My take on Pluto in Capricorn (written Sunday, September 14, 2008)
by Gary Lorentzen
Once Pluto went into Capricorn in 1763, the political and economic structures of the world began to transform. The previous Pluto in Sagittarius had expanded the ideals of the Renaissance (Uranus Pluto conjunct in Leo in the mid 1400s) into a new Age of Reason–a new Enlightenment. The new idea, ‘Reason was Divine’ — it was God manifesting in the world through rational human beings — came about with Uranus in Pisces squaring Pluto in Sagittarius. Reason was the ‘divine spark’ in the human brain, taking Descartes’ ‘cogito ergo sum’ and turning it into a new cultural value and world-view. (Descartes was b. 1596 with Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Aries. This ‘I think therefore I am’, was a reformulation of the humanism born during the Renaissance when the Uranus/Pluto conjunction was in Leo. All social, political and economic structures that did not embody those free-fire-spirited ideals of Pluto in the Fire Signs were targets for rebellion and revolution once Pluto went into Capricorn. The mass psychology that had unquestionably accepted Kings, Queens, empires and aristocratic royalty as the natural forms of human leadership began to change.
Pluto in Capricorn transformed all of that and institutionalized the Enlightenment philosophies in a new form of social organization called ‘liberal democracy’. Pluto in Capricorn also forced people in the European colonies to take sides between loyalty to a crown or loyalty to this new liberal ideology. The gnawing question of the day in colonial America was: who is the patriot? He who is loyal to the King of England or he who is loyal to his status as an American? In the end, the latter prevailed, and all those who were loyal to the crown were forced out of the colonies at gun point! (Those loyalists all went to Canada and founded the Maritime Provinces and Toronto!) But, typical I suppose of Earth Signs, Pluto in Capricorn raised the spectre of revolution because of mishandled economic policies by Britain. The war with France that ended in 1763 had bankrupted Britain and in order to rebuild the treasury they began taxing their colonies. Since the colonists in America felt that they had no political representation in the Parliament, the crown could not legally, morally, ethically or legitimately tax them. When the Crown INCREASED the taxes to punish the up-start Americans, they went into open rebellion that led to the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
In more general terms, Pluto in Capricorn also brought about an end to cottage industry and replaced it with mass-production in factories. This ended the old Mercantilist economic system that underlay the relationship between Mother Country and Colony and a new economic system had to be developed. This happened with Adam Smith’s groundbreaking “Wealth of Nations”, which laid the foundation for the new Capitalism.
If the same patterns hold for the coming Pluto in Capricorn era, which is also the Pluto Return for the U.S., and Pluto will oppose all of the US Cancer planets and square its Saturn in Libra, then we can expect the U.S. to go through a very difficult period of testing its resolve to maintain the principles of liberal democracy that underlie its reason for existence. We will struggle with the same basic question: who is the patriot? He who pays allegiance to the office of the President and the symbolism of the flag or he who stays steadfastly loyal to the principles of liberal democracy and the rule of law as envisioned and created by Jefferson and Madison?
With the Pluto opposition to our Cancer planets and square Saturn, will we move our political and economic system towards the highest degree of ‘homeland security’ possible, even if it’s at the expense of the Law and its constitutional framework (Saturn)? Will the ‘patriots’ be those who support this extreme protectionism/security or those who support the spirit of human freedom and the original intent of the liberal society as framed in the Constitution? Cancer/Capricorn issues are certainly focused in home/security/governmental/economic/social structures. Pluto opposing Venus, Jupiter, Sun and Mercury in Cancer will certainly raise havoc with our ideas of ‘nationalism’ and ‘homeland’, as well as our sense of humanitarianism and generosity (Venus/Jupiter). The economic crisis that comes with Pluto opposing those planets could be very serious, just as it was when Pluto conjuncted those Cancer planets from 1917-1939.
When Pluto conjuncted the U.S. Sun and squared Saturn, we had the constitutional crisis of the New Deal and its attempt to combat the Great Depression. At the same time, we had to figure out how to combat Pluto in Cancer political ideologies in the world (all forms of virulent nationalism and socialism…Stalinism, Fascism and Nazism), that sought to attack and eliminate liberal, democratic societies. I think we’ll be faced with very similar scenarios with Pluto in Capricorn. The world economy and our geopolitical relations will have to undergo serious adjustments. Unfortunately, the Pluto in Cancer malignancies of the 20th Century did not die with WWII or with the collapse of the Soviet system. Ba’athism in the Middle East was founded by the remaining Nazis and their Arab allies in Damascus, Syria in 1945 at the end of the war. (The name of the political party is “The National Socialist Resurrection Party”. The old Nazi party was called “The National Socialist German Workers’ Party.”) They still have control of Syria, and their military arm, Hezbollah, is trying to hold onto control of Lebanon. They are part of the ‘insurgency problem’ in Iraq after the US attack on Ba’athism there. Their growing alliance with countries like Iran and Russia and the existence now of their ‘Hezbollah sleeper cells’ in Europe and America may force the liberal democracies of the world to fight for their very existence, just as we should have in the 1930s, but didn’t. Other reactionary, perhaps extremist religious groups, especially Muslim, Christian and Jew, will also see an opportunity to push their religious agendas on societies.
These extreme political ideologies that are rooted in racism, nationalism, and xenophobia, will probably once again gain political traction in countries around the world, just as they did in the 1920s and 1930s. And that includes the United Sates. Given that it is also the U.S. Pluto Return, and these extreme right-wing elements have never been rooted out of American culture, these elements may very well find political traction within the American body-politic throwing the entire American system into chaos. If the economic crisis that now looms on the horizon cuts deeply enough, the extreme right-wing just may find their way into mainstream politics. If it does, and the government is handed over to them, the country will face a crisis and division not seen since the Civil War as it struggles with a paranoid, security conscious extremism that will likely push the country back to its more traditional isolationism and economic nationalism. That could well throw the entire post-WWII geopolitical system into a tailspin, leaving open the possibility of a 21st century form of fascism.
Russia’s liberal democracy founded by Yeltsin is fast disappearing under Putin. China’s so-called Communist system has transformed itself into a totalitarian capitalist system still controlled by the Party. Iran, as the world’s first modern ‘theocracy’, is vying for control of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. If it succeeds, it has promised to eliminate all non-Muslim elements in the region (i.e., Israel) and jockey itself into the lead position of the anti-Western, anti-democratic forces in the world. Within Western democracies, there will once again be movements to return to nationalism, nativism, protectionism and perhaps racism. When Pluto is in Capricorn, the liberal democracies of the world will feel the pressure of the success of these very non-liberal, theocratic, and non-democratic systems and groups that have been organizing and forming with Pluto in Sagittarius both domestically and internationally, and the underlying saturnian nature of Capricorn will lead to fear and strong waves of conservatism that will push against the liberalization that began with the Uranus/Pluto conjunction of 1965.