This article, while containing information that may be useful for everyone, is written specifically for those who have Pluto positioned between 25 and 27 degrees of Leo in their birth charts. This includes those born between September 1954 and February 1955, between July and September 1955, and between February and August 1956.
I've been thinking about the meaning of May's Neptune-Chiron-Jupiter alignment opposing my own natal Pluto for a several weeks now - but only recently did it occur to me that since there is a group of us who will be working those same energies, we might as a group benefit from considering what the alignment could mean.
My intention with this discussion is to share what information I can gather internally and externally that might assist us in navigating the alignment. Granted, we're looking at energies that do not reach their peak for several months - but because I feel this alignment is an integral part of the process set to culminate in 2012, it will be helpful to be aware of what's ahead.
We each have Pluto in a different area of our charts, and related uniquely to the various personal planets, so this discussion will not be specific as to where exactly each person's experience is likely to play out - but we can look at some general meanings and trends that should be helpful.
My overall sense of the May 2009 alignment is that it is an amplified opportunity for spiritual healing and awareness for all of us on planet Earth - but in some way, this opportunity is particularly important for those in our group. The alignment forms exactly opposite our natal Pluto, which means there may be pressure from the outside world that pushes us into a new stage of being rather than something that occurs more organically or spontaneously. And, since this is Pluto, there is potential for this energy to move us significantly forward in the manifestation of our mission on the planet, through helping us heal and rise above the fears that have limited us to this point.
In addition to my own thoughts and insights, I will include in this discussion contributions from various astrologers whose work I value. Combining the essence of these descriptions should help us understand how the alignment may work with us.
Why May 2009?
As of this writing (May 2008), Neptune and Chiron are about 3 degrees apart in Aquarius, so are already considered conjunct. This means that in subtle ways, we are already working with two-thirds of the energies involved - but Neptune and Chiron will not begin to work in earnest with our shared Pluto until 2009.
And, although Neptune and Chiron do not form their exact conjunction until February 17, 2010, they are virtually conjunct each other when Jupiter conjoins Neptune on May 27, 2009 at 26°29' of Aquarius. With Chiron located at 26°14' of Aquarius on that day, there is very little distance between the three players. In addition, Neptune goes retrograde on May 29 and Chiron goes retrograde on May 30, which means both are stationary and very strong during that week of the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction.
All of this focuses our attention on the last week of May 2009 for the pinnacle of these energies, with associated events playing out from early Spring 2009 through late Winter 2010.
What Does It All Mean?
Neptune conjunct Chiron combines the energies of spiritual transcendence with emotional healing and ascension. Add to that the influence of Jupiter, whose job is to amplify whatever he touches. Sounds like a powerful time to me.
Then, focus that heightened energy like a spotlight on the planet Pluto in each of our charts - the planet that represents our need to make an impact on the world; to fulfill a sense of mission, purpose and meaning; to be noticed; and to be passionately and creatively involved in the process of living.
Astrologer Steven Forrest describes Pluto as representing "the realization of one's destiny, the recognition of the absurdity of all narrow pursuits, and the development of the capacity to discern truth." He also writes that Pluto represents "the part of you that can deal with life's darker side and create meaning and energy in the face of it."
This seems to indicate that our group has a special and specific role to play at a time when healing and a heightened perspective will be particularly needed. The first step, certainly, involves our own individual journeys of transcendence and awakening. But since Pluto is being worked with in each of our charts, as we go through the healing process, it will directly affect how each of us manifests our larger mission on the planet.
The Previous Neptune Transit to Our Natal Pluto
Because all of us are "of a certain age," we have the benefit of being old (and wise!) enough to have experienced a previous transit of Neptune to our natal Pluto. That transit was a square aspect, and occurred five times over a two-year period: from late 1967 through late 1969.
Of course, we were all young then, and it may be hard to recall exactly what we were doing and thinking in our personal lives during that two-year period. But we can look at news headlines for those years to help us remember and to supply some themes for us to work with.
In general, the late ‘60s were a turbulent time in the United States, with war protests, civil rights demonstrations, and the riots at the Democratic National Convention. Terrible truths about the abuse of power and war crimes came to the forefront. Lies were revealed, and disillusionment was strong.
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. The pope condemned birth control. Richard Nixon won the presidency, setting the foundation for further disintegration of existing power structures. Senator Edward Kennedy drove off the Chappaquiddick Bridge, resulting in a scandal that threatened to end his political career.
On the positive side, many advancements were made during those years as well. The U.S. swore in our first African-American Supreme Court Justice, the musical "Hair" opened on Broadway, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was established, the first successful heart transplant was performed. President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. Golda Meir became the first female prime minister of Israel.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged the "bed-in for peace" and recorded "Give Peace a Chance." The Stonewall riots in NYC marked the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. The cover of the June 20, 1969 issue of Time magazine had a banner that read, "Starting to Go Home," commemorating the first withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam.
