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Pluto at the Crossroads

Dear friends, please enjoy this chapter in our discussion of Pluto’s back-and-forth between Capricorn and Aquarius.  I’m sharing insights here collected from my conversations with Chloe Margarita, Nicholas  Polimenakos, Kira Ryberg and Vanessa Couto.

(Part One: Pluto on the Edge)

Chloe Margherita — born in 1993 with Uranus–Neptune conjunct in Capricorn — spoke about this “tail-end of 200 years of the earth element, and it’s a hyper-speed version of earth and how it affects history.”

“Although people can’t call it Pluto in Capricorn, there is a feeling of stuckness — certain people are in power at the top, and everyone else is at the bottom. Even with the tragedy of the pandemic, certain people got much richer — those few at the top profited enormously, and an opportunistic political structure allowed for this self-centered mentality.”

“We are fed up with status quo; nothing is really changing. The pandemic opened more people’s eyes that this is untenable; the system that has been around in the US for hundreds of years is not serving most of the people. With the back-and-forth between Capricorn and Aquarius, it’s like being suspended in mid-air. Something needs to change, and it needs to look different from what we had before … Some things are changing but for who and why? What further unrest will have to take place?”

Chloe referred to Vettius Valens’s description of Capricorn and Aquarius both being connected to a “sense of deceit or things not really being told or things being hidden.” She related this to the fact that the products and ease we have in the Western world are dependent on legions of people in the global south working in extreme and dangerous sweat shops to make our phones and devices. “It is a weird divide and lack of regard for life.”

Noting the shift from a bestial (Capricorn) to a human (Aquarius) sign, Chloe spoke of a new interest in others and overall the hope “to make something really new, a new system … with a greater freedom, not so bound by the desire to accumulate and by the materialism and plundering of resources that’s destroying our planet.”

She offers a few pointed questions: “How does one labor in a world where there aren’t many jobs, especially when so many jobs are exploitative?” “How can we include everyone?”

Nicholas Polimenakos spoke of how technology has gotten us so disconnected from our bodies and senses. Of Pluto’s change from earth to air, Nicholas noted “the physiological impact of air and what breathing does to the body and the mind.” (Recently someone said to me: “Every breath is delicious.”)

And we talked about liminal spaces. He knows some of the flocks of young people who got into astrology during the pandemic — many are “in full fear mode … especially those with the Moon at 0° of fixed signs.”

In our theme of “pondering Pluto,” Nicholas invited me to take a walk: If we see a cave, we’ll be drawn to go in. It’s dark and scary, but somehow we know we’ll get through.

In a cave you don’t just walk directly through, you get stuck in dark, maybe cramped passageways. These shadow places generate anxiety; many people don’t have the tools to walk through a cave. What is it like to be in a mystery? “Young people are ramped up by technology, always on phones, with speed always increasing, always doing something…. The digital world is compressed, there is no space … We do not know what to do in the cave which is a liminal space … How do we find how to be in the in-between space?”

For many, “the natural part of the in-between places, the magic between the notes is gone.” (Being between breaths, or being in the gap between thoughts, seem to me to be analogous metaphors.)

Nicholas is a “big fan of practice and ritual” — using Saturn’s discipline to bring some stability into one’s world, along with the need to “question normal procedures, as things that worked in the past may not be working now.”

Pluto back-and-forth between Saturn’s signs is also about definition/redefinition and issues of control. “Our survival instincts get triggered, what type of control? Can we find the power in the situation? Can the world find the power?”

He also gave a shout out to the importance of face-to-face meetings — engaging all of our senses outside of the digital world. To this end, we imagined a time before too long when we meet in person and have lunch and enjoy the food and one another’s company. Looking forward to that, Nicholas.

Kira Ryberg composed her thoughts for us on navigating the in-between: “The thing that strikes me most about the back-and-forth tango Pluto is doing through Capricorn and Aquarius is the emergence and disappearance he makes in these signs and how it feels to us. I often experience Pluto as a steely, intense gaze watching our every move. Ever since 2008, there’s been a vigilant guardian presiding over Capricorn and its house in any chart. It’s as if someone is always watching, and this sensation can feel both uncomfortable and unnerving. It’s a pressurizing force that requires one to dig deeper, in the hopes that perhaps that pressure might become a diamond one day. This process is excruciating and heavy.

“Pluto’s presence in Capricorn has brought weight to the sign for the past 15 years. When Pluto moves into Aquarius, we might notice the absence of that weight. It’s as if the guard has released his penetrating stare for the first time in 15 years and we’re free to run and play and dance without someone observing our every move. Whenever Pluto departs Capricorn there’s a sense of freedom that abounds throughout the sign, which feels distinct, as if our relationship to that part of our charts is shifting in a profound way. But then … Pluto returns and the guard resumes his watch. The weight has been placed back upon our shoulders, and whatever we thought we had escaped from returns to remind us that this ending won’t be so quick and easy. The foundations are in place for a final round of tests to see if what we’ve constructed in the past 15 years is strong enough to last the rest of our lives.

