Astronomy Declared Pluto a Dwarf Planet – What is Pluto Astrologically?

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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When I went to school many moons ago, science class taught that there were nine planets orbiting our Sun. I lived with that concept for most of my life, not even realizing there was any controversy to the count. In 2006, the astronomical community acted to change the status of one planet, Pluto. However, the International Astronomical Union (the voting body) members are still in disagreement with each other because only a small percentage of their total numbers (5%) were involved in the actual vote. The controversy continues within the astronomical community, but the official rule is that only eight planets orbit our Sun. I disagree.

Our Sun is a medium-sized star. Our Moon is a satellite of the Earth and moons are not regarded as planets. From closest to the Sun moving towards outer space lie objects Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, the Asteroid Belt, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in that order. The Asteroid Belt is thought to be either leftovers from the formation of the solar system or the remnants of an exploded planet, and therefore is not included with the planet count. There is a scientific principle called Bode’s Law that shows by mathematical progression where to expect planets to be located in the space surrounding our Sun. I believe this astronomical law can shed light on that count.

Most of the solar system bodies and trajectories fit into  Bode’s Law with a couple of anomalies. Mercury, Venus, Mars, the Asteroid Belt, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto are very close to where the mathematical progressions indicate they should be. The Asteroid Belt is actually located where another planet should be found according to Bode’s law.  To me, it naturally follows that the Asteroid Belt is probably debris from what once was a planet, because it exists at the point that Bode’s Law indicates there should be a planet. The debris is in orbit as are all the planets. If the law works correctly for most of the measurements, the puzzle is in the measurements in question.

Did you notice that Neptune is missing from that list I just enumerated? Neptune exists at an intermediate point between Uranus and Pluto, but there is no mathematically proportioned body or orbit suggested by Bode’s Law for that location. Instead Pluto, and its very eccentric orbit, is at the location given by the Law in the space that should be occupied by the next body past Uranus which is Neptune.  That is an astronomical conundrum. Is Neptune in the wrong place and should be located at Pluto’s position? If so, Pluto’s location and orbit should be even further out. There has been much speculation that Pluto might be an escaped moon of Neptune, but what moved Neptune to a halfway point in this mathematical formula? So what we have is Neptune in an orbit that is at an odd proportion to Bode’s Law, and Pluto is on the money for an expected planetary position according to that same astronomical law. Were Neptune and Pluto originally a matched pair?

As we are able to look further out into space, large numbers of celestial bodies have been discovered in the general vicinity of Pluto (the Kuiper Belt region). A great many are thought to be comets, but one (Eris discovered in 2005) is known to be planet-like and larger than Pluto. The question at discovery was whether these bodies were to be considered as more planets in our system. This was not to be. Instead, the newly discovered “planets” are now classified as dwarf planets and Pluto has been demoted to dwarf planet status. The current rules for planet status are that the body must orbit the Sun, be large enough for its own gravity to make itself round and must have cleared its orbit “lane” of smaller bodies and debris. Since other full-sized planets have moons, it follows that Pluto’s three moons do not fall into the debris category. However this is eventually resolved, Pluto with its Moons are now considered to be outside the pantheon of the major planets, a loss of stature for Pluto.

Astrology The names chosen for the planets stem from mythology and the stories attached to those are a starting point for understanding their basic nature. Pluto/Hades is a major player in these old myths, a brother in the pantheon of mythological gods, ruler of the underworld. As a brother, metaphorically speaking, Pluto would be considered equal in stature to the brotherhood to which he belongs. While I do think it is possible to ostracize a member of a family due to their behavior, that member would still belong to the family. My kids may not like me or my actions for some reason, but I would still be their mom. Can a full sibling be demoted or kicked out of the elite planet count?

