In my last article I focused on how the convergence of three major planetary archetypes — Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto — all constellated in the sign of Capricorn, were finding expression on the world and national stages as evidenced by the global coronavirus pandemic, subsequent quarantines, economic disruptions and widespread civil unrest. Society is being pushed to the brink.
But these same archetypal forces are also affecting us all on an individual basis.
So in this article I’ll examine what all this means to each of us as individuals, and help develop some strategies for personally coping with the crisis and find ways to rise and meet the challenges of these unprecedented times.
If we recall, the main theme or tone for the year was set by the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in January 2020. The one-two punch of these two “Heavies” of the zodiac can take its toll on society and individuals alike. But as with all astrological archetypes, each has its own complexity and nuance that allows for multiple modes of expression. Are we inclined to embrace the positive and proactive side of these archetypes, or the negative and destructive aspects?
The Good Side of Saturn
As a serious practitioner of astrology over the last 20 years, I’ve learned to develop a new relationship with Saturn and its cyclical demands for personal growth, responsibility and strength of character. Wherever Saturn is transiting in your chart, you have to put in the work. If you don’t make the serious effort to improve that area of your life and literally get your house in order, then you end up dealing with Saturn’s more negative consequences — sadness and depression, pain and suffering, failure and defeat. These apparent negatives are really the symptoms of the deeper personal problems that we are likely avoiding. We don’t want to face the fact that we’re stuck in some outmoded way of being, and Saturn is forcing us to build new structures that allow for our continued personal growth.
That’s why I always advise my clients when dealing with challenging aspects from Saturn that the trick is to “get out ahead of it” and “get on the good side of it.” I’ve learned to literally set my life clock to my Saturn transits. As it makes its two-and-a-half year transit through each of my natal houses, I consciously focus on that area of life, accepting that there’s hard work to be done and that there will likely be difficulties and setbacks. I’ve learned that it takes patience and perseverance when working with Saturn’s energy.
But I’ve also seen the tangible results that such effort produces, and I’ve grown to appreciate the process of consciously working towards the goal of self-improvement. Since I learned to ride the momentum of my Saturn cycle, I’ve become calmer, more focused and more productive than ever. So I strongly encourage you to reexamine your own relationship with the old taskmaster. I promise you’ll be stronger for it.
Now understandably, we are all currently feeling too many of the negative aspects of Saturn as brought upon by the coronavirus. The severe limitations of the quarantine period and the ongoing restrictions of the social distancing mandates have left us all feeling an increasing and often unbearable sense of isolation and alienation. It is indeed a true test of our strength of character and ability to endure challenging times.
But endure we must. Because only with that type of true grit and determination can we expect to meet the additional challenges presented by the planet Pluto. Remember the one-two punch I mentioned earlier? Well, it’s going to take the stamina of a heavyweight champion to win this fight. And it’s likely to go the full 15 rounds. So lace up your gloves, folks, because Pluto is no ordinary adversary.
Pluto: entering the shadow realm
Whereas Saturn challenges us with a steady and constant barrage of jabs and hooks, Pluto packs the kind of knockout punch that can leave us down for the count. It often seems to come out of nowhere, but if we’re honest with ourselves we see it’s been there the whole time, just simmering beneath the surface. Pluto forces us to face our demons, our dark side. It’s the realm of shadow work. It is hard, it is uncomfortable, but it is ultimately necessary.
Because there is something deep within all of us that knows, instinctively, that the time for major change is long overdo. We are in the midst of a massive shift, as individuals and as a collective, and it is occurring in the depths of each of our souls as it simultaneously plays out on the world stage. Something old and outmoded is dying and something new and unprecedented is trying to be born.
And the stakes are incredibly high. Because if we get this Pluto part of the puzzle wrong, the consequences could be devastating. If we can’t find the courage to summon the better angels of our nature, then our darker demons will likely destroy us. There’s a lot of fervor from both sides of the political spectrum calling for a “burn it to the ground” approach. It’s not surprising, as this is a very Plutonic urge. But it’s tapping into the most extreme and violent aspects of the archetype, which could quickly and irrevocably descend into total chaos.
But with the other hand, Pluto simultaneously reaches out to us with an offer of redemption. It will require us to transcend our base instincts, transmute our compulsive habits and transform the core of our very beings. If you’ve ever had that sense, deep down inside, that you were born at this time for some higher purpose, now may well be that time.
So if we can channel Saturn’s strength of character, grit and gravitas, and couple it with Pluto’s evolutionary urge for self-transformation, we will be well-equipped to meet the challenge, rise to the occasion and be the change we wish to see in the world. And if we can harness the hope and optimism of Jupiter — the third planetary archetype in the 2020 configuration — then we just might be able to navigate a course to higher ground.
Jupiter: the glimmer of hope
With all the heavy and challenging aspects that Saturn and Pluto are throwing at us, we‘re going to absolutely need Jupiter’s high-mindedness and inspiration. If we can learn to be more tolerant of one another, and kinder to each other, and strive for the highest good, then we stand a much better chance of not just surviving, but actually thriving during these times of unprecedented change.
Jupiter is all about the future. And it would seem that the future is now. There are many ghosts from our past that continue to haunt us. There are widespread, systemic problems and a multitude of social, political and environmental challenges that seem insurmountable. But the planet Jupiter reminds us that as a whole, we are greater than the sum of our parts. If we can all work together, a new collective intelligence will emerge, and with it the capacity to solve seemingly intractable problems. We have the power to connect with each other like never before in human history. We are being given the opportunity to tap into a process where information becomes knowledge, and knowledge becomes wisdom.
Dawning of a New Age
Perhaps what is required now, at what feels like our darkest hour, is the dawning of a new age— a true celebration of the human spirit. Whether you’re deeply religious or firmly atheist, there is no denying something transcendent moves within and beyond us all. And that is perhaps the deeper message that all these astrological archetypes are longing for us to hear.
Please don’t dismiss this as New Age, magical thinking. This is truth-seeking as a high art form. From Plato to Plotinus, Newton to Jung, every great thinker throughout the history of western civilization has engaged with these archetypes, recognizing them for what they are: living entities and transcendental forms that must be lived through, experienced, interpreted and assimilated. They represent an invisible force that has helped shape the destiny of human existence.
And much like Plato’s Axial Age, Newton’s Age of Enlightenment and Jung’s Modern Era, it seems apparent that we are now on the precipice of the next new era, which is unfolding at warp speed and in real time all around us. And while it is a global phenomenon, we all have the duty and responsibility (Saturn) to act locally, working on our own self-transformation (Pluto) with the goal of deeper understanding (Jupiter). We are being called to simultaneously wake up and grow up.
“These are the times that test men’s souls,” proclaimed Thomas Paine during the American Revolution. We are being tested once again. Are we on the precipice of a 2nd American Revolution? Or tilting towards a 2nd Civil War? How we engage with these powerful archetypes during this “cosmic activation period” may determine the course of our nation’s history for generations to come. And we all have a role to play in shaping that history.
Because whatever happens collectively is really just the aggregate of all our individual desires and impulses. Now is not the time to defer your agency to some external power or authority, hoping “they” will solve all our problems. No, now is the time to harness your own inner authority. Now is the time to claim your own personal sovereignty and to own it.
If you believe as I do that at our core we all share a common sense of decency, then let’s all show up together in the world as avatars of our better angels. The future of humanity may just depend upon it.