Pluto is a NewHorizon that Astrology helps us to approach

I have just published a book about Pluto called THE SCORPIO RING OF FIRE and yet, there is still so much more to say. To say that Pluto fascinates me is only partially correct. I love Pluto. That love is complicated however (like everything connected to Pluto). I don’t love Pluto as if I was a “fan” of the planet. I don’t love Pluto as in “appreciate” Pluto. No, Pluto is a bit too cold to “love” in that way. I think the real source of my love for Pluto is the way in which Pluto, the planet, matches Pluto, the astrological concept. In other words, I love Pluto because it makes such a great argument for astrology. (Okay, I love Pluto more personally too but I am trying to appear objective here.)


From the very beginning of its history with us, the planet Pluto appeared in the night sky and became familiar to us exactly as an astrologer might predict. It is as if a concept about the “meaning” of Pluto, the ninth planet, existed before the actual appearance of that planet and all the details of its astronomical discovery and investigation fit perfectly with that concept. Just like one fills in all the boxes of a crossword, slowly and methodically, the entire astronomical investigation of Pluto filled in the pre-existing story of Pluto one letter at a time. An astrologer can now look back on that history and see how every painstaking detail of the investigation fit together with every previous and subsequent one to create a picture that was already fully predicted by its name and numerology.


Yes, it’s also true that the astronomical details of the other planets fit their astrological stories just as tightly. Their entire astrological meaning is also contained in a condensed version by their names and physical relationships as well. But for me, Pluto does so more dramatically than the rest of them. And of course, that fits into its story, too. Pluto always does everything to the extreme.


When I say that despite all our attention on it we still have a lot to learn from Pluto, astrologically, I do so aware of the irony. The fact is that one of the most dramatic missions in the history of space exploration is about to reach its target, Pluto. The NEW HORIZONS space mission was launched over 8 years ago with the express purpose of reaching, studying and photographing Pluto. So, in a few months we may have a lot of new information about Pluto from that spacecraft.


Because we are on the verge of learning quite a bit more, potentially, about Pluto I think it’s a good time to review what we know already. I am talking about what we know astrologically but if you are willing to follow along here you will see that what we know astrologically is based on, or fits perfectly, with what we know astronomically. The correlation between the two is a fundamental tenet of astrology which is grounded on the alchemical truth of “As Above so it is Below.” In other words, astrology is based on the mysterious connection between what exists in the sky with life on earth. Astrology says and then demonstrates that each celestial body, Pluto included, represents some compact lesson that is relevant to each of us individually and to all of us collectively. The details of that lesson get fleshed out by the details of its representing body’s astronomical facts (and the story behind the discovery of those facts). The lesson itself gets taught to us, also piece-meal and in doses according to the movement of that planet through the sky. Simply stated: each planet means something and impacts our lives according to that meaning when and how it moves through the sky. It is as if each planet were a telemarketer calling to sell us something by educating us about a certain topic and lack in our life. We might each receive that call at different times in our life and at different times during the day and night. How we respond to that call depends a lot on the timing of the call, the strength of the telephone connection and our experience with previous telemarketing calls. We each experience each planet’s set message in different ways, settings and timings depending on the planet’s own movement through the sky.


Determining what exactly is the message of each planet is the job of the western astrologer. But everyone can be helped by a recounting of the story of how astrology has deciphered a planet’s message because it is up to each of us individually to deal with the pressure the planet is putting on us. It is quite challenging to understand why we are being pushed around by the planets and it is very helpful to know what exactly they want. Astrology believes that when we are armed with that knowledge we can navigate our lives with greater ease and less suffering because we know in advance what we are being asked to do and at what times we will be pushed into doing it if we resist.


Pluto is a special one. Both astrologers and astronomers are willing to put an exclamation point at the end of that sentence. And that may be why I love it. It is so extreme. It is extreme in its message (very dramatic and complicated). It is extreme in its effect. It is extreme in its astronomical characteristics and it is extreme in the history of those characteristics being discovered. It is extreme in its power to grab us and make us think and it does so from extremely far away and from an extremely small body.


