The War of Earth and Sky

Saturn’s opposition to Uranus reaches its excruciating zenith any moment now and I for one will be delighted to have the tension past its peak: like an overtightened violin string, it is sounding more than a few screechy notes in life’s orchestra. Despite the inherent discomfort of this transit though, it can be leveraged, both as an excellent opportunity to realise personal growth and too, to fine-tune your connection with a metaphysical Universe. The opposition then is a lesson in disguise – and one that contains enormous potential benefits if you understand the harmonies of the planets – the first task for any aspiring metaphysician then, is to see the possibility that the echoes of those divine notes are manifest within the events, attitudes and situations which surround us every day of our lives. Once you have acknowledged this perspective, then you are on your way to a paradigm shift in consciousness. Skill simply grows with application and learning.

Saturn and Uranus have myriad correspondences, but they are profoundly antithetic, for this reason, any aspect between them is fraught with tension. It is an ancient battle; the elder Gods of earth and sky have been at war for as long as people have looked on and witnessed, with awe and consternation, the clash of elements. Everyday that same struggle is replayed in the clash of personalities and belief systems that is reenacted in homes, families, places of work and in the political and religious spheres of the entire planet. The opposition therefore offers a glimpse of that archetypal energy to be scryed in all of our relationships and struggles.

Fundamentally, the battle is between the old and the new and that is most likely to be expressed in the struggle to realise change in the face of resistance. On one level, this might mean that banking institutions are forced to reform their practices, accrued over centuries and reflecting a time where poverty was akin to criminality: the bankers were a wealthy elite who were able to manipulate the social clay into forms of their own choosing. The traditional banker is Saturn therefore, forced to contemplate radical reform – Uranus – in the guise of new charging structures, government bail-outs, and with the Saturn – Uranus opposition in square with Pluto in Capricorn, the transformation of old business models is the only way to balance the tension of these two ancient adversaries. At another level, you may be struggling with the same issues – writ small perhaps, but no less personally compelling for that fact – in your own life, where you are experiencing the same clash of old and new, traditional and avant-garde and one of the most interesting insights is to identify where you are involved in a power-struggle – because the squares to Pluto are manifesting the oppositional tension – and which side of the ancient divide you have fallen on.

In my own life I have become embroiled in a struggle between Catholicism and astrology: inevitably, my choice to fall on the side of Uranus was no choice (in the sense that I have never attacked Catholicism, but I have been attacked for being an astrologer by those with strongly held Catholic beliefs) but it is powerfully synchronous all the same to count the metaphysical correspondences. I have a Uranus-Pluto conjunction while my adversaries have Saturn conjunct Pluto, so the tee-square of Saturn and Uranus to Pluto is drawing out the powerful unconscious forces between us, casting us in the ancient mould of Saturn versus Uranus. Inevitably, I am cast as the breaker of the traditional and the wrecker of sensible good-order. This is yet another feature of the struggle: Saturn casts Uranus in his role – not as a necessary revolutionary agent – but as something sinister: his new way is denounced as irresponsible, anathema to Saturn of course, and it is often remarkable how one’s allegiance is projected in this way. In recent months I have witnessed the language of Saturn, a veritable list of Saturnine keywords in fact, repurposed, fashioned into barbs, and slung unceremoniously in my direction. Deeply uncomfortable of course, but at the same time fascinating to witness.

So where in your life has this battle been taking place? If there is a power-struggle in your life, it will probably have emerged into the open over the last few months as the tee-square took shape, although its genesis would have occurred in the latter part of 2008 when the first opposition between these two behemoths was formed (partile on 3rd November 2008, but palpable from September onward. As an aside, the last time these oppositions were in the heavens was between March 1965 and January 1967: in January 1967, the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco popularized hippie culture, leading to the legendary Summer of Love on the West Coast of the United States, and the 1969 Woodstock Festival on the East Coast.) You will have found yourself on one side or the other: adopting the role of Saturn or Uranus and perhaps accusing or defending on the basis of one perspective or the other. Here’s how it works:

  • If you are defending on the basis of your being responsible, sensible, of good-standing, successful, burdened, restricted, unfairly weighed down with responsibility, and reliable, or if you are attacking on the basis of your opponent being unreliable, irresponsible, a loser, weird, a misfit, mad, bad or dangerous to know, then you are in the role of Saturn and you are opposing Uranus.
  • If you are defending on the basis of being carefree, exciting, original, different, inclusive, revolutionary, being a risk-taker, wanting freedom or advocating positive change or of you are attacking on the basis of your opponent being dull, over-cautious, staid, fearful, repressed, oppressive, authoritarian or status-obsessed, then you are in the role of Uranus and you are opposing Saturn.

In general terms, with the opposition falling across the Libra – Aries axis and tee-squaring Pluto in Capricorn (thus disposited by Saturn), the weight is with Saturn, so the Saturnine types are much more likely to be those with the power agenda (because Pluto is Saturn’s servant). This doesn’t mean that Saturn will win, as we will see later, the only winners are going to be those who can keep themselves in check. With Aries-Libra configured the battleground will be over themes of relating, and it may well be disguised as what is best for the other person (that is the struggle between the rulers of Aries and Libra, Mars and Venus otherwise known as I know what’s best for you. The Aries – Libra opposition disguises its own agenda in concern for someone else and because Mars is selfish and Venus is cooperative, the opposition is experienced as one person trying to force the other to compromise, using Saturn and Uranus as the chief protagonists. Look to the house positions of the opposition to gauge its nuances. In my own case the opposition falls across the 6th and 12th: I have been accused (for example) of doing the “work of the devil” in recent weeks. Work is the 6th, and the devil is clearly Uranus cast in the role of mad, bad and dangerous to know with 12th house – religious – overtones. Uranus rules astrology, and Saturn conventional religious perspectives (like Catholicism), so it is simply the old battle being manifest. Awful to experience but fascinating to witness as I have said.

