Posted by: Donna Cunningham | October 28, 2009

Pluto meets Saturn on the Square—Fear and Loathing in America

©2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 Donna says: Astrodrama is a tool in which the players speak for the planets in an aspect or other chart feature. I seldom get a chance to use this technique anymore, but was inspired to do one about the upcoming Pluto-Saturn square. What follows is a monologue by a good old boy named Pluto who has a chance encounter with his old pal, Saturn. Just so those who don’t know me understand, I may be speaking for Pluto in this skit, but he sure as heck isn’t speaking for me. I abhor racism with every fiber of my being. I’m just playing a role—channeling a certain segment of society.

grouchyoldmanph-a2d So we meet again, you ‘n me. What’s it been? 7, 8 years? You look worse for the wear, if you don’t mind my saying so. Hell, so do I. It’s been a struggle these past few years, and we’re all tired. It’s aged me and the wife something fierce.  

Here we are again, right back at the corner of Fear and Paranoia. Man, it’s dark out, and this is one seedy neighborhood. It’s all them furriners, doncha know?  What’re they calling them now?  Them undocumenteds. You gotta watch ‘em all the time since 9/11. Wasn’t that just about the last time we ran into one another?

 Now THAT was a dark day in Murcun history, wasn’t it?  I still dream about them planes crashing into the Twin Towers, that black smoke billowing up, how scairt everbody was that it was just the beginning.

Well, in a way, it WAS just the beginning, wasn’t it? Almost seemed worth all them things Homeland Security did, all them rights we signed away. Because, by God, it’s safe to get on a plane again. Not that I can afford to fly, what with the gas prices going up and the economy down the terlit. Had to turn in that big SUV of mine, like to broke my heart.

What’s that rustling in the alley?  Listen, there it is again. Probably a rat—they’re everwhere now. You don’t catch me goin’ down in the subway. Well, you tell me where it’s safe any more—fer sure not in a neighborhood like this one.  grouchymansad-a2d

How’s the family?  Didn’t I hear your boy’s in Iraq?  What a hell hole! 

Say what? He was wounded by a car bomber? Lost a leg?  Umm, umm, umm. Well we all had to make sacrifices to keep Murcuns safe. Plenty of them. We’ll still be payin’ for that Iraq war when we’re both moldering in the ground.

Don’t know that I believe the Big O knows what he’s doin’—not exactly qualified, if ya know what I mean. Can’t say as I woulda voted for McCain either, old fart like him. There’s a time to shine, and then there’s a time tuh go home.

Who Ida liked to see in that Oval Office was Cheny. He ran the whole puppet show behind the scenes on 9/11 and that’s who we need now. He could scare the North Koreans and get old Osama quaking in his boots. Hell, Cheny even scares me! Evil lookin’ sumbitch.

 It seems this great land of ours has enemies everwhere we turn. Iraq. Iran, Afghanistan. Pirates on the seas. The more good we do for them ingrates in the Mideast, the more they plot against us.

And between you ‘n me, I don’t trust the Chinese gummint either. We owe ’em so much money, ‘til if they called it all in, ever oangrymanphone-a2dne of us would be wadin’ in them rice paddies to pay it off.

Oh, crud, there goes my cell phone. I hate them things—never know who could be listenin’ in—but the wife insists I carry one. She’s so spooked by everthin that’s goin’ on, woman calls me ever half hour or so when I’m out to make sure I’m okay. If she could, I swear she’d have me rigged up with one of them GPS dohickeys so she’d know where I was ever minute.

 That’s wimmin fer yuh—always looking for the worst to happen. Well, I’d better get on home afore the old bag has a conniption. You take care now, old buddy.  Watch yer back.

Donna says: That was rough reading, wasn’t it?  Sort of Donna Cunningham meets Stephen King.   However,  did anyone notice the second photo of the angry old coot in the astrodrama. He is teary-eyed at the news of his friend’s death–and probably other losses he’s experiencing–but then quickly goes back to rage and projection, a safer set of emotions for some.

