Friday, March 5, 2010

The "We" Regeneration: The Pluto-in-Libra Group Faces the Pluto-in-Capricorn Challenge

Pluto’s energy is primal, compulsive, and willful—it deals with both eros (sexual desire, which ensures the survival of a species) and thanatos (the death wish). People tend to obsess over and repress Pluto issues; a few years ago the International Astronomers Union literally demoted Pluto to the status of “dwarf planet.” Yet Pluto’s power refuses to be diminished.

Pluto calls upon us during crises to evolve and survive, or die. Due to Pluto’s eccentric orbit, different generations experience transiting Pluto’s square to their natal Pluto position at varying stages of life—or not at all, when Pluto passes through the slower-moving signs. The square is an aspect of inner conflict. As Pluto passes through Capricorn (2008/09–2023/24), the group that will have the most challenges to face during this very challenging era is Pluto in Libra (1971/72–1983/84; please consult’s free ephemeris for exact dates), the younger half of Generation X (born 1961–1981, according to highly regarded social historians Neil Howe and William Strauss).

Most who have Pluto in Libra will have similar timing with their square as the Pluto-in-Virgo group (born 1957/58–1971/72), and be in their mid- to late 30s—but to different effect, due to the different signs involved. The Virgo/Sagittarius Pluto square was about health, work, and obligations (Virgo issues) conflicting with sky’s-the-limit expansion, ethics, and globalization (Sagittarius issues)—which resulted by 2008 in too many obese, sick, unemployed, outsourced adults in their late 30s to early 50s with ruined credit and foreclosures.

The Libra/Capricorn Pluto square features relationships (particularly contractual ones) challenging institutions and structures. Because Pluto is slowing down in its orbit, the last of the Pluto-in-Libra group (1982–1984) will be in their early 40s when their Pluto square occurs—signifying a generational shift that will give them something in common with their Pluto-in-Leo Baby Boomer parents, whose Pluto square also coincided with the early 40s “midlife crisis” aspect: Uranus opposing Uranus.

Yet for the majority of Pluto-in-Libra individuals, the Pluto square occurs before the Uranus opposition. The Pluto square is such an intense aspect that it could make the potentially explosive Uranus opposition a half decade later somewhat anticlimactic. My take on this: Gen X, from front to back, had to grow up fast in an increasingly fragmented, R-rated, accelerated culture, and is now entering its prime earning years during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Many soon-to-be forty-somethings will not have the luxury of experiencing the type of midlife crisis in which the Silent and Baby Boomer generations often participated.

Now that Pluto is in Capricorn, trading in your reliable but boring wheels at midlife for a hot sports car, your reliable but humdrum job for something more exciting, and your reliable but sagging spouse for a younger trophy wife (or the buff UPS guy) seem like relics from a bygone era. Perhaps as Pluto passes through Capricorn, it will be more common to see the Pluto-in-Libra group shun cars that utilize fossil fuels (Capricorn) in favor of “green machines,” and respond to chronic unemployment by finding something beautiful (Libra) to craft or build (Capricorn), which will result in more indie arts & crafts sites like

I predict that even well-off Pluto-in-Libra individuals will choose not to flaunt it if they got it—especially if the growing numbers of desperate have-nots transform from frightened, fragmented individuals to angry, mobilized mobs. We may see quite a few “Bonnie and Clyde” couples (Libra) who rob banks (Capricorn) while minding their manners (Libra again!). And they will be seen as figures of romance, now that almost everyone on Main St. loves to hate Wall St. Marriage is likely to be an all-or-nothing proposition for the Pluto-in-Libra group; many will create an entirely new set of vows, and advocate for same-sex marriage. Since Libra rules the arts, there may soon be more depictions onstage and in the movies of gay couples that are more about love and relating, less about activism and AIDS.

