[This is an update of an article by Barbara Hand Clow published in Welcome to Planet Earth (1991) titled, "Will the Pluto in Leo Generation Heal Itself?" During 2012-15, we will be living through seven squares between Uranus and Pluto, which will radically change our lives. When this article first came out twenty years ago, it flew all over the place and had a big impact because it spoke to people about their family relations. So, in light of the upcoming squares, this article is updated to our present times. Next comes an article on how to best utilize the power of the first square between Pluto and Uranus on June 24, 2012. Get ready!]
Uranus Square Pluto and Generational Tension
Copyright © 2012 by Barbara Hand Clow (
May 1, 2012)
The seven squares between Uranus and Pluto—2012 through 2015—will create a revolution in global industrial, financial, and social structures. We know this because when the square was first drawing close during 2011, the ideals of the 1960s countercultural revolution surfaced within Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, and the European financial crisis. Uranus rules radical structural changes, while Pluto destroys anything in the way of change.
When they work together as a team as they are now, watch out! This is especially true with erratic and shocking Uranus in its most forceful sign—Aries—while ruthless Pluto is in it most determined sign—Capricorn. During the countercultural revolution, Uranus and Pluto in Virgo—the sign of healing, orderly living, and ecology—set the themes for transformation all the way up through 2104: During the 1960s for example, people rose up and demanded an end to corporate control and war, and soon these seven squares will provide fuel to push this agenda along.
When two planets square each other after a major conjunction, the issues that surfaced during the conjunction return and push for resolution. With Pluto in Capricorn, we will witness a cleanout of financial, corporate, and societal structures. Many of us have not forgotten the wild and crazy 1960s, when youth movements demanded economic fairness, an end to war, and creative freedom for all people. This pressure for a more humane world has simmered just beneath the surface for more than forty years, and it came to a boil again in 2011—"power to the people" is the same as "power for the 99%".
This article looks into how the 2012-15 squares will impact the Pluto generations that played major roles during the 1960s—those with natal Pluto in Cancer through Virgo born 1912-1972. It ends with the Cancer through Virgo transits of
Chiron from 1988 through 1995, because the centaur generated a healing of these three generations. (1) Back in the 1960 during the Uranus/Pluto conjunctions in Virgo, the Pluto-in-Leo generation—born from 1937 to 1958—challenged the control of their Pluto-in-Cancer parents—born from 1912 to 1939. (Overlaps between generations are due to Pluto’s retrograde motion.) This younger generation’s refusal to support the status quo resulted in heart-breaking divisions in many families that may rip open again in 2012-15. Then because of this division, the Pluto-in-Virgo children and grandchildren—born 1956 to 1972—currently struggle with having enough resources. Let’s consider how these generations may respond to these upcoming squares.
Because of Pluto’s long stay in each sign, the
sign that Pluto occupies expresses the deepest desires of each generation. These well up within people and eventually become the themes of collective movements, for example, the infamous "Make Love, not War" slogan of the 1960s. These plutonic desires become specific evolutionary urges that transform worlds, very much like extinctions that create space for new species. Pluto resides in our solar plexus (gut) where we hold the complexes of present and past experience. Like a
volcano, when there is too much hidden material in our gut, Pluto compresses it and then explodes the contents in a wild eruption. Pluto is our
emotional brain that holds the records of our karmic processes; we remember our deepest feelings by storing them plutonically. Pluto is also a compassionate and wise master, a teacher who allows us to learn the most about ourselves by forcing us to notice our behavior when our gut erupts. Just feel that area of your body when you get really mad at someone.
We must name Pluto’s evolutionary intentions because generational tensions impact each one of us so intensely. If we don’t,
we could become a lost generation. During 2011, the close square of Uranus/Pluto brought back the 1960’s dreams—global desire for freedom, fairness, and harmony for all people. Much time has passed since Uranus and Pluto joined in the sky, so today we can be fairly objective about the mass behavior of the Pluto-in-Cancer-through-Virgo generations. Even if these dreams won’t be fulfilled until Uranus opposes Pluto in 2046-2048, the coming seven squares will reactivate and possibly clarify generational tensions.
