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Freedom, Authority, & Law: Pluto in Sagittarius & Capricorn
This article was written & published in October 2006

Recent debate about Pluto's planetary status does not alter its usefulness in astrology. Whether Pluto is officially classified as a planet or a dwarf planet is very interesting, but ultimately is not the deciding factor. The question is 'does Pluto have value in astrology?' and the answer is a resounding 'yes.'

In the Zodiac wheel of signs, the meaning of each sign is an outgrowth of the preceding one. They circle around and around, without end, depicting the progression from one phase of experience to the next. Each phase builds on what came before, and in turn forms the foundation of what is to come next.

Pluto has been in Sagittarius since 1995. It will move into Capricorn in January 2008, stay there until June, temporarily move back into Sagittarius again as if weaving the connection between the two, and then move into Capricorn again in November 2008, remaining there for 16 years.

So the foundations are already in place and the stage is now being set for the transition. There is still a window of opportunity for us to make useful changes to the plot, the script, and the cast of characters, if we want to.

Sagittarius & Capricorn

If Sagittarius is the sign of making laws, Capricorn is the sign of enforcing them. The beliefs and world-views, suppositions and presuppositions, assumptions and presumptions formed in the Sagittarius phase are carried forward into the Capricorn phase to be tested in the real world.

In the light of experience, the belief systems and laws are found to be either useful and reliable, or useless and unworkable. In the case of the former they are then confirmed, i.e. made more firm. In the case of the latter they are either jettisoned or re-formed.

Judgement is a key part of this process. Wise judgements survive and thrive, foolish or rash judgements flounder and cause pain. The consequences of misjudgement come home to roost. All of this works individually and collectively.

Rendezvous with reality: from Fire to Earth

To move from Sagittarius to Capricorn is to move from a Fire sign to an Earth sign. What has been envisioned (Fire) is moved into practice (Earth). This can be a smooth transition, or it can be an uncomfortable - even painful - rendezvous with reality.

Here are some of the topics on which the UK government has been creating laws while Pluto has been in Sagittarius. They are a guide as to what level of potential the UK has been expressing in relation to the Pluto in Sagittarius themes. Many of these laws are already in place but remain in their early stages, while others are due to come into effect once Pluto has moved into Capricorn. They mainly revolve around Sagittarian themes of law, freedom, education, publishing and data, religion, foreign relations, and travel.
It is as if we are in a gestation period, gravitating towards a certain kind of authoritarian future - the darker side of Pluto in Capricorn.
  • Children's Database
  • Youth Opportunities [sic] card
  • National Identity Register & ID cards - originally due to be brought in when Pluto is in Capricorn, might now be delayed until Pluto in Aquarius (Aquarius is the sign of collective identity issues)
  • Biometric passports & driving licences
  • Licence-plate reading CCTV
  • Facial recognition CCTV
  • UK world leader in CCTV & more CCTV than the rest of Europe combined
  • Satellite tracking of road vehicles for road tax
  • RFID tags
  • Legislative & Regulatory Reform Bill - would allow the government to bypass Parliamentary debate and scrutiny (i.e. a Bill for the death of democracy) - the government almost managed to slip this one through the net without any media attention whatsoever
  • Detention without trial extended despite no case for doing so
  • Anti-terrorism laws used by police to target innocent citizens, e.g. woman walking down cycle path, woman wearing 'B*llocks to Blair' t-shirt, Walter Wolfgang, etc
  • Serious Organised Crime & Police Act used by police to target innocent citizens
  • Extended phone tap powers
  • Pursuit of blanket government access to emails
  • 'Glorifying terrorism' legislation
  • Pursuit of reversal of the burden of proof - 'innocent until proven guilty' damaged
  • Removal of the right to silence
  • Removal of double jeopardy
  • Reduction in use of trial by jury
  • Introduction of fixed civil penalties - unconstitutional, & bypasses right to fair trial
  • Attempt to change judicial appointments to bring under government control (USA-style Supreme Court)
  • Citizenship tests for immigrants and school children
  • Police obtaining and retaining DNA samples from innocent people with no right to withhold data or have data removed
  • City Academies - privatising education system, offering Academies in a 'two for one' offer, offering schools for sale to businesses and religion organisations
  • University tuition fees - 'study now, pay later', & privatisation of university education
  • Centralising police forces - mergers, call centre-isation
  • All offences are now arrestable - removable of distinctions between arrestable and non-arrestable offences (and your DNA can be taken, with force if necessary, even if the police acknowledge that you are entirely innocent)
  • Release of private information to businesses (DVLA to Tesco, and proposed release of National Identity Register info to companies)
  • Home Secretary seizing power to detain citizens on suspicion alone, or deprive of citizenship on suspicion alone - no need for judge and jury or evidence
  • Communications Traffic Data Retention legislation - requires phone and internet companies to retain logs of traffic 'just in case'
  • EU Directive on Data Retention - pushed for by the UK
  • Civil Contingencies Act - emergency can be declared by Senior Ministers and Lords Commissioners in secret without having to have a written record of the declaration
  • Extradition treaty to the USA - no requirement for presentation of evidence to a UK court prior to extradition
All this without mentioning the police shooting of innocent Jean Charles de Menezes in Brixton, London, and the police raid on a family house in Forest Gate, London, where they shot (but thankfully did not kill) another innocent man. Two more cases where innocent citizens have been on the brunt of horrifically abusive State power.

