In a previous article, we identified the Pluto in Scorpio generation (1983–1995) as constituting the first half of the cohort that has come to be known as Millennials. Now, as we turn our attention to members of the second half of this notorious cohort — the Pluto in Sagittarius generation (1995–2008) — we can perceive that these are Millennials of an entirely different stripe.
In contrast to the deep emotionality and obsession with sexuality and power dynamics that seems to possess their Pluto in Scorpio elder siblings, the Pluto in Sagittarius Millennials come into this life obsessed with big ideas, with a collective soul purpose to understand the phenomenological world and discover their place within a greater cosmic unfolding. This will likely produce a “big picture” generation of philosophers, metaphysicians, spiritualists and religious fundamentalists, keen to reshape society in a new image of greater social integration and integrity. Lofty ambitions for sure, but perhaps this optimistic bunch have arrived on the scene none too soon.
Collective Soul Purpose
Pluto in any sign represents our collective soul purpose: a mostly unconscious process that leads us — as a generation — to compulsively and habitually approach certain aspects of life in a similar way, as described by the sign Pluto was transiting when we were all born. This gives us our generational signature — a constellation of qualities that we possess and share with our cohorts that seem distinct from those who came before and after us. It represents the karmic issues we are trying to work out together over the course of our lives (and perhaps many lifetimes). It provokes in each of us as individuals the need to grow, change and evolve. And our individual efforts, harnessed as a collective force, in turn effects some necessary changes in society and imparts some valuable contribution to the continued evolution of our culture.
So what is the “constellation of qualities” that characterize the Pluto in Sagittarius generation? This is a collective of souls who are incarnating together in an effort to explain and understand the very nature of the cosmos and humanity’s place within the grand scheme of things. This is the essence of the Sagittarius archetype — the great philosopher of the zodiac — obsessively driven to answer the burning question: what does it all mean? Not since the Pluto in Leo generation (1937–1956) — the last to be ruled by a fire sign — have we seen a peer group possessed by a sense of having a special destiny to fulfill. In fact, aging Baby Boomers, in the twilight of their lives, may see in the eyes of this generation the glimmer of hope they have been waiting for, and can go to their graves knowing the torch will be carried forth by this generation in the making.
Considering that the first wave of the Pluto in Sagittarius generation was born in 1995, at the peak of the movement towards globalization and transnationalism, it stands to reason that this cohort would be imprinted with a big picture, worldwide outlook on life. As the first generation to not know a time before the internet, these are the true first children of the global village, destined to come of age in a deeply interconnected world brimming with prosperity and possibility. The eldest of this tribe are babies of the Clinton era, and embody the theme song of the Clinton/Gore campaign: “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.”
With the possible exception of Aquarius, Sagittarius is perhaps the most future-oriented sign of the zodiac; symbolized by the archer, who aims his arrow at the stars above, seeking to project his mind into the nature of the cosmos. This will prove to be quite an optimistic group with rather lofty ambitions, but their desire to see the world through rose-colored glasses can often blind them to the harsh realities of the world. But they are destined to play the important role of the “glass half full” generation, sandwiched between two “glass half empty” generations — Pluto in Scorpio (1983–1995) and Pluto in Capricorn (2008–2024).
At the dawn of the new millennium, things seemed to be going along as planned for the neotenous philosophers of the Pluto in Sagittarius generation. They were being born into a world of potential and prosperity, with a digitally-mediated future stretching out before them, offering endless possibilities. Indeed, their future looked so bright, those rose-colored glasses seemed a necessary accessory. But on September 11, 2001, the dark side of the Pluto in Sagittarius archetype reared its ugly head.
Concomitant with a penchant for cosmic thinking and grand philosophical insight, the Sagittarius archetype is also prone to rigidly believing its viewpoint is the ultimate or supreme viewpoint, fostering an attitude that becomes susceptible to virulent forms of religious fundamentalism. This shadow side of the archetype was surely on display in the actions of the Islamic fundamentalism and the terrorist activities perpetrated in the name of Allah. And the scorched earth response of the USA — backed by its own brand of a Christian crusade-like patriotism and delivering a “shock and awe” attack on its perceived Islamic enemies — can be seen as the flip side of an essentially fundamentalist coin. And so it has been that the shadow of the Sagittarius archetype has been imprinted on the minds of this young generation, a necessary component of their collective soul purpose to explore spiritual, philosophical and religious ideas in search of the highest truth. Much evil can be wrought on Earth in the name of a heavenly God.
