Does Pluto Rule Scorpio or Aries?

Pluto's transit through Scorpio

by Naomi Bennett

Ever since Pluto was discovered in the 1930, there has been a raging debate about whether Pluto ruled Scorpio or Aries. Currently, the majority have assigned it to Scorpio and the 8th house. But there is still a minority opinion that it belongs to Aries. This confusion results from the ancient dual rulership of Mars for both Scorpio and Aries. Before the discovery of Uranus, the ancient rulerships were:


 Moon      Cancer-Leo           Sun

 Mercury   Gemini-Virgo         Mercury

 Venus     Taurus-Libra         Venus

 Mars      Aries-Scorpio        Mars

 Jupiter   Pisces-Sagittarius   Jupiter

 Saturn    Aquarius-Capricorn   Saturn



When Uranus was discovered, the astrologers immediately placed its rulership to Aquarius. The same happened to Neptune. Astrologers gave it rulership of Pisces and there was consensus. Only with Pluto has there been debate. From a geometric point of view, the assignment of Pluto to Aries would keep this pattern of rulership as follows:


 Moon     Cancer-Leo          Sun

 Mercury  Gemini-Virgo        Mercury

 Venus    Taurus-Libra        Venus

 Pluto    Aries-Scorpio       Mars

 Neptune  Pisces-Sagittarius  Jupiter

 Uranus   Aquarius-Capricorn  Saturn



I knew from my basic astronomy taught in school that Venus was closer to the Earth than the Sun. The Earth is between Venus and Mars. Why was Mercury listed after the Sun when the count starts with the Moon, the closest body to Earth? How could the Sun possibly be closer to the Earth than Venus?

Carl Payne Tobey looked at this issue and found the answer in 1933. He published it in 1938 in a booklet titled, "A New Experiment in Astrology." The ancients had assigned the order of the planets by Mean distance from the Earth. Most modern astrologers do not know that Venus and Mercury spend more time behind the Sun away from the Earth in a earth year. Therefore, the Sun is physically closer to the Earth the majority of the year than Mercury or Venus. It is unique to these two planets because they are inside the orbit of the Earth from the Sun. This issue does not exist for the outer planets. Carl stated in his course: "The ancients assigned the planets in exact accordance with the planets mean distance from the earth. Mercury, Venus and Mars can be nearer to the earth than the Sun, but when we consider averaged distance, the Sun is closer over time." (Footnote 1)

At Project Hindsight 1996, I met Avery Solomon who has a Ph.D. in Mathematics and teaches at Cornell University. He had the necessary software on his PC to model this principal with celestial mechanics to show that Mercury and Venus did stay the majority of the time behind the Sun from the Earth's point of view.

Carl then considered the mathematical probability that the assignment of rulership based on mean distance was coincidence. "Under the ancient rulership there are 5040 (12x12x7x5) ways in which the planets could have been arranged in those signs from Cancer to Capricorn, but only two (a forward and reverse count) of those ways would have coincided with the factor of mean distance. This makes the odds 2519 to 1 against this arrangement being due to chance. Considering the five duplicate signs, what are the odds against those also being assigned in accordance with mean distance? There are 120 ways in which 5 invisible outer planets could be arranged in 5 locations, only 2 of which would have conformed to the pattern, making the odds 59 to 1."

Under the modern rulership of sign assignment to planets to mean distance, Carl deduced: "If we agree to identify the Moon with the zodiacal sign Cancer, than the accepted system of rulership around the zodiac from Cancer to Pisces [Moon thru Neptune] in a counter-clockwise direction follows an arithmetical pattern. It coincides with the mean distance of each body from the earth. Since the [modern] astrologers did not consider mean distance in associating the planets with the various zodiacal signs, the probability of this pattern conforming with mean distance may be expressed as follows:


 ________________1________________    =    ______1______	


 11 x 10 x 9 x 8 x  7 x 6 x 5 x 4            6,652,800



Thus, the odds in favor of mean distance from the earth being the factor that determines what the ancients called 'rulership' of the planets over the zodiacal signs are 6,652,799 to 1. From this mathematical point of view alone, Pluto, being the first planet beyond Neptune, must coincide with Aries. Its nature must be that of Aries. This conclusion was reached by the writer back prior to 1938 and published at that time." (Footnote 2)

"Some astrologers placed Pluto in Scorpio, others in Aries. Placing it in Aries conformed to the pattern again, and drove the odds up 1,814,399 to 1." (Footnote 3)

Astrology follows the sacred geometry principals laid down by the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Druids. The importance of this patterning should not be overlooked as we evaluate Pluto's rulership. If you carefully look at this pattern of discovery of new planets over the past 150 years it points to another question. Are there two undiscovered planets beyond Pluto? Astronomers have been searching for one because of Pluto's erratic behavior. Another esoteric question to be asked that has no answer is: With the division of 12 signs and dual rulership, did the ancients know or intuit the existence of these unseen planets?

