By The AstroTwins and Matthew Swann
February 20, 2022
Power-hungry Pluto will officially return to 27°33′ Capricorn beginning today, February 20, 2022, the exact position it occupies in the USA’s founding astrology chart, for the first time since the Declaration of Independence was signed and ratified on July 4, 1776.
Since 2008, we’ve been writing about Pluto’s transit through the zodiac sign of Capricorn, a foreboding 16-year cycle that would shake up governments, financial systems and hierarchies. Pluto, the planet of transformation, destroys in order to rebuild, forging its makeover from the indestructible elements that survive.
We’ve been feeling the advancing tremors of Pluto’s proximity for the past couple years, from pandemics to insurrections to the Great Resignation and the hastening emergence of cryptocurrency.
When planets return to the same points they were in during key historical moments, astrologers take watch, because the results are often profound.
And why wouldn’t they be? Astrology is the study of cycles, both in the heavens and on mundane Earth. In fact, the word revolution derives from the stars, its etymology referring to the rotation of a celestial body. Astrologers certainly understand that the turnings of planets revolutionize our lives.
What is a Pluto return exactly?
From Russia’s imminent full-scale invasion of Ukraine to conspiracy-soaked pandemic end times to Kanye West’s Pluto return-slated album drop, there’s been no shortage of buzz. But what does a “Pluto return” really mean in astrology?
An astrological return happens in the horoscope of an individual or event, like Beyoncé or the U.S.A. Independence Day, July 4, 1776, when a transiting (moving) planet from that person/event horoscope completes a revolution of the zodiac and comes back (“returns”) to the same degree position and zodiac sign it was originally calculated. When this occurs, it’s not uncommon to see themes repeat or take on related characteristics from the prior cycle. From a human development perspective, the cosmos are giving you a chance to revisit and learn from the planet’s prior visit, acquiring a new perspective on self and world.
In actuality every planet, including the Sun, has a return: The moon, which takes 28.5 days to go through the entire zodiac, has a “lunar return” each month. The Sun gives each of us a “solar return” every 365th day, coinciding with our birthday. You’ll have a “Mars return” every two years, which is the time period it takes the red planet to blaze around the Sun and station through each portion of our measured sky.
The outer planets (the slow-moving gas giants from Jupiter to Neptune, including Pluto ) are also known as the generational planets. Their returns are especially prescient because they can herald the re-emergence of a major cyclical pattern or watershed historical trend. A Saturn Return is a cosmic rite of passage that happens every 29.5 years and ushers in adulthood.
The more distant outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, progress through each zodiac sign over the course of seven to 20 years. Uranus takes 84 years to make a complete return, Neptune about 165 years. Long distance voyager Pluto takes approximately 248 years to complete a single revolution through the zodiac, which is far longer and slower than the interior terrestrial planets revolving around the Sun. In human terms, the 2022 U.S. Pluto return is particularly meaningful since we are the generation to witness the event.
“History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” -Mark Twain
How the Pluto Return will challenge the world’s current geopolitical landscape
Russia, China, Iran, Israel, India, the EU, the USA…leverage lord Pluto is on a quest for control, and the world’s superpowers are poised at the precipice of war in multiple regions during the Pluto Return to act out this drama, none with more immediate devastating potential than the volatile Ukraine crisis, which we report on with regret and compassion for the innocent and powerless who will suffer during these power exchanges. In our 2021 Horoscope book, we wrote an in-depth chapter on the USA Pluto Return, forecasting 2-22-2022 and the dates surrounding it as the pivotal period for the entire planet.
“In the coming decade, we will witness the convergence of many cycles, secular and non-secular, ancient and contemporary in orientation. The period is circumscribed by generational astrology, with the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto returning to key positions they occupied during pivotal points in American history, echoing watershed events of our past, including the founding of the United States more than two centuries ago.
