An exclusive excerpt from The AstroTwins’ 2020 Horoscope | by The AstroTwins with Matthew Swann
Tear it down and build it back up again! The Saturn-Pluto Conjunction begins on January 12, 2020, as karmic Saturn and alchemical Pluto meet for a rare celestial summit.
This formidable planetary pair only unites in the skies every 33 to 38 years, and when they do, antiquated structures must be brought up to code. This Saturn-Pluto conjunction, their first since 1982, takes place in Capricorn (at 22º46’), the sign that rules governments, corporations and the economy. As we march into the brand-new decade, major global institutions get a seismic shakeup!
Secretive, power-hungry Pluto has been on a slow roll through Capricorn since late 2008 and lingers in the Sea Goat’s realm until 2024. Sober taskmaster Saturn joined up on December 19, 2017, and they’ve been inching closer to each other ever since. Since December 6, 2019, the two have been in ultra-close proximity. We’ve already felt the metamorphic demand for transformation, from global trade wars to shifting national alliances, along with steely grabs for power. Meanwhile, large-scale resistances are surging, like the 1.7 million “umbrella protesters” who took to Hong Kong’s streets and demonstrated against mainland China’s inexorable and far-reaching legal extradition mandates during the summer of 2019. Last year in Puerto Rico, hundreds of thousands of protesters forced then-Governor Ricardo Rossello’s resignation after a series of scandalous texts deriding women, the LGBTQ community and Hurricane Maria victims were exposed.
The “rip it down to the studs” renovations that a Saturn-Pluto conjunction demands is rarely gentle. Pluto, the galactic Grim Reaper, has no problem destroying anything that comes into its path. The dwarf planet demands total transformation, and that means getting rid of whatever is keeping us stuck in an old groove. Saturn is like an uncompromising inspector and architect rolled into one. After peering in every corner, this planet will help us map a master blueprint for the new structures we need to put into place.
Saturn’s largely forgotten, pre-modern dual archetype is as the god of time and agriculture. We reap what we sow, and January 12 may be a day when we realize our economic silos are nearly depleted while our collective debts, including corporate liabilities, demand a balloon payment in full, a nation’s bill come due.
As Saturn gives shape to Pluto’s totalizing demands, all the things we’ve been shoving down and burying will rise up like Godzilla and take tangible form. For best results, acknowledge the denial and look for the lesson. There’s a reason 12 Step programs call for a “fearless and searching moral inventory” in the process of overcoming addiction. In order to break age-old patterns, Saturn forces us to look at our fears and problems squarely in the eye. It isn’t easy, but it’s the first step toward building structures that can liberate us from restrictive circumstances. “The truth will set you free.”
Maybe it’s a “breakthrough insight” (like Galileo’s telescope that allowed the discovery of Saturn) or a clarion call for a new world order. Whatever the case, things are going to be different as this new decade dawns. The Saturn-Pluto duopoly will pervade all realms, causing everything from a massive mindset shift to a radical update to our operational systems and social structures.
Watch Rick Levine explain how Uranus can help ease the global and political tension stirred up by Saturn and Pluto—an exclusive clip from our STARSTRUCK 2020 astrology summit. Get your view pass here >
The historic footprint of Saturn-Pluto Conjunction
The Rage of Reformation
The last time Saturn and Pluto’s paths crossed in Capricorn was in January 1518. Just three months prior, in October 1517, German monk Martin Luther released his doctrine 95 Theses, which exposed financial corruption that had been rampant in the Catholic Church. Subsequently, this sparked the massive Protestant Reformation of Christianity. This is an example of the kind of transformation that can emerge when Plutonian secrets are revealed and a new Saturnian system is presented.
1518 is also the year when a bizarre “Dancing Plague” broke out in Strasbourg, France. Perhaps the first recorded example of a mass psychogenic illness (MPI) in history. MPIs are characterized by individuals, typically young females, suddenly exhibiting identical strange behaviors, which can spread virally to include a thousand or more. The Strasbourg dancing epidemic began with a few people in the public square and swelled to a crowd of hundreds over the next few days. Despite the blazing summer heat, the victims kept dancing without breaking for food and water. City officials and local medics promoted more dancing, in hopes that the group would shake off their “sickness.” This continued for nearly a month, with many either falling over unconscious or literally dying from exhaustion and “hot blood.”
