Ancient Persian drawing of the Moon in Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius

This article is inspired by the results of a 2017 Saturn return survey of the Capricorn stellium generation—those born with a Saturn, Uranus and Neptune conjunction in Capricorn. In the previous article on this topic, we looked at Saturn-Uranus, Saturn-Neptune and Uranus-Neptune on their own. Now we’ll examine the combination of Saturn-Uranus-Neptune in the collective and the individual, as well as some of the “super-stelliums” involving these three planets.

Saturn-Uranus-Neptune reflected in the collective

As previously mentioned, these three planets don’t conjoin very frequently, which makes their impact that much more pronounced. In astrology, the more rare the combination—whether that is a personal transit to our natal chart, or a world transit in the sky—the more powerful or impactful its expression is. My favorite collective correlation from the Saturn-Uranus-Neptune conjunction of 623—628 CE is connected to the founding of Islam by the prophet Muhammad.

Crescent Moon and Star symbol of Islam

In 610, the religion of Islam was founded, and a Jupiter cycle (12 years) later, in 622 there was a great emigration by Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to the city of Medina, which is the “city of the Prophet” and marks the first year of the Muslim era. By 629, Muhammad was recognized as a prophet by the city of Mecca, and by 630 Islam was dominant throughout Arabia. It took only twenty years from the founding of this religion for it to overtake preceding religions and become a dominant force. A 2015 estimate puts the present-day number of adherents of Islam at around 1.8 billion people—that is around 24% of the global population! Saturn’s stabilizing, cohesive influence correlates to a long-lasting new religious epiphany or awakening (Uranus-Neptune), in this case. The fact that so much authority (Saturn) could be garnered by a new religion and so quickly is fairly amazing. It’s uncommon.

Saturn-Uranus-Neptune in the individual

Glyphs for Saturn, Uranus and Neptune

Given the crisis of meaning and purpose within the dominant worldview of the industrializing world—in which humans are selfish machines in a random, meaningless universe—not to give anyone a messiah complex, but individuals with the Capricorn Stellium may prove to be a vital force of spiritual rejuvenation. Though the frequently shrewd Capricorn stellium would itself recognize the futility of the self-absorbed messianic impulse at this stage in human history, whether that discernment is something obvious or more below the surface of awareness.

For many individuals, Saturn thus represents a kind of inhibition of the wild spiritual impulse of Uranus-Neptune, which by itself easily gives itself over to notions of “saviors” and escape from the material world or karma (our actions). Although this can create a distressing experience of alienation for many, it can also bring a needed sobriety, self-check and sense of responsibility to the human creative impulse that the Earth Community very much needs in our time.

Along those lines, it is very unusual to have an innately critical stance towards the norms and unspoken agreements of a culture—in short, to be a fish that is aware of the water it is swimming in. The majority of people alive today will probably never break out of their cultural entrancement in their entire lifetime. Yet a common sentiment expressed by the 2017 survey respondents and others with whom I have spoken is a lifelong feeling of alienation from their culture(s)—a sense that something isn’t quite right here—along with a seemingly contradictory, strong desire to contribute to society and to humanity. This critical stance makes it possible to envision possibilities beyond the boundaries of cultural stories and limitations, though no one is exempt from the need to develop themselves in order to make substantive contributions.

We will get more into the variety of individual experiences with the Saturn-Uranus-Neptune stellium in future posts.

There are stelliums…and then there are “super-stelliums”

Conjunctions of three or more planets—called stelliums—become more complex than planetary dyads, as the planetary archetypes can mix and mingle in unexpected ways. The expression of stelliums can also change significantly over the course of one’s life as different parts of the self come forward for expression or are activated by transits, by relationships and by efforts at self-development.

Some born with the Capricorn Stellium have “super-stelliums,” with the Sun and Mercury or the Sun and Venus creating a five-planet stellium in Capricorn, such as in Dec. 1988 and Jan. 1989. There are even those born in Dec. 1989, and Jan., Feb. and Dec. 1990 who bring a whopping six planets into a complicated conversation in Capricorn—with combinations including the Sun, Moon and Mercury; Moon, Mercury, Venus; Mercury, Mars and Venus; and Moon, Mars, Venus joining Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Stelliums are not restricted to a single sign and can even span three signs, when planets are joined together by aspects across signs.

