This article will examine the hard aspects between transiting Saturn/Pluto in Capricorn and planets in the natal chart. Do you have your natal Sun, Moon or an inner planet in a Cardinal sign? (Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn?) Then this article is for you. It is especially for those who have cardinal planets placed between 19 to 23 degrees, because you are at the height of the Saturn/Pluto transit now. This article will also be useful for people who have planets placed between 24 to 29 degrees of a Cardinal sign, because you will be undergoing the height of this transit soon. As for those of you who have already finished these transits, this article might help make sense of what happened to you in the past few years.
In particular, I will interpret the aspects using the context of the eight planetary phases used in Evolutionary Astrology (Jeffrey Wolf Green method). But first, here is a reminder of what to generally expect with hard aspects between transiting Pluto/Saturn and natal planets.
1) Metamorphosis: Pluto in Capricorn in Hard Aspect to Natal Planets
Pluto in Capricorn currently hits cardinal planets by conjunction or hard aspect (square or opposition). Regardless of what natal planets are being targeted, there will be some common themes of these hard aspects:
Pluto, the planet of soul evolution, does not kid around when it comes to making changes in your life. Pluto transits bring slow, steady, powerful change. The process feels kind of like getting run over by a tank in slow motion. For years. Resisting the change is no more an option than resisting a tank; the transformation is inevitable. And these are not superficial changes either, but bone-deep ones. As a result, when the transit finally hits its exact degree, you might feel like a completely different person than you were just a few years prior. These changes are being orchestrated by your own soul, so you can trust the process, even if it feels harrowing at times.
There might not be a lot of support happening for you while you go through these transitions. In fact, hostility from others might be the catalyst that triggers much of the change. Your reaction to pressure and stress sets off a series of events or insights that lead to your complete metamorphosis and leaves you in a higher state of evolution than before.
Over the years as the Pluto transit gains in strength, if you do not take the initiative to make the necessary changes in your life, life will make that change for you. If you do not rid your life of obsolete things that no longer serve your soul’s purpose, the cosmos has no choice but to step in and do it for you so that you remain on your true path.
Power Struggles with Conventional Authority Figures
Capricorn represents convention and authority figures, while hard aspects with Pluto represent power struggles, so during this transit, you will likely experience conflict with elders or authority figures in your life. Conservative people might try to pressure you to change who you are in order to conform to their way of doing things.
You might become embroiled in a power struggle which you have no chance of winning. And you might feel powerless against outside forces you cannot control. If you no longer fit in with the traditional way of doing things, authority figures might bounce you out of their circle. Issues of power, control, loss, abandonment and betrayal might arise.
However, looking back, most people come to realize that with time, after the dust cleared, these difficult changes left you in a better place than you were in before. So if you end up in loggerheads now with someone, instead of throwing yourself into a pitched battle that you have no hope of winning, maybe it is a sign that you need to gracefully bow out and move on. Of course, do not be a door mat to abuse. You might have to fight in order to defend yourself. But also know when it is time to walk away.
Loss, Death and Rebirth (Both Metaphorical and Literal)
While the changes that are happening to you are positive in the long run, they don’t come without a cost. You might lose some things along the way. Pluto as the modern ruler of death and rebirth will see to that. People might disappear from your life. Or something that was a key prop to your old sense of self might just up and leave. In many cases, it might be a job that bites the dust. In the past few years, I have watched three people with transiting Pluto in hard aspect to their natal or progressed Suns get fired. And in one case, the same client got fired twice in a row. From two different jobs.
The very fact that these jobs or people or things are being removed from your life means that they are no longer conducive to your evolutionary path. And that is okay. Life constantly realigns itself as we grow and evolve. You might really miss the old people, old job or other things from the past, but if you are being honest with yourself, you will realize that you are also feeling a lot more free and are carrying a lot less baggage. As a result, you might be feeling stronger than you have felt in a long time.
