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Commence Spiraling: Pluto Is Entering Aquarius

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

Well, friends, there’s a reason astrologers have been keeping a close eye on March 2023. Just a few weeks after Saturn moved into Pisces — sending shock waves across our individual and collective responsibilities — Pluto, the celestial body associated with massive, long-term transformation, is shifting into the sign of Aquarius on March 23. And what does that mean? Well … what were you doing in the year 1777? Because that’s the last time Pluto occupied this zodiac sign. Suffice it to say, the next two decades may be a bit unprecedented.

TL;DR: Hold on to your hat. Below is everything you need to know about Pluto’s monumental movement into Aquarius.

First, what’s Pluto’s deal?

Like its mythological namesake, Pluto governs transformation, rebirth, and monumental metamorphosis. It represents the incredible intensity of anything that dwells beneath the surface: oil, diamonds, vermin, and — of course — secrets. Fundamentally, Pluto speaks to power. Pluto isn’t afraid to question who’s in charge, navigating the most complex systematic networks and quietly ripping them apart from the inside out. In fact, there’s nothing Pluto loves more than demolition.

Another thing to know about Pluto: Its sphere of influence is enormous. Unlike the “personal planets” that tend to day-to-day matters (the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars), planets on the far side of the asteroid belt (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) are considered “transpersonal,” as their impact is experienced on a large-scale, generational level. And Pluto has, undoubtedly, the most far-reaching, long-term, large-scale influence of them all. In fact, Pluto’s location in the sky syncs with our generational classifications: Most Gen-Xers were born with Pluto in Libra (1971–83); millennials were born with Pluto in Scorpio (1983–95); and Gen-Zers were born with Pluto in Sagittarius (1995–2008).

Starting in 2008 (right in time for Gen Alpha), Pluto entered the sign of Capricorn, where it’s been dwelling for the past 15 years. The fact that this transit started with a bank failure and has now concluded with another is notable: Capricorn, the last earth sign of the zodiac, is associated with big business, the economy, corporate power, and traditional infrastructure. And unless you’ve been living under a rock (can I join you?), it’s no surprise there have been profound breakthroughs relating to the powers that be.

So what’s the deal with Pluto in Aquarius?

Because there are (wink, wink) no coincidences, each zodiac is placed exactly where it needs to be to balance things out. On the other side of Pluto in Capricorn’s late-stage capitalism is Pluto in Aquarius — a transit that will feel remarkably different. Aquarius, the last air sign of the zodiac, is represented by a water bearer carrying a vase filled with water to share with the masses, symbolizing equity, humanity, and collective care. Governed by Uranus, Aquarius is associated with scientific breakthroughs, medical and technological advancements, and the needs of society at large. Might that devolve into dogmatism or an AI takeover or irreparable institutional collapse? Possibly! But, at the end of the day, Aquarius is a humanitarian with a penchant for invention, so during Pluto in Aquarius, we should brace ourselves for lots of major changes that impact policy, technology, and the collective.

When is it going to happen?

Because Pluto moves so slowly, it’s going to take a minute before we really begin to feel the effects of this changing of the guard. Pluto will be in Aquarius from March 23 through June 11; January 20, 2024, through September 1, 2024; and November 19, 2024 through March 8, 2043. Between those dates, Pluto will go retrograde and head back into Capricorn, tying up loose ends and addressing any unfinished business. When it finally settles into Aquarius, however, Pluto will remain there for a whopping 19 years (!) before it begins its journey into Pisces’ ethereal sky.

Who’s going to feel it?

Everyone. To recap: This is a truly massive planetary shift (perhaps the most impactful, TBH) that has tremendous implications for humanity at large. Pluto impacts the masses, so in due time, we’ll all feel this on a sociopolitical level.

If you want to know precisely which parts of your life will be impacted by Pluto’s movement into Aquarius, you can use astrology software (I recommend TimePassages or to identify where Aquarius lives in your birth chart. Whatever planets or celestial bodies occupy Aquarius will be activated by Pluto over the next two decades. For example, is your Sun in Aquarius? Don’t be surprised if your identity and self-expression go through a major overhaul. Or, if you have an Aquarius Mars, what motivates you and propels forward action may go through a drastic transformation courtesy of this big-deal transit. No planets in Aquarius? No problem. By locating the house that contains Aquarius in your birth chart, you can see the area of life Pluto’s movement is going to illuminate and, likewise, the overarching themes and narratives this transit will address. For instance, if you have Aquarius in the second house of values, you may undergo big shifts in your relationship with money and resources, whereas Aquarius in the seventh house of partnership may impact how you navigate relationships.

Phew. That was a doozy. Intimidated? Who isn’t! Pluto is a big deal, so feeling a little overwhelmed by Pluto’s impact is to be expected. Remember, Pluto signifies neither an ending nor a beginning but a process. If you’ve been splashing around at the shallow end, Pluto is a reminder that you may be capable of swimming a little deeper. Perhaps you’ve been clinging to an existing status quo, afraid of what you’ll lose if you let go; Pluto invites you to release your grip. Anything real cannot be broken, and — with Pluto on your side — you’re always armed with the strategy, courage, and extraordinary mysticism of regeneration. It’s time to flip the switch.

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Prepare to Spiral: Pluto Is Entering Aquarius