Mars square Saturn: Out of the Corner

Pine Point, Scarborough, Maine. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Today is Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011. We are in the midst of the storm phase for Mercury’s station direct on Friday at 6:02 pm EDT, and today we have a bonus aspect. It’s one we’ve been feeling for a while now: Mars in Cancer square Saturn in Libra, exact today at 6:46 am EDT. If you’re feeling a bit out of sorts, mentally frazzled, at a breaking point with a relationship and pretty sensitive emotionally about all of it, those two factors have a lot to do with it, and you’re not alone.

Earth & water - photo by Eric.

I was recently given a copy of The Astrologer’s Handbook by Frances Sakoian and Louis Acker. Curious, I thought I’d see what it had to say about the Mars-Saturn square in a natal chart simply as a point of reference. For those unfamiliar with Fran, here is what her page at the Astrologer’s Memorial says:

“Frances Sakoian was the author of 19 down-to-earth and readable astrology texts, which many of us dog-eared and virtually memorized in our student days. Perhaps best remembered were those she co-authored with Louis Acker, still available at Barnes & Noble and other chains today: The Astrologers Handbook and The Astrology of Human Relations.”

Now, as for her take on Mars square Saturn in a natal chart (which will have energy similar in a mutual aspect, such as today’s Mars-Saturn square):

The actions of the natives may be continually frustrated, leading to resentment and negative attitudes.

There can be sullen anger in the natives’ dispositions. Their ambitions are often blocked and there can be difficulties relating to others, especially in partnerships and marriages. In some cases, excessive austerity and self-discipline interfere with normal healthy development.

Sometimes the influence of this square is manifested in physical hardship, violence, accidents, and broken bones. There can also be severe restrictions on careers and professions. … The actions of the natives are not well regulated or properly directed.

. . .

There can be a certain callousness with this aspect. Often the natives are selfish individuals who will not go out of their way to help others unless they gain by it in some way.

Yikes — what a limited, limiting, and self-defeating take on things — unless of course it turns out to be true. In that case, it would be wise to check carefully with the client (in the course of an initial interview) before you would declare it so (and if you have this aspect, we would love to hear from you). If it did turn out to describe someone accurately, we could at least use some additional information from an astrology text about how to guide such a person, and also use an alternative image of who it might represent (such as an extremely disciplined martial artist — and there is something martial about this aspect).

The strain of astrology writing I’ve quoted describes the need for an evolution in astrological thought not everyone has embraced: moving beyond the personality level, or the idea of predestined fate, into astrology as a healing modality. The start of Frances Sakoian’s astrology career long predates the discovery of Chiron (she died in 1989, 12 years after the discovery and to our knowledge she made no public comment about this planet).

Chiron is a minor planet many people are realizing holds a key to personal and cultural evolution we cannot afford to ignore. But there’s still a barrier to its use and that of other newly-discovered planets: tradition, especially tradition passed on without question. Though Chiron is not a prominent factor in today’s sky, its presence offers something for astrologers to aspire to: a kind of ethos.

“Dog-eared and virtually memorized?” That points to a pretty widespread and ingrained idea of how to interpret this square. More importantly, it asks us to ask ourselves why we bother with astrology. Do we study it and ourselves so we can feel all superior, gazing lovingly at our inner bookshelves filled with the knowledge of certain doom? Or do we study astrology and ourselves so we can evolve into our potential, treat each other with loving kindness and respect, and engage in the world with purpose?

If the answer is the latter, then we need to find a way to embrace our shadow material and work with it, rather than be ground down by it. Unfortunately the excerpt on Mars-Saturn quoted offers virtually no hope of useful tools for evolution. But if you believe we are in fact on this planet in this lifetime for a purpose, it pays to figure the tools must be out there and go looking for them.

What would Chiron do? On one side of the square we have Mars in Cancer, this emotion-soaked drive, sexual desire, rage, pathos and desire to nurture. All of that is coming up against Saturn in Libra, the exalted institution of marriage or coupledom, sanctioned and promoted as the only legitimate relational option for many centuries. Mars square Saturn backs us into a corner. It’s the corner that many couples end up in.

Our current moment is pushing us to break up or heal a relationship. There is something we need to either outgrow, or corral into a useful boundary. So again, ask yourself: What would Chiron do? You have a choice in envisioning the next step, a choice in walking away or investing more deeply. Neither is inherently right or wrong; the key is deciding which is right for you and which path holds healing for you.

Bear in mind, all of this is nestled in the matrix of Mercury stationing direct in Leo later tomorrow. It’s a ‘change your mind about yourself’ kind of station, with the ‘about yourself’ coming from Leo. This may feel a bit scary to you, if you’re pretty well invested in your current self-concept or have not taken time to re-vision yourself. A fear of flying without a net is natural if you have no idea where you might land. But there are no guarantees in life anyway and our sense of security in a ‘sure thing’ is an illusion. It’s not too late to put a little thought and energy into where you could be versus who you are; there’s still time to make a decision, then see where you actually land. Other opportunities will follow down the road. But why wait if you don’t have to?

As Gary Caton pointed out, Mars-Saturn also translates as the the prodigal son ‘fallen’ (Mars is said to be ‘in fall’ in Cancer) while the father or king (Saturn) is exalted. What otherwise might be a bombastic meeting is mitigated by the circumstances within which these two meet. Again, this feels like a choice of orientation toward the future which is made from awareness and experience — part of awareness is seeing what is asking for healing, intimacy and investment. Part of the current story is letting go of everything that didn’t bear fruit, then taking what has worked and focusing on that as the seed for the future.

