The Saturn-Pluto Conjunction in Capricorn of 2020

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the Saturn-Pluto conjunction with me. 🙏🏼 I’ve written out some of the themes that can arise during this time with the intention to support and empower you on your path. Saturn-Pluto is not a very light transit, but just because it’s heavy doesn’t mean I want to scare you. Hopefully with some more awareness of the nature of this transit, you can find a way to relate to it that is truly supportive. In fact, if you do “the work”, you may just have a transformative experience that impacts the quality of the rest of your life for the better, as well as for the people around you. 

Though the transit is exact in January 2020, the window for the transit building and waning is December 2018 – January 2021. That being said, many of the developments from this transit will have long-lasting ramifications, especially because of Saturn’s relationship to the structure of reality and how we are conditioned. If culture shifts, it influences generations. If we have a significant psychological shift, the years following are changed, too.

Why is Saturn-Pluto a heavy transit? When planets are in aspect together (aspect = conjunction, opposition, square, trine, sextile, etc.) they co-infuse each other. Saturn gets infused with Pluto, and Pluto gets infused with Saturn. I’ll list out for you some qualities associated with both planets individually, and then you can reflect in your own meditative space what these archetypes might look like together if you blended them. And well – you’ll see what I mean when I say heavy.

Saturn: maturity, linear time, hardship, ethics, wisdom, calcification, boundaries, limitation, thresholds, responsibility, restriction, oppression, container, bones, structure, concrete manifestation, conditioning, social standing, status, endurance, dryness, sobriety, control, standards, excellence, gravitas, consequences/results, depression, function/dysfunction, glancing back in time/through history, establishment, social mores, the personal superego.

Pluto: intensity, the will to survive/persist, the shadow, destruction, the undercurrents, catharsis, explosiveness, sex, libido, instinct, death/resistance of death, power, energy exchange, unconscious/subconscious attachments or hooks, manipulation, supernatural, occult, hidden/unseen, taboo, psychology, nature, transformation, magnetism, attraction.

Keywords for Saturn-Pluto contacts: enduring transformation, psychological work, dark night of the soul, taking responsibility for one’s shadow, moral transformation.

You will likely not experience ALL of the themes listed above or below, but you may notice some are already present or setting the mood at this time. You can put more energy and focus into some of the traits/qualities that you would like to enhance more, as well. Think of any given transit like a prism of light that influences all it touches, creating in a sense, a field dynamic or a pervasive mood. There are so many different ways we can experience and respond to this light.

Saturn-Pluto in Capricorn Themes Explored

Re-structuring the Unconscious

If you are into personal development and/or spend time with people who are, you may be one to talk about “reprogramming the mind” or “reprogramming the psyche”. First, this implies something which is a truth which is that our psyche and mind run programs. These programs are the result of our conditioning. Conditioning here means the experiences we’ve had and the messages from our surroundings that we’ve internalized. The fact that we have the capacity to organize our consciousness in this way is quite a feat. It allows us to be complex and sophisticated creatures. I can for example, chew and swallow my food without expending a lot of cognitive energy on how to do it, because I’ve already internalized that “program”. In fact, if you asked me how I chew and swallow food I probably wouldn’t be able to give you that detailed an answer unless I really thought about it. It’s faded into the background, perhaps even become unconscious.

Some of our conditioning has supported us and helped us to build healthy programs. For example, if I came from a family that was really close, happy, and basically functional, and I developed a secure attachment style, this would support my romantic relationships later on in life. But some of our conditioning is less helpful. If I came from a dysfunctional and abusive home, I would have a lot of patterns in my psyche that even if my external world shifted, I would still be running programs to protect myself: maybe I find it hard to trust people or I’m really good at manipulating people (because that’s what I used to survive).

People sometimes say that desire is the cause of suffering, but desire is so much more than that. It’s a catalyst for evolution. If I am that person with an abusive past and tendencies toward being manipulative, and if my desire for real love is strong enough, I may have the motivation to really work through my patterns. My desire could even be to stop feeling so much pain – that could be enough to start to take more accountability for my own healing journey.

