Collage: back of woman's head; Rodin's sculpture The Thinker; 15th c. butterfly sake bottles

Mars-Uranus: Get moving!

The weekly astrological forecast portends several energetic shifts in our skies. We start off with a great big shove from action-oriented Mars finally completing his conjunction with electrifying Uranus in the feisty sign of Aries (exact Feb. 12). We may be more in the mood to challenge beliefs and attitudes, as well as experience a challenge of our sense of direction! Shall we tilt at this windmill? Or that one? Or is there an entirely different and more productive road to travel? The most willful road—the path of I, Me, Mine and F-the-world—may seem the most appealing in the moment, but it also may be wise to wait until Mars enters Taurus (Feb. 14) a few days later before making any life-changing decisions which are wrapped up in sudden anger, pure rebellion or resentment. Mars in Taurus might give us a better lay of land for making any bold moves. On the other hand, if we’ve been unable to take an important step forward or are caught up in limiting beliefs, this extra bolt of energy could at least get something moving!

Saturn-Uranus-Pluto: Who’s got the power?

Mars’ conjunction with Uranus also forms a kind of kickstarter for the larger world transit of Uranus square Saturn-Pluto, which will run through Dec. 2021. Saturn-Uranus-Pluto periods of time challenge not only the status quo (existing conditions) but also those who believe themselves to be the vanguard of change bringing an answer to the world’s woes. The intensification (Pluto) of radical (Uranus) backlash (Saturn) is one possibility and in the current climate it is hard to pin “radical” on just one political persuasion. We might see even more unpredictable splitting (Uranus) amidst all the polarization (Saturn-Pluto) around the world—and note that unpredictable doesn’t automatically mean bad or undesirable. There will likely be echoes back to the 2007 – 2012 Saturn-Uranus-Pluto T-square formation which correlated to an economic crisis, in keeping with the economic upheavals under previous Saturn-Uranus-Pluto T-square alignments in history. Since Saturn and Uranus will continue to square each other from 2021–2023 outside of the direct orb of influence of power-broker Pluto, our current time period may be more focused on questions of “the sources of power.”

What is power anyway?

I have a perception of power as something dynamic. I define power as the ability to cause or prevent change which arises out of the fact of communion (a fundamental relatedness). It’s not an object that one or another person or thing possesses but is more of a dynamic that is co-created. To summarize the observations of Gene Sharp, a scholar of nonviolence, the power of all rulers and hierarchical systems, including tyrants and oppressors, resides within the attitudes, behaviors, cooperation and obedience of the governed. So if power does arise from relationship, a thorough examination of how we are connected to one another seems the order of the day. And across all scales, because the larger collective movements of the Soul of the World are enacted by individuals and in individual lives.

Open Heart tarot card of the Triple Goddess Deck

Venus-Saturn sextile Neptune: Right relations

This is an appropriate reflection for sociable Venus’ sextile to empathic Neptune (exact Feb. 17), as she also sidles up next to the make-or-break energy of Saturn, putting a spotlight on “right relations.” We have our “ideals” (Neptune) and then there is “what actually is” (Saturn). Venus-Saturn can correlate to sweet karmic friendship, long-lasting bonds filled with loyalty and mutual support. And it can also point to what would stand in the way of enduring connection and the sweetness that is available to us, as well as whether loyalty is authentic or will not last through rough times. We might encounter where we have outsourced the leverage points of our power or where we can improve the quality of our existing connections. Transits involving Venus plus Saturn are a classic for “clearing out relations” and that doesn’t have to spell The End. Not at all. With maturity and discernment, we could actually come much closer to our Sacred Others—but only if we’re not compromising ourselves or our deepest truths. Many of us may experience the frustrations of inequalities in maturity levels which can make negotiations difficult. It’s very hard for one person’s maturity to carry the entire load especially in a relationship between peers.

Sun sextile Uranus: What do we serve?

