Recently, I received this email from a reader:
I suggest you update the ruling planets zodiac sign chart because Pluto isn’t a planet anymore…
This reflects a somewhat popular idea that since Pluto is no longer classified as a planet, it is no longer valid in astrology.
I will explain why Pluto is just as valid as before, regardless of its classification.
As humans, we are part of a universal field consisting of an ebb and flow of energy.
This ebb and flow of energy is regulated by any bit of matter floating in space.
Or, at the very least, this energy current is affected (or mirrored?) by any bit of matter floating in space.
This ebb and flow of energy controls our oceans’ tides, seasonal harvests, and animal migrations, among many other things on Earth.
Any piece of matter floating in space causes a ripple in the energy flow. If it’s composed of matter, and even gas is a state of matter, then it matters.
To paraphrase Shakespeare’s Juliet, what’s in a name? That which we call Pluto, by any other word, would cause the same ripple in the energy flow.
Just because Pluto has been demoted to a dwarf planet, it doesn’t make us automatically immune to its effects on the ebb and flow of energy across the universe.
My reader suggests that since Pluto is not a “planet” anymore, that it cannot rule a zodiac sign.
However, as Steven Forrest has so brilliantly noted, the classification of “planet” itself is arbitrary. Mercury, Venus, and Mars are hard little rocks, while Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are gas giants. According to the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the term “planets” includes hard little rocks and gas giants, and everyone seems okay with this.
In addition, just about everyone understands that when astrologers include the Sun and Moon when we say, “planets,” we do so only for convenience. Of course, we know that the Sun and Moon are luminaries rather than planets. For convenience, when we say things like, “planets in the signs,” we are talking about the planets and the Sun and Moon.
And sometimes Chiron.
Even Chiron, the minor planet (sometimes called a comet) is allowed to be included in the term “planets” without anyone making a fuss about it.
Here’s the kicker:
In astrology, the term “planets” includes hard rocks, gas giants, luminaries, sometimes minor planets and nobody has a problem with that. Add to that Pluto, the demoted dwarf planet, and everybody loses their minds.
The email above is not the first email I’ve received requesting that I remove Pluto from the Planets page.
If we take a step back and look at the big picture, including Pluto when we say “planets” is not as outrageous as it might seem. As I explained above, astrologers are mostly using the word “planet” for convenience, similarly to how the IAU is using the word “planet” to group together little stony worlds and gas giants.
Pluto is valid because it’s composed of matter. All matter matters. The rocks and stones are matter. The gas giants are matter. Asteroids and comets are matter. And Pluto is matter.
And yet, it is not only matter that matters. It is said that we exist in space and time. While space may be filled with what we call matter, time is filled with something else. Whatever that “something else” is, numbers and mathematics have helped us organize it somewhat, even if we can’t see it. These things also matter, and they are also valid in astrology. That is why we have things such as the Vertex, Ascendant, Midheaven, Arabic Parts, midpoints, hours, minutes, seconds, etc.
HI I just read this article. Its such a great description of Astrology as a whole, or at least one or two very pertinent points .
Incredible an informative article and a the very least a great argument .
I suggest that according to palmistry, your future is written in your hands, according to astrology your future is written in your stars, so by cutting hands your future doesn’t change similarly if a planet did exist earlier but does not exist now, it does not change our future
Yes, thats right.. humans stopped calling pluto a planet – a word we created. As a result of this, pluto loses all energies that it had and all potential to effect anything. Because that’s the power of human words… I hope the sarcasm comes through…
I mean its not like pluto disappeared just because we dont say ‘planet’ about it..
Shouldve asked that person what would happen if pluto went from being labelled a planet, to being labelled a cabbage.. By the power of words, ive just turned an entire body into a cabbage, and now all texts must be amended since its not a planet anymore, its a cabbage. That’s how silly the notion is.
