2020 was shaped by the evolutionary forces of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn. 2021 will be dominated by Saturn in Aquarius square Uranus in Taurus which perfects three times: February 17, June 14 and December 24. Saturn is in charge of the material world and preserving our earthly existence. He is a task master, making us conscious and accountable for the productive use of time. He pressures us, sometimes through fear and guilt, to build careers, reputations and, perhaps, leave a legacy behind showing an impact of our existence on planet Earth. The outer planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) don’t really care about mundane earthly existence. They deal with psychological and transpersonal changes and themes beyond our immediate personal awareness and therefore have a tendency to throw things off balance and spinning out of control. It is Saturn’s job and responsibility to ground and make sense of the simultaneously creative and destructive forces of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in forms that we can practically utilize. Saturn must filter alien energy in a way that makes the unknown less fearful and more constructive. The outer planets can be experienced as a destructive transpersonal power or can transmute, transform and transcend by being woven into our earthly fabric in ways that enlighten and contain energy rather than short circuit it.
2020 was the year of a pandemic that was a catalyst for revealing cracks in our society, systems and century old structures and institutions. Pluto’s terrain encompasses death, disease, destruction and evolutionary power. Pluto may violently erupt and break through Saturn’s protective walls and boundaries and in the process cause much terror, but it is Saturn’s job to responsibly limit destructive power. Saturn must fix what is broken by doing the necessary work to rebuild and reestablish the balance of law and order. Lest we forget, Lord Saturn is exalted in Libra.
The Saturn/Uranus square of 2021 is about reining in chaotic craziness so society can incorporate the new, innovative, progressive and technological into some sane form of earthly manageability. The square signifies that the new, progressive and innovative will meet up with blocks, frustrations, limitations and restrictions in how it is assimilated. We all know this will have a great deal to do with the speed and effectiveness in rolling out the Covid vaccine, as well as its efficacy, and whether or not half the population refuses it. The configuration will also continue the political polarization in our country and throughout the world. All you need to do is watch the news to see these planetary configurations playing out in real time.
What was put into action on the first square of 2/17/21 is confronted once again on the second square of 6/14/21 to see just where we stand. An example of this is the roll out of the vaccine on the first square and revisiting how well we are doing with that rollout on the second square and questioning what further needs to be done to integrate the access of the vaccine to the remainder of society. There’s also the philosophical dilemma of social pressure from certain segments of society putting pressure on others to get the vaccination. Another development on this square is the use of Bitcoin and crypto currencies. Uranus in Taurus is about new and innovative ways to use money and resources with more technological savvy. Saturn must teach how to incorporate the shift around values, money and resources. There’s an acceleration of technology and digitalization in society and Saturn must responsibly incorporate the new for practical and sensible usage. There’s a sense of zoom fatigue that we are now experiencing on the second square. We want to talk and experience others with more human connection on a personal level rather than the one-sidedness of communication at a distance. The square says to slow down the speed of the new communication and integration and remember the sense of touch and personal connection. Saturn always suggests approaching things with caution while Uranus wants to evolve and break apart. Uranus speedily moves towards a new definition of socializing while Saturn says don’t forget what’s good about old ways and traditions. We are also witnessing the ongoing struggle with integrating minority groups into a more equal power dynamic in our society, as well as the continuing conflict of our two party political system and the debate surrounding cancel culture and other social paradigm shifts. A milestone in the advancement of civil rights occurred on June 17 when President Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
The second Saturn/Uranus square is also about how we as a society are facing the labor crisis. How well is government dealing with the crisis of low wage workers going back to work and getting paid a livable wage? Some are making better money by receiving much needed government assistance during the pandemic. There is a rethinking of how to distribute money and how to get the middle and lower class back to work to earn a livable wage. What is the appropriate level of compensation for living a decent life in our society? Many are also transitioning from a situation of working in an office to working from home, and this has shifted that experience and those relationships. Another issue society is grappling with is the question of how we raise and distribute food to the masses? How does technology affect our access to the food supply?
