Jupiter/Pluto conjunctions, occurring every 12 years, are super transformative, often coinciding with significant turning points in human history–scientific discoveries, dramatic political shifts, viral outbreaks and cures. This aspect perfects on April 4, June 29, and November 12 this year; however, it’s active throughout 2020. This is the second of two articles—you can start with the first one here.
A few weeks before the 2020 Jupiter/Pluto conjunction is exact, scientists see something strange. It’s a colossal explosion erupting from a supermassive black hole centered in a galaxy millions of light years away. It’s the biggest blast seen since the Big Bang. What could it mean?
The first astrologers believed our sky is a heavenly tablet—onto which the gods—who are everywhere entwined in our fates—send messages to humankind. This idea is not so primitive or naive. If you’ve ever believed that the great intelligence of The Universe was working for you or against you, or that it sometimes sends you signs, you have the makings of this ancient Mesopotamian view.
The first astrologers were also magicians. Their communications went both ways. If the omens weren’t good, the priests would ask the gods to make things better. What’s the point of using astrology if it doesn’t improve your fate! The success of their divine negotiations (the Babylonian namburbi rituals) was famous throughout the ancient world.
All modern magic descends from these rituals. Their secret is simple: If you want the gods to work for you, you must go to work for them. First you learn to read the signs. Then you make the appropriate offerings.
What do Jupiter & Pluto want?
Jupiter rewards optimism, growth and expansion. Pluto respects determination, power and force. Together, they like to dip their pens into the wild ink of giant explosive events. Under J/P aspects, Tycho Brahe discovers the first supernova; Kepler the second; a nova nearly as brilliant as Kepler’s is discovered during the 1918 J/P conjunction, when, like now, a deadly pandemic explodes around the world.
Our nine most brilliant comets—great snowballs of light—appear within range of major J/P aspects. The Hindenburg explodes and the Twin Towers fall within orb of the J/P opposition. “Explosion” is the obvious energy signature of this pair. From iPhone mania in 2007—to Joe Biden’s stunning surge this year, sending him into the stratosphere virtually overnight—we can see the J/P conjunction’s “tell”:
An unusual release of energy—that can be disastrous and highly creative. Explosions represent critical turning points. We tend to speak of our lives as “before” and “after” these events. Quite simply, the Jupiter/Pluto conjunction signals—for humanity and for each of us individually—this is the year for big changes.
- Locate the J/P signature in your life. Sense for its pattern. Where do you experience a great woosh of energy—a surge or an explosion—of passion, determination, sorrow, or fear? Gently survey your career, love life, health … family, friends, your spiritual life … finances, creativity, home. What, if anything, is blowing up? Where does your mind keep going? Make a list.
- Check inwardly first; then check your astrology chart. Is there resonance between what you’re feeling and the house (or planets) at 24-22 degrees Capricorn (where J/P meet)? How does your natal Jupiter, its sign and house, fit into this picture (more on that below)?
The Ultimate Jupiter Offering: Rise to the Occasion
One moonless night in August 1943, during the peak of the Jupiter/Pluto conjunction, a PT boat in the Solomon Islands, captained by a young lieutenant, John F Kennedy, is rammed by a Japanese destroyer. The boat is torn in two. The fuel tank explodes. No rescue in sight.
Kennedy—who by all accounts was a mediocre athlete on his Harvard swimming team—leads his men through the dark waters, himself pulling one of the wounded he’d tied to a piece of floating timber. As his men rest on one island, Kennedy swims miles further to find coconuts and fresh water on another. In the days that follow, he’s intent on saving his crew. Eventually he discovers a pair of natives scavenging among some wreckage. Enlisting their aid, he sends the message (carved on a green coconut) that leads to the rescue of his men.
Leadership—this is Jupiter’s primary concern. How are we managing our situation? Events during the years of J/P conjunctions make it clear that leadership is the Sky God’s most significant initiation for humanity. Will we pass his test this year?