The name of something in the universe doesn’t change or make nothing it self, it’s the naturals of what each planet small or big , or the moon or sun… renaming doesn’t make what’s part of cosmos change or not do or work in it’s same ways.. renaming means nothing just to those that really don’t believe matter is real and one object out there can help or disrupt one another in same ways, universe is alive but does not know or care for a name change or scale change…
I think the argumentation here is flawed. Before Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet it was considering by astrology as a planet, like all the other planers and the sum and moon and thus had an effect on us all. Yet in the facinity of Pluto there are some 40 to 50 Pluto-like objects that astrology did not consider as planets and were thus not taken into evaluation on their effect to life on earth. So if the effect of pluto matters than astrology needs to explain why they are solely considering its effect and wholly neglecting the effect of all the 40 – 50 Pluto-like objects. How we classify those objects is then indeed irrelevant, but their effect must be in the same order of the effect of Pluto.
This is not a bad point, actually. At the very least it makes me ponder how important are “modern” planets in astrology, really.
My Only question is, does Pluto Sign still hold the same amount of impact, because it has been down graded…..meaning if you are living someplace where Pluto is part of the Astrocartography lay lines, does that energy source have less of an influence on that line, because the energy the now “Dwarf” Planet might carry is less intense because it is known now that the Planet does not have any gravitational Pull ……which would seem to indicate less energy influence……meaning the energy of the Lay Lines on Pluto have less of an impact, because of that non gravitational Pull. Just curious.
Great point, I definitely would agree that the intensity of this formation and its energies would be less intensely felt by us but still felt nonetheless.☺️
Thank you for the time you put into your article and for reading and considering my response.
I used to read charts and cards for people, so I, for one, was surprised when I heard of Pluto’s reclassification given the popularity of astrology. I guess I thought that the set group of planets were set for a reason and if other universe formations impacted our natal charts, it would have been addressed long ago. To your point though… If the ebb and flow of gasses and hard rocks impact our natal charts, why not include all of the other moons? What about the “planet 9” that impacts Uranus and Neptune? What is going to happen when another sign is “discovered?” Or more planets? Aren’t we pegging people into defining boxes that are incomplete given the lack of information we have of the ebb and flow impact in the universe? I, as a feminist, realizing how trapped I felt by this man created paradigm, no longer wanted to buy into the limiting traits and behaviors based on what a chart said. I am more than my chart and have the potential to balance the imbalances that are reflected in my chart. And if the imbalances, to be balanced, of each person’s chart were intentional, why? By whom? I think of The Matrix and how we are programmed as humans and women, in particular. And we buy it. Then we attach value to light/dark, extroverted/ introverted, playful/serious, casual/intense, etc. Then the competition, vanity, and greed to obtain and covet starts all over again. Who knows more? Who is better? What does the chart or cards say? There are basic human strengths and weaknesses that everyone is either gifted with or challenged by. To be a healthy human, regardless of chart or cards, we need to have a balance of all to better our world and future generations. I know, I know. Astrology helps us to know ourselves better…I used to counsel people and couples based on their charts. We don’t need a chart to tell us we are out of balance if we are regularly getting irritated, angry, or bitter with others. If we can’t forgive. If we are constantly comparing ourselves as women with other women. If our communication leads to consistent arguments in relationships. This takes humility and a change of thinking and then directing the heart to follow what is healthy. We don’t need planets to tell us this. Sorry for going on, but this is my first response on the matter since I broke free in 2008. There is so much I have changed and grown in without my chart and cards. My pocketbook is happier and my home is less cluttered. I’m not a young girl and I am educated and experienced with metaphysics, philosophy, psychology, and religion, so it’s not like I just came off the farm . I wish more women would open their eyes to the prisons that continue to be created to keep us stupified. There are many in our world that are attractive, seductive, and disempowering…unfortunately
If matter matters, then how could we make horoscops before 1931 when no one knew about Pluto. Actually, Pluto should have given false readings in the horoscops until 1978 when we managed to calculate it’s mass.
I absolutely love this article. I chuckled all the way through it too, thinking how darn smart you are! I appreciate you writing and sharing this with all the world! ~ Meredith
PS Who doesn’t love a fantastic Steven Forrest quote! I love Steven!
I find this thread very interesting. Like Ashley I thought about all the other moons and planets that are being discovered and Anders about what was astrology before discovery. My question is this to the astrologers out there. Is it an ever increasing field of discovery? Are people studying the effects of newly discovered mass in space? I have never been one to really think about astrology other than to know myself to be a cancer and to read a horoscope once in a while from the newspaper. I find it interesting as a means of self discovery a long with so many others. I also appreciate Ashley’s point of view as something to ponder. Thanks for sharing.