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© by Zane B. Stein

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Closing The Door On The Twentieth Century
And Rushing Into The Twenty-First


Chiron and Pluto have a very intimate relationship, but recent events have shown us that they are more intimately involved than anyone ever suspected. Chiron and Pluto dominated 2000, and were very much involved in the events of September 11, 2001.


On December 30, 1999, Chiron and Pluto were exactly conjunct (geocentric) for the first time since July 19, 1941. (The heliocentric dates are slightly different. More on that shortly.)

Varying sources give different times for the conjunction. Walter Pullen's Astrolog program gives 11:50 AM UT, for example, while Matrix's Winstar program gives 10:39 AM UT. But the 'exact' moment of this conjunction is not really important. Chiron conjunct Pluto is the end of one cycle, and beginning of the next.

There has been a lot of talk about the New Millenium. Many people seem convinced that the 21st Century began on January 1, 2000. As you may know, this is incorrect. The 21st Century began on January 1, 2001. (If this doesn't seem right, think of it this way: the 1st Century was from 1-100. The 2nd Century was from 101-200. So the 20th Century was from 1901-2000.)

But even though the actual century did not begin until 2001, 2000 was still a major turning point: it was the last gasp of the Twenthiet Century. Events that happened during that year will be remembered for thousands of years as the culmination of the 20th Century. Because of this, the 'birthchart' for the year 2000 is highly significant.

With Chiron conjunct Pluto exact on December 30, 1999, it was still in almost exact conjunction when 2000 began...and thus be a major factor for the entire year ahead. And if you go beyond earth-centered concerns, and turn to heliocentric astrology, the conjunction was exact on January 3, 2000, so it was very close (and applying) when that year started.

       GEOCENTRIC          Dec. 30, 1999      11 Sagittarius 23
       HELIOCENTRIC        Jan. 3, 2000       10 Sagittarius 56


What can we expect from this conjunction? First, let us explore the relationship these two bodies share. (You may want to read other perspectives on this conjunction: Candy Hildebrand's article, Chiron Meets Pluto at the Big Turn, Or Roosters Encounter Owls, and Eileen Nauman's article, Chiron and Pluto Conjunction.)

On October 6, 1999, astronomers came out with a statement that some of the Kuiper Belt objects (KBO's) may be pieces of a giant collision that was responsible for creating Pluto (and its moon Charon. (See Origin of Pluto and its moons.) It has been suggested for quite some time now that Chiron, and the other Centaurs, are all escapees from the Kuiper Belt. Thus, it is conceivable that Pluto and Chiron were once part of the same much larger body!

You may be aware of the big controversy unleashed in early 1999: Should Pluto be demoted? Some astronomers wanted to reclassify Pluto as a minor planet, because of its size, and its relation to the KBO's. Yours truly attended a debate on just that subject in May 1999. (For more on that debate, see Pluto Debate.) Partly due to a public outcry, and partly due to a lack of unanimous agreement among the astronomical community, Pluto was saved from this fate.

But an interesting movement did emerge as a result. Many astronomers are now pushing for more clearly defined size limits for the term 'planet' that also include the stipulation that the body must have a regular orbit around the Sun. And according to this group, not only is Pluto a planet, but so are some of the larger asteroids...Pluto is smaller than seven of the solar system's moons (the Moon, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Titan and Triton). Under this new criteria, each of these bodies except our own Moon would be called a planet! Possibly, even Chiron itself! This may be the wave of the future....and it was clearly a foreshadowing of the coming Chiron/Pluto conjunction.

Joyce Mason was one of the first astrologers to write about the connection between Chiron and Pluto. Her article, "Chiron and Pluto: Comet Brothers", is a classic, and should be read by all astrologers. Some of the astronomical similarities she mentions include: "Both have highly tilted, eccentric orbits. They share a blurred identity, i.e., both are so unusual, astronomers wonder if they should be called planets at all. Both are relatively small. Both are composed in large part of "ices" containing carbon monoxide, methane, and/or nitrogen. Each crosses the orbit, at some time during its own orbital path, of the planet next in toward the Sun (Chiron crosses Saturn's path and Pluto crosses Neptune's)."

