Saturn and Pluto align

Profound transformation in 2020: Saturn and Pluto align

Profound transformation is needed in 2020 thanks to an intense and cathartic alignment between Saturn and Pluto. Discover what’s in store collectively, and for your sign.

In January 2020, as the two heavyweight planets of the solar system Saturn and Pluto move into a perfect conjunction, it will be important not to lose your sense of humour. Think of it this way; the dark lord, Pluto, is dancing, while his partner, Saturn, holds the scythe. Together they swing through your life, cutting down any overgrowth as you watch from the sidelines.

Whatever has too much power will be challenged.

Will it be as bad as some say? There may be no way of knowing ahead of time. You can work yourself into a fright, or feel your way toward what is ending to acknowledge and honour those aspects of your existence that will fade away. As Alfred Hitchcock once said, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”

Collectively, this is a time of endings; like those already happening with environmental disturbances, political extremes and wild inventions. These endings precede a new beginning.

Called by destiny

If you are born from 12-17 of April, October, July and January, you may be singled out by destiny and called to play a role in laying the foundation for the new cycle. This can take the form of testing, and of being exposed to stress and pressure. You might experience a rare moment of intensity. If so, it will be worth moving through any doubt and fear so you can step into a greater power and connect with your truest potential. A specific outcome may be sealed off, irrevocably blocked. Instead, you might find that a new path beckons, and you need to take the first steps toward it to clarify a necessary shift in focus.

How you respond to any unexpected developments will determine what comes next. You might discover a rare inner strength that may be followed by heightened opportunities, since Jupiter, the planet of abundance, will also be in Capricorn with Saturn and Pluto in 2020. In addition to the birth dates listed above, which reference the Sun’s position at birth, there are many other points in your personal birth chart that can be triggered by Saturn and Pluto in 2020. Look for chart factors, like a planet or angle, near 22 degrees of any of the cardinal signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn.

The growth of power: Seen and unseen

Since large planetary cycles are in effect well before they peak, humanity has been immersed in the Saturn-Pluto dance for at least the past 12 months. The exact conjunction on 12 January 2020 is a key moment, marking the invisible coming together of these two energies.

The full power of any planetary conjunction is never immediately knowable; this is even truer when Saturn and Pluto are involved. Symbolically, the conjunction corresponds to the New Moon – where the Moon disappears. Each conjunction between Saturn and Pluto unfolds over many years, creating a roughly 33- to 38-year cycle.

Pluto has to do with birth as well as the death of things.

Pluto rules what goes deep and is often unseen, accentuating the mystery. Another key point in any cycle between two planets is the opposition, when the two planets stand opposed across the heavens, which is symbolically like the Full Moon. The last opposition between Saturn and Pluto occurred in 2001 and reshaped collective boundaries and sense of safety. The Saturn-conjunct-Pluto aspect is a long term influence in the world, and in your life.

Whatever has too much power will be challenged. The experience of tyranny, the corruption of money, the obliteration of individual freedom, can all be part of this cycle. Certain aspects of the collective and individual psyche become top-heavy, overgrown and dangerous both for society and for the people in it. This is what played out in the First World War, a time of major upheaval and destruction that culminated in the deaths of millions and gave birth to a fully modern century.

1982: Wealth becomes concentrated

Saturn and Pluto together is a more variable planetary combination than others. This cycle can also act via a hidden shift in power. This happened in the early 1980s, which was a time of financial contraction in Australia, and the policies of Thatcher and Reagan elsewhere in the world, which broke the power of the unions and opened the door to the creation of concentrated wealth. It led to the increased footprint of big business and the growth of multinational corporations. This new cycle could consolidate that financial power even further, or tip it over into redistribution of resources. Saturn and Pluto were last conjunct at 27 Libra in November 1982.

One of the most tragic aspects of the last Saturn-Pluto conjunction was the emergence of HIV and the AIDS epidemic in the western world. Even though the virus crossed the barrier from animal to human in Africa as early as the 1920s, it didn’t reach global awareness or affect large numbers until the early ‘80s. It’s difficult to imagine the grief and horror, the phobic responses of the larger world, as this new illness unfolded.

