When last we visited with the Moon/Pluto occultations, they were just getting going [see the June 2012 Daykeeper Journal for details on the earliest occultations]. Every month from April 2012 through August 2013, when the Moon makes its monthly conjunction with Pluto, it will pass directly between us on earth and the former ninth planet, obscuring it from our sight.
Like a lunar or solar eclipse, an occultation (literally, a “hiding”) emphasizes the energies of the planets involved, particularly the hidden planet. An occultation of Pluto by the moon is a rare celestial event, having not occurred for 80 years until this present, extraordinary, series of occultations began, and it has considerable astrological significance.
We suggested at its inception that scandals, taboos and sexual matters might be a feature of these occultations, given Pluto’s affinity with those areas, and such proved to be the case, with the infamous Secret Service sex scandal with hookers in Columbia emerging at the first occultation in April 2012, and President Obama’s personal endorsement of same-sex marriage highlighting the second in May.
But Pluto also rules entrenched power, nuclear weapons, death and burial, vast amounts of money, shared resources, control/manipulation issues and secrets, all of which became big news in turn as the occultations rolled on through the summer and autumn of 2012.
The occultation of June 6, 2012 saw the nation focused on its spies, and specifically on leaks regarding secret operations globally. Congressmen on both sides of the aisle were up in arms that week about what they saw as a pattern of leaks of CIA classified intelligence ostensibly stemming from the White House, including revelations about the top secret attempts to interfere with Iran’s nuclear program via cyber attacks, and an alarmingly frank portrayal of the methods used to track down and kill Osama bin Laden the year before. Allegations that the disclosures threatened national security and were made in an attempt to shore up Obama’s political fortunes pre-election were hotly refuted by the White House.
A joint statement released by the top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Select Committee on Intelligence on June 5 declared, “In recent weeks, we have become increasingly concerned at the continued leaks regarding sensitive intelligence programs and activities including specific details of sources and methods.” This was followed by a formal FBI investigation into the leaks on June 6, the day of the occultation, and a follow-up investigation ordered by Attorney General Eric Holder into the White House’s possible role, on June 8. Pluto’s governance of spies, secrets and investigations is clearly visible in this incident, allied to the Moon’s connections with security issues in general.
Exactly on the July 3 occultation, it was Pluto’s rulership of big money, big business, shared resources and interest which was highlighted, with the sudden resignation of Barclays CEO Robert Diamond Jr. at the height of the LIBOR rate-rigging scandal. LIBOR, the London Interbank Offered Rate, determines the interest banks charge when swapping funds among themselves, which in turn directly affects private and commercial loan rates. Recent revelations had indicated that traders regularly altered these rates to suit the needs of prominent clients, even as personal favors to other traders.
On the same day, Barclays Chief Operating Officer, who had held the post only a month, also resigned, and the Chairman announced he would step down as soon as a successor had been named. The week before, Barclays had agreed to pay a fine of $453 million for false reports influencing interest rates between 2005 and 2009. Diamond had initially resisted the call to step down, but finally yielded to the inevitable. “The external pressure placed on Barclays has reached a level that risks damaging the franchise. I cannot let that happen,” said Diamond, who had built the bank into an international financial giant over the course of his 16-year tenure with the company.
On July 4, in another strongly Pluto-related matter, the Palestinian Authority gave approval for the exhumation of former leader Yasser Arafat’s body, for further toxicological testing to determine whether he had been poisoned with polonium, a highly radioactive element, possibly by agents of the Israeli government. Pluto’s rulership of death, burial, exhumation and nuclear weaponry (polonium is used in these trigger mechanisms) is firmly in evidence in this unusual story.
July 2012 saw two Moon/Pluto occultations in the same month. The second occurrence, on July 30, coincided with the largest power outage in history, bringing Pluto’s hegemony over massive power, the Moon’s rulership of the populace and the occultation’s innate ability to “hide or darken” into an almost too-literal manifestation.
On July 30 and 31, two separate events robbed some 670 million people in northern and eastern India of all electrical power, in the biggest black-out ever. The outage affected half of India’s populace, some 9% of the global total, and was spread across 22 of 28 Indian states. A combination of extreme heat and a late monsoon season, requiring additional electricity for cooling and irrigation, caused a usage overload that tripped a key line in Bina-Gwalior, which cascaded throughout the entire regional system, plunging half the country into darkness. About 80% of service had been restored from the July 30 event when a second breakdown occurred on July 31, wiping out power across most of the country again. India’s power grid has long been plagued with technical problems caused by inadequate and antiquated subsystems and a network over-taxed by a rapidly rising energy consumption which has outpaced efforts to modernize.
