Tension and conflict between old and new systems, paradigms and ways of being/doing are likely to erupt onto the surface on February 17 as we move towards the astrological aspect likely to define 2021: a fixed square between Saturn and Uranus.

This is the first of three such cosmic events – the second and third passes will take place on 14 June and 24 December – and is quite a big deal: they only happen every 45 years, so their effects can be quite longlasting – sometimes being felt up to three years later. Marjorie Orr describes them as potentially good for social reform, helping to bring about change whilst preserving the best of the old, although these transitions are likely to feel ‘jolting’ and ‘jarring’, sudden states of tension slowly giving way to a much-needed release of the outdated and outworn.

In general, however, fixed squares tend to be quite tense and ‘sparky’ because neither sign is willing to give way to the other that easily. This makes compromise – and progress – difficult, and sometimes lead to crises or states of catastrophe thinking. So don’t be surprised if you feel quite a bit of inner conflict, or experience major tension, either in your body, or in your relationship with the world around you. Much, of course, depends on where these planetary titans are placed in your natal chart. If you have any placements at around 7-8 degrees of the fixed signs, then this is likely to impact you more strongly than other people.

In general though, Saturn-Uranus squares tend to highlight the chasm between generations, systems or paradigms – Saturn representing the ‘old’, the past or status quo; and Uranus, the ‘new’, the future and innovation. These are both outer planets, so tend to express themselves through sider social trends. So, in and of itself, this aspect is likely to highlight the tension which always exists between ideal vs reality. Think climate change, or political/social/economic reform – none of these systems or ways of thinking/living are easy to alter, because they are so embedded into the way we live, and of course, there is never any guarantee that the new has been well-thought-through and can actually improve on the old.

What’s interesting about this particular set of squares is that Saturn is actually in the more idealistic and modernising sign – Aquarius – while Uranus, the revolutionary, is in Taurus – a sign that’s stubborn, hates change and is very rooted in tried and tested ways of doing things. “Why reinvent the wheel?” would be a good motto. So this could add some complexity to things.

For example, Uranian progress should not come at all costs – here, Saturnian caution and pragmatism help us to stop and consider the consequences of potential changes and then mitigate or pace them out so that they are not quite so devastating. Think of AI and algorhithms, for example, and the impact this is already having on people’s livelihoods, their ability to get jobs, loans, health insurance through automatic online screening etc. Or of social media, and the need for more accountability/regulation of tech companies with regards to the social and political havoc that machine learning is already causing.

And, when it comes to ‘defi’ and cryptocurrency (very Uranus in Taurus) – Saturnian caution helps to highlight the need for greater security (cold wallets etc) and consumer protection (insurance) so that this type of fintech becomes viable and safe enough for widespread adoption. And of course, regulation to prevent criminals and terrorist organisations from using it to hide their transactions/assets from law enforcement. (More on this topic in my astro-insights blog article on Bitcoin). Other areas where this is likely to play out are in areas such as climate change, food production, diet and food consumption; as well as science and politics.

Orr also points out the potential with Saturn-Uranus squares to create unnecessary chaos and conflict because ‘both planets will, in their negative aspects, lay waste rather than give way.’ Think of Donald Trump, for example.

Saturn, the envious patriarch, will destroy rather than hand over power. Uranus will reduce order to anarchy, rather than compromise. In their own way, both can be highly dictatorial. Saturn, the Grim Reaper, is often pictured with a curved scythe on hand. Uranus is the thunderbolt, light-giving but also earth-shaking.


Fortunately, both Saturn and Uranus have a lot in common. Both co-rule Aquarius, the sign of altruism and diversity, which should help keep the focus firmly on improving the future direction of travel for all of humanity. In other words, there should be agreement on the WHAT/OUTCOME/DESTINATION, even if the HOW part is hotly debated. Both are also very centred around the welfare of the group/the many, as opposed to the individual/the few, which should encourage those involved to set aside ego differences and selfish interests for the good of the whole. As I wrote in my blog piece about Joe Biden’s inauguration, Aquarius is the sign of personal detachment and agape-style love – the ‘charity’ spoken about in Corinthians 13, which is faithful, kind and ‘rejoices in the truth’.

Overall, I think the best way to navigate this particular transit is to accept that change is inevitable, and to keep your eyes on the bigger picture, rather than get caught up in sweating the minutiae of precisely how this will occur. Focusing on finding workable solutions, rather than getting stuck in unhelpful ideological binaries like ‘modern’ vs ‘ancient’ (or apocalyptic nightmares that only serve to paralyse and discourage); whilst also remaining open to compromise and collaboration, should also help to move things forward.