We’ve all seen those somewhat cringe photos of corporate types, still clad in their suits, standing with shovels at a construction site, their hardhats needlessly, though dutifully atop their heads, as they camera-mug for a groundbreaking ceremony that will gentrify local communities with a lux condominium or shopping centre or park.
Then the photo-op ends.
The bulldozers return to dig up the earth to lay some new foundation, forever altering the landscape of what was there before…
Were we to translate this scenario into astrological terms, Pluto represents the bulldozer and the construction site suggests its upcoming ingress into Aquarius on January 20th, after almost 15 years in Capricorn. Things are going to be a mess for a bit, so get your hardhats on.
Let’s backtrack to Pluto’s last groundbreaking for some context.
The year is 2008. Pluto has just ingressed Capricorn, our most commercial sign. Associated with the earth, mining, riches, bureaucracy, financial activity, Cap is basically our capitalist in the sky. Its influence tends toward worldly acquisition.
We will recall that Pluto’s ingress into the all-business Goat coincided with a vast economic meltdown, known as the Great Recession. At the root of the problem: shady lending practices. Homeowners, who were given bad loans by bad banks, began defaulting on their mortgages. No surprise there. The stock market crashed. And the global economy buckled.
In the wake of that collapse, new laws were put in place to protect homeowners, by tightening lending practices by financial institutions, making it harder for them to prey upon people.
We get a good general sense of how Pluto functions from this backstory: it overturns, exposes, or breaks down in order to put something new in place. Such creative destruction is connected to the themes of the sign it’s in. Capricorn deals with commercial interests. Pluto impacts those.
But, Capricorn tells only half the story of this Pluto transit. Aquarius is also being impacted. If Capricorn refers to commercial ventures, Aquarius represents themes of futurity, innovation, technological progress and breakthrough.
We had a preview of Pluto in Aquarius as it dipped briefly in last March for 6 weeks. And so it only seems cosmically appropriate that the big news back then was that no one could stop chatting about ChatGPT and similar tech. This was seemingly the start of the gold rush of A.I startups.
If there was ever a phenomenon to kick off revolutionary Pluto’s transit into futuristic Aquarius, it was that thinkpiece mania around ChatGPT, which basically lets chatbots do everything for you (from homework to computer coding to Valentine’s poems), so you pretend that you can do everything yourself. In an amazing bit of irony, Clarkesworld Magazine, a popular science fiction journal, has had to stop accepting submissions for stories because of the exponential uptick of them written by people using ChapGPT’s vast machine learning to concoct tales of the future. It seems science fiction itself can’t keep up with reality.
This kind of future-is-now stuff is the essence of Pluto-in-Aquarius, beginning officially on January 20th and lasting until 2043. The forward thinking energy of the Waterbearer is going to feel outlandishly forward thinking due to Pluto’s influence. Life will seem utterly strange and disorientating, which is the nature of all revolutions, be they cosmic, technological, or political.
Because Pluto moves so slowly (it takes 250 years for it to orbit the Sun), the intensity of this initial ingress will last for a while. We have seen how financial activities have been impacted by Pluto-in-Cap, and we can expect similar stress and hand-wringing about Aquarius-related issues: intellectual property, academic integrity, the nature of authorship, AI-ethics.
These issues, of course, have been vexing us as a species for a while, but they will come increasingly into focus, as Pluto/Aquarius upends our lives with technological advances, which will only accelerate in the approaching years. So, what’s the advice? Sometimes, it helps to look backward, not forward–to history, not astrology. In the face of monumental change, our long and lurid historical record shows us that we, in the end, always survive, despite (or because) of the changes that threaten us.
And yet, given all that, there is one thing I can predict with certainty in these uncertain Plutonic times, dear reader: A robot will never be used to portend your astrological future within the space of these pages. Team Human. Forever.