2) Walking the Desert Path: Saturn in Capricorn in Hard Aspect to Natal Planets
So Pluto mowed you down, and yet you got up again and resurrected yourself into a new person. Yay! But just as you are getting ready to join the land of the living once again…Boom. Saturn enters the picture. Just as you managed to claw your way back from Pluto’s underworld to the surface again, now comes Saturn to give you one last kick in the pants. After years of a long hard Pluto transit, Saturn feels like it just adds insult to injury.
Transiting Saturn in Capricorn in hard aspect to natal luminaries or inner planets can feel like getting lost in a foreign desert for a year or so. You are not familiar with the terrain, which suddenly seems harsh and hostile. You realize that survival is going to take a lot of hard work. Your journey will require that you develop fortitude born from self-discipline and deprivation. It is a lonely, difficult and tedious journey, devoid of outside support or comfort. And if you didn’t know better you might sometimes think that the main purpose of the environment was to finish you off completely.
For example, having gone through a major transformation thanks to Pluto, you might be eager to join the world again as your brand new self…only to quickly discover that nobody seems to particularly like this new self! In fact, people seem to be coming out of the woodwork to criticize you, nit-pick, or give you a hard time. And during the times when you aren’t being actively attacked, you might just be ignored or overlooked. Love, support and recognition seem to dry up. Whatever goals you try to implement hit the wall with endless obstacles and delays. Life feels lonely, gray and joyless–a complete grind that seems to never end. You might even wonder what was the point of having gone through all those hard won Plutonic changes only to be left out in the cold now?
Don’t panic. It is a test. From old man Saturn. A temporary hurdle to see how strong you are in your new state of being.
Saturn’s gift is one of creating fortitude. When he shows up to test you, he asks only one thing: “How badly do you want your present goal?”
Then he proceeds to give you all kinds of obstacles to see if you are ready to put your money where your mouth is. If you are really committed to your goal, you will not give up. You will do the hard work required and tackle any obstacle, no matter what. But if your commitment is only half baked, Saturn’s obstacles might cause you to lose interest in your plans and wander off in search of something more fulfilling. In both cases, it is a win, from the soul’s point of view.
Saturn’s test continues until it finishes its hard aspect to your natal planet and moves out of orb, thus completing the process that Pluto started many years ago. They are working as a tag team here, for your benefit.
Until Saturn moves on, you can expect a lot of rigid, Saturnian people calling you out for not being “Saturn” enough. You might get a lot of people coming at you with seemingly no sense of humor, no sensitivity or no imagination. They might accuse you of not working hard enough, or that you are not wealthy enough. They might tell you that you are not logical or smart enough. Or they might call you too emotional, too intuitive, or too woo-woo or whatever it is that they don’t resonate with and don’t understand. Some will come at you arguing black is white and white is black, just because they want to argue with you. They might call you egotistical, immature, irresponsible, or naive. In short, they just don’t like how you are playing your particular Cardinal planet. And they are all about the cold hard smack down, which says a lot more about them than it does about you.
Remember as you plod through this desert of dissing, that YOU get to decide whether or not to believe all this criticism. If these nay-sayers truly have a good point, then listen to them and take their advice to heart. Saturn is the lord of karma, after all. So sometimes negative karma comes home to roost during hard Saturn transits and we get called out on our lousy behavior. But more often than not, the criticism hurled at you now will be unfounded. You are being faced with adversity to see how committed (Saturn) you are to your new (Pluto) state of being (natal planet). If you pass this last Saturn test, your new sense of self is going to become a solid new foundation from which you can build on in the future, especially when transiting Jupiter enters Capricorn and comes along to aspect your same natal planets beginning around December of 2019.