The Pluto-in-Cancer generation is protective, nurturing, and very needy. In much of the West, they inherited great wealth and property, forming the basis of their value systems that they anxiously guard. They enlarged the growing and lucrative military-industrial complex, which guaranteed protection even to death; supported corporations that are granted unalienable rights; and built a medical system dedicated to keeping people alive at all costs. Their slogan in the United States was "better dead than red" (communist). This is not a judgment, since after all they inherited the creations of Pluto in Taurus, the "plutocrats" who pinnacled the industrial age that was joyfully expanded by the Pluto-in-Gemini generation. Each generation is like a loop in a chain that pulls tight whenever the chain is stretched.
Leo is creative, childish, passionate, addicted to power, and very honest. This generation was uncomfortable with the goal of being protected to death by society and their parents; they’d rather be "red than dead." So just out of adolescence in the early 1960s, they wanted to live instead of just to die, to create instead of to destroy. Then along came Uranus-conjunct-Pluto in Virgo after the generations had turned against each other! The Pluto-in-Cancers unleashed its protective tools—the CIA and the Pentagon—to carry out selective assassinations of the Pluto-in-Leo leaders. The leaders of the Leo generation weren’t all born with Pluto in Leo, such as the Kennedy brothers who resonated with the Leo generation. The end result was a serious blockage of the younger generation by the protective tendencies of Pluto in Cancer.
Tensions between the Pluto-in-Cancer and Pluto-in-Leo Generations
: An abnormal blockage of a whole generation’s agenda is encapsulated in the Kennedy assassinations, which for many people were the beginning of America’s decline. Newly sighted Pluto lurked within the secret services and the military-industrial complex in agents plotting to kill people just to get them out of the way. These days, we call it "regime change." Using murder to solve problems is a dead end that erodes civilization, but it became acceptable when the horrors of WW II after the Depression just stunned most people. Globally, admiration for America and democracy began to diminish when idealism was thrown to the dogs in favor of excessive adoration for the military. Now with the Pluto/Uranus squares, we are dealing with a highly unusual situation that has never occurred before in human history: The generational chain could pull apart for societies distorted by plutonic ruthlessness.
We must see our situation for what it really is because the upcoming Pluto-in-Libra-and- Scorpio generations (born 1971-1995) value deep compassion and kindness. How did we ever get so far off track? Well, two world wars, a terrible depression, and the rise of fascism detonated people’s brains. Then
those born 1937-1959 became the first generation that—
while they raise their own children—also had to cope with elders who were living long and often enfeebled lives.
The Pluto-in-Cancers are inherently controlling and protective, so they resisted passing knowledge and resources to their children because they don’t trust anybody but themselves, yet the press calls them the "Greatest Generation." I contend that this aging generation has overwhelmed societal balance because it is instinctually plutonic! This may be because Pluto was in Cancer when it was first sighted in 1930, and then the previous Uranus/Pluto squares occurred right afterwards in the early 1930s. These transits triggered the Depression and the rise of Fascism between the two world wars.
On the heels of the of the Cancer and Leo generational tension, along comes the Pluto-in-Virgo generation who need to assume roles in society. But the Pluto-in-Cancer folks are still holding on and being cared for, which has meant the Pluto-in-Leos have had less time and resources for their Pluto-in-Virgo children. The US has 75-year olds taking any job they can get, while 40-year olds have never even gotten a decent job! Ironically, the Uranus/Pluto conjunctions were in Virgo during the 1960s, so
the Virgo generation knows what needs to be done to reform society! They are extremely frustrated and determined to have their way because they see that the older folks clearly don’t know what to do.
