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A Personal and Trans-Personal Rite of Passage

Welcome to 2020! It's a memorable year, so it's good to get in sync with the energies. We are at a major crossroads, personally and collectively. The year of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto is our rite of passage for crucial choices.

Here's the (almost complete) list of 2020 notable transits

There are so many things happening in 2020, it requires a list!

  • Major conjunctions become exact:
    • Saturn-Pluto: exact Jan.10, in 8° orb January 2019 to January 2021
    • Jupiter-Pluto: exact Apr.05, Jun.30, Nov.12, in 8° orb February to December
    • Jupiter-Saturn: exact Dec.21, in 8° orb March to August
    • All 3 planets within 8° orb: March to August, September to December
  • Major parallels continue:
    • Saturn-Pluto (2015-2020)
    • Jupiter-Pluto (2018-2020)
    • Jupiter-Saturn (2018-2021)
  • Moon goes Out of Bounds by declination again: March 2020 to January 2030
  • 6 eclipses: Jan.10, Jun.05, Jun.21, Jul.05, Nov.30, Dec.14
  • Lunar Nodes move from Cancer-Capricorn to Gemini-Sagittarius:
    • True Nodes: May.05.2020 to Jan.18.2022
    • Mean Nodes: Jun.04.2020 to Dec.22.2021
  • Mercury, Venus and Mars all go Retrograde and all go Out of Bounds
  • Jupiter-Saturn conjunction:
    • Next conjunction on the December Solstice 2020
    • Conjunction is at 0° Aquarius
    • 200-year elemental cycle changes from Earth to Air
  • Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto conjunction has its roots in the Cardinal Cross of 2008-2017, when these planets formed dynamic aspects in a T-square aspect pattern along with Uranus.
  • Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto conjunct 1992-93 Uranus-Neptune conjunction:
    • Pluto exact 2017-18, in 8° orb 2013-2022
    • Saturn exact 2019, in 8° orb 2018-2020
    • Jupiter exact 2020, in 8° orb 2020
  • Neptune opposite the 1965-66 Uranus-Pluto conjunction:
    • Exact 2018-2020, in 8° orb 2015-2024
  • Neptune sextile Pluto begins again (60°):
    • Will be exact in 2026-2032, in 6° orb 2020-2035
    • In the past: Exact 1950-56, 1976-86, in 6° 1944-1992
  • AND it's a Leap Year!

Whew! So, buckle up! We're in for a wild ride.

Saturn plus Pluto

This is the time of the worlds colliding, This is the time of kingdoms falling
This is the time of the worlds dividing, Time to heed your call
Send your love into the future...
~ Sting, Send Your Love

We were given a 2-part introduction to 2020 courtesy of two eclipses that were aligned with Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto, in the Cancer/Capricorn axis. Part 1 was provided by the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on Dec.26.2019. Both of these eclipses align with the plethora of planets currently in Capricorn. Part 2 of the Introduction to 2020 was brought to you by the Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on Jan.10.2020. And since 2020 is the Big Year of the Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto multi-conjunction in Capricorn, these eclipses indicate we're being flung into the deep end of the pool before we can even stick our toe the water.

Saturn and Pluto together create a loss of innocence. The bubbles of illusion, projection, naiveté and wishful thinking collapse, leaving an unpolished, raw, yet clearer view of what is. Although not usually a pleasant experience, it may nevertheless be the only way to address a toxic situation that's been building for some time and was pushed into the background. Indeed, this transit implies that a dangerous, disturbing, sinister or urgent situation is afoot and must be dealt with. So, Saturn and Pluto indicate a time to "get real." And although it's often arduous or unpleasant, this alignment can get a stuck situation moving by stirring hidden problems up to the surface.

In 2020, Saturn and Pluto remain within an 8° orb of conjunction from January 2019 until January 2021, even though they have just one exact pass on Jan.12, 2020 (just 2 days after the Lunar Eclipse). Their combined cycle varies between about 30 and 37 years between conjunctions (depending where Pluto is in its orbit). So, when these steamrollers get together, it's usually one for the history books.


Previous Saturn-Pluto alignments saw many disruptions, upheavals and dark periods on the world stage; examples include:

  • 1912-18 (conjunct and parallel) ~ WWI and the rise of Hitler, Stalin and fascism.
  • 1943-48 (parallel then conjunct) ~ WWII followed by the Cold War, Iron Curtain, Apartheid. Expansion of USSR. Vietnam War and communist takeover of SE Asia.
  • 1981-83 (conjunct) ~ Escalation of Cold War, nuclear arms race. USSR described as the "Evil Empire." Central American "death squads." Rise of Islamic terrorism. (9/11 happened on the Saturn-Pluto opposition in 2001.)

These times show repeating themes of:

  • All-or-nothing and extreme solutions to complex problems.
  • Authoritarian, simplistic dichotomies and rigid defensive boundaries.
  • Good versus evil. Alliance of right-wing politics and religious fundamentalism that claim favour with God and justified vengeance against what is seen as the "evil enemy."