Have a closer look at that photo. It’s grief you are seeing, even if he doesn’t see it himself, because for many people, especially for men–especially those of this fellow’s generation–who were never encouraged or permitted to confront their real emotions, rage is far easier to be in touch with than grief.

Grief is so often a huge part of a Pluto transit, but it doesn’t necessarily mean someone will literally die. It often means that old grief our culture has never allowed us to fully feel, express, and process (preferring to sedate us with pills) comes to the surface and gets worked through.

If you look back in history at eras that accompany hard aspects between Pluto and Saturn, the public mood often seems marked by surges of fear and paranoia–intermixed with grief. A major example is the Red Scare and House Un-American Committee’s activities during the 1947-48 conjunction that followed WW2. Most recently, it is the Homeland Securityopil3cvrmini Department and the racial profiling of Muslims here that followed 9/11 during the opposition that was in orb most of 6/01-5/03.

  Right now, as a square forms between Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn, we’re seeing a similar upswing of racism and suspicion of people who are different from us that I find heart-sickening. The paranoia of some segments of the population is evident in the posters portraying our African-American president as Hitler and the persistent rumors that his birth certificate is fake and that he is Muslim and aligned with terrorists.

 I devote a chapter to the global and individual effects of Pluto-Saturn aspects in my ebook Aspects between the Outer Planets: The Outer Planets and Inner Life, Volume 3. To mark the current transit, I am offering a special price of $10 for that ebook—a $5 reduction. You can see the book at http://www.moonmavenpublications/astrologybooks.html but if you wish to order, don’t use the shopping cart because the discount won’t register. Instead, write to me at

UPDATE: A note of hope and progress among all the human rights backsliding: This afternoon (10/28/09)CNN was reporting that President Obama had just signed a hate crimes law . See:

FREE EBOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Mothers, Daughters, and the Moon, a 50-page excerpt from The Moon in your Life. Read more about it here: NEW: FREE BOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS!  If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward the most recent email post to me at To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.”  Then send me an email with your subscription confirmation or an email post with a request for the booklet in the subject line. 

Art credit: The pictures of the grouchy old man come from a collection at


  1. Hi Donna: Thanks for the amusingly dark and dry role play (I guess that’s what happens when the 2 planets meet). I had to share this, but I was born towards the end of summer in 1973, when Saturn and Pluto was squared (and Pluto was on my moon, aren’t I one lucky girl?). Wasn’t that time time of the oil embargo and Nixon’s political espionage? Would you care to comment on that time, since I’m not in a position to remember? Thanks!!

    • Thanks for both comments, Kristy. And, yes, I had second and third and fourth thoughts about posting it, because I realize it’s an ugly and upsetting human quality to have to look at. (With blogging, for the first time, I am actually getting direct and immediate feedback from my readers, and it’s both wonderful and scarey.)

      Here on the West Coast, I’m watching the hatred toward Mexican people build and build and find it so repulsive in people around me. As a New Yorker for 25 years, I guess I never met any Mexicans. (Our Mexican restraurants in NYC are staffed by Columbians and Peruvians and Cubans and young gay guys from Baton Rogue or Pookipsie.) Here in Oregon, I meet real Mexicans and find that I like them, just as I liked so many of the Puerto Ricans and other Latinos I got to know in NYC.

      So when I am forced to listen to this racist vituperance around me, it turns my stomach. The way Pluto talked in the story? That’s how old white guys talk in happy hours and in senior centers in what’s supposedly one of the blue-est states of the US of A. So the astrodrama wasn’t all creative exposition, parts of it were just plain old transcription.

      When I get over being riled up by my own writing, I’ll probably delete this comment. Donna

      PS About the period of the oil embargo and Richard (shudder) Nixon, I have complete and blessed anmesia, but I have a vague perception that it wasn’t exactly a heyday of Murcan glory. When I saw the movie Frost/Nixon, the person who played Nixon made him disgusting–but it was fantastic acting that got passed over for the Academy award. I guess the members of the Academy couldn’t stomach it either.

