Are you ready to live through an astrological happening that no one alive has experienced before? That's right — on March 23, Pluto, the Planet of Destruction, Death, and Rebirth, is moving on from Capricorn and entering into the intelligent, airy sign of Aquarius. The last time Pluto was in Aquarius was from 1778 to 1798 — with the planet taking 248 years to make its way through the zodiac — making this transit a once-in-a-lifetime (or once in many lifetimes) kind of occurrence.
A lot has — understandably — happened since Pluto's last traverse through the sign of the water bearer. "The invention of the first successful vaccine for smallpox, the discovery of the planet Uranus, and we also had the American Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, the French Revolution, and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution," all occurred the last time this transit happened, according Stephanie Campos, astrologer and author of Seasons of the Zodiac: Love, Magick, and Manifestation Throughout the Astrological Year.
Aquarius rules technology, innovation, the internet, and the collective, so we'll be seeing some shifts within those specific areas. "This 20-year cycle will correlate with major scientific, medical, and technological discoveries, as well as space exploration and learning more about life beyond Earth, and the breakdown of outdated systems and structures of power that ultimately are unjust and don’t serve the collective," Campos says.
As for the planet itself, think of Pluto like a cosmic compost bin. "It destroys what no longer serves us, which isn't a pretty process, but creates space for rebirth and new beginnings," says Campos. "Pluto's influence and impact is often associated with a phoenix rising from the ashes."
For the next 20 years, Pluto will expose the shadow sign of Aquarius, according to Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer for Astrology.com and author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power. "It will teach us that living constantly plugged into a screen is bad for our health and sense of well-being," she says. "We’ve already been seeing this trend for some years, but it will deepen. The rise of AI, which we saw this year, is a result of Pluto entering one of the most mental, future-forward signs, Aquarius."
There are, of course, more positive connotations to this transit. "At its highest vibration, Aquarius is the sign of social fairness that sees all humans as equal," Montúfar continues. "Over the next twenty years, we will see people rise in many countries, revolting against oppressive governments. Pluto in Aquarius will bring back revolution worldwide — something that is very needed."
On a personal level, Iva Naskova, astrologer at the Nebula app says that this transit can bring along a sense of newness and inspire us to seek more creative and innovative ways to move forward. "Independence and exploring will take your main focus, as Pluto in Aquarius will urge you to push limits and challenge yourself," she tells Refinery29. "Both Pluto and Aquarius are somewhat of rebels, and the energy from this major planetary shift won't allow for anything to hold you back or down."
Montúfar notes that recently, we’ve been experiencing a lot of rare planetary activations in Aquarius, most notably the Saturn-Uranus square and the Great Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. "As Pluto enters this Aquarius, it will re-activate Aquarian themes of freedom, revolution, social activism, and technology," she says. "But this time, they will stay active for the long haul!"
For those who want the specifics as we enter into this new astrological era: Pluto will be in Aquarius from now until June 11, again from January 22, 2024 to September 2, 2024, then November 20, 2024 to March 9, 2043, and again September 2, 2043 to January 19, 2044.
Campos says that this transit will leave us forever changed, both on an individual and collective level. Transformation here is inevitable, so embrace the shift — and hold on tight.