Although NASA can’t make up its mind about what Pluto is, exactly (it’s currently considered a dwarf planet, if you’re keeping track), astrology takes a more clear-eyed view. Pluto symbolizes upheaval and change, and this year, the U.S. experiences its Pluto return — an event that many suspect will signal a major shift for the country.
Planetary returns occur when a planet in the zodiac returns to the place (the degree and sign) it was during a physical or spiritual birth. These events are thought to mark a new chapter and story in our lives — one that will set the stage for the future, and is karmic in nature.
Some planets return to a significant degree and sign faster than others, like the Sun, who comes back to the same position in our birth charts every year. Mars returns to the point and sign it was when we were born approximately every two years; Jupiter returns every 13 years; Saturn returns take place every 27 to 30 years (you may have heard about your individual Saturn return, which is often a period of transformational change); and Uranus returns every 84 years.
As you may have intuited, planets that are farther away from the Earth take a longer time orbiting to these “birth” degrees and signs. And far-off Pluto takes roughly 225 years or more to return to the position it was in during a notable event. That means individuals never experience their personal Pluto return.
But what’s getting people in the U.S. interested this year is that Pluto will reach 27 degrees Capricorn on February 22, 2022. And that’s the degree and sign it was in during the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which many people consider the birth of the modern-day United States. Astrologers are considering this the U.S.’s personal Pluto return, and because Pluto is known for shaking up current dynamics and pushing them to crumble — all to allow them to be put back together in a restorative way that aligns with the status quo — they are predicting that the country may undergo some major changes, hopefully for the better.
When the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, American colonies declared their sovereignty from Great Britain, grandly stating that “all men are created equal.” In reality, this sentiment applied only to upper class people, and really upper class men, of European descent, who had violently stolen land, rights, and dignity from Indigenous people. For years, the U.S. has been forced to reckon with what July 4 really means, and the ways in which the country continues to overtly and covertly oppress so many of its citizens.
This return, coming after a long period of upheaval that’s seen people speaking up against the harms that have been created by racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, classist systems that were put in place hundreds of years ago, is being heralded as a potential cosmic wake-up call.
Pluto returning to 27 degrees is notable, but the Planet of Transformation actually entered Capricorn, a sign that signifies money, dominance, power, authority, and ambition, on November 27, 2008, and it will remain in the sign of the sea-goat until 2024. And over the past 13-plus years, Pluto in Capricorn has caused many ugly truths to bubble to the surface, resulting in the downfall of corporations and people in power that have refused to evolve. Society can only resist transformation for so long.
Pluto is a planet of contradiction. It represents creation and destruction. It tears down things that are no longer working and replaces the outdated ways of thinking with evolutionary views. It also represents renewal and rebirth, changing ideology to align with the current times. The dwarf planet acts to help the world grow — and when people don’t want to evolve along with it, we may see societal upheavals.
This has played out time and again since 2008, with people and systems being exposed for their dishonesties and abuses of power individually (Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme came to light in December 2008, for instance) and through movements such as Me Too and Black Lives Matter. The pandemic has made our calls for justice that much louder. People are demanding change, and with this Pluto return marking a new chapter or story for the U.S., astrologers like myself are predicting that this is the time the government may undergo a massive spiritual makeover.
The most noticeable change will be in the way we do business with others and get paid. With many people working remotely, there’s been an increasing emphasis on independent work and we’ve never been more reliant on technology. Cryptocurrency is reshaping the way we save and make money. While Pluto has been Capricorn, we’ve already seen the beginnings of a financial metamorphosis, hopefully one that will ultimately modify old resources into new ones that will benefit the masses — without an imbalance or people in power controlling the financial strings.
The paradigm is shifting, as we are all beginning to see that there are many flaws in our government — too many to overlook. While the country is still divided, we can all agree that change is something that’s needed. And it’s coming.