, and administrative dominance, learning the importance of remaining vigilant and mindful of how Pluto’s diabolical mind virus can invade our darker nature, reshaping our lives and the world around us. Our awareness of how to avoid becoming possessed by Pluto’s madness and working with its power for positive change is the prize Pluto transits have for us.
So let’s now take a retrospective climb through the parapets of the Capricornian summits and explore Pluto’s transformative journey through this transit.
PLUTO – LORD OF THE DARKNESS
Pluto is a distant dwarf planet located in the Kuiper Belt of our solar system. Despite its physical distance, it holds significant astrological influence as an archetype of transformation through prolonged duress and irrevocable contracts. As Pluto’s influence in our lives intensifies, it often leads to breakdowns, destruction of the old entity and regeneration of the new. This process forces us to confront the impermanence of life, overcome loss and grief, and pave the way for new growth and rebirth.
However, the tensest of Pluto transits are seldom comfortable. Pluto’s transits can be devastating, leaving us trapped in a bind with very little power. At a crossroads, Pluto asks us to make a deal – one that often involves sacrificing something in exchange for enormous transformation, empowerment and spiritual growth. Our brush with Pluto presents us with a tough choice: hold onto what is familiar and comfortable, knowing it will take us down or submit to its pressure and embrace the transformation that awaits us.
Since Pluto’s entry into Capricorn in 2008, the world has seen significant upheavals and shifts in various areas of established society, including institutions, government, business, and finance. Our relationship with these has had to shift considerably. Through a gradual bargaining process with loss, grief and irreversible change, we have come to redefine our social contract, our implicit status and role in society, eventually learning to accept and adapt to a new reality.
The widespread effects of Pluto’s transits can be devastating upon all life, leaving very little standing after its unyielding agenda has taken hold over its respective area of influence. However, with every death and elimination, the opportunity to shed old skin and emerge stronger and more resilient becomes evident.
RELIABLE STRUCTURES UNDERGOING MASSIVE CHANGE
To understand the significant shifts that have occurred in the last 15 years, we must examine the long-term social changes that have impacted our lives. Pluto, being a transpersonal planet, has a generational influence, affecting entire groups of people rather than just individuals. This influence is subtle yet persistent, nudging us to evolve and adapt to the changes in our environment.
Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn marked a significant shift in the global financial system. Prior to this, in Sagittarius, the financial industry had become excessively inflated and corrupt, with predatory practices and sinister by-laws contributing to its instability. The inauguration of Pluto into Capricorn signaled that our exorbitant and unrestrained attitudes towards money and material possessions needed to be curbed back and restrained. This was a marker that the global financial system had become unsustainable, and real-world consequences were imminent.
This culminated in the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008, the most significant financial crisis since the Great Depression of 1929. The GFC caused widespread economic devastation, forcing individuals and businesses to re-evaluate their relationship with money and material possessions. It became clear that the reckless pursuit of unlimited wealth potential and material gain was unsustainable, and many had to adapt to a new reality of financial restraint and frugality.
The GFC brought widespread economic devastation, forcing individuals to re-evaluate their relationship with material possessions and investment strategies. People began to question the previously accepted norms and practices that had led to the crisis, paving the way for social change and reform. The crisis also brought about a shift in the global balance of power, paving the way for emerging economies to gain a foothold in the aftermath of the economic decline of established powers.
Pluto’s influence on power and wealth meant that after rampant personal abuses, collectively perpetrated by all in the preceding period, cleared the way for significant shifts in the administration of power and wealth. Serving as a reminder that all gains are impermanent and that we cannot control external forces, those who possess the ability to work with power and manage resources were able to adapt to the tremendous economic crises and use it as a catalyst for positive economic regeneration. Though, for many it caused significant economic hardship, it prompted a re-evaluation of our values and a shift towards finding new ways to move on and how to better cope with losses and exploit new growth opportunities.
THE STATUS UPDATE OBSESSION
As Pluto traversed through Capricorn, it paved the way for the rise of social media and other forms of online communication, giving birth to a new dimension of social experience. During 2008-2009, Facebook emerged as a prominent platform, along with Twitter, gradually becoming a dominant force across the globe, altering the way humans interact and consume information.
