Pluto in Aquarius: Connect or Disconnect

Sunday January 21st 2024

Balthazar by Glyn Warren Philpott

This year’s great cosmic shift — the move of Pluto into Aquarius — has already caused much hammering of keyboards, bursting of brain cells and copious words to be spilled across the internet.

Here’s what you need to know.

• Pluto will be in Aquarius from 20 January 2024-9 March 2043 aside from a brief return to Capricorn this year from 2 September-19 November.

• Pluto was last in Aquarius from 1777-1797.

• Because the Lord of the Underworld moves slowly, this year (2024) Pluto will get to 2° Aquarius on 2 May before turning retrograde. That’s the pace at which he’ll continue through Aquarius.

• Pluto does not spend the same amount of time in each sign. His shortest visit is to his own sign Scorpio (11.5 years) in the 1980s, and his longest to Taurus (31.5 years) 1851-1882. He is beginning to lengthen his sojourns now that he’s arrived in Aquarius.

Pluto is the planet of death and regeneration, crime and punishment, truth and psychology, archaeology and burial, passion and sexual awakening, master and slave, empowerment and disempowerment, laser-focus, great wealth, destruction, regeneration, nuclear power. As the Lord of the Dead, he wears the magical helmet of invisibility made by one-eyed Cyclops, and bursts out of the earth in a chariot pulled by four midnight horses. He rules the world underground where live the dead. On the throne beside him is Persephone — a queen — the object of his passion, who only stays with him for part of the year.

In our dreams and stories, he is Hades, Dracula, Darth Vader, Michael Corleone, Baba Yaga, Empress Wu, phoenix, demon lover. If you’ve ever watched the TV series Breaking Bad, you’ll know what could happen when you have a long Pluto transit: transformation from high-school teacher to crime-lord. Bryan Cranston, the actor who plays Walter White in the show, has Pluto in Leo, the actor’s sign, on a critical angle of his chart.

All this sounds a little hair-raising, and maybe a little exciting — and it’s as well to remember what happened at some other ingresses of Pluto. In the 1980s, a sexually-transmitted mystery virus that had been affecting people in San Francisco suddenly became a worldwide killer called AIDS. That was when Pluto went into Scorpio, the sign that rules the genitals. Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn in 2008 was the banking crisis almost to the day. Sometimes, it’s not so clear-cut though: looking at 1994-1995 when Pluto moved into Sagittarius, it’s hard to see just one incident. However, those years of Pluto in Sagittarius, the sign of organised religion, were marked by terrorism stemming from religious or nationalist conviction. Interestingly, Britain’s oldest merchant bank Barings collapsed just a few weeks after Pluto’s ingress into Sagittarius thanks to one trader’s gambling. Risk-taking is a Sagittarian trait by tradition, and Pluto is, of course, the Lord of Wealth. The trader, Nick Leeson, lost $1.4bn.

So what happens when the Lord of the Underworld reaches for the skies of Aquarius, the fixed air sign? He puts on the spangled cloak of a wizard and follows a star.

Aquarius is one of the social signs, and governs our collective connections — public transport, the internet, the Suez Canal, the electricity grid. This is a political sign too. Aquarius is democratic as much as Capricorn is autocratic. So these are the things we can expect to see transformed. Last time there was this combination, we had two major democratic revolutions — in the USA and France.

Mind you, those were not the only things happening in the 1780s. And this is a mistake we can make with astrology. You look back and forget that for most people, most of the time, life carried on its humdrum way. Instead, these movements of the outer planets meant private changes as they touched people’s charts.

A few collective possibilities for Pluto in Aquarius

• 2024 is the biggest election year in history, with around half the planet going to the polls.This is very significant.  Democracy is under threat right now, but also booming.

• Problems with air travel — note already the breaking Boeings.

• The internet may be broken and remade. Speaking personally: I am writing this on 19 January, and my computer thinks it’s 8 days ago:  time warp! I’m getting a much more powerful (Pluto) computer (Aquarius) on day one. Back up your stuff, by the way. Cyber-attacks, cyber-fraud and other organised attacks along the internet are likely to increase. But at the same time that Pluto is a criminal, he is also a law-enforcer: that’s another polarity. So there may actually be more sheriffs  on  the web by the end of this transit. There are also likely to be challenges and transformation of who actually owns what. Major loss and profit in tech.

• A revolution in the grid — hopefully through renewables. Aquarius is, in general, associated with science and engineering. This also applies to air traffic, and possibly shipping lines. So think of lines of communication and electricity.