Meanwhile, the identity-bringer of the Sun makes a helpful sextile to freedom-seeking Uranus (exact Feb. 17) which can support our aspirations to remain true to ourselves and our own values. If there is a dispute cropping up, it could be very helpful to identify how serving our own values serves the relationship—or if it doesn’t!

Erica Jones profile photo, Navarro River redwoods

This is just a general outlook on the week. To learn more about how the planets are affecting you personally, book an astrological consultation! And 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!

2019 RETREATS  :::  SAVE THE DATE! I am excited to share that astrologer Renn Butler and I are offering another holotropic breathwork + archetypal astrology + dreamwork retreat July 28 – August 4, 2019!  Watch this space for more details coming soon!

Civilis Forced to Dismount and Swim Across the River (Antonio Tempesta); inset with Death with Old Woman (Wenceslaus Hollar)

Sun conjunct Mercury in Aquarius: Getting some distance

We’re anticipating the Aquarius New Moon as messenger Mercury makes their superior conjunction to the Sun, marking their farthest distance from the Earth—and appropriately enough in the otherworldly sign of Aquarius (exact Jan. 29). Later this week, Mercury will then appear as an evening star right after sunset, as they follow the Sun down into the underworld each night. We may receive some benefits of being able to take a more objective stance and to distance ourselves from relational entanglements to get better perspective, whether that’s in our business, intimate or family dealings.

Mars square Pluto: Do not bypass emotions to collect $100

Beware of bypassing difficult emotions, though, as energetic Mars makes his square to not-messing-about Pluto (exact Feb. 1) and adds quite a bit of energy to our desire to have some control, to be in the driver’s seat, or to reach a particular goal. It will be more helpful to know WHY we are angry or frustrated rather than pretending it doesn’t matter that we’re angry or frustrated. This is definitely a week for touching into our ambitions and examine whether these are connected to our long-term goals or if we’re getting caught up in distractions. Action-oriented Mars has just been squaring slow-it-down Saturn for much of the past month, accentuating the reality that this year, the quicker inner planets will be aspecting those two heavy hitters—Saturn and Pluto—one right after the other.

Triggering Transits: Who’s knocking at our door?

When faster moving inner planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus) form aspects to outer planetary alignments, such as Saturn-Pluto, they can function to trigger events within the longer narrative of that combination. Depending on the role of Mars in your personal natal chart, and how Saturn-Pluto is transiting your natal chart, these triggering transits can shed light on or mark beginnings and endings related to this dominating force of 2018–2021. Current correlations to Mars’ activity with Saturn-Pluto seem particularly important given the 2020 Mars retrograde in Aries which will be squaring Saturn-Pluto for the second half of 2020. Take heed of what’s happening in your life now with regard to your goal orientation, what you desire to serve, what you are drawn to protect and your sense of boundaries. This will provide a preview of some of 2020’s (significant) demands. Again, your personal natal placements will tell you much more about this dynamic and how it may unfold.

Saturn sextile Neptune: Stabilizers on hand

Reality Checker Saturn makes a helpful sextile to Dream Maker Neptune (exact Jan. 31), the first of three sextiles happening between now and Nov. 2019. This is such a welcome grounding influence to complement the potentially inflating Jupiter square Neptune of this same time period. On the one hand, we need a bit of grandiosity to transcend old stories that limit our living, and limit the possibilities of right relationship in our societies—on the other hand, we need to remain in contact with our deep relatedness to all things, so that the new story emerges from the old instead of pretending the past no longer matters. The “real” of Saturn more harmoniously blends with the “ideal” of Neptune under these skies (as mentioned elsewhere), along with the stress, strife and upheaval we must also contend with. The potential here, though, is of bringing some stabilizing influence to our dreams—whether those are hopeful responses to crises, or the stuff of helpless nightmares.

