couple looking out at a hugely enlarged sphere of Pluto
This image of a scale model of Pluto “hanging” over a harbor was produced by the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and CuriosityStream. (Pluto image resized by

Dwarf planet Pluto left the sign of Capricorn and entered Aquarius on March 23, 2023. Pluto's sign changes are always significant, auguring a major shift and the start of a new phase in our individual and collective evolutionary process. As this small but mighty planet moves through a sign, it applies the intentions of Transmutation and Empowerment to the areas of life ruled by that sign.

The Age of Enlightenment

The last time Pluto was in socially-conscious and progressive Aquarius was from 1778 to 1798. These two decades have been called the Age of Reason, also known as the Age of Enlightenment.

Among the events during those years that show Pluto's transformational influence: the U.S. Constitution was ratified and the Bill of Rights was penned; the Industrial Revolution accelerated, with steam power revolutionizing transport and textiles; the planet Uranus was discovered, and John Mitchell advanced his theory of black holes.

Idealistic Aquarius is also concerned with equality and individual freedoms. In 1778, the state of Virginia was the first U.S. state to abolish slave trade, and in 1792, Denmark became the first nation to make the sale of humans illegal. The French Revolution that began in 1789 was built upon the concepts of "liberté, égalité, et fraternité."

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In 1794, an atheist religion called the Cult of Reason was founded, applying Aquarian scientific approach and natural skepticism to spiritual beliefs. In similar fashion, during Pluto's previous transit through Aquarius (1532 to 1553), Copernicus shocked existing scientific and religious thought systems by stating that the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the solar system.

Here in present day, with Saturn in Pisces activating the "spiritual but not religious" mindset and transformational Pluto entering metaphysically-aware Aquarius, it will be interesting to watch what new forms of religion (or rebellions against religions) manifest over the next few years.

Power to the People

Pluto’s transit through Aquarius may feel somewhat like the mid-1960s, when Pluto was conjunct Uranus, the planetary ruler of Aquarius. Those years were very tumultuous, but resulted in some major and much-needed societal shifts.

One theme we can watch for is the drive to return the “power to the people.” While many will take more enlightened routes to achieve this goal, some may be fanatical in their expression as they rebel against controls and trigger reactions from the powers-that-were.

Instead of centralized governments establishing rules that everyone must follow, one of the goals of Pluto's 20-year transit of Aquarius is for people who share similar goals and ideals to form new, self-sufficient communities. These co-ops are likely to be based on progressive Aquarian ideals such as renewable energy and shared responsibility. Technology and scientific thought will certainly go through a major metamorphosis during this time. We are likely to see breakthroughs in physics, and in our perceptions of “dark matter” and “junk DNA.”

Since Pluto is the Psychotherapist planet and god of the underworld, we will see significant shifts in our understanding of the human psyche and in the ways in which we approach death and dying. While in Aquarius, the sign of intuition, metaphysics, and higher consciousness, Pluto will also empower our ability to comprehend and communicate with other realms of existence, other dimensional beings.

Themes Ruled by Aquarius

Here are some of the themes and areas that are ruled by Aquarius, where we can expect to see major developments over the next 20 years while Pluto is in the sign:

- Social Consciousness, Social Reform, Human Rights

- Progressive Ideas, Science, Technology, Outer Space

- Friendships, Communities, Groups

- Humanitarianism, Altruism

- Individualism, Self-sufficiency

- Advanced Knowledge, Higher Wisdom

- Cooperation, Equality, Fairness

- Electricity, Wind Power

- Astrology, Metaphysics, the Occult

Pluto is in Aquarius for only a few weeks in 2023, due to going retrograde on May 1. It returns to Capricorn on June 11 and re-enters Aquarius on January 21, 2024. Pluto then dips back into Capricorn one more time in 2024 before settling into Aquarius for its 20-year transit, from September 1, 2024 to January 19, 2044.

© 2023 Pam Younghans, NorthPoint Astrology. All Rights Reserved.


About the Author

Pam YounghansPam Younghans is a professional astrologer, editor, and writer. She lives in a log home northeast of Seattle, Washington with her beloved animal companions. She has been interpreting charts professionally for over 25 years. If you are interested in an astrology reading, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or leave a message at 425.445.3775.

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