This winter Pluto moves into conjunction with the Galactic Center for the first time in almost 250 years. This quarter-millennial summit between the outer planetary ambassador of our system and the very heart of the spiral galaxy of which we are a part always heralds important transformations in our cultural attitudes and the ways in which we interpret and incorporate ideas of religion, literature and science, or higher knowledge.
Pluto will be making two important stations conjunct the super-massive Black Hole which powers our galaxy, and lies at its center, and will activate this point for more than 18 months, until the autumn of 2007. Periods of peak activation coincide with Plutos passage of the 26th degree of Sagittarius from February 5 through May 24, 2006 (station retrograde on March 29), December 5 through 31, 2006 (including a triple conjunction of Sun, Pluto and the Galactic Center on December 19), and July 15 through October 29, 2007 (station direct on September 7). At these times the seeds of the next great cultural revolutions are planted, souls with particularly strong attunement to these energies are incarnated or disincarnate, and metaphors emerge in current events which provide insights into the upcoming changes.
Historically Plutos contact with the Galactic Center has evoked important developments in humanitys relationship with literature and the arts, abstract thought, education and reasoning, the dissemination, codification or collation of scientific or legalistic knowledge, and important spiritual movements. Leaders and innovators in these fields are born or come into prominence at these periods, seminal works are published, humanitys intellectual reach is extended.
Plutos passage through this region in the late 30's CE highlighted the arts and religion, bringing the birth of noted Roman poet Lucan in 39, whose works on the Roman civil war of Julius Caesars time are still read by classicists. This was followed closely in 40 by the establishment of the first Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria, Egypt, supposedly by Mark the Evangelist, of Gospel fame, who became the first Pope of Alexandria. Although the Coptics never gained control of the Church at large, they influenced it greatly with their creation of the Nicene Creed, and continue as a sect to this day, the oldest continuously-organized Christian denomination.
Lawgiving was the theme of Plutos passage over the Galactic Center in the late 520's and early 530's CE. In 529 the Roman Emperor Justinian, who would later make Christianity the official religion of the empire, issued the Corpus Juris Civilis, a seminal compilation of fundamental works on Roman jurisprudence which remained the leading legal authority and reference guide for over a thousand years. In 530 Justinian followed this up by the appointment of commissioners to codify Roman law, which later became the Digest. In 532 he began construction on Byzantiums Hagia Sophia, the Church of the Holy Wisdom, one of the most famous Christian churches of the ancient and medieval world, later a mosque, and now a museum.
Plutos transit in the 1020's CE brought another focus on religion, with the disappearance of Al-Hakim bi-Amur Allah, 6th Fatimid Caliph of Egypt, while on pilgrimage. The Druze sect of Ismaili Muslims presumed his assumption to heaven, and began to worship him as divine, the first caliph to be so honored.
Pluto at the Galactic Center in the late 1260s CE saw the publication of English genius Roger Bacons Opus Majus, his life work, encapsulating virtually all of medieval mans knowledge on grammar, mathematics, optics, alchemy, astronomy and astrology, physics and philosophy. In 1270 Thomas Aquinas produced his Summa Theologiae, which still stands as the leading reference on the theological teachings of the time, and was considered by generations of Catholic scholars as the second point of reference for theological questions of all types, after the Bible itself.
In 1269 the great Indian poet, philosopher and master-teacher Vedanta Desika was born, the second name in Vaishnavism, one of the principal divisions of Hinduism. The birth of more spiritual luminaries followed in 1270: Jacob ben Asher, Spanish rabbi and religious writer (commentaries on the Torah and Arbaah Turim, a codex of Jewish law); Italian clergyman Michael of Cesena (a Franciscan advocate of ecclesiastical poverty); as well as important literary figures: Italian scholar Marsilius of Padua (Defensor Pacis); Italian poet Cino da Pistoia (a contemporary of Dante); and Chinese poet and dramatist Ma Zhiyuan ( a principal developer of the sanqu literary form of poetry).
Plutos passage in the mid-1510's CE brought perhaps its most dramatic manifestations to date, and the birth of luminaries who would carry their light well into the High Renaissance. In 1513 Scottish firebrand and reformer John Knox was born, later instrumental in the introduction of Presbyterianism into Scotland. Born a Catholic, his conversion to Protestantism led to an 18-month stint as a French galley slave; after studying under Calvin in Geneva, Knox returned to Scotland to oppose the regency of Mary of Guise, mother to Mary Queen of Scots, and his spirit animated the Protestant rising that effectively crippled Marys power and authority, turning Scotland into an ally and vassal state of Elizabeth Tudors England.
In 1514 English scholar John Cheke was born, later first Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge University. Tutor to Edward VI, he also instructed Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I, and was a leading proponent of formal education for women, a very enlightened position for the time.
In 1515 St. Teresa of Avila was born, later a Carmelite nun and influential Spanish poet. Her four-part work on Devotion remains a classic of Christian mysticism . Also in 1515 Lucas Cranach the Younger was born, a German Renaissance painter very influential and popular in his time, specializing in allegories of mythic and religious themes.
1516 saw the death of Dutch painter Hieronymous Bosch and the birth of English chronicler John Foxe. Bosch, famous for his iconographic portrayals of demons and damnation, depicted a fanciful but gripping vision of hell, but the hell which Foxe chronicled was all too realhe is best remembered for his Book of Martyrs, which details the burnings of Protestants during the reign of Englands Bloody Mary I.
This period of course also witnessed the gestation of the Reformation, sparked by Martin Luthers protest; his nailing of the 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral occurred in 1517 as Pluto progressed beyond the Galactic Center and into Capricorn.
Plutos most recent conjunction with the Galactic Center, in the late 1750's and early 1760's CE, coincided with a flowering of Enlightenment thought, including in 1762 Jean-Jacques Rousseaus publication of The Social Contract, a philosophy so influential to the authors of the American and French Revolutions. 1759 was perhaps the seminal year of this passage, bringing the births of famed Scottish poet Robert Burns (author of the poem and song Auld Lang Syne, among others); German writer, historian, dramatist and philosopher Friedrich Schiller (author of Don Carlos and Maria Stuart); and the deaths of French mathematician Pierre Maupertuis (the principle of least action, and a precursor to evolutions theory of natural selection), Swiss mathematician Nicholaus Bernoulli (probability theory), and German composer Georg Friedrich Handel (Water Music and Messiah). Also in 1759, Voltaire published Candide, the British Museum in London, possibly the most famous museum in the world, first opened its doors, and outside Philadelphia the Quakers founded Germantown Academy, Americas oldest nonsectarian school.
What will this passage of Pluto over the Galactic Center evoke? We can only wait and see. Some things will be clear as they emerge in the current events of the next two years, but the fruits of the seeds that are planted, the children born now, will not be apparent for a generation.
In the USA, expect a more serious, if bitter, debate over the Constitution and the relative powers of the three branches of government, with a special emphasis on the judiciary, and the role of religion in government. The PATRIOT Act will be an important test of the changes that will be made in the law during Plutos time here; it is interesting that the Houses recent one-month prolonging of the current Act is set to expire precisely as Pluto moves to the degree of the Galactic Center. Will we choose safety over freedom, and will the governments powers to observe and direct our lives be increased, or will liberty trump fear? Will the people reclaim their sovereign power or continue to allow the slide into fascism represented by the unholy alliance of corporatist wealth with fundamentalist intolerance?