Working with the Universe – The Transits
The other day I watched as an old strip mall was being torn down to build a new commercial complex. The buildings had all been removed and the backhoe was busy digging into the surrounding landscape to expand what will become more concrete suffocating our natural world. The bucket of the backhoe tore down whole trees, some standing as high as 30 feet. As I watched, tears filled my eyes. I thought to myself, what are we doing?
While slow food and slow fashion have been gaining momentum, I wondered why we haven’t adopted slow construction methods on a larger scale. Why have we not implemented laws that require there to be either a new tree planted, or one left to grow, for every 10 square feet of concrete across the globe? Why are we not requiring all our new construction projects to work within the creative constraints of what is already present in our built environment?
I’m not the only one thinking about questions like this. The outer planetary transits of Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto are busy reshaping our collective understanding of who we are and how we live, which is completely transforming our global psyche at the deepest levels. Unlike the Sun sign astrology that most of us are familiar with, these transits have a personal and a collective impact on us all, regardless of our Sun sign. The planet Saturn represents the part of us that needs to grow up and take responsibility for ourselves, our choices, and our lives. It’s the impulse that motivates us to individuate away from the inherited beliefs of our family of origin and then later from society. It’s the Saturn part of us that seeks to understand who we are as our own unique person.
Saturn takes roughly 30 years to orbit the 12 signs of the zodiac. Currently, it’s transiting the sign of Capricorn along with Pluto. Together, these two planets are refining and transforming our understanding of what’s required of us as citizens of the world. They’re reminding us what our shared responsibilities are, and they’re forcing us to face the reality of the kind of legacy we’re in the process of leaving for future generations.
With Saturn’s focus on responsibility and Pluto’s penchant for power, it’s easy to see why governments, corporations, and those with an inordinate amount of power are being held accountable by the public. It’s clear that the next generation’s fight for planet earth and a gun-free culture in the United States are expressions of these two powerhouses moving through earthy Capricorn. Saturn rules what’s old: bones, rocks, tradition, government, stability, limits, mastery, hard work, and responsibility. Pluto rules power, death, great wealth, shared resources, taxes, inheritances, sex, abuse, and transformation that stems from the deepest and darkest places within us.
As Saturn and Pluto travel through the sign of Capricorn together, we begin to notice, personally and collectively, the areas of our lives that require us to take responsibility and to heal. If we don’t do what Saturn asks of us, Pluto will burn it down and force us to start over.
As if this wasn’t enough to shake our foundations, Uranus is transiting through Taurus, another earthy sign that governs all things related to our planet. Uranus has an 84-year orbit moving through each sign for seven years. Last year, it moved into Taurus where it will stay until 2026. During that time, our relationship to planet Earth will undergo a complete renovation. Uranus is by nature erratic, unexpected, unpredictable, and unconventional, which means over the course of the next seven years, our planet will experience much sudden and unexpected activity, likely due to the climate crisis. While we might think that the storms and freak weather patterns we’ve been experiencing are rare one-offs, Uranus will show us that we haven’t even begun to see what our planet is capable of producing.
It’s easy to get stuck in deep despair at the thought of where we’re headed as a species and what we’re doing to ourselves, our earth, and all the life that we share it with. However, Uranus also rules innovation and ingenuity, which we’ll most certainly need in spades if we are to get through this pivotal time in the history of life on planet earth. Since most of us have not lived long enough to experience Uranus moving through the sign of Taurus the last time 84 years ago, it’s helpful to revisit what innovations and visions for our planet were put in place then.
For one, the New Deal was initiated in the U.S. by Franklin D. Roosevelt, first in 1933-1934, and then again with a more liberal and controversial revision from 1935-1938. The New Deal was focused on relief, recovery, and reform in a post-Depression era economy that boasted high levels of unemployment with farmers. The young and the elderly were particularly in need of support at the time, while imposing new constraints on the banking industry were created to prevent another economic collapse. Programs initiated during Uranus’s last go-round in Taurus included the Social Security Act, the Works Administration Program and the U.S. Housing Authority.
What’s notable about this is that Taurus rules what we value, money and/or currency, the Earth, and what we cultivate from the land. It also governs beauty, art, culture, and the feminine. The Social Security Act was a clear demonstration of the more liberal values that came into being during Uranus’s last transit through Taurus, shifting the balance of wealth more proportionality across the country. The Works Administration Program employed artists to design the posters for the program, many of whom were pioneering the abstract expressionism movement in New York, which established the careers of several well-respected female painters like Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, and Grace Hartigan.
Today, we see a surge of women running for office in the U.S., including New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has proposed a Green New Deal focused on levelling current economic inequality and addressing the climate crisis. In homage to Roosevelt’s New Deal with his innovative and forward-thinking vision of what might be possible when all life is cared for equally, the Green New Deal is a contemporary expression of how Uranus is awakening our collective capacity to care for each other and our earth.
In New Zealand, President Jacinda Ardern has raised the bar on what we value by shifting the country’s focus from solely measuring economic growth to measuring the well-being of the nation as a whole. With a well-being budget, ministers are required to show how their spending proposals will benefit people, not just corporations, with a long-term desire to make a positive impact for all. Ardern is known for her unique approach to politics, which centres on kindness, empathy, and well-being, all of which distinguish the way that the earthy feminine sign of Taurus is expressing itself on a collective level through women in leadership.
On a personal level, we’re also being called to redefine our own measures of success, to think critically about where we’re investing our time, money, and resources, and whether we’re only in it for short-term gains. With Saturn and Pluto supporting Uranus’s lightning strike to consciousness, we’re required to go slow, to think narrow and deep rather than broad and shallow. Instead of seeking to amass thousands of followers on social media, we’re being asked to put our personal values at the heart of our lives, our work, relationships, community, and politics. A new culture is being born — the old values of money and numbers alone as measures of our personal worth in a society that elevates fame and fortune over all else — are slowly dying.
While Roosevelt’s New Deal had its faults and failed in many ways, what it did well was express the kind of innovative and progressive solution-focused thinking and actions that Uranus wants us to embrace. The old tried and true ways of being and doing things in the world are all up for grabs as these three heavyweight planets lead us forward, personally and collectively, on our evolutionary journey. Saturn is providing us with new limitations, boundaries and constraints that we’re required to work within. Uranus is awakening us from our spiritual slumber and, like lightning flashing across the sky, we’ll suddenly be able to see what we couldn’t see before. Pluto is burning to the ground anything that is not for our own or collective healing, so that we can be transformed at the deepest levels.
TIPS FOR WORKING WITH THE TRANSITS OF SATURN, PLUTO, AND URANUS
- Notice where you’re feeling limited or frustrated by how slow things are moving, or how hard they feel. That’s Saturn’s influence, and there’s no way you’re going to win if you try to go up against him, so don’t waste your time or energy. Instead, work with the limitations and use them as creative constraints. Think like an architect designing a building that needs to preserve all that’s good in the existing environment while improving upon it.
- Think outside the box. Uranus wants us to tap into the skills, knowledge, and resources that lie within us but have remained hidden from our conscious awareness. Use the limits that Saturn has placed on you like a creative challenge and up your game by seeing your life as a great work of art, rather than a constant struggle filled with one problem after the other.
- Allow what needs to die in your life with grace and dignity. All things in nature must die, including you. Accepting this truth gives us the opportunity to focus on honouring the inevitable transitions of our lives for the wonderfully painful and profoundly beautiful experiences that they are. Wherever you’re holding on, just let go and see where the soul of the world longs to take you.
Written by Siobhan McAuley