Mission to Pluto – a Rediscovery


Ready for your close up Pluto?

New Horizons spacecraft, a spacecraft destined to distant Pluto, a mission to Pluto passing by Jupiter and then to distant Pluto, left the planet back on January 19, 2006 at 2:00p.m. EST. At this time Pluto was at 25° Sagittarius with a stellium of planets in the 9th house of exploration, set at Fort Lauderdale Florida which included the Sun, Neptune and Chiron. The Sun representing the purpose of the mission, Neptune the connection to the great beyond, and Chiron our symbolic bridge to the outer planets. Venus was retrograde in Capricorn, quite a feat ahead, with Mercury the ruler of the ascendent of New Horizon launch chart, Mercury our representative of information gathering between worlds, both in the depths of the 8th house. The 8th house,  as we know is often associated with Pluto’s domain in modern astrology as co -ruler of Scorpio, the natural 8th house and represents depth, rebirth and commitment. The Ascendent of the launch was conjunct Jupiter of the discovery chart, the sign of Aquarius, into the future and beyond, appropriately graced the MC (top of chart), with Uranus of the discovery chart in the 10th, being transited by the North Node in Aries. New horizons indeed!

The imminent arrival of the closest pass of New Horizons to Pluto happened on 14th July 2015 , and it seemed like a good time to have a closer look at the beginnings of this far and distant planet.

In 2014 whilst visiting Arizona, I was fortunate to have been able to visit Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff , known as “The Home of Pluto”. We took the Pluto Tour, walked the grounds, checked out the numerous telescopes and Lowell’s museum, built in the shape of Saturn, with a very cool Saturn shaped light, that also used to be his home, with lots of interesting info and relics We visited his mausoleum, we even chatted with an astronomer who was open to astrology, how refreshing. Pluto was discovered on Feb 18th, in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, but an interesting and much longer story comes with the lead up to finding Pluto, planet X, and the man responsible for the lead up to the discovery of Pluto, Percival Lowell.

The two photographic plates that showed Clyde Tombaugh the moving planet, were taken on January 23 and January 29 1930, but the discrepancy between the plates was not seen until Feb 18th, at 4pm, in Flagstaff Arizona which becomes the astrology chart astrologers use for Pluto’s discovery. However the discovery of the new planet was only announced to the world on the 13th March 1930. This was Percival Lowell’s Birthday, and also the birthday of the planet that broke the bounds of our solar system back in 1781, Uranus. Interestingly this was 84 years , one Uranus cycle after the discovery of Neptune back in 1846. Although Lowell did not discover Pluto, Lowell Observatory did photograph Pluto in March and April 15 years earlier in 1915 without knowing at the time.

Pluto is also known to have been spotted earlier, in 1915 by Lowell himself, on March 19th and April 7th, but never connected the new dot with a new planet. Pluto at the time in 1915 was to zero Cancer and the first World War was in full swing.

With Pluto we always have to dig deeper to find the treasure.

Percival Lowell began the search for planet X, which he devoted the last decade of his life to ,the search for the hypothetical planet beyond Neptune. Lowell believed that the planets Uranus and Neptune were displaced from their predicted positions by the gravity of the unseen Planet X. Lowell an American businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer fuelled speculation that there were canals on Mars, extraterrestrial life and set up the system that would eventually lead to Pluto’s discovery. Lowell died in Nov 1916, but his story with Pluto continues with the astrology and timing of the flyby of New Horizons.

After Pluto’s discovery much controversy surrounded the naming of the new planet. At the time at the Lowell Observatory the leading candidates for names for the planet were Minerva, Zeus, Atlas or Persephone as the rationale was that most planets were already named after Roman Gods, so the tradition should continue. Yet a telegram came to the observatory along with many congratulations, from an 11 year old english girl, Venetia Burney who suggested naming the planet after a “dark and gloomy place”, as was the distant planet, and suggested Pluto, god of the underworld. Apparently she was quite well acquainted with Greek myth. It was decided upon as myth brothers Jupiter and Neptune , the rulers of both Heaven and the Seas, already had a planet named after them, so why not Pluto for the dark and gloomy underworld. The suitability of the name was confirmed by what would become the initials for the planet PL, paying homage to Percival Lowell responsible for the lead up to the discovery of Pluto.

