The planet of secrets, death, and rebirth
Pluto in Astrology
Pluto is the planet of major transformation, representing the cycle of death and rebirth. It is responsible for breaking down the old to make room for the new. Pluto can also represent power and control, and reigns over our relationship to authority figures and leadership.
Pluto is the furthest and tiniest planet of all. In fact, this body is so small and far away that it lost its official status as a planet. However, that doesn’t change the astrological fact that Pluto packs a significant punch. Named after the mythological lord of the underworld, Pluto was discovered in 1930, a period of economic depression and rising fascism. These reflect both the depths and concentrated power with which this planet is associated.
Fast Pluto Facts
Nickname: Lord of the Underworld
Zodiac sign Pluto rules: Scorpio
House Pluto rules: 8th House of Depth and Intimacy
Pluto retrogrades: Once every year, with each retrograde lasting five months
Pluto stays in each zodiac sign for: about 15 – 25 years
Pluto makes a complete trip through the zodiac: About every 250 years
Pluto and Scorpio
The planet Pluto rules over the zodiac sign Scorpio. In Roman mythology Pluto is the Lord of the Underworld (hence the nickname), which describes this planet’s depth, passion, and intensity, not to mention its association with death. Scorpio and Pluto share common themes of death, rebirth, and transformation — all parts of the cycle of metamorphosis.
Pluto and the 8th House of Depth and Intimacy
The 8th House is all about the important things you share with others, from sex to money to space. This house is also associated with extremes, like life and death — just like Pluto. Both Pluto and the 8th house are only interested in the deepest and most intense emotions and experiences — those that will transform us.
The reason Pluto is so powerful is that it represents a code that can unlock and transform energy, including emotions. It is the E=MC2 of Astrology, a formula for releasing powerful forces. The connection between Pluto and nuclear energy is clear, including, of course, its use of plutonium. Additionally, this distant planet was discovered at 18 degrees of the sign Cancer on February 18, 1930. Saturn, the planet of reality, reached this point within days of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. Uranus (as in uranium) was conjunct Pluto’s discovery point at the time of the first hydrogen bomb test. The little guy is powerful!
On a personal level, Pluto is the principle of the shadow, psychologist Carl Jung’s term for parts of the psyche that we unconsciously hide from ourselves. This corresponds with the mythology of Pluto who was the kidnapper of Persephone. She was taken to his underground lair until a deal was made with her mother Demeter for her release that required her to return to the underworld for four months every year. This is a story of the returning darkness of winter. Pluto is about the descent into our own underworld or shadow. Yet it is also a story of rebirth, like the returning light of spring.
When we refuse to look into our dark side we are incomplete and lack access to our full power. When we face our fears, doubts, misdeeds, and shortcomings without blame or recrimination, we are released from their bondage and grow more profound and potent. Everyone has a shadow, no matter how good they are. It is in the willingness to encounter these often shameful parts of ourselves and to embrace them with love and understanding that we crack our emotional code and avail ourselves of more energy.
The workings of Pluto have been described as “addition by subtraction,” which begins with the purging (death) aspect of this planet that makes way for rebirth and regeneration. Simply eliminating habits, beliefs, behaviors, expectations, obligations, and ambitions that are not critical to one’s survival creates space for new ideas, actions, and aspirations to emerge. Prioritizing is Pluto’s way of working, requiring us to evaluate and choose how we spend our physical, mental, and emotional resources. It does sometimes take a dive into the personal underworld to recognize our deepest needs and desires, yet once those become clear, it’s easier to figure how to address them. A little purging and taking the plunge are keys to tapping into Pluto’s transformational and revitalizing powers.