Cosmic Patterns: Neptune & Pluto

Astrology is the very ancient art of looking toward the heavens for guidance about mundane events. It is a guidepost for us mere mortals to chart a course in alignment with cosmic principles: "as above, so below." The celestial dance of the planets through the backdrop of the constellations identifies for us the greater currents of awareness in which we are participating. Astrology sings us its song.

The two outermost planets, Neptune and Pluto, each spend at least twelve years in one sign. Because of this, they are considered to be generational influences. Great gobs of people incarnate during their sojourns in each sign and they identify what the masses, or the public, are focusing on during their journey. Let's go back a bit to gain some historical perspective on these two dance partners.

My own feeling is that Pluto's sign placement represents where a generation wants to establish their power base. From late 1914 through late 1939, planet Pluto traveled through the astrological sign of Cancer. Cancer has to do with home and family, patriotism and nurturing. These individuals almost always have a home and family and join civic groups like the Rotary and the Shriners as an extension of this sense of family into their community. They are also largely the generation that defended the "homeland" in WW2. Planet Neptune entered the astrological sign of Leo in 1916 to stay until July of 1929. This group dreams (Neptune) big. They definitely want the brass ring and they want it to be an extension of their families. Neptune's next sojourn through Virgo (until 1943) ushered in the depression and this bunch of souls literally dreams of reaping what they sow (the Virgo harvest).

The Pluto in Leo group (1940 to 1956) want to establish their power base through their own individuality, creativity and self-expression. Neptune had a corresponding journey through much of this period (1943 to 1956) in the sign of Libra. These individuals dream of peace, justice and right relationships. They also enjoy a unique happenstance in the modern history of our planet in that there are so many of them. We even call them "baby boomers." Their specific task was to stop history from repeating itself (yet again). Sort of born in a crack, if you will, they have the power of numbers and are able to defy convention (ushering in the Women's' Movement, the Civil Rights Movement and defiance against the military-industrial complex). I call them the transitional generation.

From 1957 to 1971, Pluto traversed the astrological sign of Virgo and Neptune glided through Scorpio. These people dream of cleaning up our planet (transformational Scorpio) and establish their power base through technical means (Virgo). They brought the computers into play in the schools and on the job. I feel strongly that they will come up with many of our ecological answers and I call them the transformational generation.

From 1971 through 1983, Pluto journeyed through the astrological sign of Libra while Neptune passed through Sagittarius. These individuals dream of cosmic consciousness (Sagittarius) and they establish their power base through peace, justice and right relationships. There is also an inherent equality among this group between the sexes which is different from those who came before. I call these beings the first of the "Aquarian Age" group.

From 1983 through 1995, planet Pluto traveled through the sign of Scorpio. This is Pluto's own sign. These folks are going to want to have a strong power base and will also be somewhat invested in transformation (the last generation to have Pluto in Scorpio was Thomas Jefferson's and his peers). Planet Neptune was correspondingly in the sign of Capricorn until 1998. Capricorn has to do with how we organize our world; laws, rules and regulations fall into this category. Perhaps these souls will find new ways to set up society as we transit into the Age of Aquarius.

As I mentioned earlier, these two planets also have a lot to do with what our culture is currently exploring as well as its generational influences. From 1983 to 1995, Scorpionic issues such as child abuse, sexual misadventures and the uncovering of secrets was all the rage. We were taking people to task for breaking the rules (Capricorn) bigtime. Night after night on the news and in the papers, yet more memories were surfacing and many traditions (Capricorn) were broken. Some were busy wielding power and building empires.

Then, at the end of 1995, planet Pluto shifted into Sagittarius. And we began seeing Angels. Humanity began looking up instead of back (or under) and spirituality started to take on a sharper focus. By the time Neptune slid into Aquarius at the end of 1998, the stage was set for a profound inner yearning to occur. The Goddess came into sharper focus and books on "the inner voice" flooded the market. Now, people are seriously questioning some of their own values and looking for something greater. It is time. Yes, we are entering the legendary "Age of Aquarius" although it is more of a process than a single step. We are exploring everyone's (and everything's) inter-connectedness. And we long to be part of a bigger whole.

I believe that the "Age of Aquarius" will be an age of de-ritualized magic. Human beings, who have previously thought of God as a masculine, father-figure, take-me-by-the-hand and tell me what to do Deity, are now needing to shift into a new paradigm. God/Goddess is demanding that we grow up and truly begin to co-create with Him/Her. And, our birthright – magic – is returning. Could this be why Harry Potter is so popular with young people all over the world?

We have put ourselves on the other side of history; we are not limited by it anymore, but it no longer pulls us along, either. As grown-ups, we need to make many more choices than we used to. Who are we? What makes us happy? What does success look like to me? When we answer these questions for ourselves, we begin to feel a little better about our footing on this planet and the future becomes alive with positive potentialities! Go for it!

Celeste Longacre is a professional speaker and the author of Love Signs and Visitor's Guide to Planet Earth: An Astrological Primer. She is also the astrologer for The Old Farmer's Almanac and has written for many national astrology magazines including "Welcome to Planet Earth." Celeste also does personal readings. This article may be reprinted in its entirety with her permission. Visit her web at or contact her (EST daylight hours, please!) at 603.756.4152