And of course the interesting synchronicity of Pluto's Moon, Charon, being discovered only months away from Chiron's discovery....with their names so similar. Chiron is pronounced "KAI ron" while Charon is pronounced, officially, "KAIR en".

And she raises a very good point: "From the standpoint of astrological application, their functions are so similar, people often confuse Plutonian and Chironic energy. Both involve, at least in part, issues of death and sexuality. Pluto transforms; Chiron transmutes."

Chiron indeed crosses Saturn's path inward at perihelion, as though it was once again seeking the wisdom of Jupiter before it heads out on another journey almost to Uranus. This is one of the reasons Chiron has been viewed as a bridge linking the earthly (Saturn) and the heavenly (Uranus.) Pluto at perihelion indeed moves closer to us than Neptune, as though it were seeking the wisdom of Uranus before it heads out on a journey to face the great unknown....the myriad of bodies in the Kuiper belt. So using the same logic, we can say that Pluto is a bridge linking our view of the heavens (Uranus) with more universal truths (comets, Kuiper Belt objects.) And one can imagine a type of steppingstone process. Chiron takes us out beyond Jupiter to Uranus; Pluto then goes from Uranus out beyond Neptune to the Kuiper Belt.


With all of the above in mind, let us go back in time to the last Chiron/Pluto conjunction. Of course, any influence that was the result of that conjunction will be tempered by its occurrence in the sign Leo, which is much different than the 1999 conjunction in the sign Sagittarius.

       GEOCENTRIC          July 19, 1941      3 Leo 41
       HELIOCENTRIC        June 30, 1941      3 Leo 49

What happened that made before the conjunction so different than after? First, let's look at the Sabian Symbol for the 4th degree of Leo (interestingly, SQUARE to Chiron's discovery degree of 3 Taurus 08.) I'm going to quote from "The Sabian Symbols as an Oracle" by Lynda Hill and Richard Hill:

"A man formally dressed stands near trophies he brought back from a hunting expedition." "Trophies of conquest. Will to prove oneself. Need to prove one's animal instincts for the benefit of society. If negative - trying to dominate the elements of nature with rational power."

Two events overshadowed all others that year. On June 22, Germany invaded U.S.S.R., Lithuania and the Baltics, totally disregarding the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, and after several weeks of spectacular success it seemed that Russia would fall before the year ended. And of course, on December 7, Japanese forces launched a surpise attack on the U.S. base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, leading the U.S. to finally enter the war.

My old history professor used to say that it was not a World War until the U.S. joined the fray. Perhaps in Russia, it is taught that it was not so until the Soviet Union joined. While these points may be debatable, it was clearly a different war following the entry of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. And while other things did go on in 1941, it was this war that is most associated with that year.

To the countries that fell to the Nazi's prior to this, the world changed forever at the moment of the fall. But after the events of 1941, the war truly spanned the globe. It was difficult to find a part of the earth that was not affected by it.

It was around the time of the Chiron/Pluto conjunction that the Nazi's began accelerating their plan for 'ethnic cleansing.' Pogroms were accelerated, large groups of Jewish and Gypsy people were shot, and the deportation of others to Ghetto's was done in large quantity. Plans began taking shape in Germany for Auschwitz and other such places. But even though all of this was going on, the majority of the world was unaware of the extent of the Nazi actions. On July 31, 1941, Reich Marshal Hermann Goering charges SS-Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich to take measures for the implementation of the "Final Solution."

Even before the U.S. entered the war, it had entered it in spirit. On August 14, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston S. Churchill signed a document called "The Atlantic Charter". This document affirmed the rights of nations to their sovereignty, advocated cooperation between all nations, and said in no uncertain terms that their must be a "final destruction of Nazi Tyranny."

