Advice for the Road Ahead

Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node present further challenges until December 2020

From top to bottom, clockwise: Saturn on the equinox. Photo by NASA, Public Domain; Kingdom of Pluto; a view of the underworld with Pluto and Proserpina enthroned at center, surrounded by demons; set design from ‘Il Pomo D’Oro.’ Drawing by Ludovico Ottaviano Burnacini, Public Domain; Beowulf and the dragon. Photo by J.R. Skelton, Public Domain.

The skies above us point to hardship, crisis, and obstacles. The sign Capricorn holds heavy, intense, soul- crushing planets. In the tropical zodiac, Pluto entered Capricorn for good in November 2008. It currently resides at 20 degrees Capricorn. Saturn moved into Capricorn December 19, 2017 and now sits at 14 degrees. The South Node ingressed Capricorn in November 2018.  Since last November, all three malefics have been a part of daily life. The meeting of all three planetary phenomena is fierce, all-consuming, adverse, and shrouded in uncertainty. While the stellium in Capricorn is a potential train wreck, there are ways to move forward.

When Saturn is in Capricorn, Saturn’s significations are stronger and have greater intensity. Saturn entered Capricorn on December 19, 2017 and will stay there to March 21, 2020.  Saturn’s domicile is Capricorn and because it’s motion is slow, it only occurs every twenty seven to thirty years. As a result, Capricorn Saturn years are sometimes more memorable. The last Saturn Capricorn period was February 1988 to February 1991. The major events that led to the end of the Cold War occurred during that time. The previous Saturn Capricorn transit was from January 1959 to January 1962. These years included peak tensions in the Cold War and the beginning of American military involvement in Vietnam. The time before that, Saturn’s stay in Capricorn was quite notable. From December 1929 to November 1932, it corresponded with the early years of the Great Depression and the rise of the Nazi party in Germany. Saturn in its domicile is a period when Saturnian qualities like perseverance, discipline, ambition, practicality, realism, pessimism, and depression are at their greatest. Saturn qualities dominate, both the character of the times and people’s thinking and behavior. One particular aspect is getting rid of faulty structures. Examples are changing habits, reforming institutions, giving up negative behaviors, rebuilding power structures. It’s also about defining new limits. For example, exercising less, following a strict diet, cutting out negative influences, and getting rid of excesses are all Saturn ruled actions. Saturn teaches that limits are a component of life. Last, Saturn brings endings. It can push cycles to their ends, or represent the last phase of a cycle. Some examples are the student that graduates high school, the company that goes bankrupt, and the friendship that dissolved over an incredible transgression. When elements of life that people deal with on a day in and day out basis collapse, disappear, or leave their lives, it is related to Saturn. 


Pluto and Saturn conjunctions occur with regularity and are tumultuous periods. The Pluto Saturn synodic cycle occurs every thirty-two to thirty-six years. Pluto signifies purging, rebirth, conflict, ruthlessness, survival, animal instincts, irrationality, the unconscious, power, and the mysterious. Combined with Saturn’s seriousness, coldness, pessimism, disloyalty, disbelief, manipulation, and rejection, the Pluto significations are stronger and more nightmarish than other times. When two planets known for their negative qualities conjoin, it can be an indicator of a greater potential for evil, negativity, and malevolence. Richard Tarnas mentions Pluto Saturn conjunctions in his book Cosmos and Psyche. Saturn and Pluto periods are “marked by a pervasive quality of intense contraction: eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression, all sometimes marked by lasting traumatic effects. An atmosphere of gravity and tension tended to accompany these three-to-four-year periods, as did a widespread sense of epochal closure: “the end of an era,” “the end of innocence,” the destruction of an earlier mode of life that in retrospect may seem to have been marked by widespread indulgence, decadence, naïveté, denial….” (Tarnas, pg 209) Tarnas is referring largely to the overlying atmosphere, much of it of a historical and political nature. The Saturn Pluto conjunctions do have relevance on the individual level as well. Pluto and Saturn conjunctions are times that are characterized by harmful, miserable, and baleful influences and occurrences. 


There is still a substantial amount of time that the planets will be together. First, Saturn’s stay in Capricorn began in December 2017 and it will enter Aquarius twice, once in March 2020 and the other time in December 2020. Saturn will retrograde back to Capricorn on July 1, 2020 to December 16, 2020. Second, Pluto entered Capricorn in November 2008 and will exit the sign in January 2024. Third, the South Node entered the sign November 2018, with the first eclipse on the axis occurring July 2018 in Cancer. It will leave the sign in May 2020 with final eclipses occurring in July. The South Node is not a planet but rather the spot where the moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic. It is also an indicator of the placement of eclipses. So, the three planetary phenomena will continue until next March when Saturn temporarily leaves Capricorn and May when the South Node departs. Even when the South Node leaves Capricorn, there will still be Pluto and Saturn to reckon with after July for the remainder of the year. Things will be especially intense from December 2019 onwards, when Jupiter leaves Sagittarius and joins the planets in Capricorn. Jupiter will be in its fall and will be present with the malefic configuration. Pluto and Saturn will be within 3 degrees of each other from the end of November 2019 to late February 2020. Things will be especially intense from late December to early February as the two planets conjoin within 3 degrees of each other. The intensity of the transit will be most evident at that time. So, there is plenty of time left and the worst of the configuration has yet to come. 