Jupiter has an important role to play in the dominant Saturn/Uranus story. Jupiter entered Pisces on May 15 and is no longer being ruled by Saturn, so he is unrestrained and has more dignity and power. At the moment of his Pisces ingress, the CDC announced that vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks in many indoor or outdoor venues. This transit brings more optimism and hope for the future as socializing once again returns to normal. Social distancing has shifted our perceptions of relating. There’s a difference of knowing someone live vs. knowing people virtually. With the increase of travel, people are more confident to openly connect and give new meaning and definition to the social re-expansion. The Saturn/Uranus square helps tame Jupiter’s enthusiasm and warns of some caution throughout the rest of the year with incorporating the expansion and opening of social constructs. Jupiter encourages us to open our heart and compassion to those who have suffered and continue to suffer with the pandemic, especially in places like India. The rapid expansion that Jupiter provides can also increase the spread of illness in certain areas as it has free rein in this sign to move in invisible ways. When Jupiter retrogrades back into Aquarius there will be some unfinished business to take care of. That will be a time to examine some of the flaws of expanding too quickly. Actions taken in May, June and July will need to be reassessed in the fall.
Pay attention when important action planets like Mars enter the fixed signs because he will activate, heat up, exacerbate and inflame not only the Saturn/Uranus square, but the powerful 0° of the fixed signs set into motion on the December 22, 2020 conjunction of Jupiter/Saturn at 0° Aquarius. An example of this is the insurrection at our nation’s Capital when Mars ingressed into 0° Taurus on January 6, 2021. This was about one group of society forcefully expressing anger over the fear that their long cherished values (Taurus) were being thrown out the window. The Leo ingress of Mars on June 12, 2021 is a time when the FBI took more prominent action to open up investigations and prosecutions of politicians who may have been personally connected with fueling, planning and participating in the events surrounding the insurrection. More optimistically, social restrictions were busted open and lifted to almost normal levels with a warrior action and strong desire to reignite the urge to party and get out of hiding and spend more energy and time in the sun. There’s a tremendous push towards releasing the inner child that has been banished to a dark place for so long.
I’d like to talk more about the psychological effect on us personally, and how we can use the Saturn/Uranus square to better prepare for inevitable change and make way for a “new order,” so that the energy has some place to be received within our body, mind, heart and spirit.
The mythology of Saturn and Uranus is fairly violent, and the imagery gives us some glaring lessons and insights on how to deal with this challenging square. Uranus mated with Gaia (Earth) and produced the first race of Titans, of whom Saturn was the youngest. Unfortunately, Uranus viewed his progeny with horror because of their imperfections. They were ugly and made of flesh, so he banished them to the depths of the underworld where they could not offend his sight. Gaia naturally became enraged and planned revenge. She recruited the services of her youngest, Cronus (Saturn), and gave him a sharp scythe. While Uranus lay asleep, Cronus castrated his father and cast the bleeding genitals into the sea. The genitals floated to the surface producing a white foam out of which rose Aphrodite (Venus). Thus we get the phrase, “Out of chaos comes creativity.” It’s also a symbol of the procreative powers of the sky god Uranus.
Saturn square Uranus says we have to prepare for the future now, in the present, so that we have a vessel to hold and contain the new procreative power that is coming out of the ensuing chaos. Revolutions are bloody. Uranus in Taurus suggests that Gaia is unleashing something from her bowels, and that can be pretty terrifying unless Saturn takes control and channels that unleashed wildness with a new infrastructure.
Uranus is the first planet beyond Saturn, so it beckons and says there is light in outer space that has the power to transmit further enlightenment and knowledge. He wants to break through the ceiling and walls of Saturn, and if he has to crash into that ceiling, he will, in order to capture attention. Saturn’s initial negative response to foreign forces is to block, but once the fear is faced a more positive and constructive Saturn realizes that he must assimilate. Saturn in Aquarius says, “I’m willing to allow that enlightenment, but you have to let it in according to the dictates of time. I will not permit you to crash into the psyche of mankind and short circuit my children.” There are flashes of brilliance coming through the dark from beyond, and you have to make sure your wiring and hard drive is up to date and ready to receive the voltage, otherwise you can check out.