Horoscope of Feb. 6, 1990 showing a super-stellium of six planets in Capricorn
Does this look like you? Mars, Uranus, Neptune, Saturn, Venus AND Mercury in Capricorn

Sorting through the hierarchy of influence in stelliums—which planet in the group exerts more influence over the mode of being described by any other planet—can be daunting and an exercise in patience. For example, when Venus, who describes what we like, how we like to reciprocate and our experience of romantic intimacy, is conjoined by Saturn, Uranus AND Neptune, it may be a matter of context, upbringing and cultural influence, psychospiritual development, or something more mysterious that determines “which Venus” steps forward. It can be like five or six Venuses are in one person! Do I want stability and predictability in my partners (Venus-Saturn), excitement and freedom in my relationships (Venus-Uranus) or does it feel impossible to be romantically satisfied by a mortal, earthly creature (Venus-Neptune)? More often there is a complex experience of all of these contradictory impulses!

Stay tuned for more on the 2017 Capricorn Stellium survey results in forthcoming posts on Real Imaginal.

This is part of a general overview of the Capricorn stellium of 1988 – 1991. To learn more about your personal relationship with this major influence, book an astrological consultation!

Step into the realms of Soul to enlarge the conversation you are having with the worldWith Erica as your guide, cross the astrological bridge between heaven and Earth to transform liabilities into assets and cooperate with the energies and forces presently shaping your life. You can also get in touch at erica at realimaginal dot com!

Collage: woman rockclimbing, woman on beach, castle and birds, heart

This article is inspired by the results of a 2017 Saturn return survey of the Capricorn stellium generation—those born with a Saturn, Uranus and Neptune conjunction in Capricorn. Here we’ll examine the interaspects of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, their cycles and their individual and collective expressions.

Saturn-Uranus-Neptune – Oh My!

Glyphs for Saturn, Uranus and Neptune

To set the stage for exploration of individual experience, let’s first consider the broader context of this combination. Saturn-Uranus-Neptune lives inside of the rhythm of the Uranus-Neptune cycle, which is a regular 172-year period from conjunction to conjunction. Using the archetypal astrological method developed by Richard Tarnas to assess collective cultural cycles, which employs a 20° orb of influence, the most recent Uranus-Neptune alignments were 1640–1660, 1812–1833 and 1983–2003.

For those who are more familiar with astrology, 20° may seem like a “wide orb,” or long periods of time, but remember this methodology encompasses major events and developments in a collective self-reflective consciousness that has been in formation for perhaps one or even two million years. Collectives have lifespans which far exceed that of the individual human, and developments within collective consciousness can unfold over great periods of time. Additionally, correlations emerging in 1983 may be precursory and will not be as striking or obvious as in 1993, when Uranus and Neptune were exactly conjoined at 19°34′ Capricorn. For example, the precursor to our modern Internet, ARPANET, adopted the TCP/IP protocol in 1983, which enabled researchers to began to assemble an initial “network of networks.”

The planets Saturn, Uranus and Neptune conjoin in apparently irregular intervals. (NB: My ephemerides—tables of planetary positions—are limited to 300 CE to 2900 CE, so perhaps with more data, some pattern may appear.) In any case, using a 15° orb to include Saturn in a collective orb of influence, the last time these three got together was 623—628, 1304–1309 and 1987—1991. That is a pretty uncommon combination.

Collective-sized experiences in the Capricorn Stellium

Lava from volcanoes pouring into the sea

All individuals live within and form collectives and it may be particularly useful for individuals born with the Capricorn Stellium to reflect on the collective-level significance of this combination because it forms a powerful component of their lives and personal call to service. The activities and experiences of outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) can overwhelm our personal sense of self and ordinary assumptions of control or influence over our lives. The Capricorn Stellium’s influence can therefore be experienced as something remote and impersonal, even though it may touch the most personal parts of a person’s life. For example, feeling completely out of touch with the surrounding culture and yet somehow also tied to or responsible to it.

Planetary pairs in the Capricorn stellium

The qualities of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are so different from each other. For example, Saturn represents enduring structures, Uranus represents breaking out of old structures and Neptune’s structure operates on an entirely different order of reality such that it can appear as “no structure.” So to consider how this might show up for the Capricorn stellium generation, let’s first look at the stellium in planetary pairs, both on a collective level and on an individual level.