AIDS decimated the homosexual community, killing mostly young men in their 20s, 30s and 40s. In the early years, the disease was a virtual death sentence. An almost archaic fear, and initial rejection by society, required a push into activism, into awareness, empathy and consciousness.

The much more tolerant society of today was in part born out of the painful losses of this time. Saturn Pluto in the early ‘80s forced us to confront fear, aversion, hostility and rejection. There was no choice other than to eat shadow to look at otherness with new eyes. The 1982-conjunction was in the sign of Libra, which represents the other, and soon after Pluto slipped into Scorpio, the sign most connected to sex, death and rebirth.

Global influences

Recently this cycle has triggered the fault line between Islam and other religions, polarising very different visions of the world. The Saturn and Pluto cycle strongly activated in the 1948 division of Palestine and Israel, and the partition of India and Pakistan the same year. In March 2019, with the incoming conjunction only three degrees apart, a lone Australian shooter killed 51 worshippers at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Hate and violence erupted in a quiet part of the Southern Hemisphere.

Saturn and Pluto can trigger long-buried antipathies, and emotions that can be manipulated for political ends. This happened during the opposition phase of the cycle in the early 1930s with the rise of Fascism, anti-Semitism, and a powerful propaganda machine. In the 1960s the opposition phase of the cycle nourished the anti-war and civil rights movements, particularly in the United States. The presence of Uranus conjunct Pluto helped lead to breakthroughs about truth in government, about race, sex and otherness. It also intensified the excesses of the Cultural Revolution in China. Pluto and Saturn can deepen any positive changes that occur or push radical shifts even further. Our work is to find the right container for these forces, to acknowledge it is their time.

1940s: The baby boom

Pluto has to do with birth as well as death. The conjunction in the late 1940s brought a worldwide baby boom. The exceptional fertility of the post war years may have been a response to the tremendous destruction of World War II. Conjunctions between Saturn and Pluto have brought leaps in the population of Australia through immigration.

Saturn was conjunct Pluto in Taurus in 1851 and in Leo in 1946-48; periods that brought large numbers of newcomers to Australia. The first wave came with the Gold Rush. After the traumas of World War II, Arthur Caldwell, the first Minister of Immigration, stated in 1947, “We have 25 years at most to populate this country before the yellow races are down on us.” The government actively sought out immigrants from Great Britain and took in Baltic State refugees from Eastern Europe, while Greeks fleeing their own Civil War poured into Melbourne. The catch cry then was “Populate or Perish!” It is likely, barring a major catastrophe, that another leap in population will come to Australia in this new cycle.

Pluto in Capricorn

Capricorn is the steward of the realm, the one who distributes resources and keeps things running so that all can thrive. Saturn’s sign tends to the land, and even in difficult circumstances can bring abundance. It is the sign of systems, of government, of institutions that have served over time.

Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008, a year that the financial markets won’t soon forget. Many of the world’s financial systems soon revealed rot at the centre. The correction that followed is not complete. The world is looking for new guidance, for Ruler’s worthy of the task. Good governance is wanting, and for now, feckless leaders, braggarts and bullies use fear to maintain imbalance. Too many resources are creamed off at the top and the land is diminished, abused and polluted while the air becomes unbreathable. There is a danger here of feeling there is no choice, and leaving power in the hands of the unworthy. Citizens are turned into slaves for the dark stewards, for money and work, electronically tethered, tracked and monitored.

Acknowledge and honour those aspects of your existence that will fade away.

Pluto can makes things much worse before they get better. With Saturn coming to meet Pluto in January 2020, the urgency of this time is heightened. Because Saturn marks the ending of things, the boundary of any place or time, it’s meeting with Pluto will also draw a symbolic line in the sand.

Systems can topple, quickly or over time. Collectively our attention will be realigned to what truly matters, including the environment and the billions of living creatures that call it home. At its best, this cycle calls forth a leader who builds a new world. Before that happens, leaders from the old order may get knocked down. This happened to the all-powerful Catholic Church the last time Saturn and Pluto came together in Capricorn in 1518. You may be called to find a new sense of conscience and purposeful action. Cities and civilisations, banks and even mountains, may tremble, then rise, reborn, in a new form.