When we look at the astrology chart for Percival Lowell, we see Pluto in a most prominent place, rising on his Ascendent. A stellium of planets in Pisces in the 12th house, show his belief and search in the great beyond , as well as Uranus, planet of discovery conjunct his North Node in grounding Taurus. Taking a look at the timing of New Horizons flyby of Pluto some wonderful connections show up. . At the time of the flyby not only will Neptune transit Lowell’s retrograde Mercury at 9 Pisces, as we get photo’s sent back to us, images and photos being Neptune’s domain , but Pluto also transits Lowell’s MC. The timing couldn’t be better. Often outer planet transits show up posthumously in many charts for people that have movies made about them or biographies published years and even decades after their death. In this case who would have ever have thought that Percival’s ‘Baby’ would ever be rediscovered. Of note here is that Pluto was discovered when at 17° Cancer, opposite Lowell’s Moon on his Midheaven.

To look at the comparison of the New Horizons flyby with that of the discovery chart, Pluto is having an opposition to itself, although only exact in January 2017. Uranus is about to turn rx close to the discovery charts MC, and Venus and Jupiter join the festivities as they oppose the discovery Sun, with Venus also about to turn retrograde at zero Virgo opposite the 29th degree Aquarian Sun. Mercury, Mars and the Sun transit the 12th house in Cancer and the radix Pluto and oppose transiting Pluto, with Mars in trine aspect to the discovery Moon at 13° Scorpio. The collective experience and depth of meaning to the flyby is accentuated as we take a look from our home planet, at this stage of his cycle only 3 billion miles away. How much closer could we have come in the vast scheme of things for a good look at the far and distant planet Pluto. As this is a sort of re-imaging of Pluto for us, it is also a reimagining of what we always thought to be something that was too hard to fathom, out of reach and too dark, distant and gloomy to properly connect to. How could this symbolically ignite our re- understanding of Pluto!

I couldn’t find a birth time for Clyde Tombaugh, so I didn’t include his astrology here, but true to Pluto’s symbolism of death and rebirth, with New Horizons travel some of Clyde Tombaugh’s ashes who died in 1997.

With Pluto comes a never ending story, one that seems to continue to the edges of the universe. Pluto has had a few transformations himself, as back in 2006 he was demoted to a dwarf planet as the discovery of Eris reshuffled a few things in the planetary hierarchy. To astrologers Pluto never went away, or lost his potency. As the far and distant planet grew to represent to us the eternal cycles of life, death and rebirth, connecting us to the end and the beginning all at once, to profound and unfathomable depths, probing into the understanding our human nature, our collective and personal evolution, our plight, connecting us to the power of the smallest atom and the largest supernova and to the power held within each and everyone of us, this of course will never die. Perhaps now as we get better acquainted with Pluto, we can better tap into it’s extraordinary powers of connecting the micro with the macro, the far reaches, with the inner depths as this flyby symbolises.

As new horizons begins to give us a clearer picture of this dark and distant gloomy planet, we may also consider a better understanding of ourselves in the greater scheme of things and that our own efforts can and do make such a difference in a world that may seem darker and gloomier than Pluto itself. Pluto represents the mass psyche, as does Neptune in a different way, both relating with our collective evolution. Pluto with the inevitable transformation that we are always participating in, even if we know it or not, and Neptune in more an inspired and faith driven sense. Pluto excavates from the furthest reaches of the solar system, to the depths in our earthly ground, and uncovers more about our history, archaeology and evolution into the known world and now forward into the future. With this new look at our far and distant planet, perhaps we can take a better look at ourselves, rediscovered in a new light, reimagined, as Pluto doesn’t remain so dark and distant to us anymore as much more calls us from beyond firmament, to explore and uncover.

To read the epitaph on Lowell’s mausoleum, words written by him, gave me goosebumps when I thought, if he only knew what this planet would come to mean in our world and has come to mean and represent in our astrological context.

“Everything around this earth we see is subject to one inevitable cycle of birth, growth, decay….. nothing begins but comes at last to end ……today what we already know is helping us to comprehend another world in a not to distant future and we shall be repaid with interest and what that other world shall have taught us will rebound to a better knowledge of our own and of our cosmos of which the two form part”

It’s this type of synchronicity that makes one feel an empowered connection as one with the cosmos.

Ova and out Agent 12

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