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 among the least common of these phenomena is the occultation of Pluto. Beginning in April 2012, the Moon will pass directly in front of Pluto, blocking off its energy, for no less than 19 consecutive months! Given the fact that this occultation hasn’t happened at all since 1935, it would seem to be a major event, with some cosmic intent or purpose for the world at large.
Pluto’s orbital plane is inclined more than 17 degrees 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 both north and south of this plane, and so 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 on 19 consecutive months? That’s something you’d definitely need a supercomputer to calculate!
Astrologically, Pluto is a deeply evolutionary power source, governing such things as cellular/molecular processes; decay, death, regeneration and rebirth; sexuality; compulsion and obsession; taboos, secrets and scandals.
The Moon represents emotions, family and 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, Plutonian affairs, particularly in ways which 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 which support Pluto’s drive to empower, reveal and control. Having 19 of these in succession is like emptying a semi-automatic revolver’s clip into the collective unconscious and the body politic, a repeated, rapid-fire assault on the status quo, resulting in change and transformation at 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 and 11 degrees of Capricorn; check the list at the end of this article for specific dates and degrees). Even 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, 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 which cluster about the earliest occutlations. And one red flag was raised immediately on April 12, the day of the first occultation, indicating that among the levels these incidents would evoke was one of the revealing of sexual scandals (Pluto) to the public (Moon).
That occultation reached maximum effect at 4:38 AM local time in Cartagena, Colombia, and within two hours a US Secret Service agent working in advance of President Obama’s upcoming visit decided to stiff the prostitute he had hired the night before, only paying her $30 of the agreed-upon $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 revealed 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. The subsequent congressional probe has unearthed allegations of like impropriety in at least five other incidents in four countries over the past decade and more, including El Salvador, Argentina and Russia. 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 being Moon-ruled also.
The catalyst for this revelation was one Arthur Huntington, age 41, and 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, being conjoined Uranus (shocks, revelations, erratic behaviors) at 5 Aries. Arthur is at the apex of a large mirror configuration 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 which are unproductive or limiting) also at 7 Gemini and
- asteroid Karma (the results of our prior actions and choices) at 11 Gemini;
- squares to Pluto/Suarez as well as asteroid Askalaphus (named for the tale-bearing denizen of Hades who revealed Persephone’s secrets) at 5 Cancer;
- inconjuncts to asteroids Aphrodite (affairs of the heart, flirtations) at 8 Scorpio retrograde and
- Arachne (creation of intrigue and entanglement, entrapment) at 5 Virgo retrograde (itself 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); and
- an opposition to asteroid America (the USA) at 5 Libra retrograde and TNO Typhon (storms, tribulations) at 4 Libra retrograde.
A mirror configuration is similar to a Yod, or Finger of Destiny (one of which is also incorporated into this pattern), in that all points radiate out from a central object at equidistant intervals. Like the Yod, it can indicate a predestined or fated moment, character trait, process, or circumstance, and any mirror configuration has special implications for karmic resonance. Their appearance in mundane event charts often reflects the sudden injection of someone previously unknown into the center of a well-publicized controversy or sensation, for good or ill.
The transit Sun can be seen in mundane events as determining the major themes of the day. For April 12, the Sun at 23 Aries was conjoined asteroid Vesta (associated with prostitutes) at 21 Aries, TNO Eris (governing disputes, arguments, and disrespectful slights) at 22 Aries, and asteroid Tantalus (named for a mythic Greek king from whom we derive the word “tantalize”, to tempt or tease) at 24 Aries.
The Sun is also connected to Saturn (government workers, the President) by opposition at 26 Libra retrograde; asteroid Washingtonia (the US capitol) at 26 Capricorn, by square; centaur Nessus (sexual impropriety or inappropriate actions) at 25 Aquarius, by sextile; and a conjunction of Mercury (verbal contracts) at 26 Pisces with TNO Salacia (named for the Greek goddess from whom we derive the word “salacious”, conveying undue or indecent interest in sexual matters) at 24 Pisces, in semisextile.
Put it all together and you have a pretty accurate, and specific, picture of the Secret Service scandal. That this all came off within hours of the first Moon occultation of Pluto suggests that scandals and secrets being made public may be a predominant theme of the next 18 months, but doubtless other themes will emerge as well, as we navigate this most extraordinary series of celestial events.
Some of these may be seen in events surrounding the day of the first occultation. How long a period of time may be affected by the phenomenon is uncertain, but certainly we can accord it a window of opportunity of at least a day either way.
On April 11, murder and capital punishment was in the news, something connected to Moon/Pluto via the Moon’s relation to public events or policies carried out on behalf of the public, and Pluto’s involvement with crime, murder and death.
On that date the Connecticut House of Representatives voted to repeal the state’s death sentence, and Florida finally arrested and charged George Zimmerman with the death of Trayvon Martin, a widely publicized killing that had gone without official condemnation for over six weeks.
On April 13, North Korean leaders were publically embarrassed by the utter failure of a much-touted new long-range rocket, which exploded and fell into the sea just miles from its launch site. The Pluto connection is seen in the potential weapon of mass destruction, and the Moon signals the public humiliation of North Korea’s militaristic agenda.