Glyphs for Saturn and Uranus


Collectively these are times of sudden reversals, surprising upsets, collapsing structures and pitched battles between the old and the new. We’ll see the revelation of mistakes in construction, disrupted expectations and sudden decline. Saturn-Uranus has the quality of the problematic trickster, or a sudden turn of events with no apparent redeeming qualities. As with all archetypes, its manifestations are neither 100% negative nor 100% positive.

Individually, Saturn-Uranus can correlate to change experienced as crisis, as well as an ability to suddenly change directions in a way that is jarring to others but not at all surprising to oneself. It brings a tendency to perfection, where Saturn judges everything new that Uranus tries to do. Saturn-Uranus can therefore correlate to a fierce inner critic. At its best, it is able to bridge the past (Saturn) and the future (Uranus) but usually only after an inner struggle around a belief of having to choose one or the other. It can carry a scientific outlook, which brings together innovation (Uranus) with a desire to be thorough and painstaking (Saturn).

Most recent hard aspect alignments were 2007 – 2012 (Saturn opposite Uranus, T-square with Pluto (15° orb)); 1998 – 2001 (Saturn square Uranus (10° orb)); 1985 – 1990 (Saturn conjunct Uranus (15° orb))

Glyphs for Saturn and Neptune


Collectively the Saturn-Neptune archetypal complex corresponds to a heightened awareness of inner and outer boundaries. The awareness of disease outbreaks, new diseases, and the perception of vulnerability to invisible invasions can be heightened. It can be a time of collective disillusionment, of seeing through illusions of consensus reality, or becoming trapped in doomsday visions.

Individually, Saturn-Neptune can represent the capacity to see what is ordinarily hidden from view, the truth beyond the surface appearance. Many mystics have this combination, with Saturn as material reality and Neptune as spiritual reality, coming together to form a holistic and manifold vision of “reality.” Saturn-Neptune can also represent a very skeptical person who has trouble accepting the non-rational and immaterial Neptunian dimensions of life, asking for “hard proof” of phenomena which do not reveal themselves under a limited Saturnian mode of examination. Saturn-Neptune can also correspond to heightened fear, depressive tendencies and a deep sensitivity to the suffering of this world

Most recent hard aspect alignments were 2014 – 2017 (Saturn square Neptune (10° orb)); 2005 – 2008 (Saturn opposite Neptune (15° orb)); 1998 – 2000 (Saturn square Neptune (10° orb)).

Glyphs for Neptune and Uranus


Collectively, Uranus-Neptune time periods correlate to the emergence of new forms of art, spiritual awakenings, spiritual or sacred activism, the activation or emergence of new psychological insights, new ways of conceptualizing reality which explode previous limits to understanding, cultural renewals and utopian visions. To cite a specific example, the most recent conjunction correlated to the emergence of the world wide web of the internet, with its new, technologically-driven (Uranus) ways of becoming addicted or lost to material reality (Neptune). All of these correlations have more and less integrated expressions which may or may not stand the test of time and experience.

On an individual level, Uranus and Neptune are planets which both represent aspects of the puer or puella archetype—the eternal child, the one who flirts with responsibility and just in the nick of time, manages to eke through the cracks and get off the hook for some kind of work or responsibility. Avoiding responsibility enables the puer/puella to pursue the next sparkly, shiny thing on the horizon—which can make for a pretty ungrounded approach to enacting one’s higher ideals. Uranus-Neptune can also show up as a kind of refusal to think that bad things can happen, so that warning signs go unheeded and boom! a nasty, sudden Uranian shock can come in, bearing the “bad” news that some kind of work, forbearance or hardship also characterizes the good things in life. Not all problematic, as indicated by the collective correspondences above, Uranus-Neptune carries a magical, mystical quality. It is the inspired visionary who can envision a more beautiful world.

Most recent hard aspect alignments were 1983–2003 (Uranus conjunct Neptune (20° orb)); 1947 – 1961 (Uranus square Neptune (15° orb)); 1897 – 1921 (Uranus opposite Neptune (20° orb)).

So what happens when Saturn, the planet of limits, necessities, karma or action, devotion and dedication, destiny and its hardships, rubs up against Uranus-Neptune?

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Erica Jones portrait on Mount DiabloThis is part of a general overview of the Capricorn stellium of 1988 – 1991. To learn more about your personal relationship with this major influence, book an astrological consultation! 