I don't think anyone who is aware of the Nazi's crimes would disagree when I say that the world was witness to some of the darkest elements of humanity's shadow in those days. I'm not sure anyone, prior to that war, knew the extremes of depravity and evil that humans were capable of committing on other humans.

And the wound on humankind's psyche may never truly heal.

Chiron linking up with Pluto.

Another war-related event occurred at that time. Back in 1939, Albert Einstein sent a letter which led to the creation of the program that culminated in an atomic bomb. This program was renamed "The Manahattan Project" in 1942, but the office that was set up to oversee the project and develop atomic energy, the Office of Scientific Research and Development, was established on June 28, 1941. By July 1941 plutonium was demonstrated to be a superior fissile material, which gave the impetus to build the first bomb. This also gave impetus to the development of nuclear power as a peaceful source of energy.

Chiron opens doors. Pluto is the power released by atomic fission. Opening the door to the release of unbelievable amount of power/energy. It was only a year and a half later that the first nuclear reaction was achieved (Dec. 2, 1942.) Remember this, when we talk about 1999.

Let's digress a bit and look at some other things that happened in 1941. We'll start with a movie: "Citizen Kane"

Many people feel that this movie is the greatest of all time. It is at the top of many lists, including AFI's 100 greatest movies. Orson Welles accomplished his goals remarkably: to increase realism and make mechanical details inperceptible. REALISM. The story was right in your face.

It is a film about the corrupting influence of unchecked power. Pluto, is, of course, power. And Chiron is, among other things, the opening of a door.

It is also about regrets over the loss of the security, hope and innocence of childhood, which a man can spend his life seeking to regain (as you discover, at the very end of the movie, exactly who/what Rosebud was. (If you haven't seen the movie, Rosebud was the dying word of one of the world's most powerful and influential men.))

One of the wounds we all have...and will never be able to heal the loss of innocence. The conjunction with Pluto brings into high focus just how much we do lose, as we cross the line and lose our innocence.

Another film that came out in 1941 talks about the cruelty people show when they run across someone they perceive as 'different.' Though it is billed as a children's movie, "Dumbo" speaks of the great pain that results from being ridiculed for having some apparent deformity, being ostracized for not being 'one of us.' The movie also talks of transforming the supposed defect into a valuable asset.

In some myths, Chiron himself was kicked out of his mother's presence for his 'deformity'.....being half-human, half horse. But he eventually was praised for his wisdom and unique perceptions. Perhaps the positive side of this conjunction to Pluto is the transformation of our self-perceptions, enabling us to see our supposed defects as potential gifts.

It might be interested to look at the lives of people born within a day of that conjunction, and see how this has expressed itself in their lives:

July 18, 1941: Lonnie Mack (McIntosh) (musician: guitar) / Marcia Jones Smoke (500m kayak - Olympic-bronze-1964) / Martha Reeves (singer, with group The Vandellas-"Dancing in Street")

July 19, 1941: Natalya Bessmertnova (dancer in the Bolshoi, Lenin Prize 1970) / Vikki Carr (singer: "It Must be Him", "With Pen in Hand")

July 20, 1941: Vladimir A Lyakhov (cosmonaut aboard Soyuz 32, T-9)


To sum up about Chiron conjunct Pluto:


Now let us move ahead to 1999. The Sabian Symbol for the degree of the Chiron/Pluto conjunction was described by the Hills thusly:

GEOCENTRIC "A flag that turns into an eagle that crows." "Declared idealism. If negative - assuming right only because of might or power." Hmmm...the negative comments in this degree, and for the 1941 conjunction, both refer to a misuse of power. Already we have seen the war in Serbia due to Milosevic's misuse of power. And the mass graves there, and the repeat of the 'ethnic cleansing' concept. And there are certain elements in the Arab world that have begun much more actively to call for a Holy Jihad against the Jewish people, and also against the Western countries that give support to Israel. The question surfaces: is this the tail end of the old Chiron/Pluto cycle, preparing for a new major shift in the years following December 1999? Or is this a foreshadowing of what we can expect in increasing amounts from the new Chiron/Pluto cycle?

