I’ve been seeing a lot of break-ups, breakdowns, deaths and endings in the last few months. Everything has been intense, not just for me, but for a lot of people.
Saturn entered Capricorn at the end of 2017, and felt quite pleased there, in its home sign. Saturn is the stern teacher, the disciplinarian, now in the most organized and goal-oriented sign in the zodiac, Capricorn. All right! Let’s clean up this town!
Of course, upon entering Capricorn, Saturn saw Pluto way over yonder, in the second half of the sign. No worries, Saturn thought, by the time I’ll get there, I’ll have everything in hand.
So Saturn strides along, being tough with the bad guys, making distinctions, getting organized, judging and condemning, building and maintaining. Then suddenly it’s April 2019, and Saturn is uncomfortably close to Pluto, less than three degrees away. Pluto is quiet most of the time, in the way an atom bomb is quiet during the countdown. Saturn is not ready. A world of maximum efficiency and control has not yet been achieved.
Then Pluto turns around and starts advancing towards Saturn. This has happened before, but not when they were so close! What does Saturn do? Stand its ground? Hell, no. Saturn turns too and flees. The pace would be faster, except that Saturn is incapable of moving quickly. It inches away, maintaining dignity, but with chattering teeth. Better to move backwards and check over everything already done, to see what’s been missed, to make more preparations.
Now, in June, Saturn is just over three degrees away, still retrograding. Pluto is still close, but it won’t catch up, since it moves much more slowly. The distance between them will increase during the next few months. Come September, more than seven degrees from Pluto, Saturn will feel safe enough to turn direct once more.
In January 2020, Saturn will reach Pluto’s position at 22° Capricorn. Saturn’s stern, disciplined energy will be at the service of the planet of deep transformation.
Both Saturn and Pluto have a connection to the devil, with Saturn representing a more medieval depiction of this figure. Saturn represents the earthbound aspect of the human being, often seen as devilish in old Christian religion. It’s the reality principle, and reality is studded with frozen fears for all of us. It’s convenient to see them as something external to us. Other planets offer escape, while Saturn tends to remain fixed in unyielding patterns. This is why hard aspects from Saturn can be so painful: there’s no easy way out.
Pluto wasn’t discovered by earthlings until 1930, and then it was given the name of the god of the underworld. Although it’s been demoted to a planetoid since then, it still has a powerful influence. Moving very slowly, it shapes the main outline of our lives, pointing to what needs to be transformed.
Transformation comes from going deep inside, and paying attention to what has been rejected or repressed. The shadows inside us don’t sleep forever, but always burst into vivid life sooner or later. Transformation often comes from recognizing our own power, and often too it comes from yielding to greater powers. It’s called destiny, and it happens to us as individuals and as massive social movements. We are always being carried along by inexorable underground rivers.
So Saturn and Pluto together are rather a bloodcurdling sight. You could say that it’s Father Time going down into the Underworld, where time has no more meaning. Will everything freeze until Saturn re-emerges on the other side of Pluto? How many buried fears will take form, and goad us to action? How many nightmares will become visible?
It is the work of Pluto to expose who we are, and what we are, on the deepest level. I have seen a lot of this in the last few months, as people go through personal crises and are required to figure out what really matters to them. Now, in June, we are moving away from this, but it will only be temporary.
And I do think it matters how ethically we’ve lived. I do think the crooks and con men like DT will be winnowed away first. But there are ways in which we’re all complicit, and in about seven months, we may understand this so much more clearly. So I think it’s worthwhile to pay attention to our shadows now, to get to know them, and to make friends – as much as possible – with these two forces within our own psyche.
Shake hands with Saturn, who wants only to keep you safe on this planet, and Pluto, who wants to take you beyond safety.