Nobody has ever suggested that it was the job of Pluto to make people feel comfortable. That is not the general idea. When it was discovered as a pinpoint of light on a photographic plate on February 18th 1930 , the world was in upheaval – financially because of the Wall Street crash, and politically because of the rise of fascism in Europe . Scientifically, early work on splitting the atom led to the development of the atomic bomb, ultimately threatening the survival of humanity.

Psychologically, demons that had been conveniently projected onto the devil and all his non-Christian works were unearthed within our own psychology as a part of our nature. And they were on the loose.The principle of Pluto is that something infinitely small can have an effect out of all proportion to its size. In this sense Pluto is connected with miniaturisation. Computers that once filled whole buildings in the 1960’s are handheld today. As material objects get halved in size, then halved again, their price also proportionately decreases, making treasures fit for kings available to everyman. As we peer deep into matter, or into deep space, we come to the roots of being, and the roots of time. The Big Bang was the creation of everything from nothing. The energy of Pluto is always locked, and appears blocked, and a special key is needed to release its transformative effect – an effect that increases exponentially once released.

Pluto is connected with plastic, just as Neptune is connected with oil, from which most plastic comes. Slowly but surely plastic is replacing natural products and creating an indestructible, non-biodegradable world. The plastic, cling-film interface between our senses and reality alienates and disconnects us from the organic world. This plastic world is clean, but dead, and it makes us uncomfortable. It will not always be like this – a time will come when plastic will be precious. It will save the world’s forests by replacing trees, and save the world’s animals by insulating and nourishing our bodies.

When people cease to work as slaves, it will be the robots of Pluto that will have taken over. Wherever today a man ceaselessly repeats an inhuman task, a robot will uncomplainingly toil, leaving humans in the promised land of Aquarius to indulge the sensual feast. This plastic playground is almost here; remove the plastic, the automation and the robots, and civilisation would cease to exist as we know it.

But we are full of anxiety, and the very factor that will ultimately deliver us from anxiety is, in this period of history, its cause. As Pluto moves through the signs, from Cancer at its discovery in 1930 to Sagittarius as the new millennium begins, it removes the comfort zone that humanity took for granted in connection with each sign, and when Pluto leaves that sign, something has been changed forever.

The Pluto in Cancer period, from 1913 (just prior to World War 1) to 1939 (as World War 2 started) brought the upheaval of hierarchies and families, as a great levelling factor transformed society. Men in Europe were slaughtered in their millions in the initial phase of this transit, elevating the role of women and preparing the ground for the beginning of political equality. Similarly the privileged classes lost much of their influence – no more so of course than in Russia , where they were eradicated.

Pluto in Leo from 1939 to 1957/8 brought the rise of the superpower, based on the destructive power of the bomb. Schoolchildren practised hiding under their desks, as the spectre of intercontinental ballistic missiles brought the possibility of destruction to each individual on earth. On the other hand this was the time when colonial powers lost their power, as individual countries asserted their right to be independent. The Pluto in Leo generation is obsessed with youth and self-indulgence. This first generation to grow up under the shadow of the bomb was the first to confront the fact that humanity really could be destroyed, that Armageddon could be a reality, and therefore they seized life with all their power.

Pluto in Virgo from 1957 to 1971/2 brought the transformation of work, medicine, agriculture and the service industry. With the introduction of the first computerised robots, employees performing nightmarish tasks in heavy industry were released (into traumatic unemployment) and service industries began their rise. Farms became automated, pigs and chickens became production units, so we could have egg and bacon every day. The Pill enabled women to gain control over their biology – sex was on the rise, but, for the first time, birth rates started falling. Pluto has its own medical solution to the so-called population explosion.

For those to whom marriage was sacred, Pluto had a very special surprise when in transited Libra from 1971 to 1983/4. Aesthetics and femininity were transformed, as bras were burned, and equal rights insisted on. Roles were reversed as men renounced masculinity, and women demonstrated that they could manage very well without the opposite sex. Men loved men, and women loved women – leaving the Pluto in Libra children to ponder about love and relationships… and to create the single culture of today. This was the era of MAD – mutually assured destruction – the nuclear balance of power between the Soviet Union and USA .

After so much sexual experimentation, Pluto in Scorpio from 1983 to 1995 brought the spectre of AIDS. Now even the most natural act in the world could result in death. Back in its home sign, Pluto focussed paranoia on sex itself, and this led to a drastic change in sexual habits, not least in a new openness amongst governments regarding sexual health. Condoms were everywhere. Economically this was the time of the yuppie, of junk bonds and how to get rich by screwing others – happy times for Reaganites and Thatcherites. Banks crashed, then merged to create huge financial entities.