The years 2020 and 2021 are a prelude to major transformations in our social, economic and political ecologies. The disruptions we’ve endured to this point will begin to coalesce into a meaningful narrative, albeit a challenging one, in the winter of 2022. Governments and economies around the globe will begin to reorient, anticipating a new epoch of human civilization that will coincide with Pluto’s reign in Aquarius between 2023 and 2044—what is termed the Aquarian Technocalypse
Not only is the USA having its Pluto Return, but it’s also in a rare coincident Neptune opposition, which occurs approximately every 83 years. On February 18, 2022, Neptune will trek through 22° Pisces, making an exact opposition to Neptune in the United States’ natal chart (which is at 22° Virgo).
Neptune was last at 22° Virgo on September 1, 1939, the official start of World War II.
Will the 2022 Neptune opposition set off our nation’s second plight with internal domestic strife or external, global strife? Or both? Throughout 2021, where the United States saw an insurrection on its Capitol, Neptune volleyed between 18° and 23° of Pisces, passing 22° in April, May and August. Pluto made it to 26° Capricorn in March 2021, a sneak preview of what’s coming together full-force now.
Neptune’s prior historical visit to 22° Pisces was in the late 1850s, a pivotal time in the nation’s prelude to Civil War in the midst of a nation-wide spiritual movement. Our widely-read American Revolution 2.0 post takes an incisive look at these monumental cycles and transits.
Neptune and Pluto: Planets of War?
Neptune’s astrological rulership is linked to spiritual revelation more than revolution. But this ethereal planet has a lesser-known association with war and catastrophe, including natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and storms.
In mythology, Neptune carries a three-pronged trident, a weapon given to him by his brother Pluto, which granted him authority over the vast oceans.
Not only were mythic Neptune and Pluto brothers, but every 248 years these two power planets switch orbits taking turns as the farthest planet body from the Sun, a planetary sibling rivalry for the ages, literally.
The orbital switch with Neptune is due to Pluto’s eccentric, elliptical orbit, inclined 17° above the equator of the Sun, making it a deep-space oddity when compared to the less-inclined orbits of the other planets. Consider Pluto’s secrets too: the dwarf planet’s under-appreciated rotation, its axis tilted 120°, spinning on its side like the 97° tilt of Uranus—echoing its revolutionary and destructive spirit—adding more intrigue to the transformative machinations of the outer planets. It’s worth sharing that the entire group of outer planets are associated with forms of monumental change, both sudden and epochal, embodying in their cumulative effects, the very definition of the term “apocalypse”— “to uncover, disclose, reveal.” From a transpersonal and Jungian astrology perspective, the outer planets easily conform to Jung’s key transitional term “enantiodromia,” defined as “the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of time.”
From 1979 to 1999, Neptune was the farthest planet from the Sun, yet midway through this orbital period, from 1988-91, a rare stellium occurred with Saturn, Uranus and Neptune all clustered in Capricorn. This astrological triplet coincided with the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union and the removal of the infamous Berlin Wall. It also coincided with the outbreak of the 1990-1991 Gulf War in Kuwait.
The Gulf War military conflict, which included Operation Desert Storm (Jan, 1991), between the USA and its coalition partners against the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, was fought for control of crucial Middle East geographies and their natural resources, primarily petroleum, and was reflected in the traits of the outer planets associated with upheaval and deceptive blitzkrieg-styled warfare— Saturn, Uranus and Neptune—a planetary imprimatur of the celestial war trident. Pluto itself has been associated with geology, petroleum and energy since its discovery in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, a transitional scientific period allowing mankind to “split the atom” soon afterwards, harnessing its latent power to devastating effect through atomic weaponry, all themes ruled in astrology by underlord, Pluto.
Astrology can be literal like that.
The coming decade ahead will test our humanity and resolve. If history is instructive, the approaching planetary return marks times of upheaval. But from the stars’ wide-angled perspective, change is an inevitable part of the grand cosmic cycle. Perhaps there is solace in considering this profound, mutable truth as part of an ever-repeating cycle of civilization?
“We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not.” -Heraclitus
Please note that due to the effects of retrograde motion, Pluto will touch its return degree of 27°33′ Capricorn on two more occasions during the upcoming year after its initial return February 20, 2022 on the following dates: July 11 and December 28, 2022.