Carl Payne Tobey, one of America's leading astrologers from the 1930's through the 1970's wrote extensively on this debate. From his small booklet, Pluto and its Principals (1954), he laid out the characteristic differences between Mars and Pluto. "Mars and Pluto relate to love and certain herd instincts. Mars relates to that love we find in the sex passion. It enables a species to blindly procreate, while Pluto is that protective love that a parent has for a child. There is individualism to Pluto which cannot be associated with Mars. Plutonian thought is in terms of ME and MINE. Plutonian loyalty is toward that which is MINE; my child; my idea; my country. Both Mars and Pluto contain jealousy, but it is not the same type of jealousy. Pluto will be jealous if your child has more than his child. Mars will be jealous if you love another. The reaction of Mars is passionate and instantaneous. The reaction of Pluto is slow and determined, but both may be violent in the end. Mars may kill in fury, but Pluto kills in cold blood. Will-power and self control are characteristics of Pluto, while Mars is devoid of these qualities." (Footnote 4)

Tobey could just as well be talking about the differences between Scorpio and Aries. It was implied in his examples. From working with him for three years, I know this to be his intent.

In a booklet on Mars, he writes: "The effects of Mars are of a certain variety. Experience leaves no doubt but that it is the planet of sex, and the ancients referred to its corresponding sign, Scorpio as the sign of sex... If you want to know why a woman permits her husband to beat her up one moment and love her the next, consult Mars... It has other functions also, and it certainly seems to be the planet of business. The same planet that stimulates the sex function stimulates business activity, and while the force may carry in either direction, that would appear where the factor of free will applies strongly...A well-aspected Mars gives a person who can exercise authority wisely, and a person who can get along with whomsoever is in authority. There is good control. A negatively aspected Mars is hard for the individual to control. It is apt to get out of hand...If you study wars and their beginnings, you won't find the planet Mars too important. There are far more important factors. War, on a 20th Century basis, is not Mars. If you have a fight with your wife, that kind of war might better fit with the Mars cycle." (Footnote 5)

One way to verify these principles of rulership is to look at personality characteristics of individuals with Mars or Pluto near the Ascendant. Observation of them and asking key questions can lead to whether they express Scorpio or Aries characteristics.

Charts of Famous People

President Bill Clinton

Three prominent charts of famous people come to mind as an example of this principle. President Bill Clinton is a Sun in Leo, Moon in Taurus with Libra rising. His data is 8-19-46, 8:51 am CST, Hope, AK, 33n40, 93s35. He has Mars and Neptune very near the Ascendant. He doesn't look like Libra which has a oval face, thin body or Leo that is angular with prominent facial characteristics. However, he definitely looks like a water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) with rounded fleshly body. Scorpio tends to be reddish in the face, have a quick temper, and be very sexually oriented. Bill Clinton has fought two sex scandals about his prior behavior as Governor of Arkansas, one of which is still lurking in the background. He is noted for his quick temper in private. He broke a chair in the White House when he smashed it during an outburst. He didn't repeat that move again when he was sent the bill for antique repairs. He definitely has executive abilities that are Scorpio in nature, not Aries. He inspires loyalty in others, and gives it back to his subordinates.

Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve was born with Sun in Libra, Moon in Sagittarius and Leo rising with Pluto on the Ascendant. His data is 9-25-52, 3:30 am, New York, NY. He is an actor and a sports enthusiast in many sports. He was competing in horse jumping on 5-27-95 when his horse stopped abruptly before a jump. He landed on his head and severed his spinal cord. He is now confined to a wheelchair without movement below his neck. Aries is strongly associated with sports, horse racing, athletic ability, competitiveness and it rules the head. Reeve certainly expressed strong Aries characteristics and it's common for Aries to have head injuries since that is the part of that body that Aries and Pluto rules. The Aries qualities in Reeve's natal chart come from Pluto on the Ascentdant.

Jayne Mansifeld

Another Aries was Jayne Mansifeld who had Sun, Venus and Uranus conjunct in Aries. Her data is 4-19-33, 9:11 am, Lower Merion, PA, 39n59 75w15. She was a famous sex kitten movie star in the 50s. She died in a violent car accident late at night on 6-29-67 and was decapitated. Again, note the association of Aries with head injuries. Her chart had the added implusiveness of Uranus that is associated with speed and racing cars. This powerful conjunction was the source of her sexual attractiveness with Venus conjunct the Sun.