Step into the realms of Soul to enlarge the conversation you are having with the worldWith Erica as your guide, cross the astrological bridge between heaven and Earth to transform liabilities into assets and cooperate with the energies and forces presently shaping your life. You can also get in touch at erica at realimaginal dot com!

Tree stump in the smoke-filled East SF Bay Hills during the Camp Fire; Fall 2018

Saturn-Pluto: The Birth Contraction of 2018—2021

Saturn-Pluto periods of time, such as the present alignment from 2018 through 2021, can represent a transformation of the status quo or the existing state of affairs. However, it’s crucial to remember that archetypes display many different and even contradictory meanings all at once. History shows that Saturn and Pluto coming together can also represent the empowerment (Pluto) of that which would either regress or hold back changes (Saturn). Reactionary and regressive cultural and social developments form a strong correlation throughout history because of the intense fear that can accompany these two planets in combination.

glyph for Saturn


Glyph for Pluto

Pluto expresses that everything wants to live. Pluto at its best is totally alive! There is a vibrancy and courage and vitality that a well-integrated Pluto can express like nothing else. When Pluto meets Saturn, it meets its limits. The question will come up: how can this striving to “survive” or to “persist” orient to Saturn’s demands? Saturn’s rules, its problem-making, its demand that we go at the “right” pace and not too fast…but not too slow. Saturn wants to channelize or diffract Pluto’s raw intensity that would just gush out everywhere, and blindly grab whatever is needed to sustain or expand its current energy level or throughput. And so it becomes a birthing process, where Saturn pushes Pluto to evolve in a particular way—Pluto may be evolution, but Saturn can be a guide. Saturn will consistently ask us what’s really possible here, given the current circumstances shaped by history, by our ancestors’ decisions and lives?

Highlighting Differences

Given all of these possibilities, how could we constructively engage with Saturn-Pluto as a world transit? World transits have collective impact and yet it takes individuals to form collectives. Each of us in our individual lives will face parts of this massive birth contraction of 2018 to 2021—which is one of the more generative ways I can think of this time period’s potentials—and it will be different for each of us. We’re all situated differently within larger social structures, within our personal and various collective-level karmas. Awareness of these very differences are heightened during Saturn-Pluto periods of time.

So you might try to engage the depth and power of the Saturn-Pluto alignment by deliberately working with its tendency to exaggerate differences. You might seek out the perspectives and points of view of those who are from a culture or community that has fewer opportunities, material resources and more difficult circumstances than your own, including those who suffer stigma. It could actually be quite the revelation just to seek out who lives on the margins in relation to your own position, whatever your relative freedoms and advantages. Prevailing social norms make those “below” us on the hierarchy less visible than those “above” us, and in this way we could use Saturn-Pluto to constructively bring to the surface (Saturn) that which is hidden or repressed from awareness (Pluto).

all color images by Joshua Halpern :::

Sacred Curiosity and the Wisdom of the Heart

Saturn-Pluto may give us greater access to appreciating the radical differences between ourselves and others—but appreciation is not automatic. One tip to prevent us from dismissing different experiences or collapsing them into our story about the world is to summon up a genuine and respectful curiosity. And a willingness to admit that we know less than we think we do!

A practice that could help this along is to bring your awareness to your heart, and to keep re-focusing awareness on your heart as you explore the perspectives and experiences of those who seem to be so different from you. Both feelings of disgust and compassion could become stronger and it is helpful to consider that your emotional response says more about you than it does about others. Trying to just allow your feelings, however taboo they may be, and trying to connect with the part of you that can allow emotion to flow through will help them move. Is it possible to be curious about what you are feeling? Curious and gentle?

You may notice a whole raft of judgments arising, too—which is why it’s helpful to connect with the heart. The heart carries a more accepting mode of consciousness. The point of this exploration isn’t to figure out “who is right” and “who is wrong.” It’s more to notice: there is more than one way of experiencing the exact same events. There is more than one culture, more than one society, more than one system of beliefs, more than a single lineage or ancestry giving birth to our present moment. It seems that no rigid ideology can guard us from harming others—only a commitment to ever-increasing awareness of Self in relation to Other (and vice versa) can reduce that possibility—and indeed, lead us to transform what needs healing within the status quo, within the existing state of our affairs.