With the introduction of the iPhone and other mobile smart devices, social networks allowed people to minimise physical mobility and connect socially in unprecedented ways, eradicating physical barriers in our social lives and providing an outlet to share our personal information without the overarching constraints and limitations posed by previously dominant forms of communication (i.e. telephone, radio, TV etc.) and mainstream media channels. It would also change the way we were portraying ourselves to the world. Selective posturing and representation of our image, our thoughts and ideas, our lifestyles, our entire ‘gig’ would be reformatted to suit our representation in the new medium,
As we became increasingly addicted to updating our status, it unravelled various challenges to institutionalised media and established means by which the narrative of our reality was being disseminated. The novel capability for individuals and fringe groups to self-publish and widely promote their ideas spread rapidly gave us a whole new power. Pluto revealed its addictive power here because, once hooked, our preoccupation with regular and strategically poised status updates began to consume us. However, it was not just a popular way of connecting with our social networks. It soon became a potent tool in the political arena.
This would be seen in the ‘Arab Spring’ phenomenon, which directly resulted from the collective social power accumulated via the campaigned employment of social media’s earliest adopters. This movement, driven by a series of pro-democracy uprisings and mass protests, swept across several countries in North Africa and the Middle East, beginning in December 2010 and continuing into 2011 and beyond. These uprisings were sparked by a variety of factors, including economic inequality, political corruption, and government repression.
Beginning in Tunisia in December 2010, protests erupted after a young street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest of police harassment and economic hardship. Through intense social networking, protests quickly spread to other countries in the region, including Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria, where demonstrators called for greater political freedom, economic opportunity, and an end to authoritarian rule.
The uprisings were primarily organised and led by young people, who used Facebook and Twitter to coordinate and spread their political and ideological message. Despite facing violent crackdowns from government forces, the overwhelming mass of protesters persisted and ultimately succeeded in ousting several longtime authoritarian leaders, including Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.
The Arab Spring became a powerful example of the all-encompassing transformative power of Pluto in Capricorn, as people’s focus on connecting with others to rally, persuade and transform the status of their ordinary lives increased exponentially to t critical mass, unleashing a seismic shift upon the region’s political landscape. While it may not entirely have succeeded in reinstalling stability, it did change the social terrain irrevocably, dismantling old power regimes and making way for something new. Similar movements followed with the Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine in 2014, and the Hong Kong pro-democracy uprisings that began in 2019 and Myanmar in 2021.
The situation in Myanmar is still ongoing, but it serves as a reminder of the power of people to rise up against oppressive regimes and fight for their rights and freedoms. Whilst in each case, the underlying causes of mass protests and upheaval may differ, the common thread under Pluto in Capricorn is that it unearthed transgenerational frustrations about where individuals had stood (status) within existing power structures and their indomitable desire for widespread change. Social media’s influence as a new means to expose corruption and mobilise the masses should have sent shockwave messages to ruling powers in the west; however, the ruling class of the first world likely viewed it as a benign influence since it suited their ideals of democracy.
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By 2012, Pluto’s transit through Capricorn represented a powerful combination of energy, characterised by obsessive and extremely self-driven behaviour that was now intensely focused on imposing one’s relative status, prestige, and hierarchical control.
Squares to Uranus in Aries (2012-2015) spawned the ‘selfie’, which, combined with the ‘status update’ culture, now ubiquitous in realm of social media gave rise to the most narcissistic elements of Pluto’s expression. Our natural desire for recognition, influence, and authority, all critical components of Capricorn energy, were boosted by Pluto’s desire for psychological effect, accelerated by the irrepressible Uranus, leading to an intensification of the mania surrounding self-made celebrity – a world where likes, reshares and the cultivation of ‘followers’ became the new social currency.
In this new society of social media platforms, of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc, a new breed of ‘influencers’ and digital demagogues emerged, taking advantage of this heightened phenomenon of exercising exceptional status and prestige. They tapped into people’s deep-seated fears and desires, manipulating their followers with striking imagery, extreme rhetoric and emotionally-tinged narratives to gain power and influence. This clickbait phenomenon is not limited to politics but crosses over to various industries, from wellness to finance, where “experts” and celebrity “influencers” employed their strong online presence to push their agendas and gain a messianic amount of followers. This extreme rise in the social status of previously undiscovered personages has profoundly impacted our society. It has created a new genre of celebrity, especially in the west, who would wield immense power and influence over culture, often without any oversight or accountability.
