This was the challenging question I was asked earlier today by a fellow blogger – let us call her Eliza – so I dashed off a quick answer. Here it is – all you folk out there with Saturn/Pluto conjunctions (me!), oppositions, squares, trines, sextiles, inconjuncts, how do you manage those testing, difficult planetary combinations about which no-one seems keen to write about, very often? (I wonder why?!) And how do you manage friends or loved ones or work colleagues who have them? I would be most interested to hear what you have to say…
Here’s what I replied, off the top of my head and without too much thought.
Ok, Eliza, here goes…
Work very hard to face up to the shadow sides of your own nature – power and control issues being paramount with Saturn/Pluto – usually presented via the difficulties you run into with other people. Try over time increasingly to do this without self-punishment but with growing self-acceptance.
This brings a certain amount of freedom: both to exercise restraint over the harsher facets of the Saturn/Pluto combination – for example the tyrannical, control freak streak – and to draw on its best aspects, eg the ability to persevere, even in the face of enormous odds, the ability to honour commitments made, however difficult and testing, the ability to apply forensic analysis to sorting out seemingly intractable problems (I have a Mercury/Saturn/Pluto combo) eg in astrological research of which I am very fond.
And – avoid taking the easy way out in situations where you just want to walk in the opposite direction, but know it would be the wrong thing to do. Saturn/Pluto people never usually get away with taking the easy way out of anything.
Also – lighten up! My Mercury/Saturn/Pluto is squared by a Third House Jupiter; I have quite the gallows sense of humour at times – and a well-developed ability to laugh at my own stupidities. However, be very cautious with a marked tendency to respond to what you perceive as other people’s stupidities in the same vein. I have learned the hard way that this kind of humour is not always appreciated.
Furthermore, I find that a useful life skill to cultivate and practise is that of being forensically honest with myself (especially regarding my own motives at times) whilst realising that other people – mostly – cannot or do not wish to have that level of honesty applied to them. So – it is very important to develop the ability to know when just to back off and shut up…
There you are, Eliza – I didn’t intend to warble on so much! I do hope some of it at least is of value to you…..
450 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015
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If it’s a natal placement Saturn/Pluto, I would first look to the houses, signs and aspects to see where and how the energy is operating. I would say this person has lots of controlled energy to accomplish and transform lots of things. There is no better energy for the determination to stay on task or perseverance in the face of hopeless odds then Pluto/Saturn. I also agree with Anne you must try to keep a sense of humor, there will be a few dark days. I wouldn’t say it’s a joyful aspect, let’s face it, seeing what needs to be transformed is not always a pretty sight but when one digs down deep into ones shadow, lots of things can be transformed into something absolutely heavenly
I just went through a Pluto Saturn conjunction transit in 2011/2013 while also going through the Uranus square at the same time! I can offer my story which I think worked out beautifully except for the broken wrist and inflamed shoulder. My Saturn is in Capricorn on the cusp of the 5th and 6th house. Two things were needing revision when the transit started. One was work the other my health. There was downsizing, cut backs, restructuring and power struggles at work. Uranus square came through and I basically switched sides. I went from working for “the man” to standing up for “the people”. I saw from the inside out how things really worked and it was ugly. I knew with Pluto there was no short cut, no easy way out. I put my nose to the grindstone and one foot in front of the other and descended into the underworld. I went from a desk job, back to hard manual labor at 52 and 70 pounds overweight, it almost did me in physically, yet Pluto is also the giver of perseverance! Day by day I fought just to continue and hang on because quitting was not an option without losing everything I had worked the last 32 years for. Mine had to be a timed Pluto release for it to turn out positive. It wasn’t fun BUT it’s heaven now! I made it through, lost close to 50 pounds to date, hung on, got an early retirement offer from my job with pension and financial bonus for leaving!!! Things are great and I love my new life but it took lots of changes (Uranus) and lots of (Pluto/Saturn) endurance to get me here.
Mo, thanks for this brilliant and highly illustrative feedback. The capacity to endure, tough it out is not a glamorous attribute but it surely can turn difficult times around – as your story demonstrates so clearly.
