heavenly The far-out influence of Pluto

Currently there seems to be a raft of books concerned with bridging the generations.

First a book on sons and mothers, in which the broadcaster Jon Snow angered his brother by outing their mother's wig.

Now Chatto has come up with an Anthology of Fathers.

The cynical might think that this is nothing but a typical publishing ploy to fill the Christmas present generation gap, but it may be as much due to the fact that the planet Pluto has recently changed signs.

Pluto is a curious planet, the outermost known in our solar system. Modern astrology seems to go haywire when it tries to incorporate such a murky sphere into its system of prognosis. For one thing, Pluto is so far away that even the most besotted stargazer cannot argue that, unlike the sun or moon, Pluto can have any physical effect on the earth or its inhabitants. And its power is supposed to be so vast, and its effects so slow and deep, that astrology's limited vocabulary is hard put to let us mere mortals know what's in it for us.

The planet is interesting none the less. Take generations. Pluto was first spotted in 1939, and, in tune with its penchant for leaving huge upheavals in its wake, found the world in arguably its greatest crisis yet. At the time Pluto was discovered, it had just entered the sign of Leo, the only sign ruled by the sun, the sign of the ego. Cogito ego Pluto. This does not mean it was crossing in front of the constellation of the lion, but rather through the mathematical 30-degree portion of the sky which astrologers assign to Leo. Pluto's habitation of Leo lasted until 1956, giving it most of the responsibility for what is called the Me Generation.

The generation before us baby boomers found Pluto in Cancer, sign of home and hearth. This makes our parents' generation, the subject of all these books, the group for whom the ground of their being was the family. Which does seem to fit.

Then we came along, the post-war wild egomaniacs, and we've been calling attention to ourselves ever since. What other generation could have produced the spotlight-hoggers Mick Jagger and Camille Paglia, than that of Pluto in Leo?

The bunch who came afterwards have Pluto in Virgo. They are thought to be unusually tuned in to each other, even unconsciously coordinating their movements in groups such as classrooms. They are also no doubt over-organised, as well as being excruciatingly dull and quotidian.

Then come the Pluto in Libra group, who are certain to be "nice", just like Canadians.

Scorpio being down and dirty, Pluto's transit through it - commencing in the Orwellian year of 1984 - has brought us all those sordid revelations of child abuse at boys' homes and public schools. Long-term traducers such as the Wests and the Belgian paedophile ring, have been dragged into the light - it's been like opening a grave. There seems something extra powerful in these disclosures, since both Pluto and its ruler Scorpio have an affinity for death. Mini-demonic practices such as gangsta rap and body-piercing have also thrived.

Mercifully for us more superficial types, Pluto has this year moved along into Sagittarius, where it promises to do no more than totally disrupt world governments over the next couple of decades.

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