Closer to our home planet, the Moon is in Cancer all day and makes a simultaneous square to Saturn and conjunction to Mars at about 9:00 am EDT. Sometimes Mars aspects are felt more as they approach rather than when they are exact, but they can have an after burn. The Moon may add a little emotional fuel to this aspect today, so keep a finger on the pulse of your reactions and urge to emote. Remember the choice you make regarding investing in a relationship or walking away if your buttons get pushed. Follow those buttons in as deeply as you can, and keep choosing consciously what you want to give and receive.

Amanda Painter with Eric Francis

Notice and choose: in fresh horoscopes weekly and twice monthly, the current sky speaks through your Sun and rising signs. Eric unfolds the themes in Planet Waves subscriber edition and Planet Waves Light so you can notice your patterns and choose consciously.

43 thoughts on “Mars square Saturn: Out of the Corner”

  1. I can’t seem to get a solid grasp on astrology, but it looks like I have Mars in Aries square Saturn in Cancer. I can relate to some things in Sakoian’s description – I have often felt like I was blocked from doing any of the things I really wanted to do. Resentment and negativity have been pretty constant companions for many years. I feel like things may at last be shifting for me, though. I find myself at a new job that pays me well where I get to use my brain and I seem to be appreciated by my coworkers. I will soon be able to afford a better apartment and may be able to take a trip next year. I am hoping that the worries that have been weighing me down for years now will soon start to dissipate.

  2. Half – you ROCK! My whole life I’ve been a catalyst for others to change and follow their dreams. Too bad that doesn’t pay the bills or help me find mine. LOL. Our chat HAS inspired me to “create” a client for myself before I drown in the pond. 🙂

    It was great to meet you too!

  3. How could I NOT see you, wings? 😉

    The higher we climb, the further it feels we may possibly fall. When you love ideas and get off on manifesting and seeing the product it is easy to lose sight of the need to drive the leadership side of manifestation through the collective – it can start to feel like a burden.

    The more ambitious the blueprint, the greater the pressure to deliver. Perfectionism around said blueprint will wreck the creativity; because creativity is a process and we must allow for uncertainty and loose ends. There is no ‘should’ or ‘must’ in creativity – it is its own unction, because the well of inspiration is now, this moment. The perspiration needed should not come from obligation but desire.

    Another key point on the collective aspect:

    Be sure to invite creativity in others. Your leadership may be less about demonstrating creativity as a catalyst and more about encouraging your co-workers to challenge their sense of their own limits. That way, they join you because they have become more free (to express their own unique gift) rather than being in awe of matching your level of creative ability/unction (them feeling less capable and needing to do better to match up). It’s a small shift in leadership emphasis for a potentially massive shift in peer experiences.

    Keep coming to the table on the blog, wings. It’s great to meet you!

    Half 🙂

  4. @half WHOOAA. You are AMAZING. Yes, I am a Gemini with Aq rising!!! You have blown my mind on so many levels with your accuracy, insights and glorious wisdom. And for that I am deeply grateful and send you blessings across the ethers. You have given me much food for thought and I’ll need to read your post at least 10 more times.

    “The need for community for creativity but the rejection of structure as constraining” is dead on. Once upon a time, I did have both, the freedom to create and a loose structure from a supporting parent corporation. And I created a line of products and built them a big prosperous subsidiary. The kingdom flourished, then the glass ceiling.

    Love your analogies. Actually I do get accolades from higher chain creative types, so I’m not really a big fish in a small pond. On my own since corporate as a business/technical writer which lately has been like I’m the only fish in a stagnant pond. After reading your words, it seems the structure flowing all over the place strikes a chord. That I have the talent but can’t put it in a vessel or package so the community recognizes what I can do. That makes me feel inadequate in many ways. That the other fish say look how talented you are, why can’t you get it together. I also have a desire to create something big again but no idea what.

    Have had to work to overcome my fears of getting out there to find community, a school of fish to swim with, but have/am trying. Because yes, I am as you say afraid of being ‘not up to the building of the edifice’, when it comes to my own business. I do very well with a biz partner or collaborating with others to build. But fate has me alone now most likely to learn lessons and it feels in many ways I don’t know how to build. But perhaps I need to dig deeper on that and as you said to focus on a coherent plan of attack. Clients just came/flowed to me before when my business was doing well.

    And yes, again you are correct about approval issues. Have REALLY tried to work through those (you saw that so easily – guess more work to do -lol) but have felt MUCH MUCH progress on that. Interesting what you said about that versus co-operation. On a project last year, a team of very experienced collaborators put me as the leader because they said they wanted to work for me. It shocked me as I WAS seeking their approval for my work on some levels only to realize that they were seeing me as the leader, not a person needing approval.

    So way too much about my story. Again many blessings for seeing me, hearing me and responding to me. Here’s to swimming in the ocean which I so dearly love in real not metaphorical life.

  5. In the meantime I’m guessing, wings! But here is a preliminary from what you have revealed, the limited data and factoring in what I don’t know e.g. about possible sign/house interceptions in your birth chart I will aver that with Saturn in your 12th it would not surprise me if your were Aquarius Rising.

    OK, now even looking at what you have said in your posts and the little I can extract from Astro data so far:
    I have always been very good at whatever I’ve tried but there have always been unexpected issues like a glass ceiling, budget cuts…like walking thru a minefield. So many times I’ve wondered why if I have all these talents can they not be used, what a waste. And lately I’ve been told I’ve done too many different things. But I was very successful at each of them and feel frustrated that society must put us all in a box, a niche.
    Does this placement mean I need more discipline? I have Mars in Aries in the 2nd and Saturn in Cap in the 12th. And Chiron in Pisces.
    Capricorn the builder benefits from Mars the unction that can it. Mars in Aries in the 2nd would suggest an ease in deploying life force that generates resources naturally. Aquarius Rising would indicate progressive ideas (possibly connoted to the collective in some way) that require freedom from constraint to oil the creative wheels. This can mean cutting off from structural restrictions to liberate the free thinker – with the unfortunate consequence of losing the connectivity to community of any stripe that is often a pre-requisite of creativity manifesting on a larger scale (creativity is a truly communal process). So there is a tension straight away.