On April 12 itself we can also see the precursor of what would become a major theme of the subsequent occultation: sexuality in the form of LGBT issues. On that date the US Justice Department issued its first ever indictment under the hate crimes legislation for an LGBT-related crime, since the law had been expanded in 2009 to include anti-gay crimes. A federal grand jury charged David and Anthony Jenkins with kidnapping, assault and conspiracy in an attack on Kevin Pennington motivated by his sexual orientation.
As if preparing the ground for its next meeting, this manifestation set the tone for the occultation on May 9, which centered on a week of gay-themed stories. Beginning with Vice President Joe Biden’s candid response in a “Meet the Press” interview on Sunday May 6, where he stated he was “absolutely comfortable” with same sex marriage, the week included a vote banning such unions in North Carolina on Tuesday, President Obama’s own endorsement of the issue on Wednesday, the revelation of a high school hazing incident directed against a supposedly gay student by Mitt Romney on the Thursday, and Romney’s commencement speech at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, ground zero for gay intolerance, on Saturday.
Of these the most prominent was Barack Obama’s assertion on Wednesday May 9 that “same-sex couples should be allowed to get married,” which was released in an ABC News Special Report at 3 PM EDT, less than an hour and a half after peak occultation of Pluto by the Moon at 1:41 PM.
A chart set for 3 PM in Washington, where the interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts occurred, shows Moon/Pluto in the Fourth House of family and domestic environments, bringing a double dose of lunar energy to the statement, with Moon-ruled family being potentially redefined at its core by the inclusion of marriage rights for same-sex couples.
Pluto ruling not only sexuality issues, but also taboo and forbidden matters, we have the other half of the equation. Refining this are asteroids Ganymed and Sappho, both gay-themed, which at 0 and 8 Cancer oppose the 9 Capricorn occultation, and themselves conjoin the USA Jupiter (politics) at 5 Cancer. Sappho is also exactly conjunct a Quasar, promoting a high public profile and attention for gay issues generally, and the President’s statement in particular.
Pluto/Moon are also involved in a Grand Trine with Mars (sexuality in general) at 7 Virgo and Mercury (news, announcements) at 1 Taurus. Additionally, Mercury is exactly squared asteroid Washingtonia at 1 Aquarius, identifying the venue for the announcement, with Washingtonia closely conjoined Jupiter at 0 Aquarius in Obama’s natal chart, identifying the act as one with a political motivation, however sincerely felt.
Further evidence of the political nature of the statement can be seen in transit Jupiter’s conjunction with centaur Asbolus, as 22 and 25 Taurus, a “finger to the wind” indicator, with Asbolus named for a mythic augur who read the signs of the times in the flight of birds. The calculation has been made that most of the votes potentially lost by this endorsement were ones not likely to have gone to Obama anyway, and will be more than made up for by enhanced enthusiasm in the Democratic base, and enhanced contributions from gay donors.
Jupiter/Asbolus also forms a Grand Trine with two points in Obama’s natal chart, Mars (sexuality) at 22 Virgo and Saturn (career, the presidency) at 25 Capricorn. Asteroid Barry, for Barack Obama (the name by which he was known in youth) lies at 10 Sagittarius, exactly on a Black Hole, indicating the sudden change of opinion, and in semisextile to the occultation.
One more gay-related story bracketed the occultation, with an FDA panel endorsing the use of AIDS treatment drug Truvada as the first AIDS prevention medication on Tuesday May 8, followed by its formal recommendation for FDA approval on Thursday May 10. If the FDA follows this recommendation, Truvada will be the first drug approved for use in AIDS prevention, not just treatment of those already infected, a watershed event in the fight against the disease which has claimed more than 46 million lives globally since it first appeared 30 years ago. The Moon/Pluto connection can be easily seen in the issues of health (Moon) and sexually transmitted disease (Pluto).
In other stories surrounding the occultation, on May 8 several major news organizations published reports from environmental studies in the North Pacific, which showed an alarming, 100-fold increase in plastic particle pollution over the past 40 years. Plastics and pollution are ruled by Pluto, the environment and bodies of water are Moon-ruled.
So far, an intriguing grab-bag of occultation manifestations. What will the next 17 bring? Stay tuned!
Note: The Moon occults Pluto on the following dates and degrees; an “R” following the degree denotes that Pluto is retrograde at the time:
|12 April 2012||9 Cap R|
|9 May 2012||9 Cap R|
|6 June 2012||8 Cap R|
|3 July 2012||8 Cap R|
|30 July 2012||7 Cap R|
|27 August 2012||7 Cap R|
|23 September 2012||6 Cap|
|20 October 2012||7 Cap|
|16 November 2012||7 Cap|
|14 December 2012||8 Cap|
|11 January 2013||9 Cap|
|7 February 2013||10 Cap|
|6 March 2013||11 Cap|
|3 April 2013||11 Cap|
|30 April 2013||11 Cap R|
|27 May 2013||11 Cap R|
|24 June 2013||10 Cap R|
|21 July 2013||9 Cap R|
|17 August 2013||9 Cap R|