Saturn square Pluto: Contending with Unfairness


The old news regarding Saturn is his ongoing opposition to Uranus, which has been in effect for about a year already and continues into mid-'10. Think of 'polarization everywhere' as its shorthand summary.

As if that weren't enough, Saturn is now also forming a square with Pluto, its first exact peak on Sun Nov 15 and total effect remaining in influence for close to a year.

To the Saturn-Uranus 'polarization', then, let's add another clash… between (1) the urgent call to form careful agreements and contracts, to codify our essential compromises and (2) our deepening exposure to the darker underbellies of existing structures, which necessarily complicate the work ahead. In other words, as Saturn aims to build us a better vessel so we might reach the finish line with the strongest team intact, Pluto inconveniently reminds us to check whether the race is being run honorably—or if the rules are so riddled with favoritism-flavored loopholes and inconsistencies that the whole damn thing is stacked against honest challengers from the get-go.

For simplicity's sake, let's label this Saturn-Pluto conflict 'the unfairness factor'.

For the rest of my life, I'll always associate the cycle of Saturn-Pluto interaspects with the life-changing events of Sep 11, 2001. The 9/11 terrorist attacks happened against the backdrop of the last Saturn-Pluto opposition (in effect from mid-2001 through mid-2002), an aspect framing a dramatic faceoff between the surface-level stories we told ourselves about what our society had built (Saturn in Gemini) and the fuller, more disturbing ideological truths underlying those societal accomplishments (Pluto in Sagittarius). When an unflinching arrow of dogma collided with the symbolic rhetoric that masks the social inequities beneath, the Twin Towers fell… and for better and worse, we confronted close-up recognition of the shadow that loomed over our accomplishments.

Saturn and Pluto together produce a rather dark energy, forcing us to recognize uncomfortable facts about human nature: Despite how rationally and responsibly we may apply our efforts toward goals that'll best serve us in the long run (Saturn), we cannot always contain the swells of our less-mannered psychological drives, like greed or envy or the will-to-power, that often motivate our instinctual actions, whether we're conscious of it or like it or not (Pluto). Saturn wants us to believe we humans are an evolved species, with the capacity to distance ourselves from feverishly catering to every immediate lust or hunger that comes on, delaying instant gratification for later rewards. Yet, Pluto constantly reminds us we are still animals who, though clothed in the garb of civility, are perpetually capable of ripping each other limb for limb, to kill or be killed, reserving the last piece of pie for only he who wants it the worst.

As I recently wrote, Saturn functions from an elevated position of prestige in Libra, its sign of exaltation. He strives to structure arrangements that justly weigh the interests of all parties or perspectives. He is considerate, interactive and gracious. He wants what's best for everyone. He's a Saturn we want on our side, since the air of refined fairness he brings can be a very useful tool.

Unfortunately, at the same time, Pluto-in-Capricorn's exhuming of the rotting support beams that uphold our systems of authority is now revealing that the possibility of reaching such 'fair arrangements' is seriously hindered by an unfair playing-field. That is, if the governing frameworks within which we're attempting to negotiate win-win outcomes are already contaminated with unequal power dynamics that prevent all sides from being uniformly considered, we face a real pickle. Our mannered attitudes may prove no match for entrenched inequalities, hidden motives and crooked dealings. Our keenest efforts could prove infuriatingly insufficient.

On the other hand, as long as we can channel our most patient cool-headedness when contending with the unfairness, the perseverance could eventually help uncover more unmistakable evidence of the decay of justice—and bolster the case against the despotic leaders, their sneaky conspirators and ruthless tactics. If Pluto in Capricorn represents the slow painful reformation of how we wield the power to divide and manage our collective resources, Saturn in Libra is the robed magistrate who doles out consequences so that everyone is held responsible for holding up his/her end of the social bargain. If we bravely refuse to bow before the seemingly undefeatable purveyors of institutionalized corruption, we just might score a well-deserved victory by calmly and cleverly exposing their wrongdoings.

In our individual lives, Saturn's square to Pluto frames a friction between (1) the personal work we're each putting in to balance our existing outlook with others' alternatives and (2) oddly compelling drives to either dominate all developments on behalf of one almighty 'grand plan' or admit to the ultimate demise of our prior ambitions, throw all our tiles back in and, after licking our wounds, start again from scratch.

We may seek to cultivate patience, though simultaneously undermine it with greed or defeat. We might aim for interpersonal considerateness, but stop ourselves once we realize what we might have to give up. Or we could devote tremendous attention to insisting on our own worldly success, only to see it blocked by our unwillingness to enlist others' support (and by the retribution they expose us to, as a result). Transcending these conundrums is a hard act to pull off—and undeniably upsetting in the process of trying.

So this current Saturn-Pluto square further darkens the mood of our already-tense times, as we head into the escalating astro-drama of 2010. Now we're juggling both a Saturn-Uranus opposition and a Saturn-Pluto square, two heavyweight aspects that make it virtually impossible to progress toward any objective… at least without hitting against some other condition to consider, innovation to conjure, demon to confront, or consequence to suffer.

What escalates the drama next are (1) Uranus's movement into Aries and within orb of squaring Pluto (in May 2010), to unite these other two aspects into one interknitted T-square, and (2) Jupiter's entry into Aries as well (in Jun 2010), to conjoin Uranus and thusly both oppose Saturn and square Pluto. But before delving further, let's take a moment to digest the big bite we're already chewing…