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The United States’ Pluto Return: The Third Return Conjunction (Part 3 of 3)

There’s been some talk and quite a few questions about the United States’ first Pluto Return – what it is, and what it actually means for the country and the world. This will be a bit more technical than my usual articles, but I’m going to do my best to explain what this means, what we’ll be experiencing, and what’s at stake here in the U.S. and around the world.

This article is part three of a three-part series on the United States’ Pluto Return period. To get the fundamental details of this event and what it’s all about, please read Part One and Part Two first!

Including today, transiting Pluto will have made three exact return conjunctions with the U.S. natal Pluto (based on Sibly chart for U.S. natal – location: Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A. 75w10 39n57):

  1. Sunday 20 February 2022 at 2:21p EST on (direct motion)
  2. Monday 11 July 2022 at 3:34p EDT (retrograde motion)
  3. Wednesday 28 December 2022 at 9:56a EST (direct motion)

It is important to note that though the exact return conjunctions will be complete after today, transiting Pluto will move into Aquarius, then back into Capricorn and back within 3° orb of the U.S. natal Pluto position… but it won’t get back to the exact natal position again for another 247 years. That brings us the first question which I won’t be able to answer with absolute confidence in this article – whether or not the United States of America will still exist to see its second Pluto Return in, approximately, the year 2269.

Here in part three, we’ll discuss the last phase of this Pluto Return journey for the United States, specifically where it finds itself in the process right now after this year of exact Pluto Return conjunctions. I’d consider this to be an update from the February and July Pluto conjunctions, and the closing chapter of the most exact year of the United States’ first Pluto Return. Also, as its last exact conjunction, this is likely to be the energy the United States carries forth coming out of its first Pluto Return. This will be this event’s “legacy” energy – energy that the U.S. will need to work with and work through moving forward.

From a natal perspective, the United States could be using Pluto in Capricorn’s energy to transform its physical, material, and financial status and position through use of power, influence, and possibly destruction. In this case, Pluto’s destructive ability clears away the old to create space for new societal structures to emerge, allowing the United States to establish its power in new or different ways.

In the case of the United States’ first Pluto Return, during these last and next couple years, and especially in 2022, Pluto in Capricorn has been presenting opportunities for the U.S. and its leaders to apply the institutional and structural lessons learned from 247 years of the country’s existence as well as from the influence of the two prior two exact conjunction of this Pluto Return (especially the July retrograde conjunction which provided a wealth of feedback from external sources). Yet from all indications, the leadership of the United States, when faced with the feedback from others, is choosing to double-down in its old ways. Though opportunities presented themselves, the U.S. leaders are choosing not to change course, and its second chances may have been squandered.

It needs to be restated that Pluto represents the power of transformation, which is allowing one way of being to end in order to allow another way of being to emerge. In Capricorn, Pluto is transforming our societal structures, institutions, and standards or measures of success and accomplishment within those institutions and structures. In the United States, it is a core belief that the one who has the most money and the most toys/material possessions wins. However, an alternative reality is beginning to emerge.

As a reminder, for this third and final Pluto Return conjunction, the United States’ natal Pluto position is 27.55° Capricorn in retrograde motion. The position of the transiting and returning Pluto is 27.55° Capricorn in direct motion.

NOTE: I’ve included both a chart image for the return in the natal location of the United States’ “birth” (Philadelphia, PA), and another for the current location of the U.S. Capitol (Washington D.C.). I will be using the Philadelphia chart for my interpretation of this first exact conjunction of the United States’ Pluto Return. They are very similar, but obviously, not exactly the same (location, location, location).

Philadelphia-Based Return Chart (article reference):

astro 2gw us pluto return third exact philad hp.39915.57241

Washington D.C.-Based Return Chart:

astro 2gw us pluto return third exact washin hp.40000.15304

This third exact Pluto Return conjunction (December 2022) has an extremely introspective and notably introverted chart compared to its February 2022 and July 2022 predecessors. With almost all chart elements on the east side of the wheel and more than half of them below the horizon line, this chart tells us the United States is becoming less concerned about how it is being perceived in the world, and much more concerned about its own internal affairs and sustaining its idealistic self-image within its borders. There should be a lot of soul-searching going on right now, as the U.S. is finally beginning to understand that its strategy may be isolating it rather than increasing its presence and power in the world. Its increasing awareness of its self-isolation is the good news… but the bad news is how the U.S. seems to be addressing its isolation. Instead of looking at how it can change course and lead through collaboration with others to lift everyone up, it’s choosing to stay its course by using very public methods and means (mass communications – broadcasting, social media, etc.) to make sure it is presented in the most positive light as often as possible while simultaneously trying to force others to comply with its will.