Due to the Cancer generation’s lingering distrust,
negative aspects of the Pluto-in-Leo generation are more developed than positive ones. Negative Pluto-in-Leos have tantrums, need too much therapy, want to play when the job needs to get done, and stress creativity over basic needs. They are impatient, willful, and want instead of do. Back in the 1960s, when the parents took one look at the unruly crowd of beatniks, hippies, and bums, they concluded that the ends (make sure these kids never get any authority!) justify the means (use the military, chemicals, the CIA, blue meenies—any technique to maintain control). But, these draconian methods ran smack dab into the positive Pluto-in-Leo traits—honesty, integrity, hope, trust in the future, creative solutions, and remembering to play. We can’t survive if a whole generation aborts, so next I think the Uranus/Pluto squares are going to inspire the Pluto-in-Leo generation to assist their children—the Pluto-in-Virgo generation—to transform the world.
Chiron as the Guide for Generational Healing:
Based on my Chiron research, the wounded healer is the guide through this unique crisis. (2) When sighted in 1977, Chiron was in 3 degrees of Taurus, and then Chiron in early Leo attained its first square to its discovery in 1991, which put the focus on healing. Uranus-conjunct-Neptune in 1993 quickly followed the Leo Chiron squares; these transits shifted the agenda of the Pluto-in-Leo generation. Ignored for years by the status quo and not allowed to participate in society, the 1960s activists mysteriously "dropped out" when Chiron was discovered. They turned to healing and birthed the alternative healing movement. (3) Then when Chiron in Leo squared its discovery position in 1991, people in general realized we must heal our hearts. Back then in 1977, the wounded healer complex emerged—the discovery that we must go way back in time to process our core wounds. Then during the first Chiron squares in 1991, the healing movement realized we must clear the karmic wounds that we carry since time began. This need for a species-level healing was recognized during the Uranus/Neptune conjunctions of 1993. (4)
We are transforming societal structures, yet this endeavor will fail if the generations battle against each other as they have since the end of WW II. Chiron, which does not complete its first cycle until 2027, is driving us to heal core wounds, to open our hearts so that whole families can bond normally. Neptune and Chiron have been travelling close together 2007-2013 and building
Chiron’s spiritual healing field. This field has transmuted our core emotions, and we seek abandoned love. For example, while the Pluto-in-Cancer parents were controlling and judging their children, they really just wanted to nurture
them. Often they secretly admired the wonderful creativity, insights, and integrity of their children, but everyday business always came first after the Depression and WW II. Thankfully,
Chiron’s healing field allows aging Cancer parents to soften and just express their love. What a joy!
The self-absorbed Pluto-in-Leo generation is
still trying to just play! However with time they’ve realized they don’t know as much as they once thought they did. As a result of doing so much therapy, they see why their parents were so emotionally constricted and they’ve forgiven them. Chiron’s healing field allows ageing Leos to accept limitation and to just be.
From their generational Virgo perspective, Pluto-in-Virgos still feel that their parents are flaky, idealistic, selfish, and irresponsible. Yet, they also appreciate all the love and emotional healing they’ve gotten. By owning the confidence given to them by real love,
Chiron’s healing field releases the Virgo generation to change the emotionally sick society. Hidden needs fascinate Chiron, so when Chiron transited Cancer through Virgo in 1988-1995, these generational wounds erupted and got processed. You may want to revisit those years to remember all the bodywork, emotional therapy, Reiki, past-life regression, and emotional healing books that you used to recover from your generational wounds. Having done this work, many people are less likely to get angry at contemporary society, which merely mirrors the inner wounding. This is why a generation may destroy the past! To assist you in remembering these phases, let’s look at them in more detail.
Chiron in Cancer (1988-August 1991):
During these years when Chiron transited the Pluto placements of the folks born 1912-1939, the Berlin Wall fell (1989); Eastern Europe was liberated; the Soviet Union ceased to be an enemy of the U.S.; the seriousness of AIDS became apparent; the ozone hole was recognized; people began to deal with deep emotional pain openly; and a massive movement to conquer addictions began. These events ended entrenched Pluto-in-Cancer control patterns and a healing began for this aging generation. There have been many lessons about how control won’t work, such as seeing that the ozone hole is the result of chemicals that were invented to make life easy. Or how AIDS is a sign of general immune system breakdown caused by the excessive use of antibiotics, which were allopathic medicine’s salvation and are now alternative medicine’s foil. This aging generation realizes that excessive control is dysfunctional, yet they are still having trouble trusting their children.
