The Pluto Controversy

To be, or not to be a planet?

The International Astronomical Union has done it again. Nearly two years ago they "downgraded" Pluto from planetary status to being called a "dwarf planet." But apparently that's not the end of the story. The official new name for Pluto-like bodies is now "plutoid."

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But from an astrologer's point of view, it really doesn't matter what the Hell (we'll come back to Hell in a second) a bunch of astronomers call Pluto. Every astrologer knows how important Pluto is in our charts and the power of its cycles. Remember, we astrologers use the ancient Greek concept of planets, which is "wanderers." Planets appear to wander through the zodiac. This includes the Sun and the Moon. It really doesn't matter that astronomers don't refer to the the Sun and Moon as planets either. Astrologers do.

But let's get back to Hell for a moment. "Pluto" is a Latin word that stood for a Greek word, "Hades." Either way, it is Hell. Yet Pluto is not the Hell of the Bible, a place where we go to be punished. Pluto/Hell is, as the English mystic poet William Blake wrote, a place so beautiful that "it would torment an angel to insanity." Hell is everything that doesn't get expressed in the outer world. It's our unspoken fears; and erotic delights. It's our dreams that cannot be put into words. It's the unconscious, both personal and collective.

Charles Fort wrote in his 1920s Book of the Damned, "By the damned, I mean the excluded." To be damned is to be banished to the Hell realms of exclusion. Whether we call Pluto a planet or exclude him from the planetary club may not matter to us astrologers. But there is some poetic justice that the Lord of the Damned, the King of the Underworld, has been kicked out and denied planetary citizenship, whether we call him a "dwarf" or a "plutoid."

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