Like a wildfire, the three planetary phenomena will be raging across the landscape and in most people’s lives with full intensity until March 2020. Saturn will move on to Aquarius for good in December 2020. Photo by MarcusObal CC BY- SA 3.0.

The uniting of the three phenomena plays out in various ways for the average person, though it is perceived in a mostly negative manner. First off, there is an overall hostile, unfriendly, and potentially harmful atmosphere. A general malaise has pervaded. Accompanying it is the feeling of being unsettled, and a pessimistic outlook. The period is defined by worry that overcomes all rationality. Second, the three planetary phenomena bring awareness of areas in life that have to change but don’t necessarily deliver the answers. Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node conjoined highlights any parts of a person’s life that are untenable, problematic, or unstable. There is an emphasis on the areas that people have managed to keep going despite inherent structural issues but now have to let go of. Uncertainty, fear, and foreboding are additional characteristics. Also, there is an inability to enjoy things. Due to the seriousness of the stellium, it’s not as easy to enjoy the good parts of life as other times. Finally, shadow elements are also pervasive. The South Node represents the eclipse cycle, which deals with light and darkness and the seen and unseen. Pluto is another shadow element, as it’s significations often point to the unseen and invisible in both its role as an underworld body and as representative of deeper psychological impulses. It means that events governed by or associated with the two bodies will be unfathomable, mysterious, and illogical. The true nature of connections between people that occur in areas of life during this transit will be hidden. For example, folks with Capricorn fourth house may find family secrets, home secrets, or events surrounding either that have long histories and are sort of unknown. The underlying causes of events or relationships with other people are not visible, and their importance is not transparent. When Saturn and Pluto meet the South Node, it is supposed to be uncertainty and ambiguity that prevails. There are a range of influences and factors that the stellium presents, and at the very least they are perceived negatively and bring challenges. 


Advice for the current time, as well as the road ahead, includes several suggestions. First, weather the storm. Events tied to the eclipses and the two planets should be experienced, but not dwelt upon. Negative situations will occur and just as quickly disappear. The key is to have the experience but not the trauma or damage that can accompany it. Since the transit has already lasted for a year, it is familiar and has likely manifested in most people’s lives. As a result, the damage could be less. The impact on the mind will be tougher to overcome, especially on the days that the moon or planets ingress in cardinal signs. People should tolerate difficulties and do their best to survive the rough patches. Soldiering through challenges is probably the hardest part. Next, get used to relaxing. Doing things like going for a walk, staying home on a Saturday night, reading an interesting book, visiting a sauna, practicing breathing exercises, stretching, and doing any other activities related to relaxation are advisable. Engage in activities that help to relax the mind and body. When people are relaxed, negative factors like stress, worries, nervousness, and fear will have less impact. It will allow for issues to be tackled head on. Another tip is to value simplicity. Since the overall sky weather is bad, don’t overexert yourself or take on too much. Keeping life simple is one of the best ways to take on heavy life issues and potential tribulations. Fourth, embrace calm and quiet. Meditation and slow living are worthwhile, especially now. Seek spaces that have less traffic, people, and noise. Also, value the internal aspects of quietness and stillness through a meditation regimen. Sixth, make sure there are no dietary factors bringing imbalance. Eating processed foods, sugars, or excessive carbohydrates can lead to physical dysfunction. With the body out of sync, the mind will follow. One is far better equipped for handling trying times with a balanced and healthy body. A high vegetable diet is essential for operating at a high function. Last, realize the answers will come, or in some cases they won’t. The eclipses and Saturn in particular will offer solutions. Likely, in the aftermath of any personal disaster or tribulation, there will be a path forward. There will be answers and they might be exactly what was needed to move onwards or balance one’s life. On the other hand, maybe there never was an answer. Maybe the problems were based on fears and irrational, negative thoughts. For example, a person worried about career issues may realize they have the resilience and strength to figure out all the issues their career might throw at them. Dramatic, life- altering solutions aren’t always adequate or necessary. The lessons the three planets teach won’t necessarily be formulaic. 


The current joining of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node in Capricorn is challenging and difficult. Saturn and Pluto conjunctions often correspond to conservative and dangerous times. The South Node also signifies many invisible elements and life challenges as well as giving up and leaving behind parts of life that are related to the house it resides within. Advice for handling the difficult transit of the three planetary phenomena includes having endurance, relaxing, eating healthy, slowing things down, having an open mind towards the resolution of problems, and valuing simplicity. Additionally, tolerating adversity is crucial for surviving the trying times whole and intact. Remember, there is a balance between the old and the new. Old patterns are still in the process of being uprooted, and new ones are just starting to spread their roots. The two will co-exist as the period plays out its final phase. 




  1. Tarnas, R. 2007. Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.