War, generational planets and the birth of new financial systems
History shows us that major economic shifts often correlate with war, if not exclusively so. The American Revolution, the U.S. Civil War and World War II all ushered in new monetary systems: the birth of the U.S. dollar, the National Currency Act and the Bretton Woods system, respectively.
As Neptune, Uranus and Pluto all return to placements that coincided with prior wars and the emergence of these new financial orderings, their transits support our planetary thesis that disruption is highly probable and will birth the next monetary system during this decade.
We are now in the high-tech era known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This transition will be palpable, whether its representation is found in Bitcoin or another digital currency that Neptune’s fourth saeculum has yet to reveal.
Read more on the future of money according to astrology in our highly regarded article American Revolution 2.0 and The Astrology of Money: Bitcoin and the Aquarian Technocalypse.
Pluto in Capricorn/Aquarius: Blockchain, crypto and the next liberation movement
As Pluto settled into its first Capricorn season on January 3, 2009, a mysterious figure named “Satoshi Nakamoto” mined Bitcoin’s very first Genesis Block, birthing the digital foundation stone of a cryptocurrency revolution, allowing any person with an internet connection the ability to transfer digital tokens without a third party like a bank or government intermediating.
The advantages offered by peer-to-peer digital currencies like Bitcoin necessitate a simple question: Will the next emancipation movement by individuals be the attempt to fully liberate money from state control utilizing the emerging technology of digital currencies and blockchains? We believe so.
This monetary vanguard will hasten a response from governments too. Consider the period from 2024 to 2044, when Pluto will be in Aquarius, the sign of technology and liberation, following a three-year transit of Saturn in Aquarius. The last time Pluto was in Aquarius was in the 1780s, when the U.S. Dollar became the official currency of America. Given the advantages of digital currencies over tangible paper currencies and coinage, it’s a certainty that governments will also use this technology to issue state-regulated blockchains as soon as they’re capable in an attempt to control monetary and fiscal policy within their borders.
Per our resident astrologer Matthew Swann’s 2020 prediction, China unveiled its national digital currency, the e-RMB, at the Beijing Winter Olympics. In his forecast, he wrote:
China will unveil the digital Yuan in February 2022 for global distribution
“The USA Pluto return will coincide with the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Tiger and the Beijing Winter Olympics, which both conclude, respectively, on February 16 and February 20, 2022. Because in astrology, Pluto is associated with systemic shifts that often herald major changes to our culture and monetary systems, expect the global unveiling of the People’s Republic of China digital renminbi (Yuan) for worldwide distribution and adoption to occur during this Pluto cycle.“
Continued coverage: Addendum March 1, 2022
With the arrival of the U.S. Pluto return occurring as the Sun entered Pisces, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine. To understand the nature of the conflicting superpowers from an astrological map, we have released the expanded 2022 Cardinal Cross horoscope from 2020, which features a profound four-way planetary collision between the birthdates of the USA, NATO, Russia, China and their currencies, as well as Putin’s Libra Sun and Bitcoin.
Bitcoin 13° Capricorn
US Dollar 13° Aries
US Sun 13° Cancer
US Saturn 14° Libra
NATO Sun 14° Aries
Russia Uranus 13° Capricorn
Russia Neptune 15° Capricorn
Russia Sun 3° Capricorn
Russia Ruble 3° Capricorn
Putin Sun 13°55′ Libra
China Mercury 13° Libra
China Neptune 14° Libra
China Sun 7° Libra
China Uranus 4° Cancer
How can you get through the Pluto Return?
While no individual (at this writing, at least) will live to 248 years and experience a Pluto return in their natal chart, you CAN find out where Pluto was in your chart at your time of birth. As a generational planet, Pluto impacts how you’ll deal with power, control and transformation. Where is the revolution within yourself? You can use our Pluto cosmic calculator to find your Pluto sign or go in-depth with our Pluto Code course.
Note: Two more Pluto returns will occur on July 11 and December 28, 2022.