In the Sky: January 9, 2018 features a triple conjunction of Sun-Venus-Pluto. These three will be in intimate conversation from Jan. 6 to Jan. 13. Read on for a discussion of the Venus-Pluto archetype, which will be illuminated by the Sun over this next week.

When the planet of love and attraction, Venus, meets the planet of raw elemental power, Pluto, the notion of peace and harmony can deviate a bit from the norm. In a natal chart, Pluto’s intensity can drive Venus into places she otherwise wouldn’t consider, and expand her capacity for perceiving beauty far beyond what is considered to be “pretty” or “nice.” As a world transit, this brief influence can provide a few days of discomfort, tension or even a catharsis, as low-key or hidden conflict pierces through a veneer of stability or avoidance and seeks resolution.

We will now consider natal placements of Venus-Pluto, which can appear in many different and even contradictory forms. This archetypal complex can correlate to the nature (Pluto) mystic or nature lover (Venus) who venerates the generative powers of life buried beneath surface appearances. It can also indicate someone who explores taboo forms (Pluto) of intimacy (Venus), or on the other hand, someone who deeply fears all intimacy and terrified of its power to transform, shrinks from deep relationship. Or Venus-Pluto can signify the person who believes in the transformative power (Pluto) of love (Venus), among many, many other expressions.

Harmony versus discord

Venus-Pluto can bring an uncommon depth of insight into the nature of peace and harmony. Discord, strife and the intimate dance between death and life can be seen as part of the great mystery of existence, rather than in opposition to our existence. A relationship with instinct can be cultivated, a healthy appreciation of instinct as a powerful force that drives the vitality of life, and not just a dangerous element to be controlled and mitigated.

On the other hand, Pluto can also suppress what it touches, and make one fearful of the power within whatever Pluto aspects. See for example, Sigmund Freud (Venus conjunct Pluto) with his deeply influential book Civilization and Its Discontents, which posits the need for an eternal war—namely, civilization—against the depraved human instincts in order to force harmony upon human societies. According to this philosophy, love and reciprocity are to be found through repression and suppression, as Freud states, “It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built up upon a renunciation of instinct….” and “is a process in the service of Eros [Venus], whose purpose is to combine single human individuals, and after that families, then races, peoples and nations, into one great unity, the unity of mankind.”

Freud’s expression of Venus-Pluto here highlights issues of vulnerability and fears of being out of control, which are key themes for the Venus-Pluto archetypal complex, particularly regarding one’s social groups and intimate relationships. Jealousy and intense envy can feature prominently. However, one way to turn this tendency into a powerful ally is to make the contemplation of jealous feelings a part of the spiritual path. What is the desire to have something or not have something actually pointing towards? What real insecurity is beneath that desire? How can you meet the needs of that insecurity—if they can be met? Fixating on others’ perceived riches or foibles is a great distraction from one’s own deep insecurities! But turning towards those fears and facing them can be profoundly liberating and free up tremendous resources of life vitality, enjoyment and communion with the Sacred Other in all its forms.

Communion with and deep reverence for the Plutonic

This crop circle appeared during the Venus-Pluto square of May 2009. It looks quite like the glyph for Pluto on top, joined to the glyph for Venus at bottom.

Turning toward another inflection of the Venus-Pluto archetypal complex, one of its more interesting correlations is Venus-Pluto as the nature mystic.

The cosmologist Brian Swimme (Venus conjunct Pluto), with whom I studied for several years, is one who comes to mind. One of his book titles, The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, expresses his Venus-Pluto well (hidden = Pluto, heart = Venus). While studying with Swimme, I appreciated his deep, deep sentiment for the preciousness of other-than-human organisms and the greater-than-human dimensions of our planet, which he often expressed with an inspirational passion. I remember from one of his lectures a story of wrestling with feeling so deeply for an insect, feeling so sad while watching it thrash about, trapped in some water on the edge of a bathtub. Swimme had wanted to rescue it! (Whereas many if not most people would hardly have a feeling of care (Venus) at all for an insect (Pluto).) But Swimme also wondered if his attempt to help was futile, for the bug would die anyway. A kind of helplessness in love can also be present in the Plutonian Venus, and in his story Swimme offered a reflection on our intimacy with destruction, as a simple fact of life, along with the heartbreaking helplessness one can feel in contemplating the vastness of the cosmos and our tiny place in it. Our love (Venus) for life makes us so vulnerable (Pluto) to life’s immensities and mysteries (Pluto). An open heart must know how to break.