There is no doubt Pluto/Saturn must be one of the toughest aspects but as illustrated by yourself Anne and in Mo’s story, the rewards for the hard effort is indeed a deep mine of spiritual gold. There were some excellent articles in TMA fairly recently on the outer planets wired to the personal ones. Illustrating that when such aspects are found in the horoscope there are usually very personal struggles in that persons life. One of astrology’s great gifts is to help us see where the path is to using that energy constructively whether it is there in the natal horoscope or by transit.
Thanks for this thoughtful comment, Carole.it is one of the toughest – but my experience is that if one can weather it and just keep going with as much self- honesty and integrity as possible, it can and does deliver gold…
from Jen, via Facebook 19.7.15:
Yes! Thank you for your thoughts on this. I have Moon conjunct Pluto at 5 Libra square Saturn at 5 Cancer…Im definitely working on this one.
Having Pluto (transiting)on the Moon/Saturn square has allowed for a lot of inner work and with Saturn in Cancer the aspect has played out in maternal abandonment and corresponding self confidence issues.
I think Pluto/Saturn is about finding your personal efficacy in life.
Many thanks for this helpful feedback, Jen. I’ll add it to the conversation on my blog, if that’s ok? I agree with what you say about finding one’s personal efficacy via Saturn/Pluto – but usually one has to walk the burning ground first to get to the ‘diamond soul’ depth towards which the aspect seems to push one. Takes a long time, but worth the struggle, I have certainly found!
Thank you for your insight in helping to navigate this aspect. I have Pluto in Libra right on my ascendant with Saturn 9 degrees away in the 12th house. So I definitely resonate with that bit about letting go of control freak tendencies, and being forensically honest about one’s intentions – a way out and a constant releasing and transformation of relationship patterns and compulsions.
My personal experience with the 12th house Saturn in Libra is one of surrendering and letting go, at first comes resistance, fear and pain from having to lose something/someone. Later comes understanding and maturity, the gold of this aspect.
Thank you for YOUR insight too, Star! I have a Twelfth House SaturnPluto conjunction with Venus, thus there are strong resonances between our respective experiences of how this very difficult combination plays out. I have found a very similar process operates for me: at first comes resistance, fear and pain. Then, with letting -go and acceptance, comes “…understanding and maturity, the gold of this aspect…’
I like this analysis. I myself natally have the same conjunction Mercury-Saturn-Pluto in 7 ( Ypres, 18/08/1947 17:30). Very much (inborn) stress.
Many thanks for responding, Luc. I do hope you have found that with self-awareness and honesty in relationships – I’m assuming you mean that the conjunction falls in the 7th House – that the aspect has proved less stressful as time has gone by.
Hi again Anne and everybody on the comments here. This morning it struck me that it is perhaps this Saturn-Pluto conjunction that is at the root of my feelings of tremendous fear about survival. This has mostly to do with surviving financially and fears that I would not be able to take care of myself as I get older. It is a very real anxiety that permeates many of my mornings, though I have been working with affirmations and remembering to take steps towards steadying and reassuring myself.
I am an artist, and also do astrology readings for clients. I never had a steady stream of income, or thought too much about it in my earlier years but the past few years its become quite a pressing anxiety to sort out the financial foundation of my life. I realize that it isn’t just that aspect, other aspects in my chart contribute – but am beginning to see deeper connections between this fear and anxiety and Saturn-Pluto. Perhaps I missed it before with Saturn hiding in the 12th and with Pluto’s penchant for invisibility. 🙂
That said, with Saturn transiting my 2nd, it is my hope that I get on the road to that financial freedom with a bit of Saturn’s behind kicking and good help.
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Hi Star – thanks for your honesty and openness here – you have identified that ‘primal’ quality which seems to lie at the core of Saturn/Pluto aspects, ie the fear of annihilation and need to defend oneself from it. Personally, I had to deal with that myself during a long Neptune opposition to my 12th House planets – I have an exact Saturn Pluto conjunction also conjunct four personal planets. I certainly found that facing those deep fears using Buddhist philosophy as a very helpful tool, was an important part of what got me through a long burnout and recovery period much of which was very very frightening. “Lean into the sharp points” and “regard chaos as extremely good news” were two of my favourite Buddhist slogans, often recited to myself ( and sometimes my husband!) – through gritted teeth, I can tell you! Of course, there’s a lot more to the experience than I have time to relate here. I’m hoping to write a book about ‘descent and return’ in which real people’s varying ways of facing up to going through the gate of Saturn Pluto will be central. In your case, ‘leaning into the sharp points’ of what Saturn demands of you as he traverses the 2nd House and challenges you to sort out your finances, sounds like what you are planning to do. “Giving the god what the god wants” is usually a very good idea. Good luck with it!