    Saturn rules both Capricorn and traditionally Aquarius (but Uranus, the polar opposite of Saturn in many respects – and which Chiron mediates healing between the extremes of – tugs at that traditional rulership) and this would be an astounding embodiment in your experience of the tension between the need for community for creativity but the rejection of structure as constraining (squeezing OUT and choking the creative impulse within).

    Now, to boot, Saturn is in your 12th House – which makes it very difficult for you to access the structure that contains the work that you wish to do. You do it…. it spills out everywhere and you cannot consolidate it so as to build (Capricorn expressed accessibly whereas it is hard to reach for you natally).

    You speak very much, wings, as if you have tried to access this energy and natural flair in terms of APPROVAL FROM others rather than CO-OPERATION WITH others. Aquarius Rising (if you are) can be maverick, as I’ve hinted at above.

    I cannot quite make out whether you have therefore been feeling of your own creativity in some way and sought approval from behind the scenes rather than the co-operation that would thrust you more in the spotlight as a ‘social’ leader rather than an idea generator and implementer (which is easier to do do as an individual – potential will show up, small experiment will work well, but the scale to match the ambition will not be achievable due to cut off from the collective).

    Have you perhaps been caught between the idea of the freedom of self-employment (with the resulting paucity of creative community to work with you – thus creating a fear that has held back your Mars) and the need for the approbation and recognition of your ideas to secure them as ‘valid’ in the eyes of others?? (but these contacts have come within the confines of traditional Saturnian structures on small scale – so you get some recognition from the ‘less creatively inclined’ types around you, at a lower level in the food chain, but which are constrained by inertia of organisational imperatives at odds with your core creative process)

    Do you see how you could become caught in pay-offs (big fish small pond) because of fears possibly entertained of being ‘not up to the building of the edifice’?? (e.g. worries of becoming small fish in a big pond) – aka the Capricornian challenge – so Mars feels happier in the square than Capricorn and you ‘err’ that side.

    If this speculation is anywhere near the ballpark then the solution set would need to be scaled down from the framework perspective toward the detail in a coherent plan of attack.

    Suffice to say at this point that perceptions would need to shift first. Such being crucial to get to grips with.

    Try this one on for size as per my fear analogy: Are you a whale in a goldfish bowl or a goldfish in the ocean?

    To answer that you have to be prepared to alter the conditions of the experiment. In other words, you will only get to do reality testing once you leave the goldfish bowl and choose the ocean.

    The revised question will then be answered in practice, through time, and not in your head (where it will NEVER be answered!)

    Of the course now, having dived into the ocean the question has transmuted to:

    Am I a whale or a goldfish? – and the initial response will be in large measure your fears speaking. Maybe your alluding to Chiron/healing is in this precise area for you to e able to move forward effectively.


    Swim – the responses of your fellow marine inhabitants will soon confirm all that you need to know…

  6. @half! Thanks for hearing me. Mars in Aries at 20.17 degrees. Also that Chiron in Pisces had an R (retro I guess). Excited about trying to solve this puzzle although after researching this afternoon, Sat in Cap in 12th does NOT sound like a happy placement. Sigh…but truly am grateful this has been brought to light so I can look for clues to deal with it. How funny it happened under a mars sq sat alignment. Universe loves irony.

  7. Help! I am not as sophisticated with charts as most of you. This feels like a chance to help me solve the mars square saturn career issue which has been going on for over 20 years. Yep I’m tired but I keep trying. I am seeking advice on resources to help me figure out the issue/challenge I need to heal. Does this placement mean I need more discipline? I have Mars in Aries in the 2nd and Saturn in Cap in the 12th. And Chiron in Pisces. Would be eternally grateful for any advice or wisdom from PWavers!

    My gratitude to the entire community! This topic obviously struck a nerve with a lot of folks.

  8. “What would Chiron do? You have a choice in envisioning the next step, a choice in walking away or investing more deeply. Neither is inherently right or wrong; the key is deciding which is right for you and which path holds healing for you. “

    “So on with the healing…”

    I can only suggest wrist bands, in a tasteful shade of, say light blue or even silver, with the PW logo embossed on it, followed by large capital letters WW”K”D? [Okay, sorry, tried to cut and paste the Chiron symbol, but all it would print was a “t” – you get the idea…right???]

    The Chiron symbol could even have a planet Earth in the circle at the bottom of the glyph.

    Perhaps this is a new career path for all of us looking for a new source of income. The wrist bands could be made of recycled plastic, or beaded, or…

    Thanks, all, for such great writing on healing, astrology, one’s path and all the other topics that make PW a mandatory daily experience.


  9. Amanda, starrynight3 – thank you – glad it was useful. x

    Couple more thoughts on detriment and fall. Most people likely have at least one planet like this, and there’s probably a reason why the part of yourself represented by that planet feels insecure. Such planets feel that they’re in an “unsuitable environment” for their expression, so thinking about how that could have been the case growing up, for example, could help to clarify the root of the thing, which once it’s no longer unconscious may gradually become less able to bite you unawares.

    One way to see the difference between detriment and fall is that detriment is uncomfortable, whereas a planet in fall can feel (or have been in the past / in childhood) downright humiliated (i.e., the exact opposite of exalted). In this case, I’d say expressing the planet “badly” is actually real progress, preferable to the temptation to give up on it altogether – it’s perhaps a very necessary stage in the learning process, akin to a healing crisis.