Crisis reveals what we’re made of. It breaks leaders or forges them. Around the world today, mayors, governors, presidents and prime ministers are being so tested. Those who rise to the occasion like Kennedy, putting others’ welfare first, tend to exhibit strength beyond their usual capacities—and will be rewarded for this. Kennedy’s PT 109 story helps to ignite his political career. In truth, each of us is a leader in our own world. Are we stepping up this year? Are we looking for opportunities? Maybe we can fix a problem that has been with us for a while. Are we willing to break old patterns and innovate?
Jupiter is a god of elevation—he rules the heights. In this rarefied air, away from the gossip, dirt and noise below, we find our beliefs. Against these the Sky God will measure us. We’ll find our path in that which organically stirs our heart. Where there’s heart-felt energy, there’s divinity.
- Are you living up to your highest ideals? If so, they’ll ignite your creativity, vision, and strength. Consider the areas of your life where the J/P energy is most active. In each situation, however improbable, ask yourself, what’s the best possible outcome? Most of us don’t dream big enough. Develop a big aspiration—one that excites you and is worthy of this lofty god.
Gas giant Jupiter is buoyant and optimistic. Under his influence, we can soar past our usual limits. Exciting beliefs have energetic powers, like wind beneath our wings. Yet they can also carry us away—as with the ill-fated Icarus who flies too close to the sun, melting his wax wings. The sun symbolizes the influence of ego. When we conjure magic for ourselves alone, like Icarus, suddenly wingless, we might plunge into the sea—that churning pit of our own emotions—and drown.
“The Heroic One” was an ancient name for Jupiter. Today we see heroes everywhere. This god has lifted multitudes—like all of us around the world who stay at home to protect the health of those we’ll never know. The doctors, nurses, first responders, and janitors on the front lines. Everyone braving the learning curves of new technologies. Women giving birth without their families—the ones who must die alone—the bereaved, denied the comfort of funerals. We can sense the darker influence of Pluto here. Jupiter brings the opportunity. Pluto brings the crisis.
The Only Pluto Offering: Surrender
“Some people make headlines, others make history,” Time Magazine once said about David Dai’i Ho. During the Jupiter/Pluto conjunction of 1981, doctors and researchers like David Ho see the first cases of a mysterious new virus, a killer, later called AIDS. No one knows how it keeps replicating itself inside the body—until the next J/P conjunction in late 1994, when Dr. Ho finally solves this mystery. His paradigm shifting insight changes everything about how we now successfully treat this infection.
If Jupiter’s favorites are leaders, Pluto loves the researchers—underworld workers who labor behind the scenes, diving deep, like Pluto’s psychologists, into otherwise invisible worlds. Jupiter’s story is told with telescopes, Pluto’s with microscopes. Jupiter is roused in our higher thoughts, our wisdom mind. Pluto stirs in us as passion. He’s in the energy erupting from our subconscious.
When Pluto’s focus and depth are aligned with Jupiterian ideals, the result is an unstoppable force. Those born with natal J/P aspects are among our superheroes. David Ho was born with a Jupiter/Pluto square, as was Dr. Anthony Fauci, the rock star of US public health (and veteran of other J/P pandemics). Li Wenliang, the “Hero of Wuhan,” the Chinese doctor who first warns the world about the outbreak, and who dies of the virus, was born with the Jupiter/Pluto trine.
Pluto’s most famous myth is the rape of Persephone—not a happy tale. As Lord of the Underworld, he’s powerful enough to have sent us better stories about himself. He could have changed his brand. But the guardians of deep magic prefer to hide behind terrifying masks. They do not yield their gifts lightly. Pluto aims to empower us. He knows the most efficient way to do this is with hardship and loss.
His test? We need to surrender to reality. We need to let go of our resistance and the naïve expectation that our life should have gone another way. This is a universal mythic structure. Before we rise, phoenix-like, we must first jump into the fire. We must meet whatever is.
Pluto is a god of transformation and wealth. All gold, oil, rubies and diamonds come from his realm. Our Pluto trials make us stronger. This is more than just “lessons learned.” We gain new capacities that were inconceivable before. Like Persephone, we transform from innocent child—into a Queen.