If the astronomers do not agree with each other, what is an astrologer to do? Since its discovery in March of 1930, Pluto has been researched, monitored, defined and applied in hundreds of thousands of astrology applications. It is an integral part of astrology wheels everywhere. The astrological experience with Pluto as a planet overwhelmingly shows that it acts as a planet similar to the actions of the other planets.  It is unimaginable to me that Pluto, whose action in a chart is easily observed, should not be used as a planet. Example…

As I write this article our country (USA) is undergoing a series of activations from transiting Pluto that is rocking our country to its foundations.  We are all part of this experience. Astrologically speaking, Pluto is acting as a planet, a very powerful energy, and is defying its demotion to dwarf planet status. Therefore, it becomes personal choice as to whether or not to continue to treat Pluto as if it is a planet. My choice is that if it looks like a planet and acts like a planet and activates like a planet, I will treat it as a planet. The astronomers can argue with each other until they figure it out. As for me, Pluto is still a planet.

To be specific about the current activations of Pluto for our country, transiting Pluto is in early Capricorn. It initially moved into Capricorn on January 26, 2008, retrograded back out on June 15 that same year, giving us a hint of what was to come. Retrograde motion of a planet is an optical illusion when viewed from our Earth perspective, but it has very real effect in astrology wheels. I call retrograde the dance of the planets similar to two steps forward and one step back. We were not paying attention in January of 2008. Pluto moved a little way into Capricorn then backed up a few paces (retrograde) into Sagittarius before it resumed its forward motion from our perspective. It moved back into Capricorn solidly (meaning it would not retrograde back into Sagittarius) on November 27th, 2008, about three weeks after the election of our current President, Barack Obama. This is when we became aware that there were severe economic problems afoot, and unfortunately confirming that earlier warning which had been ignored, glossed over or deliberately hidden.

The USA natal wheel has four planets in Cancer, one in Capricorn itself and one in Libra. These are the positions that are being or will be stressfully activated by Pluto during its long stay in Capricorn. The first USA position activated by transiting Pluto was an opposition to our natal Venus. By inauguration day, Pluto was about a degree away from exact (very close and announcing itself) and gaining. I imagine the first month of the new presidency unveiled economic problems that had only been hinted at in the months and weeks prior to election and inauguration. Why? Because what Pluto unburied and put on the front porch for the world to see was the current financial and economic woes of our country as well as other countries. I choose to focus on our country. These problems were not caused by the new kid on the block presidentially, they had been festering and building for many years. President Obama inherited the whirlwind, and our economy that had been teetering on the edge of a financial precipice fell over the edge about a month after inauguration, taking the country with it. Think about this – it takes longer than a month in office to cause the economic devastation we have been experiencing. Believe it or not, that activation ended in mid-December of 2009 and it became possible for healing to begin. I still don’t trust that we are out of the woods until mid-September, 2010 when it almost activates one more time, but almost may be more threat than promise; pray that this is so.

Next in line for activation is the USA Jupiter that is currently engaged with Pluto, again by opposition (stress). This activation commenced towards the beginning of 2010 and will continue in effect until mid-November of 2011. While not specific in nature to the US’s finances (that belongs with the Venus activations), it does involve us more with the world financial picture, international fiscal policy, particularly with those nations we deem to be our partners or allies. World monetary policy and conferences come to mind, expansion, growth, negotiations, and more, with the economic turmoil for Greece as a great illustration as the European Union rides to Greece’s rescue.

Once that has finished, Pluto will give us a short break before it stressfully triggers the next two USA placements by opposition to the Sun and square to Saturn for 2014 and 2015 (two years of activation). Then we get another short break from stress activation by Pluto before it triggers the final two USA positions in this series, Mercury in 2019 and 2020 (a two-year activation) by opposition (stress) and then natal Pluto (2022). This last position is important because Pluto returns to its natal position (conjunction) in the USA chart. This can only happen once every 247 or so years and since the country is already 233 years old at this writing, so this planetary return is right around the corner nation-wise. This will be an incredibly important astrological aspect courtesy of Pluto.

From an astrological standpoint, Pluto is visibly active in our country’s affairs and the timing and descriptive material illustrates the actual experience. How could I or any other astrologer ignore such specific activations? Because we can see activations so clearly many astrologers will still treat Pluto as a full-fledged planet and it will not be diminished to dwarf planet status. Astronomers can continue to debate the designations; but to me and many others, Pluto acts like a planet. Do some research with Pluto in several wheels and see if it acts like a planet to you.

Published on EZINE online May, 2010, republished with slight editing.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.