The First Quadrant and specifically, the First House of this Pluto Return conjunction chart are notably well-occupied, indicating just how emotionally invested and preoccupied the United States is with making sure its self-created and self-projected image of service to others and the world is upheld… for its own sake! It’s very much invested in making sure it feels good about itself, keeping up a number of façades to protect itself from itself, and possibly its own people, from disillusionment.

This idealized self-identity is exacerbated by the fact that 1) this chart’s Moon is in Pisces, and 2) the sign of Pisces is intercepted in the chart’s First House, which indicates energy that is not outwardly visible or conscious for nations outside the United States. It may be hidden to many – including the leadership of the U.S. itself – that it is acting on emotional impulse, dedicated to upholding the United States’ idealistic view of itself as a force for the greater good of humanity and All-That-Is. However, the U.S.’ actions seem to be betraying its self-identity as the Aquarius Ascendant with Saturn conjunct in the First House reveals that its first priority at this time seems to be to control its public image and the narrative while continuing to dictate to other nations how they are expected to behave in alignment with U.S. interests. As we discussed in the previous two parts of this series, this is not going over well with many other nations around the globe. In fact, it’s now accelerating the efforts of other nations to distance themselves from dealings with the United States. It’s also inspiring other nations to innovate and collaborate to find ways to circumvent the United States in both resource/trade and financial dealings.

Another observation about this third exact conjunction of the Pluto Return is the location of the personal planets. The Sun is in the Eleventh House, and Mercury, Venus, and Pluto itself are in the Twelfth House of the chart, all in the sign of Capricorn. The United States is serious about maintaining if not increasing its power in the world, but it also seems to be refusing to realistically face and deal with its current circumstances. In fact, it may not just be unwilling but now unable – too fragile – to allow the global reality of matters to permeate its collective consciousness. Instead, the U.S. seems to be focused on itself and its public image, and with these four celestial bodies in Capricorn (which is ruled by Saturn, which is the authoritarian and disciplinarian of the planets), and with Saturn conjunct the AC in this chart, it’s clear that the U.S. thinks it will be able to force the world to see the U.S. the way it sees itself and to get the other nations of the world to comply with the agendas it intends to implement.

Ceres is in Libra in the Seventh House, which reveals the United States’ value of its one-on-one relationships of all kinds. What may be most interesting about this Ceres placement is that it’s opposite Jupiter in Aries in this chart with a 3° orb, but it’s also in a T-Square configuration with the Sun and Black Moon Lilith in a 5° orb! Both of these transit configurations are challenging as it reveals that the U.S. is increasing and expanding its aggressor role in order to move its strategic agenda forward. As more of its partners are growing eager to explore peaceful and diplomatic resolutions of matters, the U.S. seems to be pushing for more physical conflict, almost as if the U.S. believes the only way it can maintain its own power and influence in the world is through action. This also reveals that “partners” to the U.S. are not much more than tools for its strategy and its ego, and as more nations are becoming aware of this, fewer nations are willing to enter partnership with the U.S. This is a dilemma for the U.S. as its entire global strategy depends on 1) other nations allowing its presence on their sovereign land and 2) on those nations willingly (or forcibly) implementing U.S. initiatives. It’s also telling that Ceres is the one personal (dwarf) celestial body that is quite far removed from the others with its placement in the chart, almost as if to say that U.S. interests in and value of its partners are far removed from its other points of focus at this stage of its Pluto Return journey.

But the most interesting personal planet placement is Mars Retrograde in the Fourth House in Gemini conjunct the Imum Coeli. Remember, retrogrades are feedback and second chance energy. Mars is the planet of action, and tends to take assertive if not aggressive action. Gemini is intellectual and inquisitive, known for playing mind games and being duplicitous. The Fourth House is our most private and personal space, our homes, our families, and the things we keep private. Combine these energies with a retrograde motion, and we have the conditions ripe for receiving active feedback regarding the actions the U.S. has taken up to this point in its overall existence. This feedback will be taken very personally by U.S. leadership, and will likely result in some sort of retaliation from them. Yet this feedback, taken objectively, offers more opportunities for the U.S. leadership to change its course for a different future, if it so desires.

