Award-Winning Astrologer
Donna Cunningham
NeptuneCafe presents
This is Part Two in a series 
about Saturn and Pluto
When Saturn and Pluto form an aspect in the sky, they tend to stir up long-standing issues for people born with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, square, trine, or opposition in their charts. The angle formed by the transiting planets doesn’t have to be the same as the natal angle to have an impact. 
The Saturn-Pluto Vibe
Like a tuning fork, those born with a Saturn-Pluto aspect are resonating with the current square between Saturn and Pluto.

Understanding Saturn-Pluto aspects by 
matching keywords for the pair

A Pluto-Saturn Preparedness Kit
Donna Cunningham has a series at her skywriter blog about the current Pluto-Saturn square and how to use it. If you haven't seen it, visit it here: a-pluto-saturn-preparedness-kit

Pluto Negative
Experiences/expects betrayal
Isolates due to mistrust
Cynical, suspicious
Broods on resentments,     bitterness
Unresolved, buried bereavement
Seeks control of others'   resources
Subverts, seduces to gain power
Power-hungry, controlling
Saturn Negative
Experiences/expects hardship
Erects wall out of fear
Realistic to pessimistic
Sinks into depression, 
Sorrow, due to crucial losses
Perfectionist, driven
Ambitious, even ruthless
Knows how to go thru     channels
Authoritarian, demanding

Pluto Positive  
Has the strength of diamonds
Delves into the mysterious and   hidden
Unafraid of intense feelings or   the truth
Healer, reformer
Psychologically astute,     insightful
Desire to be an evolutionary   force
Gets to root causes of             problems
String regenerative powers
Phoenix rises from its own    ashes
Saturn Positive
Has staying power over time
Understands external     structure
Unafraid of hard work, long-   sighted
Stabilizer, parental role model
Politically savvy, pragmatic
Capable, disciplined, self-   reliant
Builds appropriate new     structures
Exceptional endurance,    spartan
Mountain climber, scales   new peaks

She has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and over 40 years of experience in working with people. Her ebooks can be found at Moon Maven Publications  Visit her blog at
About the Author:  Donna Cunningham is an internationally-respected author of books, articles, and columns about astrology, flower essences and other metaphysical topics. Her insights reflect her dual background in astrology and psychotherapy. 
if you missed Part One, you can find it here
The material on this page is excerpted with permission from Donna Cunningham's eBook, titled 
Aspects between the Outer Planets: The Outer Planets and Inner Life, v.3

For more information on this and several other of her eBooks, visit
questions, comments? email
After looking at the keywords, you may already sense that life hasn’t been easy for those who have a Pluto and Saturn aspect prominent in their charts. Many with the combination have led harder lives than the rest of us can begin to imagine. Those same painful circumstances have given many of these people the strength of diamonds and a matching tough-as-nails outlook. 

If I were to sugar coat this analysis for the sake of being upbeat, these folks—eagle-eyed critics that they’re —would skewer me. You may well find the realities of their lives hard to hear about. These people, on the other hand, find it healing to have someone acknowledge what they have been through without judging or rushing to offer simplistic answers to the complex and deeply ingrained difficulties they have spent a lifetime trying to overcome.

GROWING UP THE HARD WAY: Plutonians tend to have difficult childhoods that feature losses, betrayals, or abuses of power.  When Pluto and Saturn combine and are strongly featured, a tough childhood is far more likely.  Many of my clients who had this combination were faced with physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or sometimes all three. The signatures are too complex to explore here, but you’ll find whole chapters about them in my book Healing Pluto Problems.

fearful child, shy and a bed-wetter until high school. Her natal Saturn-Pluto conjunction is in the 4th, squaring the Ascendant and squared by Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars in Scorpio in the 7th. With Saturn ruling the 10th, her abuse and keeping the family secret had a profound impact on her life. In 1988, while transiting Pluto in Scorpio squared the Pluto-Saturn conjunction, opposed her Ascendant and began a transit of Mars and Mercury in Scorpio, she broke the silence. Her book, Keeping Secrets, was an autobiography that made the best-seller lists.