“There’s a storyline emerging with Pluto’s newfound presence in Aquarius, but it’s not ready to begin quite yet. It is a foreshadowing of what’s to come, but it also has an ominous feeling. There’s something looming that we can’t quite grasp onto yet. It’s a space of anticipation where we straddle the line between what we’ve known and what’s to come.

“This in-between time allows us to immerse ourselves in what could be before the weight of reality sets in and we’re forced to confront what will be. Pluto’s keen eye is being turned in a new direction and will demand transformation in a different area of life, personally and collectively. What must come to a close so that we may take on the weight of Pluto in another area of life? And what must be birthed to accommodate this presence elsewhere? And how is it all connected? This to me is what the in-between time is all about.”

Referencing her friend and mentor Brian Clark’s post on crossing borders, Vanessa Couto remembered her travels — “how many times I’ve had the experience of crossing borders in international travel, you go through airports, a limbo space. At beginning of last year, I went to Brazil in the midst of all the Omicron madness. You had to show all these papers, make sure you have everything, then pass all the checkpoints and get to the other side, and the relief of getting to the other side! But, the tension of the last point that you have to go through to get to the other side even though the journey has already been pretty long — from Portland to Brazil, it can easily be 24 hours….The last couple of hours on the flight I get claustrophobic, I just need to get out. I remember when I got back here, it was rainy and cold — good old Portland — I just wanted to open the windows and get the fresh air.”

“For me, this back-and-forth has really been about testing my own sovereignty. Have I navigated some of my Achilles heel, my shadow? Am I ready to step into Aquarius so that I can be a real part of the group? Can I stand in my own authority within the group as best as I can and not to carry my shadow into the group?

“Back and forth, back and forth — Capricorn and Aquarius — we’re exercising. All papers are in order and with Pluto still in Capricorn, we are at the last checkpoints: Are you ready? Are you ready to go there?

“Who are the guides helping us with the transition? I feel we need guides individually and collectively when crossing borders. I find myself reading about the Celtic Otherworld and their guides and archetypes. Gwyn ap Nudd is one of the guides of the wild hunt; he comes to guide you, to take you there. I think that is interesting, how is he showing up for us? The Celts also talk about the cauldron of inspiration once you get to the other side. Once we cross to the other side, what kind of inspiration will we have there?

“Also Hecate, she carries a light and she is working with Hermes, helping us in this crossroads. There’s a three-headed element at the crossroads — Pluto back and forth, back and forth — we look back, look to the present, look to the future, we check. I like her, too, she’s special to me. Look to others, I think. These are the ones for me.

“I also think about the Celts’ idea that the Otherworld is already intertwined with our world. David Whyte writes on this in many poems — ‘Turn sideways into the light as they say’ — you can just move to the side, there’s a softness and you can change your perspective. I think that’s going to be a big thing with Pluto in Aquarius. We already see with AI that we have to see things differently — how do we do that?”

Just as I tend to feel that the natal horoscope draws the perfect pathway for each of us in our life, I also feel that the time we are living in is nourished by invisible vines and delicate tendrils that guide and accompany us along the way.

Once again, I thank all my lovely colleagues for spending time with me in this ongoing exploration.

illustration: Catherine Kay Greenup via unsplash

Mary Plumb is a long-time astrologer and TMA team member. She has an astrological consulting practice integrating a range of techniques informed both by reviewing astrology books for nearly 40 years (!) and, more importantly, by the nuance and richness of clients’ lives revealed in the sacred consultation space. She also greatly enjoys the search for new voices for TMA’s blog. Email:;


  1. I LOVE the female water-bearer image!!! I married an Aquarian… an interesting 3rd choice. He likes her too!

  2. Love the analogy of the Celtic Otherworld being entwined with ours. Certainly gives you a new perspective. Thanks for the article, Mary!

  3. I’ve had one further thought about this transitional time. For many people, there is a major process of decision-making underway. A number of my friends and clients are experiencing a profound process of letting go. It seems like a significant chapter is coming to a close and we are in the throes of making room for a rebirth, a fresh commitment. Because this is a two-year process, weighing up our options and making these decisions is taking a long time. Perhaps this month’s Sun-Pluto conjunction right at the end of Capricorn and Pluto’s shift back across the Aquarian threshold could help to bring to consciousness what needs to happen…

  4. Thanks for these great and diverse interviews, Mary. I’m seeing the January 20 Sun/ Pluto Cazimi at 29 Capricorn, 11 hours before Pluto enters Aquarius. Part 2 is a very powerful. STFU, slam the door energy. Pluto’s finale from Capricorn after 16 years musters up all of Pluto’s forces for the final coup de grace; the Lord of Death and Rebirth, began in 2008 with the sub-prime Mortgage fiasco. Pluto going back and forth on the threshold of Capricorn/Aquarius shows the collective unconscious being in this very literal liminal space from March 2023. Pluto exiting again on September 1 back to Capricorn for the final time in 245 years until November 19 is like, wait a minute, I forgot the one last final chef’s kiss blast showdown to corporate elites and big power struggles and history. Then Pluto finally moves into Aquarius for exactly 20 years is cosmic clockwork.

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