Though technically in the Second Quadrant/Fourth House of the chart which is extrospective energy, Mars’ placement in the lower half of the chart conjunct the IC indicates assertive if not aggressive response actions from others are more likely to make a domestic impact than foreign one, and may possibly be born of the personal or individual grievances of its citizens regarding domestic policy rather than upsets about foreign policy.

However, another possibility with this Mars placement is that the United States’ foreign allies may be taking actions which the U.S. can no longer cover for. Yet by holding its “allies” account, it could harm the U.S. economy and/or security, putting U.S. citizens and/or the U.S. territories – including the U.S. mainland – in danger of retaliation from said “allies”. This may be the moment in which the United States has to face harsh realities on two levels: 1) When you “sell your soul to the Devil” and don’t abide by its terms and agreements, the “Devil” will come for you; 2) When you hold others accountable for their actions, you’ll have to be held accountable for the same actions if you’ve done them, too. The questionable alliances the U.S. has made over the years in the name of global strategy and/or profit may come back to haunt it shortly after this third Pluto Return conjunction.

Despite all of that energy in play, the United States’ leadership’s greatest challenge over the 12-18 months will be to convince others (especially its own citizens) to continue believing in the façade the U.S. is trying to present and uphold globally – that the United States is a beacon of hope, opportunity, inclusivity, and democracy. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for the U.S. leadership to do this, and the rest of the world will see this disillusionment happening and distance themselves even further than they’ve already begun to do.

This third Pluto Return conjunction is occurring on a 1 Universal Day of new beginnings and fresh starts, as did the first Pluto Return conjunction. However, unlike the first Return conjunction, this one is occurring during a 9 Universal Month of fulfillment, completions, and endings. This combination could be interpreted as ‘the beginning of the end’, or ‘the end of the beginning’ as the 1 UD energy is all about taking action to get things started, while the 9 UD energy is about taking action to get things done. Notice how both are about taking action, and remember Mars Retrograde in Gemini and Jupiter in Aries.

The U.S. has proven it can talk a big game… but will they initiate that game with their own actions?

So far, indications say ‘no’ – the U.S. won’t directly engage with others outside U.S. mainland borders… but it also won’t be above taunting other nations and leaders with words, and with Mars Retrograde in Gemini, the words may be as effective as the actions. Any foreign nation that takes action against the U.S. or its allies will likely have been strategically provoked into said action through the United States’ real or imagined verbal or written threats. Of course, the opposite could be true as well – the U.S. might take action if it can prove another nation is damaging U.S. interests abroad or domestically, and the U.S. could justify jumping into already active conflicts as a defensive “ally”… but the latter two options are highly unlikely as the U.S. knows it’s being watched closely and with scrutiny by the rest of the world, and doesn’t want its reputation for being a global bully to be outwardly validated. The U.S. is more likely to continue playing mind and word games with other nations around the world, thinking it’s being smart, but more likely doing more damage than building confidence in its alliances.

Both interpretations are valid, but a determining factor may be the 6 Universal Year that is coming to an end – a year of healing and restoring functionality and process. As stated in the prior parts of this series, the 6 Universal Year means that the entire world is focused on how to best care for their people, and therefore, when their attention drifts to the U.S., other nations are looking to see how the U.S. is going about doing what it needs to do, or if it’s doing what it needs to do at all.

The rest of the world is watching how the U.S. people care for themselves and each other, and how well they serve their own and others. Considering we’re dealing with rampant inflation, severe winter weather, an imploding airline/train/public transportation sector, and widening divide between the haves and have-nots at the time this article is being written, the United States is not looking very strong and capable of caring for itself and its people right now.

Other nations are also looking at whether or not the United States has any focus on making sure the world works for everyone on a global scale, or if the U.S. is focused only on whether the world works for the U.S. At this point, it would be safe to say that for most of the world, the United States has proven through practice that it does not share the societal values of many other nations and cultures, and as result, most other nations are now seeking alternatives to working with the U.S. New trade, resource, and defense alliances are forming. New currency policies and payment systems are being adopted. They haven’t severed ties with the United States, but not many world leaders are eager to build any new or more involved ties with the U.S. at this moment.

Ultimately, the question as we are coming to the end of this combination of the U.S. Pluto Return and a 6 Universal Year is… what was restored to functionality here in the United States, and what continues to be dysfunctional? Understand that whatever continues to be dysfunctional is now being phased out, whether we realize it or not; while whatever is healed or on a healing path is being empowered at this time. In the context of the United States, that means it needs to examine the functionality of its society and its values and standards for success and accomplishment, and examine how well it is coming to terms with and healing its past and present so it can be at the fore of bringing innovative and evolutionary leadership to the world. There is concern that the dedication to the (fictional ideal) “story” of the U.S. is more important that dedication to the hard reality of the U.S., and that will likely prove to be the root source of the internal conflicts that arise in the coming weeks, months, and possibly years here in the United States of America. The United States’ refusal to deal honestly with its past and present may cause it to do itself in.

