Transcript of Radio Show: Karma and the USA, The Pluto Return – A Rebirth of Value
Today we will continue our examination of the planetary influences in the chart of the USA. In my last show on January 3rd, (here is the link to the transcript for the January 3rd show) we looked at the role of Neptune in the charts of the Democratic and Republican parties; I examined the influence of the cycle of Neptune in the two charts and US history.
Neptune Opposite Neptune, Our Epistemological Crisis
I noted then, and have mentioned numerous times, that Neptune’s role in the USA chart is of great importance, and the fact that here in 2020 and 2021 transiting Neptune is opposite the USA Neptune, indicates that our “Bubbles of Belief and Reality” are very separate from one another at this time. We are divided in our understanding as to what and who we are as Americans, and we have sorted ourselves into very separate groupings, sectors, and realms, and because of this we cannot agree as to what is True versus False, what is Reality and what is Fantasy.
We are as a Nation going through what is known as an Epistemological Crisis, where the very nature of knowledge and truth is in dispute. And this same alignment of Neptune opposing Neptune signaled a similar division into different Worldviews that prevailed just before the Civil War in the late 1850’s. Then the division was between Slave and Free States, between North and South, and which was resolved by what many historians note was the inevitable and existential climax of our war between the states from 1860 to 1865.
Keeping that message of Neptune in our minds, I want to consider the importance of Pluto in the chart of the USA and examine the significance of the upcoming (and first-ever) return of Pluto to its natal or birth position in 2021 and 2022. It will have been 246 years since the founding of our country and given the prominent position and significance of its position in the chart, I believe it will shine a light upon our history and the critical events of our current period.
Pluto in USA Chart
Pluto is the rising planet in the USA chart, and it is placed in the 2nd house. The second house holds the answer to this primary question: what is of Value for the USA? Traditional Mundane Astrology would assign categories of value to the second house such as: a nation’s wealth, tax revenue, stocks, bonds, shares, exports. Of places dealing with currency, such as banks, trade and commerce, stock/commodity exchanges. Values formed by national expenditures and receipts, circulation of currency and other liquid assets. In sum, it is the wealth of the nation as measured by the population’s earning and purchasing power.
Source of Value
All of that is true, if one assumes the point of view of a practical and material understanding of value, and even more especially in the culture and economy that is dominant in our time. But for me, looking at this question spiritually, the real nature and source of value for any human community, whether they be hunter-gatherers, pastoralists or farmers, or part of a highly complex hierarchy of production like our culture and civilization, what I would claim that is common to all these types is this: that the true measure of value for any culture is to be found in the people themselves. It is their spiritual development, their intellectual adeptness, their emotional depth, and their physical well-being that comprises the wealth of their community and their value to one another.
For the USA, Capricorn is the ruler of this house, which would indicate that the USA would experience its value and strength as being rooted in the values that “have stood the test of time”, i.e. Truths formed into the Institutions of the nation, and that this would find its ultimate expression in what is known as the Wisdom of the Ages. It is certainly true, that although we take pride in being a nation born through “revolution”, we are a Nation that takes our values seriously and conservatively, and I mean here conservative in the spiritual not political sense. These values are embodied in all the great traditions and teachings, and they are most simply but profoundly expressed in the root of wisdom-teaching, that we are here to “Love one another”.
For today, I wish to consider the natal placement and cyclic meanings for Pluto in the USA second house. I consider Pluto to be the Avatar of the Will and the Power of Alchemy. As the Avatar of the Will, Pluto holds the Truth of Spirit that all energy-forms exist in their “own sacred space”, and that the will forms and maintains these sacred centers. Since all centers of spirit are sacred, the fundamental precept for us as humans is that “Thou shall not Trespass”, and that to impose one’s will upon another, or to violate their space is quite simply a Spiritual Crime.
The Meaning of Pluto and Alchemy
As the representative (along with the Sign Scorpio), of the Root Power of Creation, Pluto indicates that the USA is meant to be a transformer of values through the power of Alchemy. The whole of Creation is formed at it ceaselessly unfolds and becomes what it will be through the innumerable combinations and transformations of the Energy-Forms of Spirit. Whether by atoms combing with atoms to form larger atoms, molecules with molecules, organisms with organisms, on up to the planets, stars, and galaxies, what drives Creation is the Protean Power that is Alchemy, which is the magic and mystery of combination.
At the human level, we combine in partnerships, collaborations, joint ventures, enterprises, communities, cultures, and nations. To form any union, we must make a sacrifice which elicits our change and growth; we let go of our lesser qualities in order to combine with one another by our deeper values, and by this we move into a greater reality. We forge our own growth and make possible our greater and shared qualities through combination. When properly guided by love and understanding, we give up for one another what we must, but we hold to the core of who we are, sacrificing our ego but lifting our hearts and minds together.