The prophetic farmer and insightful novelist Wendell Berry (Venus conjunct Pluto) is another example of a nature mystic who worships the Earth and its incredible life-giving power.

A quote from his 1969 book The Long-Legged House provides a good example: “The most exemplary nature is that of the topsoil. It is very Christ-like in its passivity and beneficence, and in the penetrating energy that issues out of its peaceableness. It increases by experience, by the passage of seasons over it, growth rising out of it and returning to it, not by ambition or aggressiveness. It is enriched by all things that die and enter into it. It keeps the past, not as history or as memory, but as richness, new possibility. Its fertility is always building up out of death into promise. Death is the bridge or the tunnel by which its past enters its future.”

In this passage, we hear Berry’s deep praise for and adoration (Venus) of the Earth (Pluto), and Pluto’s signature themes of rebirth, the union of the destructive and the creative, as life moves through its transformations. The topsoil as peaceable, as Christ-like in generative power speaks of a feminine (Venus) regard for the source of life. Passive is recognized as active in its own very powerful way.

Finally, this poem by Wendell Berry, The Peace (Venus) of Wild Things (Pluto) is a soothing reminder to all those who find their place in the world, and peace in their heart, within the quiet ease of the greater-than-human world, simply moving in accord with (Venus) its nature, its instinct (Pluto) in the great round of life.

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

The column Out of Orbit features articles which range outside of direct discussion of the archetype of Neptune.

When the planets Saturn and Pluto come together in the sky in hard aspect (0° conjunction, 90° square or 180° opposition), feelings of hardship, danger and mortality are heightened within human collectives as well as within individual lives. Although this archetypal complex can produce an exaggerated internal experience of oppression, repression and gloomy prospects for the future, often world events will occur to bring about such conditions and experiences, or draw pre-existing problems out into greater public awareness and debate.

Saturn glyph 50px

Pluto glyph 50px

One such period of time was from June 2000 to April 2004 when Saturn formed an opposition (180° angle) to Pluto in the sky. During this time the World Trade Center in New York City as well as the Pentagon in Washington, DC, suffered terrorist attacks on the now-infamous day of September 11, 2001. A militaristic and violent response spiraled out of those events with all the iron-fisted certainty, unforgiving moral posturing and vindictiveness that Saturn-Pluto at its most problematic can herald. This combination of planetary archetypes is well known for its capacity to split a person or a group off from others in an attempt to experience moral purity, precisely because Saturn-Pluto so profoundly feels shame, guilt and moral failings. Such difficult feelings of “impurity” and “insufficiency” must live somewhere, and without a good deal of honest self-reflection and dedication to cultivating a sense of self-love and compassion, the reactive move is to find a person or a group outside of one’s identity to be the sinful one, the shameful one, the guilty. Self-reflection and soul-searching is rejected in favor of finding a scapegoat.

And though the enactment of a cycle of violence may stain many memories of 9/11/2001, for just a moment, a great many people in the United States were wrapped up in the spirit of compassion, their hearts opened by the tragedy, the need to help each other, the resounding question: “But why?”

On that day, I lived on the west coast of the US, which awoke to this tragic and stunning news. As I boarded Seattle Metro Bus# 18 for my commute to downtown, I was puzzled that the driver would not accept my fare. “It’s a free ride today,” he said, his hand covering the fare box and his demeanor suggesting his mind was far away elsewhere. While the King County-Seattle Metro transit system decided to give everyone a free ride that day, all across the country and indeed the world, people were coming together in displays of kindness, generosity and human solidarity. In the days following, all air travel was suspended and the financially strapped rail company Amtrak “helped thousands of stranded passengers by honoring airline tickets on trains leaving San Francisco. …Residents of Grace House homeless shelter in Savannah, Georgia gathered what they could and proudly sent a check for $52 to the Red Cross. Prisoners in Louisiana making 40 cents an hour [raised] $11,000 in a few months’ time. Inmates of California’s Institute for Women [sent] hand-sewn quilts and thousands in cash.”[1] In Canada, the small town of Gander, Newfoundland spontaneously played host to over 10,000 stranded airline passengers, whose flights had been diverted on September 11, 2001. In recognition of the overwhelming generosity and hospitality of a multitude of strangers, a group of air passengers set up a college fund for the area’s children, which has benefited at least 134 students as of 2011.[2]