Pluto in Sagittarius from 1995 to 2008 has of course evoked the spectre of international terror and religious fundamentalism. As a mutable sign Sagittarius creates polarity, and today we have the idea of a war of civilizations. The root cause of terror is probably injustice, which Pluto in Sagittarius seeks to redress by its own methods, but the terror of Muslim extremists is also about fighting the Great Satan of America, and the sexual flagrancy and material indulgence of the West… a last-ditch attempt to save an outdated worldview.

Governments invest enormous resources into avoiding the consequences of terror. In Switzerland today, no new houses can be build without a nuclear fallout shelter. (There is no need to worry about humanity being eliminated by an all-out nuclear war… the Swiss will survive.) Likewise, a general political reaction to international terror today is control and surveillance.

Which brings us to Pluto’s coming transit of Capricorn from January 2008 to 2024. (Those Pluto transits are getting longer – as a result of its eccentric orbit Pluto actually only spends 12 years in Scorpio whilst it will be 33 years in Taurus.) Most English people are pleased to note that the bombers responsible for the London bombings on July 7th, 2005 were conveniently identified on CCTV. Indeed the average English person’s movements outside their houses can be tracked from morning to night in Britain, which has the highest proportion of outdoor cameras anywhere in the world. Cameras which can zoom and be moved remotely; cameras which can see night and day. Iris scanning has been implemented at airports, so in the years to come it will be an instantaneous process to identity all international travellers. To identify you and me.

Pluto in Capricorn is a 16 year period where government consolidates autocratic power in the name of security. The fuel that will give governments a mandate to do this is anxiety and terror. This is why the long and drawn-out Uranus in Aries square to Pluto from 2011 to 2115 is so potentially dangerous. People who value their independence will rebel against this surveillance and control.

The signature of Pluto in Capricorn has already been designed, and it can be seen in the construction of the Shanghai World Financial Centre, which coincidentally is to be 492 meters in height. (A Neptune/Pluto conjunction takes place every 492 years.) Looking at a picture of the tower, it almost appears as a modern Pluto symbol, with a circle cradled into a curved V form rising up through its 95 storeys. The circle at its top is a hole – not I am sure designed for airliners to fly through, but to relieve wind pressure.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2008, as Pluto enters Capricorn, giving an intimation of the enormous power big business will wield during this transit. During this time small groups of super-powerful people will wield enormous influence, and much of this will take place secretly. Democracy will be too dangerous to leave to the people. States are liable to assume a more dictatorial rule, partly because of fear of losing control to terrorists, or maybe just to democrats.

This building may also be a symbol of a shift of economic power from West to East – the destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York clearing the path for the coming tallest building in the world, the Shanghai World Financial Centre. The exporting of jobs overseas in the Pluto in Sagittarius era has empowered Asia, and there may be little the outdated institutions of Europe and America can do about this. Pluto in Capricorn will initiate a painful transformation of Western business structures. Business will move east, and power concentrated in an international elite who owe allegiance to no one nation. Many Western countries have significant political and economic entities that started on New Year’s day with the Sun at 9 Capricorn, so there can be little doubt that the period 2012 – 2014 will be a period of crisis and transformation because of the Pluto/Uranus square around this degree.

Of course America itself was born with Pluto at 27 degrees Capricorn, and it has managed to maintain a reasonable democracy since 1771, though this is perhaps more due to its exalted Saturn in Libra. Certainly there are Americans that feel that power is concentrated in the hands of a secretive elite, and the mass of conspiracy theories spawned in America about anything from the assassination of Kennedy to the “demolition” of the World Trade Centre” is a testimony to the Mercury/Pluto opposition in the US chart. Pluto in Capricorn in USA’s 2nd house shows the power of corporate might and finance, and it is an open question today during George W Bush’s government just how much power big business has on the Republican machine.

When Pluto transits a sign it leaves a swathe of destruction, but what is destroyed has often outlived its relevance. Big business elites will not survive the Pluto transit, but will in turn be transformed. The invasive hand of government will not be allowed to stifle individuals, or to reduce those who do not have the privilege of power to slaves in the hierarchy. By the time Pluto enters Aquarius – in 2023 – humanitarian concerns will sweep away autocracy. The price of fanatical ambition will have been too high. The doctrine of the survival of the fittest – or of the most highly qualified – will give way to a violent levelling process.

It is at this time that the Saturn/Jupiter cycle enters air signs for a period of 200 years, and the scourge of materialism will be replaced by lofty social values. The harnessing of light will transform industry, and the burning of fossil fuels will be a quaint and nostalgic tradition. Pluto in Aquarius will transform the power of thought. Keyboards will cease to exist, implanted probably, and screens will be everywhere in a festival of light. The dictatorship of the corporation will give way to the dictatorship of group consciousness; you will be free to do anything, just as long as you don’t try to give up your membership. When Pluto comes into Pisces in 2043, we’ll surely be in need of the resurrection.

Adrian Ross Duncan 18.07.2005