When Pluto passes through a sign, everything concerning that sign is brought to the surface, obsessed about on a mass level, and transformed—or killed. Looking back to Pluto’s transit of Libra, “the term ‘relationship,’” as Jim Ryan puts it in his hilarious cartoon book The ’70s: Life in a Dumb Decade, “came from the ’70s need to categorize what Joni Mitchell was having. [Relationships] were thought about…talked about… discussed… worked out…opened up…taken on the Donahue Show.”

As many states implemented “no fault” divorce laws, divorce rates in the U.S. skyrocketed, finally peaking in 1980; many of those born with Pluto in Libra were young children of divorce. Libra is ruled by Venus, the planet women are said to be from; “women’s lib” during the 1970s resulted in more women entering the workforce and fighting for equality (Libra) with men. Although the Pluto-in-Libra group may take equal rights for granted because they were born into an era of feminism (and Mattel’s “We Girls Can Do Anything” ad campaign of the ’80s endeared the Barbie doll to young Pluto-in-Libra girls), there are deeper, more disturbing currents afoot that could potentially result in a new battle of the sexes.

Because the U.S. has lost much of its manufacturing and IT base, and its infrastructure has been allowed to crumble, more men have lost their jobs recently than women—to the extent that this recession has been called a “man-cession.” Men also have fallen behind women in educational achievement. Although the dual-income household has been the norm in the U.S. ever since Pluto transited Libra, the concept of the husband as main breadwinner is currently being turned on its head. Perhaps one challenge the Pluto-in-Libra group faces as Pluto passes through Capricorn is how to navigate marriages that feature more involuntary “househusbands.”

Look back at an earlier ’60s and ’70s era in America: the 1760s and ’70s, which just happened to be the last time Pluto passed through Capricorn. As hard as it might be to believe this early on in the transit, another revolution is coming. This revolution may gain momentum on and social network sites like Facebook and Twitter (which certainly reflect the Pluto-in-Libra style), but it will need to move into the material world in order to take root (Capricorn).

Interestingly, George Washington was born with Pluto in Libra—which exactly squared his Moon in Capricorn! I for one hope that our next George Washington, regardless of gender or political affiliation, will soon come forward and play a huge role in saving our nation from its own corrupt government, poisonous pollutants, and out-of-whack institutions—including the Tea Party movement that many alienated Pluto-in-Libra extremists will be tempted to join.

The concept of depression as a psychological state, as well as its treatments, will undergo a transformation as Pluto transits Capricorn. Due to the Pluto square I described earlier, this will be especially relevant for the Pluto-in-Libra group, who came of age during a time when antidepressant drugs were not only being prescribed, but overprescribed. Long-term users of various mood elevators are becoming worried by the tolls these drugs may take on their physical health; combine this concern with the escalating costs of prescription drugs in general, and we may be looking at an era of mass withdrawal from the antidepressants that were so widespread when Pluto transited Sagittarius (tellingly, a sign that does not tolerate depression). Talk therapy will make a comeback, and there is also a growing belief in evolutionary psychology that depression serves a purpose, that “sadder but wiser” has the ring of truth.

Over the next dozen years, the Pluto-in-Libra group is most likely to take the hardest knocks from Pluto in Capricorn. Yet this group is also the best situated to transform itself by not only thinking of itself—and in so doing, just might go down in history as the “We Generation.”

T. C. Gardstein is a Brooklyn-based astrologer and writer. She is especially pleased that this article is included in the 2010 International Astrology Day Blog-a-thon (March 19-21) because her favorite planet is Pluto. T.C. has published articles in Dell Horoscope and Mountain Astrologer, and created and managed an astrology website,, for the now-defunct dot-com company Webseed. Her novel, Circuit, is available for purchase on Amazon and Xlibris, and her eBook of erotic verse, The Poetry Prostitute, has been published by Paper Bag Press (audio book forthcoming). T.C. is available for private astrological consultation as well as parties. Contact her at