2019 Aquarius New Moon horoscope
2019 Aquarius New Moon

Aquarius New Moon: Leaving the comfort zone

Also this week, sexy Venus enters the sign of somewhat reserved and cool Capricorn (Feb. 3) and she’s just in time to make an exact, challenging semisquare aspect to the Aquarius New Moon of Feb. 4 at 1:03pm US/Pacific. This will represent a bit of a change in the festive mood of Venus in Sagittarius (Jan. 7 – Feb. 3) to a more somber, cautious and loyalty-oriented approach to making connections, friendships and exchanging energy. Her aspect to the Aquarius New Moon encourages considerations of any contradictions between wanting so much to be liked or to belong to a group, and our sense of identity. Are we stretching ourselves out of our authentic shape in order to “fit in?” Discomfort with such stretching could emerge as the Moon takes up her waxing phase over the next two weeks. The approaching Mars square Pluto may push us to take on any inner or outer bullies and also step out of our comfort zone around “being liked” versus “being ourselves.”

Erica Jones profile photo, Mount Diablo

This is just a general outlook on the week. To learn more about how the planets are affecting you personally, book an astrological consultation! And 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!

2019 RETREATS  :::  SAVE THE DATE! I am excited to share that astrologer Renn Butler and I are offering another holotropic breathwork + archetypal astrology + dreamwork retreat July 28 – August 4, 2019!  Watch this space for more details!

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!

Sunset, ferries, Ferris wheel, Olympic Mountains from Seattle waterfront

Welcome to the first week of 2019 and the onset of regular contractions in the birthing process of the larger Saturn-Pluto story of 2018–2021. The birth pangs that began in 2017 and quickened in 2018 will be taking greater shape in personal and collective lives. The week has a somewhat somber or leaden beginning with the Sun spotlighting depressive Saturn (exact conjunction Jan. 1), bringing loose ends, insecurities, insufficiencies and a feeling of lack or loss into awareness. Saturn likes to think of himself as The Real Reality™? but can often bring paralyzing distortions through an overly negative or pessimistic outlook. It can be helpful to step back from the way we are framing our “problems” and notice whether the way we think about them creates a dead end where there may in fact be a great way forward. The fresh start of desirous Mars’ recent entry into impulsive Aries (Dec. 31 – Feb. 14) will benefit from having a direction that is informed by a sense of history, responsibility and even duty—both to ourselves and to others. Resist compromising and rather let the internal pressure that builds shape new responses and new perspectives.

The emissary of our thinking mind, Mercury will make a helpful trine to innovating Uranus (exact Jan. 3) as the centering power of the Sun forms a supportive sextile aspect to Dream Maker Neptune (exact Jan. 4). These two influences can bring an assist to any struggle between “the new” and “the old” that may be churning within. These two days offer us a quick liminal or in-between space to waver and tremble in before Mercury enters Capricorn (Jan. 4 – Jan. 23) and turns our thoughts towards the more practical side of life. Dreamers must become doers in these times of mass planetary change and that means not dumping your Soul’s desires and its part in the dream of the Earth for the illusion of safety or control.

Along those lines, trickster Uranus has been quite busy overturning all the apple carts labeled “safety” and “stability” and it is a good use of Uranus’ direct station (Jan. 6) to reflect on how Uranus has transited your chart since entering Aries in May 2010. How has your life been altered according to the topics of the house(s) which Uranus transited, as well as Uranus’ transits to your personal planets? Uranus pushes us towards expression of our unique qualities and gifts—things that no other organism in Earth Community has and which Earth Community needs in order to flourish and creatively respond to the ceaseless motions of life’s unfolding. Whereas most of us have an understandable desire for things to be reliable, predictable, and what-is-known—when this keeps us from blossoming and sharing our nectar with others, Uranus will rattle our cage. Uranus will leave Aries for good this year, and their Jan. 6 station to direct motion may correspond to some validation of the changes it has brought over the last nine years—which can be exciting! and terrifying! and liberating! and all of the above.