  10. I’d like to thank Amanda and Eric for this and the opportunity to share.

    I’m Scorpio with Libra rising. I have Pluto in Libra, Mars in Aries, Saturn in Cancer, and Venus in Capricorn. Talk about a cardinal grand cross. I think my saviour is Chiron in Aries.

    I liked how you described the Martial aspect and the discipline this invokes. I was a Buddhist monk for 14 years. I disrobed in April 2009 after reaching a major turning point in my life and how I viewed every aspect of myself, from deep internal views to external ideas and yes, judgments.

    Today, I’ve made such huge strides in every aspect of my life and in most areas. I continue to have the highest respect for the monastic tradition, but recognize why it broke down for me. Understanding my natal chart continues to offer perspective. What I’ve gleaned is a process of understanding how I’m bringing healing to relationships both intimate and social, and healing to myself in these very areas.

    I believe that a healthy idea of intimacy, sex, relationships, drive, desire, and my work as a composer, are all linked. Each square, perhaps, is activating the other and urging my on to greater and greater evolution and expansion. I choose to bring love and light and empowerment to all these areas with my full capacity as a part of this incredible and loving Universe.

    Thank you again. 🙂

  11. LOL, Mariapadhila, I love your post! Brilliant and funny. You’re damn well cracking me up here! and hey……..we have the exact same squaring of Mars and Saturn! A lot of what you write is jiving with me, though I dare say our houses, placements and other aspects working in that particular corner, jostle with those heavy weights in our own unique way. Thank the goddess we live in times where we can work with the positive and not the soul destroying negative outlooks of old, plus we get a much richer understanding of the celestial tapestries our natal aspects are woven into, to give us a greater sense of self.

    My Mars is in Libra, 9th house, just before my midheaven and conjunct my North Node and this past year that particular aspect has been making itself known to me BIG time. It squares Saturn in the first degree of Capricorn along with what was my biggest challenge growing up, conjunct my moon in Sadge, and both of them in my first house. Mars is semi sextile on one hand by Pluto in Virgo, 8th house (who just says hello to transiting venus this morning….!) and semi sextile Neptune on the other, in Scorpio, 10th house.

    I don’t have the time to write much more as I really have to get my day going here but I do would like to quote what I wrote in my journal in the first few days of this year:

    “There was a solar eclipse last night/this morning @ 4:03 am Jan. 4th 2011, in Capricorn, followed a few hours later by a Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Pisces. I have just finished reading an article “A Nation Distracted” in the UTNE magazine, March-April edition 2010 and found it very helpful this morning as I am really trying to shift gears and focus on what matters. I am my own engineer and perhaps because Saturn is now hovering back and forth over my mid-heaven, I can harness that energy and potential to actually plan things and make goals that serve me better. I feel more conscious now, less passive and more action oriented, with a deeper resonance at the core of me. My anxiety and levels of despair are much lower and more manageable.”

    The Mars square Saturn aspect has always seemed to churn life around time and time again, but thankfully I understand it better now. I have to be vigilant and work with the energy of the moon more consciously, and make the natal conjunction with Saturn work as favourably as I can, recognizing that my overall emotional state either helps or hinders Saturn, plus, and this can’t be stated enough, I really don’t think I would have evolved to the extent I feel I have, without the support of PW providing the forum to educate and express myself these past several years.

    Hooray for PW once again, and thank you everyone here today for this very enlightening discussion.

  12. “On one side of the square we have Mars in Cancer, this emotion-soaked drive, sexual desire, rage, pathos and desire to nurture. All of that is coming up against Saturn in Libra, the exalted institution of marriage or coupledom, sanctioned and promoted as the only legitimate relational option for many centuries.”


    “Our current moment is pushing us to break up or heal a relationship. There is something we need to either outgrow, or corral into a useful boundary.”

    I realise now that this is the relationship I have with myself first and foremost. I’m learning to set boundaries far more clearly, and the result is that my ability to relate to others is opening up at warp speed.

    Thank you, everyone, for creating such a powerful space for transformation on these pages!

  13. HDW – THANK YOU for such a beautiful response! I was a bit freaked out last night, as this career struggle has been the greatest, seemingly never ending frustration of my life, but now feel more relieved that I know part of the reason. I have always been very good at whatever I’ve tried but there have always been unexpected issues like a glass ceiling, budget cuts…like walking thru a minefield. So many times I’ve wondered why if I have all these talents can they not be used, what a waste. And lately I’ve been told I’ve done too many different things. But I was very successful at each of them and feel frustrated that society must put us all in a box, a niche. I also read that this placement means the “native” likes challenges and that is certainly true. I attribute any sporadic success I’ve had to being given the opportunity to solve a problem. So on with healing, perhaps some day I’ll find my way.

    Amanda – AMAZING photo once again.

  14. I’ve been reading such things about myself since I started reading about astrology, way back in the 1970s. Yes, I am Dr. Horrible, and I must be stopped, stopped before I spread my evil throughout the biosphere–and in the name of all that his holy, stop me from giving tedious monologues outlining my Evil Plan and the Origin Story of my Villainy.

    But I will not be stopped! I have the diabolical power of Mars square Saturn, and the force of my power will be felt!

    Well, it will be felt as soon as I over-analyze it, tear myself to pieces for a year or two…I don’t know, losing track of time…and I have a lot of work to do…so I better just put my head down and get to it…but someday! Someday! You will feel my power! When it’s in a good, solid, socially acceptable form, you will feel…some of my, um, power!

    Of course, the problem is self-addressed. Saturn does stop me. From doing. Anything.

    I don’t know if there’s an aspect out there that gets a worse name. We are bad to the bone! Mine’s Mars in Libra, direct square with Saturn in Capricorn. I’ve been reading up on it and meditating on it again lately, with forced inactivity and the present square and the looming Saturn square and subsequent conjunction to Mars. I’m going to check out progressions now, and thanks for insights about reception–think that will add some good fuel.