Generations, Neil Howe and William Strauss
The ’70s: Life in a Dumb Decade, Jim Ryan
“The Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged,” Frank Rich, 2/27/10,
“Depression’s Upside,” Jonah Lehrer, 2/25/10,


  1. My daughter is going through this square right now and this article was very helpful.

  2. We can do it!

    I don't know if it's the square we're experiencing (my husband and I are 30 and 31), but we are not taking crap from anyone anymore, all the while maintaining our composure. "Anyone" begins with our landlord, who has been negligent to the point of putting us in a compromising situation, recently. He's probably in his fifties, not sure, but apparently not too bright. He's gotten away with "murder", but not anymore.

    I see this period as one where us Pluto in Libra folks really, really get to know and understand our rights, because I sense that many of us have forgotten that we have them.

    Thank you for your very informative article!

  3. To "Anonymous": Your daughter is lucky to have a parent take such astrological concern for her. She would currently be experiencing this square if she's born between 1971-75.

    To Deb: Sounds to me that you and your husband are feeling the effects of your Saturn Return, which happens to everyone when they're about 30. Pluto won't square your Pluto(s) for a while yet--however, Pluto has been squaring your and your husband's Saturn, emphasizing the need for the two of you to stand firm and stand up for your rights. Hope this happens on a collective level before Big Brother and the Nanny State get even more out of hand in the name of "Homeland Security."

  4. Thank you for the article. My son, 37 has Pluto in early Libra in his second house, and earns his living - to support his artistic career in his capricorn 5th house- doing high end carpentry,often on a team with very Libra.
    I have observed that many artistic Pluto in Libra generation have not bought into the "i need more to create my identity" Rather, their belief is centered in having more Sag Freedom i.e. free time to do their art. The prize for them is freedom from being the hostage of corporate life.

  5. My son, born in Australia in May 1974, is experiencing this T-square. He got divorced last June, had to leave his job at Toyota in October since he wasn't making enough to live on, and only this year has started over at Mercedes Benz. It has been very difficult for him, but reading your article has given me hope. Thank you for this. He has Saturn at 3 Cancer, Pluto at 4 Libra, now Pluto at 5 Cap. Cancer in late 4th house, Pluto in 8 natally, transiting Pluto in 10-11.

  6. I really do find it heartening that two more anonymous parents have commented here about their offspring going through Pluto squaring natal Pluto. It is an unusually tough square given that Saturn is involved, but with this kind of emotional support coming from parents, I am optimistic that this too shall pass. I wouldn't be surprised if the 37-year-old forms a more formalized partnership with his high-end carpentry friends, and if "May 1974" finds an entirely new set of friends with whom to form various Plutonian mergers.

  7. I'm going through the square right now, with my Pluto at 2 Libra and Saturn doing its thing back and forth over it, too. But my Saturn Return in 2003 was so vicious that I'm actually enjoying myself right now! Haha. Definitely a time of transformation and reassessment. Mostly, I feel like I'm waiting for the world to transform before I can move forward. Doesn't it seem like we're on the brink? You can't invest in anything because the whole investment paradigm is about to change. Buying things is pointless because material things can't be carried around and there's probably going to be a lot of movement in the next decade. It's just a time of waiting. Of course, Saturn's also on my IC. Gen X just has to patiently wait for Jupiter and Uranus to hit the Aries Point, and then we'll be called into action.

  8. Earnest, thanks for adding to these interesting comments. Keep in mind that Gen X has an A side and a B side (like an LP record); I was born on the last song of the A side, since I have Pluto at 25 Virgo and Neptune at 28 Scorpio. Uranus in late Pisces has therefore been affecting me and other 1969-70 Xers differently than those born in 1971-72. I do agree with you that Uranus in Aries will see a lot more movement, and a collective spring cleaning for the entire generation could be a very wise thing to do.