August 27’s occultation brought a pair of unorthodox stories regarding Pluto’s rulership of death, burial and mysteries, as well as its connections to disease, excrement and elimination. On August 25, archaeologists at England’s University of Leicester began a dig in a car park to try to find the remains of the country’s most reviled king [see a full profile on this story here]. Richard III, Shakespeare’s infamous villain accused of murdering his two young nephews to gain the crown, was the last English ruler to die in battle, defeated and killed on Bosworth Filed in 1485. The exact whereabouts of his grave had been lost over the centuries, but the excavation uncovered a suitably mangled and disfigured corpse (Richard was hunchbacked by severe spinal scoliosis) which in due course was proved by DNA evidence to have been that of the fallen monarch (this disclosure made public on February 4, 2013, just days before another Moon/Pluto occultation). In addition to death and burial, Pluto also rules cellular biology and the DNA used to confirm the skeleton’s identity.
On the August 28, by a vote of 15-2, an FDA advisory board approved the use of the drug Humira, a rheumatoid arthritis medication, for use in ulcerative colitis cases, an inflammatory bowel condition where the lining of the colon and intestine can become perforated. Pluto’s co-rulership of Scorpio aligns it with the body’s waste removal system, as well as disease generally.
The Moon/Pluto occultation of September 23 brought news that Iran had blocked the use of Google, YouTube and Facebook for its citizens, in a move the government in Tehran announced as a measure to improve Internet security for the country. Iran already had one of the largest Internet filters of any country in the world, blocking countless sites the regime deems “offensive or criminal.” Plans to create a domestic version of the Internet exclusively for residents of Iran, offering only government-approved content, were expected to be implemented by the following spring. With the Moon once again representing the populace, Pluto occulted here shows its interest in control and manipulation of the public.
On October 20, exactly concurrent with the next Moon/Pluto occultation, the Kremlin announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin had overseen the largest test of nuclear weapons since the former Soviet Union’s collapse at the end of the Cold War in 1991. The exercises involved a full panoply of command systems, land- and sea-based long distance missile launches, and aerial bombers. Putin, back at the center of power after four years as Prime Minister, took charge of the tests personally, illustrating his dominance of the Russian political stage. Pluto rules nuclear power and weaponry specifically, in its destructive capacity.
On October 21, Israelis participated in a national disaster-preparedness drill, simulating the effects of massive earthquakes and a resulting tsunami, to test the country’s response. TV and radio stations cooperated with the drill, which included school children evacuations and urban displacement simulations. The exercises showed major flaws in coordination between the army, police and emergency services, which created further delays among evacuation and medical-treatment services. With the Moon again representing the populace, Pluto here shows its involvement with earthquakes and natural disasters (which it shares with Uranus), particularly as regards crisis intervention.
Rounding out this occultation with a nod to Pluto’s governance of sexuality and reproduction, also on October 21 the UK paper “The Guardian” released the results of a study finding that the average onset of puberty in girls has dropped more than four years since 1920, when it was at age 14.6 years, until 2010, when it averaged 10.5 years. Pluto rules the biologic changes of maturation, and also rules cellular processes generally.
Exactly on the November 16 occultation, American snack food icon Hostess announced plans to file for bankruptcy, close its doors and liquidate what assets it could, including the sale of trademarked brands like Twinkies and Donettes. The 82-year-old company was among the largest wholesale bakers in the US, with annual sales approaching $2.5 billion, employing almost 19,000 workers in 33 plants across the country. Hostess blamed continued heavy debt and burdensome wage, benefit and pension obligations for the closure, citing a recent baker’s union strike as the final straw in its financial collapse. The shutdown was immediate, with final delivery made on Friday the 16 of products baked the night before. Pluto’s governance of Eighth House matters such as banking and bankruptcy, and the Moon’s rulership of cooking, baking and eating make this one of the more unexpected manifestations of their occultation cycle.
Perhaps the most dramatic display of the occultation’s capacity for reckless destruction came on December 14, 2012, with the horrific massacre of 26 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, including 20 children aged 6 and 7 years old. The mass shooting occurred within three hours of the occultation that morning, and began with the murder (Pluto) of the shooter’s mother (Moon) in the predawn hours, likely concurrent with the occultation. Pluto rules homicide and devastation or destruction, and the Moon also governs young children and early life experience, as well as public spaces.
That brings us current with the Moon/Pluto occultations through the end of 2012. We’ll take another look in a few months and see how 2013 is panning out in this area.
[Note: The author would like to thank Patricia Flannagan for her assistance in the research for this article.]