Astrologer Wendy Stacey


Pluto in Capricorn What Can History Tell Us?

When Pluto journeyed into Capricorn last year it was no surprise to astrologers that the world took an economic hit and that we would be faced with a global recession.

Pluto has a need to purge – clean out the rubbish and discard all that it deems unnecessary.  It does the jobs that others are too scared to do, or that are too unpleasant, and requires the penetrative skill to get to the bottom of things.  Once it has found what needs to be eliminated, it then destroys it.  Pluto operates slowly and stays around for a long time, breaking up and annihilating all that is rotten – taking no prisoners and no casualties.

The devastation left behind brings with it the anticipation of huge change and renewal.  What remained before no longer exists and must be replaced with fresh, new innovations and a transformation of power.  As Pluto travels through the signs, his position tells us which areas he is operating in.  When Pluto ingresses into Capricorn, where he last was 244-248 years ago, he once again visits the sign which is concerned with law and order, economics and political systems that have become institutionalised into the fabric of our society.  Every structure that has been put in place since Pluto’s last visit is once again under telescopic scrutiny, and those which stand tallest are most vulnerable and are called into audit.

When Pluto travels through Capricorn it infiltrates not just the structure of societal systems but the core moral underpinnings on which they were built, and asks ‘is this right?  Are these the correct systems and the appropriate foundations for society – for this particular point in time?’  What we know of our own society and where we are placed within it will undoubtedly change before Pluto makes its departure from Capricorn.  Each time Pluto travels through Capricorn it changes the worldview of the masses.  

It will shake up the very bones of society and pinpoint areas related to Capricorn, such as skeleton, skin and teeth and how the body functions; clocks, watches and anything to do with measuring time; land and ownership on any scale and the mechanisms through which this is managed; the domination of industry in all its forms; and with Pluto as its regulator it will also have a huge influence over how society reproduces and populates and how populations can be divided – be it by race, religion, class, etc. When Pluto departs Capricorn there will be evidence of mass destruction and mass regeneration.  The cost to humanity and to individuals may be massive in many cases, and seem extremely unfair and difficult to bear, in hindsight it will make a notable mark in the history of our society that will allow it to change and grow in a new way. 

Let’s walk down that road and take a glimpse of what Pluto has exterminated and achieved in his journey through Capricorn through the ages. 

February 532 to November 551
The entry of Pluto into Capricorn in February 532 was joined by his opposition to Capricorn’s ruler, Saturn, deepening the depression and deprivation of Pluto in Capricorn and giving rise to confrontation between the oppressed and oppressor.  Introducing the ingress in 532 was the Nika revolts in Greece, which were a result of political domination that saw the killing of over 30,000 people.  The first pandemic of bubonic plague hit the Eastern Roman Empire (538-540), cold weather created mass starvation in the northern hemisphere (which was put down to a volcanic eruption) and the apparent final battle of King Arthur (whose myth is still very present in our society in nearly 1500 years later) took place in 537. 

January 778 to December 796
This particular ingress of Pluto was accompanied by an opposition to Uranus, and a square to Jupiter, creating a a T-Square.  Ideologies of liberation and belief systems would have dominated this period.  At this time several conflicts over land and religion were fought throughout Asia and Germany and the first Viking raid in England occurred in 793.  With regards to industry, the invention of the heavy plough was believed to be around this time, although the date is unknown, and the earliest iron horseshoes have been discovered from this decade.  It is interesting with Jupiter as the focal planet of the T-Square that horses played such a significant part of the transformation of industry at the time.

January 1024 to December 1041
Pluto’s transition into Capricorn at the start of the last millennium was accompanied by a conjunction with Jupiter and Chiron.  Only months before this ingress the first paper money was invented in China.  French publications from 1035 describe a three year famine that was associated with climate change, China’s population doubled in size throughout the century and a painting from 1035 depicts a spinning wheel in China, an apparatus which would become one of the most beneficial inventions and biggest assets to mass industry for many centuries ahead.

December 1269 to November 1287
The ingress of Pluto into Capricorn here was separating from a wide conjunction to Chiron and applying to a wide conjunction with Mercury. There were several wars initiated by the Mongols throughout China and Japan, Italy established the Albanian Kingdom, Portugal eliminated the last Moorish community in Faro and the largest battle of knights (80,000 men) in the middle ages was fought in the Battle of Marchfeld in 1278.  Three Popes died in one year (1276). The first escapement on clocks was invented in 1275, and by 1280 the first mechanical clocks appeared in Europe – although these had been invented by the Chinese some years earlier.  Windmills were also invented around this time (1285-1290), another innovation which was beneficial to the progress of industry, and the procedure for ensuring all new minted coins conformed to standard – a practice labelled Trail of the Pyx – was introduced in 1282.  England and Wales united in order to bring all the people in both regions under British rule, and a legislation was introduced in 1283 which stated that women can be burnt at the stake and men hung, drawn and quartered, if found guilty of treason.  In 1274, King Edward I ordered all Jews to wear yellow badges and in 1282, the Archbishop of Canterbury ordered the closure of all London synagogues and forbade Jewish doctors to perform on non-Jewish people (note that in the 1930s, when the Nazis enforced this again, Pluto was in the opposite sign of Cancer).