And thus, the middle and last wave of this generation would be imprinted with a less optimistic world view than their older peers, as many would spend their time in utero while their mother’s were experiencing the heightened stress levels and increased fears of parents about to deliver their children into the specter of a world of an endless war on terrorism. These babies would be born feeling the collective weight of the world, and as a result may be more prone to adopting a more conservative, cautious and fundamental approach to life.
In the last article, we explored how the previous Pluto in Scorpio generation (1983–1995) were overly coddled as children at the hands of their overprotective Pluto in Virgo (1956–1972) parents. The Pluto in Sagittarius kids would experience a similar upbringing, exacerbated by increased threats of life in the age of international and domestic terrorism, the alarming increase in schools shootings and the realities of growing up in an increasingly authoritarian surveillance state. Despite actual crime rates being at historic lows, these kids had incredibly overprotected childhoods and were not allowed to even play outside unsupervised. This would prove to have adverse effects on their developing young minds.Similarly, the Pluto in Sagittarius kids experienced the phenomenon of being born to parents that were two generations apart from themselves, with many of this generation being born to Pluto in Libra parents, who were perhaps even more tolerant than the Pluto in Virgo parents that raised Pluto in Scorpio children. These Libra parents would relate to their Sagittarius kids in very unique ways, instilling in them their quintessentially Libra values of fairness and equality. These would be the first kids to receive “participation trophies” just for playing, promoting the idea that everyone is a winner, everyone is equal, despite talent, effort or ability. This would only serve to reinforce the latent narcissistic tendencies of the Sagittarius archetype, believing they have a special destiny to fulfill and are thus deserving of such special treatment.
Such beliefs would also be reinforced throughout the entirety of their primary education experience. They would be taught that they were all precious little snowflakes, each one unique and special. But by the same token, all snowflakes are made of the same elements — merely frozen forms of hydrogen and oxygen — so at molecular level, they’re really all the same; they’re all equal. Equal but special. It’s a bit of a mixed message, isn’t it? But to live in a postmodern world, you need to be prepared to simultaneously hold such contradicting viewpoints. And perhaps these young Pluto in Sagittarius philosophers in training are uniquely constituted to perform such mental gymnastics. Only time will tell.
In 2008, when Pluto entered the sign of Capricorn, the first wave Pluto in Sagittarius kids experienced their semisextile (30º) aspect at age 13, which while still quite young to be meeting such a challenging phase of life, it was in fact a bit older than when the previous two generations had encountered the same experience. The effects of the “speeding up” phenomenon of the Pluto cycle that we’ve been tracking in previous generations can now be seen to be starting to slow down, as Pluto’s entry into Sagittarius began its return journey back out into the furthest reaches of the solar system. From a generational perspective, things will now start to slow down again for the next 125 years or so.
Nonetheless, Pluto’s entry into Capricorn in 2008 marked yet another crisis — this one a financial crisis. And while as 13 year-olds, these first wave Pluto in Sagittarius kids didn’t directly feel the financial impact of what became known as the Great Recession, their parents certainly did, and their young and impressionable minds would have certainly picked up on the uncertainty and insecurity of the times.
Not only did many of them reach puberty in an age of uncertainty, but as the first generation of digital natives, they entered this delicate developmental period immersed in a new (virtual) reality — social media. At the stage in life when our hormones seem to go haywire as our bodies morph from the cocoon of childhood to the visceral experiences of early adulthood, we all learn to manage a sudden surge in sexual attraction and navigate new social dimensions that take us beyond the rules of the playground and into the facts of life. But these kids didn’t participate in puberty’s rites of passage like the rest of us — they experienced it mainly through social media, and that may prove to have had devastating consequences on their development.
As the first wave of this generation moved through high school and into college, there was a huge spike in reports of depression and anxiety — two of the quintessential characteristics of the Pluto in Capricorn archetype that has framed their coming of age. The combination of being raised as digital natives, being exposed to an unprecedented (and unproven) increase in pediatric pharmaceuticals and being raised in an age of general anxiety and postmodern malaise likely all contributed to this alarming trend. Whether this turns out to be a difficult life phase that they grow out of, or a life-long malady remains to be seen. But for these young adults, overprotected but yet somehow prematurely road weary, there seems no end in sight.