Understanding and identifying the effects of the opposition in your own nativity are quite straightforward, and there are many benefits to doing so; not the least of which is through gaining an appreciation that transits, especially when forming intense configurations, always have a profound influence on our life direction and situation, even if only through the medium of related natal placements. You are much more likely to be affected by these dynamics if you have planets in the Aries’ Points, or at the middle of the fixed signs. People born in 1972 for example, are likely to be seriously pressured under these transits because of the presence of Pluto in the first degree of Libra. Similarly, those born between 1946 and 1949, where Pluto transited the midpoint degrees of Leo, will be drawn in to these power-struggles. Anyone born between 1990 and 1993 also, with Pluto in the middle degrees of Scorpio. Bizarrely (or not actually), everyone that I know born in these years has been drawn into an intense and destructive power-struggle at this time.

The same dynamic will manifest according to the nature of the aspecting point in the nativity, so, if your Moon aspects the Aries’ Points – as Mel Gibson’s does at 00Li00 – then expect power struggles with families, mothers, wives and women in general. If Neptune is involved, as it is for anyone born in 1942 and 1963-4, then deceptions, confusion, dissolution and escapism all feature in the power-struggle dynamic, difficult dreams are a feature for these people. Consider too those children born in 2004 with Neptune at the midpoint degree of Aquarius, who may be struggling with nightmares at this time as the power-struggle emanates into the Neptunian subconscious realms.

Today, and in previous days, there have been numerous stories in the news of ambushes and knife attacks. The most celebrated is the story of Raoul Moat who ambushed a policeman and his ex-girlfriend and her new lover, the latter who died. He became, in the public consciousness Uranus and some applauded him as a kind of misunderstood misfit and potential folk-hero (Uranus/11th house) while others, especially establishment figures like the British Prime Minister were moved to condemn him and his supporters as irresponsible. Ambushes, knife attacks and prejudice are themes commonly associated with the asteroid Hopi which is currently configured with Uranus at 00Ar07, bound up irredeemably with the power-struggle dynamic. Knife attacks have been ten to the penny in the news over the last few days after a groom slashed his bride’s throat ,a man stabbed his new stepmother to death and a paramedic ambushed and stabbed a nurse in the car park of the hospital where they both worked. These are just a few of the more prominent ambush and stabbing stories of recent days.

And, in each of these cases, they are people who, unaware of the metaphysical Universe in which they live, have lost all perspective in the struggle between the old ways and the new and – determined to prevail at all costs – have simply eliminated the opposition. One of the key problems with the Saturn – Pluto energy in particular is that, when under duress, it becomes extremely authoritarian, judgmental and incompassionate and it fixes on a position until the point where Uranus does what Uranus does best: he rebels. Then everyone is cast in their familiar old roles: the responsible versus the irresponsible or the oppressive against the liberating, depending on your perspective.

Make no mistake though, the opposition itself is a front. The opposition is where all the action is taking place, but the presence of Pluto at the squaring point – around 0° of Capricorn, is the real agenda, but because Pluto is receiving the tense energy, he is simply doing what Pluto always does, and keeping himself hidden.

If the opposition falls across the 1st and 7th then ostensibly there is opposition between yourself and your most intimate partner because one of you wants more freedom and the other wants more security, but the hidden agenda is about how things appear (10th) or about family or property or some problem located in the distant past (4th).

If the 2nd and 8th are involved in the opposition then the outward manifestation of that tension is to do with money, debt, inheritance or self-esteem but the true agenda is children, the way you express yourself or what you want to do for enjoyment (including love affairs) – 5th house, or its politics, at whatever level (11th).

These examples should give you some idea how the tee-square might be affecting you. If you see that happening then you gain a real insight into the metaphysical Universe and how it really does affect us in our everyday endeavours: and in seeing that you are given the opportunity to realise that you are not compelled to act upon the pressures of the planets. If we understand that here is a subtle but very powerful pressure to pit Saturn against Uranus and to adopt one stance or the other, then we can determine to resist that pernicious energy, let it wash over us instead of weighing us down. And this is no idle ideal either: because we have to be careful not to allow ourselves to be cornered by the dictates of the aspectual tension. Consider the case of the groom who tried to murder his fiancée when she called off the wedding: clearly, the impetus existed to formalise and traditionalise their relationship (Saturn), she wanted out and called off the marriage (Uranus), so he attempted to kill her (Pluto). It is without doubt a very extreme example, but it illustrates very neatly the conceptual exchange of energies.

As explained earlier, there is particular danger in adopting the Saturn position, because Saturn has rulership of Pluto within the aspect pattern, so the urge to control, overpower and destroy the Uranian rebels will come naturally and unquestioned at this time, but it will almost certainly backfire in the long-term. Similarly, in following the chain of rulerships we see that Uranus rules Neptune, so victimisation comes into play here too. Uranus will utilise evasion to attempt to escape from Saturn’s strictures. Victimisation (real or imagined) may become a theme, and much of the negative energy for the Uranian will be channeled into wishing that things were different: Neptune really doesn’t enjoy brutality and bullying.

Of course, it’s not over yet. August will be a tough month as Jupiter first squares Pluto on the 3rd, which will up the ante for sure in any power struggle and then opposes Saturn on the 16th; then old Pain and Torment get together for a last-ditch oppressfest on the 21st, when Saturn squares Pluto at 3 Libra and Capricorn respectively. That will be the final salvo in the war between earth and sky, thankfully, but the devastation left might be more than anyone bargained for.

(How have you experienced the old battle? All war-stories gratefully received!)