pluto and saturn have been dancing around each other for a while now. back in august, they formed a trine in the last degrees of the fire signs of leo and sag. o, happy days of summer when beliefs and expectations were one and the same, possibilities were still open-ended and faith in leadership was untested.
with saturn's ingress into virgo, and then turning retrograde in december, and pluto moving into capricorn for the first time in 240+ years, the second pass of the trine feels substantially different in character. both planets are now in earth signs, ruling physical and practical matters. saturn rules structures, boundaries, social forms and norms. in virgo, saturn requires moderation, maturity, careful planning and strong dedication to doing things in the 'right' way, according to natural laws. this is a big change from leo's need to be center stage and to express its individuality.
pluto's temporary move into capricorn gives us a glimpse of the next 16 (yes 16!) years. there has been a lot written about what this time may be like; much of the predictions have been dire. the past 15 years or so of pluto in sag has also been dire at times, with religious fanaticism and resultant wars; ecological disasters and extreme events (think the Christmas Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the melting of the arctic glaciers).
many many hundreds of thousands of people were affected by these events. many many hundreds of thousands of people will be affected by the events during pluto's transit of capricorn. these have terrible personal and individual consequences, and sometimes even 'change the world' as the result; new global relationships, or policies, or knowledge arises from the ashes of calamity. that is the role of pluto - to take us down on the deep psychological journey of death and separation and return us with new eyes, new understanding, furthering our soul's journey towards perfection.
saturn and pluto together present us, in the words of Richard Tarnas in his amazing book, Cosmos and Psyche, with a cycle of crisis and contraction (see page 209 for a very succinct description of this time period). so much astrological discussion is about potential consequences of placements and contacts; however, the value of astrology lies in understanding the purpose of the energies reflected in the planets. and during this particular time, while pluto and saturn are retrograde, we are offered an important opportunity. yes, there is plenty of anxiety circulating today, and it is easy to become paralyzed by that, or the myriad details of our complex modern life. and yes, some of the changes your need to take, or the medicine you may need to swallow could be harsh. but as they form an ongoing trine, pluto and saturn provide both impetus and insight into what may be amiss in your life. it's an opportunity to prepare for the coming contraction and crisis. how is your work situation? your health? how you are squandering or devoting your energies and resources? are you still living that completely unhealthy lifestyle? eating junk? smoking? working too hard? (not working hard enough?). it is time to clean up past mistakes, own up to your misdemeanors, get clear with the authorities. by beginning now, saturn can help you own up to your responsibilities and act like an adult.
pluto in capricorn will take society and its institutions through that underworld journey, to transform how we live together on this planet. there is much room for optimism and anticipation as there is much that should be changed for the better for everyone. but change is also very difficult, so take whatever assistance you can. now is a good time to begin the process.