After a rocky start to the week (see my Sun-Uranus square post of July 12th), I had a happy birthday on the 13th, made all the more special by the pre-flyby photo taken of Pluto that very afternoon. I felt as if my Rising Planet was sending me love from across the solar system:
Many people's hearts melted when they saw Pluto's heart, and the emerging details of its demoted-from-planethood's self are astounding scientists who expected an "old, pockmarked" warhorse, not a young'un of less than 100 million years old that boasts a heart-shaped plain and ice mountains (which proves the existence of water, as one might expect from a planet ruled by the water sign Scorpio).
Finally, it occurred to me to look up Pluto's "discovery" chart, as there was no real way I could look up its actual birth date. Although Percival Lowell first suspected Pluto's existence back in 1905, he was unable to locate "Planet X" by the time of his death a decade later; astronomer Clyde Tombaugh eventually found it on February 18, 1930, though the news was kept from the public till March 13th, the day that would have been Percival Lowell's 75th birthday. It is fitting not only that our solar system's newest find was named for the Roman god of the underworld (as the early 1930s was a highly Plutonian time marked by financial depression and the birth of fascism), but that the first two letters of Pluto's name happen to be Percival Lowell's initials.
Although I was unable to determine the exact time of discovery, I was not surprised to see that the Moon was in Scorpio on February 18, 1930, since Pluto is ruled by the sign of Scorpio. Interestingly, Pluto itself falls at 17 degrees of Cancer in the discovery chart, within hailing distance of the Sun's position early last week (20 to 22 degrees of Cancer, the Pisces decanate and dwad, particularly auspicious for photography).
Pluto has two aspects that I believe contributed to its demotion three-quarters of a century later (as opposed to its being given a gold watch and a generous pension plan): a Venus-Jupiter-Neptune T-square (with Venus at 2 Pisces opposing Neptune at 2 Virgo, both squaring Jupiter at 6 Gemini) and a tight Saturn-Uranus square (with Saturn at 8 Capricorn squaring Uranus at 9 Aries).
The T-square in mutable signs suggests an inherent instability combined with the potential for glamorization followed by pedestal-toppling by a shallow judge or panel (Jupiter is in its "fall," i.e. most weakly placed, in Gemini). Pluto was demoted by astronomers on August 24, 2006, with the Sun having just entered Virgo and literally shedding light on the T-square.
The Saturn-Uranus square from Capricorn to Aries stresses difficulty with structure; there is a resistance to easy labels and open-shut classification. Interestingly, Pluto celebrated its Uranus return last year, on the Uranus-Pluto square; NASA's ultimately successful flyby mission was already in process.
I hope that since Pluto also has a Mercury-Mars conjunction in Aquarius trine that debilitated Jupiter, its demotion is not final, especially with the overwhelmingly positive response to the flyby mission. More details will emerge about this most mysterious Pluto over the next 16 months. Perhaps by then, scientists will be moved not only to take back the demotion, but to issue the long-suffering Pluto a promotion. Such love and validation can only improve our collective relationship with Pluto, which will enable us all to use its kick-ass power more wisely, and with more respect, than we have ever managed to up till now, and especially since 2006.