The US Pluto Return: We Took It Personally

Monday August 8th 2022

Miss America waves hello at the Fourth of July Parade in Philadelphia, 2022. Pic: © Lily Gould.

Well, it was quite a welcome.

In our first 36 hours in America, we accidentally saw Miss America (for real and about 20 feet away), stood for the Star Spangled Banner, went on a Pro-Choice demo, saw hundreds of police, tens of teen-age girls juggling fake guns, and got caught in an “active shooter” incident on Ben Franklin Parkway in downtown Philadelphia.

On purpose, we saw the very spot where the Declaration of Independence was signed, put the stars and stripes in  our hair,  listened to a US Park Ranger comment that the Constitution is in peril, drank an ice-cold Mexican lime juice, and stepped around a man lying in the street who might have been dead at 8.30am on a hot, hot pavement.

It was the Fourth of July in the birthplace of the nation.

Statue of Franklin and Jefferson outside the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, 4 July 2022. © Lily Gould

Statue of Franklin and Jefferson outside the Masonic Temple, early morning, Philadelphia, 4 July 2022. © Lily Gould

It felt like America was distilling itself, sending a pointed message on its Pluto Return. I wondered as I ran, trying not to lose my Birkenstocks, I wondered about my daughter’s possible relationship with the USA. It may seem absurd to take it so peronsally, but you couldn’t have made up a more thorough “arrival”. And the circumstances of our diverting the trip to Philadelphia and being there on that particular day were serendipitous, a spontaneous change of plan thanks to the generosity of a friend with a temporarily empty house in the middle of the city.

The shooting had gone like this.

Because of jet lag, we had a nap after the excitement of the morning and the parade. We got up in the evening for a bite to eat, and then walked the two blocks up to the Parkway to hear the end of the concert for the Independence Day Picnic in Park and to see the fireworks.

Before we set out though, I got a text from the childhood friend I’d be seeing next on our US trip. “Christina, be careful, my daughter just missed getting shot at Highland Park. She was in the parade.” That is a whole other story and not mine to tell.

So we were cautious as we walked up the hill and when we sat on a wall at the edge of the crowd filling up the vast park that leads up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I said: “We can hide behind this if there’s a shooter.”

About three minutes later, as the concert wound down and the news anchors burbled on the big screen, we went up a little closer to the metal barriers, so we’d have a good view of the fire in the sky. We weren’t going into the park – despite the rides and the food trucks and the little kids cavorting, because I was nervous. So we stayed the right side of the barrier, away from the main crowd.

The fireworks started. Magnificent blooms of light in the night sky. The crowd looked up and oohed.

Suddenly, we were looking at a moving sea of faces, panic-stricken faces, bathed in the lurid lights of the fireworks. A tidal wave of people was running at us, away from the display.  By the time we had turned to run too, they were upon us and we found ourselves swept along, fast. The little girl behind me was gasping: “Daddy, I can’t breathe.”  To the side, the fit people loping along were exchanging information: “What happened?”, “I don’t know.” “I heard there was a shooter.” “We just ran.” “A cop told us to go.”

The fireworks continued — bang, sparkle.

Running with a mob of people is something I’ve never done before. I’m glad it was outside with plenty of space. It was like being in a herd of gazelles or a school of fish. No jostling, no touching, but I felt that if I lost a shoe, that would be that. I held tightly on to my daughter, and tried to breathe.

The fireworks continued, joined by police helicopters.

We got inside quickly though, and saw on the news that two policemen had been shot, thousands of people had been evacuated, and that a manhunt was under way in our neighbourhood. The guns went off all night. They never found the shooter. I am glad to say, no one died.

For my daughter, It was quite an introduction to a country to which she belongs, at least partially, by birth right. So while we were cowering in our beautiful tiny house in the middle of the “safest part of Philadelphia”, I thought I’d compare her chart with the chart of the USA — and, my friends, when in a state of fear and shock, I recommend a dash of cool, clean astrology to set you straight. The result was astonishing. My daughter’s chart aligns with the US chart with the precision of a clock.

The most critical alignment is between the Aquarian Moons. They are less than a degree apart — no wonder there was such a resounding welcome home. The Moon in a country’s chart represents the people, or maybe the soul of a nation. Then there’s also a perfect alignment between my daughter’s Sun and the US Uranus, awakening a new identity in her. And then there’s the obvious conjunction of the US Jupiter and my daughter’s MC. I am sure you can pick out more.

You’ll be glad to hear that in fact, she loved her three weeks in the US, especially because of the people she met. They were just so… Aquarian.

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  1. Jeanne says:

    Stunning. I will bet you look forward to seeing what she will do!

    • Christina says:

      I am very curious. Her father is worried he will lose her to America.

      • Jeanne says:

        Ah well, at her age, it’s time for parents to stand back. Bittersweet.

        I was drawn to her North Node conjunct our collective Chiron. Seems like she and you literally stepped right into the wounds of our identity.

  2. Denise says:

    Glad to hear you are back safe. Combine a Pluto return with the Saturn/Uranus square that seems to be riling up most of the globe, and things do get a bit touchy. Earlier this week, the NY Times reported that Philadelphia has had more incidents of gun violence this past year than either New York or Los Angeles, both of which are much larger cities.

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