Reality Bites! the astrology of 2020

Astrology tells us that 2020 is a major turning point. One that astrologers have been talking about for a long time. It’s a year that ends old planetary cycles and begins them anew. And it’s a year that will likely see more than its fair share of tests, endings, and birth pains.

In short, this is a very serious year. A year in which we confront that which can no longer be avoided.

Yet this year also offers a critical opportunity for transformation. A transformation on the big stage of world affairs, and quite possibly in your own life too.


Saturn conjunct Pluto – end of an era

There are several astrological cycles that are powerful in 2020, but one makes most of the headlines. Right now, in the sky, in the late stages of Capricorn, Saturn with its icy rings is meeting up with cold, dark, rocky Pluto. The exact moment they meet is 12th January 2020.

In astro-speak, this is called Saturn conjunct Pluto. The last time this happened was 1982/83.

When we look to the past to see what happened when Saturn has triggered Pluto, we find times of crisis, contraction, war and pain. Times that were unsafe. Times we might look back upon as the end of an era.


Examples of Saturn/Pluto

The terrorist attack of 9/11 is one example of Saturn/Pluto. So is the start of both the First and Second World Wars, the Cold War, and the Falklands War.

“Waves of anger and fear                                                                                                    Circulate over the bright                                                                                                              And darkened lands of the earth. . .. “

‘September 1, 1939’ – WH Auden

Today, I believe, that catastrophic bushfires in our country, with its daily tales of horror and mass scale death and destruction, is another brutal and life-changing Saturn/Pluto event.


Australia Burns

As I write these words, it is the beginning of January 2020, and our country continues to burn. The land is a tinderbox, parched by years of worsening drought and extreme heat that scientists say is linked to climate change.

The scale of suffering is apocalyptic.

People have lost their lives, as have an estimated one billion animals. Eco-systems are destroyed, as are millions of hectares of trees and more than two thousand homes and properties. Precious species of wildlife and vegetation may now be extinct or may become so (including koalas, unthinkable).

As parts of the country look like a war zone, one more consequence becomes obvious. We are facing a disaster that is out of our control. And that has changed everything.

One firefighter speaks for many of us to the distraught feelings that the scale of this tragedy has wrought, when he asks, “how can we translate that powerful emotion into a resilience and determination to make sure it never happens again?” (ABC News 3.2.20)

Yes, mate. Exactly.

Saturn/Pluto strengths

Resilience and determination are characteristics that rise to the fore in Saturn/Pluto times. Because they must. Every time the jaws of hell open, as they seem to do under Saturn/Pluto, the human spirit responds.

Already we have seen moving examples of communities joining together, acts of bravery, efforts to rescue or euthanize injured animals and supply food and water, donations to charities and those in need, and relentless efforts to save lives and homes.

What must we do however, as this firefighter asks, to stop it from happening again?

Australians will be called upon to respond to that question throughout the long Saturn/Pluto cycle that is just beginning.


Transformation of the old ways

There has been little political will to address a climate change catastrophe, with warning voices unheeded, even those of former fire chiefs. Instead our government is considering legislation which would see jail terms for climate protesters.

It has been easy to feel helpless and powerless in the face of this resistance.

Now, however, the blinkers are off about the impact of the climate crisis upon life as we know it, and it is a very harsh truth for us to face. ABC journalist Laura Tingle writes “These fires have made climate change a reality of the present tense for many Australians, not something we can put off to the future.” (ABC News 4.1.20)

Many Australians are giving voice to what we might do differently. And what they call for is transformation of the way things have been done.


What can we do differently?

Here are a few suggestions for change that I’ve come across in recent days:

  • Clive Irving of the Daily Beast (2.1.20) calls for active political leadership on sustainable ways of living in a country where life has such a fragile hold. This is echoed by former conservative politician John Hewson who calls upon PM Morrison to show leadership on water, agricultural and land management, renewable energy, bio-fuels and vehicle emissions, and “implement a genuine longer-term strategy to deal with what will be increasingly a challenge into the future.”(SMH 2.1.20)
  • Dr Kate Ahmad has a petition online calling for the Federal Government to declare a climate emergency.
  • Conal Hanna asks us each to take responsibility for the self-interest that has always been at the heart of inaction on climate change. She calls for ordinary people to take ownership of the problem and lessen their demand on the carbon economy. She asks that we re-examine our lives “from diet and purchasing habits, to leisure activities and super investments.” (ABC News 1.1.20)
  • Professor Franz Jotzo, in writing of climate change and the inevitability of future catastrophes, advises the government “to plan ahead, provide the resources to fully deal with impacts when they come, invest in infrastructure and raise capability. If ever there was a “nation building” program, this is it.” (ABC News 6.1.20)

There is a loud and irresistible swell of voices urging upon Australian authorities the transformation we now need.