Neil Armstrong took his famous first steps on the moon. Woodstock was held in upstate New York. A group of American Indians seized Alcatraz Island, bringing the plight of a virtually-ignored segment of our population into broader social awareness.
The first ATM was installed, and the first successful Internet communication was sent by a UCLA student. Sesame Street debuted on PBS television.
Clearly, these were not only turbulent but very productive years, and were pivotal in bringing about considerable social change. I don't mean to imply that the Neptune square to our natal Pluto was the "cause" of all these developments, but I do expect that there are certain components of our experience from those years that will resurface for us in 2009-2010.
The disintegration of existing power structures is one example of the effect of Neptune squaring natal Pluto. The dissolving of facades set up to hide the truth is another, with disillusionment oftentimes the aftermath.
How did the events of the late ‘60s affect your understanding of power and truth? How did your experiences then influence your current path and ability to fulfill your life mission? How did your perceptions of reality then affect your ability to trust and take risks now? What passions were raised in you, and how did you deal with them?
My Personal Memories
Living in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s, I was well aware of the political unrest of the times. I was 11 in 1967; my oldest sister was 18 and getting ready to leave for college. With events such as People's Park in Berkeley, anti-war protestors and riots seemingly everywhere, and the war itself on everyone's minds, my already-protective parents kept us closer to home than usual. I'm sure some of those fears rubbed off on me. Have those fears since inhibited me in any way from fully embracing my personal mission on the planet?
On the other hand, those same loving parents modeled how to stand up for what one feels is right. As counselors of the high school group at our Methodist church, they were instrumental in helping two draft-age young men succeed in their applications to be classified as conscientious objectors. Their commitment to that process also had an impact on me, confirming my belief in the importance of being true to one's beliefs in spite of pressure to conform.
With my two older sisters in high school and my parents the youth counselors, I went everywhere that church youth group went. I was with them, working in a predominantly African-American town in California to help build a well, on the weekend when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. The impromptu memorial service we attended that night affected me deeply, and the singing of "We Shall Overcome" still rings in my ears.
Neptune transits can affect us in a wide variety of ways. If we handle his energies well, we develop spiritual and creative techniques that allow us to transcend the dramas and traumas that are undeniably part of our human experience. We learn to trust in unseen outcomes. We learn to perceive reality from a higher perspective, and understand that "all is not as it seems."
If we do not deal with Neptune's influence well, we can allow our inability to control outcomes dissolve us into a puddle of fear and disillusionment. We default to escaping from reality rather than learning to transcend it. Or we get comfortable with living a lie, fearing that the truth will be our undoing.
With Neptune working with our collective natal Pluto throughout 2009 and into 2010, we'll likely be facing some or all of these themes as they relate to our larger mission in this lifetime.
Here's how astrologer Robert Hand describes a Neptune opposition to natal Pluto in his book Planets in Transit:
This transit signifies encounters that cause various aspects of your life to be transformed. Most commonly, this transformation will take the form of disappearance of persons, circumstances or even possessions that you have become used to. You will also encounter forces that try to reveal aspects of your life that you have long kept hidden from yourself.
Initially, you will probably resist these revelations, believing that they cannot teach you anything very constructive. A transit like this often reveals aspects of ourselves that we have been taught to consider evil or at least negative. These aspects are often a source of positive energy, but because we refuse to acknowledge them, that energy is wasted and is usually out of our control. There will be much psychological compulsiveness at this time, but the less you resist facing yourself, the less difficulty you will have.
On another level, you will be shown a spiritual dimension of your existence that can immensely broaden your life and experience, if you are willing to look at it. This dimension may seem so far beyond your ordinary life that you will consider it impossible to accept, but this knowledge is necessary for your growth.
On a practical level, avoid taking at face value any new encounters with persons or circumstances. Even when persons are not trying to deceive you, they may do so unintentionally, because you won't immediately understand what they are really showing you. Until you have arrived at this level of understanding, adopt a waiting attitude and commit yourself to as little as possible.
With the May 2009 alignment we do, of course, have additional fuel in the fire, with both Chiron and Jupiter aligned with Neptune in this opposition to our natal Pluto. In my opinion, the addition of these two planetary energies emphasizes the very positive portion of Rob Hand's description above: "You will be shown a spiritual dimension of your existence that can immensely broaden your life and experience."
In Part 2 of this conversation, we'll talk more about what those two planets will be contributing to the energetic mix.
(continued in Part Two: Chiron in Aquarius)
Planets in Transit: Life Cycles for Living
by Robert Hand.
About the Author
Pam Younghans lives near Seattle, Washington with her husband and their two dogs. She has been interpreting charts professionally for over 20 years. If you have comments or questions about this Journal or are interested in an astrology reading, visit Pam's Web site at http://www.northpointastrology.com or call 425-445-3775.
Pam is the author of the weekly astrology journal in InnerSelf.