SaturnThe intensity index is ratcheting up again, as Saturn moves into his second square with Pluto, exact on January 31. They first met on November 15, and the third and final time will be on August 21.

As I wrote in my November newsletter, Transforming Fear:

Saturn represents the structures, systems and foundations of our lives, while Pluto represents transformation at the deepest level. When these two planets interact, we become acutely aware of what has become stagnant and what needs to die in order to make space for new growth. Like a snake that has outgrown her skin, it’s time to shed the old layers.

The first exact “hit” of a transit (i.e., in November) is generally an “oh shit” kind of moment. As in, we see what’s not working and realize that something’s got to give. In this case, because Pluto, god of death and rebirth, is involved, there’s likely to be something we need to let go of — something we have outgrown and is now out of alignment with our Truth, mission, or higher purpose.

Coming into Alignmentpluto

Saturn is a very real-world planet. Saturn represents our work in the world, how we organize our reality, the structures that support us. When Saturn and Pluto interact, the change we’re talking about most likely needs to happen in the physical realm. Yes, it’s about transforming and releasing old beliefs, perceptions and emotional habits, but it’s also about making actual changes in our reality.

Because Saturn is now in Libra — the sign of partnership — this particular Saturn-Pluto interaction is also about relationships. Are we aligned with the friends and partners who serve our highest good? Are we in relationships that we’ve outgrown, or that have fulfilled their purpose? Do we need to let go of a partner, or transform how we relate?

The second exact hit of a transit — i.e., now — is when we figure out what to do about that ah-ha moment we had at the first hit. Saturn is now Retrograde (January 14-May 30), a time for reviewing and reconsidering these questions about our work, relationships, the structures of our lives — generally speaking, our day-to-day physical reality.

Saturn’s ultimate purpose is to help us come into alignment with our integrity. He asks the questions: Does your outer world match your inner world? Are your relationships, work, home, etc. an accurate reflection of who you know yourself to be on the inside?

While Saturn is now activated in the sky, we become acutely aware of where our lives are out of integrity. Saturn crystallizes energy, making very obvious the places that don’t match up — one of his big gifts (though not always one we welcome with enthusiasm). Suddenly, what we maybe felt an inkling of in some subtle way is now hitting us over the head in the form of a person or situation in our life.

JupiterFear and Faith

Typically, once we realize where we’re out of integrity and what needs to change, the fear kicks in. The fearful part of us comes up with 1,000 great reasons why we can’t possibly let go of what we know we need to — I won’t have any money, No one will like me, My family will think I’m crazy, etc. etc.

Then the bargaining stage — I’ll let go of ___ once I’m perfectly clear about what will replace it, and once I see solid evidence that this new direction will bring me money, love, satisfaction, great sex, and a guaranteed better life. In other words, we want the safety net for our big leap of faith.

In my experience, the Universe doesn’t work this way — and especially not the current cosmic energies. Pluto requires that we enter the Mystery, the Underworld, the darkness — that we go through the death stage before the new can be born. We can’t even see what the new direction might look like — the opportunities, resources and possibilities that are out there — until we create space by letting go of the old.

This is the great leap of faith, and this is exactly the step that’s required of all of us right now.

Caroline Myss talks about how the Divine works through paradox — “God never ever comes in the front door.” This means that, when we’re really tuned in to the Mystery, to our inner Truth, that little voice of intuitive guidance can sound insane. Hence the fear.

My amazing friend and yoga teacher Jay Fields recently wrote a timely and useful blog post on how to distinguish between fear and intuition, and how to “Move Past the Stuckness of Fear into the Flow of Guidance.” Check it out!

Some of you — those whose birth charts are being directly influenced by Saturn and Pluto — are feeling these energies more strongly than others. But Saturn’s square to Pluto is a collective influence — none of us is exempt. Which is the good news — we’re all in this together, one of Saturn in Libra’s big lessons. Our world is radically changing, evolving into a new paradigm, and we are all active participants. In the words of Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman:

“[T]here are, indeed, golden opportunities hidden in the dark clouds of crisis. Those willing to face the music and dance together will be the ones who will help transform the threatening crises we face into awesome opportunities.”Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future