    Saturnine, brooding and raging father has never said a kind word and stomped every flicker of energy I might show. I progressed in my career because I’m willing to work longer and harder than almost anyone else, and I never asked for raises or more money (though I got them; thank Saturn again). I never, ever, ask for anything. (I don’t celebrate my birthday and give fake dates to keep anyone else from doing it.) None of you will ever, ever be able to accuse me of being selfish. Because I refuse to receive anything. If you try to give me anything, I will rage at you. That’ll teach you.

    That’s just one of the rickety work-arounds I’ve developed. Some are actually positive–Mars in Libra gives a wicked sense of humor and the ability to punch holes in the arguments of the unjust, and I was able to use these sometimes to good effect as a columnist and writer. Physical force gets turned back on myself, and I finally learned to use this in distance running and the most punishing Bikram.

    In evasive patterns, I dance around Saturn, because Saturn can’t fucking dance. Ha! But I have to avoid him, because Saturn, he hate me! He’ll look for a way to fuck me up, any chance he gets! I’ve been rope-a-doping like Ali vs. Foreman all my life!

    But this is not sustainable, so now I’m trying to make friends with Mr. Saturn. Which means stop chattering and get to work.

    Loving someone with lots of Capricorn helps. It has proved to me that Saturn can actually fuck with you in a very good way. Having Jupiter conjunct Saturn helps. Having a Chiron return (which for me also means Chiron at midheaven–Saturn/Capricorn trigger again!) helps too. Having the Chiron action in Pisces helps dissolve all that ground-in dirt.

    I sometimes do charts for friends for fun, and one man I’ve charted up has this as well, with Mars in Libra. He is an extraordinarily talented satirist and makes a good living doing surgery on bad technology. He has never said a sentimental word about his child, but his love is fierce and strong, and he devotes a great deal of time to him. What I love most about him is the way, in the cliquish artsy/Burningman/club world, he quietly welcomes in those others have determined are not cool enough, and before you know it, they’re showing their talents to the world. He’s helped give them a form (Saturn), place and time (Saturn).

    Thank you for suffering the Evil Monologue. Now, set blasters to incinerate!

    Shit. There’s something wrong with the on/off switch. Back to the shop.

  15. Thank you indranibe! You’re perspective is powerful and helpful and one I need to carry with me on this journey.

    Off to work with soldiers just off the plane from Afghanistan! 😉

  16. I don’t have this in my natal chart, but my Sun is at 14º Capricorn. Frustration with my present income limitations and trepidation about where I’m going to live after I get booted from here traded places with deep breathing and martial arts practice yesterday. Today I got up for a walk just as Luna was conjunct Mars.

  17. all I know, is I’m stuck smack dab in the middle of an uuugly family feud, even with promises fr. both sides that “I don’t want you to have to get involved “It’s between me and her”…I am being forced to choose sides..and I’m about to be disowned. again.

    I really only have two family members (until next month), they are both Cap. rising, balancing perfectly with the same comments/claims about one another, and the horns are locked in- no one who is in the middle will get out alive. crushed to the bone. what a shame.

    it’s OK. I’ve been here before. where is that exactly?
    back to The Fool. isn’t that where the World turns?

    Love the Rilke-
    Love the alternative-to-suicide readings. as someone who squares about everything- hey, they were building blocks I played with as a kid- or opposes-or who is “in detriment”.
    I gotta say-
    there ARE special gifts and surprises (good ones) for those who persevere!
    *and* you can become quite the Character, if you Will. if you’re into that.

    have a great day,
    I’m off on a cattle drive…………


  18. Hey starrynight3 – you are so far from f*#ked, it’s not funny – to my mind, that’s the point of astrology – especially the big stuff. It’s like the seasons – what grows in spring doesn’t necessarily grow in winter. It’s a matter of everything in it’s season. So, the way I’ve done it, is when there’s something big going on – eg Pluto in Capricorn (especially in retrograde – the rule of thumb that I follow is retrograde=internal work; direct=external) – I consider that I’m well supported for the sort of work that particular transit is good for. For example, Saturn in Libra is an excellent time to work out the relationship situation – and everything to do with balance and justice and all that stuff – and it seems to be happening for everyone, whether they follow astrology or not – it’s like the arrival of spring, or summer – there’s just something in the air which triggers us all. All I do is plan a bit and find the courage to do this stuff consciously. Finding the courage is the hard part – that’s what your friends and support base is for – the cheer squad!

    So don’t even think about it! I can’t believe astrologers actually fear planets or other heavenly bodies! I mean, what’s that all about?? How can anyone actually fear a planet?? That’s just silly! I think what happens is that the astrolger’s personal fears (they’re human too) get transferred into their interpretation, and when used uncritically, this fear gets into the system – the fear chain, sort of like Henny Penny and the sky falling down.

    So don’t worry – there’s no fuckedness about it – it’s just some planets, and they seem to set up these opportunities for us – it’s not like if you don’t work it, you can’t do it another time, it’s just that these particular times are particularly good for particular activities – that’s all. Nothing to fear. Unless Venus or Pluto, or one of the asteroids hurtles from the sky and collides with us, there’s nothing to fear – not a goddamn blessed thing, not as far as the planets go, anyway!

    Hang in there (like we all are!!), and let us know how things go woth hubby!


    Indrani 🙂

  19. tracy —

    thanks for your input — insightful and very helpful. definitely think i experienced some of this recently, and quite painfully:

    “Note on detriment and fall: planets in fall or detriment find it difficult to express themselves eloquently, they tend to feel insecure and therefore can come out, initially, as a defensive or “negative” expression of that planet’s energy.”

  20. Eric,

    I read that and you’re right. It struck terror in my soul. So grateful for your chirotic (chronic) healing perspective. Namaste.

