On January 12, 2020, Saturn will conjunct Pluto at 22° Capricorn. Many astrologers are noting that a Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn can be transformative in the extreme, even potentially very destructive.
Astrologer Maurice Fernandez (published in the Dec 2015 edition of The Mountain Astrologer) – “The Saturn–Pluto cycle occurs roughly every 33 to 38 years, varying according to Pluto’s highly elliptical orbit. This meeting of forces represents, among other things, the redistribution of power in the world or, in other words, which faction will make the decisions that affect the greater collective, whether this occurs in plain sight or behind the scenes.
“From a spiritual perspective, this cycle reflects a rite of passage determining who is most qualified to be the custodian of resources, and thus regulates who will be in a position of influence. In its purest form, this cycle is one of the highest tests of integrity and morality for those in authority, along with a test of capacity and resilience. Beyond the management of power, this cycle is also about the skill to increase power and the value of resources.
“Looking back at previous cycles, we can see that a Saturn–Pluto conjunction occurred in October 1914, around the outbreak of World War I; this global conflict certainly reshuffled power dynamics by dissolving the Russian monarchy, the Ottoman Empire, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which led to the redrawing of national borders within Europe.
1921 – 1923: Saturn square Pluto – the emergence of fascism and totalitarianism in Europe (Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler). 1939-1941 – Saturn/Pluto square occurred during World War 2.
“Saturn–Pluto conjunction in 1947 saw the division between India and Pakistan and their establishment as individual. In the Middle East, Israel gained independence from the British in 1948, creating an incredibly complex power dynamic in the region.
“The following cycle of 1982 marked a time of economic recession in the world, with the highest rate of unemployment in the U.S. since the Great Depression. It also marked the escalation of the Cold War during the Reagan years, later leading to the collapse of the Soviet bloc. Soon after the conjunction, in January 1983, the Kilauea volcano erupted in Hawaii; it has become the longest-lasting volcanic eruption, and is still flowing.
“On January 12, 2020, Saturn conjoins Pluto at 22° Capricorn for a single, and dramatic, pass. We can expect this cycle to have an exceptionally powerful effect, from the year leading up to the conjunction and approximately two years following it. This cycle is bound to stimulate significant geopolitical dynamics that will affect the distribution of power in many structures on a global scale. Angular aspects between Saturn and Pluto are also known to reflect natural disasters, particularly seismic and volcanic activity.
“At worst, with Mars in Aries retrograding later in 2020 and squaring the Saturn–Pluto conjunction, serious political conflicts and even a global war are possible.
“We can expect rebellion on both the individual level (people leaving their workplace, reinventing themselves) and the collective level (worldwide protests demanding change). In light of growing separatist sentiment in the US, we may see the secession movement gaining greater momentum.”
Astrologer Robert Hand (his influential books include Planets in Composite, Planets in Transit, Planets in Youth) – “Pluto is about power, but not just any kind of power. It is the power of the transformations that result as things come into being and pass away. The planet Saturn is not usually considered a force for change. It is often seen as resisting change – as being conservative, stubborn, even reactionary. These are qualities of Saturn, to be sure, but that is not the complete story. Saturn has to do with our experience of what underlies all order and structure.
“The Saturn-Pluto combination represents crises that come about as the normal, lawful, and predictable manifestations of Saturn are challenged by the need for deep and fundamental changes in the system, which are indicated by Pluto. Saturn-Pluto change is likely to impose some kind of restriction on our freedom of movement or upon our resources.”
Richard Tarnas (a professor of philosophy and depth psychology) in his important book “Cosmos and Psyche” suggests that the Saturn-Pluto cycle “coincides with especially challenging historical periods marked by a pervasive quality of intense contraction: eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression, all sometimes marked by lasting traumatic effects.”
He notes how the Saturn–Pluto conjunction of 1785 to 1788 precipitated the bloody French Revolution, and how Saturn–Pluto alignments are “periods of widespread conservative, reactionary or repressive empowerment.”
He also notes they tend to be times of genocide. Back during the 410-412 conjunction the Roman Empire experienced the most intense period of barbarian invasions. Rome was sacked in August 410, when the planets were exactly 2° from alignment (the same exact 2° from alignment happened on the 9/11 attack on the US).
Writing on the impact of the 1982 conjunction and a connection with the AIDS crisis – “An important characteristic set of Saturn-Pluto themes emerged in the collective psyche in the widespread rise in fundamentalist interpretations and moralistic judgments on the epidemic of God’s righteous punishment of sin.”
This phenomenon he says closely resembled the emergence of widspread views in medieval Europe when the bubonic plague was seen as the result of God’s wrath during the Saturn–Pluto conjunction of 1380-1340. And it was seen again during the conjunction when 9/11/2001 happened and Christian fundamentalists said it was God’s punishment for moral corruption.
“The positive potential of the Saturn-Pluto archetypal complex is usually inextricably intertwined with confronting its negative manifestations—great courage in the face of darkness, danger, and death; sustained effort and determination, intense focus and discipline; moral discernment and wisdom born from experience and suffering.”
(A note on orbs (intensity) of influence. Tarnas employs a wide range from 15° to 20° while some astrologers suggest a tighter range of influence between planets of a few degrees).
Astrologer Louis Acker – The negative side of Saturn-Pluto is about as bad as it gets as it signifies planned, organized, and purposeful criminality, tyranny, and evil at the highest level. The Saturn-Pluto combination is associated with the worst abuse of power and corruption. This influence will reach its peak in 2020 when Saturn is actually conjunct Pluto in Capricorn. Conjunctions, squares, and oppositions of Saturn and Pluto generally coincide with very negative and disruptive occurrences such as the beginning of WW2 and 9/11.
This Saturn-Pluto conjunction could bring about the demise of important economic, corporate, and political power structures and the downfall and disgrace of those who occupy positions of power in those institutions. Debt burdened major corporations, governments, banks, and other economic institutions could come to a grinding halt signifying the death of the old established political-economic power structure. These power structures could become even more oppressive and tyrannical as they desperately try to remain in control.
I felt it was important to put the Pluto/Saturn conjunction of 2020 in context with another conjunction in 2020, of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Kosmic Mind says a Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions represent a fusion of tradition and innovation, the melding of antagonistic desires–to maintain the status quo and yet to seek freedom from it simultaneously. These are periods where traditional systems, methods, and approaches are forced into reformation.
This conjunction is likely to correlate with economic and political policies emerging from previously alienated voices and minds, as well as the desire for liberation from the constraints of the past. While the 2020 period of Saturn/Pluto’s conjunction will likely be
constraining, Jupiter and Saturn’s conjunction beyond it will help to offer up new solutions which can lead to fresh approaches to managing the economic, social, and political challenges.
Kosmic Mind says as we look beyond the Saturn/Pluto conjunction and consider Saturn’s conjunction with Jupiter, a new order will emerge from the outsiders–many geniuses, rebels, and the marginalized are likely to gain power and help shape new structures, and incredible technological innovations will help to catalyze that.