Some of the early adopters of this method, used their platforms to wage unfiltered influence upon the established political landscape in the west. Here, we saw the rise of far-right populism, characterised by nationalism, authoritarianism, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment, anti-globalism, social conservatism, conspiracy theories, and incitement of violence. In reaction, this gave rise to hard-left ideologies prioritising values and ideals of socialism, social justice, anti-imperialism, liberalism, environmentalism, pacifism, and commuitarian or globalist agendas. This kind of fringe rhetoric, fueled by a wave of existing socioeconomic frustrations and disenchantment with the status quo, spread rapidly across many parts of the world, and factions would argue and rally constantly about bringing change to established political systems.
Some examples of where rogue, self-made celebrities and online groups infiltrated and pushed the agendas of far-right and hard-left movements during Pluto’s reign in Capricorn include the rise of Donald Trump, a media celebrity who successfully used the platforms to become president of the United States, the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom in 2016, the rise of far-right political parties in Europe such as Alternative for Germany and Vox.
Alternatively, we saw the rise of socialist and left-wing populist movements with Bernie Sanders in the US, in Latin American countries such as Chile, Bolivia, Mexico, and Argentina, the success of left-wing parties in Europe, like Spain, Portugal, and Syriza in Greece, which pledged to fight austerity policies and advocating for greater investment in public services, as well as the global climate strikes, and Extinction Rebellion protests all illustrating how anti-government sentiment and demands for greater social and economic justice drive people.
In all cases, these movements have used status-fuelled social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube extensively to mobilise supporters, spread propaganda, and amplify their message, creating massive wealth and power for their owners. Whilst these platforms have faced intense criticism for violating privacy rights and their role in enabling the spread of misinformation and hate speech, which have contributed to the polarisation and radicalisation of political discourse, they have also led to massive social restructuring. The way we do business, banking, etc. has shifted, and entire industries such as hospitality and transport have been transformed by apps like Uber and Airbnb. Social divisions between those still trying to adhere to “the old way” and the adopters of the unregulated “new world” continued to widen and as the slow decay of institutional structures, and their respective constitutions began to set in. Many of our traditional jobs, roles and relative importance and prestige in society started to lose value, metamorphosing into new forms or falling away entirely due to the overwhelming sweep of modernity.
Extremities push people against the wall, forcing extreme reactions. The exponential rise of far-right and left-wing movements had begun to infect everyone’s relative position, status and esteem, possessing many of us with our own reactionary fervour. Anti-globalist sentiments in the right led to hatred, bigotry, violence, and the rise of fringe nationalistic groups. On the other hand, the left-wing surge in social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and LGBTQ+ rights has challenged oppressive and anachronistic power structures and systems led to “Wokeism” which taken to extremes can be considered a manifestation of derangement syndrome.
In any case, critics have argued that extremely one-sided stances on intersectional topics, whether for or against, right or left, have made us excessively divisive and intolerant, rejecting free speech and engaging in the form of witch-hunting called “cancel culture”. While the Age of Pluto in Capricorn has brought about sweeping changes in the way we handle ourselves socially, it has unearthed a hive of entrenched transgenerational ills, highlighting the dangers of both harbouring and expressing subdued extremism and polarisation on both ends of the political spectrum. These collective traumas and their triggers have been easily exploited by those skilful enough to manipulate and gaslight others.
This leads us to the next chapter in Pluto’s diabolical story through Capricorn…
THE PANDEMIC (STATE-INDUCED MADNESS)
In December 2019, a month before the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, a novel coronavirus, later called COVID-19, was first detected in Wuhan, China. The pandemic that followed has been one of the most significant events in modern history, devastating lives, industrial economies, and entire cultures worldwide.
Astrologically, Saturn crystallises and galvanises into reality anything it contacts, and with Pluto it brought centuries of repressed ills to the fore. The conjunction’s coincidence with the emergence of a virus signified a period of massive reckoning, intensifying our worst fears, anxieties and disgusts.
It would instrumentally serve to dismantle existing power structures by bringing to the surface the inadequacy of existing institutionalised facilities to manage large-scale crises securely. It would give rise to a new elite – the “scientists” whose prestige and authority were made sacrosanct to lead the world through this awful crisis. The conjunction also brought a sense of foreboding, highlighting the shadow side of Capricorn’s ambition, power, and authority to rule by fear and anxiety.
