Unrequited Love of Authority: Pluto in Capricorn

Astrologers are like economists – we have basic principles that occur in unique combinations over time. We analyze those past patterns to make future predictions. And like economists, we sometimes get it right, sometimes wrong – more often a combination of accurate and inaccurate.

The challenge is vision. Both astrologers and economists deal with the inconsistencies of human behavior. How something “should” occur may not happen that way because you find humans do unusual things like prioritize pleasure over need. The underlying elements of prediction may be accurate, but the manifestation looks different than imagined.

In that way, the year 2020 stood out to astrologers who cared to look in advance at that year. Pluto the planet of destruction and transformation began its transit of Capricorn in 2007. Capricorn is social structure and authority and immediately the global economy collapsed due to “Plutocrats” making money off of numbers and bankers and auditors playing along. This type of high finance is not easily understood by the average person who simply works hard and tries to pay his/her bills.

Having lived through 9/11 in 2001 and the housing crisis in 2007, I’ve learned that humans do not heed warnings and probably never will – maybe that’s why for all of the moral instruction religions provide, it never really stops people from killing each other.

The chaos of 2020 was caused by a pandemic, something that is not easily predicted by astrologers or economists. However, astrological predictions of the 2020 lineup in Capricorn probably had many of its elements – societal control, responsibility, caution, and rules.


In 2020, the planets Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn joined Pluto in Capricorn. Mars is where we assert the self and is often associated with aggression and war. Jupiter is where we meet society at school or church and learn to interact with others. Saturn is where we meet authority and personal responsibility and where we learn to be a part of the running of society.

For this astrologer, this 2020 line-up meant a great deal of authoritarianism, which I believe came to pass. While the needs of public health can impinge upon one’s personal freedoms, most countries do not have a clear line of where and when that occurs. We will most likely be discussing this through 2024 when some sort of resolution occurs as Pluto passes into Aquarius.

The digital life arose during Uranus and Neptune’s transits of Capricorn and Aquarius in the mid 1990s through early 2000s. Those born then tend to glamorize (Neptune) technology so its authoritarian implications were not understood. The freedom (Uranus) that technology can provide was exciting but appeared to have lasted only for a Uranus transit through Aquarius (seven years). Quickly the authoritarians discovered the power of daily-life surveillance.


As with most prognostications, it’s easy to look at the present and see evidence of one’s thoughts – that’s the bias of daily life where we see what we expect to see.

The great 2020 hindsight takeaway for me as an astrologer is that there is a great love of authority. Having grown up in the shadow of WWII, I carry the image of the dangerous demagogue. While some of the authoritarian figures that arose and continue to arise with Pluto in Capricorn turn my stomach, I did not understand how appealing to others they would be. What’s more fascinating, even, is that much of this love is unrequited. Many of these authoritarians are quite open and honest about their disdain for others, even those that admire them.

In the 1960s classic I’m Ok – You’re Ok psychiatrist Thomas A. Harris shares that at some point in development, children of all cultures seem to develop a position of I’m not Ok, You’re Ok. This is a state developed in childhood because of the adults around us controlling our world. We retain the emotional responses of childhood in addition to this external parent consciousness. Our “adult” is then contaminated by parent ideas and childhood emotional responses. What we need to develop is the detached adult state which can assimilate the parent and child states and create an “I’m Ok, You’re Ok” state.

“I’m not Ok, You’re Ok,” in the New Age parlance is “giving away your power.”

It’s interesting to read Harris’ description of the reverse of this – the “I’m Ok, You’re Not Ok” person:

The person in the I’m Ok, You’re Not Ok position suffers stroking deprivation. A stroke is only as good as the stroker. And there are no OK people. Therefore there are no OK strokes. Such a person may develop a retinue of “yes men” who praise and stroke him heavily. Yet he knows they are not authentic strokes because he had has set them up himself, in the same way he had to produce his own stroking in the first place. The more they praise him, the more despicable they become, until he finally rejects them all in favor of a new group of yes men.

In recent years, it seems masses of “I’m not Ok, You’re Ok” people elected or found themselves ruled by “I’m Ok, You’re not Ok” leaders. And those leaders will never find the masses ok; they can’t.

2020 Revised

Like a good economist, Ohio Astrology will explain the flaw in 2020 prognostications. In the years leading up to 2020, I imagined an “Authoritarian Armageddon.”  That view externalizes the energy seeing authoritarianism “out there” inflicted upon a helpless humanity.

Today my understanding is deepened and I would say instead that 2020 was a year to understand where and when we give our power to others, specifically authority figures. We collectively create the world and if we don’t like what we see we have to look inside, not outside.

Pluto’s destruction and transformation has occurred externally as well with market collapses and ill people. But the real change that Pluto is forcing is the understanding that giving one’s power to (and blame on) authority is an abdication of personal responsibility.

Personal responsibility means negotiating with a shared world. Cooperation is not relinquishing freedom but assuming adult responsibility for the shared outcomes of social decisions. The United States, which is currently experiencing its Pluto “return” to 27 degrees of Capricorn, appears to be having the most difficulty with this.


About ohioastrology

I'm just another soul trying to make sense of the world. As I've grown, so has my understanding of astrology. I'd like to communicate that astrology is not occult and not fortune-telling but that it is a fluid, creative description of the life we choose to live.
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