Jupiter is in Sagittarius, just in time to temper some of the harder edges of dread as Saturn moves ever closer to the heaviest hitter of all, Pluto.
Both the mighty mythical father (Saturn) and his son (Pluto) deal with death and other endings. Saturn, for eons the last planet visible to the eye, echoes a primordial fear of the unknown, while to the Greeks, Pluto (or Hades) was literally the Lord of the Underworld and afterlife.
The pervasive weightiness of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn — in matters environmental, financial, political — is ever apparent. An element of contraction, compression, and encroaching darkness has become a familiar global theme.
The terror that this is the end (of whatever our version of reality might be) is ubiquitous and easily exploited, and it fuels the apocalyptic scenarios that are around every corner, under every rock.
Astrology, of course, can be applied with more subtlety when we consider the planets as guides to the forces we can engage with, showing us how we can optimize our lives and our experiences within the cycles of larger social forces.
It is an art to become aware of the challenging forces operating in the zeitgeist and to harness and direct that energy toward the good.
And now Jupiter’s compelling presence in Sagittarius (a 12th-house relationship to Capricorn) fills the wind in our sails with renewed hope, vision, and enthusiasm. (Remember the etymology of the word “enthusiasm: Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein to be inspired, irregular from entheos inspired, from en- + theos god”) (1)
Saturn and Pluto can be seen as compressing forces in our own thoughts, emotions, physical circumstances, and people in our environment — also revealing where we have immediate access to the realms of the occult and a place of pure creativity.
Frances Sakoian and Louis S. Acker, authors of The Astrologer’s Handbook (1973), wrote: “This aspect [the Saturn–Pluto conjunction] is sometimes called the aspect of the magician because of the ability it gives to channel occult powers through structured systems.”
Examining the house in the natal chart that contains Capricorn is a good starting point. In my case, Capricorn is in the 3rd house: the immediate environment, communications, siblings. I have been very drawn to visit my siblings on the other side of the country for a while now, but concerns in my immediate life have also been daunting. And I am still adjusting to what my neuropsych doc calls “my new brain” after an injury.
It has also occurred to me that my upcoming participation in a Native American traditional sweat lodge is emblematic of this placement. It sounds perfectly Saturn–Pluto — the immediate environment will be extremely demanding: We will be enclosed in a very small, intensely hot, and crowded (with participants and prayer) but safe space (and the final ceremony held in this particular lodge). (2) I gather that one is encouraged to stay right on the edge of what is bearable, a perfect example of the healing potential and purification (Pluto) of being right on the edge (Saturn) of what one can tolerate.
This is reminiscent of body-centered approaches to healing trauma. To simplify: Emotional/psychic/physical healing (which are all connected) can occur when we stay right at the edge of the vortex of trauma, without being pulled into it. We can develop the skill to recognize, in the body, when fear or clenching or contraction or anxiety arises, then pause and perhaps breathe slowly and deeply as we begin to integrate and soothe our rough edges and soften a bit. A slow and deliberate process, just as Saturn likes.
I spoke with someone yesterday about the general theme I was contemplating for this blog. She has Capricorn in the 8th house and, along with a recent and somewhat complicated financial situation, has also experienced a deep resurrection in her intimate life — she was opening to a different appreciation of what she called the “invisible” energy in her partnership. I know someone else with Capricorn in the 8th house (with a psychologically inclined point of view) who told me that she feels that she is in the final deep stage of clearing out patterns from her family lineage. Another friend with the same house placement of Capricorn is now extremely stressed over financial matters in her marriage, since her husband has become quite ill.
Someone else in my circle, with Capricorn in the 10th house, is struggling to recreate what was a highly visible career in the public eye; her public presence is not what it was, and the new iteration has not yet materialized. Another person with Capricorn in the 10th has (to her surprise) taken over management of the family business and financial matters. Someone with Capricorn in the 12th is in the formidable process of facing a history of addictions and a secret and potent storyline from the father’s side of the family.
I think we can be gentle with ourselves when we are on a delicate edge in our inner life; we can pace ourselves, even when Pluto seems to generate a life-or-death urgency to every ordinary moment. Pluto’s power to pull us into the Underworld is not always the way we need to go.
Saturn shows what is necessary and asks us to be direct. Saturn points to the reality that we are entreated to face, the starting place for any work of importance.
We know that Saturn is slow, the planet having been recognized as such by our ancestors for its stately pace across the sky. Saturn’s metal is lead, heavy and sluggish, and, out of all the metals connected to the seven planets, the slowest conductor of electricity. Lead is the most stable and durable element and the one most resistant to change.
And here we find ourselves, at this glorious moment within a cycle of time, when the darkness of Saturn, the farthest visible planet from the light of the Sun, and Jupiter, in its full capacity to enlighten, are calling the shots.
The sensation of fear is more acute and familiar to some of us than to others, but all of us have sensitive spots, events or situations that get under our skin, and boundaries that keep us separate and safe. With Saturn closing in on Pluto — the exact conjunction occurs on January 12, 2020 — we are gradually and deliberately building a deeper vessel of safety within ourselves.
By any measure and through any lens, we are in a transformative moment of history, and I like to think that we are being tuned up, moment by moment, to rise and fully participate in the occasion.
(1) Merriam Webster
(2) From an e-mail explaining the ceremony: “The intention of this sweat is to give our tiospaye the opportunity to pray together, to give our gratitude and release the spirits that have held this space for us, and to have closure for this lodge. After the sweat, the lodge will be burned in the sacred fire and put to rest.”