Case in point. In 2020, this cohort is now age 12–25, with the eldest of their tribe now experiencing a third crisis in life — COVID19. Before turning 25, they lived through 9/11, the Great Recession and now the coronavirus pandemic. You couldn’t blame them for thinking the world is a pretty messed up place, and that there is something deeply wrong with our society. This is the generation who will remember 2020 as the year that robbed them of their rites of passage — quinceañera, prom night, cap and gown ceremonies — all effectively cancelled by coronavirus. They are coming of age in a world that seems to be coming apart at the seams — a viewpoint that has been reinforced by an education that has taught them to see the world as inherently flawed.
During the first decade of the new millennium, the postmodern perspective that had percolated through American colleges and universities in the 1990s began to seep down into the primary education layer as well. The history and social sciences being taught at the high school level are now taught through the relativist and deconstructed lens of postmodernism. So the Pluto in Sagittarius generation has been educated their entire lives to adopt this worldview. Those of us who received a more classic liberal arts education might bemoan the fact that the postmodern curriculum has produced a youth class possessing a rather myopic and somewhat incomplete view of our history.
This new generation has little connection to the historical precedence that has generated the very social, political, economic and cultural systems that are now being stress-tested during Pluto’s transit through Capricorn. And as such, they will likely feel less inclined to see these systems as worth saving, and more inclined to see them as outmoded, oppressive and in need of more equitable replacement. From their perspective and sense of place in history, the time has come for entirely new systems to be envisioned and implemented. And the sense of a special destiny which they possess as a soul collective will convince them that they are just the generation to play the role of the visionaries who will birth a future society.
A Generational Stack
Within the framework of the conventional model of generations, many of the eldest from the tribe of Pluto in Sagittarius (1995–2008) get lumped in with their Pluto is Scorpio peers (1983–1995) and identified as Millennials (1982–2000). We witnessed a similar situation with both Pluto in Virgo (1956–1972) and Pluto in Libra (1972–1983) being lumped together as Generation X. But in hindsight, it was apparent to demographers that a micro-generation — dubbed Xennials — indeed existed and needed to be acknowledged. From our astrological perspective, we might predict that a similar revisioning will take place once these young Pluto in Sagittarius kids officially enter young adulthood and begin to put their collective mark on society, effectively creating a separate identity from the Pluto in Scorpio Millennials that have gone before them.
While these two successive archetypes of the zodiac — Scorpio and Sagittarius — do share a more socially-oriented framework, they are also quite opposite in terms of approach, tone and style. As we’ve learned, successive archetypes of the zodiac are by design different from their predecessor in every way, possessing a different polarity, modality and element. So while Scorpio orients to a yin (or inwardly-focused) polarity, operates from a fixed modality and embodies the element of water, Sagittarius orients to a yang (outwardly-focused) polarity, operates from a mutable modality, and embodies the element of fire. As such we should be able to observe that Millennials born before 1995 (Pluto in Scorpio) will have a much different orientation to life than those born after 1995 (Pluto in Sagittarius).
It will be interesting to observe how the values and instincts of these distinct members of the Millennial generation will align and differentiate over the course of their next life cycle, which is set to begin when Pluto moves into Aquarius in 2024. We’ve observed that the Pluto in Scorpio cohort has begun to exert their collective political willpower in society as they’ve entered young adulthood and taken up rank and file positions across institutional America. Their collective soul purpose to explore power dynamics, challenge sexual taboos and affect deep transformation has already been felt as a palpable energy wave rippling throughout the culture. The Black Lives Matter, Social Justice Alliance, Me Too, and LGBTQ+ movements are all current embodiments of a Scorpio-like intensity. Their plutonian “all or nothing” approach to power dynamics and volcanic emotionality have ignited the current socio-political climate and effectively fueled a mob-mentality instinct to burn society to the ground. For them the battle is a real, visceral, life or death power struggle.
The Pluto in Sagittarius group however, is likely to take a more cerebral approach to the situation. While they share the same educational background and postmodern lens as their Pluto in Scorpio elders, they will be more inclined to think about rather than act upon their compulsive desires to affect sweeping social changes. We might witness a situation where the Pluto in Scorpio gang effectively overthrows the existing social order and wipes the slate clean, thus handing a tabula rasa to the Pluto in Sagittarius generation following behind them, giving them a mandate to envision a blueprint for a new society to be built upon the rubble of the old. By then a new generation, the one currently being born — Pluto in Capricorn — will be tasked with the physical building and restructuring of this new society, which (as we will learn in a future next article) is exactly aligned with their collective soul purpose.