In my book THE SCORPIO RING OF FIRE, I focus quite intensely on Pluto and I show some of the deeper, finer points of its message that have escaped most astrologers up until now. I do not want to rehash all of that here because I really want to focus on the history of Pluto’s astronomical inquiry here in anticipation of the NEW HORIZONS contact that is about to happen. I want to show, clearly, once and for all, that EVERY BIT of Pluto’s story in astronomical terms (and in the history of those terms being discovered) fit with its underlying astrological theme (to an extreme). Why? Partly because it makes a great case for the validity of astrology but also because it is so funny to me. I say “funny” because there has been so much drama around Pluto within astronomical circles without even the slightest idea of the cohesiveness (purposefulness) of it all. I say “funny” not because I am laughing at Pluto (that is a dangerous thing to do, lol) but because I am laughing with Pluto.


Before I start rehashing this hilarious history of Pluto in the “news” I have to share a concise version of what I describe in great detail in my book. I have to give you a little glimpse of the real Pluto, the underlining purpose, orientation or meaning behind the planet. If want a more fuller explanation please refer to THE SCORPIO RING OF FIRE.


I have been writing a lot about black holes in this blog already and specifically about the one at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. I have already connected this black hole with the Divine, more specifically with the Divine Mother, in that it is our source and our destination. It is that from which all our Galaxy has emerged and that to which we all, hopefully, will return. It is Kali, using the name for the terrifying aspect of the Divine Mother from the Hindu tradition. As Kali it is both what we fear and also what we desire. A mother’s love and death, itself.


Pluto is best understood as “the ambassador of the Galactic Center;” that is, Pluto is the messenger of the Divine Mother in her wrathful form as Kali. Pluto partials out Her teaching to all of us whether we are ready for it or not, whether we can accept it or not, and does so in ways that are easily construed as destructive. Pluto delivers Kali’s wrath, astrologically speaking, and also the message of Her transcendent love. As directly empowered by God, Pluto is the guru, Shiva; that is, Pluto is the guru when he or she teaches us the most difficult truths of our true nature and the nature of consciousness itself. Pluto is a vedantist in the most absolute sense, using Hindu terms. Pluto is the teacher of emptiness, using Buddhist terms.


Just as the Divine Mother is our ultimate destination (because She is our origin), her servant/husband, Pluto (or the guru, Shiva), teaches us that the way to that Divine Reunion is to overcome fear and make friends with Death itself. Pluto hands us over to death, so to speak, to learn the ultimate truths in life. So, Pluto travels through the skies teaching non-dualism and destroying the aspects of our worldly lives that inhibit our ability to learn these profound truths. That is the long and short of my explanation of Pluto that I share within THE SCORPIO RING OF FIRE.


The history of Pluto’s discovery, investigation, naming and categorizing perfectly fits not only the conventional astrological description of Pluto but also my latest insights concerning the depths of Pluto’s spiritual teachings. So, in anticipation of the NEW HORIZONS, fly-by I would like to review this history and point out the connections, predicting that whatever we are about to learn about Pluto will continue this symbolic synergy between a physical rock floating in space and all of our individual and collective spiritual journeys.


Pluto was first recognized in our skies by an American astronomer in 1939 (the only planet discovered by an American). Shortly thereafter that point of light was named Pluto through an international consensus. Interestingly enough, however, the name “Pluto” already had some history of use within American popular culture, BUT the name, Pluto, was actually suggested by a British girl who most likely did not know of any of the American background to the name. Is there a connection between this American background story to the name “Pluto” and the planet that received that name? I think so (grinning as I do so) but you be the judge:


First of all, the Walt Disney company got its start just prior to the discovery of Pluto with a widely released cartoon about a Mouse (“Mickey Mouse”) who happens to have a pet dog named “Pluto.” In the early cartoons about Mickey, we learn that he is a recently escaped convict who meets up with his girlfriend in order to satisfy that urge that doesn’t get satisfied in jail. In that early cartoon, Mickey is frustrated in his efforts to “love” his girlfriend by the antics of his dog, Pluto. In a subsequent cartoon Pluto is the main character. In that one Pluto gets drunk and his puppies go wild, destroying his home. He lost all control of them because he was drunk. His wife comes home and gives him a good thrashing for his irresponsible behavior.


A few years before the planet, Pluto, was seen in the sky a certain type of water called “Pluto water” became a hot selling item in the US. This water was marketed as a quick relief for constipation. “When nothing else can, Pluto will” was the advertising slogan. I can only guess that Americans were having difficulty moving their bowels on a regular basis at that point in their history and thus the widespread popularity of Pluto water.