“What really matters now is love. Now I don’t mean mush, I don’t mean sentimentality. I mean that condition in the human spirit so profound that it allows us to rise.” –Maya Angelou

For all the darkness and despair which can be (rightly) associated with the Saturn-Pluto combination, the capacity to bring out the best in people is also possible. When its moral integrity is combined with a compassionate heart, when its awareness of the tragic dimensions of life is coupled with humility and the true courage that vulnerability grants, Saturn-Pluto can evoke from individuals and collectives a capacity to come together against overwhelming odds. As used car dealer Don Forman recalled his spontaneous generosity in rallying resources in the city of Las Vegas, even spending $8,000 of his own funds to help travelers return home after being stranded in mid-September 2001: “The dealership was just like everyone else in the country. We all stood around with our mouths open. We didn’t know what to do. When we started doing this, my employees were ecstatic. They really felt a part of something.”[3]

The Compassion Games—in which “competition becomes coopetition as we challenge each other to strive together to make our planet a better place to live”—were ultimately inspired by the tragedy of 9/11/2001. The Compassion Games put a curious spin on the harsh Saturn-Pluto trope of “The Hunger Games” (in which the impoverished are pitted against each other) and render a Saturn-Pluto which encourages people to face challenges together in both small and large ways, helping one another and their communities. (And YOU can participate in the Annual Games by becoming an Agent of Compassion from now through September 21!)

This more life-affirming inflection of Saturn-Pluto comes shining through in a heartening video from 9/11 Day of Service, an organization which was “inspired by the remarkable spirit of unity, compassion and service that brought together so many Americans and others throughout the world in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. ‘I thought it would be a wonderful thing if we could honor those who lost their lives, were injured, or rose in service, by keeping that spirit of service and unity alive, at least for one day out of the year,’” says David Paine, its founder.[4]

Hope was Born on 9/11

The chart of children born on September 11, 2001 will be something like this:

Transits of Sep 11, 2001











(Depending on the time and place of birth, there will be different sign and planet placements by house, and the Moon will be anywhere from mid-Gemini for a midnight birth to mid-Cancer for a 11:59pm birth, the Moon’s position in the zodiac varying also by time zone.)

Saturn and Pluto in a T-square formation with the Sun almost guarantees a conscious, ego identification with the qualities of Saturn-Pluto, both positive and negative, as described above. Hillary O’Neill, who is featured in the video, quietly emphasizes the courage needed to mature through horrific experiences. She says, “I hope it [9/11/2001] will become a day that people can look at, and they will realize how much things have changed and how the world in general has grown, how things can transform.” Pluto represents the realms of irreversible transformation and Saturn corresponds to maturity. Hillary’s conscious desire (Sun) for people to take a reflective stance, to consider the deep and lasting changes (Pluto) which have occurred over time (Saturn) implies that an evolved and compassionate reconciliation with our shared past has at least as much capacity to bring us closer to one another, as to drive us all further apart. She speaks to the maturity (Saturn) required to evolve (Pluto). Sun-Saturn by itself has a great feeling of responsibility, a desire and a capacity to be a good and conscientious leader who can also be quite humble. In Hillary’s case, we can hear Pluto offering ambition, the capacity to be with massive considerations and not be overwhelmed: “If we all do good deeds, it will add up. Doing something good makes me feel good as well. It makes me realize I have the power to change things,” Hillary explains.

I would like to wish those born on September 11, 2001—some 13,000 people—a very happy 14th birthday, that they may know love, joy, happiness and kindness, first by showing this to themselves, as much as they may shower others with such blessings…for always but always know: You are enough. You are sufficient. You are worthy. And you are beautiful.


[1] Some Good News!, Vol. 5, Number 19, Fall 2001. Retrieved from

[2] In unlikely place, the human face of 9/11,, September 4, 2011. Retrieved from

[3] Some Good News!, Vol. 5, Number 19, Fall 2001. Retrieved from

See also Bessel van der Kolk’s research into trauma and ways of healing with it, which suggests that being able to act, to contribute something to a crisis response seems to help people to adjust to disorienting changes, and to make stress hormones into proper allies rather than overwrought enemies. Interview with van der Kolk here, audio and transcript:

[4] Retrieved from “About Us: 9/11 Day,”