Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Between a rock and a hard place

“Astrology is a form of imagination emerging from nature and having direct relevance for everyday life. It is an applied poetics, a vision of life on earth stimulated by movements in the heavens, which can take us into areas of self-reflection as no other system of symbols and images can.”
Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life.

Note: In the following, I have extracted and added to some of Liz Greene’s discussion re the planets at This is a work in progress so if any of it makes sense (..or doesn’t…) please let me know. I hope to avoid being too academic about all this…and give instead my own personal reflection and a bit of info as well. Having said that its already quite long. I am also slowly adding links; bear with me as I get accustomed to this blogging experience.

To begin, I wanted to look at the configuration of Saturn and Pluto in the current sky as they have added a great deal of pressure on an already tense world situation. They are of personal interest to me as they are also squared to each other in my own chart. If you want to see where these planets are in your own chart go to to get a birth chart drawing. (I know you may not have a clue what a square is ... I will be getting back to that sort of thing shortly. Basically: it’s a tense angle between planets.)

I do promise I will be introducing you to more basic astrology such as your sun sign etc … very soon, but figured I would start with what’s current in the sky. To that end, I want to introduce you to these two very potent and powerful astrological players: Saturn and Pluto.

According the Liz Greene in The Astrology of Fate, Saturn was originally analagous to the Greek Kronos... a fertility god and patron of the harvest. She describes him as being quite benign in Roman Myth and that his “Golden Age was a time of harmony and peace on earth when men enjoyed the fruits of the soil without strife.” Each year the Romans celebrated him in Saturnalia…which was apparently a time of license and abandonment…honouring the "lecherous and fertile aspect of the god”. The celebrations included a school holiday, the making and giving of small presents and a special market. It was a time to eat drink and be merry. (from Wikepedia)  Sound familiar?

Saturnalia falls between Dec 17 and 23rd and was the Roman precursor to Christmas. It is no coincidence that Saturnalia was celebrated on the solstice, which is when the sun moves into Capricorn…(whose ruling planet is Saturn).

All other similarities end there. Saturn is often called the “grand malefic” in older Astrological texts, and is associated with strife, restrictions, heavy responsibility, duty, difficulty and challenge.
SATURN, as an astrological symbol, represents the father, and authority in general. It gives us rules and restrictions, structures and systems. (it rules our skeletal system for example) It is associated with caution, fear, and contraction, as well as ambition and determination. Saturn challenges us and forces us to grow. The sign position (look where Saturn is in your chart) shows what we need to feel safe and secure, and what we fear that we will never have enough of. Since this is where we tend to be fearful and insecure…. and thus where we have big lessons to learn.

On a fundamental level, Saturn shows how we experience the material world...what we call   "reality", and it indicates where we experience resistance and discover our limitations. It therefore represents conscience and moral conviction, as well as the laws and rules which we govern us. It is also an indicator of our powers of endurance and the ability to concentrate; thus it lends qualities like earnestness, caution and reserve.

Thus, despite the bad rap Saturn tends to get, a strong Saturn in one’s chart can indicate strength and endurance, discipline, the ability to focus etc. We need structure and boundaries in our lives. Just not too much of it.    ( all work and no play make’s Jack (or Jill) a dull boy/girl…).

Enter stage right: Pluto: god of the underworld.

Pluto describes how we deal with power, personal and non-personal. It can come though others power over us or in exercising it ourselves. Pluto brings change, crisis, transformation, death of the old, birth of the new. There is an unconscious tendency to resist these changes; hence the possibility of crisis. Yet our survival requires we release old outmoded ways of thinking and operating and bring in new energy. Pluto is there to force us to grow.

Clare Martin , an astrologer who also posts on, says “At the root, Pluto describes the life force itself, the urge to bring to the surface and eliminate anything which is no longer serves life because it has become poisonous, decayed or rotten. As Pluto purges and regenerates, it ensures the survival of life. Pluto’s dark side is obsessive and compulsive, and pulls everything towards it, like a black hole. There is something about Pluto that is primitive, savage, dark and destructive.

These are uncomfortable aspects of our nature, with the result that we will project these qualities onto others or onto the outside world. Yet once Pluto is activated, these dark destructive aspects can be purged, healed and cleansed. If we consciously accept the challenge of Pluto in our charts, we can cooperate with the process of psychic purging which is a necessary prerequisite to any genuine self healing.”
                          from An Introduction to Psychological Astrology, by Clare Martin

Winter begins in the Northern hemisphere around the time of  Beltane…or Halloween…which are at the start of Scorpio (ruled by Pluto) when the days of darkness are increasing, plants are dying, everything begins to decay and die. This is necessary for the renewal that happens in the spring when new life emerges again from the underworld. There is an instinct to withdraw, to light fires…for warmth and for comfort, and even our metabolism slows down in preparation for the long cold winter.”

Speaking of cold and withdrawing…that leads me back from my reverie….to the present moment… as the winds howl against my window.    I wanted to talk about  the squaring off of these two powerful forces. The stubborn, rigid, patriarchal structures of the material world represented by Saturn being pushed and shoved and cornered by the explosive, implosive, intensity of Pluto. Like I said…like being between a rock and a hard place.

The following are excerpts from Saturn Square Pluto - The Crunch is On! by Robert Wilkinson at

“Among other things, it's a clash between the force of time and evolution and the force of inevitable change...We are on the edge of a shift in history, a fulfillment of a great historical cycle, and the beginning of a decline that will last for a few years until the next conjunction down the road a piece. Governments, authoritarian systems, and control mechanisms will all break down over the next year while this aspect is prevalent.”

“What's happening now is the first in a series of squares, setting many things into motion that are HIGHLY frictional... shattering old ways forever as well as putting the brakes on whatever need stopping”

“So things are spinning, ending, grinding, and turning corners…"


The point is…there are rigid and immovable parts that are being pushed and shoved by intense and impatient and explosive forces and the tension, both internally and externally, which could bring a crisis of will and of faith. Yet, if we persevere…( do we have a choice?) the result is a removal of what is now beyond repair and actually holding us back, and a renewal, rebirth of what has been waiting in the wings.

So as the old world order .. . such as monetary systems… crumble and fall…we have to find what lies deeper and has more meaning than those external structures we have come to rely on. As climate change forces us to transform our lifestyles and our creature comforts…we are given the opportunity to find new and more effective ways of living on this planet and with each other. Perhaps easier said than done…hence the great tension that exists. Yet out of tension and friction comes energy. Power. Change. Growth.

There are also some very auspicious things happening as well. Jonathan Cainer is very optimistic about the Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron conjunction coming up for the third and final time…saying they bring much blessing and healing to us all, and are a balance to the stress of the Saturn Pluto square. To see where this blessing will manifest, it will mainfest in areas of your chart which fall around 23 degrees Aquarius. See

As knowitallblogger said in the previous article, it’s all about finding our authentic selves, beyond the masks beyond the roles. Yet as we discover who we really are and why we are here (hopefully) we will have cause for celebration.

And if all else fails…beam me up Scotty…get me outa here…. (just kidding)

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