Astrology at its Best

  April 6, 2020  by Michael O'Reilly

       Pluto opposite the ​​
U.S. Mercury

Pundit David Brooks’ op-ed last week caught my attention, beginning with his lead: “Our national identity is being re-made in real time.” The New York Times columnist went on to describe how our politically divided country now seems like a united people finding creative ways to connect and help each other. And then there’s the dark side, how the lock-ups are creating mental health issues.
Brooks’ perspective is a great description of the Pluto astro-event that the U.S. is currently enmeshed in, and will be for the next three years. The U.S. Pluto Return is still two years off, but considering this great cycle as a process, we’ve been in what astrologers refer to as the “closure phase” since March 2000. And at the moment, transiting Pluto is especially powerful since it’s conjunct Jupiter, while both oppose the U.S. Mercury.
The transiting Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in institutional Capricorn has paved the way for the biggest government bail-out in history. While a few checks will go to middle and lower class Americans, the vast majority aims to shore up the giant corporations, just as Trump’s $trillion tax cut did in December 2017, and the Bush-Obama bailout of the banks too-big-to-fail in 2008. Jupiter-Pluto in Capricorn signals the empowerment of the oligarchy, which is part and parcel of the U.S. Pluto Return.
Pluto is and will continue to be within one degree of opposing the U.S. Mercury until early August, which establishes a timeframe for how long this combination will be messing with our collective mental health. The U.S. was born with Mercury opposite Pluto, so the paranoia-backed conspiracy theories, the obsessive need to know, the manipulative media wars, the strategic leaks as well as the vast, relentless flow of information are all prominent manifestations of the U.S. national psyche.
The non-stop stories on COVID-19 began as transiting Pluto fell within one degree of opposing the U.S. Mercury, and intensified as the aspect became exact. From this start, we can expect these stories to continue into late July or early August. The steady drumbeat of negative news has taken its toll on the American mind. Those forced to be quarantined with an abusive or addicted partner have the worst of it.
Mercury-Pluto aspects bring out the “truth-tellers”. The Captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, with a crew of over 5000, sent out a memo pleading for help. About 100 of his crew tested positive for COVID-19, and no one was doing anything about it. The Captain was fired by the Navy for creating a panic. Tight control of information is another feature of the Pluto-Mercury contact. The media has been especially hard on Trump for flip-flopping on his wide-ranging mis-statements about the Coronavirus.
With all this potential for serious mental health issues related to escalating unemployment, insecure income, and being isolated for an uncomfortably long time, let’s not overlook the potential benefits of this pandemic. Families and communities are finding innovative ways to connect and care for each other. The entire nation is becoming aware of itself in a way that allows for a creative re-birth, with cell phones and the internet functioning as the key communication tools. We are, as David Brooks said, being re-made in real time.
It’s all Pluto’s doing, emphasizing his transformative cycle of decay and regeneration. In the Scorpio Rising U.S. horoscope, Pluto is the nation’s ruling planet, so this Pluto Return carries extra weight. In this chart, Pluto has a double theme: its location in the third house resonates strongly with its opposition to Mercury. As Pluto comes back to its natal place, it’s creating an evolutionary re-birth in communication technology.

Stephen Forrest’s
The Book of Pluto

​​Among the several books devoted to interpreting Pluto, Stephen Forrest’s The Book of Pluto is my favorite. Here’s an excerpt from the book review I wrote for Dell Horoscope magazine:
“We all have Pluto somewhere in our chart, and this is where something wolf-like in us knows no surrender, no compromise. As Forrest describes it, this energy is the most morally ambivalent force we humans possess. When allied with sane, healthy energies, this Plutonian intensity can manifest our greatest ideals. But it can also self-righteously destroy the world, wallow in depravity, or waste away in endless depression.
“The difference between these two paths is the difference between living a fulfilling, meaningful existence, and an unreflective lifestyle shaped by the lies, shame, or cruelty of childhood experiences. Forrest provides a clear psychological framework for the moral perspective between these two paths, what he calls “high Plutonian work” and the distorted way. Wherever Pluto is located in the natal chart describes where the individual is vulnerable to distortions based on unprocessed wounding experiences. Getting back to the right path means uncovering the repression, and correcting the navigational error.
The Book of Pluto tells you exactly what your navigational error most likely is, based on Pluto´s house and sign positions, and its aspects to other planets in the natal horoscope. But this account of the God of the Underworld is far more than a cookbook formula for deciphering Pluto. Forrest brings tremendous insights into some of the harshest realities of life, and with wit and narrative skill delineates the multidimensional flavor of Pluto. He describes how to move in an evolutionary sense away from denial and meaninglessness to an energizing vision of purpose and self-empowerment. He describes how to get out of the listless “blahs” and victimization roles, and find a sense of directed engagement with your true mission.”