Hear more about this Saturn-Pluto event in 1518 from The AstroTwins and astrologer Vanessa Montgomery in our STARSTRUCK 2020 Global Astrology Summit. Get your view pass here >
As unreal as this sounds, it’s a well-documented event. Did karmic Saturn draw out this obsessive “possession” from Pluto’s transgressive vault? Or were the overwhelming forces of 16th century social repression, disease and poverty served notice by the indomitable human spirit emerging as a sublimated “fight-or-flight” response—and danced into being by a long-suffering French community? When Saturn applies pressure to Pluto, unknown forces can erupt from the depths.
Where are you being a little too obsessive for your own good? If you’ve been swept into a vortex of single-minded action, you could finally hit a wall. Saturn sets limits that are best obeyed. With both planets in tenacious, career-driven Capricorn, workaholic culture has become the norm. But destroying your health is never worth the price, even if you profit less. January 12 delivers a wakeup call to prevent breakdown and “dis-ease.” To find that work-life balance, you may have to stop in your tracks and see the impact on your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Less can be more.
The Rise of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
The transatlantic slave trade, which began in the 15th century, took a nefarious turn in 1518, as Saturn and Pluto conjoined in the sign of the Sea Goat. That year, King Charles I of Spain signed a pivotal charter with Portuguese traders authorizing Spain to send slave ships directly to the Americas from Africa.
The Spanish king’s mandate set off a brutal new phase in African slavery, the machinations of which would eventually account for an estimated 2.5 million African slaves sent to the burgeoning New World between 1525 and 1866, creating conditions for systemic racial conflict in both South America and North America that endure to this day.
This period of our collective history shows in stark geographic contours where Capricorn profiteering sank to a depraved low while underscoring the most diabolical aspects of Pluto, the ruler of purgatory, and Saturn, the planet associated with leaders and restricted freedoms—if not outright iniquity.
The Saturn-Pluto Conjunction in Capricorn Forecast
Shortly after Saturn and Pluto last joined forces in 1982 (in Libra), CoreCivic was established, the first corporation to privately own a prison. In 2020, CoreCivic is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, reporting annual revenues of $1.7 billion. As Saturn and Pluto converge in Capricorn this January 12, the company (now rebranded as Corrections Corporation of America) is back in the news, scooping up government contracts at controversial ICE detention centers that hold asylum seekers in custody. A class-action lawsuit is also pending, alleging that the company forced labor in their detention centers, using inmates as a workforce instead of hiring local employees. As Saturn and Pluto conjoin, the ceaseless pendulum swing between government control and privatization will face deeper scrutiny. A more fundamental reform could be in order.
Even for those of us who are living free, life could feel like a giant power struggle near January 12, as we grapple with feelings of domination and invisibility. In mythology, Pluto, king of the underworld, falls madly in love with Persephone, abducting her from her mother, Demeter, forcing the maiden to live in the underworld as his wife for half of each year. Embedded in this mythology is the great cycle of nature and a seasonal ordering of life, death and rebirth. Where do we require a period of dormancy so that we maybe reborn? A January “fallow” period in which to self-reflect may be in order. (Medical astrology tells us that Saturn rules modes of depression and medicine as a whole, including the ancient pharmacopeia of herbs and compounds used in healing.)
How will the Saturn-Pluto conjunction transform you personally? Ophi talks to astrologer Katie Sweetman in our STARSTRUCK 2020 Global Astrology Summit. Get your view pass here >
But when we feel wronged, dominated or trapped by our lot in life, people on all sides of the socio-political spectrum may justify extreme beliefs and behaviors that are, in their own way, no different than the actions of our “enemies.” At the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, contrarian perspectives could merit deeper consideration, rather than a contemptuous dismissal. (And yes, we know finding the line between “tolerance” and “taking a stand” is easier said than done.) But as 2020 dawns, any true responsibility to self and community is best served without dishing vengeful retribution. Healthier offerings are recommended.