Around the same time as Pluto’s discovery a new word was coined to describe a unique phenomenon that had developed in the US. Since the turn of the century the US, as a society, was being controlled by a small minority of super-rich people. This condition, dubbed a “Plutocracy,” indicated a society where decisions were made by people who earned the right to be leaders through the amount of their wealth. This was somewhat new in the Western world. Wealth had always been connected with success but in the past, through the history of Europe, it had to be connected with birthright, some type of royalty or some outstanding personal quality to be widely respected.


At the same time as Pluto was first seen in the sky, a few scientists discovered a new element that had 94 protons in the nucleus. Because the last newly discovered element had been named after the last discovered planet, Uranus, the scientific community decided to call this latest element, “Plutonium,” after the name had been chosen for the 9th planet. Unknown to any but a few people at the time, that new element was almost immediately used in the first nuclear bomb exploded in Trinity, New Mexico, and then used in the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. An important thing to note about the advent of nuclear power connected with the name, “Pluto,” (in addition to the element of secrecy) is that it demonstrated that the smallest of things (the atom) can release the greatest amount of energy. No explosive known prior to the nuclear bomb had come even remotely close to releasing the amount of energy released by a small amount of sub-microscopic Plutonium. A tremendous amount of energy came out of a very small package. Plutonium practically demonstrated what was previously known only theoretically in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, E=MC2.


So already we have a very strong connection to issues that would be easily associated with the Goddess, Kali, Vedanta, death, fear and letting go of what is no longer useful. These issues are also naturally connected to the Roman god of the underworld, Pluto. How was a planet given the name of a god that carried with it many issues and themes specifically relevant to that time and place of discovery? Coincidence? The little girl that suggested the name lived in Britain. The scientists that approved that name used the reasoning that Pluto was one of the few major gods of the Roman pantheon not already used. For that reason, they claimed it was a natural choice. Was it a coincidence that the name Pluto fit so perfectly the way that the element named in its honor was to be used?


In the case of the dog, Pluto, you wouldn’t expect a pet dog to cause so much difficulty and damage, which is what was depicted in the Disney cartoons. Americans ended up loving the dog Pluto because of the appearance of his innocence and playfulness combined with the trouble that he caused. We loved Pluto but he was more often than not a real “pain the ass.” And isn’t that what constipation is? Pluto water was consumed in the thousands of gallons per year by Americans who were suffering from rear-end pain. They weren’t able to release what is no longer useful by the body and so, needed Pluto to push it out of them. And look at Pluto water, it appears to be just water. It is perfectly clear, innocent looking. And yet Pluto water is much more powerful than simple water. It packs a punch. Another case of a lot of power contained in something that appears small or insignificant. Do these themes actually relate to the scientific facts discovered about the planet itself and do they relate to the story of that discovery over time?


For those of you familiar with the recent demotion of Pluto from a planet to a “dwarf” planet the above observations about Pluto appearing to be small or insignificant and yet having a lot of power anyway may be extra clear. The history of Pluto is characterized by demotion. The more that scientists studied Pluto the less significant it appeared. And yet, these demotions didn’t seem to minimize the power that Pluto gained with the general populace. The NEW HORIZONS mission is my case in point. Despite scientists saying that Pluto is relatively insignificant a mission has been launched to study it. That mission is an incredibly expensive undertaking by the US government. Therefore there must be a hidden push to study Pluto that exceeds its size or importance according to the scientists who have studied it. Will the results of the NEW HORIZONS mission also seem empty while hiding a tremendous depth of power? We will find out soon.


One of the reasons the public was so upset when Pluto was demoted as a planet is due to the way the solar system has been taught in schools for many decades. School teachers universally employed a mnemonic device to teach the order of the planets to their students. In almost all versions of this mnemonic sentence the final “p” represents “pluto” and it is the most important object in the sentence. The most popular of these sentences was “My very excellent mother just served us nine pizzas.” Without Pluto most of these mnemonic sentences fell apart. What students had memorized became a lie. The tricks that made teachers’ jobs easier became useless. When Pluto was demoted millions of students along with their teachers across the US were almost as frustrated as Mickey Mouse was in that first Disney cartoon.


The demotion of Pluto from planet to dwarf-planet was just one step along a line of demotions that had already been going on. When Pluto was first discovered it was scientifically estimated to be the mass of Neptune (which is 18 times heavier than the Earth). Pluto was subsequently measured in new ways over the next 80 years with each measurement yielding slightly lower results. This was happening so steadily and gradually that a scientist in 1970 predicted that Pluto would soon weigh nothing. Currently scientists assess Pluto’s mass as 1% of the Earth’s. Pluto’s mass literally went from very heavy to nearly nothing. Does this fit the planet that rules death and dying? Death is one of the heaviest topics. Will the topic of death be proved to be empty through the experience of it? Does Pluto imply, as the Buddhists maintain, that all that we fear is actually empty? Does Pluto side with those spiritual doctrines in that everything is seen to be fundamentally empty upon the very close scrutiny of meditation?


