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Saturn-Pluto is on the march … fasten your seat belts!

A recurring theme in recent talks with colleagues and students has been the impact on our lives of the current transit of Jupiter in Scorpio, which is in sextile aspect to Scorpio’s ruler, Pluto in Capricorn. This is further potentised by Saturn’s travel through his own sign of Capricorn – and at the start of his long march toward the 2020 Saturn-Pluto conjunction. We can feel the exacting challenges of the latter combination beginning to build.

Along with long-standing institutional corruption of various kinds (e.g., sexual and financial) being dredged up, confronted, and exposed, there seems to have been an outbreak of a greater sense of collective responsibility regarding how we are treating one another and our planet. Here are just a couple of examples, from the U.K.:

The BBC series, Blue Planet II: Oceans of Wonder, narrated by the venerable and influential national treasure, 91-year old Sir David Attenborough, has been shown to huge audiences worldwide, pricking our collective consciences into action with regard to the damage plastic is doing to our oceans. (1) Also, in the U.K., a “minister for loneliness” has been appointed to tackle more effectively that scourge of modern living. (2)

The January 2020 Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn – Saturn’s home sign – offers a strong earth/water signal as we move toward the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius at the end of 2020. We are being challenged to clean up our act in relation to our home planet, and behave with more integrity toward one another as a human community – or face the consequences.

We are moving from an emphasis on planetary exploitation, which characterized the Industrial Revolution and the ensuing materialistic culture, to one of global social development – that of ideas, information, communication, and relationships – expedited by technology, for the coming 200 years or so.

So, despite the tough times we are living through and despite Saturn-Pluto’s current challenges, I feel optimistic on the whole about the new order being birthed in the turmoil of ending, although we Baby Boomers will likely not live to see it.

Pondering on Saturn-Pluto and its challenges (a topic of special interest to me, since I was born under an exact combination of those two and am still here … as far as I know) reminded me of a column I wrote for the U.K’s Astrological Journal a while ago, which described a striking incident evoking Saturn-Pluto. Here it is:

“… Something oddly unsettling happened to me on 1st June 2016. Not a surprise, you might say, with the Sun that day conjunct Mercury in Gemini square Jupiter in Virgo square Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces – all churning between 10° and 15° of the mutable signs. My natal Ascendant/Descendant plus Mercury tossed and turned within this restless brew.

“I was peacefully preparing some notes for an especially interesting-looking client booked in for that afternoon. I like noting when clients’ progressed planets change signs, or turn retro/direct, as their life pattern unfolds. This offers good material for enlightening contemplation and discussion. But it’s not something you can quickly and easily do using a computer.

“So, I reached for my 20th Century Midnight Ephemeris, turned to the 1990s, and made an unpleasant discovery. Someone had torn out pages from the 1990s. But not random pages. The whole of 1993 and 1994. Nothing else was damaged.

“There were two possibilities, given that I had purchased this ephemeris second-hand on moving into my current office in January 2015. One: Someone with keys to my office had come in and torn out specific pages at some point in the last year or so. (You’d never spot my natal Mercury-Saturn-Pluto lineup here, surely …)

“Or two – the more credible: Whoever sold the ephemeris had hated those two years so much that he/she had taken their revenge via this act of Mercurial vandalism. It was odd, however, that I had not noticed the damage earlier …

“What to do, now that I had a maimed ephemeris? Every client from now until forever, I thought, is bound to have been born in the 1990s or have key life events happening then which require close symbolic examination and elucidation. With the passage of decades, one becomes fully cognizant of Sod’s (3) frequently malign intentions.

“Whilst reluctantly concluding, therefore, that a new ephemeris was probably required, a sudden memory lit up my grumpy, puzzled, somewhat paranoid mental processes. During the 1990s, I had made up my own ephemeris for each year. Perhaps I could use two of those to cover the missing years? Had those ephemerides survived one of my periodic purges?

