The retrograde station which Pluto formed on 6 April 2010 at 5 Capricorn, exactly conjunct the singularity of the Black Hole there, proved to be plutonically inventive and destructive at once. I mean, who but Pluto could have conceived of a volcano disrupting global travel for weeks and costing billions for commercial airlines?
Station degrees, points at which celestials of our system appear to slow, come to a standstill and change direction, become highly charged with the energies of that celestial, and resonate for much longer than the normal period of time allotted when the planet is moving at its standard rate. When this occurs conjoined a Black Hole, the opportunity for major change and massive transformation is dramatically increased, as an infinity of parallel universes beyond its singularity seeks expression in our reality. The contacting planet acts a sort of reflector or transducer, taking these nonphysical realities and stepping them down into our 3D existence, manifesting their potential into the world around us. When Pluto is the planet making a Black Hole contact, expect titanic forces to be unleashed, altering the status quo reality in spectacular and irreversible ways.
Pluto inhabited its 5 Capricorn station degree from February 26 through May 18, with the actual station falling midway during this period, on April 6, but dramatic seismic activity actually began in early January, as Pluto rolled over 4 Capricorn, where this same Black Hole appeared until 1992.
Pluto rules underground processes, including earthquakes and volcanism, and the 7.0 magnitude quake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on 12 January 2010 set the stage for a series of major reality-shakers across the globe. The Haiti quake was the most dramatic in terms of loss of life, with upwards of a quarter million deaths and a complete devastation of the local economy, with reconstruction costs perhaps as high as $14 billion.
But very strong quakes in less densely populated areas quickly followed—a 7.0 quake in the Ryukyu Islands, just as Pluto moved to the Black Hole’s current degree on February 26, was a precursor to the 8.8 magnitude quake in Chile the following day, which took more than a thousand lives. The cost of this seismic event to the global insurance industry could top $7 billion, with a reconstruction cost upwards of $30 billion. GPS readings indicate that this quake was so powerful, it shifted the entire city of Concepcion, closest to its epicenter, 10 feet to the west, and moved the earth’s axis 8 centimeters. Quite a calling card for Pluto to give its Black Hole host! These major quakes were succeeded by a 6.4 quake in Taiwan March 4, a 6.5 quake in Sumatra March 5, a 7.2 quake in Baja California April 4, and a 6.9 quake in China April 13.
On March 20 the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland erupted, hurling lava several hundred meters into the air, but with little accompanying ash from the relatively small, glacier-topped mountain. On April 14, however, the ongoing eruption entered a new phase, spewing huge volumes of glass-rich ash more than 5 miles into the atmosphere, directly into the jet stream, from where the plume quickly spread to encompass most of Europe.
The ash posed an extreme risk to air travel, severely diminishing visibility and interfering with both instrumentation and aircraft engine performance, and led to the largest shut-down of air traffic since World War II. Most of northern Europe was grounded from April 15 through April 23, stranding more than 5 million passengers world-wide, as connecting and international flights which could not be rerouted through unaffected air space were also cancelled, greatly increasing the scope of the disruption. Airlines collectively lost $2 billion during that eight day period alone, and continuing sporadic disruptions into May have added to that total.
Pluto not only rules the underground, but the wealth that is contained there, and the efforts to extract it. On 5 April, the day before the actual station, an explosion of methane gas 1000 feet beneath the surface caused the worst mining accident in the US in 40 years, when a disastrous cave-in at Massey Energy’s Upper Branch Coal Mine in Montcoal, WV, took the lives of 29 miners.
In 2009 Massey Energy had received $382,000 in fines for serious unrepentant violations in safety and ventilation systems, despite which it remained open and fully operational. On April 28 a second, less publicized accident occurred at the Dotiki coal mine in Providence, KY, when a shaft roof collapsed, killing two workers.
Healthcare per se is not within Pluto’s bailiwick, but health insurance, as an Eighth House matter, is. When Barack Obama signed the Healthcare Reform Bill into law on 23 March, 2010, it marked another watershed moment for Pluto’s station period. Dealing predominantly with extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and reforming insurance company policies, the legislation is expected to cost upwards of a trillion dollars over the next ten years, a figure which is also covered by Pluto’s rulership of exorbitant expenditures in excess of $1 billion.
And speaking of huge sums of money, Wall Street was called onto the congressional carpet during this same period to answer for its manipulation of billions of dollars in investment funds, another Eighth House/Pluto matter. On 16 April the SEC filed formal charges of fraud against Wall Street financial giant Goldman Sachs, alleging deception in the structuring and marketing of a synthetic CDO (collateralized debt obligation) hinging on the performance of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities which Goldman Sachs knew to be worthless.
The collapse of the housing market in 2008 precipitated the global economic downturn which resulted in the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression, and cost US taxpayers $700 billion in bailout funds to prop up the nation’s banks. Less than two weeks after the charges were filed, on 27 April, Goldman Sachs executives appeared before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to defend their behavior in promoting sales of the CDO to investors, while the company itself bet heavily on the failure of these same financial instruments, thereby reaping huge profits.
Oil drilling and environmental disasters are also subject to Pluto, and the blowout, explosion and resulting leakage of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig 50 miles off the Louisiana coast threatens to eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill as the worst oil disaster in US history. Deepwater Horizon had been in the news just months earlier, drilling the world’s deepest oil and gas well, more than six miles deep, in September 2009.
The April 20 explosion killed 11 workers and sank the offshore drilling rig, creating an oil gusher which continues to release as much as 20,000 barrels (840,000 gallons) of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico daily. Attempts in early May to cap the exposed pipe some 5000 feet below sea level with a large containment dome, followed by a smaller “Top Hat” covering, were unsuccessful. Similarly, controlled burns of the oil slick and attempts to use booms to prevent its making landfall have met with only limited success.
On May 16, BP installed a siphon pipe into the leak, which is drawing off perhaps as much as 1000 barrels per day, barely a drop in the oil bucket; this was the best progress made in dealing with the situation before Pluto exited its station degree on May 18. The slick has now grown to a size larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, encompassing as much as 12 million gallons, with much more oil remaining below the surface in vast underwater plumes. The use of Corexit, a chemical dispersant designed to assist the breakdown of the oil while still at sea, was discontinued on May 20 after it was revealed that the product is a severe toxin, eradicating perhaps as much as 25% of marine life in the treated areas. BP had already sprayed nearly 700,000 gallons of Corexit before its use was banned.
The only viable option remaining to end the leakage is to drill a relief well to siphon off the oil, a process taking anywhere from three to five months, by which time the volume of leaked oil is expected to exceed 100 million gallons. Winds and currents could carry the spill as far as North Carolina, and have already brought it to the Florida Keys. The impact on local fishing and tourism industries has been devastating, as will be the repercussions to the environment should the spill come ashore in the interconnected wetland marshes of the Gulf coast. In an effort to ensure that BP pays the full cost of the clean-up, legislation is pending in the US Congress to increase oil industry liability to $10 billion, which was capped at $75 million after the Exxon Valdez disaster.
All in all, quite a devastating grab-bag of destructive effects, brought to you courtesy of Pluto’s retrograde station conjoined the reality-warping Black Hole at 5 Capricorn.