By Melanie Reinhart in October 1999, Member of the Centaur Research Project

(upload with kind permission)


On December 30th, 1999, Chiron will be conjunct Pluto at 11°23' Sagittarius, making this aspect the main astrological signature of the Millenium. Melanie Reinhart has been contemplating this, and here are some of her thoughts. (See also the Chiron-Pluto-Cycle-diagrams with a list of exact Chiron-Pluto-conjunctions since 1600 A.D.).


Since the recent discovery of the Centaurs, the small orbit-crossing bodies that move between Saturn and Pluto, Chiron has been again re-classified. Its current status as ‘chief Centaur’ clarifies Chiron’s symbolism as messenger, emissary and escapee of the Underworld, to which he returned, the myth, for his own healing. This is the terrain of the god Hades, our planet Pluto, who may thus be seen as presiding over the Kuiper Disk, the dense belt of matter called the Kuiper Disk which surrounds the Solar System.


Pluto itself was recently the subject of huge controversy in the world of scientific astronomy when Dr. Brian Marsden of the I.A.U. suggested that Pluto should be re-classified as a ‘Minor Planet’, the largest of such in the Kuiper Disk. Although this makes complete symbolic sense, a storm of outrage followed which quashed the proposal. Suffice it to say that if Pluto had been discovered more recently, it would not have been classed as a planet.

What a delicious piece of ‘live astrology’. Pluto, as Lord of Transformation, enters the sign of Sagittarius, accompanied by a herd of newly discovered Centaurs, and asks us to reconsider his meaning! Pluto himself is an orbit-crosser, the only one used by most astrologers until the Centaurs were discovered. All these bodies move inward from the cold dark reaches of outer space, tending towards the light of the Sun, the heart-centre of the Solar System, the point of integration and individual consciousness. Pluto crossed to the inner side of Neptune’s orbital path in February 1979, reached perihelion in 1989 in the sign of Scorpio, and crossed out again in February 1999, just as this controversy was peaking! It’s as if he was saying, "I’m not who you think I am".

Thus the Centaurs seem to symbolise the contents which emerge from the deeper background of historical, political and ancestral issues, and which seek recognition, light and healing by impinging on our own lives. In other words, they mark out areas of enormous suffering, themes which are ‘bigger than us’, which are not ‘out fault’ but which we nonetheless have to work with.


The last conjunction of Chiron and Pluto occurred on July 19th, 1941, at 3°41' Leo, and thus we are at the end of a cycle that began during World War II. Many countries have a 50 year secrecy rule on classified documents relating to sensitive historical and political events. The last decade has seen the opening of many such documents, relating to the beginning of the cycle, with powerful repercussions for many individuals, and a corresponding shift in collective opinion. There have been many heart-rending stories in the media of individuals trying to fill in the biographical blanks in their own lives, and their ancestry. Shocking discoveries have led to outrage, hostility, further trauma and feelings of betrayal as the truth emerges. However, there are also extraordinary stories of healing, reparation, forgiveness and peace-making with the past, on both an individual and collective scale.


If we consider Pluto to be connected with taboos, then Chiron/Pluto is perhaps about the breaking of taboos. A taboo may create a condition of frozen non-experience which itself is denied, and which attracts more of the same, like a black hole, and which also (symbolically through the Centaurs) needs recognition and release for healing to occur. Pluto’s purifying activity in the Scorpio terrain is easily located ....... we all know what it feels like to be emotionally frozen, then to have that melt and gush forth in a catharsis of expression or discharge which leaves one feeling shaken, but relieved, empty and peaceful.

But what about Pluto in Sagittarius? To be frozen here is the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’, the spiritual wasteland, the horror of meaninglessness, the absurdity perceived by the mind breaking up under the weight of its own preconceptions and bereft of the capacity for reverence. It is the world of T.S.Eliot’s exquisite poem "East Coker", which was written in 1940, just before the last Chiron/Pluto conjunction, which is where we are now ............ "Oh dark, dark, dark......"


Taboo exists in our relationship with God, and our own true nature too ....... for this metaphysical emptiness, void, lack of meaning, belief and aspiration is intolerable unless you have an unshakeable faith which goes even deeper and can encompass these states. In other words, it is a ‘loss of spiritual innocence’ where we let go of our regressive wish to be taken care of by an omnipotent and benign parent-figure who we think should make us comfortable and safe. To truly embrace the Divine is an earth-shaking experience. In Esoteric Astrology, Sagittarius rules the Earth, said to be a ‘non-sacred planet’ in the process of becoming sacred.

So our contemporary culture protects itself by compensation and denial, and the taboo is about admitting the depth of despair and meaninglessness. Therefore meaning, spirituality, religion, purpose and our highest aspirations also become taboo. Instead, we have ‘options’ proliferating in everything from bank accounts to cornflakes, flaunting the illusions of ‘choice’ and ‘freedom’. Speed, greed, excitement, consumerism and ‘more is better’ are all negative Jupiter manifestations, like the Sagittarian Centaur run amok.

It is ‘not cool’ to have noble aspirations, spiritual ideals, high principles and to try and live them. However, my ‘prediction’ is that it soon will be. It is well-known that near-death experiences very often result in a powerful spiritual connection for the individual, and this is the condition of our home planet today....... we do not know whether the human race will survive, or how, as potential disaster looms simultaneously on several fronts - ecology, economy, world health, food and fuel supplies. Meanwhile, our god-image is wounded, in need of repair, and religious convictions become harshly fundamentalist to avoid destruction in the pit of meaninglessness, which may be the necessary prelude for a true rebirth of individual meaning. Sagittarian and Plutonian themes abound here - the vision of potential disaster in the future perhaps also holds the possibility for spiritual awakening.

Today, the emerging spiritual needs and the vision from which it is emanating are appropriated by the world of bill-boards and advertising, and become trivialised in catch-phases that encourage you to buy this or that product. In only one issue of Time Magazine (October 11,1999) I found these phrases in the advertisements "Remember when something new gave you wings" ....... "Two more ways oneworld revolves around you" ........"and then there was light" .........."Because our corporate message is beyond words" ......."Like guardian angels .... (the GPS gets you and your rental car back to civilisation)" ........"From here the big picture is clear".

However, turning this inside-out, I would see the ‘global mind’ revealing an incoming vision through the most obvious channels available - the mass media. I imagine God saying "Well, most people are not reading the sacred texts any more, so I’ll have to spell things out for them in places where they do look".

Watch that space.....! Someone once sent me a card on which was written