By Alex Miller | May 7, 2012
There is currently a rare astronomical event that may have dramatic astrological significance, and which has not been receiving as much attention as it should — the series of occultations of Pluto by the Moon. Beginning in April 2012, the Moon will pass directly in front of Pluto, blocking its energy for no less than 19 consecutive months! Given the fact that this occultation hasn’t happened since 1935, it would appear to be a major event, with some cosmic intent or purpose for the world at large.
Occultations are essentially eclipses, with one celestial body passing in front of another, from our perspective on Earth. As such, they act to emphasize the issues and concerns represented by the occulted body, in much the same way a Solar or Lunar Eclipse does. Most commonly, they involve one of the planets of our system passing in front of a star and blotting out its light. More rarely, the Moon will occult another planet, and the occultation of Pluto is among the least common of these phenomena.
Pluto’s orbital plane is inclined more than 17° from the ecliptic, the apparent path along which most of the solar system’s bodies revolve around the Sun. Since the Moon’s orbit is both extremely erratic, extending far north and south of this plane, and also swift, spending barely two hours at each degree of the zodiac, the chances of these two bodies coming together in such a way as to occupy the same space at the same time, are, quite literally, astronomical. But that this should happen over 19 consecutive months? That’s something you’d definitely need a supercomputer to calculate!
Pluto is a deeply evolutionary power source, governing such things as cellular/molecular processes; decay, death, regeneration and rebirth; sexuality; compulsion and obsession; secrets and scandals. The Moon represents emotions, domestic concerns, motherhood and nurturance, the physical body, security or foundational issues, and, in mundane affairs, the people or populace of a country. An occultation, or hiding, of Pluto by the Moon will act to both eclipse, in the sense of disrupting or cutting off, and to magnify, in the sense of bringing focus, stress or emphasis to Plutonian affairs, particularly in ways that highlight the Moon’s special areas of influence.
Each of these moments of occultation provides a sort of jolt or surge, a powerful opportunity to reset the current reality in ways that support Pluto’s drive to empower, reveal, and control. Having 19 of them in succession is like emptying a semi-automatic revolver’s clip into the collective unconscious and the body politic. It may be experienced as a repeated, rapid-fire assault on the status quo, resulting in change and transformation, the specifics of which we can only conjecture, with ramifications spreading out like ripples on a pond.
On a personal level, much of how this manifests will depend upon where in the natal chart these occultations fall, and how they interact with the chart as a whole. But anyone already experiencing heavy Plutonic transits can expect a major ramping up of these effects. (The occultations occur between 6° -11° Capricorn; check the list at the end of this article for specific dates and degrees.) If Pluto is not particularly active for you right now, you’ll likely experience these occultations much in the way you would an unaspected eclipse, that is, as a general point of emphasis in the area of your life where they fall.
On a mundane level, however, we can look for clues on how the series will resolve itself by closely marking the events that cluster about the earliest occultations. One immediate red flag was raised on April 12th, the day of the first occultation; an incident at this time indicates that sexual scandal (Pluto) revealed to the public (Moon) is one of the levels of manifestation evoked by the occultations.
That occultation reached maximum effect at 4:38 a.m. local time, in Cartagena, Colombia. Within two hours, a U.S. Secret Service agent, working in advance of President Obama’s upcoming visit, decided to stiff the prostitute he had hired the night before. (1) He paid her $30 of the $800 fee, claiming he had been too drunk to understand when negotiating her price. She quite understandably balked at this turn of events, and since prostitution is legal in Colombia, the local police backed her up; the ensuing brouhaha brought a scandal of international proportions.
Eleven other agents were involved in similar activity (but without the parsimony) in Cartagena, leading to the resignation or dismissal of nine of them. The subsequent congressional probe has unearthed allegations of similar impropriety in at least five other incidents in four countries (including El Salvador, Argentina, and Russia) over the past decade or more. These incidents, and statements made by former Secret Service members, suggest a well-established pattern of such activity, particularly among agents conducting advance prep work before VIP visits.
The fine hand of the Moon/Pluto occultation is easy to see in Pluto’s rulership of scandals, sexual matters, prostitution, the “Secret” Service, and the service’s role in security — a lunar issue — as well as the hotel where the transgression occurred, hotels also being Moon-ruled. The catalyst for this revelation was one Arthur Huntington, age 41. His pivotal role is well represented celestially by asteroid Arthur (#2597) at 11° Aries, closely squared the Moon/Pluto occultation at 9° Capricorn. The escort he refused to pay was Dania Suarez, age 24, represented by asteroid Suarez (#6438) at 15° Capricorn, conjoined the occultation.
Asteroid Arthur is at least as well connected as his terrestrial namesake. He is now being conjoined by Uranus (shocks, revelations, erratic behaviors) at 5° Aries and appearing at the apex of a large mirror configuration (2) encompassing sextile aspects to asteroid Bacchus (drinking, partying, sexual licentiousness) at 9° Aquarius, and Venus (women, intimacy, romance, cash payments) at 7° Gemini conjunct the South Node (old habits that are unproductive or limiting), also at 7° Gemini, and asteroid Karma (the results of our prior actions and choices) at 11° Gemini. Asteroid Arthur squares Pluto/Suarez, as well as asteroid Askalaphus (named for the tale-bearing denizen of Hades who revealed Persephone’s secrets) at 5° Cancer, and inconjuncts asteroids Aphrodite (affairs of the heart, flirtations) at 8° Scorpio retrograde, and Arachne (creation of intrigue and entanglement, entrapment) at 5° Virgo retrograde. (Arachne is conjoined Mars (sexuality) at 3° Virgo, powerfully stationary just before turning direct a day later, but a bit broad by aspect to include into this pattern directly.) Furthermore, asteroid Arthur is in opposition to asteroid America (the U.S.A.), at 5° Libra retrograde, and TransNeptunianObject Typhon (storms, tribulations) at 4° Libra retrograde.
(2) Editors note: In an email from the author: “Mirror configuration” is a pattern I first heard about at an NYC NCGR conference in the early ’90s.”
Note from Alex Miller: Thanks to Eric Francis for making me aware of the occultations, and serennu.com for the calculations and asteroid data.
Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of “The Galactic Calendar,” and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society. His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. His work with deep space points and asteroids appears monthly at DayKeeper Journal. Alex can be reached for comment or services at firstname.lastname@example.org