Add Jupiter and Stir

His gods and demons have not disappeared at all;
they have merely got new names.
~ C.G. Jung, Man and His Symbols

Jupiter hooks up with Saturn and Pluto throughout 2020. As mentioned in my Capricorn Solar Eclipse update (Dec.26), Jupiter is a bit of a wild card, since its expansive energy could pushing the Saturn-Pluto in a number of possible directions. Will it enlighten or simply amplify? Will it inspire or brainwash? Will it lead us to reach for a higher truth or just seek to blame?

Jupiter and Pluto bring together seemingly opposite concepts: hope versus death, optimism vs destruction, growth vs decay, peace vs war, morality vs power overreach, light optimism vs gritty realism. Pluto's heavy transformative process could be uplifted and enlightened by Jupiter's visionary faith—or Jupiter's righteous inspiration could become captivated by and aligned with Pluto's tendency to believe that Might Is Right.

In 2020, Jupiter and Pluto maintain an 8° orb of conjunction from February to December in 2020. They come together about every 12 years, so their conjunction is not exactly a fairly common occurrence but neither is it a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Jupiter and Saturn also marry two rather inconsistent energies: expansion and contraction, imagination and fact, possibility vs reality, there-and-then vs here-and-now, spontaneity vs long-term planning. Often called the "king-maker" combination, their best potential can merge the best qualities of leadership and governance: vision and manifestation, law and order, freedom and stability, exploring new possibilities while being guided by a solid plan. On the other hand, Jupiter's love of being right combined with Saturn's love of strict control and authority could also create a heavy-handed form of domination.

In 2020, Jupiter and Saturn hover within 8° virtually all year. They are within a 5-8° orb from March to August (closest in May); then again from September to February 2021, with their one exact conjunction happening right on the 2020 December Solstice. Their cycle is about 20 years long, so again it's not a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence but it's rare enough to be big news when it happens.

2020 is ushered in by 2 powerful eclipses that channel the Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto energies. Since eclipes are powerful forces in their own right, for them to engage with these 3 outer planets in Capricorn at the dawn of 2020 essentially means we're being hurled into the deep end of the pool

The Solar Eclipse in Capricorn in December 2019 was conjunct Jupiter, bringing out the best and worst of that planet's qualities: vision, optimism and wisdom, but also arrogance, dogmatism and false pretenses.

This time, the Lunar Eclipse in Cancer is rooted in Saturn and Pluto. These planets are definitely a heavier energy than Jupiter, especially on a collective, global scale. So, any eclipse—solar or lunar—that taps into these heavier planets is likely to bring more dramatic results than teaming up with Jupiter.

As this eclipse approaches, tensions have erupted to a boiling point between the US and Iran and Iraq, and it is feared that all-out war might be on the horizon. Such widespread areas of Australia are burning out of control or choked with smoke, that it seems like that whole continent is on fire. And millions of Australian wildlife as well as human life are perishing as a result.

Sadly, tragically, it seems Saturn and Pluto at their most intense are right on cue.


Change and Transformation

God gave Noah the rainbow sign.
No more water. The fire next time!
~ Negro Spiritual, Mary Don't You Weep

At the risk of channelling Pollyanna, this is a good time to remind ourselves that nothing is so irredeemably bad or so hopelessly toxic that they can't be dealt with or learned from, and positive changes made as a result. As with all things Pluto, drastic change is often necessary in order for true transformation to take hold.

Take fire, for example. As tragic, devastating and harmful as its effects can most certainly be, in some ways a wildfire can actually have beneficial results, like clearing out deadwood and making room for new growth. In fact, a controlled burn is a technique often used to do exactly that. And it has been theorized that even destructive wildfires may be nature's way of purging its excesses. That said, fire is best used in moderation, for non-frivolous reasons, and contained within careful boundaries.

Here's the thing: there's a line as subtle as smoke between a useful fire that declutters an area overburdened with debris, versus an out-of-control inferno that is merely destructive and catastrophic. Successful moderation is not guaranteed – even a controlled burn can suddenly surge out of control. Although destruction has its healing merits, that doesn't mean damaging situations should be seen as simply happy, positive, desirable experiences. The loss that goes with it can leave deep wounds that take a long time to heal.

So, with Saturn and Pluto at our doorstep, it might feel like your familiar world is coming apart at the seams or that its durability is eroding away. And while we're in the middle of it, it can be hard to tell if this will be the contained, healing, regenerative "controlled burn" or a "scorched earth" wildfire that makes it necessary to address much bigger problems.

There's A Hole In My Sidewalk
(Autobiography in Five Chapters)

By Portia Nelson

[1] I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

[2] I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I'm in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

[3] I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

[4] I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

[5] I walk down another street.

All we really know is that change is here and we'll have to live with the results and consequences. So, it's imperative that we do everything in our power to dig deeper into the problems and obstacles to understand what is driving it from below the surface. It's important to maintain some healthy, realistic boundaries around the change that happening in our lives, and not just give up and let it all burn to the ground. Whatever comes out of this time will be more meaningful, empowering, strengthening and enlightening if we are conscious, active participants in the process.

