March 7th sees a new transit begin: Saturn in Pisces, the first of this month’s significant planetary shifts. Mars will also leave Gemini and when Pluto moves from Capricorn to Aquarius in a few weeks time, the transformation will be complete – well, almost. Pluto’s foray into its next destination is temporary; its final ingress into Aquarius will occur in January 2024. Saturn’s shift, however, is permanent. After what has seemed like a lifetime in Aquarius, it’s time for change – and change is exactly what is coming to town.
Saturn in Pisces emphasises boundary issues and matters requiring control. Pisces dissipates and blurs; we have issues finding the safe route; it’s like flying blind or trying to find a safe anchorage in dense fog. In this post, I’m going to place this transit into context – and that context owes a great deal to the celestial events that have happened over the past couple of years – a heartbeat in astrological terms. The starting point for this is the Great Conjunction of 2020-2021 – and that is where this post begins.
The Great Conjunction Revisited
In true Saturn style, I’m going to look to the future by first looking to the past – to the transit of Saturn through Aquarius. Saturn’s journey through Aquarius began with ‘The Great Conjunction’, one of the most significant astrological events in recent years. The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn – an event that happens once every twenty years – marks the moment when our perspective shifts as a ripple in the space-time continuum unfolds. The most recent Great Conjunction became exact across the cusp of two signs – Capricorn and Aquarius – and marked the transition from tradition – or ‘the way things have always been’ – to revolution and ‘the state of things to come’.
I want to remind you of a few key concepts surrounding that particular Great Conjunction. First, the focus on two signs brought both signs into play – and made this a transitional moment of some significance. Second, let’s consider what Capricorn and Aquarius represent; Capricorn represents power and control. It’s conservative, conventional and disciplined. Aquarius is radical, revolutionary and disruptive.
When the Great Conjunction took place across both of these signs, those concepts were bound together; social order, governance, rules, limits and the established order of everything was allied with the rebellious, disruptive zeal of Aquarius, and Aquarian energy became focused on challenging the structures of Capricorn (and Saturnian) certainty.
Saturn: Making Revolution A Reality
It’s a dynamic that we have seen play out in real time. Saturn’s transit thorough Aquarius has been concerned with crystallising change – in principle at least. Let us not forget that Saturn is powerful in this sign, being – traditionally – the co-ruler of Capricorn and Aquarius. However, whereas Saturn transiting Capricorn works to reinforce the centralisation of power and traditional social structures, Saturn in Aquarius seeks to modernise and reform those structures through testing their validity and robustness – often to breaking point.
We can think of many social issues that have been tested during this Saturn in Aquarius transit. For example, libertarians advocating ‘freedom’, yet simultaneously challenging some of the freedoms enjoyed in liberal societies – such as women’s reproductive rights – is one example. Another example could be authoritarian politicians claiming to represent democracy, or billionaires claiming that they represent the best interests of ordinary people. Saturn’s transit through Aquarius has lead to the normalisation (Saturn) of some crazy or extreme stuff (Aquarius) – and that’s exactly what the Great Conjunction – and Saturn’s transit through Aquarius – was designed to do.
This period of history that seems to have been dominated by Aquarian/ Uranian chaos – and I suspect many of you will agree that the world at the moment seems like a chaotic place. This is part of the process of change, and it change seems seems synonymous with anarchy, hypocrisy and upheaval, as we debate, argue and fight over the direction of revolutionary travel. Or whether the revolution needs to occur at all. That is the reality (Saturn) of revolution (Aquarius) and it’s a dynamic that is, perhaps, best summed up in the following quote:
“Like Saturn, the revolution devours its own children.”Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793
What this quotation from the period of the French Revolution signifies, is the problematic relationship between idealism (Aquarius) and reality (Capricorn). Revolutions devour their own children because revolutionaries often seek to stifle rebellion after the obvious one that brought them to power. There’s a certain irony when revolutionaries become the new establishment; they may cry “freedom” (an Aquarian ideal) but only if you agree with their ideology (that’s called Saturnian control…). And of course, control and restriction merely stirs up more opposition. Even when it’s done in the name of revolution.
Saturn in Pisces: Things Fall Apart
So here we are. It’s March 2023 and Saturn is about to make landfall in Pisces. Saturn will be in this sign until February 13th 2026 and it represents a critical period in time, as Pisces is the end of the zodiacal road. Saturn in Pisces is the end of the line, the completion of the cycle. And it’s the point at which we have to admit to ourselves that there are things we need to let go – and some of those things may include an over-reliance on wishful thinking and a preference for fantasy over reality.
Everything needs to be rooted in reality. If you have a dream, it can only become real if it withstands contact with the cold light of day. That’s a premise that most of us are familiar with on a personal level. Wishful thinking tends to get us nowhere – but it’s true at a societal level too. We can only achieve idealistic objectives, or a socially inspirational ‘wish list’ , if those things are actually achievable on the ground. It’s not enough to simply want something – you have to know how to make it happen. When Saturn enters Pisces, hollow words and empty promises may be revealed as the fantasies and delusions they always were.
Contact with reality is the acid test of where we are at any given moment. If you’re familiar with the phrase, ‘asleep at the wheel’, Saturn in Pisces may remind us all about what happens when you’ve failed to pay attention. I suspect there will also be a process of blame shifting, and avoidance or denial of responsibility – certainly as this transit begins, and maybe beyond that too. Things are likely to come to a head over the next three years – and that time is most likely to be when Saturn Meets Neptune at the end of that planet’s transit through its own sign.
When Saturn Meets Neptune
The transiting conjunction of Saturn and Neptune takes place in 2025-2026 and it’s a major celestial event. The Neptune in Pisces transit has been long and arduous, but Saturn in Pisces conjunct Neptune in its own sign will present us with a serious reality check; this marks the point where the ideological struggles get real – and have far reaching consequences.
Whose version of reality is going to win? This conjunction may mark the final struggle and maybe the birth of a new world order – and history shows that these two planets have often produced the ‘grand finale’ to periods of upheaval – often ushering in new conditions which have variously seen crackdowns and restrictions – or new cultural movements and artistic flowering. All things are possible, but one thing is certain: you reap what you sow – and I suspect that, in the not too distant future, the harvest may be not be as bountiful as we would wish it to be – unless, of course, Saturn’s ground has been well prepared.
© Sara Shipman 2023