- Pluto appears in the body as passion, driving up from the underworld of the collective and personal unconscious. What are you obsessing about? That’s where you’ll find him. Like laughter, you can’t fake passion. You can’t figure it out either—you observe it. Where do you feel “possessed”? How can you best serve this force? By linking it with your Jupiterian ideals and optimism.
For many of us, there is no real choice. The pandemic has chosen where we must sacrifice ourselves for the greater whole. Consciously link your sacrifice to the higher good–notice the internal lift this brings.
- Next, invite the gods to to empower a personal aspiration of yours. Here’s where you make the gods work for you. Let’s say you want a passionate love affair or your podcast to go viral or to create a new income stream. Just elevate the aspiration. Make it bigger–think of the beneficial results it will bring. Instead of focusing on the lover, think of your heart opening and filled with love for everyone. Instead of obsessing about getting 100,000 views, think of how your podcast will bless everyone who hears it. Instead of dreaming of the dollars you need–dream of the joy that doing good work will bring to you and those around you.
- Crystallize your aspiration into a sentence: “I WILL ... (insert your aspiration, such as, “master the new technology,” “discover my true love,” “commit to reducing my carbon footprint” ) SO THAT … (insert your higher ideal: “my work can reach those it can help,” “my heart opens to all the beauty in the world,” “no one suffers needlessly again.” ). Once you’ve got a sentence that is both inspiring and true–that feels so solid you could carve it into stone–you’re ready for your namburbi ritual.
The Magical Ritual: Your Divine Negotiation
The namburbi were like theater performances–rituals filled with symbolic gestures that today we call “sympathetic magic.” A man with an illness, for example, might recite a few incantations, be sprinkled with sacred oils, then exit through a different door than the one he entered, signifying a healthy new life was beginning. A priest might wear a golden spindle on his belt, signifying how the gods were now weaving a better fate for the king.
- For your Jupiter/Pluto ritual, choose a small object or image to symbolize each planet. A fine choice would be a yellow stone like citrine for Jupiter and a black stone like obsidian for Pluto. You can also use the table of correspondences below to stir your imagination. The basis for sympathetic magic is this–if you touch an object that corresponds to a particular god, you open a direct line of communication with that god. But don’t get uptight about choosing the “right” symbol–let your intuition be in charge.
- Place your symbols atop a clean cloth or plate on your altar (or desk). The more thoughtfully you select them, the greater charge they will carry. Remember, the power is not in the object itself. This is just a prop to get you vibrating on the right communication wavelength. Especially with this conjunction, be creative! Choose objects that awaken positive J/P feelings for you.
- You’ll perform this ritual by reciting a brief prayer for seven consecutive days. Start on a Thursday (Jupiter’s day) during the waxing moon (after the new and before the full–this month, that’s April 23 or 29). It’s best if you can do this at the same time each day, but the gods aren’t clock watchers. More important is that you choose a moment when your mind is clear and your heart sincere.
Either holding or gazing at your symbols say,
“Majestic God of eagles and stars, Powerful Lord of diamonds and gold,
Jupiter and Pluto! Together you spin the comets and supernovas.
Now fill my heart, inspire my genius, lift my wings, increase my strength.
I offer you the best of me.
(Insert your aspiration:) With your blessing, I WILL… SO THAT ..
It is done!
Successful pleas to the gods always begin with a recitation of their wonders. “Oh, Magnificent Ones, the brightest of lights, who weave the great patterns, above and below …” It’s not because the gods are insecure and need our flattery. We do this to invoke our own awe—which puts us on the right wavelength for making magic.
