Saturn-Uranus-Pluto, the Financial Crisis & Me

At 11am on 15th September 2008 I was told that I was losing my job. Numb with shock, I went straight home and turned on the lunchtime news to hear that Lehman Brothers, one of the world’s oldest and most reputable investment banks, had collapsed. This event set in motion the biggest global financial panic I’d seen in my lifetime. The financial services industry was losing its nerve and TV pundits and city analysts were predicting the imminent collapse of more of the world’s major retail and investment banks. The events that unfolded over the days that followed resulted in the announcement of multibillion pound/dollar bailouts of the banks by the UK and US governments, amongst others. The world was freefalling into recession.

At the time, the first hit of the current Saturn-Uranus oppositions was approaching and Pluto was moving towards its first passage through the zero degree Capricorn Aries Point, a powerful position of revelation, reflected in the timing of the Lehman Brothers very public collapse, as well as in the public call for the reform of our financial and political institutions that followed.


For myself, since March 2008 transiting Uranus had been opposing my natal Uranus-Pluto conjunction and in September 2008 transiting Saturn was applying to conjunct Uranus-Pluto for the first of three hits. Natally, Uranus rules my 10th house of career and Pluto rules my 6th house of work. I knew that change was in the air for me, but I really didn’t see the job loss coming. In true Uranian style, it was sudden and it was shocking. It seemed as if, whether I liked it or not (and I definitely didn’t like it), I was involuntarily caught up in the zeitgeist of the times, infected by the panic, my future uncertain and seemingly grim.

When Saturn the hard taskmaster and Uranus the awakener challenge each other, we experience an upset to the status quo. Change is inevitable as the old makes way for the new. This process may be a conscious one, as we rebel against tradition, make a push for freedom and push forward with our ambitions. Or change may be unexpectedly thrust upon us, as it was with me. Adding Pluto the destroyer into this picture bestows a tremendous fear of loss, upheaval and separation. The destruction of old worn out systems, lifestyles and ideas is necessary for us to move forward into our future. But with hard work and effort of the ‘blood, sweat and tears’ kind, seemingly insurmountable obstacles can be overcome and unimaginable goals can be accomplished. The price however, is a great deal of tension, upset and loss along the way.

The above is textbook astrology and an accurate description of the months that followed my job loss both personally and for the world at large, the full consequences of which still continue to unfold. Saturn-Uranus-Pluto is not just asking us all to view our lives and our world from a different perspective, it is asking us to learn to live life from a totally fresh standpoint.

The exact hit of the first moving Saturn-Uranus opposition of this cycle (and I’m talking the world transit now, not my personal transits) occurred on 4th November 2008, the date of the US Presidential election. In the end, the traditional (Saturn) campaign tactics of John McCain could not compete with the innovative (Uranus) campaign approach of the Obama camp, which utilised the internet, email and text messaging and received unprecedented donations from the general public. Obama promoted himself as an accessible man of the people, espousing “change we can believe in” a wonderfully Saturn-Uranus slogan. I was recently touched by how excited my American friends were that they could personally wish their president happy birthday on Twitter. (For further discussion on Obama’s chart, see Obama and the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse.)

The exposure of the multi-billion dollar fraud of financier Bernard Madoff and the alleged fraud on the same scale by Allen Stanford are also manifestations of the Saturn-Uranus-Pluto symbolism, as is the story of the Fred Goodwin pension scandal. Goodwin is the former CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Ruining the bank to the point that it had to be bailed out by British tax-payer money, he retired himself on a pension of £700k per year! Refusing to give back a penny he fled the country after his home was vandalised by protesters. The government refused to bow to public demand for Goodwin to be stripped of his knighthood, awarded for his outstanding service to banking!

As Pluto once again approaches the Aries Point, where that which is private/personal becomes public/political, I am sure there will be more exposés to follow and more plutocrats will fall, especially as Saturn and Uranus will also hit the Aries Point when they move into Libra and Aries in summer 2010, forming the so-called 'Cardinal Climax' t-square with Pluto. Massive changes indeed are afoot in our world, some of them sudden, some of them shocking, all of them longreaching.

The dates for the Saturn-Uranus oppositions are as follows:

  1. 4th November 2008 (19 degrees Virgo-Pisces)
  2. 5th February 2009 (21 degrees Virgo-Pisces)
  3. 15th September 2009 (25 degrees Virgo-Pisces) with Pluto at 0 degree Capricorn, forming a t-square
  4. 27th April 2010 (29 degrees Virgo-Pisces) with Pluto at 5 Capricorn retrograde, still in orb for a t-square
  5. 26th July 2010 (0 degree of Aries-Libra, the Aries Point) with Pluto at 3 Capricorn retrograde, forming the ‘Cardinal Climax’

A note about orbs: for personal transits, I keep orbs very tight, a maximum two or three degrees applying and one degree or less separating. However, please bear in mind that astrology merely reflects events in our real lives and we should remind ourselves that experience should always be given precedence over the question of mathematical orbs.

For world transits involving the slow outer planets (such as the current moving Saturn-Uranus oppositions and its squares with Pluto), I go along with astrologer Richard Tarnas who in Cosmos and Psyche prescribes wide orbs of influence, up to 15 degrees. Looking at it this way means that the Saturn-Uranus opposition never really goes out of orb for the period of the transit and that Pluto too is making a t-square to this opposition throughout. In my view, this is a sensible approach which frees us to view the wider political and cultural themes these big planetary cycles represent.

There is a happy ending to my story, at least for now. On 5th January 2009, the very day that Jupiter, the planet of reward, moved into Aquarius and was one degree applying to my MC, the point of career, I started a new job. However, the Saturn conjunctions to my Uranus-Pluto carried on until August this year and my path has predictably been strewn with further surprises and a lot of hard, hard work!

The changes aren’t through for me yet , the Saturn-Uranus-Pluto Cardinal Climax will hit my 3 degree Capricorn Sun directly in 2010, with transiting Pluto making three direct hits between January and November.

And so here I am caught between a personal time of great change and a time of massive upheaval in the world around me. As within, so without and all bets are off.

If you want to explore how Saturn-Uranus-Pluto may affect you personally please see my blog Saturn-Uranus Oppositions and You and I cannot recommend highly enough the newsletters of Bill Herbst (May and June 2009) at: http://www.billherbst.com/newsindex.html See also his series of Saturn-Uranus-Pluto essays from 2006/7 which discuss the world events suggested by this transit, prescient pieces which accurately predict the current economic crisis.


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