Conservation and Renewable Energy
Capricorn is the eldest of the zodiac’s three earth signs and is associated with conservation. Our natural resources fall under its care, like the slow-growing (Saturnian) forests, which decompose into the subterranean fuels of coal, oil and natural gas, eventually claimed, and made part of, the vast repositories of Pluto. Historians have framed our age of fossil fuel use as the Petroleum Age, owing to the ubiquity of petroleum-based fuel and technologies powering the second half of the 19th century and the entire 20th century. Controversial though it may be, many predict that petroleum use will at least partially continue for the next two centuries, even as alternative energies, such as solar and wind power, become more affordable.
As Saturn and Pluto merge, the firestorm over our energy sources will intensify—a huge topic of the 2020 U.S. presidential elections. From a historical perspective, the cumulative benefits of the Petroleum Age directly raised living standards for billions while increasing human lifespans and ushering countless new technologies and medicines over the period.
Meanwhile, climate scientists continue to issue warnings about the effect of unchecked global fossil fuel consumption at the pivotal geopolitical moment when the energy-challenged economies of China, India, and the rest of the developing world mature as industrial powerhouses, providing the majority of global manufacturing through their dependence upon the oil infrastructure.
To compete—and even survive—many industries (whether in the east or west), are forced to adopt costlier production practices in order to comply with “sustainable” regulations. Yet, rapid developments in technology and declining profit margins present myriad challenges. This will continue until the overall economic system or legislation changes, or these corporations are offered incentives attractive enough for them to adopt new practices.
And if that doesn’t happen? The global economy may well be subject to the ever-present dangers of economic deterioration. This could set the stage for the ultimate Plutonian plot twist—a “black swan event” a term to denote a random event occurring outside all known statistical modeling and or status quo perspectives, an absolute surprise, coined by the bestselling author, Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his 2007 book, The Black Swan, which is now credited with presaging the financial environment that led to the 2008 subprime mortgage collapse. Widely seen as the contrarian oracle of the financial markets, Taleb was born in 1960, when Jupiter and Saturn were in Capricorn.
The Saturn-Pluto Conjunction Spurs Financial Literacy
On the consumer side of this mind-bending fiscal calculus, we want our gourmet sushi and beautiful status symbols (also ruled by Capricorn) and we want ‘em for a good price! We also want our jobs, which for many folks have become service-based and or financed-based as the U.S. and other Western nations manage their own indebted, post-industrial economies, requiring a dependency on the supply chain of low-priced, factory-produced goods and related services arriving from an equally indebted Asia and elsewhere. Debt as a financial instrument is fundamentally driven by Saturn and Pluto, whether applied to the bond market, commodity markets (including precious metals like gold or silver), equities and so on. The Saturn-Pluto conjunction presses us to gain new levels of financial literacy, we might be wise to “follow the money” and learn how our financial system has developed into the labyrinth it is today. Only then can we plot a different course.
But what about the impact on our ancient blue planet? Last year, raging fires tore through swaths of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, producing a smoke signal of epic and varied meaning, redirecting the focus of the recent G-7 Summit in France away from the histrionics of our leaders back to the original and primary ecosystem we all belong to. To wit, in September 2019, energy scientists at Rice University announced a breakthrough in the technology repurposing the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), and converting it to pure liquid fuel using renewable electricity. While Saturn and Pluto are in Capricorn, necessity can be the mother and the father of invention.
Of course, our conservation efforts need to move beyond a land-based perspective, even as Saturn and Pluto touch down in terrestrial Capricorn. Currently, environmentalists are dragging plastic out of the vast and unexplored oceans (which constitute two-thirds of the planet), some from the packaging wrapped around overseas, overnight deliveries. Distressingly, microfibers from laundering our outdoor adventure clothing, like those found in eco-activist Patagonia sportswear, are proving to be the most vexing of the plastic flotsam. Groundbreaking studies from 2011 on show microfibers accounting for up to 85 percent of human-made debris on coastlines around the world.