It also helps to think as the Babylonians did, that the gods are near, not far. It wasn’t until Ptolemy took the gods out of the landscape that people began thinking they had to wave their hands and shout in order to be heard. The ancients believed the immortal powers were in the sky and everywhere, on earth, in the lakes, trees, and birds, and of course, inside humans too. This is what modern mystics and magicians believe, also, smart astrologers. The gods are just one enlightened thought away.
|Ganesh, Marduk, Zeus, Thor||Nataraja (Dancing Shiva), Hades, the Phoenix|
|Yellow, gold||Black, platinum, blood red|
|Yellow sapphire, citrine, yellow topaz, gold||Black onyx, volcanic gemstones, platinum, black diamond|
|Dragons, elephants, horses, stags, whales, swans, eagles||Scorpions, snakes, bats, raptors, eagles, lizards, rodents, worms|
|Monasteries, universities, courtrooms, churches, society balls, altars, political assemblies, treasuries||Nuclear power plants, sewage processing centers, stock markets, big banks, hospices, transformational healing centers, quicksand, stagnant ponds|
|Gurus, scholars, lawyers, professors, priests, politicians, publishers, marketers||Powerful people, underworld figures, detectives, surgeons, researchers, spies, miners, depth psychologists, magicians|
|Yellow flowers, violets, fig trees, pear trees, jasmine, pine||First plants of spring, crocus, hyacinth; daffodils; nightshades, poisonous plants, psychotropic plants|
|Cloves, peppermint, licorice, saffron, turmeric; chickpeas, fatty foods||Coffee, mushrooms, healing serums; stinky foods|
Jupiter’s position in your chart suggests how luck flows to you from society. It also suggests how luck flows out from you into the world. This is your innate Jupiter mojo. Be sure to involve it in your Jupiter/Pluto aspirations this year.
You likely had your first encounter with Jupiter around the age of 12, the year of your first Jupiter return. Between 11 and 13 is when many of us find our destiny. A talent emerges, we change schools, our family moves to France. We read a life-changing book, pick up our first guitar, discover computer coding. A new world opens up. The return isn’t always bright. Sometimes it’s a dark event—illness, trauma, or death—that decides who we are and what we’ll devote our lives to.
For me it was an English class. I still remember the moment Mrs. Hunter introduced literary symbolism—how in Tale of Two Cities, a broken cask of wine flowing through the streets was a symbol for the bloodshed to come. I was stunned! Of course now I’ve made my living reading symbols for nearly 30 years.
My Jupiter is in Gemini, the sign of writing, in the 10th house of career. My luckiest breaks have all come through my writing and my two careers. True to the nature of Jupiter—they were always “lucky” breaks, bigger than what I’d hoped for and more than I deserved.
What’s your Jupiter story? Where has your luck come? Match this to your Jupiter’s sign and house. Below is a little table to get you started. Google around for more.
|Sign/House||Where your luck may come|
|Aries/1st house||Through independence, courage, leadership; your personality and physicality|
|Taurus/2nd house||Through patience and mastery of the physical world, nature, the arts; finances, possessions, earning capacity|
|Gemini/3rd house||Through mental and/or manual dexterity, language/ communication skills; early schooling, neighbors, siblings|
|Cancer/4th house||Through women, nurturing people, real estate, food; home, ancestry, origins|
|Leo/5th house||Through leadership, creative self-expression, children, play, love given and received, risks, gambling|
|Virgo/6th house||Through mental focus, physical health, service, daily work and personal care routines|
|Libra/7th house||Through partnerships of all kinds; beauty, art and harmony|
|Scorpio/8th house||Through depth and magic; sex, psychology, death; other people’s money, debt, wills, inheritance|
|Sagittarius/9th house||Through adventure and optimism, philosophy, long distance journeys, higher education, publishing, whatever awakens your higher mind|
|Capricorn/10th house||Through career/profession, your reputation, what you’re publicly known for; influence of parents|
|Aquarius/11th house||Through friendships, groups and organizations, your broad heart, your hopes and dreams for a better world|
|Pisces/12th house||Through your imagination, creativity, spirituality and compassion; hospitals, monasteries, prisons|
Don’t know where your Jupiter is? You can use our Chart play moon phase calculator to find out.
Are you getting Jupiter/Pluto transits this year? Steven Forrest’s fabulous Skylog report will tell you (order here).
Mary Shea’s brilliant Solar Return report adds extra insight (order here). The SR is a divination chart calculated for your birthday. The house where Jupiter and Pluto falls in the SR is telling.