Do we want to go further in this direction, or would we prefer to change course?

Moral compass, & expediency

Sagittarius is the sign of the Zodiac associated with forming a sense of morals with which to function in social groups. It is where we decide on guideliness of what is appropriate, ethical, fair, and just. Capricorn is the sign where that moral compass is taken forward into society's organising structures, norms, edicts, custom and practice. It is also the sign where any deviation from the moral compass is either corrected, reigned in, restricted, or punished.

It follows that if, during Pluto in Sagittarius, our moral compass is adrift or - at its most extreme (and Pluto represents a tendency to go to extremes) - utterly twisted out of shape, then during Pluto in Capricorn there can arise abusiveness of power, and even a ruthless pursuit of objectives that is ultimately sociopathic. The social warmth of fair play thus gives way to the Arctic cold of expediency. At its worst, first comes the salesman (Sagittarius), and once the foot is in the door, along comes the fascist (Capricorn).

This is why the ethical foundations and 'rules' of living in society are being debated, argued, altered, and reviewed at the moment in countries like the UK. There is a pressing need to ensure that we steer this review process in a healthy direction so that the constructive potentials symbolised by Pluto in Capricorn can be brought into play.

'Control freakery' is often bandied about, but with Pluto in Capricorn it is likely to reach a whole new level unless we use the last remaining time of Pluto in Sagittarius to re-set our society - and our government in particular - on a justice- and freedom-based foundation. Those who have been cheerfully dismissing the warnings about State encroachment on civil liberties might regret their lack of foresight. 
Orwell's vision in his book '1984' of a Big Brother government is coming uncomfortably close to reality.

Hopefully it is not too late, and it is true that there are many signs that people are beginning to assert their rights to appropriate representation, and indeed appropriate treatment, from their politicians. In fact, the stirrings of desire for a constitutional convention could very possibly come to fruition with Pluto in Capricorn, especially for the UK as Pluto approaches a conjunction with the country's Sun in 2011 (within orb until 2015. It's very likely that the monarchy and the government go through a radical change during these years. It's our job to ensure that the changes are constructive and in the nation's best and highest interests, rather than to its detriment).

We need to change the laws (Sagittarius) so that we can count on (Capricorn) accountability (Capricorn), rather than counting on being tracked and accounted for by those with authority over us. In the business world it used to be called turning the pyramid upside down; the person that used to be at the top, issuing edicts, transfers to a supportive role. It's a very Capricornian resolution, and one which the Romans used to enact at what we now call Christmas time - the masters became servants to the slaves for a while.

Dark side, light side

Pluto's movement through a sign correlates with humanity becoming more aware of the darker side of human nature in relation to that sign's themes. In Sagittarius the themes have been religious beliefs, freedom and the lack thereof, law and lawlessness. Hypocrisy has been a major challenge of Pluto in Sagittarius, and truth-telling has been a life-or-death issue.

