“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” – Marilyn Ferguson
A strong theme this fall, winter and (sorry!) continuing into next year is FEAR. Saturn has just moved from Virgo to Libra and is quickly approaching a challenging square (90-degree angle) with Pluto, Lord of the Underworld. Their first exact encounter will be on November 15, though it is certainly in effect already. We’ll revisit this square in February and August of next year.
Saturn represents the structures, systems and foundations of our lives, while Pluto represents transformation at the deepest level. When these two planets interact, we become acutely aware of what has become stagnant and what needs to die in order to make space for new growth. Like a snake that has outgrown her skin, it’s time to shed the old layers.
I wrote a bit about this transit in an earlier post, ruminating on the deepening darkness and our need to transform our relationship with the dark, to recognize it as an essential phase in a natural cycle — the cycle of death and rebirth (ruled by Pluto). If we trust that there will, inevitably, be a rebirth, we can consciously and lovingly embrace the endings, the deaths, that want and need to happen, and experience less suffering in the process.
Even when we know we’ll be better off letting go of what’s not working, we tend to hold on to what’s known and familiar. Why? There are many stories we tell ourselves (not enough money, not enough time, it’s too hard, etc.), but the core issue is fear. While the fear factor tends to arise during any time of significant change, the issue is particularly relevant during this transit.
Capricorn is the sign associated with fear, and Pluto’s journey through this sign (2008-2024) signals that fear itself wants to be brought into the light to be healed, transformed and released.
Culture of Fear
“This entire culture is so violent, so traumatic… as to render most all of us to one degree or another shell shocked, and therefore incapable of realizing or even imagining what it would be like to live a life not based on fear. This fear, in fact, runs so deep that it has become normalized in this culture, codified, made the basis of the entire society.” - Derrick Jensen, Endgame, Volume I
When I was a kid — and I’m sure many of you experienced the same thing — I would disappear for hours, with a friend or by myself, and wander in the woods, or ride my bike around the neighborhood (no helmet, of course), or hole up in my favorite hiding spot and dream away the hours, lost in my imagination. Mom would say, “Be home for dinner,” and I’m sure it wouldn’t have occurred to her to worry about me, unless I didn’t return before dark.
Over the past 30 years, the collective (or at least American) fear factor has risen to the point where this scenario could result in accusations of parental neglect or abuse. What about the ever-lurking neighborhood sex offender? The serial killer? The many ways your child could injure herself if not parentally supervised in every moment?
I’m not saying that it’s wrong for parents to be protective, or even overly protective of their children (god knows I’m neurotic enough about my two cats…) — I’m just pointing out a change in the collective story — the story that the world we live in is an increasingly dangerous place, a world unsafe for children.
In a culture of fear, we are more likely to give away our power. If I’m operating from fear, then I will buy the product that promises to make me more attractive, or vote for the candidate who promises to keep me safe, or take the vaccine that promises to keep me healthy, or keep my mouth shut when an election is stolen or water is turned into private property or civilian populations are bombarded with missiles. A population of fearful people is easy to control.
Capricorn signifies both fear and power, and my personal hope for Pluto’s transit through Capricorn is that we as a culture stop operating from fear so we can regain our power.
“[I]n our resistance to change, which is the very source of renewal, we stagnate and truly die…. Nothing new can be reborn until something old first dies. Thus whenever we cling to a person, place, thing, or situation that has outlived its purpose, we only prevent ourselves from experiencing the abundance of renewal.” – Demetra George, Mysteries of the Dark Moon
With Saturn now in Libra (as of October 29), relationships — romantic, business and otherwise — will be a primary ground for both triggering and working through our fears. (See my previous post for more about Saturn in Libra.)
Saturn in Libra seeks solid, committed partnerships, and Pluto will be sure to bring attention to any underlying issues that need to be addressed. Pluto is the crucible of purification, burning away what is stagnant, inauthentic or otherwise preventing the relationship from deepening or moving forward.
Fear of commitment, fear of being alone, fear of being hurt, fear of hurting someone else, fear of being seen, fear of not being seen, fear of expressing intense emotions, fear of someone else expressing intense emotions… Expect your favorite relationship-related trigger to be set off during Saturn in Libra’s square to Pluto. Of course, all these triggers present opportunities for healing.
For best results in navigating this intense process, keep in mind the Saturn in Libra golden rule — that everyone in your life is a mirror, reflecting back to you some aspect of your inner world. We can expect the significant others in our lives to “play Pluto,” revealing to us our shadow sides — the repressed, ignored or forgotten parts of ourselves that want and need acknowledgment.
If a current partnership is not in everyone’s best interest, but you are holding onto it out of fear, it is likely to fall apart. If your commitment is solid, and you’re willing to risk honesty and vulnerability by expressing your feelings and fears, this will be a time of deepening intimacy, building trust and strengthening bonds.
Perhaps, ultimately, this transit will serve to help us shift into the consciousness necessary for survival through these dark times. In the words of Christine R. Page, author of 2012 and the Galactic Center, “Imagine a world where denial of our interrelatedness is no longer an option.“