  2. Wow… now that I think about it, there’s a real ‘us versus them’ mentality with that aspect; it’s quite polarizing, and then telling of what is in us in our response to it… Yikes!!

  3. The ‘us versus them’ mentality has been in place forever, but has been, in my opinion, exacerbated through modern technology. We only seem to be able to relate within the group that share our own point of views. I hope that the ingress of Saturn in Libra will help each side to get pass that mentality and see that this is not helping us as individual, as a country or as a species. By becoming aware of this attitude we can perhaps initiate a dialogue.

    Donna thanks for using astrodrama. It is such an useful tool. Direct short and to the point. so much good stuff in it.

    • Thanks, Fabienne, I have hopes for Saturn in Libra, too, once it gets past the square to Pluto: hopes we’ll all get past this polarization and gain the maturity to look at the other person’s point of view responsibly and considerately; that some sort of balance will be restored; and that we can treat one another with grace and respect. Donna

  4. Any comments on the square hitting personel planets? I had the pluto opposition last year along with my second Saturn return and a little square from Neptune to my Venus. I had 2 friends die, caught my husband with another woman and my cat died. those are just the highlights. I m feeling a little mellow now and I have been making some money, so I feel real nervous about the square with my mars in Libra.

    I live in Arizona and we have a lot of mexicans living here. My son and I even saw a truck stall in the middle of an intersection and about 6 men who were laying in down in the bed of the truck popped up and the driver and the other man in the truck just abandonned it and ran down the street. I understand them wanting a better life. I wish there was a good solution for everyone. I think work visas are a good idea.

    They have many cultural behaviors that limit them from adapting to ours. Language is not the only thing. Thier work ethics are very different from ours, in general. There is a overall lack of education and with the poverty they have real difficult struggles. Unfortunately these circumstances quite often lead to increases in crime.

    Thanks always, Donna, for your colums , article and books. You have even answered my letter in Dell. The advice on the Bach rememdies was very helpful.

    • Hi, Linda. You’ve had a rough time of it already, but without looking at your chart, seeing the planets in houses and in aspect to one another, I can’t really guess what’s to come or what part of what happened belongs to which of those transits. The Neptune square to Venus sounds like catching your husband in the act, but transiting Pluto square Mars in Libra–depending on the houses–may mean there are still issues to resolve in that relationship. Especially anger–and grief–you may not have allowed yourself to work through at that time due to the sheer magnitude of everything that hit you at once.

      Grief is so often a huge part of a Pluto transit, but it doesn’t necessarily mean someone will die, it often means that old grief our culture has never allowed us to fully feel, express, and process (preferring to sedate us with pills) comes to the surface and gets worked through. Did anyone notice the second photo of the angry old coot in the astrodrama. He is teary-eyed at the news of his friend’s death–and probably other losses he’s experiencing–but then quickly goes back to rage and projection, a safer set of emotions for some. Have a closer look at that photo.

      Look, folks, there are reasons I am retired from doing charts after 40 years of it, massive burnout among them. Because I wrote Healing Pluto Problems, people with strong Pluto aspects and intense life experiences have always sought me out for counsel. I can’t even count the number of phone calls I’ve gotten in the past 30 years that started out, “I read your Pluto book, and I HAVE to see you.” It was rewarding to be of service, but also extremely wearing, and I honestly cannot go on with it.

      Please understand why I will not comment on your charts on this blog, by phone, or through private email. If you write to me at, I will send you a list of people whose work I am well familiar with and respect, but that’s as much as I’m able to do. No exceptions. Leave an old lady in peace!! Donna

  5. Donna, you ought to write a book called “Healing Venus problems” then the more lightweight seekers will help balance out the Pluto people.

    • LOL! thankfully, we have for those folks–it’s a relationship-oriented astrology blog that gets about 30,000 hits a day. Perpetually on top of most blog-ranking lists. Donna

      • I like that “Healing Venus Problems.”

        Sass gets 3,000 hits a day give or take a few hundred. It rocks 🙂

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