As the pandemic spread globally, it became evident that the existing power structures and institutions were not equipped to handle the crisis adequately. The Jupiter/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, which occurred thrice in 2020, intensified this sense of chaos and upheaval. Jupiter governs nature’s immutable laws, and our need to find “meaning” and “truth”, and Pluto had clearly hijacked this process. Prolonged, excessive lockdowns, mandates and other restrictive laws showed us Jupiter/Pluto’s potential for both extreme growth and destruction, amplifying the effects of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction and magnifying the societal issues that it had exposed.
Authorities responding to the crisis attempted to manage the situation by enforcing a unified global narrative and set of guidelines, exercising tight control over all information and stifling any questioning or open discourse. Working in lockstep with mainstream news media and imposing strict guidelines to online platforms, this dubious indictment upon the freedom of speech, particularly in the free world, reflects the darkest, most oppressive aspects of Pluto’s influence, whereby governments, institutions and the most powerful corporations would prioritise maintaining their power and influence at the expense of transparency and accountability, further stretching an already irreconcilable social divide. This institutional overreach eroded privacy rights, curtailed civil liberties, and undermined the bedrock of democratic values.
One of the most contentious examples of institutionalised denial and cover-ups is the origin of the virus itself. The lab-leak theory, suggests that the virus may have originated from a laboratory in Wuhan. funded by several nations including China and USA, was initially dismissed by many governments and institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO), as a conspiracy theory. However, as more evidence emerged, the theory gained credibility, and many are now calling for a more thorough investigation into the virus’s origin. Most concerning, is that the pandemic itself may have been caused by institutionalised medical research on “gain-of-function” viruses.
Another controversial issue was the effectiveness of the vaccines that have been rapidly developed and green-lighted for worldwide distribution to combat the virus. While the vaccines have been widely touted as the single, solitary solution to the pandemic, there have been reports of breakthrough infections and waning immunity over time, raising questions about their efficacy. Meanwhile, alternative medicines were widely dismissed. Despite these concerns, many governments and institutions continue to mandate vaccines and downplay the risks and shortcomings associated with them.
The pandemic also led to a massive transfer of wealth from the lower and middle classes to the rich and powerful, exacerbating the growing wealth gap, another factor reflected in the Jupiter/Pluto conjunctions, which have historically coincided with a significant economic reversal of fortunes.
In 2020, Pluto’s position in the late degrees of Capricorn brought to the surface the worst ills surrounding existing power structures and institutions, setting the stage for a large-scale mass phenomenon to emerge in the form of a global pandemic. The Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions led to widespread social isolation, resulting in a breakdown of social bonds, as individuals and communities became increasingly disconnected from traditional sources of support and identity. Even those who had previously resisted transitioning their operations online were forced to do so, while those who persisted with in-person operations were left behind. Unfortunately, the vulnerable and weak suffered the most and lost their lives.
Moreover, the loss of sense-making worsened during this time, as societal structures and institutions only magnified the free-floating anxiety and psychological discontentment caused by uncertainty and dramatic change. This period forced us to reflect deeply on who we look up to and how they can either empower or disempower us. The 2020 conjunctions were a wake-up call, exposing the deep-seated corruption and abuse of power within many systems. The influence of Pluto in Capricorn will continue to be felt in the coming years, calling for a radical overhaul of existing power structures and institutions.
The aftermath of the pandemic has been challenging for individuals worldwide, as they grapple with the lingering effects of fear and anxiety, social dislocation, economic hardship and the widening of political polarisation and extremism within existing social and political structures. Additionally, daily life has been irreversibly disrupted, and paranoia and conspiracy theories have become more prevalent. This has led to a deterioration of trust between nations on a global level, with various global corporatist agendas, such as those of WEF, the world banking cartels, NATO, and eastern powers, competing for dominance over the Capricorn summit in 2024.
Unfortunately, the isolation has also led to the Russian leader, Putin, becoming increasingly paranoid, which resulted in the unfortunate invasion of Ukraine, creating further division and tensions between nations. The situation has escalated into thermonuclear proportions, with significant implications for global political affairs, economies, and societal power structures throughout 2023. The international community has been left reeling from the effects of this crisis, as they struggle to find a solution that can prevent further escalation and maintain stability in the region.
The situation in Ukraine has also exposed the fragile nature of existing power structures and institutions, highlighting the urgent need for a radical overhaul of the global political and economic systems. The events of 2023 have shown that traditional sources of power and authority are no longer adequate to meet the challenges of the modern world. As we move forward, it will be critical to reimagine and rebuild our governance systems to align with more contemporary values and needs, placing greater emphasis on greater openness, transparency, social accountability, and adherence to true democratic values.