Another reason that scientists demoted Pluto was that it is not alone in its orbit and it is not really exceptional relative to those other rocks that share its orbit. All other planets either are alone in their orbit or are much bigger than any other object that might share that orbit. In other words, all other planets are obviously special in their orbital field. Scientists say that we have focused on Pluto not because it is special but because we saw it first out of the other objects around it. We could have easily have seen other rocks that are floating in its orbit. Scientists criticize because it is equal. Does this fit with the god of death? Doesn’t the universal fact of death makes everyone equal? No one is special once everything is seen to be ephemeral or transient (which is the underlying tenet of the Buddhist’s emptiness). Pluto lack of specialness fits death’s teaching that none of us are, from the highest perspective, more important than anyone else. This lack of importance is a simple corollary of the universal fact of death: everything about us, all that we pride, must be let go of in death.


Maybe Pluto is astronomically insignificant, relevantly speaking of course, as some scientists suggest. Maybe it is completely unimportant. . . . No, it’s not, not even taking their simple surface-level observations of it. Even within the world of astronomy Pluto actually exhibits some fascinating characteristics that make it unique among the planets. Pluto-demoting scientists don’t emphasize these characteristics because these characteristics aren’t similar to the other planets and so, they make Pluto stand out, on its own, even more. Since the debate has mostly been about whether Pluto shares “planet”-like characteristics anything that makes Pluto different from the other planets would not help scientists support Pluto as a planet. But from those characteristics we can say without a doubt that Pluto is a very special and significant rock in our solar system.


The main unique feature of Pluto is in how it relates to its own major moon, Charon, and the next nearest planet, Neptune. Pluto has a relationship with each of these bodies that is unique in the solar system. With its moon, Charon, Pluto has a “double-tidal lock” relationship which means that they only show the same face to each other as they rotate. Our moon is in a “single-tidal-lock” with the Earth and that is why we only see one side of the moon, ever, despite both of us spinning. If you were on Pluto you would similarly only see one side of Charon, ever, but also if you were on Charon you would see only one side of Pluto, ever. If you were on our Moon you would see the Earth revolving fully each day.


Similarly, Pluto is in a unique relationship to Neptune. It is also “locked” to Neptune but in a different way. Pluto crosses Neptune’s orbit for about 20 years as it goes around the Sun. Normally this means that someday it might collide with Neptune but because Pluto is “locked” to Neptune it cannot, ever, hit Neptune. This “lock” is due to their speed. These two planets are traveling at an exact speed to each other that prevents them from ever being near each other. Technically this is called a “3 to 2 resonance” because three revolutions of Neptune around the Sun exactly equal two of Pluto’s. Neither of them will ever “catch-up” to the other enough to collide despite traveling on the same single lane road for 20 out of every 250 years. No other bodies in our solar system have either of these two types of “locks.”


{As a side note for those readers who are advanced in their astrological knowledge: notice that astrologically Neptune has a strong connection to the number three and Pluto has a strong connection to the number two. Neptune is directly connected with the transcendental third of the divine trinity and Pluto is directly connected to the fundamental duality of consciousness (one object and one observer) because it is the only “binary planet.”}


So Pluto is not as insignificant as the comparison with other planets makes it seem. It appears insignificant but actually is very unique. Did Einstein’s theory of relativity also fit this description? Did the element Plutonium fit this description as well? Did also Pluto water? Was Mickey surprised to know that a simple dog could cause so much mischief? Pluto was demoted as a planet but is considered unique enough to send a very expensive probe out to meet it, a probe that has taken over eight years to arrive there despite traveling at over 50,000 miles per hour.

Pluto, in fact, has an atmosphere and probably has seasonal weather patterns due to the tremendous amount of ice stored at the poles. No it’s not water ice (it is much colder nitrogen ice) so life as we know it couldn’t easily happen there but a life form based on nitrogen just as ours is based on oxygen could possibly have developed. This would make Pluto surprisingly important on such a scale that would mimic a nuclear bomb.