  21. Amanda,

    Yes! I have this same tug toward these incredible young people and hope to work with them directly myself.

  22. Thank you Tracy for your helpful commentary!! You sparked a thought – my n mars is retro and went direct somewhere in the past decade or so.

    So much to learn! Can anyone recommend a pathway into learning/becoming an astrologer? I live in Denver and am serious about learning to read/interpret charts, have read zillions of books on it since age 11 but recently almost desperately want to apply myself as a student. Would like to combine these skills (once acquired) with my LCSW.

    Thanks and best.

  23. michele:
    “The young people these days, the ones I am exposed to, are amazing. They embody the positive.”

    i keep having the same experience. sometimes i forget that there are whole masses of young people who are lost to the sea of cultural sludge, because i seem to keep meeting the ones who are aware, centered, motivated, engaged, ethical, passionate & creative — my friend porter in the podcast being just one great example.

    in fact, he and i had a conversation at camp about the conundrum of how to cut through the din of cultural/media noise and distractions to catch the ears and attention of young people who feel the call to something more but don’t have the tools/context/support to move in that direction — before they can’t hear the call anymore, or have the desire metaphorically smothered. i was excited to hear him talk about the need for better models of transition for teens/young adults, and he was excited to hear me talk of how eric and i have wondered how to get tools/forums like PW into view of those who may need it, esp younger audiences.

    unfortunately, neither of us had an answer at that moment. but i guess the first steps in building that supportive infrastructure may necessarily be small at first. there is a lot of competition for bandwidth when it comes to using social media, etc. but direct human contact still packs some real energy.

  24. Wow!

    “Our current moment is pushing us to break up or heal a relationship. There is something we need to either outgrow, or corral into a useful boundary. So again, ask yourself: What would Chiron do? You have a choice in envisioning the next step, a choice in walking away or investing more deeply. Neither is inherently right or wrong; the key is deciding which is right for you and which path holds healing for you.”

    Exactly where I’m at. So amazing to read this this a.m. I had a breakthrough moment last night. Hubby (of 12 years; 15 together) and I had major blowout this past weekend (but several years of tension and working through) Last night watching two movies (alone on business trip) had breakthrough moment, felt a kind of deep inner surrender/realization to loving this man and working through, evolution of our relationship. As though I’ve been fighting this love, or acceptance of this love, on an ancient, cellular level and came to this moment where I “got it”. What I “got” I can’t exactly articulate, like a deep knowing of something about us together, about loving or being loved. Interesting Venus has been squaring Saturn also, all this in my 7th/8th to the 10th and mirroring natal Venus in 7, Saturn in 10, opposite N mars in 1.

    Received this in email from hubby last night:
    “once we realize that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up if they succeed in loving the distance between them, which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.  A good marriage is that in which each appoints the other guardian of his individuality.” Rilke

    I think our choice is evolving as “invest more deeply.”

    What Amanda and Eric said encouraged me more than you can know, that there is hope in being nailed to this cardinal cross. Sometimes I am in such fear of these transits, it is so relieving to know that I can work with this, grow through it, I’m not just f*#ked, you know?

    Congrats to Carrie, hang in there Wings (as am I) love Indranibe’s attitude! So helpful. And can’t wait to read the comments posted as I was writing this…

    Love PW and all who contribute here! Namaste.

  25. A lot of textbooks are extremely negative, and don’t do the calculus of how something might work, if working well. One fairly recent example (of the past 20 years) is The Gods of Change by Howard Sasportas, which I always thought should come with a razor blade. I have to say reading that I go the chills, wondering how people might envision their transits, reading that.

  26. There are a lot of nuances that need to be drawn out from the specifics of an aspect before it can be at all accurately or usefully interpreted. A few of the things you could look at for natal Mars square Saturn are: the signs Mars and Saturn are in, whether there is any reception between them, which houses they rule, whether the aspect is applying or separating, and where Mars and Saturn are in your progressed chart.

    For example, at the moment we have Mars in Cancer (in its Fall) square Saturn in Libra (Exalted). So there’s an obvious power imbalance in that square. Symbolically, Mars and Saturn may “fight,” but Saturn is more likely to “win” because it’s far more able to assert itself. In other charts it could be the other way round, or you could get two that are fairly evenly matched.

    Note on detriment and fall: planets in fall or detriment find it difficult to express themselves eloquently, they tend to feel insecure and therefore can come out, initially, as a defensive or “negative” expression of that planet’s energy. But interpreting that fatalistically as the end of the matter is inaccurate. It may be “more difficult” to express Mars eloquently when it’s in Cancer, but of course we can learn to do so if we want to – we all do things that are difficult every day. Eric once pointed out to me that such planets can work in a “chirotic” way, i.e., like a challenge leading to greater mastery than someone who had it easier may never have attained.

    Therefore, if we know what Saturn and Mars signify, i.e., which houses they rule, we can get quite a detailed picture of exactly the type of friction the aspect represents, e.g., friction between “money” (2nd house) and “creativity” (5th house). We can describe in detail a friction between this thing and that thing, which of them has more power, which is more likely to “misbehave” and need working on – etc. In the process of describing the specifics of the challenge, and its causes, it usually becomes clear what steps we can take to deal with it. So, far from telling us what we can’t do, these chart aspects lay out in specifics exactly the process we can follow to overcome our perceived limitations.

    Mars and Saturn’s basic level of dignity isn’t the end of the story. If one planet is in the other’s sign (known as reception), that will also affect how the square operates. If there’s any reception between two planets in aspect, it’s easier for the aspect to manifest – and if there isn’t, it’s more difficult for it to do anything (which is one reason why some aspects don’t seem to manifest much) – but – planets tend not to like to “hurt” a planet in their own sign, it’s as if they feel responsible for it, because that sign is their “home” – basically they don’t like to shit on their own doorstep. So, for example, a square from Mars when you’re a planet in Aries is unlikely to hurt.

