Much of the news has been gloomy lately with the interminable suffering in the Middle East, fires and drought, crashing planes, sinkholes, Crimean chaos, and the Ebola scare to darken the bright summer season.These issues can be assigned to the disturbingly lengthy Uranus-Pluto squares that began in 2012 and don’t finish until next year. We can also consider the oddly persistent quincunx between restrictive Saturn and liberating Uranus that’s been tearing away at the fabric of reality since mid-July. While these discomfiting patterns set the backdrop of current events, a more immediate combination of planetary forces provides another compelling image of these complex times.
It’s mid-summer in the Northern Hemisphere with the bold Leo Sun brightening skies with the expressive spirit of this outgoing sign. Yet the brilliance of this solar power contrasts with the deep shadows of Mars and Saturn in Scorpio. These two were the planets of pain in traditional astrology, the so-called malefics cast as models of strife and suffering in comparison to the sweetness and light of benefic Venus and Jupiter. Now we understand that there’s nothing inherently wrong with Mars, Saturn or any planet. The first one, in fact, is empowered by its home visit to profound Scorpio where its sword of awareness can cut through the thickest jungles of doubt or despair. And, sure, Saturn in Scorpio may be seen as a thick sludge of undigested emotions and underserved needs, yet this transit clearly marks the bottom line where priorities become clear so that hard decisions can be made.
The late, great astrologer Zipporah Dobyns once said, and I have repeated it frequently, that the critical issues in a chart are never about one planetary position but about the conflicting drives that are common to everyone’s experience. The single-minded intensity of Mars and Saturn in Scorpio can manage and direct passion like a laser. A profound sense of purpose and slowly steaming urgency bubbles below the surface to fuel us with passion to act with a strong sense of purpose. Longstanding obstacles can be dismantled under the concentrated force of this planetary pair. However, it’s not easy to face the darkness of unmet desires and unexpressed resentment when the big, fat Leo Sun is shining in our faces.
Leo, like all Fire signs, is about creating a reality that doesn’t yet exist. This energizing element burns with hope for dreams that are still in the making. Yet water signs like Scorpio are about memory, feelings and the past. This isn’t to say the Leos lack feelings or that Scorpios are incapable of thinking about the future; it’s just that they generally begin from two very different perspectives. Undesirable expressions of this contrast include power struggles and mistrust. Both are fixed signs capable of stubbornly hunkering down to resist alternative points of view. The open-hearted optimism (or overheated b.s.) of the Leo Sun prefers to ignore history and can fail to account for the cost of resources needed to fulfill its plan. Mars and Saturn in Scorpio, though, are committed to calculating the price of any goal and to adjust expectations accordingly.
Mars and Saturn
The dreamer and the doubter, however, can work together when they respect one another’s position and place in any potential project. The discerning methods and assessments of Mars andSaturn in Scorpio can ensure that the emotional and material support needed for success will be obtained. And the creative and confident consciousness of the Leo Sun offers uplifting visions that restore hope when we stumble in the dark of Scorpionic skepticism. The aforementioned Dr. Dobyns (Ph.D. in Psychology) suggested that when planets are in conflict the key issue is not to compromise either side by to learn how to navigate from one to other according to a given situation. The Sun in Leo is ideal when we need inspiration and Mars and Saturn are perfect for figuring out how to execute a plan. So, instead of being pulled apart (or locked into a frozen position) by the contrasting drives of Leo and Scorpio, our challenge is to learn how to intelligently shift from one to the other as needed. Practice by noticing when your moods change from light to dark and back again. Learning to recognize these differences as parts of a continuum rather than pieces from separate worlds allows us to use their creative and calculating characteristics effectively.