Thank you for your beautiful work Anne, and for sharing so much with all of us readers. I look forward to the book, as I am a happy reader of your book on the nodal axis. Underworld journeys, psychological mining and all matters of descent and return are fascinating and so helpful! Thanks once again for your good wishes. Goddess speed.
Many thanks, Star, for your kind and affirming words! I would be interested to hear what you think of the Moon’s Nodes in Action research when you are finished reading it.
What a helpful exchange about a very difficult constellation!
I have a natal square between Saturn in Cancer / 7th house and Pluto in Libra / 9th (Placidus) or 10th (Equal) house. I read this fantastic post and enlightening comments even days ago, but until now I had to think a lot about it and could not contribute with written words. Many of you mention aspects like existential fear, need for control, a harshness, the need to be absolutely honest to yourself (and to others only when it is asked for). All of this is true for me. It is getting better over the years, by maturing the sharp edges seem to soften a bit, maybe by “leaning into them” a lot – I was working with this slogan as the transiting Pluto opposed the natal Saturn und squared the natal Pluto some years ago, which changed my life by several losses of deep personal connections and brought me freedom and true love after I was able to let the old structures go.
For me, with Saturn in Cancer in 7th house, I stick to commitments sometimes far longer than is healthy for me. It is the “stay until death and beyond” and has a lot of undissolved karma energy. It took years until I began to understand that sometimes it is asked of you to let go karmic bonds because their time is over, and not creating new karma by sticking to them even longer. On the other hand I am able to work for the same company for more than 14 years (!), and this calms my existential fear a lot. Nevertheless I continue with relationships I should have left long ago. For example I stayed in a committed relationship more than three years longer (all in all nine years) than was healthy for both of us. It is getting better – I managed to finally free myself by cutting a lot of cords, and my love brings me a Pluto in Leo / Venus in Virgo sextile to my natal Saturn, love which is lovely, so I am more relaxed in many aspects of my life.
A word, which describes the Pluto Saturn energy to me, is maybe “resilience”. There is deep down, sometimes hidden, a strength like gold, like granite, the fundament of the world itself, and by removing the layers of fear and loss we can stand on the foundation of the universe itself, and to feel this power, yes, it is gold.
Thank you, Anne, for posting this and starting the exchange about Saturn Pluto connections!
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“…There is deep down, sometimes hidden, a strength like gold, like granite, the fundament of the world itself, and by removing the layers of fear and loss we can stand on the foundation of the universe itself, and to feel this power, yes, it is gold….”
E.P., thank you so much for this deep, well considered feedback, well worth waiting for, especially the conclusion I have quoted at the start of my reply. You have summed up, beautifully, the essential creative core of Saturn/Pluto…gold that has to be worked for long and unflinchingly…
And – isn’t it amazing how blind we can be to the obvious? I realised today that I had initiated this Saturn/Pluto discussion during Saturn’s stationing at the end of July prior to turning direct on my 28 Scorpio IC/South Node at the beginning of August…how very Saturn/Pluto!!
Thanks, everyone, for participating in this truly enlightening discussion on a planetary combination which isn’t much talked about. I think I may have the next topic for my column in the UK’s Astrological Journal …it’s a great magazine, full of articles for every level and area of astrological interest. Why not treat yourselves to a subscription?
Hi dear Anne and many many thanks for this wonderful present to all of us pluto-saturnian. I have the opposition very close to my midheaven(saturn in pisces)/imum coeli (pluto/mars/uranus in virgo) axis (7 degrees) and my moon nodes in perfect square in gemini/sagittarius where lies my ascendant/descendant axis. I am the one of great enterprises. Every day life, though sometimes warms me, more often alienates me from my big projects (i always have at least one mission impossible to pursue) and soul food in general. Pluto is also my dominant planet (moon in eighth house at 22 of capricorn where 2020’s pluto saturn conjunction will take place) followed by mercury and saturn. My stellium in twelfth house where north node is, makes me also a bit of a misfit even though always in touch with some other’s soul.
Many thanks, Roberta, for this heartfelt personal testimony. I’m so glad you found my Saturn/Pluto notes helpful!