    Also, are your progressed Mars and Saturn still square? The natal chart comes alive when you look at how the planets’ positions progress throughout your life, and the timing of progressed changes in these natal aspects often mirrors our learning, development and mastery of them.

    Separating aspects tend to disappear by progression, as if they’re things we’re here to let go of, and we do. Applying aspects may still eventually disappear by progression, but first they get stronger, as if they represent things we are here to learn.

    For example, Eric was talking about this method in relation to natal Mercury retrograde last week, which I have. The time it turned direct in my progressed chart was the time I started to “come out of myself.”

    I’m just trying to give an example here of how an astrologer might draw out the detail of one aspect in your chart, which I hope illustrates how many million miles away from the actuality a cookbook interpretation can be.

  27. Both in 1992 and now I found myself suddenly working with immigrant populations in poverty. The “welfare” hospital was my employer in 1992, and a housing social service is the current.

    As a Virgo/Libra rising, I found this work torturous. The source of the torture was the apathy inherent in the systems serving these populations. Knowing that a few hours off work, or that a trip across town could be an almost insurmountable obstacle for these people; finding money, taking buses that only run once an hour, having to walk in exceptionally cold or hot weather, not having child care or money for a snack along the way –

    I couldn’t believe it when someone would be made to wait for hours or even a day to be seen. I couldn’t believe it that complicated, intimidating application processes for a home or health care would be so callously or impatiently presented, with little attempt to slow down to help the non-English speaker understand.

    In both situations, I was low on the totem pole, helpless to make much difference once the “client” had to move on to the next service provider down the chain.

    “There’s not enough money to staff appropriately” is the answer I often heard. “At least they get SOMEthing.”

    And I, too, became ground down and numbed by call after call from people who had not thought to have a pen and paper handy when seeking directions, an address, etc. Or all the other ways they were so unprepared to deal with forms, offices, English, business, etc.

    I’d give the information. Repeat. They’d shout it out to someone else to write down. Repeat. And so on. Maybe ten times, before we’re done. In slow, child-like English. Over and over again.

    Though I’ve traveled and lived in non-English speaking countries myself, to be on the receiving end of such calls for hours and days on end begins to grind one’s soul. Or at least, it does so for me.

    Anyway, I couldn’t help but notice that my 1992 seemed to be repeating itself. And it’s painful for me. And I just hope I get through it. My career, both in 1992 and at present, went through wonderful spurts; good money, rewarding, good people, seemingly excellent opportunities unfolding. Then: stall. A lurched and sudden halt on a bridge I’d never have intentionally sought. And desperately want off of.

  28. Wow! I’m loving this discussion – especially HdW and Patty’s posts. That resolution of inner tensions, the blood-pumping action – for me, that’s heaven! Nothing worse than unresolved inner-conflict – that horrible confusing, the emotional swings and roundabouts – total hell! Istead, we get this beautiful square, like a compactor, tidying, compartmenatlising, and extruding that hideous mess. I love the energy of squares with Mars, and of all conjunctions, I love the Mars squaring Saturn, especially after a nearly 5 month inner reworking thanks to retrograde Pluto in Capricorn (been working that energy BIG TIME – one month to go! PUUUUUSH!!!). The Mars/Saturn square feels like I’ve just done a 5 mile run – same adrenline rush, same tautness of the body and soul, same cleansing of the spirit. Maturation – the hitting 40 in May, the sudden bitter cup, the swelling of the anger, the disillusionment – as I tell my students – DISillusioned is not such a bad way to be – allows you to see the reality that lies before you so you can go about fixing it (you can’t fix what you can’t see!) – excavating all the garbage from my life – no matter what it was dressed as. Working that Saturn in Libra energy – learning learning learning about how to relate, how to build community, how to find my voice, how to find my centre. All of these things, and my little parcel of joy – Jupiter in Taurus. Pluto/Uranus squaring away – a new dawn awaits – a New World. How can that possibly be a bad thing?

    And I say it again – I LOVE Saturn!! I always felt I was born old, and now I’m finally at the right place – I finally fit into my own skin – and that’s a good feeling!


  29. eric, amanda, thank you for this, it’s right on the money. i wish i had time to explain but i don’t right now. also thank you much for the wise and compassionate reminder about interpreting difficult aspects.

  30. it’s pretty cool- right now (I just ran outside again)
    Mars is just a little bit higher up in the sky to the left of the waning Moon, and then
    you look at the chart and see how that plays out- Moon is at 12+ and Mars is at 14+…
    add to the excitement, there is a cloud bank just barely visible right below these two beauties, and lightning and thunder are emanating !…

    anyway, it may sound silly & boring but I just think that is so cool, I am always looking at the current chart for stuff, and then running outside to actually see it. call me easily amused…

    one other thing that I am trying to incorporate, (got the idea fr. one of Dream’s comments, actually) is when I see a shooting star, to note where it came fr., where it was kinda going to, and then playing with that information….I don’t know maybe that is too anal or strange, but Oracles have been made up of far worse, I think…? I saw one today earlier, right over the Pleiades, and then two more, but I have to look up the constellations.

    OK, back the podcast. just wanted you to know I’m keepin’ my eye on the Mars sitch. tho I think it will be light in 26 min. when he squares…ha!!

  31. Squares always represent evolution, I think. Instead of being lazy and complacent about the status quo, we squares take the world and give it a good shake now and then.

  32. Hi wings. Just to bring a new way of visioning. (People DO easily get drawn into the fixity of interpretations of good/bad in the old fatalistic model described in the article). You may find it beneficial to use a framework that has been seen/used in the traditional delineation of Functionalism within Sociology – which treats the institutions of society and their dynamic relationship like the organic whole represented by the body and its functions.