Scorpio and Aries Comparisons

Let's look some more between comparisons of Scorpio and Aries. Both signs are associated with war, the military, and executive ability. Group loyalty is important to Scorpio while Aries is willing to be independent and a loner if necessary. Aries must lead or go it alone while Scorpio wants to be a part of the family or group. As an executive, Scorpio becomes emotionally attached with loyalty to his employer and employees. Scorpio is great as Vice President or Senior Vice President but Aries wants to be Chairman of the Board or Chief Executive Officer. Aries will move to a smaller organization in order to be the boss. He must be the ultimate authority with no one to override his ideas or goals. General MacArthur was effectively fired by President Truman for his Aries like qualities of running the postwar Pacific theater his way and ignoring Truman. Whereas, General Patton was a Scorpio of passion that cussed up a blue streak, cared deeply for the troops under him, wore pearl handled revolvers but ultimately followed the chain of command.

Regarding war and Aries, Carl Tobey points out, "Pluto was square the Lunar Nodes and the natal Sun of Hitler in September 1930 when he opened W.W.II, but it was also in opposition to the natal Sun of FDR, which was squared by the Lunar Nodes. Hitler had built the greatest army and the greatest air force, but Roosevelt simply built bigger ones. Lenin, the real father of Communism had the Sun in Aries. Pluto in Taurus ruled his sun-sign. The modern dictator who appears to have made his appearance as Pluto crossed the ecliptic. Nazism was Hitler's child. Fascism was the child of Mussolini. The whole conception of regimentation is Plutonian. The masses are treated as children. The Nazi regime was supposed to be guided by one man's intuition. The mass murders in Germany and Poland by the Nazis and the Communists are Plutonian murders. In a way, this may be said of all public executions, although by now they may have become merely a matter of habit or law." (Footnote 6)

Scorpio war-like qualities are more about domestic violence and family disputes. Scorpio is about crimes of passion when the emotions overwhelm logic and anger finds a vent in drastic action. Scorpio boils over in reaction whereas Aries burns and will initiate retaliation in its own time. If Pluto is the ruler of Scorpio, then this period of 1984 to 1995 should have pure Scorpio qualities. But, if Pluto is the ruler of Aries, there should be an Aries-Scorpio emphasize.

Note that during this period that we still had the Cold War, but ethic conflicts started taking the world stage as a dominating theme in international news. The Bosnia Serb-Croatian conflict with mass ethnic murders have the characteristics of an Aries-Scorpio nature. Cold, calculated organized genocide with ethnic passion to protect the old family hereditary of one's own race or group. The same kind of passionate conflict could be said of the Irish Catholics and Protestants although their conflict goes back beyond 1984. But it was during this period that they started leaving bombs all over London and Belfast. They became more organized and premeditate in how they expressed the conflict with strategic bombings. It is even possible to see the same similarity between Israel and Palestine. The violence between them escalated during this period of 1984-95 and the schism between them increased. There were ethic conflicts all over the African continent, that left thousands dead or dying of starvation. Pluto-Aries is strongly associated with massive death, mechanized war and organized violence. The Holocaust was a Pluto-Aries event.

Pluto has been associated with wide spread plagues. Aids came into world wide attention with Pluto in Scorpio. This is definitely a modern plague (Pluto) that is sexually (Scorpio) transmitted. But if we associate massive death, war and destruction with Aries, then this period of Pluto in Scorpio should have other Aries like characteristics. Aries is associated with children and the younger generation, so what are the trends with children? Tobey said: "You find Pluto in the gang leader, and you find it in child gangs. It means protection for the group against all other groups. Pluto's murders are carried out according to plan, by the group, in a cold-blooded fashion." (Footnote 7)

During this period of 1984-1995, the USA and Europe have experience an unprecedented increase in child crimes. Juveniles have been shooting and stabbing each other in school. Many inner city schools now have metal detectors. Gang warfare in the streets have increased tenfold and the biggest change has been the recruitment of inner city youth in the 8-9 year old range. Drug dealers reach down to the elementary school level for street sellers and auto thieves because of lenient juvenile justice systems. Juvenile laws that were designed to protect wayward youths are now used by organized crime to their advantage. Juveniles have been murdering and committing felonies to a greater degree than ever before. The biggest complaint of the police is that juveniles are released from custody within two to three hours after their arrest. They are back on the streets before the officer can finish filing his report.