Astrologer Sam Reynolds takes a deep dive into Pluto and how it will reshape America in 2020. Get your view pass here >
A Look to Innovators
Perhaps the quintessential expression of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn is the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, a nation that literally sits atop the world’s largest oil reserve. Under the reign of dictator Nicolás Maduro, who has positioned himself between the interests of China, Russia and the United States, Venezuela, a leading economy in the 1990s, is now enduring food, medicine and energy shortages. As the global superpowers fight for Venezuela’s oil, more than 4 million people have fled the country—a refugee crisis second only to Syria’s, one that’s outpacing the availability of international aid.
There are a few ingenious ideas blowing in the wind. In 2014, Denmark produced over 40 percent of its electricity from wind power alone. The proactive nation has targeted 2020 as the year where 30 percent of all its energy will come from renewable sources. In September 2019, 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg—a Capricorn born January 3, 2003—spearheaded the Global Climate Strike, a day of worldwide marches that included 4 million people in 163 countries.
As the planet of science, Saturn will team up with Pluto, the planet of the unknown, intensifying the search for more pivotal discoveries, leaving us questioning whether global leadership will align with these and other seemingly “alchemical” discoveries in 2020 and beyond.
Power brokers Saturn and Pluto share a mutual obsession with generating wealth—and more than ever while in success-obsessed Capricorn. It’s no surprise that their meetups have often marked a shift in the global economy, including looming threats of a recession. The Saturn-Pluto unions of 1914-15 dovetailed with the start of World War I and stretched until the next Saturn-Pluto conjunction (in Leo) in 1947, which aligned with the end of World War II. During that time span, global powers emerged, battled for supremacy and created industrial economies and trade agreements which have set up the modern-day economy. In 1947, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was established to foster worldwide fiscal cooperation.
On November 16, 1914, the U.S. Federal Reserve began operations as Saturn and Pluto (both retrograde) united at 1º Cancer. Right before that, the world was rocked by the Financial Panic of 1914. With impending war threatening global markets, spooked investors pulled out of their securities in a scramble for cash and gold. This led to an unprecedented shutdown of the London Stock Exchange for five months, and the U.S. Stock Exchange for four months. For six weeks during August and early September 1914—as Saturn and Pluto made close contact—almost every stock exchange in the world was closed.
The last Pluto-Saturn conjunction on November 8, 1982, coincided with the end of a brief recession as the Information Age unveiled itself across the blazing screens of the new “personal computer.” Less than two months later on January 1, 1983, under the sign of Capricorn, the modern Internet was officially born when an agreement was reached to make TCP/IP the global network protocol, and researchers began assembling what is now the World Wide Web.
While the preparatory mapping of the Internet took place throughout the preceding year, 1982, the bestselling personal computer ever, the Commodore 64, arrived in stores nationwide, debuting at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show, during the Capricorn-ruled month of January. Pluto and Saturn approached conjunction within 5°03’ of each other in Libra on the opening day of the show (January 7), eventually setting sales records that remain unchallenged to this day. At one time, the Commodore 64 was selling a robust two million units per year, outpacing IBM, Apple and Atari, and accounting for 35 percent of personal computer sales! That’s just Capricorn business as usual for the computational GOAT, the “C64.”
Since then, the Internet has made virtually everything accessible for purchase. The last three decades have spawned a new class of technology billionaires, like Amazon CEO (Capricorn) Jeff Bezos, who will celebrate his birthday on January 13, one day after the 2020 Pluto-Saturn conjunction.
The Saturn-Pluto Conjunction Inspires New Forms of Money & Economic Models
Will 2020 mark the end of capitalism as we know it? Or will sustainable industries emerge to steward humanity into the 21st century? Hard to say—especially as Saturn and Pluto point out the mounting complexities. How can we get safe, affordable and convenient goods without damaging the planet? Under the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, something may have to “die” for a new system to be invented.
Near January 12, Saturn may reveal more of the shaky balance between self-interest and public benefit, especially in Capricorn-ruled industries such as banks, government and corporations. Case in point: Pluto’s entry into Capricorn in 2008 leveled the global economy, ushering the disastrous sub-prime mortgage collapse that required a $700 billion government bailout of Wall Street commercial banks and mortgage lenders, what has come to be known as the Great Recession.