    Just a couple of observations therefore: Possibly see Saturn as the part of the piece that is your ribs (Saturn governs structures of all kinds, including bone structure) and Mars as the heart those ribs encase (Not the heart with Venus funnily enough, but Mars – the heart is a pump after all; a super metaphor for Martian unction DRIVING blood around the body to push (energy) life.)

    So yes, we have a tense connection natally for you wings, but can you see the image of structure offering containment for all the life force energy you seek to harness and deploy. People WITHOUT this aspect LACK it as a potential resource – squares push us to grow and resolve the internal conflict. (In fact, squares are intrinsically Martian! I would add that I consider oppositions to be intrinsically Uranian – but that’s a discussion for another day 🙂 )

    Moreover, if we look at the work of Saturn (Kronos in Greek mythology – which alludes to the modalities of his work through time and process) we see maturation, the bringing of Saturnian discipline to what may otherwise have proven to be chaotic and unregulated life force. So you experience it as an undertone constantly until you resolve it… for a reason!

    This is what Eric/Amanda are getting at in transcending the old interpretations, really. The old worry “I have this really bad aspect” is transmuted into “How am I working this energy?”

    wings, go work that energy! And be thankful that your very post is the epitome of the fact that through this natally-expressed dynamic tension you have clearly already been working out your astrology, without necessarily ‘knowing’ the picture-book planetary story – isn’t that a good feeling?


  33. Well done guys, especially in rethinking that old limited style of astrological interpretation. Sure, there are people like that (we all know some), but surely everyone feels frustrated in their careers from time to time? And such a dire interpretation barely leaves any room to move, does it? Under those conditons, the poor bastards might as well not get out of bed! I’ve grown to love Saturn over the years – the lesson’s always there is you look for it. And Mars square Saturn sounds like a good set up – it sounds quite positive, especially when read with all the other stuff going on in the sky. Before I read your article, I’d just posted something on facebook extolling the virtues of my grandfather’s legacy, and how I thought that was a wonderful thing – his methods of child rearing, and the the tradition of knowledge and learning he left us with – things I’m consciously passing on to MY daughter all these years later (very Mars square Saturn – no?). And surely these things need to be look at in a wholistic manner don’t they – in light of the all the other stuff going on too?

    Anyway, enjoyed your article and the critique – but poor old Saturn – needs a serious revamp I reckon!



  34. It is a difficult aspect. I have it in my natal chart. Frustration around the career path is very real but the determination to become an authority in a professional field is also true. ( Mars Sadge squares- Saturn Pisces) I worked extra stubbornly hard and it has paid off dividends. But, I still work hard . The square is frustrating and may be seen as cold, but it teaches the individual to make slow but progressive solid steps.

  35. “Remember the choice you make regarding investing in a relationship or walking away if your buttons get pushed. Follow those buttons in as deeply as you can, and keep choosing consciously what you want to give and receive.”

    “Our current moment is pushing us to break up or heal a relationship. There is something we need to either outgrow, or corral into a useful boundary. So again, ask yourself: What would Chiron do? You have a choice in envisioning the next step, a choice in walking away or investing more deeply. Neither is inherently right or wrong; the key is deciding which is right for you and which path holds healing for you.”

    Perfect words to read right now. In looking inward and shining the light on myself and my relationships, I have found that I don’t want to relate to two of the toxic people in my family anymore. I tried (for many years) investing more deeply in these relationships and that way has not led to healing. I have been looking at this issue for a long time but now it feels right to walk away. I already created the life I wanted away from them but it is time to break completely away because I have the RIGHT to choose a life free from abuse. And so I have.

    Astrology does indeed help us to “evolve into our potential, treat each other with loving kindness and respect, and engage in the world with purpose..”

    Thanks so much!

  36. I guess I’d also be curious as to more specifics of how a person with a career aspect like that could use astrology to heal???

  37. OMFG – I just looked up my natal and saw I had Mars square Saturn. After reading the above, now I’m depressed. Yikes is right. I hope other things in my chart counter it. My career has certainly had ups and downs and indeed I have felt restricted for many of my working years. Yet I have also had times of shining. As far as giving and expecting to receive, I am about service and talk to as well as offer support for all types of people, even the guy on the corner with no money. I have found I can relate to my wealthy friends as well as the clerk at the grocery store. I do indeed gain from helping – in the form of fulfillment. And I do have very close loving relationships with my friends. Think that is Jup in my 11th.

    Well that sucks. I had just gotten fired up about my business after listening to Eric’s podcast. I’m trying to find new clients as I’m a bit of a tight spot. I felt I had passed the mars square saturn aspect and had a new attitude. But smack I read this post and discovered this in my natal. Perhaps ignorance was bliss. 🙁

    ====Wings, what signs are the planets in, and what is your rising sign? efc

  38. @ amanda… i am loving your images. you take amazing photographs.

    and this post resonates big time.

    “Or do we study astrology and ourselves so we can evolve into our potential, treat each other with loving kindness and respect, and engage in the world with purpose?”

    That’s what I’m striving for. Being new to it, it’s easy to get lost in the apparent messes and forget the potential. It IS messy. But there is all kinds of room to work t out.

    I had the extraordinary experience this week of getting a consultation for an amazing young lady, friend of my son’s, with an astrologer I have great respect for.. She came over tonight and we discussed this very topic!!! It’s why I bought her the consultation. Work your shit. The young people these days, the ones I am exposed to, are amazing. They embody the positive. And astrology is a tool to further this.

    But besides that… This post is so full of info that completely feels exactly right. I could probably go on and on. But it’s been a long day of kicking ass and changing things up.

    So thanks. Just thanks.


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