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Saturn square Uranus 2021 ~ Negotiating Necessary Change

Saturn's mission is to bring stability and integrity to the mess generated in 2020, but Uranus insists on breaking free of Saturn's grip. The resulting argument brings more drama and change to our lives.

Together, we form a necessary paradox; not a senseless contradiction.
~ Criss Jami, Healology

When the planet of order, tradition, and taking things seriously (Saturn) squares off with the planet of revolution, experimenting with new things, and breaking free of conventionality (Uranus), you're not likely to see smooth sailing ahead. The square aspect (90°) indicates disagreement, the need for change, and a conflict of interests. So, you can bet this transit during 2021 will probably bring some drama.

Saturn square Uranus

These two planets represent contradictory forces, where one (Saturn) wants to maintain stability by keeping things as they are, and the other (Uranus) wants to forge ahead with change that can improve the parts of the status quo that aren't working well for all concerned.

Both are determined to fulfill their mission. Both have allies, support and factors that enhance their strength. And both have a lot in common, although you'd never know it to see how their energies work. 2021 will be a time when they need to negotiate how to co-exist through balance and cooperation.

[Empathy] is not about being nice or agreeing with the other side. It's about understanding them.
Empathy helps us learn the position the enemy is in, why their actions make sense (to them),
and what might move them. As negotiators we use empathy because it works.
~ Chris Voss, Never Split the Difference

Since Saturn and Uranus are very slow-moving planets, their combined influence will unravel and unfold over 1-2 years. As a result, this will affect us in global, collective ways, where defenders of the status quo want to retain a time-honoured stability, order and tradition, and may feel this is being threatened by recklessness, disorder, and weakening the values that have held together our collective strength.

In the same way, supporters of change see a status quo that is outmoded, ineffective, and in desperate need of renovation to evolve with the times, but are faced with resistance to that change for what may seem like arbitrary or rigid reasons.

This is not new, but is an eternal tug-of-war that is essential to how we humans evolve without losing the foundation already acquired, and how we maintain a stable existence without getting stuck. Both compulsions have their place and purpose, and we perpetually dance between them to bring this eternal conflict into balance.

Collectively, this plays out most dramatically in internal politics or international disputes. It can also show itself in institutions, groups and communities when members are divided in what they want to happen next.


Individually, this may manifest as a hunger for something different, something out of the ordinary, something that will break the same-old-same-old monotony and make you feel alive and animated. The problem is that there may be unwanted consequences if you do. You may have responsibilities or obligations that would break down if you should wander off your designated path. Or, change that creates instability in one area could lead to a complications in other areas, creating more problems than the "something different" resolves.

Still, you might feel like you're in a straitjacket and you'll explode if you don't do something to break free in some way. Or, you might fear that change would be too overwhelming, so you cling to what is familiar – "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't" kind of thinking. In the end, you might be faced with a trade-off: "pick your poison" so to speak. A more positive way to frame this is: it will drive you to examine what is and isn't working in your life, and challenge you to make changes that will ultimately improve your life.

The Saturn-Uranus square is a long-term process of working with these opposing needs and desires to establish a workable balance. It may take some creative problem-solving to ensure that one side doesn't get what it wants at the expense of the other.

Ideally, what is called for is a sophisticated peace that requires a negotiated solution that brings together the best of both dynamics. However, with both planets having such different agendas and values, it may feel more like you're trying to force together the same poles of two magnets. They don't cooperate easily—and sometimes not willingly—and yet combining these conflicting energies can generate a powerful incentive to become more than what we are.

I have never agreed with my other self wholly.
The truth of the matter seems to lie between us.
~ Khalil Gibran, Sand and Foam

In 2021, Saturn and Uranus sling mud at each other from two Fixed signs: Aquarius and Taurus. Fixed energy is about maintaining stability and constancy, so it doesn't change easily. Fixed Taurus is an Earth sign and definitely favours method, logic and keeping it real. Taurus seems to reflect Saturn's agenda more than Uranus, even though the latter is residing there at the moment. Fixed Aquarius is an Air sign and works with the mind, like logic, but more for the purpose of playing, exploring, experimenting and envisioning.

Aquarius has affinity with both planets, since they are the modern and traditional rulers of that sign, which highlights its reputation for contradictory characteristics. On one hand, Aquarius is future-oriented and wants to leave behind that which interferes with creating a new vision, a new ideal. That's the Uranus side of Aquarius, which seeks to clear away the debris that is in the way of innovation and change, and may insist on this through rebellion if necessary.

On the other hand, Aquarius can also be possessive and stubborn about its vision of what is "better." It may be open to change but wants only a particular kind of change and no more. An Aquarian friend once phrased it as, "Everybody be different—just like me." This side of Aquarius can tolerate change toward a goal (e.g. betterment or innovation), but isn't really looking for that change to continue once the goal has been reached. That's the Saturn side of Aquarius, that wants some kind of control and containment around how much and what kind of change will be allowed.

So, globally and individually, Saturn square Uranus in 2021-22 is likely to require a negotiation for change. Both factions may agree that change of some kind is necessary. Yet, both sides are suspicious and distrustful of the other. Getting them to work together can be a mammoth, maybe even an impossible task. And there's a risk—the outcome might result in more sacrifice or disappointment than is tolerable for one or both sides.

But staying the same simply isn't an option. After Pluto—parallel and then conjunct Saturn from 2015-2020—reached down into the well of our human nature and dredged up all the stuff that needs to transform, change is already afoot: necessary and inevitable. Uranus wants to go fast, to get it over and done with. Saturn wants to go slow, carefully planning the next move to avoid complications and problems. Neither way alone is likely to bring a result we'll be happy with; compromise and negotiation of priorities will be necessary.

So, the question becomes: How much change? In what direction? Toward what end? Who gets to decide? How will the benefits be shared and distributed? What is the common ground that can be used to negotiate from? Who or what is responsible to make the change happen? At what pace are these changes to take place? What kind of sacrifices might required of us in order to reach resolution? And how will you know when you've reached a successful solution?

Sometimes the simplest solution out of conflict
is becoming someone’s friend, instead of saying goodbye forever.
~ Shannon Adler

This transit includes 3 exact passes of Saturn square Uranus, and there's a 4th almost-square (about half a degree from exact) in October 2022. The stations of Saturn and Uranus are also likely to bring turning points in the overall process. The key dates for this transit are:

1st square Feb. 17, 2021 07:13 AQ/TA
Saturn goes Retrograde May 23, 2021 13:31 AQ
2nd square June 14, 2021 13:06 AQ/TA
Uranus goes Retrograde Aug. 19, 2021 14:47 TA
Saturn goes Direct Oct. 10, 2021 06:52 AQ
3rd square Dec. 24, 2021 11:05 AQ/TA
Uranus goes Direct Jan. 18, 2022 10:49 TA
Saturn goes Retrograde June 4, 2022 25:15 AQ
Uranus goes Retrograde Aug. 24, 2022 18:55 TA
4th almost-square (00:37 orb) Oct. 4, 2022 18:52-18:15 AQ/TA



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