When Saturn and Pluto are in hard aspect to your natal planets and you are being plagued by conflict, part of the problem might be your own attitude. A negative attitude tends to slowly creep in with these transits–so slowly you might not even notice it. You might be feeling pessimistic, paranoid, hostile, critical or angry a lot of the time, which tends to emanate out from you in waves. You might be completely unaware of it. But people around you are quick to sense it now, even if you don’t say anything out loud, and they will return this negativity back to you. So before you accuse someone else of being controlling, hostile or critical, check your own attitude first to make sure it isn’t just your own vibes bouncing back at you.
3) Planetary Phases between Saturn/Pluto and Cardinal Planets
Evolutionary Astrology relies on phases to interpret natal aspects and transits. There are eight different phases, each symbolizing a different stage of evolutionary growth in a 360 degree cycle. (See Figure 1 below). These phases give us more information about how the hard aspects will play out between Saturn/Pluto and our natal planets.
Natal Planets in Libra
Planets in Libra are undergoing squares to Saturn/Pluto, either in the applying crescent phase or the separating first quarter phase.
In Evolutionary Astrology, the applying crescent phase square is a time of tense internal struggle. During this yin phase, it is necessary to periodically retreat from the world in order so you can begin to focus on following a single path in life. Meanwhile, the first quarter square is a yang phase which is characterized by a crisis of action. The first quarter square pushes you back out into the world again to take action on what you learned during the crescent phase and test out your new path in concrete ways.
The crescent phase square sets up a stressful push-pull situation between wanting to take action on something new, yet at the same time wanting to retreat into the past where things are familiar and do not require any action. (1) The theme of this push-pull situation depends on the house position of the Libra planets but will also include the theme of relationships and the desire to make relationships more fair or equal.
The crescent phase is a time when certain choices must be made. We can’t follow every path in life–we have to eventually follow one path. And the first quarter square forces us to take action and implement that choice in our daily lives. But even at the best of times, Libran planets tend to agonize over choices and decisions, fearing they will make the “wrong” decision or will cause conflict with someone. As a result, much of the struggle of the crescent phase square comes from an endless weighing of the pros and cons of which path to choose. Meanwhile, the struggle of the first quarter square comes from trying to take action to get what you need while still avoiding conflict with others and keeping the peace.
If you have the Sun, Moon or an inner planet in Libra, your worst enemy right now might be yourself and your desire to always create harmony with others. But conflict is inevitable now–it is the very nature of this transit. So will you cave in from inner pressure and the habit to “always be nice?” Or will you be willing to endure the stress of conflict in order to stay true to your own values, even if it means you end up temporarily alone or disliked? Choose your own path now. If others can’t live with that, then Pluto will push them out of your life, and really, you will be all the better for it.
Natal Planets in Cancer
Planets in Cancer currently are opposing Saturn/Pluto within an applying gibbous phase aspect which relates to humbling self-analysis or the separating full phase aspect, which relates to meaning and completion.
While Libras might be struggling to resist caving in to internal pressure, Cancer’s biggest challenge now comes from external pressure, from other people or outside circumstances. You are being forced to become aware of the beliefs, values, attitudes and needs of other people now.
It might seem like people are always in your face these days, challenging you. And it might feel like there is no escaping these confrontations. Your task is to learn to interact with others in a way that is true to yourself, but still serves the need of others. While this balance is being sought, you might swing back and forth from periods of extreme social activity to periods of complete withdrawal and isolation. The isolation will be needed in order to sort out all the different opinions and perspectives you encountered while you were in social mode. (2) If your self identity is still new, having recently been pulzerized by Pluto, it might feel bewildering when tons of people are challenging you from vantage points so different than your own.
During the applying gibbous phase opposition, you might struggle with low self-esteem. You might be comparing yourself to others and feeling like you come up short. You even might start copying other people and abandoning who you really are. You might be bumping into a lot of Capricorn types who at first glance seem more mature, more wealthy, or more successful than you are, which can make you feel insecure. Your job is to become aware of these people, learn how they think, learn how they achieve success and yet stay on your own path. You are not meant to be them, you are meant to learn from them.