One thing’s for sure, the Game of Thrones mindset that has threaded through the last few Saturn-Pluto conjunctions has had a resounding impact. The threat to the food chain may break open opportunities for the emerging technology of “blockchain,” forcing us to explore new economic models and attendant payment platforms. Nonetheless, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are still, well, cryptic, to many.
That trend may change with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on a mission to win regulation for his proposed digital currency—aptly named “Libra.” On the surface, Zuckerberg’s blockchain-based initiative appears to challenge the old guard. But with crusty Saturn involved, we’d be wise to keep a grizzled eyebrow raised, especially as the Libra Association is currently stocked with members of the “one percent.” Will Saturn and Pluto share the bounty with the rest of us? If history is any indication, it’s unlikely. As of this writing, every bank in the world is busy creating blockchain-based payment interfaces. The decentralized could become centralized at this Saturn-Pluto summit.
Pluto is forging through Capricorn until 2024, which will accelerate developments for new money models over the next four years. Can a cashless society prevail? New alternatives are clearly needed—and cryptocurrency, which is arguably more efficient than cash, could certainly provide new funding pathways. Pluto’s entry into Capricorn has given rise to new models such as the “gig economy” and crowdfunding, as people are forced to consider all means of trade and earning a living. The other side of the (bit)coin might suggest weaving in aspects of the barter system—the world’s oldest method of trade—or to explore the “gift economy,” a concept advanced by Capricorn Larry Harvey, the late founder of Burning Man, an experimental city that rises in the Nevada desert for a week each summer.
A Challenge to Patriarchal Systems
The patriarchy, which is ruled by Capricorn, will not likely escape the crosshairs of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. Its specter has loomed like a hungry ghost since Saturn joined Pluto in Capricorn on December 19, 2017. From the crimes exposed by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements to attempts to pass state laws restricting women’s reproductive rights, it’s hard to tell whether the clock is turning back or moving forward.
At the same time, we have solutions and strides to celebrate. The U.S. is enjoying a rise of women in business and government (with six female candidates in the 2020 presidential race). The demand for gender parity and female leadership is rippling through every institution, boardroom and industry. Internationally, female leaders are making an impact. At this writing, Capricorn-born Christine Lagarde, is slated to be the first woman ever to run the European Central Bank. We may expect to see more shake-ups to the leadership bodies of our most important institutions in 2020.
With structural Saturn and transformational Pluto both in Capricorn, the sign of masculinity and all things “male-identified,” it’s no surprise that gender identity has become a huge topic of reform. In 2020, we may see new developments in the expansion of legislation that acknowledges the non-gender binary population.
Saturn, ruler of governments, is already involved. In the United States, a rising number of states and companies are allowing people to label their gender as “X” on driver’s licenses and IDs. The stars suggest that gender non-conformity will continue to gain public acceptance, even if the wins are still small for now.
Lifting the Social Mask
What do you reveal and what do you hide? We all have a social “persona,” but what is it covering up? On a deeply personal level, the Saturn-Pluto conjunction will force us to deal with the “shadow” aspects of our personalities. These are the parts of ourselves we may disown, feel ashamed of, or even project onto other people, accusing them of the very qualities that we are acting out (but simply cannot admit to having).
Since these planets are meeting in status-conscious Capricorn—a sign that likes to “keep up appearances”—it won’t be easy to drop the mask. With composed Saturn getting body-checked by intense Pluto, circumstances may force us to get real. Look out! Like a volcano erupting, feelings you swore you’d never express could spew forth like hot lava. But here’s the twist: The people who love you might actually feel closer to you once you ditch the control and show some raw humanity.
The Saturnian and Plutonic realms contain vast wealth, whether found in our external resources or collective archetypes deep in the human psyche. Are you tough enough to endure the challenge and not fall victim to “fake news” and groupthink? That will be one of the gauntlets 2020 throws down. As Capricorn journalist Maureen Dowd said, “The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.”
Photo credit: Anna-Marie Panlilio via Stocksy