Part I:  A history lesson

For the past month or so, two major players in the astrological pantheon have been preparing to face off against each other in a challenging 90 degree formation that astrologers call a “square” aspect. These two players are Saturn and Pluto, affectionately known as the Lord of Karma and the Lord of Death.

Saturn is the planet that defines limits and creates restrictions and boundaries; it inspires self-doubt and the knowledge that hard work is required in order to achieve our goals. Wherever we find Saturn, there is work to be done (hence the term the Lord of Karma). Saturn has just entered Libra, the sign of beauty, relationships, and those things upon which we place value. Here it is challenging us to confront (Saturn) any romanticized (Libra) ideals that we hold which are not firmly grounded in reality.

Pluto (yes, Pluto is still a planet for astrologers!!) is the Lord of the Underworld of power, darkness, death and rebirth. Pluto rules the kind of transformation that begins at the cellular level, where everything is dismantled and something completely new arises in its place. Pluto entered the sign of Capricorn (the sign that is ruled by Saturn) in January of 2008 and proceeded to destroy the financial and governmental structures (Capricorn) that were weak and lacking a solid foundation.

Just like the four phases of the lunar cycle, in which the Sun and Moon dance from the New Moon (the conjunction) through the first quarter square, to the Full Moon (the opposition or 180 degree angle) and the closing square, planets engage in a similar dance that we call the “synodic” cycle. The cycle of Saturn and Pluto coincides with major shifts in the global landscape as an outmoded structure is replaced with something new. For the individual, there is often an internal shift that creates a new way of seeing the world and perhaps the necessity to let go of something so that transformation can occur.

The current cycle between Saturn and Pluto began with the conjunction back in late 1982-3 when both planets were in the late degrees of Libra. In the United States and Britain, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher began a conservative revolution that transformed the financial systems in both countries and reverberated around the world.

The opening square (90 degrees) between Saturn and Pluto in March of 1993 coincided with the first World Trade Center bombing on February 26 which we can argue began the war of Islamist fundamentalism that continues today as we complete the current Saturn/Pluto cycle. At this time Bill Clinton took office and reversed the conservative policies of Reagan, and the disarmament crisis in Iraq forced the UN inspectors out of that country which we can once again argue began the road to the invasion of Iraq that forever altered the political landscape around the world.

The opposition phase (180 degrees) between Saturn and Pluto began in August of 2001, the period in which heightened activity by Al Qaeda resulted in the attacks on September 11. The opposition corresponds to the Full Moon cycle in which the unconscious elements of the planetary dynamics are brought into full view and in this case the seeds that were sown during the opening square came to fruition at the time of the opposition in the war against Islamic fundamentalism and the invasion of Iraq.

Other significant events marking a major transformation in the global landscape during this period include the entry of China into the World Trade Organization, cementing its role as a major player in the global economic system.

Tomorrow we will look at the current cycle and what we can expect over the next eight months or so.
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