December 1515 to December 1532
When Pluto journeyed into Capricorn, this time it was making a trine to Uranus.  It was this period that brought us out of the Middle Ages and into the Early Modern period, spearheaded by Martin Luther in 1517, which divided western Christianity.  Around this time, African slaves were being carted between continents to boost the labour force in the southern states of the US (which started in 1510, when Pluto was in Sagittarius), the Aztec empire was conquered (1519) as was the Inca empire (1531).  Several navigation innovations took place, with the first map of the American continents in 1520, the first crossing of the Pacific from 1520-1, and the first circumnavigation in 1519-1522, as Magellan reached the Moluccas via the Philippines, and the route from Mexico across the Pacific to the Moluccas was discovered.  The Little Book of Assays was published (1520) which outlined the authentication of stamping minted coins, the official postal service was established in England (1516) and the first book on dentistry was published in Germany (1530).

January 1762 to December 1778
Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn at this time was marked by a tight conjunction with Venus and a square to the conjunction of Uranus and Saturn.  The latter would indicate several reforms, revolutions, a breakdown of existing systems, a breakthrough of new technologies, changes to the status quo, and – along with Venus – would delve into the areas of agriculture and the setting up of new financial systems, resource management and new markets that arose to serve the new industry and which led to the consumerism that we have today.  The conjunction gave rise to a new era in which the focus was on wealth and opportunity, but against this was the back drop of the square which reflects the conflict, oppression, exploitation and issues of economic and social deprivation.  The period began in 1762 with the publication of the Social Contract, by Rousseau, which although outlined social control also maintained that people should be free to decide who they want to be governed by.  During this period we can see the invention of the spinning Jenny (a device made to spin thread) (1764) and also the steam engine (1769), both of which were significant contributors to the industrial revolution and to the idea of world as machine.  Other inventions included the electric telegraph (1774), the flush toilet (1775), the submarine (1776), the steamship (1775) and the sandwich (1762).  Captain Cook found the New World by landing in Botany Bay in Australia (1770), found Hawaii in 1778, and, after a long battle, The American Declaration of Independence was established in 1776.  

January 2008 to November 2024
When Pluto moved into Capricorn last year it was applying to a conjunction with Venus and Jupiter.  So what does this mean and how could this latest ingress manifest for us in the present day?  We have visited history and see how Pluto can behave when conjunct Venus or Jupiter (1024 and 1762) but how will he behave in our present day, as the world is a much different place.  Pluto has spent the last eighteen years travelling through Sagittarius – this was a period which focused on the power of knowledge, the escalation of debt, travel innovations, religious wars and terrorism, all of which will soon be subject to a worldwide audit!  As Pluto made his first ingress into Capricorn, global society was faced with economic uncertainty.  Our financial markets have been severely hit and the collapse of financial institutions has impacted the entire world, and Pluto has only just entered the sign.  We have economic problems where the world’s resources are diminishing and economic power shifting to countries that have larger labour forces, less debt and technological assets.  

We keep hearing that problems of overpopulation are reaching breaking point.  The majority of the world’s population do not have enough food.  We have an ageing society who will require care and welfare that the system is not equipped to provide.  The threat of AIDS and other worldwide epidemics and pandemics increase at alarming rates. 

As Pluto digs his way into Capricorn, it is likely that economic deprivation and depression will increase and anxiety of an unknowable future will permeate society. Climate change could bring untold problems. Apocalyptic thoughts will dominate and fear and anticipation of the end world when the Mayan calendar ends in 2012 is one example of this.

All these factors are deeply serious and are not done enough justice here.  It is clear that many people around the world have suffered and will suffer the effects of these problems.  We can learn from the past as well that much that is positive for society has arisen during periods of Pluto in Capricorn.  We can try to understand what may occur and how people may react to the current transit, and prepare as far as possible to lessen the impact.  We know that with Pluto in Capricorn resistance is futile, but that we need to remain open to new possibilities and opportunities that will lead to the building of social and economic systems from those which are rotten and in need of replacing.  Pluto requires everything to be ‘let go’ and it is more painful for those who find it difficult to do so.  There is an anticipation among astrologers of the square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries which will occur in 2012, and out of this inevitable conflict we may see a glimpse of radical new beginnings to come.

What will also be a fascinating time to live through is when Pluto makes its journey into Aquarius in 2024, and only a few years before this Aquarius would have also had Jupiter and Saturn making a conjunction in the this sign (this is the first conjunction in an unbroken sequence in 960 years as it moves into the air element).  Their conjunction cycle moves from the earth element into the air element, which may create the platform which will lead us out of a materialistic culture into a mental one (perhaps even to outer space!).


Roberts, J.M. The New Penguin History of the World (Penguin, 2007).

Stacey, Wendy, ‘Pluto in Capricorn: The Map becomes the Territory’ (Lecture at ISAR, Denver, USA, 2005).

Stacey, Wendy, ‘Pluto in Capricorn’ (Lecture at the Astrological Lodge of London, 2006).


Wikipedia [last accessed 25 August 2009]  

‘Chronology’, at [last accessed 02 February 2005].

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