The Gallup poll published in December 1995 stated that 3 million children are physically abused in the USA by their parents and 1.3 million children have been sexually abused. (Footnote 8) There is a connection between these trends of ethnic cleansing, juvenile violence and gang activities and child abuse. They all cry out for the combined effects of Aries and Scorpio. Aries is the sign associated with children and offspring. Scorpio is about the sex drive expressed out in many forms. The Russian Mafia is now the most feared group in Europe for their ruthless tactics. Does this period of Pluto in Scorpio sound like pure Scorpio energy that the majority of astrologers adhere to ? Or is Scorpio mixed with Aries (ruled by Pluto) when Aries is associated with children, youth gangs, organized crime, mass death in modern war, and plagues?

Pluto in Sagittarius

A year has past with Pluto in Sagittarius. There are national debates in all states and Congress on revising juvenile justice laws to reflect the use of children in organized crime. There is a growing debate on how society can effect social change to help under-privileged children. The shift in child issues is now on laws and social reform which are Sagittarian. National criminal statistics in 1996 show a reduction in youthful offenders this year. The trend seems to have hit a peak and is receding but the public perception hasn't caught up yet. A recent article published by The Washington Post states that "Major cities experienced sharply fewer homicides in 1996, hitting 30-year lows in some cases and driving an overall drop in violent crime." (Footnote 9) Is this mere coincidence that this drop correspondes with Pluto entering Sagittarius in early 1996? Serious educational reform will take affect as a form of social progress for the society to educate children. Violence in school should fade into the past during this period or at least until the children born with Pluto in Scorpio are processed and graduate out of the school system. We do have a whole generation of youth that can have a greater tendency toward gang crime so we will continue to deal with violence in schools until they grow up.

An additional test of this debate will be as we observe these trends from November 1995 when Pluto permanently entered Sagittarius. Warring factions will still have their anger and resentments but an end to hostilities can occur. The fighting can stop. The Peace Agreement reached for Bosnia came as Pluto entered Sagittarius in November 1995 and the peace agreement for Ireland took major strides with President Clinton's visit to Ireland in December 1995. The unknown question at this writing is the impact of peace with Palestine after Rabin's assassination. Primer Netanyahu came to Washington D.C. to meet President Clinton in crisis in October 96, but peace was maintained by a thread. My belief is that with Pluto permanently entering Sagittarius the agreements with Palestine will hold.

TV talk shows have made child abuse and sexual abuse discussable. Gang violence is getting plenty of air time and attention. The consciousness raising will be setting up the new trend of social reform during this passage of Pluto in Sagittarius. We should see a social crusade to change juvenile justice laws and child abuse laws. There will be a demand to correct the deficiencies of the past. The social pressure for change and reform, to make a difference will lead to a more enlightened approach to juvenile problems. It will be interesting to see how gang violence changes in this new period. Armed, warring conflict should diminish compared to the prior 11 years. The ethnic cleansing will stop but social retribution will take it's place for the offenders. There is an attempt to persecute Bosnian leaders for crimes against humanity in a World Tribunal in 1996. Pluto is associated with independent, pioneering efforts in business too. There could be an emphasis in new businesses in sports or athletics, science, education and travel.

In conclusion, the past period of Pluto in Scorpio has been an excellent test of rulership signs of this planet. I believe the observation of current events especially regarding the Aries qualities of children, organized criminal activity and mass armed conflict points to Pluto being the ruler of Aries, not Scorpio.

Footnote 1: Correspondence Course in Astrology, Carl Payne Tobey 1955, Lesson 8.

Footnote 2: Pluto and its Principles, Carl Payne Tobey 1954, Rocky Mountain Publishing, page 26.

Footnote 3: Correspondence Course, CPT, lesson 8.

Footnote 4: Pluto and its Principles, page 3

Footnote 5: The Planet Mars and its Cycles, Carl Payne Tobey 1952, pages 1-2.

Footnote 6: Pluto and its Principles, CPT.

Footnote 7: Ibid., page 7.

Footnote 8: Tamar Lewin, 2 Polls Find Wide Abuse of Children, The New York Times, December 7, 1995

Footnote 9: Roberto Suro and Pierre Thomas, Murder Rates Fall Sharply in '96, The Washington Post, January 1, 1997.

All birthdata is from Lois Rodden's Data News and Astro Data books.

Copyright © 1997 Naomi Bennett. All other publishing rights are reserved by the Author, Naomi Bennett, 701 Capitol of Texas So., Bldg. C, Ste. 1112, Austin, TX 78746 (512) 328-9277, fax (512) 328-6957. Naomi Bennett has practiced astrology since 1970 and teaches in Austin. She is currently working on her first book.

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