Climate change is a good analogy for how Pluto problems typically run much deeper than they appear on the surface. Increasingly it is seen as a major factor/cause of the Australian wildfires, as well as other fire crises that increasingly occur around our planet. The goal isn't simply to put out fires if nothing is done to prevent the next one. The only way to get out of an escalating vicious cycle is to discover the underlying or indirect causes, and to find solutions that will break the pattern.

And yet, some people still question whether this terrible situation is truly evidence of increasing climate change or if all these fires are random and not part of a bigger pattern. And this is the tricky part with Saturn and Pluto – if Saturn authoritatively and stubbornly insists that the old rules are the only ones that still prevail, it can foster denial concluding that change is unnecessary, which just keeps that cycle spinning faster and faster.

As already mentioned, it can be tricky to know if a crisis is just a odd blip on the event graph or if it's something more significant that's becoming a repeating theme. So it's paramount to keep a balance between over-reacting and under-reacting – to respond with an urgency that can effectively deal with the worst case scenario without making the situation worse by overdoing it.

In a way, Capricorn must remain open-minded to possibilities—not exactly its strength—while still staying focused on the manifestation of actualities and realities. While Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn may not be easy relent to flexibility, Jupiter's broader perspectives can help keep us from getting too entrenched.

In other words, if our outlook becomes so stiff that it doesn't leave room to grow and integrate new information, then when change inevitably comes along it can break what had been our strength. The point is that Saturn-Pluto can bring a time that tests the nature of our convictions, beliefs, expectations and assumptions. If they are healthy then we can bend with changing information, but if they are rigid and calcified, problems could just become worse.

Jupiter is about learning and expanding our awareness and understanding. Saturn is about learning from our mistakes. Pluto is about learning how to empower ourselves from the inside out. Change and transformation never go in a straight line, but go back and forth, learning, making mistakes, learning again, learning new skills, increasing strength to avoid slipping back, and having the courage to move forward another few steps again.

Saturn conjunct Pluto

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won.
There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible,
but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

When Saturn and Pluto become exactly conjunct on Jan.12, the Sun and Mercury march in lockstep on either side of them, all four squeezed into a span of just over one degree (21-22° Capricorn). With Sun and Mercury being such personal energies, it means this is no abstract noise rumbling in the background—this is an in-yer-face, front-and-centre, now-get-this kind of energy whose ripple effects are bound to be felt on many levels.

On one hand, you could feel determined, driven, empowered, indomitable, single-minded or even obsessed. It might feel like you're surfing a tidal wave – one wrong move could spell disaster, but oh, think of the victory of making it work! If you're in the process of making something happen in your life, this energy combined with your own persistence could launch you like a rocket. Just remember that a little goes a long way – don't overdo it with the hot sauce of inspiration and push.

On the other hand, many of us could experience the opposite. You might feel tired, slow, lethargic, discouraged or sad from several days to a couple of weeks before and after the Lunar Eclipse. It might seem sometimes like you're trying to push a big jagged rock uphill. This is a very dense, heavy energy, and it's natural to sometimes feel overwhelmed or inundated by the work ahead that's required to attain your personal goals, or to fulfil an obligation to take care of others in your life, or to embrace a sense of responsibility to resolve the woes of the world in general.


So, give yourself permission to slow down. Even if you need to make a quick decision, use every moment that you have for considering what your priorities are and how you want to respond. Premature, impulsive reactions are more likely to create extremes that will just make things more difficult.

The most important thing to keep in mind as you move through this year is to take it slow. One Step At A Time. One Trauma At A Time. One Day At A Time. Five minutes at a time, if necessary.

By all means, plan, strategize, anticipate and prepare, in whatever ways are necessary and help you through your process. But aim to step back into the Here-And-Now in between those times. Keep your eye on the far horizon too, so you don't lose sight of what could be and where you want to be, but always come back to your centre, check that your feet are on the ground, and ssslllooowww dddooowwwnnn.........

Reacting impulsively out of reflex will often just tangle you up in complications. Reaching for the worst case scenario in the future will too often keep you from being able to let go and relax in the present. Capricorn and Cancer are all about taking it slow and keeping it practical. If you're overwhelmed, it's good to remember that juggling a lot of things works better if you keep the pace to match the rhythm of the situation, but that's not the same as rushing or impulsively lunging at the first option you see.

If you're in danger then of course you need to act fast and be safe, but check to see if you're actually in a risky situation or if it just feels like it. Acknowledge what you know first, then assess what might be from there.

Breathe. Stop what you're doing and breathe. Breathe again. Give yourself 60 seconds of time-out to just be in your own protected bubble of solitude. Relax your shoulders and your stomach muscles. Acknowledge whatever you're feeling and remind yourself that you are more than your feelings. You are also your experience, your strength, your heart, your courage and your awareness. Then ease your way back out into the world and bring that holistic awareness of who you are with you.

You've got this. :-)


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