One effect of the Saturn-Pluto transit is that our unconscious patterns become more concretely noticeable to us. It may be the pattern itself that we are able to see, and what a gift that clarity is. Or it may be the result of the pattern that is becoming obvious, and this result is pressing us to more soberly examine the root causes of our distress. If the only thing we are doing to improve our circumstances is editing our external lives (like trying to control other people, or trying to just become more successful and then everything will work out, etc.) we may keep running up against walls. While improving our affairs in the external world is always helpful, it does not necessarily change the unconscious patterns we are running in the deep psyche. Think of the deep psyche like a magnet that attracts things to it. If we’re not addressing our core magnetic structures, no change in the external world alone is going to reverse the issues that our core magnet is attracting. 

One of our greatest responsibilities during this time period is to become more mature and more aware about our psychological patterns, and to discover our own agency and accountability in changing psychic structures that need to change. It is very unlikely that we will do it alone, since the “shadow” is what we cannot see. We bump up against, and illuminate our shadow when we get information from outside of the self. So whether you read a lot of self-help books or psychology books, work with a therapist, coach, or mentor, or have some pretty transformative conflict reconciliations with people in your personal life, this growth does not happen alone. So don’t expect it to.

Finding Empowerment in Concrete, Structured Ways

Since we have already talked about the deep psyche and the core magnet we have inside of us, we can balance it out to say that external circumstances DO matter. I may have developed fantastic coping skills for being in an abusive relationship, but is that really worth my mental and emotional energy? Or would it be better to remove myself from the abusive relationship? Similarly, I might know deep inside that I’m special and perfect and whole just the way I am, but if I’m not making concrete choices that reflect and make space for the unfoldment of my unique talents, what am I really doing?!

While it’s actually really hard to define what separates the “inner” and “outer”, consider some of these ideas as a loose guideline to think about when it comes to managing your inner and outer games in life. They have a way of co-informing each other, because they don’t happen in isolation.

Inner game: learning how to have a better relationship with the mind (thinking in more empowering, kind ways, not believing harsh/cruel thoughts, etc); owning our desires, self-compassion, compassion for others, learning emotional self-regulation, coping tools, deepening our relationship with Spirit, becoming more self-aware, deepening our capacity to be resourceful, opening up/becoming more receptive, getting clear about our boundaries, getting clear about our values, developing our unique affinities and abilities.

Outer game: obtaining resources or social status, building community, building relationships, enrolling in a program/training/higher education, career/vocation, outer appearance/how we present ourselves, geographical location.

Creating improvement in any of the above is a form of leverage. Leverage is a process by which we gain the ability to elevate circumstances or move toward a particular outcome. Leverage and the accumulation of power is not an end in itself – it’s a stepping stone toward something else. This is important to keep in mind. One may desire wealth or power for personal, psychological reasons, but if one attains such wealth and power, they will be invited or challenged to share it with society in a way that benefits others. It’s not either or, but both and. Likewise, someone may desire to help the world and have a lot of knowledge about global issues, but in order to do they work they feel called to do, they have to develop stronger emotional boundaries or mental health.

Closing up Certain Chapters in your Life

Not every phase is meant to last forever, and there comes a time to let go. Take some time and even a little ceremony for what you are saying goodbye to. Psychic structures are forged to adapt to circumstances and challenges. But often when those circumstances and challenges change, we still hold onto the psychic structures, and that is when they can become maladaptive. (Remember psychic structures relate to “programs” we are running, or we can also call them personality constellations. I can have manipulative psychic structures, compassionate psychic structures, self-absorbed psychic structures, humanitarian psychic structures, and so on.)

Saturn-Pluto can specifically relate to formidable, nearly militant structures we have created in the deep psyche due to a threat. Being so powerfully defended may have been helpful, but the softer and sweeter flavors of life can feel suffocated in the midst of such heavy guarding. Take the person who was devastated in love and said they would never open their hearts or love again. That level of defense may have been like a scab that allowed the wound to heal, but eventually that same defense will feel oppressive.

Many of us feel like we need something to hold onto immediately to replace whatever it is we are losing or letting go of. If you think of a difficult break-up you had, you may remember that you couldn’t actually fill the void in the shape of that person. Maybe you went on dates and no one excited you like you were with your previous love. Maybe you tried to fill the space with drinking, but ran into a wall with that, too. Unless you’ve become a grief guru or you really deeply understand the texture of how to walk through grief… you probably don’t like or don’t feel comfortable being in the space of letting go. Challenge yourself during this time, if you are letting go of something, to be more ceremonial, like a walking meditation, as you wander through the passage to the next threshold. Life will change. Life will be beautiful in new ways again. Let this moment have its breath.