The public airing of family secrets in this and two later books  not only was a source of healing for herself but helped many people. Suzanne used her childhood difficulties, as many Saturn-Pluto natives do, to drive her to succeed and to help other people in the process. Another well-known story is that of Christina Crawford, born with the square, who exposed her childhood abuse by her adoptive mother, Joan Crawford, in the book and movie, Mommy Dearest. (Interestingly, Faye Dunaway, who played Joan Crawford in the movie, was also born with the square.) 
To interject one note of caution, Plutonians are NOT prone to denial, so if a Plutonian doesn’t recall being abused, assume that it didn’t happen. There are many possible meanings of a Saturn-Pluto combination, including traumas like the loss of a parent or even world events that somehow impinged on their lives. For instance, one client with the Moon closely conjunct Saturn and Pluto in Leo was the daughter of two Holocaust survivors and had severe emotional blockages as a result. 

Eerily, though she had never been abroad, the Moon-Saturn-Pluto-IC line on her Astro*Carto*Graphy map ran through the concentration camp where her parents had been imprisoned. 

Painful childhood conditions often leave deep emotional scars and set up reactive behaviors that create difficulties in adulthood. Especially with fixed signs, the patterns are persistent and may involve long-standing grief and resentment (Pluto) as well as fear and depression (Saturn). Yet these are incredibly courageous, determined people—true survivors—and once committed to a healing path, they’ll do whatever it takes to free themselves from the past. 

Deeply analytical, they can bear up under the discipline of 
insight-oriented therapy and use the safety of the therapeutic relationship to deal with painful family secrets.  However, my experience suggests that verbal therapy alone doesn’t go deep enough: residues of trauma in the physical body and energy field also need to be released. 

Though trust can be a serious issue, gentle bodywork lifts the fear and anger held in the muscle tissues that can get in the way of healthy intimacy. Flower remedies or homeopathy can repair damage to the energy field and catalyze changes in attitude. For more information, visit Vibration Magazine, the free on-line flower remedy journal that I co-edit, at .  You’ll find a list of additional healing resources later in this chapter.  

A note to concerned adults in the lives of younger Saturn-Pluto generations like the conjunction in Libra in range 1981-83, the square in range 1993-4, and the opposition of 2001-2. Remember that the aspect must be in high focus to be important. If the potential for abuse worries you, check the chart out with a seasoned professional astrologer of a psychological bent. 

Also, stay alert and create an open channel of communication with the child. Teach children the distinction between Good Touch and Bad Touch. If you discover that abuse has already occurred, seek family counseling now to avoid lasting damage. 

Often the offspring of sexually-troubled parents—even offspring who did not experience sexual abuse—may find themselves controlled by their sexuality. Precocious experiences or early physical development may catapult them into expressing their sexuality quite young. Those who do so under difficult combinations of natal and transiting aspects can pay dearly for it. (Remember, we’re only speaking of prominent Saturn-Pluto aspects, here perhaps in combination with Mars, Venus, or the Ascendant-Descendant axis.) Prone to extremes, they may be obsessed with sex or terrified of it or may alternate between compulsivity and abstinence.

Sex, money, and power are often entangled in their psyches and may play a strong role in their partnership choices. Whether to survive or to hang onto social status and material comforts, they may choose to remain in a relationship that is in some measure abusive or one-sided in power. Many of the women turn a blind eye to the sexual affairs of their husbands, even when the relationship deteriorates over the years to mutual loathing.
I call Venus-Pluto aspects the “First Lady Aspect” because a series of recent First Ladies had it, as well as many of the British royals. They include Eleanor Roosevelt (square), Pat Nixon (trine), Betty Ford (trine), and Hillary Clinton (square). No one has a birth time for Laura Bush, but various sources list her date as November 4, 1946, in Midland, TX. She doesn’t have a Venus-Pluto aspect but is a prime Saturn-Pluto type, with Pluto and Saturn conjunct in Leo closely square Sun and Jupiter in Scorpio. 
A celebrity example would be Suzanne Somers, whose chart is shown below. She came up the hard way, with an alcoholic, abusive father as an immense family secret. She was a 
General Themes for
Saturn-Pluto People
Hay House, Inc. 130x130 Flower