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  11. Im so glad I found this blog post. I was born in December 1971. I have a Pluto in 1 degree Lib in the 2nd house and a Venus in 3 degree Capricorn in the 5th house. My life has never been such a challenge with money and in relationships. Just when I thought things were back on track about 6 months my life went sideways. Plus, the lunar eclipse that just happened today (6/26) hit on top of almost exact transiting Pluto natal Venus conjunction in my 5th squaring my natal Pluto conjunct transiting Saturn cocktail in the 2nd. I really cannot wait for this to be over. I usually am a very optimistic, cheerful person with planets in Sagittarius and two planets in Gemini, but I honestly feel like I am maxed out with all of this going on, really looking forward to 2011!

  12. Really fantastic your blog. I look forward to future posts.

    Falling in love can be fun and adventurous and sometimes love can be confusing and challenging. Have you ever wondered if your love life is affected by something greater? Maybe your love life is not controlled by you at all.

    Discover the personality traits of your partner by exploring your horoscopes embrace them. Use them to add intense passion to your relationship.

  13. What about pluto transiting uranus and neptune?

  14. Hello, I found this blog entry through the blog-a-thon. I've read a variety of things about what the Grand Cardinal Square will mean, and was glad to hear something about relationships and partnerships. Perhaps the best that can come out of the stresses of this aspect is show how much we are connected and need each other to survive, regardless of race, gender, or any other characteristic; first it may come with extreme polarization and adjustment, and if we get a clue, change may occur.

    I've also found other interesting things about Pluto-in-Libra. It was this generation that really launched the "reality TV" thing, which is really supposedly "live" interactions within a specific setting, and then don't forget "meet your boyfriend/significant other" contest shows that push for engagements or weddings!! Then, there's a larger-scale obsession with beauty with cosmetic surgery becoming more common and extremes taken to look beautiful... Gosh, maybe I should write about this :-)

    Thanks for sharing!! --kristy

  15. I too am going through my pluto square with my natal pluto in my tenth house and transiting pluto transiting in my second house ughhhh... i have heard so many good and bad inturpitaions on this it has my head spinning lol.. and to add the icing on the cake my husband is too going through it with his natal pluto in his twelth house almost on the cusp of his first and transiting his third house going into his first sometimes i feel as though i am getting a double whammy with this square :( thank you for the input helps alot

  16. Wow, this really touches a nerve. I am a female born in 1971 with a male partner born in 1983 so we are both the cusps of Pluto in Libra, so to speak. What's more, my sun sign is Libra and his is Capricorn. One of our favorite pastimes is speculating on the stock market, a guilty pleasure. We definitely aren't into flaunting wealth, though. We are in a committed but non-vowed partnership so I guess we are breaking some ground in terms of the nature of our relationship, too.

  17. This was the best time in my life in a way until saturn slammed me. between pluto conjunct my natal moon and saturn conjunct my natal pluto and my saturn return to boot, this is horrible. I feel I am not going to make it. I should have taken advantage of my happy times. pray for me.

  18. I'm mid-1973 Pluto-in-Libra. I'm really starting to understand what this placement means - which was kind of opaque to me for years. The comment someone made above about this generation wanting to be free to pursue their art - that is spot on. Neptune is in Sag for most of this generation - freedom from restrictions and globally connected, that's the fantasy of our group all right. And fuck corporations!

  19. Pluto squares my capricorn stellium natally... and now Pluto is squaring itself by transit and sitting conjunct on my 12th house sun. Saturn is in a square too... I need a break.

  20. wow!
    I realize this article is older, but it really speaks to me.
    I have pluto rising in libra (AC at 8 degrees and pluto at 10) so transiting pluto hasn't quite given me the square yet.
    Such a great article on this subject------
    and very prophetic seeing as we are witnessing the rise of OWS right now.
    Thanks so much

  21. Very good, all true! Pluto is headed for my moon next in cap as well! It feels a lot like real death is here for me. No worries though, i'll make it. If you can't beat pluto you might as well join sob!

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