One last thing is now in serious question as global conflicts intensify around the world: Can the United States deliver in its “defensive” alliances and actually either protect its allies or give its allies the means and resources they need to defend themselves and protect and provide for their peoples? We may soon find out whether the United States can follow through on its defensive ally promises while also respecting the sovereignty of its partner nations. As questions arise about accountability and responsibility for individual nations around the world (especially for U.S. allies and for the U.S. itself), this will be an answer of particular interest for many.

To that point, whatever happens within the United States will impact the rest of the world, especially the nations that are still very much tied to the United States economically, militarily, and on a resource/trade level. As the U.S. goes, so will go the fortunes of its allies. If the United States is determined to use force to preserve itself rather than negotiate diplomatically and fairly, respecting the sovereignty of other nations, the next few weeks, months, and years could prove very interesting as it will be up to other nations and international organizations to choose whether or not they will stand by or abandon the United States if and/or when it implodes… and based on the choices of its leadership to date, if it projects its frustrations and anger onto others instead of owning up to its shortcomings or failures.

In the event the U.S. does try to project outward, it will be up to other nations to prevent the United States from taking out its frustrations on the rest of the world in an effort to escape itself. However, the introspective introvert chart indicates that it’s more likely the U.S. will try to contain or hide its internal messes. That doesn’t mean its internal affairs won’t become public – it only means its leadership will try to keep it all under wraps. Foreign nations will need to hold the U.S. accountable for its deeds and for its global responsibilities, and will likely do so in a variety of non-violent ways as most of the world’s other nations are eager to establish conditions of peace rather than a perpetual state of war.

Remember, if any war occurs, it will be due to the real or perceived aggressive intentions of the United States. That Mars Retrograde in Gemini in the Fourth House and Jupiter in Aries in the First House are major indicators of increased assertiveness and aggression on the part of the U.S. It will be the one to act, and any other nations that engage in retaliation will be responding to that real or perceived aggression.

For those of you who are seeking more details about the astrology of the moment, here are the astrological transits within 3° orb at the exact time of this third Pluto Return Exact Conjunction #3:

NOTE: At 3° orb, Pluto is unaspected! For this reason, I opened up my usual 3° orb to 5° in order to explore possibilities for Pluto’s impact in this final return conjunction.

T-SQUARE: (Capricorn Venus conjunct Mercury conjunct PLUTO in 12th house) square Aries Eris Retrograde in 2nd house square Cancer Pallas Athena in 6th house (21-27°) – The U.S. sees itself in service to the world – a service which is balanced by an expectation that others will serve it in turn or in kind. When the U.S. doesn’t get what it wants or expects out of its “partnerships”, the U.S. can feel betrayed and become vengeful. However, with Pluto involved in this mix, the more the U.S. tries to hold onto its power, the more the U.S. may find its power is changing.

T-SQUARE: Capricorn 9 Sun in 11th House square Libra Ceres in 7th House square Cancer Black Moon Lilith in 5th House (2-6°) – The ego is dependent on ability to create, and the expression of self is focused on getting results. These two energies could balance each other very well! However, both are challenged by a need to consider the values, morals, and ethics of others, especially of partners. This scrutiny may find the U.S. having to choose between getting done what it says it will get done as a matter of public/global reputation, and satisfying its ego’s emotion-driven needs.

SEQUENCE: (Capricorn Venus conjunct Mercury) semi-sextile (Aquarius 4 AC conjunct Saturn) semi-sextile (Pisces Neptune conjunct Juno) semi-sextile Aries Eris Retrograde (21-24°) – The United States’ allies and partners will discover just how strategically selected they are, and this will lead to some very interesting moments when they try to make their own sovereign choices. Though they may be thinking and choosing from what they deduct is best for their countries and/or their peoples, the U.S. may not agree, and this could lead to stern actions from the U.S. to “keep them in line” with U.S. interests, agendas, and ideologies. This disciplinarian approach could backfire on the U.S. leadership if its allies feel betrayed… but it could also result in the U.S. positioning itself for its own recourse to deal with its own perceptions and feelings of being betrayed by allies that did not allow it to have its way.

