Many traditional astrologers don’t even factor Pluto in, scientists have dismissed it as a dwarf planet but from my own observations, this tiny but radiant sphere of ice and rock seems to signify an energy that is frighteningly powerful. I remember how my first astrology teacher, Isabel Hickey, refused to even talk about Pluto during the years I knew her and it was clear that–for some reason–she considered it to be a very dark and disturbing influence.

How do planets names get chosen? Pluto’s name was apparently picked out by an eleven year girl–the daughter of one of the scientists involved in its discovery–and this name was announced to the world on May 1, 1930. Is it an accident that Pluto–which was assigned as the planetary ruler of Scorpio–was the Greek god of the underworld and representative of the tumultuous depths below the surface of the world which can erupt into the light completely changing the surface of the known landscape? Because this is how this planet’s energy seems to show itself when it forms an aspect to or within a natal horoscope.

Pluto was within one and a half degrees of a square to the Sun and Moon during the recent lunar eclipse of April 4th and since eclipses set energetic patterns in motion, the disruptive energy of Pluto is part of the astrological picture for some time to come. I know that in my own life–hours before Pluto turned retrograde and at the same time that my natal Pluto exactly conjoined the nadir (bottom) of my progressed chart on April 16th– my world was rocked to the core by a hideous power struggle, an unnatural death and a transcendent experience that shifted my consciousness.

This was a classic Plutonian manifestation. And there are likely to be many others who have been similarly impacted by this powerful pattern during those periods of exact aspects involving Pluto at 15 degrees of Capricorn (birth dates on or very near January 6th, April 6th, July 8th, October 9th) or any number of planetary hot spots in their natal chart which an astrologer could pinpoint. On a global level as well this energetic pattern is currently dominant (think of Nepal’s horrifying earthquake for instance) and will tend to linger.

In short what Pluto seems to be all about is violent destruction which must then be follow by complete reconstruction. It is known astrologically of the planet of death, rebirth and transformation. And while it doesn’t always show itself in such dramatic ways, it nonetheless seems to shift the parameters of people’s mindsets and their personal landscapes.