Go Dark

The Book of Pluto

By Steven Forrest


In 1994, Steven Forrest published this clear and insightful guide to understanding how the energy of Pluto works in our charts, by natal placement and by transits and secondary progressions. Pluto was then considered a “planet” but has since been downgraded to a “dwarf planet.” Those who track Pluto in their charts, however, particularly by transit, realize that you may call Pluto anything you like. Pluto meeting a planet or angle in our natal charts almost universally signals a time of profound loss, recovery, and renewal, leaving our lives forever changed.


Steven Forrest refers to Pluto as a point of “navigational error,” much like a beer can left too close to a ship’s radar, throwing off the navigation system and causing the ship to come to grief on the rocks. Pluto points us towards where we store the hurts, dark secrets, unconscious motivations which can cause difficult patterns in our behavior or relationships. Having a planet meet our Pluto, or having Pluto transit a sensitive point in our chart tells us that we need to face the dark, examine past influences, confront our demons. When brought into the light of day, this troubled energy can be dealt with, and we can move on with our lives.


This book contains wonderful guidance on how we can understand our natal Pluto, particularly through its signs, which are generational, and the houses, which are unique to our own chart. Forrest helps us to recognized “Pluto generations,” large groups of people who were born over a period of anywhere from 12 to 30 or more years as Pluto moves through a single sign. Pluto in Leo, for example, describes “Boomers,” which Forrest celebrates for their exuberance and belief in the individual, while he shakes his head over “the self-indulgent egocentricity” of their shadow. The Pluto in Virgo generation works hard to perfect what is real and useful but struggles to know when their efforts are good enough. It’s important to the Pluto in Libra generation to create accord and empathy among all human beings, but can they can fall into the “blind spot” of using rose-colored glasses when confronted with the darker side of human nature. The Pluto in Scorpio generation can dig deep and force us to confront difficult truths, but they can fall into the trap of becoming absorbed by the darkness themselves. Forrest predicts the Sagittarius generation will reignite our enthusiasm for new frontiers, particularly in space, but could be error-prone, glossing over mistakes in their determination to be right. And his hope for the Pluto in Capricorn generation, who are children today, is they will bring about “a sustainable, practical relationship between ten billion humans and their finite ecosystem.”


What makes this book a particularly useful guide is Forrest’s descriptions of Pluto with the other planets, which we can refer to when looking at a natal chart or a transit or progression between the planets. Forrest believes we are evolving human spirits, and a Pluto trigger can indicate a time when “The frightened, violated parts of our being rise up in grace, self-awareness, confidence, and fire.”

With the Sun, Pluto touches that central part of ourselves we must be true to in order to live our best life. With the Moon, Pluto meets our inner need for nurturing and safety. Pluto and Mercury combine to create intense curiosity and a need to confront difficult information. Pluto and Venus, Forrest believes, are soul mates, as pain is translated into art and our intimate relationships have the potential to generate healing. Pluto and Mars bring passion and fire to the forefront, with the potential for destruction and renewal. Jupiter and Pluto link a vision for a better future with the willingness to go through hell to get there. With Saturn and Pluto, we learn very difficult lessons, but learn them well. Uranus and Pluto together are an unstoppable revolutionary force, while Neptune and Pluto give us the spiritual power to transcend Pluto’s darkness.


When Pluto meets itself, the challenge is to confront and root out what is causing our “navigational errors.” While we all at mid-life experience transiting Pluto’s square to its natal position, Forrest reminds us that for the first time in many, many generations, people will be experiencing Pluto’s opposition to its natal position, and this is unknown territory. Forrest speculates that at this opposition, we may find that our “psychospiritual age” may have ill prepared us for the reality of our mortality, that living so determinedly in the light will cause us to resist, tooth and nail, the imperative of the dark.


Steven Forrest concludes his book on Pluto by encouraging us to realize that there is a big difference between something being difficult and troubled and dark – and our being conscious of something which is difficult and troubled and dark. Naming the monsters makes them less fearsome. Life is good but it has its times of loss and pain, and accepting these times as part of life helps us to endure and grow stronger. Pluto does not circle the Sun at the outer reaches of the solar system to torture us, but to awaken us to our power to recognize what must pass away before we may draw a fresh breath and move on.