“They had! Their distinctive, colorful covers impressed me. How arty I was, briefly, in the 1990s … included with the photocopied ephemeris pages were lined sheets of yellow paper for notes; these were full of astrological significators linked with personal and mundane events for 1991 to 1996. Why had I stopped then? No idea …

“A morning was spent browsing through those notes, focusing especially on the two missing years of 1993-94 – what a harrowing read! Staggering out, semi-traumatized, into gorgeous sunshine, I restored balance by basking outside my favorite boho cafe. Sipping delicious coffee and feasting on sandwiches followed by jammy creamy fruit scones, I reflected on our (fortunately) well-developed capacity to forget grim events. How unpleasant and upsetting it is to be reminded.

“These were awful, turbulent times: not only at a macro level, but also in our small personal worlds … many of us ‘plugged in’ to the same degrees as the major planetary patterns of those years suffered very considerably. I often found myself talking to clients about family traumas which in many cases closely mirrored my own.

“From my notes, January 1993: ‘… the start of a momentous year, with a triple conjunction of Uranus and Neptune at 18°-19° Capricorn in February, August, and October, and a triple meeting between Saturn in Aquarius square Pluto in Scorpio from 24° to 27° of their respective signs in March and October 1993, and January 1994 … world situation incredibly unstable, turbulent, and cruel throughout 1992 as exactitudes approached …’

“The notes went on to describe planetary links to major oil spills, earthquakes, mudslides, volcanic eruptions … and that was just January and February 1993! There followed, as many of us will remember, ongoing IRA bombings on the U.K. mainland, the first attack on the World Trade Centre, attempts to stop a genocidal war in the Balkans, and horrific genocide in Ruanda. Worth quoting, from the U.K.’s Sunday Times on August 22, 1993, two days after the second exact Uranus/Neptune conjunction: ‘Islamic fundamentalism, if it remains unchecked, could destabilize Egypt, Sudan, Africa, Middle East – the whole world community …’ (Grimly prescient.)

“I now understood why that mysterious reader had torn out 1993 and 1994. Feeling very reflective, and grateful that life had eventually reached calmer waters in recent times, I headed off to home. There in the mail was a letter, the first in many years from a close relative from whom I was forced to cut off contact in 1993-94.
“As English astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington (1882 – 1944) once observed: ‘Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine’.” (4)


(1) BBC
(2) BBC
(3) Sod’s law, which states that “if something can go wrong, it will,” is similar to Murphy’s law but broader in scope. Wikipedia
(4) Quotation Page

(This is a lightly edited version of Anne’s article, which was first published in the July/August issue of the U.K.’s Astrological Journal. Many thanks to Anne for sharing her work with TMA.)

Anne Whitaker’s blog: Astrology Questions and Answers


  1. Glad you are still here Anne and thanks for the reminder. We have been through hard times before.

  2. Thanks, Kate!

    I am living proof of the old truism “…that which does not kill me makes me stronger…” – one of the many great but hard won gifts bestowed upon those of us born at key stages of the Saturn Pluto cycle…

    And as you say, we have been through hard times often before as a human community. The nature and quality of the hardships may change – but the underlying truth that life is often difficult, does not. The attitude we take to this harsh reality determines to a considerable degree how we emerge from times of crisis…

  3. That period in my life coincided with my discovery of astrology during the Uranus Neptune conjunction that offered a way out through objective understanding of personal events that threw me into a black hole for a good 5 years on either side. The gift now is having the timeframe of 2020 to prepare for. Thank you for this article!

    • Rjh, you are most welcome!And as you say, we have a longish lead-in to the upcoming 2020 conjunction, giving us time to realise which parts of our lives are being challenged, and to reflect on how best to approach those challenges. Best wishes with your efforts….

  4. Thank you so much for posting this article. It is very insightful and speaks to the ongoing relentless turmoil in all our lives. I am also living my personal day to day challenges which are steadily increasing apace with the approaching mundane aspects. I hope that my very ill loved ones can survive through 2020 as the Saturn/Pluto conjunction wreaks havoc in my 8th house, but gain a measure of acceptance as I realize the timing you always help with can give me more time to prepare (if at all possible).
    Thank you.

    • Many thanks for this comment, Ramona, and I am glad that what I’ve had to say has helped somewhat by providing a degree of perspective. So sorry to hear that life is so difficult at present. There are some things ( as I know from my own life ) we just have to struggle though as best we can…

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