Saturn is the ruler of structure, responsibilities, limitations and commitments while Pluto brings transformation through surrender to the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Saturn conjunct Pluto combines these two powerful energies.
Saturn isn’t due to conjunct Pluto until 12 January 2020 but for some people, including me, this once every 33-38 year transit is already having a profound impact. So why is it that some people are feeling it and not others? Saturn conjunct Pluto is generally seen as a transit that affects us at a societal level, breaking down structures that are no longer useful and building up new ones. It has as it’s themes power, domination, hierarchy and order, as well as the dissolution and transformation of these. It’s manifestation can be both violent and oppressive.
A transit such as Saturn conjunct Pluto only becomes personal when a planet or point in your natal or progressed chart is activated. If you’re new to astrology you may have wondered why some people are hit very hard by a particular transit while you feel very little at all. The reason for this is that while the transiting planets move in and out of relationship with one another, they also move in and out of relationship with the unique planetary configuration of each person’s natal chart.
I’m going to use the upcoming Saturn conjunct Pluto transit and my own natal and progressed charts as a case study to illustrate how this works. Let’s start by looking at my natal and progressed charts and the points that are activated by this transit.
In my natal chart, Venus, the Sun and Moon all reside in Capricorn at 15, 17 and 18 degrees respectively. In addition my natal Pluto sits at 16 degrees Libra creating a square to the stellium in Capricorn. As Saturn and Pluto dance in and out of each other’s orb, now at 17 and 22 degrees Capricorn respectively, one or both of them is always activating one or more planets in my natal configuration.
Meanwhile, in my Progressed Chart, the Moon and Mars are sitting conjunct at 23 degrees Cancer, almost exactly conjunct transiting Pluto and within orb of opposition to my natal Sun and Moon. Phew! You can just imagine how this stirs up the mix. In difficult aspect the Moon tends to make us moody, prone to insecurity and sudden changes of heart, while Mars is volatile and Pluto prone to compulsion and obsessive tendancies. Ouch! Thankfully the progressed Moon is seperating from the others now, but progressed Mars, Pluto and Saturn will still be axctivating the Capricorn Cancer axis for some time to come.
The axis of Capricorn and Cancer highlights the yin and yang of our inward going, nurturing and protective tendancies as opposed to our outgoing aspirations and goals. Leaning too far into the Cancerian archetype can make us risk averse, anxious and short sighted; being too heavily Capricornian can cause us to reach too far without a secure foundation to fall back on. We may become ruthless and obsessed with sucesss, acheivement and productivity. When this axis is activated in this way we may feel pulled between these two poles.
Where exactly are we in the Saturn conjunct Pluto transit now?
Both Pluto and Saturn are currently retrograde, which means that from the Earth they appear to be moving backwards through the zodiac. This has a funny affect on transits as it means that planets can make between one and five exact contacts with the planet it is aspecting. For example both Saturn and Pluto will make three passes over my natal planets before they completely pass over. Similarly, though the Saturn conjunct Pluto transit itself will only be exact once, on 12 January 2020, it will also make two almost conjunctions, in April 2019 and September 2020, where the planets will come to within three degrees of one another.
Incidentally, the way this kind of transit often works is that the points of exact contact represent a process of change in the individual, at least with challenging transits such as conjunctions, squares and oppositions. At the first contact there may be recognition of a problem or discordance, at the second encounter there is realisation that something must change, and at the third connection there is acceptance and a readiness to move on.
Going back to our natal chart example, Pluto has completely moved over my Venus and Sun and has still to make only one almost contact with my Moon, however Saturn has only just made its second pass. I know that something has to change but I am still unclear about exactly what that is and how to achieve it.
Meanwhile, both the Moon’s nodal axis and the fast moving personal planets are all activating the same Cancer Capricorn axis. Mars and Mercury we moving through Cancer in June, the Sun is now at 9 degrees Cancer, and Venus and the Moon are all about to enter the watery sign of motherhood and nurturing. The Moon’s South Node is at 17 Capricorn, exactly conjunct Saturn, and the North Node is at 17 degrees Cancer. This particularly axis is currently a super highway of activity and I’m right in the thick of it!
How Saturn conjunct Pluto feels for me right now
With Saturn conjunct Pluto aligning with so many key elements in my natal and progressed chart you can understand why I’m feeling this transit so strongly. In particular, with the axis of Capricorn and Cancer being activated, I am experiencing a strong pull between these two archetypal energies. In real terms this translates to an internal struggle between the demands of motherhood, the need to nurture and protect my family (Cancer), and my own goals and aspirations (Capricorn). This tension is painful in many ways as I now recognise that I can’t do everything I would like to be doing.
As I have often counselled others, the way to deal with oppositions is to work to balance the two energies at play. But with the powerful force of Saturn conjunct Pluto activating one end of the axis this is easier said than done! Feelings of deep sadness, powerlessness and loss overwhelm me. I feel as though I am no longer my own person but instead belong to others. It’s like I’m being pulled in two different directions and unable to give enough in either realm of my life. I exist in a state of profound physical, mental and emotional exhaustion,yet even when I am able to rest I cannot fully relax.
Pluto is a very slow mover and has been gradually moving over my Sun, Moon and Venus for the past five years. It has brought with it a series of major life changes including marriage, immigration to Europe and then back to Australia, the purchase of our first home, the death of my father, followed by the birth of our two daughters within eighteen months of one another. It’s been one life changing experience after another.
Saturn is now following behind and I feel like my already exhausted being is being cramped into a very rigid, tight routine that brings to mind the proverbial rat wheel. Everything feels heavy. Even things I used to enjoy immensely feel like a burden to me. My life feels characterised by the word relentless.
I believe that the partial solar eclipse of 17 July will be a kind of breaking point for me where something important will have to be surrendered. The eclipse will occur at 24 degrees Capricorn, conjunct transiting Pluto and my natal Moon, and opposed my progressed Moon and Mars. I am taking steps to prepare for this by working to build resiliance to stress through meditation and yoga, sharing what I am experiencing with my ever-loving husband, and reaching out to my closest friends for support and guidance.
If you too are in the middle of a major transit and need a bit of encouragement check out our article Working with difficult transits: the power of surrender.
How to tell if your chart is activated by Saturn conjunct Pluto
If your natal or progressed chart is being triggered by Saturn conjunct Pluto you may be experiencing a similar tension as these two heavy hitting planets join forces. But if your chart is not activated you may be feeling very little at all. Have a good look at your chart. Do you have planets or points between 14 and 25 degrees of the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn)? If so your chart is being activated by Saturn conjunct Pluto.
I’d love to hear your experiences of Saturn conjunct Pluto. What planets are being activated in your chart right now and how has this manifested in your life so far?
Header image is Gaia Orion.