While the road ahead may be difficult, it is clear that we have an opportunity to create a more just and equitable world, one that is capable of meeting the needs of all people, regardless of their status or economic circumstances.
It will be a long time before everything that has been eliminated during these past few years will be restored, chiefly our trust in our institutions to uphold democratic values, our respect in the authority and seniority of our fellow humans, since Pluto’s residual power over the ‘zombied minions’ who, for the promise of status, power and wealth, have blindly signed away their souls to do his dark bidding.
After a brief sojourn into Aquarius (March-June 2023), Pluto will return to the late degrees of Capricorn to thoroughly complete his transformation to the old patriarchal structures, constitutions and social frameworks. Marked by a period of significant breakdown and upheaval in all established areas of society, bookended from one financial crisis to the next, the rise of social media, the emergence of far-right populism and far-left social justice movements, the overarching censure and social control mandates and the perhaps the ongoing threat of a global war, famine and complete collapse of our entire socioeconomic structure, Pluto’s impact through Capricorn is being felt across the world.
In the coming months, we will see many of these issues escalating to a closing crescendo for big business and government, which at this stage of the transformative journey, have merged interests to the point where they have become virtually indistinguishable. Internationally, as governments grapple with how to bring an end to the Russia/Ukraine war, escalating tensions between China and the USA, and an almost abject denial of the internal rot and corruption in nearly all facets of internal infrastructure, there is a sense of domestic and global unease and uncertainty that permeates every aspect of our lives. However, this period of breakdown is also an opportunity for us to examine our values, beliefs, and actions as individuals and as a society. It is a time to reflect on what we truly value and what kind of world we want to live in.
As Pluto completes its transformative journey through Capricorn, we may begin to see a new world emerging from the ashes of the old. A world that is more just, more equitable, and more sustainable. But this transformation will not happen overnight. It will require hard work, commitment, and a willingness to challenge the status quo.
With Pluto entering Aquarius, there is talk about tearing down the system completely and rebuilding it from scratch. Here, we are undoubtedly referring to a revolutionary approach towards change, which involves a radical and often violent upheaval of the existing order and replacing it with something entirely new. While revolutions have been responsible for some positive changes throughout history, they’ve also proved to be highly dangerous, chaotic, and unpredictable, often resulting in unintended consequences, such as a power vacuum that leads to authoritarianism or a lack of internal stability that leads to economic collapse followed by a prolonged period of social unrest. Perhaps that is already on the cards, given the anxiety, desperation and fancy radicalising tools attributed to us during the fall of the old world order.
However, a more sustainable approach to change is possible through reform. Using the same tools and nucleus for making change, we can aim to improve or modify existing systems and structures rather than replace them entirely. Of course, reform can be slower and less dramatic than revolution, but with Uranus in Taurus, it can also lead to a more stable and less risky transition. Rummaging through the ruins of the old and existing systems, we, as the new reformers, can build on the strengths and triumphs of the past while instrumentally addressing its obvious weaknesses and shortcomings.
Of course, once Pluto enters Aquarius in full, there will be situations so fixed in their ways that reform may not be enough to address the problems. In such cases, it will be incumbent upon individuals and collective communities to determine the best course of action. However, we must be warned about the almost inconceivable perils and consequences of widespread revolutionary change and work towards ushering in a more stable and sustainable future. This kind of future aligns with the progressive-minded, highly intelligent and generally pacifist nature of our youth, who don’t appear as if they will be staging any violent rebellions any time soon.
Ultimately, the future of our planet is in our hands. We have the power to shape it positively and constructively, but we must be willing to do the work on handling our own shadow. With Pluto returning to Capricorn in June, there is surely some unfinished business left to play out. This transitional period is always the hardest and filled with surprises and monumental upsets. I will have more about Pluto’s entry into Aquarius in the near future; please be sure to support this work; I am an independent and non-partisan observer of the stars, sharing these insights with you as faithfully as I can, with gratitude for your appreciation, here.
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This is such a brilliant and well-researched article Ang. You’ve managed to summarise 15 years of Pluto in Capricorn in a succinct, balance and intelligent manner. I’ve read it at least three times! Thank you for your insights and hard work.
Super rétrospective ! Merci Ang !