I have been alluding to the demotion of Pluto throughout this article but have not shared a lot of the details yet. The demotion of Pluto has been very controversial to say the least and the history of it has many back and forth chapters. It is so dramatic, in fact, that a few of the key scientists involved have written books about the whole thing. Those books have sold well, also telling me that the public has not only been closely following the whole affair but has had a keen interest in the results. [The two main books are Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s “The Pluto Files” and Mike Brown’s “Why I Killed Pluto.”] These accounts tell the story of scientists who argued over Pluto’s true status.  The more they discovered about Pluto the more different it seemed than the rest of the planets. They soon began to feel that it was named as a planet prematurely.


Uranus and Neptune were both discovered as planets but they proved to fit the model of the other planets pretty well. Pluto was assumed in the beginning to do so as well but proved otherwise. When scientists starting leaving Pluto off their lists of “planets” however, the public got upset, feeling like a planets’ status is not completely the domain of the scientists. The public had connected with Pluto in a way that was not purely about science. They had accepted Pluto as “one of their own” and when scientists tried to demote it they reacted as if one of their own family members had been attacked. They grew up with Pluto and were not willing to abandon him to a group of heartless scientists. Just as a mother will grow especially defensive around the runt of the pack so did the public attack back when Pluto was slighted. The issue of Pluto’s status is, in fact, still open although there has been a bit of a peace accord reached. The museum of natural history in New York has chosen to leave Pluto completely off any list of planets while the international consortium of astronomers has agreed to call Pluto a dwarf planet. This creation of a dwarf-planet category was instigated by the Pluto controversy but allowed two other bodies in our skies to enter this category, thus gaining quasi-planet status.


Interesting enough, from an astrological perspective, the two new quasi-planets are named after Goddesses. Thus the number of women represented in our planet committee has gone from one to three thanks to Pluto (Venus was the only Goddess planet before the Pluto controversy). Just as Pluto the dog interfered with Mickey’s plans, the planet Pluto seriously interfered with the old school system of planet nomenclature enough to get more women on board.


More curiosities emerge when we look closer at these new Goddesses that are part of the planetary family due to Pluto’s influence. The first one, Ceres, could be considered one of the god Pluto’s, enemies. The story, originally from the Greek myths, goes like this: Pluto, the god of the underworld, abducted Proserpina to be his wife in the underworld. Proserpina’s mother, Ceres, was outraged by this act and actually caused a perpetual winter on Earth in retaliation. Pluto was then convinced to return Proserpina for half of each year, relieving winter during that time which gave rise to the growing season of spring, summer and fall.

So Ceres is actually Pluto’s quite critical mother in law. Is there a parallel between the story of these two gods and the story of the two “dwarf” planets? In order to keep some of his planet status, Pluto had to let Ceres enter the circle of planets as well, as an equal (both of dwarf-status). In order to keep his bride, half-time, Pluto had to concede to his mother in law, Ceres. In order to retain some of his power Pluto had to give space to women. The god of death is not known for a willingness to negotiate but in this case he had no choice. The imposition of winter forced his hand. Does this parallel the history of the nuclear bomb? Has this tremendously destructive force been used as a deterrent or to force negotiation? In fact, nuclear weapons have been used to force compromises between opposing parties who might not have been willing to compromise otherwise.


Do all the facts of Pluto’s discovery and history match with the astrological themes connected to the planet? Absolutely. Astrology, in fact, has used the continuing story of Pluto in the “news” to give us even more clues to the astrological meaning behind Pluto.  As an astrologer, I must be able to understand the history of Pluto in order to be able to say that I understand Pluto. Do these stories support my understanding of Pluto as the ambassador of the Galactic Center? Do these stories support my view of Pluto as recommending that we take death as an advisor to the question of how to live life? Do these stories support my take on Pluto as a small and seemingly insignificant package that carries immense power and importance? Yes. Do I expect the observation of Pluto done close range by the NEW HORIZONS mission to further confirm all of this? Definitely.



Neil DeGrasse Tyson “The Pluto Files:The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet.” WW Norton, NY 2009.

Mike Brown “How I Killed Pluto and Why it Had It Coming.” 2012


About Kilaya

Kilaya is a yogi who is also well-versed in the sciences. He studied physics and mathematics at college, biology and molecular biology on his own, fluid dynamics while working as a professional plumber and has always had a passion for in-depth psychology. Now he adds what he has learned from his spiritual master, Amma, and from his life as a professional astrologer to his writings in order to make discoveries that may inspire others.

Posted on March 5, 2015, in Astrology, Scorpio Ring of Fire and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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