Chiron in Leo (1991-93):
During these years when Chiron transited the Pluto placements of those born 1937 through 1959, a movement to access the inner child erupted in the healing world. Sensing that the older generation wanted to kill them off (especially during the 1993 Uranus/Neptune conjunctions), they sought the guidance of the spirit guide within. This spawned alternative healing, and profit-motivated allopathic medical used all its guns to suppress it. The mood of these years is beautifully portrayed in the role of the New Orleans District Attorney (Kevin Costner) in the highly controversial film, JFK (1991). During the Kennedy investigation, the DA woke up and realized the American public had been duped and had been living in a fascist military state since the early 1970s. JFK gave dramatic voice to the Pluto-in-Leo generation’s complex frustrations. All the talk about the glories of living in a democracy that supposedly has rights and freedoms didn’t mean much when people realized that the CIA in league with the military-industrial/big pharma complex was totally controlling the United States and much of the "free" world.
The Pluto-in-Leo children realized that they had been lied to, and
JFK offered a model for how to react: Once the New Orleans DA was sure that the Kennedy brothers had been assassinated, he modeled a path for the Pluto-in-Leo generation. He lives in a wild environment with a wife and a pack of kids always wanting his attention while he deals with a hyped-up political role, exactly the environment for most in the Leo generation. The DA moves into a mode of total focus and clear intentions never losing sight of his goal because
sees the truth so clearly. He never wavers in his consistent pursuit of the truth with no emotional vacillation because it is his only hope for survival. The DA was the ideal behavior model for the Pluto-in-Leo generation, so they imprinted this model within their inner culture as Chiron transited Leo and Uranus conjuncted Neptune. This strong idealistic undercurrent has never ceased to flow, and exposure of the lies of the Cancer-in-Cancer generation is highly likely during 2012-15, especially getting the truth about 9/11.
During these years when Chiron transited the Pluto placements of those born 1956-72, laughing Bill Clinton was president, and Internet, global television, and mobile phones emerged. Amidst all this newness, the Virgo generation quietly adopted their own focus and stopped listening to their flaky parents as they were navigating mid-life crises and Chiron returns. (5) They are quite emotionally mature and able to handle chaos because of natal Uranus-conjunct-Pluto. For them, the new tech world and the smiling president meant everybody was playing while they focused. This generation understands the plutocracy—total corporate, military, and banking control—and they know that America is not a democracy, if there ever even was such a thing.
They are poised to assume critical rolls in society during 2012-15 because as young adults, they experienced the healing of Chiron in Virgo during the Uranus/Neptune conjunctions. Once the chaos starts, they will operate covertly and consistently during the Uranus/Pluto squares; the film,
The Matrix, is their model. They will support the Pluto-in-Libras born from 1971-1984, who must balance and release the great generational break described in this article. I think the shining stars of the Uranus/Pluto conjunctions will be the Pluto-in-Virgo generation. I will be following their progress. When the dust settles in 2016, the Pluto-in-Scorpio generation born 1983-1995 will birth a new Pluto archetype that will change the world in 2046-48 when Uranus in Virgo opposes Pluto in Pisces.
1. This is adapted from my 1991 article, "Will the Pluto in Leo Generation Heal Itself?" in
Welcome to Planet Earth.
2. Barbara Hand Clow,
Chiron: Rainbow Bridge between the Inner and Outer Planets, Lewellyn Publications, 1987 and 2007.
3. Ibid, page
4. Barbara Hand Clow,
Awakening the Planetary Mind: Beyond the Trauma of the Past to a New Era of Creativity, Bear & Company, 2011.
5. Barbara Hand Clow,
Liquid Light of Sex: Astrology, Kundalini, and the Key Life Passages, Bear & Company, 1991, 1996, and 2012 (updated with new tables).