Coming when the world is caught in a kind of Millenium Madness, this conjunction may very well be more potent than the last one. So many things are on humankind's mind right now. The destruction of our ozone layer; the possible effects of global warming; conflicts breaking out like flashfires all over the world. And of course, one cannot forget the Y2K issue, with the year 2000 hitting computer clocks all over only 2 days after the conjunction is exact.

One of the scariest is the threat of nuclear destruction from new members to the nuclear club, such as India vs. Pakistan, or even from nuclear disasters larger than the one that recently occurred in Japan. And this is a very real concern.

Mark Lerner, of "Welcome To Planet Earth", wrote an interesting article a few years ago entitled "Pluto Triggers The Nuclear Axis". He talked about Pluto touching off several points in that chart of the first nuclear reaction, starting with 7 degrees of Sagittarius. But the most significant part of that chart (or any chart, for that matter), is the position of the Sun. And, for December 2, 1942 (3:25 pm CST, Chicago, Illinois), the Sun is at 10 Sagittarius 05, conjunct Mercury 11 Sagittarius 05. As you can see, Chiron/Pluto will set that off. Open the door to a new phase of the nuclear age? Or opening the door and unleashing the most deadly destructive force possible?

It is all of these things that are on our mind as we approached that January 1, 2000 chart. Problems upon problems that are very real, and very in our face. Conflicts that cannot be ignored. The potential danger resulting from the release of nuclear power. The potential danger of a possible madman with unbridled power. The unleashed fury of weather, earthquakes, etc., as the earth reacts to years of humankinds irresponsible handling of its power. And perhaps, with Y2K, the danger inherent in allowing ourselves to become too dependent on the power of an artificial system made of computers.

With Pluto, there is the potential for rebirth. With Chiron, the potential exists for healing. When the two come together, it is the universe telling us, in no uncertain terms, exactly WHAT is wrong, and sticking it in our face so that we cannot avoid dealing with it.

We must never forget that the positive side of Chiron includes healing/wholemaking, and the positive side of Pluto includes regeneration/rebirth. On December 1, 1999, as these two bodies moved toward the conjunction, there was a major news release:

"Momentous Gene Breakthrough Heralded As Milestone

"LONDON (Reuters) - A team of international scientists has deciphered the genetic code of a human chromosome in a scientific milestone that could herald new treatments for diseases ranging from heart disease to schizophrenia.

Researchers from Britain, the United States and Japan have mapped the entire sequence of the protein-coding genes of chromosome 22, the second smallest of the 23 pairs of human chromosomes. They said they identified 545 genes, 298 of which were unknown, giving new insights into how genes are arranged on DNA and how they can be used to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases.

It is the first step in the Human Genome Project, which plans to sequence the entire human genome, all of the more than 100,000 genes in human DNA, by 2003.

The scientists have mapped out the 33 million base pairs of chromosome 22. Thirty-five diseases and syndromes, including some cancers, schizophrenia, deafness and heart disease, have a genetic component linked to the chromosome, they said.

Dr. Peter Scambler, of the Institute of Child Health in London, said the sequencing will accelerate understanding of diseases linked with chromosome 22."

So we enter the new millenia plunging full speed ahead in understanding, and finding cures for, diseases of all types. What they have done so far is setting the stage.

These are reasons WHY this conjunction happened before 2000, instead of being a main influence for 2001. This is the closedown year for this century. We can call it the cleanup year, a laying the groundwork year, if you will. The potential for the future is magnificent.

Chiron sometimes needs to shut one door before another can open. Let's hope we are still here to walk through the new doorway.