The very founding of our nation was a compact, an agreement made by individuals who sought to free themselves from tyranny and pledged to one another, a sacred oath that established “a new order for the centuries”; and that they would create a new kind of society and govern themselves by mutual consent. Their ideals and intentions stated in our Declaration resonate to this day, “that all men are created equal”.
But they, like we, were not perfect, and though they sacrificed much, they also held onto that which they should not. More than half of the signers of the 1776 Declaration of Independence were slave owners, and of the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, almost half were also slave owners. This shameful fact is one-half of the original sin of the United States, the other being the brutal conquest of Native Americans.
The Protean Power of Pluto can be used for good or ill, as can all the gifts of Spirit. As much as it is the source of creation by freely formed combinations, it is also by its misuse and trespassing, which is so often found throughout human history, the source of destruction by the domination and control of one person or group over another. The subjugation of the native peoples and the enslavement of millions of African peoples is the root curse that hangs over the promise and dream of America. What we witnessed in the storming of the Capitol on January 6th, is that same evil energy-form of White Supremacy and fear-based rage attempting to seize power.
Whenever you treat any fellow human being as less than yourself, that is when you turn from the path of Spirit. For hundreds of years, the US slave population was treated as a thing, to be used by their owners to produce wealth and power, and their human value was stolen by trespassing upon the sacred center of each and every slave. After the Civil War, in a very few years, Reconstruction was challenged, eroded, and finally broken, and the former slave population was re-enslaved through peonage, segregation, and terror for almost 100 more years. For over 400 years, fully or partially, control, manipulation, domination, and terror of one people over another created the USA’s karmic calamity of racism and caste in America.
Harm to all
Make no mistake, this hurt continues to harm every American of every creed and ethnic origin; we diminish and reduce the self-fulfillment of every one of us when we treat others as less than ourselves. We can only meet our self-realization through and by one another; if we limit the self-fulfillment of one or some, we hurt all of us. If we are to meet the promise of our dreams, we must forge the reality where each and every person is able to realize the fullness of their potential here and now. This is the spiritual crisis we are facing; and that is why what is happening is so meaningful and challenging.
Many have commented upon the nature of our historical moment, as we witness erupting once more from the darkest depths of our American Karma the shadows and fears formed by the terrible legacy of domination and terror experienced by many in our history and to this present day. This timing is not an accident of course, for we are coming to the return of Pluto in the USA chart in 2021-2022. The eruption of this negative energy-form into right-wing domestic terrorism is a very real and present danger. For our consideration today, there are four major moments or turnings in any planetary cycle: the waxing square, the opposition, the waning square and the return or conjunction. Let us look at the four turnings of Pluto and see how they framed our choices and history, and how that may guide us in our own time of the Pluto return.
We should remember that the alignment of especially outer planets takes several years to become exact, so the period of the exact aspect represents the climax or culmination of that influence. Therefore, these moments are climaxes of experiences that had been growing over several years. Moreover, with regards to Pluto in the USA chart, its natal aspect with Mercury extends this period of meaningfulness even more.
If we are to look for the meaning behind these turning points, we will see that the issue posed by Pluto at each turning will be generally framed around our understanding of and actions taken with regards to this fundamental question of how we understand the true nature of value for our country. That is, it will reveal how close or far from the ideal of “equality and equity and justice” we are in our journey of self-fulfillment for one and all.
Pluto Squared Pluto 1848-1850
Zachary Taylor, a hero of the Mexican War, elected President of the Whig Party and served March 1849 to July 1850 (succeeded by his VP Millard Fillmore). Though a slaveholder himself, he did not push for expansion of slavery, but tried to work out a compromise. The pressure to expand slavery into the lands taken from Mexico, especially Texas but also for all territories including California, was extreme, as the slaveholding interests desperately sought to maintain their control of the Federal Government. Their plan was to have every territory and state permit slavery. Much like now, there were rising threats of violence around the country and in Washington, and real violence broke out in both the House and Senate chambers, with crowds gathering outside the Capitol in anticipation of open warfare over the issue of slavery.
This struggle led to the Compromise of 1850, where California was admitted as a “free” state, and the lands of Texas, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona could put the question of slavery to their citizens. To placate the slave-holding states, it also established a much tougher Fugitive Slave Law. Many historians see this compromise as merely delaying the inevitable by postponing the Civil War for the next 10 years.
