Across the months of April and May, as it did yesterday, the Moon will make two more oppositions from 0° Leo to Pluto at 0° Aquarius. This is the first time in fifteen years that the Moon’s monthly staring contest with the Hadean planet has not taken place across the Cancer-Capricorn axis. While the Moon’s gaze is fleeting, this shift in the axis of Moon-Pluto oppositions promises to be quite potent.
While Pluto’s retrograde on May 1st — which brings it back into Capricorn by June 11th — puts off the full stroke of Pluto in Aquarius until November 2024, our more lunar psychosomatic bodies are receiving a taste of what this opposition might feel like across the next couple decades. Particularly through March 2029, when Pluto first reaches 10° Aquarius, beginning to flirt with its second decan and back to the first for some time.
In the first decan of Leo, the Moon has emerged from its home of Cancer, and this theme of emergence is eminent. Of taking stage, of the question to embrace one’s most central role, of competing with other voices — of taking “the Spotlight” as Austin Coppock called it. Across from the pushing stare of Pluto in the first face of Aquarius, we are asked to test our will against a world where thought-forms, novelties, different roads are at once hidden gems and pitfalls that derail us.
Fitting then, that the Individual’s ever-emergent identity might be fighting to compete with AI? Or at least postulating the kinds of techno-dramas in which one might? Robots capable of replacing jobs, ripping your writing, synthesizing art steadier than your hand, and destabilizing the orientation of one’s identity in human society? These themes have a natural polarity, the question of technological progress and its relationship to the human will nothing new to the past fifty or hundred years of human civilization, its science-fictions and folklores.
Sure, it’s fitting that Mulder and Scully of The X-Files are played by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, both Leos with Aquarius Moons. ‘The Hero’s Journey’… towards something decentralized, just beyond reach. ‘The Truth is Out There.’ Doesn’t get much more aquarian than that. But the ever elusive ‘Other’ often proves to be just us, our own Shadow peeking from beyond a veil that’s always there — because it’s the event horizon of making anything known. There is always new gnosis to integrate. The etymology of the word apocalypse itself is, approximately, ‘unveiling.’
Aquarius, diurnal home of Saturn, has a longstanding association with mental health. It’s not that those with a placement therein are more or less prone to afflictions of this; it’s that as the fixed air sign — ‘focused thinking’ in psychological astrology — the utility of thought patterns, the joy and sorrow they imbue, is highlighted. The relative ease or baneful alienation they bring, with all manner of orientations beyond and in between. Saturn is the planet of grief.
The fixity of Aquarius — that is to say, its focused and stubborn modality — can undermine the reality that air signs are diffuse, oriented around breaking things apart and putting them back together. It is necessary to do this, in order to gain perspective, consider different routes to take, and establish one’s position in relation to a field of multiplicities, possible paths, different entities, voices of discourse and dissent.
When the Moon in Leo opposes Pluto in Aquarius, we may find that our emotional momentum in self-development, creative agency, self-sovereignty, in ‘taking the stage’ — feels particularly challenged by the circumstances of a changing world. One whose breakthroughs essentially destabilize the relative meaning of our efforts, as much as they can aid or reinforce such.
Pluto in Aquarius emphasizes societal alienation, internal pariah states, a seething cauldron at once visceral and immediate as well as distant and ‘out there.’ It takes Pluto’s taboo themes — the underbelly, the gutter psyche, the bits of shadow most difficult to integrate — and fuses them to Aquarius as ‘the Outsider’ in a shifting technological landscape. It will take much solar sanctity of the will, moral dignity, radiant exchange between humans despite differing views, in order to survive many of the challenges Pluto in Aquarius will pose. Finding centrality and meaning in timeless dimensions of humanity beyond the endless capitalistic ‘grind-set.’
Those with a fixed rising sign — that is, if your rising sign is in Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, or Aquarius — are likely to find these fleeting Moon-Pluto oppositions more potent. It may highlight the expression of these themes across axes of where we feel seen in the world versus where we belong, from work and home to selfhood and relationship.
The Hadean planet’s existential pressure-cooker is not one every human being will survive. Bones break, cars crash, elders pass. As Alice Sparkly Kat put it, with a hint of grief foretold, “there are changes that you experience but don’t outlive.” Pluto in Aquarius may well be particularly volcanic for those whose luminaries fall in the sign. Transiting conjunctions of Pluto to one’s natal Sun or Moon are among the most painful experiences a person can go through, but the spiritual riches to be gained often make the ‘valley of the shadow’ process more than worthwhile.
A partial timeline:
March 23rd, 2023 — Pluto entered Aquarius for the first time since 1798
May 1st, 2023 — Pluto goes retrograde in Aquarius
(not naming the retrograde dates from here)
June 11th, 2023 — Pluto re-enters Capricorn
January 22nd, 2024 — Pluto re-enters Aquarius
September 2nd, 2024 — Pluto re-enters Capricorn yet again
November 19th, 2024 — Pluto re-enters Aquarius to stay through 2043
March 27th, 2029 — Pluto first reaches 10° Aquarius
January 30th, 2030 — Pluto reaches 10° Aquarius for a second time, as the Sun makes its yearly conjunction to it
November 29th, 2030 — Pluto reaches 10° Aquarius ‘to stay’ past the sign’s first decan and its Venusian emphasis for the rest of this long transit
The first decan of Aquarius is ruled by Venus in the Chaldean order, and as Austin Coppock pointed out in a recent episode of The Astrology Podcast, it’s curiously fitting that much of our initial discourse and debacles surrounding the implications of AI revolve around the sanctity of creative property in digital spheres, especially visual art and writing. Screenwriter’s guilds banding together more effectively than many of the AI developers’ central figures seem to be.
As Coppock writes in 36 Faces, those born with the Moon in Leo I (its first decan) have a “vulnerability that makes them very sensitive to how they are perceived, and as a result, many grow a protective mask.” He goes on to say, “Because they rely on their appearance for emotional security, they can become very attached to these personae. Their idea of who they are is often very strong, but also inflexible and perhaps a bit too well-defended. These natives need to learn to distinguish the social self from deeper levels of being. Though they may feel like the converse is true, who they are cannot be created or destroyed — it is only the mask which changes.”
These are worthwhile reflections to turn over in the light, no matter one’s moon sign, when the Moon in Leo I makes an opposition to Pluto in Aquarius I. The changing landscape of civilization in which we find ourselves enmeshed can make a person’s identity feel threatened, irrelevant, inferior — but it cannot tear this from your being. Unless, of course, “an AI initially confined to the internet to build artificial life forms or bootstrap straight to post-biological molecular manufacturing” builds an advanced race really quickly and literally tears it from you.
Quite a task to divine much further into the future than a few years. Many aquarian wildcards to be had!
Swim well, stargazers ~
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