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Saturn and Pluto Square Off: Discipline Meets Death

I’m not one of those doom-saying astrologers.  I won’t rant about how the world’s going to end in 2012 (or any other year).  But Saturn square Pluto is starting this month and going through August of 2010 and it’s serious.  It really is heavy. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t let you know how serious it is and how to cope with it.

Saturn is the archetype of the Wise Old Man, the Mentor, the Father Figure, the Authority.  When Saturn comes along, he reminds us of our duties, our obligations and the seriousness of the situation.  Saturn brings a reality check, sometimes a harsh one.

Pluto is the Phoenix.  He transforms everything he touches, putting it through a metamorphosis, a long dark night of the soul.  He brings a symbolic death-and-rebirth experience.  He also represents our instincts, that part of us that ferrets out the underlying truths.

These are both heavy archetypes and they are in a square to each other, which astrologers traditionally view as a stressful relationship.  A square feels frustrating and obstructive to both parties.  They are not coming to the table ready to negotiate, but ready to ‘square off.’  They’re in a fighting mood.

Here’s a snippet of conversation between the two:
Saturn: I’m the ultimate authority figure.  I’m strong and solid and I have respect for the wisdom of the elders.  I represent the continuity of culture and its rules.
Pluto: I doubt you.  I think there’s something fishy behind everything you say and do.  I think you have an interest in maintaining your position and you don’t really care about the people you have charge of.
Saturn: I’ve been in charge for a very long time.  The people put me here.  I do what I do to take care of them.  I hold communities together.  I provide the rules people live by and the punishments that keep them in line.
Pluto: You have ulterior motives.  I won’t be happy until I uncover every last slimy thing you’ve ever done and hold it up to the light of day.
Saturn: Don’t even think about crossing me.
Pluto: You know you can’t win.  You have a trail of slime behind you a mile wide.  I can smell it.
Saturn: No way—I’ve kept my past clean.  I am a person of integrity.
Pluto: I think you’re corrupt.  I’ll be watching you.  One false move and you’re out.

That was a view of Pluto obstructing Saturn.  But one can just as easily see Saturn obstructing Pluto:
Saturn: Pluto, I’ve noticed that you love intense experience.
Pluto: Yes, I do.  I like life on the edge.  I like passion.
Saturn: You can get pretty compulsive sometimes.
Pluto: I like the sensation of falling.  I like life pulling at me and I like pulling at others.
Saturn: You become addicted to things too easily.  You get lost in your compulsions and lose your good judgment.
Pluto: Did I ever have good judgment in the first place?  I have only my instincts to guide me.
Saturn: But you muddy your instincts when you involve yourself in addictions.  How can they guide you when you’re continually pulled back towards a substance or habit that makes the pain go away?
Pluto: I refuse to live in pain.  What do you suggest?
Saturn: Discipline.  Because addiction, while it promises to relieve pain in the short term, only amplifies it in the long term.  Eliminate your addictions.  Then we’ll talk.
Pluto: Not till I’m good and ready.
Saturn: You’ll probably have to hit bottom first, maybe alienate everyone around you and ruin your life.
Pluto: If the people around me don’t love me through this, maybe they were worth losing.
Saturn: I see—people are supposed to love you while you are free to abuse them because your life is so hard?  You’re such a baby.  And a victim.
Pluto: And you’re a hardass.  You only pretended to care about me.  Go away.

You see?  Both archetypes have their weak spots and this transit could well bring those weak spots out.

This transit of Pluto square Saturn lasts from November of 2009 through August of 2010.  Today’s post is just a taste of what Saturn and Pluto have in store for us.  I’ll write more about it as this transit goes on, but for now I’d like to leave you with a few interesting questions to ponder:

  • In what areas of your life have you been using your role as an authority figure to avoid changing?
  • In what ways have you become rigid, adhering to rules instead of flexibly responding to life’s challenges on a case-by-case basis?
  • In what areas of your life does an addiction rule you and cause you to violate your own integrity—whether with yourself or with others?
  • When’s the last time you lied to someone—or to yourself?  What were you protecting?

These are heavy questions.  But if you’re ready for the very foundation of your life to shift in order to change in truly deep ways for the better, this transit is perfect for you.


Jamie has been practicing astrology in the Bay Area since 1992 and teaching since 1997. She is currently certified at NCGR Level 3. She specializes in feminine archetypes and a positive, empowering approach. Jamie enjoys working with individuals, couples, and families to improve the quality of their lives and expand each person’s choices.

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