SEQUENCE: (Pisces Vesta conjunct Anti-Vertex conjunct White Moon Selene in 1st house) semi-sextile Aries Chiron Retrograde in 2nd house semi-sextile (Taurus North Node conjunct Uranus Retrograde in 3rd house) semi-sextile (Gemini 1 IC conjunct Mars Retrograde in 4th house) (9-12°) – The U.S. finds itself drawn to anything and anyone that allows it to continue its idealistic self-perception as a spiritual compass for and moral servant to the world. In fact, it’s drawn to anything that allows it to maintain this idealistic (and possibly delusional) self-perception. However, as the rose-colored glasses may be ripped off as result of its own actions, this harsh push back into reality may lead to a re-opening of the United States’ self-identity wounds. This leads to another step in the U.S. healing journey – how to come to terms with its physical, material, and financial reality, which also forces it to deal with its moral and ethical historical and present-day realities. This facing of realities (or the inability to do so) could lead to its “victims” acting out for their stories to be heard and their sense of home and belonging in the United States to be fundamentally established if not restored.

(Pisces Neptune conjunct Juno in 1st House) trine Cancer Pallas Athena in 6th House (21-23°) – The United States’ commitment to presenting itself as a servant to All is empowered by its ability to go through the motions of serving others while actually serving its own interests, no matter how much others may see through its self-presentation. That’s because the United States can count on other nations failing to hold it accountable for its actions behind its carefully-preserved façade because they know how dangerous it is to challenge the U.S. on said façade.

(Pisces Neptune conjunct Juno in 1st House) sextile (Capricorn Venus conjunct Mercury conjunct PLUTO in 12th House) (21-23°) – That façade does prove helpful and supportive of the United States’ strategies and agendas. The U.S. seems to get away with quite a bit through its allies and its own communications – it’s able to talk its way into and out of a lot of situations, and truly believes it’s getting away with it all. Though it has managed to get away with a lot of it, Pluto’s presence in this configuration indicates that it could all turn in a moment. It would be wise for the U.S. not to take its façade for granted as it could disappear at a moment’s notice and transform into a forum for accountability.

As stated in the first two parts of this series, the key to the United States restoring its idealized role and power in the world continues to be for the U.S. to 1) walk its talk to curb any ideological or practical hypocrisy on its part, especially in regard to the standards they hold other nations to account for; 2) follow through on its word, and do what they say they’ll do when and how they say they’ll do it, both abroad and especially at home; 3) recognizing and acknowledging its challenges and/or failures in commerce and diplomacy by allowing itself to collaborate with others to balance its relationships with other nation-states to mutual advantage, not just for its own benefit but in the practice of equality and sovereignty for its allies and partners as well; and 4) coming to terms with its own past in order to heal those enduring wounds so the country can truly move forward into the future as a nation, acknowledging that all (humans) are created equal and worthy of the “unalienable rights” of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

However, based upon these last few months since the second conjunction, and based upon this chart for the third conjunction, it seems the United States is determined to go about learning its Pluto lessons the hard way.

As alternative global alliances such as BRICS+ begin to take solid form, as alternative payment systems are being developed, as nations begin moving away from the U.S. dollar and begin trading in their sovereign currencies again, as sovereign nations begin to nationalize their resources and stand on their own legs, as U.S. economic and trade sanctions continue to backfire against them and their allies, as nations seek partnerships with nations other than the U.S. and ignore U.S. warnings or disdain, and as conditions within its own borders intensify and begin to teeter on the brink of systemic implosion, the United States is in for a bumpy ride these next few months and possibly the next few years. It has the power to change its course, but it is running out of time.

When discussing Pluto’s transformative energy, sometimes, it’s deducted that allowing the entire thing to burn to ashes is the best way to go. That way, we can see if a phoenix rises bringing forth a new, stronger, more brilliant form from the ruins of what came before.

I don’t know if the United States will undergo a literal “ashes” moment, but I do know there will need to be at least a proverbial one if the United States and its peoples are going to come out of this current course in a position of resilient strength.

The United States will be experiencing its first Pluto Return energy now through early 2024. Look for these situations to run their course now through then, to whatever may come.

Thank you for reading and sharing Signs and Numbers, and thank you for reading this three-part United States’ Pluto Return series. Please feel free to share your thoughts and ask any questions in the comments below.

Until next post…

~ Light, Love, and Blessings,

United States Natal Chart – Sibly

astro 2gw united states sibly hp.40050.57241

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