Shadow Work for Pluto in Aquarius

As we prepare for Pluto’s entrance into Aquarius, we here at RP Mystic are excited to share a special guest post from Graveyard Roses founder Aubrey Houdeshell, the creator of the forthcoming Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self.

Aubrey, a professional tarot reader, astrologer, and shadow worker, has highlighted some of the Shadow Work that will be brought forward as Pluto enters and exits Aquarius and Capricorn over the coming months. Be sure to use her custom card spread, Integrating the Shadow, with your most cherished decks during those times when Pluto is in transition between the signs.

Oracle of Pluto goes on sale on August 8th (during the Lion’s Gate!) and is available for pre-order now wherever you buy books and decks.

Image of the Cub card from the Oracle of Pluto deck

In just a handful of days, one of the biggest astrological events of 2023 is slated to occur. This is, of course, Pluto moving into Aquarius.

As the furthest planet from the Sun, Pluto is a slow moving dude. It can take anywhere from 13-20 years to move through a sign. Pluto is unique from the rest of the planets in that its orbit is more of an elliptical or oval shape, hence the varying stints from sign to sign, unlike the other planets who have a pretty fixed timeframe.

In astrology, Pluto represents the archetype of Shadow Work. Often equated to Hades, the Lord of the Underworld, it is very mysterious, dark, intense, and powerful. As the modern day ruler of Scorpio, this makes sense. Both Scorpio and Pluto dwell in the shadows, inviting us to dive into the depths of our souls that are often feared, misunderstood, and sometimes downright rejected. However, it is here in the darkness that potent knowledge and power is birthed. It is here that we can tap into both an incredible well of resources and personal power; and through this avenue we find transformation and rebirth.

Image of the Porcupine card from the Oracle of Pluto deck

As an outer planet, Pluto falls into the contemporary branches of Astrology, and is most prominent in Evolutionary Astrology. Indeed, its influence and prestige cannot be overstated in these arenas. Pluto represents the ideals of power, control, destruction, creation, cycles of death and rebirth, deep healing, compelling spiritual gifts, and, ultimately, transformation. Pluto is our own personal Underworld. When we confront transiting Pluto, this is where we see the influence of the Plutonian journey on a collective level. Pluto drags up whatever needs to be addressed by society as a whole, and we are forced to grapple with the consequences and subsequent transformation of a culture.

Pluto first entered Capricorn back in 2008, meaning that we, as a collective, have spent roughly the past fifteen years enduring the Plutonian journey wherever Capricorn rules in our individual charts, as well as embarking upon this journey on a larger, societal scale. Over the past decade and a half we’ve had to confront such themes as corruption, money and capitalism, the government and the powers that be, the patriarchy, tradition, infrastructure, material stability and sustainability, and the like. In the United States this has been a particularly important transit as it has been the country’s Pluto Return – the first Pluto Return of any modern country that we’ve been able to witness, really, as Pluto was only first discovered back in 1930. Though we can look back throughout history and point to possible Pluto Returns of other empires and countries, that is really only our best guess.

Image of the Puppet Master card from the Oracle of Pluto deck

Capricorns have a tendency to be buttoned-up; they like to abide by the rules and doing whatever it is they’re “supposed to be” doing according to societal norms and structures. Aquarius, on the other hand, lives to break such rules. As both of these signs are traditionally ruled by Saturn, they are both concerned with societal structures and foundations. However, where Capricorn seeks to establish these structures of power, Aquarius shows up to dismantle any outdated or corrupt structures of power and replace them with something that is more equal, accessible, and supportive for all peoples. Aquarius is the sign of the community, and strives, above all else, to implement systems that serve everyone.

Aquarius is also the sign of the future! Which perhaps explains its avant-garde nature that thrives on innovation and pushing the envelope. Aquarius is truly the sign that advances the conversation of humanity forward, which is why it also presides over cutting edge arenas like technology and science.

Image of the Tiger card from the Oracle of Pluto deck

With Pluto’s ingress into the sign of the Water Bearer on March 23rd, we, too, will begin to shift towards these Aquarian themes. You can expect to see things on the tip of the spearhead of technology, such as A.I., becoming a big conversation piece. We are already seeing the rise of A.I. into the mainstream via things like filters that have gone viral across social media platforms such as Instagram or TikTok – yet another Aquarian domain – that have later turned out to be problematic when it is revealed that the art used in the programs are directly ripped off from artists who are neither given credit, nor paid. We can expect to see conversations surrounding the ethics of A.I. and similar technologies take center stage as Pluto forces us to reckon with questions such as, what happens when these resources fall into the wrong hands?

We may also see shifts towards alternative ways of living. Here in the United States many believe we are in the late stages of capitalism – which tracks pretty hard with the later degrees of Capricorn – which then begs the question: what comes after? Stay tuned for the answers on that.

Image of the World card from the Oracle of Pluto deck

Keep in mind that this year we will only deal with Pluto in Aquarius from late March through June 11th, at which point, thanks to Pluto going retrograde for about half the year, it will re-enter Capricorn for the rest of 2023. Thus, whatever has transpired in the last two degrees of Capricorn will re-emerge for us, both individually and collectively, for some final lessons and integrations. Pluto will then re-enter Aquarius on January 20th, 2024, and whatever transpires over the coming few months will have its moment to circle back, too. From September 1st through November 19th, 2024, we will experience Pluto in Capricorn for the last time, and then finally, when Pluto re-enters Aquarius for the third time in November, we will be fully initiated into our new Plutonian journey until 2043.

All of this is to say that Pluto’s ingress into the Water Bearer this year will offer us a window into the next major cycle of our lives, yes, but it’s also important to recognize that we will all be in a period of liminality as we close out a major fifteen year cycle and get ready to open up a new, twenty-year-long chapter as well. Later this year, on August 8th, 2023, the Lion’s Gate, my partner Rose Ides and I are releasing the Oracle of Pluto, a 55-card deck focused exclusively on the Plutonian journey and all of its archetypes and themes that make up the concept known as Shadow Work. In honor of this potent shift on the horizon, here is an exclusive look into one of the spreads contained within the guidebook, titled “Integrating the Shadow.” As you make your way through the very end, and very beginning of two Plutonian journeys, I offer you this spread as a helpful look into the important shadows of both Capricorn and Aquarius. Feel free to utilize it with your favorite deck, whether tarot or oracle. You may find it the most useful in the moments where Pluto moves in and out of these signs. May it be a powerful guide.

Integrating the Shadow

Interior spread from the guidebook to "Oracle of Pluto" showing the Integrating the Shadow card spread. The first two cards are placed in a vertical row. The third card is placed to the right and center of the first two.

This is a simple three-card spread that embodies the lifeblood of this deck in its simplest form. The first card brings forward the energies in the light, while the second speaks to those lurking in the shadows. The third card is the energy required to achieve homeostasis—which is to say, equilibrium. It is the energy necessary to rectify the two energies and find balance and integration.

Photo of author Aubrey Houdeshell

Aubrey Houdeshell

About the Author

Aubrey Houdeshell is a professional tarot reader, astrologer, and shadow worker through her business Graveyard Roses. Her mission is to make spiritual work accessible and digestible to everyone, and her readings center on personal transformation and empowerment. Before turning to the mystical world full-time, Aubrey was a full-time writer and editor for non-profits. She resides in South Denver with her husband.

Learn more about this author

Photo of artist Rose Ides. Photo credit to Matthew Guerrero

Rose Ides

About the Author

Rose Ides is an artist based in San Francisco. Her work is playful, whimsical, and often mystical, and has been featured in multiple collaborations.

Learn more about this author