Pluto is one of the three modern planets discovered in 1930, and it was later added to the Tarot as the ruling planet for Judgement.
Together with Mars, it is one of Scorpio’s ruling planets, so in the Tarot it is also linked to Death, the zodiac card for Scorpio.
Pluto in the Tarot is not associated with any Minor Arcana cards, which have all been assigned to the traditional seven planets.
While all planets represent gods, Pluto is the God of the Underworld, so it makes sense that it is now linked to Scorpio and Death.
The energy of Pluto is that of transformation, regeneration, letting go as well as the unconscious.
It is associated with sexuality, physical and spiritual birth, with death and resurrection.
Pluto nudges us to confront our – and nature’s – darker, more instinctive side.
Pluto energy offers us psychological insight and the ability to heal and regenerate.
On the other hand, it can generate obsessive compulsive tendencies.
So what does this all mean for Judgement and Death in the Tarot?
“I was dreamin’ when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this mornin’, could’ve sworn it was judgment day
The sky was all purple, there were people runnin’ everywhere
Tryin’ to run from the destruction, you know I didn’t even care…”
– Prince, 1999
Pluto’s influence on Judgement suggests the ability and necessity to let go of old patterns and baggage in order to move on.
After all, a change of direction is an ending, just like putting closure on a situation by having learned a lesson or practicing forgiveness.
Pluto’s influence on Death suggests the need for detachment, a rite of passage, an emotionally painful transition, resurrection.
Both cards remind me of the rise of the Phoenix from the ashes, endings and new beginnings, but while Judgement’s ending feels more upbeat and the rise is imminent, Death’s ending is lingering and comes together with Scorpio’s sting in its tail – ouch.
If both cards were present in a reading, it can suggest the transformative nature of Pluto intensified and a sense of upheaval, life being turned upside down as a result of external events or decisions being made.
If you would like to learn more about how to combine tarot with astrology, check out my course.