Saturn in Aquarius square Uranus in Taurus can easily be fearful of the eruptive changes to material security forced upon us by technology, ideological shifts, climate change, and political upheavals, as well as the general disruptive nature to our material security. Yet, don’t forget that Saturn has dignity in Aquarius, so he’s at home doing the necessary work to incorporate the change by filtering all the new stuff through a new set of rules and regulations. If you do the Saturn homework, then the fear of the unknown gradually subsides as you start saying to yourself, “Ah, I can work with the new; I can learn to integrate more diversity; and I don’t have to allow fear to banish me into a smaller and more narrowed group of like-minded people that only support a special interest community.” That way of thinking is like the stereotypical rich, white wasp that moves into a restricted community that blocks Blacks, Jews, different religions, ethnicities or anyone that does not earn a certain amount of money or think a certain way as dictated by the group in power.
As we get older, Saturn has a way of making us pay attention to our knees, bones, teeth and skin as they start to break down and cause more physical problems. On a daily basis we are constantly reminded to pay attention to these parts of the body. Saturn in Aquarius says it’s time to pay attention to what we are doing in the present moment, for it will determine our future. When a wise person pays attention to a problematic knee, they will work with it, go to the doctor, do more exercise, listen to the pain and put in the effort to buttress and support it in some way. That’s what we have to do psychologically in the Aquarius part of our chart. If you ignore the pain and sweep it under the carpet or hide it away, it festers and only gets worse, and then like all Gaia’s banished children, the ignored comes forth in more grotesque terms. Yet, by working with it and doing what you can to meet the challenge, you may not alleviate all the pain but you are able to discover ways to work with it.
Saturn rules the end of time. We can gain a lot of knowledge and understanding from watching our elders and how they prepare for death and leaving the physical realm. No one can escape the vicissitudes of time. Everyone’s body breaks down in some way. It is a common theme we all share, but how we prepare for that on a mental, spiritual and soul level can make a monumental shift when dealing with pain and suffering. You see the difference in those that enter their golden years with a continued, albeit more restrained life force, vs. those whose light is visibly extinguished and a crippling darkness takes over. The Saturn/Uranus square begs the question, “How will you deal with life now in preparation for the future?” Those that prepare for the inevitability of death both physically and psychologically are better equipped to deal with the unknown. Investing in our personal infrastructure prepares us for the revolution and evolution coming down the pike. The government has to work on the infrastructure of society by putting money into public services. Likewise, we have to take care of our own internal wiring to be ready for all the technological, scientific, political and social upheavals that are changing society.
The generation born with Saturn in Aquarius (February 1991 – January 1994), and Uranus in the first decanate of Aquarius (January 1996 through December 1998) will have to mature, step up to the plate and start taking responsibility for their vision of the future. This generation plays an important part in breaking past the old, ossified and outworn by actively making their voices and actions heard to restructure laws, rules and regulations into something that holds more hope for the future. Saturn/Pluto said the old guard is dead, and Saturn/Uranus pushes past the old forms into a new paradigm based on the past template.
Look at the positions of transiting Saturn and Uranus in the natal chart to see the areas of life where the two energies play out the back and forth game of building and rebuilding, structure and re-structure, old vs. new, young vs. old and any other combination you can think of. I subscribe to the ancient rulership scheme in which Saturn rules both Capricorn and Aquarius. Therefore check out the houses ruled by both signs for further insight. Pay attention the entire year when this fixed square is triggered by lunations in the fixed signs, as well as Mercury, Venus and Mars transiting the fixed signs and the stations direct and retrograde of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. And of course eclipse months are other important trigger times. Saturn has dignity and power for the next two years while being in Aquarius positioned in a superior square overcoming Uranus. In traditional astrology, this is a dignified position for Saturn, so while there will be struggle, there is also great hope for the Uranian energy to enter our consciousness with more self-conscious care. Finally, because Uranus is in a sign ruled by Venus, pay careful attention to shifts in the structure of your value system, including money, career, earning potential and relationships when Venus enters her shadow and turns retrograde in the sign of Capricorn beginning on November 17, 2021 and lasting through March 2, 2022.
Joseph Addeo is a New York City based consulting astrologer.
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