Last time, the heliocentric and geocentric conjunctions were in the same degree. This time, they are in neighboring degrees. I am praying that, rather than experiencing the worst of the negative side of the geocentric, we reap the rewards from the positive side of the heliocentric:

HELIOCENTRIC "The lamp of physical enlightenment at the left temple." "Connecting the left and right sides. If negative - rationalizing intuitive thought until it is rejected."

Connecting the left and right sides. That is a signature for making whole. This is the potential for this conjunction. Our we up for it?

There is another doorway that this conjunction may open...if we can work our way through the dark and into the light.

The last time Pluto was in Sagittarius, Voltaire wrote what is believed to be the first mention of aliens from outer space in literature (in something he called "Micromegas"). Perhaps this time, with Kuiper escapee Chiron conjunct Pluto, we may make contact with an alien race for the first time.


The average astrologer thinks in astrological terms more than astronomical. When he or she thinks of one planet being close to another, it is usually in terms of zodical conjunction (as in the paragraphs above), and sometimes in terms of Parallels. But it is the rare astrologer who also looks at the ACTUAL distance between any two bodies in space. But after the events of September 11, 2001, I think astrologers should include measuring the astronomical distance between two planets as one of their regular tools.

Jon Dunn is that "rare astrologer" I mentioned above. For some time, he has been measuring planetary close approaches, and graphing these on his website. Several weeks BEFORE the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he put a page on his website graphing the distance values between Chiron and Pluto for a 1350 year period. And his conclusion, after tabulating the results: "September 11, 2001 is the date when these 2 are closest for the period for which data is reliable, i.e. from 800 AD to the present. 1754 was almost as close." ( and fine-tuned at

Although he didn't know it at the time, he had zeroed in on on the EXACT date that the Twin Towers would be destroyed, the Pentagon attacked, and the other terrorist acts.

How close were they? Well, astronomers measure things in AU's (astronomical units.) One AU is equal to the average distance between the Sun and Earth or about 93 million miles. Chiron and Pluto can be as far apart as 58 AU's, and their average distance is close to 40 AU's. But on September 11, 2001, they were 20.01523 AU's apart!

Jon calculated that the last time they were extremely close in space, June 13, 1754, the distance was 20.01583 AU's. 2001 was closer still, but let's look back briefly at what occurred at the last close approach.


1. In the early 1750's, rivalry between England and France over who would control the North American Continent led to what is known as the French and Indian War...the first skirmish of which occurred in 1754. This war expanded to include the European counterpart, The Seven Years War, which began two years later. Both wars ended in 1763 with The Treaty of Paris, which had several significant clauses, some of which included:

France ceded Canada and all territory east of the Mississippi River to England
Spain yielded Florida to England
While Great Britain was the 'winner', and the treaty marked the colonial and maritime supremacy of that country, the success was unbelievably costly. Parliament needed ways to cover its debts, and pay for the continuing military presence in America. So they put heavy taxes on the colonists, which strained relations with Great Britain....and was one of the causes that led to the later Revolutionary War which produced the U.S.A.

2. English officials were aware of the fact that the brewing war would put a straing on the colonies, and suggested a "union between ye Royal, Proprietary & Charter Goverments." In June 1754, delegates from most of the northern colonies, and representatives from the Six Iroquois Nations, net in Albany, New York. There, they adopted a "plan of union" drafted by Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania. Under this plan, each colonial legislature would elect delegates to an American continental assembly presided over by a royal governor.

This plan was noteworthy for several reasons, most noticably that Franklin anticipated the many problems that would beset the government created after independence. In fact, it contains the seeds of true union, and many of these ideas would later be revived and adopted in Philadelphia more than 30 years later.

Great Britain did not push for implementation of the plan, because they realized that if it were adopted, it would create a powerful entity that His Majesty's Government might not be able to control. But they need not have worried....then. The Colonists were NOT ready yet for independence. Nevertheless, as I said, the "seeds of true union" were sown at the time of the close approach between Chiron and Pluto.