Capricorn New Moon 2019 horoscope

Which brings us to the partial eclipse on the Capricorn New Moon of Jan. 5, 2019 at 5:28pm US/Pacific. This is the opening eclipse in the Cancer/Capricorn series which will run through July 2020. Since this New Moon falls at the midpoint of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, we may receive a preview of what Saturn-Pluto holds for the year ahead and it makes a difference whether we identify as a victim of or as an active participant in the upheaval and evolution of our life and times.

This is not to dismiss any real victimization that is happening but more to highlight the importance of holding our own vision of a more beautiful world and acting from that place. And given that we have far less control over much of our circumstances than we would probably like, it makes a difference if we act from the parts of us that do have some choice, some influence, some ability to create in the midst of what can feel like (and may actually be) a fairly despairing situation. The insightful author of the book Emergent Strategy, adrienne maree brown, composed the following mantras and they are so fitting to the tone of this year: “I am no victim of life; I shape change. We are not victims of circumstance; we shape change.” “I am a microcosm of all the possible justice, liberation, pleasure and honesty in the universe, and I act accordingly.” “I remember that I exist only in relationship to other people and systems.”

Here are some thought-provoking ideas around intentions you might place within this New Moon, to carry into the intensity of Saturn-Pluto’s 2019 landscape and its strange need to change us:
• Bring in other major transits of 2019, Jupiter square Neptune and Saturn sextile Neptune and open to healing our relationship to belief itself.
• Reflect on your desire to be an individual Sun, a shining star (Leo) and how that was impacted by the Leo/Aquarius eclipse cycle. Then reflect on your aspirations to belong to a whole, to the family of life (Cancer) and how your Sun, your shining star can contribute to nourishing the whole (including Self).
• Dream deeply. Go to the source within you. How do you want to live your values and be accountable to yourself, your Dream and your communities?
• How do you want to contribute to the healing and repair of our world? The significance is in your inspired connection to and passion for the task—not in its relative merits or valuation by others or by society.

Welcome to In The Sky, a recurring feature of  Real Imaginal online magazine, dedicated to the re-enchantment of Neptune.

In The Sky presents reflections on current world transits.

Using the methodology of archetypal astrology which, based on empirical research, allows a 10-degree orb of influence for this particular world transit, the planets Saturn and Neptune began having a difficult conversation in November 1, 2014 which will run through September 2017.

 Saturn square Neptune

When SATURN is at 24° 48” Scorpio — 22° 11” Sagittarius
While NEPTUNE is at 4° 48” Pisces — 11° 15” Pisces
Beginning November 2014
First exact square:
Nov. 26, 2015 at 7° Sagittarius-Pisces.
Second exact square:
June 6, 2016 at 12° Sagittarius-Pisces.
Third exact square:
September 10, 2016 at 10° Sagittarius-Pisces.
Ending September 2017

Generally speaking, the closer the aspect is to exact, the greater the intensity of the associated archetypal qualities, whether positive or negative.

Of all the many seemingly contradictory significations of the Saturn-Neptune combination—such as the onset of mental illness as well as psychological healing; clarified perception as well as perception distorted by fear; the negation of one’s ideals as well as the realization of one’s ideals; skepticism of the literal dimensions of existence as well as skepticism of the metaphorical dimensions of existence—one of the more problematic contours of this archetypal combination is its capacity to see through surface appearances to what has been hidden, unspoken, or perhaps covered over by naïve assumptions.

Hidden dimensions of consciousness are frequently referred to in psychological terms as “the shadow.” The concept of the shadow points towards that which is true about oneself, but which is utterly severed from conscious awareness. Not only do individuals possess a “shadow” or harbor unconscious truths, but so do institutions, traditions, worldviews, entire societies and civilizations.[1] It might seem like a simple matter to unveil the hidden, point a finger at what was previously unmentionable and start the process of integrating these new dimensions of oneself or of the collective. But the archetype of Saturn brings the experience of “problems” or the problematic. And as straightforward as the reality Saturn presents seems to be, Saturn carries its own forms of deception.