In Capricorn the themes will shift forwards a notch, carrying forward the Sagittarian seeds we have sown. We will become even more conscious of authority and the misuse of it, law enforcement and elites being above the law, oppression and drudgery versus privilege and plenty, and the dangers of the class system which is alive and well and long-forgotten by some.

The dark side of Pluto in Capricorn is to be overcome by the treadmill existences we are stuck in: the over-work ethic has to go, otherwise we'll spend the next twenty years being increasingly enslaved to it. When Pluto moves into Capricorn it's time to clear out all those false ideas of how life is supposed to be, what we should do, all those guilt trips and fear-mongering teachings that have been holding us down, individually and collectively, for so long. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, but if we don't let go of these restricting ways of life then we're in danger of not getting out of this rut for another 248 years (Pluto will not be in Capricorn again until the year 2254.)

If Pluto in Sagittarius saw a spreading awareness in countries like the UK of the lack of hope for most of the planet's population and an increase in depressive illness, Pluto in Capricorn might well see a progression in the currently dawning awareness of the institutional structures and national and transnational hierarchies that account for that lack - the dark shadow cast by the alliances between governments and corporations (both are Capricorn entities).

There is then a chance to build the critical mass to re-align those structures, eliminate the top-down hierarchies, and generate real wealth for all, rather than just talking about it. As has been famously said, a person's right to live ought not be dependent on where they were born - geography should not dictate whether you live or die.

Horn of plenty

Capricorn's symbol is the horn of plenty. Again, we reap what we sow, and during Pluto in Sagittarius wealth (Plutus translates as 'wealth') we have begun to plant seeds far and wide that living in the so-called global village does not mean more and more cheap plane tickets to holiday destinations - Sagittarius is associated with long-range travel, Pluto with destructiveness, illustrating the damage we cause economically and environmentally by consuming for ourselves rather sharing out even-handedly.

Rather, it means sharing the right to live - the right to food, shelter, medicine, clothing, happiness, and more - without discrimination, without judgement, and without measuring worthiness based on racial divides, geographical divides, political divides, or cultural divides. Instead of being trapped in time and space (both associated with Capricorn), experience could become our transformer.

Pluto is a planet - or, for the time being, a dwarf planet - not just of the power to destroy and wipe out, but also of regeneration and recyling, of forces of nature, of rebirth and resurrection. Capricorn is an Earth sign. Putting the symbolism together we can deduce that the healthiest potential of Pluto in Capricorn is to plough human ingenuity into finding ways to eliminate all forms of human pollution, toxicity, and destructive habits, replacing them with safe means of regeneration, recycling, and renewal.

'Sustainability' and 'renewable' have become buzzwords while Pluto has been in Sagittarius. It's now time to put the hot air (Fire) into practice (Earth). If we do that, then we have a chance to radically transform the way we share this planet, our collective home. That is the meaning of Pluto in Capricorn.


There is much more to say about Pluto in Capricorn. In true Capricornian fashion, time and space define the parameters within which this article is written, and so this will have to suffice for now. Hopefully, this short sketch of some key themes will serve to stimulate your own thinking about the times and places in which we live, and the course we steer in the years ahead.

More information:

More about Pluto through the Zodiac signs:

More about the National Identity Register and ID Cards:  (NB This link opens in a new window)

More about the Legal & Regulatory Reform Bill:
 (NB This link opens in a new window)

Applying astrology to political lifeTony Blair, Menzies Campbell, David Cameron, European Union, USA, War on Terror, Uranus in Pisces & Neptune in Aquarius, & more

Applying astrology to business life Euro Currency, NHS, BBC,
USA economy, Ofcom, Concorde,
W Edwards Deming, European Central Bank, Anita Roddick, & more

Applying astrology to people's lives Health, emotional intelligence, zodiac elements, understanding change, Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani, Germaine Greer, & more

Astrology for the 21st Century - Bringing the sky down to Earth

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