As I was drafting this post about about Pluto in Aquarius, I saw an article about the next big tech development – quantum computing. It seems that the next generation of computers are going to be so powerful that everything we thought we knew about what technology is – and how we use it – will be blown out of the water. It appears that Pluto in Aquarius is making its presence felt in a major way – and that’s even before it arrives.

And that’s not the only thing. Artificial intelligence – or AI – is also starting to make its presence felt. I write my blog using the WordPress platform and, this week, I’ve noticed a couple of AI ‘blocks’ (the framework we use to write posts and design websites) are now available to use – even if they are still in the experimental phase. I can assure you that this post is definitely written by a mere human astrologer, but the two technological advances I’ve referenced so far are a reminder of the core meaning of Pluto in transit; it’s a game changer – and when it transits Aquarius, the game is the way we function in society.

Pluto makes its first ingress into Aquarius between March 24th 2023 and June 11th 2023. I say ‘first’ as it’s a new experience for the present cohort of humankind. Pluto’s orbit round the Sun – at 248 years – extends way beyond the human lifespan, so although Pluto has visited Aquarius many times before, it’s ‘new’ to us – and that’s what matters. However, it’s often useful to look back in time to discover the impact Pluto has had on us in the past.

I’m currently writing the third book in my Real Life Astrology series, The Planets in Signs, and here’s what I’ve written about Pluto in Aquarius:

Pluto in Aquarius is coming to a universe near you. In fact, by the time you read this book it may have arrived. Pluto makes its first ingress into this sign in 2023 and will not leave until 2044. Stand by for a revolution – or a whole series of them. After all, it’s what happened last time Pluto entered this sign. A quick historical review reveals that the dynamics associated with Pluto in Aquarius shift power away from the establishment and towards the people.

We last experienced Pluto in Aquarius between 1777-1798, and they were seriously revolutionary years. The US fought for and gained independence. The French disposed of their monarchy and declared the First Republic and, in keeping with Aquarius’s scientific and technological associations, James Watt invented the steam engine, without which, the industrial revolution that transformed all our lives would never have happened. Innovation and transformative change comes in many forms.

Transformation is never easy and all revolutions have their victims. Slavery was abolished in the UK during the earlier Pluto in Aquarius transit, but industrial workers found themselves enslaved by the working practices of the new industrial age. The aftermath of revolution does not guarantee peace; power is contested, often with a degree of violence. Will that happen this time around? I suspect it will, one way or another.

Some revolutions may be bloody – others less so. A green industrial revolution is as likely as a social or political revolution. One thing is certain: the generation born at this time will be born into a world of turbulence and change. When they come of age, society will have changed in terms of social structures, social organisation, power distribution and the impact of scientific and technological change. The all-consuming power of technology may be the thing to watch out for. Beware of the technology Plutocrat…”

Sara Shipman, Real Life Astrology: The Planets in Signs, 2023

What goes around, comes around: we may feel we’ve come a long way since the last Pluto in Aquarius visitation, but the underlying dynamics of this transit remain unchanged. So, in effect, everything changes because nothing changes – that’s how the universe works. Our lives will change during the Pluto in Aquarius transit in precisely the same way our ancestors lives changed. Technology (whether it’s ‘low-tech’ or hi-tech) changes how we do things, and – whether we like it or not – that’s accompanied by social unrest and societal revolution. Technological change is social change. They are inseparable.

The question we need to ask is why? And to get the answer, we need to look closely at the nature of both Pluto and Uranus-ruled Aquarius. Pluto tears up the rule-book and starts again. Everything you thought you knew (or thought possible) is up-ended. Life is moved into another space and, ultimately, you need to accept that things will never be the same again. Resistance is futile. Your only option is to work with the hand the universe has dealt you and make the best of things. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be a passive actor in the play; Pluto is most effective when you show grit and determination in the face of adversity. Remember that.

Aquarius filters that process through the prism of technological changes that affect us all at a social or societal level. It’s an impersonal sign – things that affect you personally will affect all of us and, with Pluto in Aquarius, those things are experienced and felt viscerally. It’s powerful; you join with others to express your feelings, to demand change, to challenge authority, to upset the status quo. These are revolutionary behaviours, and revolution – a key element of contrary Aquarius – becomes inevitable when the power plays so beloved of Pluto are framed by that sign. With Pluto in Aquarius, human evolution and progress comes through revolution of some kind – and revolutions are always a long time coming.

Human evolution is an unfolding, long-term and continual process – that’s what the transits of the outer planets tell us. And in astrology – as in life – all things are related; nothing happens in isolation. When Pluto enters Aquarius, it transits over the critical degree of ‘The Great Conjunction’, the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn that occurred on December 21st 2020. As I wrote at the time, the Great Conjunction in Aquarius signified a seismic shift in our consciousness, mirrored by events in the outside world.

You probably don’t need me to tell you how much the world has changed since 2020, but Pluto in Aquarius marks the moment when the past needs to be left behind – and if there are those who are reluctant to do so, that’s when trouble begins. For those of you sensitised to this transit, you may notice this in a personal sense, but all of us will need to be aware of the destructive power of Pluto, as it applies to our lives, our communities and our social structures. Where conditions are hopelessly inadequate, outmoded or not fit for purpose, Pluto will strip away any pretence of normality and expose the underlying issues that have been preventing progress and change.

And it’s already happening. The first act of this Pluto in Aquarius transit is underway. Already we are seeing rapid changes (Uranus/Aquarius) affecting the powerful (Pluto), exposures of secrets and lies, and social protest on a grand scale. Technology is also changing – and there will be confrontations about how it may also be used for social control – a real Pluto issue. Think of this; if ‘chatbots’ also ‘make stuff up’, who or what can you trust? We know how easily words and information technology can be used to manipulate the masses – Pluto in Aquarius may take this to an extreme level, as Pluto does ‘extreme’.

However, I think we can also expect many more troublesome issues like this to be exposed and uncovered – especially as Pluto likes to get at the truth. In many ways, this relatively short-lived experience of Pluto in Aquarius is going to be like the trailer for the ‘main event’. The next three months will set out the themes that are going to transform our world during the main Pluto in Aquarius transit that takes place between January 2024 and March 2043. You are going to need a deep bunker and a huge supply of popcorn…

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© Sara Shipman 2023

Picture credit: Image by lenzius from Pixabay 

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