Chiron's zodiacal position at this time was 26 Sagittarius 39 R, while Pluto's was 12 Sagittarius 16 R. Chiron at the close approach was a few degrees away from exact opposition to the Sun, by the way, which was in the 23rd degree of Gemini.


On September 11, 2001, Pluto was at 12 Sagittarius 38, only 22 minutes away from it's position during the close approach in 1754. So this event occurred during a Pluto return to the natal position of the sewing of the "seeds of union." Chiron was 23 Sagittarius 03, a bit over 3 degrees away from its 1754 position...but closely opposition the Sun of that chart. (Another Centaur, Chariklo...who represents Chiron's mate...was 11 Virgo 41, squaring Pluto in both charts. And still another Centaur, Pholus, was 8 Scorpio 59, closely semisquare Chiron, and closely sesquiquadrate the Sun in the "seeds of union" chart.)

So there are direct connections between the close approach of 1754 (which started things in motion which changed the face of North America forever), and that of 2001 (which you can say the same thing about.) But the 2001 close approach was more powerful for several reasons:

1. The two bodies were even closer in 2001 than they were in 1754
2. Neither Chiron nor Pluto had been discovered in 1754, but in 2001 we were conscious of both bodies 3. The chart for the beginning of the New Millenia had Chiron and Pluto not far apart at all, whereas in their close approach in 1754 occured in the middle of a decade rather than the chart for the whole century, and the conjunction between the two was in 1752.

How can we describe the Chiron-Pluto interaction? Palden Jenkins writes that it represents "power-conflicts, background forces influencing history, revelations of cover-ups or collapse of collective untruths, leadership changes, exceptionally compromising crises and conflicts of interest, knotty and wrought situations, blood on hands, eruptions of truth, tough and nightmarish situations as a potential point of major resolution." I'd say Palden was very perceptive.

Eileen Nauman's article, mentioned earlier on this page, also had this to say about the Chiron/Pluto interaction: "On the external landscape, Pluto rules terrorism. And I see that terrorists can definitely make their mark during the conjunct phase of Chiron and Pluto. Massive disasters, such as earthquakes (they are subterranean like Pluto) may occur as well. Natural disasters will be at all time high during this transit--potentially. And this is going to bring to the worst Shadow aspects of human nature, too. More killings, terrorism, and mass human destruction, can occur with this, also. It is limited only by our imagination how it can occur. Countries that have Sagittarius or Gemini in their charts will be the ones that are hit the hardest."

Note her last sentence. The most frequently used United States charts have either Gemini or Sagittarius rising (depending on which chart you use,) and of course the chart for the "seeds of union" had Sun in Gemini, with Chiron and Pluto in Sagittarius. If my memory serves me correct, Sagittarius is also the traditional ruler of the Islamic countries (or at least, the Arab nations.)

For the chart of the World Trade Center catastrophe (September 11, 2001, New York, NY, 8:45 am EDT), Pluto was almost exactly conjunct the third house cusp (using either Koch or Placidus), with Chiron and Mars also in that house. This chart not only shows the immediate events of that day, but the changes and events that have occurred as a result. Third house is of course the nation's media and postal service; the ability for the people of the country to travel and move about; the psychological attitude of the masses in general...and, I'm sure, the flourishing of the myriad of rumors that flourished as a result of the cataclysm.

Numerous astrological article have been written (and more, I'm sure, will be in the future), on the events surrounding September 11, 2001. A few of these are:

America Under Attack
September 11, 2001 Attacks
An article by Erin Sullivan
NY/DC Terrorism from Lois Rodden's Databank

And, as I write this, the repercussions are still unfolding as the attacks on Afghanistan continue; the Anthrax spores are showing up at post offices and media offices; the airline industry is trying to recover from the loss of business due to fear of flying....

Chiron and Pluto have brought about a changed world, and there is no turning back. We have to look to the future, and figure out how to build a new world...or else suffer the consequences as we watch everything around us come to an end.

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