Saturn/Pluto themes

Whether we look to our bushfire disaster, or the horrors of war and terrorism that have coincided with Saturn/Pluto, we discover certain consistent themes.

  • Pain and fear
  • Destruction that is out of control
  • The end of innocence or naivety
  • The forced end of an era
  • The resilience and determination of the human spirit in response
  • A passionate struggle to transform the old
  • Resistance to this struggle

We see these outcomes because of the nature of the underlying archetypes of Saturn and Pluto. It might help to make this clearer by listing the separate characteristics of these very different archetypes.

SATURN loves structure and rules and building something in the real world. It welcomes responsibility. But it really hates change. And when change is in the air Saturn reacts with fear and repression. Worldly expressions of Saturn are governments, economies, the patriarchy, the police, and conservative politics.

PLUTO drives transformation. It loves power and bringing to the surface whatever has been repressed. It can be ruthless and disruptive of stability. It is experienced through Nature, ‘red in tooth and claw’, as the force of evolution, and also through the psychological underbelly that drives our thoughts and behaviour. It is irresistible.


The Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object

As you might be guessing, when these two archetypes combine, we experience the intensity and pressure of being forced to change (Pluto), along with active resistance and repression to changing (from the Saturn powers that be).

The challenge of Saturn/Pluto is that it is a precarious life phase; a kind of tipping point, where life and death hang in the balance. Psychiatrist Stan Grof compares this to the phase of giving birth where fierce forces of Nature force the baby out of its familiar home in the womb and into the birth canal.

There is anxiety, there is pain, there is no turning back yet obstruction to going forward.

Without light at the end of the tunnel it is hard to remain positive. Yet history suggests that force for change eventually overwhelms the Saturn authorities who oppose it. Think of resistance to the civil rights movement of the mid 1960’s (another episode of Saturn/Pluto), and the eventual assimilation of at least some of what was being called for into mainstream values and rules.

Transformation is, however, no quick change and is never neatly done.


What could this mean for 2020?

OK, so now you have a feel for the archetypal forces underlying 2020. Or at least the Saturn/Pluto part of it. What might we expect then going forward?

Here are a few ideas to consider.

  • The struggle to die of the old-world order and the struggle to be born of the new
  • A perceived split between us vs them and the projection of shadow qualities onto those who oppose us
  • A deepening concern that the world might end, as expressed in the last Saturn/Pluto conjunction by massive ‘no nuclear’ protests, and by today’s protests about climate change
  • A contraction of our debt driven economy, as the solution that more is better runs out of gas
  • Continuing mass protests expressing concern about climate change and democratic rights
  • Continuing acts of defiance and control by authoritarian leaders
  • Further examples of sudden and extreme destruction, as with the Australian bushfire disaster
  • Difficulties involving pain, loss, and grief, that are particularly emphasised in January 2020, when Saturn and Pluto are exactly together and are triggered by the Sun and Mercury, and again from August 2020-Jan 2021 when Mars triggers Saturn/Pluto for a lengthy period


“The year 2020 is a threshold to cross, a pause between the way it has been and the way it will be, necessitating a confrontation with all the difficult challenges in need of a remedy within civilization.” – Gray Crawford, astrologer


Let’s All Be Responsible for Change

When Saturn/Pluto is the archetype that holds sway in life, the going gets tough. Experiences can be shocking and terrifying. We grieve an end of innocence.

But 2020 is also the time for the tough to get going, and take responsibility, not only for the immediate response to disaster, but to fundamentally transform the way things have been, to build a solid foundation for a new world.

Coming Blog Posts

The astrology of 2020 is truly significant. Here I’ve hoped to convey the big picture themes of Saturn/Pluto as they inform the zeitgeist and those large events that affect us all.

It’s also possible that Saturn/Pluto makes a direct impact to your personal birth chart (via a transit) and it is very timely for you to ride the wave of this transformation in your own life. I’ll write more on this, and I especially invite you to book a session with me should that appeal.

As well, I’ll be covering in a new post the helpful arrival of Jupiter into Capricorn, where it will meet up with Saturn and Pluto from April till December this year. And that’s a whole other story, to be shared with you soon!

Copyright © 2020 Heart’s Plan, All rights reserved.

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