Society and its rules, conventions and social structure have much to teach you now–especially about how you can become successful in the world and win the approval of your peers. Relationships of all kinds are the teaching tools. Even the conflicts will teach you now, because if you are butting heads with some awful people, they are, in fact, teaching you how you don’t want to be.
You will not be successful until you learn to give other people what they want now or until you learn to provide society with something that is useful. It’s all about learning to fit in with the world. But don’t forget that on the road to success, it is vital that you find a way to fit in without completely losing yourself or your ethics in the process.
Natal Planets in Aries
Like Libra planets, Aries planets will also be experiencing a square to Saturn/Pluto in Capricorn. However, the nature of the Aries squares will be different because they reside within different phases. Aries planets will experience an applying disseminating square which relates to socialization, and then a separating last quarter square which relates to a crisis of consciousness or belief.
These transits involve an evolutionary lesson that is the opposite of the ones that Cancers are currently wrestling with. While Cancers are busy learning how to win approval from society and how to fit in with others, Aries planets are realizing that they no longer want approval from society. They are struggling to learn how to un-do all their previous social conditioning. Aries planets are becoming aware of how their own individual natures are clashing with societal norms and rules. They have had enough of “fitting in with society” and are ready to follow their own inner nature now. This involves a crisis of moving into new territory. Happily, Aries are pretty good at setting off on adventures into the unknown. Their natural courage and sense of adventure helps them along.
Aries, you are probably discovering that you just can’t go along with the crowd anymore. You might find that it doesn’t work for you, no matter how hard you try. As a result, you are going through a process of de-socialization where you must challenge the cultural norms and beliefs of society in favor of listening to your own inner voice. This can land you in a temporary place of alienation.
If you don’t believe in society anymore, then what do you believe in? Along with a crisis in consciousness, the last quarter square creates a crisis of lifestyle and identity, too, since those things are built upon the personal belief systems we carry. Faced with these crises, the temptation is to go back to the old system, where things were familiar and comfortable. (3) But due to evolutionary necessity, this cannot be sustained. Movement forward must continue–even if it flies in the face of convention.
Natal Planets in Capricorn
Those with natal Capricorn planets will be going through significant endings and new beginnings as Pluto and Saturn slowly travel from a balsamic conjunction (culmination) to a new phase conjunction (the start of a new cycle of evolution.)
During the applying balsamic conjunction, lessons you began learning a few years ago might come together in order to get fully digested now. As a result, you might need more time to retreat from the world in order to think and ponder. But despite this desire for pause and reflection, it is not a quiet or peaceful time. Because a cycle is ending, you will have to address any unfinished business, incomplete psychological patterns or spiritual stages of development. (4) Pluto’s south node is currently in Capricorn, signifying that you are in a hurry to complete things because you need to let them go. These include things that humanity as a whole is in the process of letting go of, such as conventional ways of doing business, politics, religion or social relationships. Anything that is based upon old-fashioned, outdated or patriarchal attitudes that are harmful has to go. Consequently, life speeds up in a frenzied sort of way for a number of years.
Because a lot of relationship karma might still need to be addressed, you might be meeting swarms of people, or re-connecting with people that you once knew long ago (or even in a past life). In other areas of your life, you might feel that much needs to be done in a short period of time. You might sense a strange urgency, like a deadline is hanging over your life. You might have no clue about what this impending deadline is about, only that you have to get important things done before it happens.
The amount of work you feel compelled to do might triple compared to other times in your life. Or it might feel like your responsibilities multiply, along with your obstacles. Happily, however, when Pluto and Saturn finally conjoin your Capricorn planet and then begin to separate from it, the new phase conjunction begins which relates to the beginning of a new evolutionary cycle. That is the time for reaching out to explore new terrain. Life returns to a normal pace again. The sense of a looming deadline disappears and you feel more free and able to strike out in new directions, ones that are more compatible with who you really are. You will react to the world in a way that is more instinctual than usual and you will feel an odd compulsion to try out new things or just “wing it” more instead of always being so concerned with having a solid plan or strict goal. As a result, life might begin to feel more fun, creative and exciting than it has in years.
