Drawing by David Michael Friend
While we’re on the subject of the sign of Leo, let’s talk about the Pluto in Leo generation. My friend Jon sent me this article:
My cohort of early baby boomers has been called a lot of names in its nearly six decades of existence—we were the insolent teenagers of the 1950s; the self-centered Yuppies of the 1980s; now we are the aging spendthrifts who will bust the federal budget and bankrupt our children with unreasonable demands for creature comfort in old age.
But maybe it would be more appropriate to think of us as the Faustian generation. We didn’t exactly sell our souls to the devil—not collectively, anyway—but as we jog toward senior status, it’s hard to escape the sense that we were complicit in our own unique kind of unholy bargain.
“The dull ache will not depart,” Faust says in the first part of Goethe’s epic, as he laments the cozy tedium of his cloistered life. “I crave excitement, agonizing bliss.” That does pretty well as a mantra for the best and brightest of the early baby boomers as they reached mid-adolescence in the early 1960s. [Baby boomers found themselves with] ever-expanding choice—the freedom to make important life decisions and then unmake them at will: new locations, new spouses, new careers, all subject to endless re-evaluation out of a concern that something more exciting might lie around the corner.
This article perfectly characterizes the “baby boomer” generation, so-called because they were primarily born when Pluto traveled through Leo during the post-war years (generally between 1939 and 1957). Pluto is a slow moving planet – it takes approximately 20 years to pass through each astrological sign, and although it is a small planet it has the most powerful effect of any of the planets. Because it deals with issues of death and rebirth, Pluto force us to come face to face with our mortality and transform our lives, to regenerate and recreate the area of life that is signified by the sign Pluto falls in.
The period during which Pluto traveled through Leo witnessed major social, cultural and political upheavals – beginning with the end of World War II, which forever transformed the way wars were fought and marked the beginning of the a totally new kind of war: the Cold War. Leo is not only about personal self-expression, it is also the sign of royalty and demand for power. While Pluto was in Leo, the nature of power changed completely as the world’s previous superpower Great Britain yielded to United States and Russia which became the two world superpowers. Pluto, with its destructive and compulsive nature, is associated with the atomic bomb which was invented roughly at the same time as Pluto was discovered, and the specter of the bomb haunted the post-war period.
The generation born under Pluto in Leo have a compulsive (Pluto) need to live life in their own way, to “do their own thing.” The frenzy to be completely and totally authentically true to one’s Self (Leo) has in fact resulted in a generation that has not want to be tied down to the expectations of others. There is as we’ve seen a sense of entitlement in Leo – the underlying psychological premise of royalty and righteousness. Not every Pluto in Leo person displays this arrogance – much depends on the balance found in the rest of the chart. But the need to live a life that allows freedom of expression (Leo) will always be one of the underlying principles in these people. In doing so, it is true as this article says that every phase of life is “subject to endless re-evaluation” but the concern is not so much that something will be better right around the corner as that one’s current lifestyle does not accurately reflect the “me” that I have now become.
The Pluto in Leo generation has been called the “Me Generation,” and this is astrologically accurate since Leo bestows the gift (or the curse under Pluto’s compulsive application) of self-expression. There is indeed a Faustian price to pay for this freedom, and for Leo it is the threat of losing the respect and admiration from others that often results from Leo’s need to pursue one’s own path at the expense of others.