The United States is currently experiencing its first Pluto return, which occurs when the planet Pluto, which takes roughly 248 years to complete one full orbit around the sun, returns to the same position in the sky it occupied at the time of the nation’s birth.
Pluto’s placement in the chart drawn up for the time of a nation’s birth offers insights into the nation’s relationship with power and suggests potential areas of upheaval ripe for significant change. Because America’s natal Pluto is in the 2nd house (using the traditional chart, set for 4 July 1776 in Philadelphia, PA, at 17:10 local time), we might expect this to manifest as a severe disruption of national values, national resources, and national material well-being. Whatever is in grave need of change, will change. Likewise, because this Pluto is oppositional to America’s natal Mercury in the 8th house, we have reason to expect this to impact America’s international diplomacy and relations.
Although the inevitable tension due to this Pluto return has been building up for many months, to pinpoint how it is likely to play out in the final showdown, the lead up to which, as of 11 June, we’ve now entered, we look specifically to what has already happened during the return. In astrology, the transits of outer planets like Pluto tend to occur in three distinct but related stages, known as “direct hits”, referring to the times the transiting planet makes an exact aspect to a natal planet involved.
The first direct hit, seen as the initial activation of planetary energy involved, tends to manifest in sudden events that shake up the current path. This occurred on 20 February 2022, the very day the United Nations hosted its annual commemoration of World Day of Social Justice, promoting the importance of fair and just relations between the individual and society, especially concerning poverty and gender inequality, human rights, and social inequality. The theme that year was ‘Achieving Social Justice through Formal Employment’; the underlying thrust was that because more than 60% of the world’s employed population (many of them women) earn their livelihoods in the informal economy (usually not by choice, but due to lack of more formal opportunities), poverty and social inequality are rampant making the elimination of obstacles to formality essential.
Pluto’s second direct hit on America’s natal Pluto occurred in late June 2022, when the Supreme Court overturned the seminal case, Roe v Wade, ending women’s constitutional right to abortion. Astrologically, the second direct hit is considered the height of the planet’s influence, where the themes and lessons of the planet are fully revealed and integrated. There is little doubt that termination of women’s rights to legal, safe abortions will negatively impact not only gender and social inequality but also poverty, as women are forced to leave the workplace or their educations prematurely. For many, it is difficult to see this as promoting fair, just relations between individuals and society.
Interestingly, at the moment, Pluto has moved into Aquarius, and for now, the pressure is off, but not for long. Pluto returns to Capricorn in mid-June 2023 for its third and final hit to the American natal Pluto in October 2023. Astrologically, this is seen as the culmination and closure in relation to the themes highlighted in the first two hits.
To understand what form this culmination and closure might take, we must look at what is bubbling away now in the background regarding the highlighted themes of national values, resources, and material well-being. For this, we might choose to focus on the fallout from the overturning of Roe v Wade in which the US is experiencing a serious threat to the sanctity of its interstate commerce clause or the constitutional provision granting the federal government the power to regulate commerce between states, as federal judges across the country take conflicting positions a state’s ability to restrict use and/or sales of the FDA approved drug, mifepristone, the first in a two-drug regimen for medication abortions.
The interstate commerce clause has played a vital role in making the United States an economic powerhouse for over a century. It has enabled the federal government to promote free trade and ensure a level playing field for businesses across state lines, making the US a seamless economy, the largest in the world with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately $11.7 trillion in 2021, or 24 % of the worlds total nominal GDP. But suppose recent efforts by states to restrict access to abortion pills do successfully undermine the economic benefits so long the interstate commerce has provided. What upheaval and change might we expect from the nation-state currently known as the United States of America and its historically vibrant economy?
It is not difficult to predict that if states can regulate their own commerce without meaningful federal oversight, we would expect a patchwork of conflicting regulations, creating confusion and uncertainty for businesses operating across state lines. This is not unprecedented. Indeed, it was precisely what initially happened to the original 13 American states after breaking away from England in the 18th century.
Although some might argue that the interstate commerce clause is now outdated, as it was written at a time when, in the 18th century, commerce primarily consisted of the transportation of goods across state lines, others would argue that given the growth of e-commerce, or the buying and selling of goods over the internet such as mifepristone, now available from mail order pharmacies, it is more relevant than ever. Either way, any confusion over the ability of American businesses to freely sell and deliver their products and services across the whole of the country is more than likely to result in reduced investment, slowed economic growth, and increased costs for businesses that would seriously damage the national economy.
While it is difficult to predict whether such damage will lead to a full-scale civil war, it is not difficult to predict such damage would lead to a growing sense of political polarisation and social unrest in the country and historically, significant disparities in wealth, resources, and economic opportunities have often led to civil war. Likewise, it is not difficult to predict that without access to safe abortions, more women will be forced out of formal employment and into the informal economy, which the UN would likely consider a significant move backwards rather than forwards.
Likewise, historically, conflicting values and beliefs on moral issues, such as slavery, led to the breakdown in political and social cohesion that resulted in the outbreak of the civil war. Again, this is exactly what happened to the US in 1861.
It’s also not difficult to predict that, given the right set of circumstances, any one (or all) of four major players in the American economy, California, Texas, New York, and Florida, might decide they want to pull out of the union and go their own way. Unlike many other states, these four may be economically able to do so. At least one recent study shows that eight of the ten bottom-scoring states on women’s rights (based on income, employment, educational attainment, reproductive freedom, and maternal mortality) are in the American South. It is also noticeable that of the twelve states that now have a near-total ban on abortion, ten (including Texas) are below the Mason-Dixon Line. Florida now has a strict six-week abortion ban. By contrast, California and New York have enshrined the right to abortion in their respective state laws.
In summary, it is not difficult to predict that if states are allowed to restrict access to abortion pills and other healthcare services without federal oversight, we could see serious repercussions for the future of the US economy. In addition, such a move could also lead to increased political polarisation and social unrest and spark further divides between regions of the country with different values and beliefs. The potential for civil war cannot be underestimated, especially when the major players in the American economy are involved.