Saturn and Pluto in your chart

Below is a brief look at both the difficulties and gifts of this combination based on your chart. If you know your rising sign, read for that. If not, read for your Sun sign.


You are drawn to the new, to the beginning of things. But your impatience rises during any extended period of frustration. In the past you may have walked away from an overly regimented situation or lashed out at those who sought to control you. If there is no escape possible, a star warrior will be born to fight unacceptable conditions. And there it is, something you have longed for, the possibility of stepping into a position of true leadership.


As an innate lover of things and places, you can come up against a project that is big, even for your appetite. This is the moment to build a dream, to act on your beliefs, or transform something into its best version. What you believe to be good, to be true, will be deeply tested and may not withstand the pressure of Saturn and Pluto. A long-term overhaul is here, and it will likely be bigger and more time-consuming than expected.


It will be harder to fly and easier to dive deep with Saturn and Pluto. So much you didn’t know or haven’t had time to look at will demand your money, time and attention. You may not willingly go underground at first, but once you do your curiosity will be laser honed to see in the dark of your own (and others) psyche. Wait awhile before speaking about it to others though, you need to feel things through.


If old patterns in relationships have bound you once again, this is a time to release the weight of the past. It doesn’t have to keep repeating like this. Open, even indirect conflict could find you overwhelmed and outmanoeuvred. Something is going on with the significant others in your life and you need to keep your attention focused, help them through it, and pull your own energy back to centre. If there is a wall between you, dig under it. If it’s over, say goodbye.


This is a time to commit to a difficult task, one worthy of your bright Leo light. Otherwise you may feel caged by the weight of the ordinary, the absence of glory. Everything you do now can matter. You are in training; body, mind and soul for the greatness of the next chapter. The physical purifications will strengthen your spirit. Give your heart to something that matters, put pride aside, and with time, you will step into your best self.


Here is the work of love; no matter what impediments you meet. It is time to break through the resistance, the hesitations, and the barriers. You know how to be patient, and this is a time of testing. Dig into the dark spaces; the shadows that haunt those you love. Burn away the doubt, the fear, and the difficulty. If you have planted on rocky ground, bring in the good earth, the nutrients to sustain things.


Your attention is called to what lies under your feet. If your foundations have not been well built, all the beauty you have longed for may not be able to hold. Home will call you emotionally and spiritually, and it is time to complete any unfinished tasks. If it means taking down walls or replacing a roof, it will all be for a better future, and if you are not in the right place you may soon find out.


The mysteries are calling you. If you go willingly, the gift of understanding will be yours. If your mind is closed, you may be seized with anxiety, caught in dispute or burdened by doubt. Your words carry great power now, so practice kindness, and wise timing. You have the power to say things that can change the world, if you wait for the right moment.


Whether you have more than you need or not enough, this is a time to pay attention to the way you create abundance or its absence. In your mind the possibilities are rich and limitless, but for now the laws of time and money require your close attention. Nothing comes of nothing, and your visions are tested day to day. If your Capricorn 

This can be a time of destiny, of stepping into the role you were meant to play. But if you are on the wrong path, or going about things for the wrong reasons, you may find yourself blocked, crushed or redirected. Doubt forges the soul, power can twist it. Your greatness can be born out of such trials and the events that surround them.


A new world is coming, but look over your shoulder for now, because forgotten fears or unfinished tasks could hold you back. Take a census of your soul and burn away what no longer serves you. The angel in you is calling. It is time for a better world and you can help others see it, touch it, feel it and taste it.


You are called to gather others, but they may not always want to come. A vision for the future burns brightly in your soul. So much needs to be moved and shifted, so much doubt to be cleared away. You might catch a glimpse of where it is all going, but the getting there will be more arduous, more physically fraught than you imagined, and others may not always be able to find their way through. Friends may fall away. You will carry some on your shoulders, and sadly, leave others behind.


Lynn Bell

Lynn Bell

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