Likewise, Starting New Chapters…

Few things say determination like Saturn-Pluto. This can be a supportive transit for doing anything that requires a lot of willpower and endured focus. Some examples: starting a business or organization, writing a book, getting sober (if substances are dysfunctional for you), significantly changing your behavior, a fitness journey, securing a new habit.

Intense focus over a long period of time is empowered by many of the themes we spoke to above. If I am starting a business, my success can be empowered by my inner game (letting go of limiting beliefs, getting clear about my vision, etc.) as well as my outer game (cultivating a community with likeminded people, seeking the help of a business coach, joining a mastermind, etc).

Have you ever heard that environment is stronger than willpower?

Sometimes we may have to cultivate willpower in adverse environments. But if you could create both, why wouldn’t you? Get resourceful about how you are supported, and how you support others, through community.

Taking Accountability for the Shadow

Something to be wary of under Saturn-Pluto influence is a heightened tendency to project one’s shadow onto another or a group of people. Certainly this has been leveraged in history as a way for a demagogue to amass power – pit some people against another scapegoated group of people.

One of the more sobering elements of Saturn-Pluto alignments is its tendency for concrete manifestations of shadow – concrete being Saturn, and Pluto, shadow. Perhaps we would prefer that shadow work happened all in the imaginal world, all in dreams, or in the mind, or in a therapist’s office.

When the shadow manifests concretely, that means that we can come right up against deeper soul-themes we are working through via our concrete circumstances or the people that we meet.

The shadow is vast – it contains both the things we are afraid of us well as latent gifts we have not yet owned. This is why jealousy is connected to the shadow – we meet a quality in the other that we are jealous of because it is so personal to us – and just a quality we have not yet owned. If we were to take the circumstances of our lives more personally, we would see that the Universe is always putting mirrors up to us. Not perfect or identical mirrors – but mirrors nonetheless.

We will want to be very careful, conscious, and ethical about how we meet and address the harder reflections that we receive at this time.

Maturing and Developing Parts of Ourselves that were Once Unconscious

One thing that a concrete manifestation of shadow can do is more abruptly give us a reflection to face a part of ourselves that we were not looking at or thinking about before. 

As a fairly benign example, I remember one time at a grocery store after squeezing past a woman she said something angrily at me and suddenly I realized that the way I navigated crowded spaces was always about speedily squeezing past people (my natal Mars in Pisces, perhaps? Navigating crowds of people like a school of fish?) and just about never about patience or deferring to other people. It had been unconscious to me. I wouldn’t have noticed this about myself if not for the woman’s reflection of anger toward me in that moment – as well as perhaps my own readiness to see that about myself.

During this time period, we are invited to step up and become more conscious and more responsible for elements of our personalities or the ways that we are showing up to life that have been unconscious. See this happening in the collective, too.

Often we have defenses against recognizing things about ourselves that are painful or would somehow challenge our identity or sense of security. But at this time the consequences of ignorance or remaining unconscious may be vying for our attention and compelling us to look inward. Take any situation that continues to happen again and again in your life (such that you are the common denominator) – wouldn’t you want to know why and make a change?


We can be ambitious about our own healing and about healing the world, but not every healing situation is about penetrating straight into the core of the wound, like we’re going to heal it all right now. We might have to loosen it up, layer by layer, and this is tenderness. It is a caress that relaxes the nervous system, not a punch to the gut. This is a time to get very wise about timing itself. There is at once great urgency when it comes to crisis or problems at flashpoint – but there is also the long game. Consider both.

What’s next?

Sign up for my mailing list to receive weekly forecasts with meditations on themes playing out that week. I also have a podcast, Magic of the Spheres (listen on your podcast app of choice) where you can find solo and interview episodes around themes of spiritual lifestyle and personal evolution. Saturn-Pluto themes come up in almost all the episodes somehow, but this isn’t that surprising – it’s the zeitgeist we’re in! This podcast is growing in episodes and pretty binge-worthy, so go give it a listen! You can also listen on your web browser here.

Astrology is a language, and when you know the vocabulary and know how to speak it, you can come up with meditations like these. I teach online courses to give people the foundation to work with Evolutionary Astrology, a wisdom school of astrology focused on the soul’s ongoing evolution. By being on my email list, you’ll receive notification of when the next course opens for enrollment. This is ideal for anyone wanting to accelerate their astrological path, who wants to be able to understand astrology for themselves. So, make sure to join the list to stay in touch!

With love,

Sabrina Monarch

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