Let’s take a look at part of the problematic side of noticing shadow or seeing through illusions, from the point of view of the Neptunian or Piscean person—although many different people may resonate with this experience and take something useful from this exploration.

One variation of the Neptunian thrives in a world of idealistic perfection, where people and institutions are supposed to be all-nourishing and infallible. This particular expression of Neptune will frequently emerge in the patterning of personal archetypes recognizable as the Escapist, and the Eternal Boy (Puer) or Eternal Girl (Puella), among others.

The Escapist will go to great lengths to distract us from anything which contradicts a story that everything is fine and dandy; its main technique is avoidance. The Puella/Puer functions similarly, by flying so high over life that details become indistinct or blurry. The Puer/Puella endlessly engages in one amazing adventure after another, pursuing every shiny, new thing with little sense of direction, and is unable to sit and focus on problems or tasks for any length of time.[2] These archetypal patterns are very familiar to many in industrialized societies, and are well-fed by a steady diet of advertising, cultural beliefs that “you can be anything you want to be” and a mental health culture which is largely focused on making “happy people” rather than “human people” with access to a full range of emotional experience.

Saturn-Neptune periods correlate to challenging times for the Escapists and Puellas/Puers in and amongst us. Since it is a world transit, it is true for everyone that the current Saturn-Neptune alignment can show up as the very bitter taste of having one’s illusions popped. Reality intrudes into The Good Fantasy, and suddenly the political game is recognized as corrupt. One’s life partner is not only no longer the perfect match you thought them to be, they are suddenly felt to be downright poisonous to your well-being! Your allegiance to a set of ideals and moral principles comes into question, as you wonder about their validity and usefulness in such a corrupt and imperfect world. The sense of safety provided by the apparent illusion of a stable, placid and generally benevolent world dissolves.

And for the Neptunian or Piscean (or anyone) who prefers to perceive the world as all-nourishing and without flaw, the bitter taste of a destroyed illusion can be overwhelming. The plunge into the pit of disappointment can seem like a never-ending freefall, a pit without a bottom. And indeed, that can be the case! For true to the archetype of the Escapist, or the Puer/Puella, becoming attached to that bitter taste and then taking THAT to be “reality” is a very clever strategy of the Escapist. It is yet another form of avoidance which can prevent a person from growing and moving into an enlarged understanding of life and its complexity. Because the bitter taste of seeing through an illusion is not reality at all, but in fact just the experience of what isn’t real. Saturn correlates to the “bitterness” of the experience, but if that were held as the ultimate reality, it would represent the negation or the total destruction of one’s ideals, rather than a maturation of them.

Distinct from clinging to the bitter taste of disillusionment as “the new reality to adjust to,” actually remaining present to that bitterness long enough for it to transform your understanding or your stance is the critical move. It is how to make meaning out of what could otherwise become an irreconcilable despair. It can be obvious that what you thought about your reality or your situation cannot contain this new information. But it takes time and effort and sustained reflection to generate a new context for that information. This is how Saturn—time, effort, critical distance—can enter into the process in a helpful way, rather than showing up as a punishing ordeal of hanging onto what is no longer real, be that in an Escapist form of bitterness or denial.

Schedule a consultation with Erica Jones and learn more about her practice here.


[1] The depth ecopsychologist Bill Plotkin makes a helpful distinction when he says that “the Shadow is not what we know about ourselves and don’t like (or like to keep hidden) but rather what we don’t know about ourselves and, if accused of it, would adamantly and sincerely deny” (pp. 19-20, Wild Mind).

[2] These defense mechanisms are actually important to psychic integrity in the sense that they helped us to psychologically and sometimes physically survive very difficult situations. It is important to recognize that such strategies developed in childhood, when we were completely dependent upon others for our physical survival and safety, and so were necessary and helpful in their way. The Escapist or the Puer/Puella begin to show up (to us) as problematic—just as the planet of aging, Saturn, would have it—as we are called to mature.