The 'Push-Me-Pull-You' of Saturn Opposing Uranus


With Saturn having returned to forward motion last Saturday (May 16) after 4 months retrograde , we again move toward another exact peak of the Saturn-Uranus opposition.

This aspect is unquestionably the biggest astro-news of the year. And thus, I believe it's time to refresh our awareness of its influence… though I'm sure many of us are already experiencing its tense conflict on a regular basis.

In so many contexts, personal and broader, we are caught between (1) holding firm to foundations and (2) jumping free from status-quos. These are essentially opposite precepts—restraint and liberation—which are represented astrologically, respectively, by Saturn and Uranus.

Somehow, juggling flaming swords while maintaining the proper posture needed keep a book atop our heads, we must follow a complex blend of opposing bits of advice. Keep it together, while ripping it apart. Follow the rules, yet at the same time, rewrite the rules. Maintain consistency, without forgetting to try something new. And, of course, respect authority… except when that 'authority' has lost sight of its moral roots, at which point, overthrow it by any means necessary.

Is it any wonder so many of us feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, trying to figure out whether to give that same old thing another shot or to throw in all our tiles and start from scratch? I'd be lying were I to assert there's any easy answer to all of this.

Ask President Obama, for instance… a man with a job I wouldn't touch, especially at this moment in history, with a 10-mile pole. The tightrope dance he performs every day perfectly exemplifies a valiant attempt to merge tradition with reform. He sets out to salvage the financial establishment, while ripping 'em a new one (sort of) for their rotting ways. He advances a liberal agenda, but can't come right out and support gay marriage. He wants to pull out of Iraq but increase presence in Afghanistan. He's proving more moderate than some had hoped, impressing certain folks and disappointing others. I neither praise nor condemn his ways… instead merely watch in awe as he plays out the Saturn-Uranus balancing act on the biggest stage in the world. (Is it any surprise his natal Mars in Virgo is swept right up by the opposition?)

In my discussions with the many clients who have a natal planet or angle in their charts being triggered on both sides by Saturn and Uranus, I often feel like I'm offering counsel that's admittedly very challenging to follow. Am I really contradicting myself like it sometimes seems, or am I desperately trying to articulate this elusive 'push-me-pull-you' sense that's both the wisest path to tread and nearly impossible to master?

Each of us as individuals is presently doing our part to recreate the world, much as we did in the post-WWI-era and the mid-1960s, the last two instances of Saturn opposing Uranus. Unavoidably, it's a trial-and-error process. Holding onto the hot potato for too long, instead of passing it along in a timely manner, could knock you out of the game. Risking everything on a dice roll, gambling out of desperation that no other options appear worthy, may leave you broke and belly-up.

Looking comprehensively at one's birthchart can help provide more detailed information about where to opt for careful conservation and where to bust out liberation-style. Houses that oppose one another in a chart always reflect complementary themes—and if Saturn's in one, then Uranus has got to be in the one directly opposite it. Therefore, say that Saturn's hitting your 2nd house, which deals with your personal resources, finances and that which gives you a sense of stability and security in your life. Uranus must be lighting up your 8th, where we merge our resources with someone else, in passionate and/or complicated psychological interrelations, unable to easily discern what belongs to whom. That would tell you to be super-diligent about preserving what's yours (Saturn in 2nd), since you'll probably be shaking things radically up in terms of your most intimate partnerships (romantic, professional or otherwise). Another example: Uranus in the 1st means your immediate personality is undergoing major reinvention… which also means Saturn's in your 7th and, as part of this reinvention, you've got to be very responsible about who you maintain close one-on-one relationships with, and how you do it.

Get the picture?

Envision this tug-of-war transpiring across two corresponding areas of your life. The goal, tricky as it sounds, is to not let either side win. When the rope is pulled taut from both directions, the tension produced is actually a healthy creative one. Should one team, Saturn or Uranus, become distracted or fatigued, the other team will take unfair advantage and yank its selfish principles to victory. Regardless of which planet is permitted to win, the other will be collapsed in the mud, dirty and cranky and discouraged. And believe me, you want neither Saturn nor Uranus to be disrespected.

Saturn's present transit through Virgo increases the onus on us to honor certain practical details in our lives to the letter. If you want to lose weight, you must count calories and increase exercise. If you want to pay off debt, you must save money every month. If you expect good results in any earthly endeavor, you've got to look toward precision in small steps on a consistent basis, though it may mean deferring immediate gratification. These are the facts Saturn in Virgo loves.

Too much blind respect for Saturn-in-Virgo's details, however, and we find ourselves missing the big picture. Plenty of ethically crooked individuals are clever enough to play within the rules and regulations, exploiting the fine print for its inevitable loopholes and following the 'letter of the law'… all the while doing things simply don't feel right to the average citizen, were they to listen to the 'higher law' (or whatever you call it). Sometimes, doing everything you're 'supposed to' doesn't exactly meet the requirements for doing the right thing.

Uranus's passage through Pisces ignites our irrational intuitive side, inspiring us to scramble up the way things have always been done… sometimes on nothing more than a vague sense of compassion for doing what's right. Pisces obeys the logic of spiritual interconnectedness, showing us our own self in the faces of each other living being, collapsing the distinction between 'me' and 'you' so that we cannot help but treat everyone as we'd want to be treated. After all, Jesus and Buddha and similarly saintly creatures didn't live as they did because it was written in some legal statute—they listened to the direct word of God (or its equivalent) and acted accordingly. Such acts of radical compassion often involve major unorthodoxy or eccentricity. But how else does society evolve, if not through such brave rebellion?

We all know, alas, there's a fine line between acting on pure irrational intuition, no matter how compassionate one's intentions, and living in too idealistic a bubble of non-worldly attachment. It may have worked for Jesus and Buddha, but very few of us are in a position to emulate their example. We have bills to pay, children to care for, homes to maintain, and tasks to take care of. And were we to chase Uranus off the cliff with untempered abandon, like the Hamelin village kids hypnotized by the Pied Piper's sweet-sounding song, we just might lose too much of that which otherwise stabilizes us. What feels right, from another perspective, may also merely be what we wish were true but, sadly, is just an impossible fantasy.

As we approach the next exact peak of this Saturn-Uranus opposition—the third out of five total, occurring on Sep 15—this pressure to uphold the productive tension, between holding firm and letting loose, intensifies again.

From there and into next year, the story develops. Saturn will move into Libra (from late Oct 09 through early Apr 10, and again from Jul 10 onward), a sign where he's exalted, focused on the painstaking work of negotiating agreements and compromises. Uranus will also shift signs in 2010 (after being in Pisces since '03), into the raw brute assertiveness of Aries, increasing the impulsive savagery of its revolutionary upturning. And once Jupiter joins Uranus on the side of balls-out revolution ('and to hell with the chaos it creates!') in mid-'10, the tug-of-war teams will no longer be well-matched. Radical change will have the unfair advantage…

More about the Saturn-Neptune opposition:
Saturn, Uranus & Optimism in 'Worsening' (7.6.08)
To Regulate, or Not to Regulate (9.29.08)
You Are Welcome (1.5.09)