• Reformation of the current international order. The South African case against Israel at the International Court of Justice last week is an example of the way the Global South is likely to start using the rules to change the rules, and how the “moral authority” of the West will be challenged. This is just one way the current order is likely to change. Here’s another: China will experience Pluto right on the Ascendant this year and next. In some sense, China’s gloves are about to come off.

• Significant changes in legal or governmental structures. Remember the American Constitution and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man? How we co-operate with each other is likely to be transformed — at least in some parts of the world.

• Revolutionary ideas spread. A revolution in the transmission of ideas. Clearly, large language model AI is already a harbinger of this.

• Unions. Aquarius is the sign of teamwork. Unions, co-operatives will gain power or be destroyed. Power will come through organised groups of like-minded people — not top-down.

A few personal possibilities 

Wherever Aquarius is in your chart will begin to feel the heavy tread of Pluto from tomorrow. This is an area that will be transformed over the next two decades. House placement is quite key here. For example, I note that Pluto transits through the Fifth House of children, often bring… children, and a creative surge in other ways too.

All of us should be thinking about how we streamline certain processes, deepen certain friendship (and delete others), engage or disengage with society, cut down air travel, transmit ideas, transform our thinking or mental processes, delete prejudice, work in teams (or not).

How Pluto works in your natal chart is important too. If he only makes good aspects, your transformations should be smooth, although I’ve noticed that people with seemingly tough Plutos natally often seem to rise to Pluto transits more easily in a way, since they are familiar with Pluto already.

Aquarians will, of course, be most affected. You are about to start on a couple of decades of transformation — are you ready to take your power? Marry Hades? Become a Lord of the Underworld?

And Leos will be contending with this opposition too. This is likely to mean partners or relationships change. Maybe your husband is about to make a ton of money — or become a psychotherapist.

Taurus, you’re likely to have a career transformation. This may start with a huge loss or huge gain.

Those of you born with Pluto in Leo (1937-1956/7/8) will be having your Pluto Opposition or Half-Return — which is a significant transit for your whole generation. You are the Boomers, and you may be getting some pushback from society at this point. However, remember your personal transformative journey, how your generation’s raised consciousness — around the environment, race, feminism, for example — may be coming to a “Full Moon” moment, a moment of completion as the world catches up with those ideas (in some places).

If you were born with Pluto in Scorpio (1983-1995 approx), you’ll be getting the dynamic square now — and you may be called to action as a generation. It may be challenging somehow, and it may be about fundamental truths or value systems that end up being completely overhauled.

With Pluto in Libra, you’re about to feel some stress released as at last Pluto stops squaring  Libra.

Pay attention to the signs now. What’s happening right this moment?

One last note — Aquarius is the sign most associated with systems of knowledge. Be prepared for received ideas of all kinds to be blown up, and that includes astrological ones.

By the way apologies for the delay in the year ahead videos, I will have to wait for the new computer before I can get them edited.

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  1. Isy says:


    The Aquarius-Capricorn line is in the middle of my 10th house. As it happens, I just bowed out of social media (human networks, very Aquarius) to work on my web pages, outlets for my articles, and possibly a store for my niche customers — digging in (Plutonically) my electronic-dependent (Aquarian) work & public visibility (10th H.) I wasn’t thinking about all this, it just felt like “It’s Time.”

    I have to say, there’s a bit of recovery required. My brain is toast. I hope that clears up soon. Pallas is transiting a lovely trine to natal Mercury, so, it looks like support for figuring out how to recuperate my higher brain functions.

    Pluto is squaring my “Solar plexus”, the Sun-Mars-&Friends stellium just above my Ascendant. I have no idea what that means, but then it *is* a 12th H placement.

  2. Isy says:

    I’ve been thinking — since Occupy, actually — about the decentralization of power. No surprise as charismatic leaders and potential leaders have had such a lousy survival rate, but it’s been fascinating watching it unfold.

    Also, as nuclear science has absolutely leaped forward in the past 50 years, there actually *is* such a thing as safe types of nuclear energy, and what we really need is laws written which specify the use & waste parameters of allowable nuclear power, so that this kind is the only kind developed for power.

    Also, cold fusion!!! How Plutonian is that, eh?

    Interesting times.

    • Christina says:

      I think one possibility of Pluto in Aquarius is safe nuclear power in smaller units — so not those huge stations but spread out like a matrix