The Outer Planets in Astrology Neptune, Uranus and Pluto
What are the outer planets in astrology? They are the gas giants beyond Mars: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune plus the dwarf rocky planet Pluto (still considered an astrological planet). These five bodies lie beyond the asteroid belt - a zone filled with rock that divides the inner planets Mars, Venus, Mercury (and the earth) from the large giants orbiting beyond. The outer planets move much more slowly through the zodiac compared to the inner planets: Mercury takes 3-4 weeks to move through a sign whilst Pluto takes up to 32 years! The inner planets, together with the sun and moon comprise the personal planets in astrology, which make up the basic building blocks of your personality: instincts and conscious will, mind, affections and drive.
The outer planets, by contrast, represent the backdrop against which your personality unfolds. Among these we can draw another line in the sand. That’s between Jupiter and Saturn on the one hand and Uranus, Neptune and Pluto on the other. Again, speed is the defining factor. Jupiter and Saturn change signs every year (Jupiter) to 2-3 years (Saturn) and are considered the “social planets”. They represent the authorities and socioeconomic forces in play according to which you organise your life. By contrast, Uranus stays 7-8 years in a star sign, Neptune 12-13 years and Pluto 11-32 years! These much slower planets represent generational trends. They plug you into the Zeitgeist, the currents and movements of the times, the forces of change, revolution, and collective dreams. So let’s look at the slow outer planets, also called the ‘transpersonal planets’ in astrology, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto more closely.
Blue giant Uranus was discovered in 1781 — right between the French and American revolutions! — and represents revolution, innovation and change. Named after the idealistic god of the sky, it brings surprises, and the overthrow of the old order. People with a strong Uranus in their horoscope tend to be pioneers, radicals and anti-conformists. A transit by Uranus brings sudden changes, instability, flashes of insight and genius. Uranus also represents technological innovation. It rules Aquarius where it is at its strongest. We had Uranus in Aquarius 1996-2003, which saw the internet revolutionise our lives and the founding of Google. Uranus is currently in warlike Aries (2010-2018). There it brought us the Arab spring and guerrilla warfare style terrorism.
Icy gas giant Neptune was discovered in 1846, right at the crossroads between romanticism and spiritualism. Named after the mysterious god of the seas, this planet rules fantasy, mysticism and the imagination. It presides over the arts and especially elusive imagery such as film and photography, as well as glamour and deception, divine inspiration and unconditional love. It signifies the dreams we dream. People with Neptune strong in their horoscopes are artists, preachers, healers, madmen and romantics. Neptune, by transit, brings times of creative inspiration but also disorientation and confusion. Neptune rules Pisces, where this planet is also at his strongest. Neptune is in Pisces right now (2011-2026) urging us to live a more spiritual life through yoga, shamanic retreats and organic juicing and giving our imaginations free rein through the likes of personal YouTube channels, self-glamourising Instagram and Pokemon Go.
Rocky dwarf planet Pluto was discovered in 1930 right before World War II when we saw the true power of the atomic bomb. It’s associated with power, mass threats, annihilation, death and resurrection but also positive transformation and rebirth, rites of passage, sexuality and riches. Named after the dreaded god of the underworld, Pluto rules all things hidden and taboo, dark emotions and secrets. People with Pluto strong in their horoscopes are motivated by power and control and are natural agents of change. Pluto by transit brings major changes in your life circumstances. Pluto rules Scorpio and is strongest when it transits this sign. This happened last between 1984-1995, marking a collective loss of innocence via the rise of global capitalism and the threat of AIDS. Pluto is in Capricorn right now, where, after shaking things up with the banking crisis of 2008, it is currently granting excessive power to governments and banks. Pluto will totally transform both banking and politics, giving rise to new world powers by the time it leaves in 2024.