Happy Birthday, Clyde Tombaugh’s (No, Not Disney’s) Pluto!
I’m not one to stand all the time on ceremony, so why should I start now? A mere two weeks after Clyde Tombaugh’s 24th birthday, he made an incredible discovery. Of course Mike Brown of the International Astronomical Union (IAU)–a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU)– disagrees that Pluto is worthy of recognition. Astrologers around the world who have, for years, considered the interactions of this planet in historic mundane and personal events–myself among them–disagree.
A little interjection here to explain why I’ve chosen this recording of George Gershwin playing his “Rhapsody in Blue“… George Gershwin had given Rhapsody in Blue its February 12, 1924 debut on the New York City stage. I thought it was quite fitting for this particular recording to greet Pluto on this day, don’t you?
I had to smile when I read the Cool Cosmos “Ask” page from Caltech though. “Astronomers noticed that the orbits of Neptune and Uranus were being affected by the gravity of an unknown object in the Solar System. Clyde Tombaugh carefully studied images of the night sky, and after a lot of hard work he finally discovered Pluto.”
Now perhaps the story changes as suits someone on the astronomical side. Here, on the Cool Cosmos page, it clearly says Clyde Tombaugh was the discoverer of the “unknown object’ that eventually became known as Pluto and that Tombaugh had “found his planet.” On a more extended page offered by the IAU, I found what I might call shape-shifting apparently beginning with initial references to Pluto as a planet with a footnote from 2005 (Stern, A., & Mitton, J., 2005, Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System, Wiley-VCH 1997) and later notations to IAU papers with Mike Brown’s name heading up the “revolution” as he might call it. Ironically, at the same time he and the IAU decided to demote Pluto to dwarf status, this body and he apparently “promoted” a few other bodies, including Makemake and Haumea to dwarf status! Okay, so I’ve done my due diligence in noting these credits.
Pluto By Moonlight On July 14, New Horizons mission scientists will soon obtain the first images of the night region of Pluto, using only the light from Charon, itself softly illuminated by a Sun 1,000 times dimmer than it is at Earth.
So I even shared his ideas leading to what he called “Thoughts on the Planet Debate.” I’m moving on to my own concepts about Pluto and will send these birthday wishes to the planet we associate with intensity, transformation, regeneration–and the natural 8th house today–February 18–the anniversary of this great discovery.
Surprisingly, Marion March and Joan McEvers had attributed Pluto’s discovery to Percival Lowell. In fact, that’s why one of the glyphs for Pluto, they said, is derived from the letters PL for Percival Lowell. Well, Lowell’s belief that another planet was out there lent to his having initiated the search toward that goal; but Clyde Tombaugh, who hadn’t even gone to college yet, had found it.
After last night’s lengthy article, I’m keeping this one short and will be posting barely into February 19 (my apologies, but I was researching–and figuring out my new astrological software) and will offer a quick fun look at the chart for those who want to explore it more. Take note of the Western 3rd quadrant above-the-horizon dominance in the chart, pointing to Clyde Tombaugh’s working at the Lowell Observatory when he apparently spotted Pluto in the heavens. Meanwhile, Mercury was forming a 51-minute partile undecaquartisextile to Pluto , pointing to the depth of research Clyde apparently had been doing before he got to this point. His research was exhaustive and perhaps creative; but it ultimately would benefit the good of all in a truly humanitarian way.
“We are like ignorant shepherds
living on a site where great
civilizations once flourished.
The shepherds play with the
fragments that pop up to the
surface, having no notion of the
beautiful structures of which
they were once a part.”
For me such words bring to mind the vast pockets of humanity that gazed into the night skies, trying to make sense of things they didn’t always understand–but they kept trying. Lynda writes of this degree, “MOONLIT FIELDS, ONCE BABYLON, ARE BLOOMING WHITE” and refers to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
She says, “Whether real or not, these gardens appeal to the human desire to return to the simple and exquisite life of the Garden of Eden, a life of earthly paradise. The myth of an original garden with perfumed trees and luscious fruits, birds and animal life, and rivers of life-giving waters is common to many faiths including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Many great advances come out of this region, including language, astronomy and mathematics. Long after Babylon’s fall and the man-made structures disappeared, mere remnants of the garden that was ‘Once Babylon’ remain.”
Her words bring to mind Clyde Tombaugh’s effort to find that planet he and Percival Lowell both believed was somewhere out there. And whether or not they found it,they weren’t about to stop searching. Mike Brown would have us believe Pluto as a planet is a myth. But along with the great advances humankind saw with language, astronomy and mathematics coming from those regions of the world, perhaps Pluto is more of an advance than he realizes just yet.
Pluto is associated with intensity and transformation, regeneration, with the underworld and what I like to call “for the good of all.” We take note of Pluto in beginnings and endings, in life and death–and life-saving surgery, in inordinate fears and obsessions. We see it in sexual matters, in kidnappings, in crime, and in police matters. This often excruciatingly slow-moving body with a transit of about 2° a year has been observed in various mundane and even in our own natal charts in aspects that at the very least coincide with the more power-packed wallop in a variety of events of the positive kind and those with the most devastating and tragic results.
Coming to mind with dictators like Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini and so many more, Pluto is captivating, controlling (coming to or from you), manipulative, vengeful. It’s epidemic, life-threatening, isolating, disappearing, and full-on transcendental. Pluto is the one in charge wherever you find it, and while it’s said to co-rule Scorpio with Mars, Scorpio’s traditional ruler, Pluto is also considered the higher octave of Mars just as Neptune is the higher octave of Venus.
I normally don’t quote Lynda Hill’s entire analysis and interpretation of the Sabian degrees anymore, but this too fits as she closed out the Oracle associated with the 30th degree of Aquarius: “All in all, your best qualities or your talents will be recognized and appreciated. When you are following a true path, you are able to rely on the support of the universe in its flow. This is the degree of the beginning of the Age of Aquarius. As the energy of the Age of Pisces wanes, the Age of Aquarius sprouts forth like a “flower” from the ruins of the old.”
What a perfect way to celebrate Pluto’s birthday by discovery on the 18th of February, and of course with thanks to Clyde Tombaugh for his having done so.