4) The Saturn/Pluto Conjunction and the Sermons of the Desert Fathers
While Saturn and Pluto are in hard aspect to your natal planets, it might feel incredibly difficult due to the constant challenges, criticism, loneliness and lack of support. You might be working your butt off on a job, on a relationship or on your self, and receiving zero rewards or recognition for it. And it might seem like this has been going on for years. But take heart. It is temporary. The adversity is forging you into a much stronger person.
Without the relentless challenges, you would not get the opportunity to strengthen your new sense of self, which is going to be SOLID by the time these transits are done. And with this new sense of self, you will really be able to take off and fly. You will have more confidence and will be able to accomplish a lot more. And when you really know who you are and what you are all about, life’s inevitable challenges won’t feel quite so earth shattering whenever they occur.
The lessons taught by Saturn/Pluto hard aspects remind me of a story I once read by the Desert Fathers. The Desert Fathers were early Christian monks who lived in the Scetes desert of Egypt during the third century CE. Their sermons are brief yet profound stories meant to instruct. One particular story stands out in my mind that seems to really capture the essence of Saturn/Pluto hard aspects. It is attributed to Abba John, and it goes like this:
“There were three philosophers who were friends. The first died and left his son to the care of one of the others. When he grew up he had intercourse with the wife of his guardian, who found them out and turned the boy out of doors. Although the young man came and asked his guardian to forgive him, he would not receive him, but said, ‘Go and work for three years as a ferryman and I will forgive you.’
After three years the young man came to him again, and this time he said, ‘You still have not done penance; go and work for three more years, and give away all you earn, bearing all insults.’ So he did this, and then his guardian said to him, ‘Now go to Athens and learn philosophy.’
There was an old man who sat at the philosophers’ gate and he used to insult everyone who entered it. When he insulted this young man, the boy began to laugh, and the old man said, ‘Why are you laughing, when I have insulted you?’
He told him, ‘Would you not expect me to laugh? For three years I have paid to be insulted and now I am insulted free of charge. That is why I laughed.’
Abba John said, ‘The gate of the Lord is like that, and we Fathers go through many insults in order to enter joyfully into the city of God.’
Get it? After this Saturn/Pluto transit clears and life reverts back to baseline “normal,” life can’t help but feel easier. Things that used to upset you or challenge you now appear laughable, not only because Saturn/Pluto helped you develop a thicker skin, but because they also gave you a complete change of perspective. The result is that you gained a sense of tremendous strength, joy and freedom–one that comes from within and is not reliant on outside people or circumstances anymore. And THAT is something really worth all the struggle it took to get.
So the next time that the small-minded critics, the haters or the authority figures creep out of the woodwork to take a swing at you, remember to laugh, because it is just Saturn and Pluto, disguised as trolls, helping you find freedom. Like the young man says in the sermon, on the bright side, at least you don’t have to pay money anymore to every jerk who shows up to insult you.
How has the Saturn/Pluto transit been treating your cardinal planets? Let us know in the comment section below. Your experiences can help others who are still struggling with these transits.
Want to know what the Saturn/Pluto conjunction has in store for your life? You can contact Danielle for a personal astrology consultation.
1) Green, Jeffrey Wolf. Pluto Volume II: The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships. 2009: MPG Biddles Ltd., UK. Pg 213.
2) ibid. Pg. 216-217.
3) Green, Jeffrey Wolf. EA Glossary: Guiding Principles of Jeffrey Wolf Green Evolutionary Astrology. 2014: School of Evolutionary Astrology. Pg 27.
4) Green, Jeffrey Wolf. Pluto Volume II. Pg 222.