Pluto Opposite Pluto 1936-1937
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s attempts to rescue the nation from the depths of the depression with new agencies and laws led to a series of battles with the Supreme court over his program of economic reforms. He attempted to create a court more favorable to his progressive economic agenda by adding Justices through legislation (fearing a constitutional battle would fail). But he failed in his attempt to “pack the court”, and some of his reforms were overturned.
But then, by retirement and new appointments, between 1938 to 1941 his new appointments turned the court away the focus upon the New Deal’s progressive economic regulations as the court came to focus upon the issue of civil liberties.
As a result, Roosevelt’s policies for economic justice and greater racial equality began the historic shift of black voters from the Republican Party to the Democratic party, which was especially significant in the Northern States.
Pluto Square Pluto 1982-1983
Ronald Reagan’s election was founded upon the premise that “the government is the problem”, and his administration spent 8 years working to dismantle the laws and programs of a greater safety net for all Americans, (Social Security, Medicare, Labor Laws, and Economic regulatory Laws that had limited the reckless greed of Wall Street), which had been place since Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930’s and 1940’s. It was a counter-revolution driven by a Neo-liberal ideology that took as its objective the dismantling of the state to promote greater growth in the economy. But the policies begun during the 1980’s and through the era of George W. Bush were the driving force behind the destruction of the fairly equitable economic growth for all citizens that had prevailed since the 1940’s. The result is that by 2020 the USA has the largest gap between the wealthy and the majority of Americans since the 1920’s.
Integral to the political power of the Republican Party for the past 40 years has been an ever increasing “politics of division”, where power was maintained by dividing the people of the USA by race, ethnicity, region and religion. This political agenda, combined with specific news outlets and social media campaigns, has created an insular and ever-shrinking minority that strives to wield political power over the majority, and which has also led to growing acts of right-wing domestic terrorism from the 1990’s and 2000’s up to the present day.
It has become very clear to many Americans, (and here the Neptune to Neptune opposition in the USA chart is relevant), that a growing and core component of the Republican base have become beguiled and deluded by unintelligible conspiracy theories, with a hard core that are committed to White Supremacy. And it is these fear-based followers who made their boldest move by the attempt to overturn the 2020 election and destroy democracy by seizing power. They are not dissuaded by their failure, and they pose a real and present danger to our country, our institutions, and our fellow citizens.
The Pluto Return of 2022
Of course, every crisis is ultimately a Spiritual Crisis. The seed of our twin crises, Climate Change and Racism, spring from the same root cause, and that is the sin of dividing ourselves from the greater whole of which we are a part. Humans have separated themselves from the other kingdoms of life on this planet, and in doing so we have made all other life-forms an object for our use without regard to the delicate, integral balance of the hierarchies of life on this planet. We are destroying the web of life on which on our own human lives depend. This spiritual crime, of misusing the essential beauty and bounty of Earth has created the existential crisis of Climate Change, and one more proof of this is the Covid-19 Pandemic that has circled the globe.
Humans have equally, (and here we are unique among all other species of life on this planet), we have equally and most grievously divided humans from one another; we separate ourselves by race, ethnicity, gender, religion and culture, and by so doing we treat some humans as less than others, turning them into the objects of fear based projections, into scapegoats for blame and punishment. This virus of division and hate is how we are equally destroying ourselves too.
Pluto Return, A New Beginning
The return of Pluto is very much like a New Moon of Value for the USA. It represents the release of a new seed of Value; it is the hope and promise of a new beginning for America. But know this, before we can enter what might become a bright New Age and fulfill the promise of universal self-fulfillment, we must hold ourselves accountable to what we wrought and what we must make right.
The only way forward is to understand where we are coming from; we need to understand our history, to tell our stories to one another and rebuild our common understanding with one another. The inequity in our present circumstances that divide us by race and ethnicity, the vast differences in income and wealth, in healthcare and general well-being, in the circumstances of security and safety which are so disproportionate and deadly, all of these are no accident but the results of the failure to live by the spiritual truth that we are here to love one another.
We must recommit ourselves to our original declaration of equality and self-fulfillment for one and all. But to build anew we must also make amends; we must face the truth and act to reverse the systemic inequities, injustices, and spiritual harm we have done to one another.
As I often have said, we are the makers of one another, and we owe our well-being and can only become fulfilled through one another. We are, as is the entirety of Creation, made by and become what we are through the mystery of Alchemy. We are what we are through joining with one another in our sacred spaces of Union.
Truly, we are indivisible from one another, and we must treat one another with love, respect, and honor. If we are to meet this Spiritual Crisis, then we must renew our sacred commitment to make it possible for each and every person to fulfill their potential for self-realization.
Here in 2021 and 2022 we are at an end which is a beginning, so let us pledge to one another that we will protect and secure our true value, which is our human family.