Saturn/Pluto brings the reality principle of Saturn into a meeting with the transformative power of Pluto, often resulting in a depth (Pluto) of truth (Saturn) and a total transformation (Pluto) of reality (Saturn):
The Saturn/Pluto combination often shows up as the challenges and privations of Saturn, and the discipline and self-sufficiency that come from facing such, deepened and empowered by Pluto. The following quotes by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche exemplify this dynamic: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” “Fear is the mother of morality.” “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” “One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.” “It is not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, that the lover of knowledge is reluctant to step into its waters.”
The Saturn/Pluto combination can be seen in the charts and movies of actors Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson. The Die Hard series of movies starring Bruce Willis, in which Willis plays the role of an everyman who has to risk his life again and again to stop terrorists, demonstrate the tendency of the Saturn/Pluto combination to deepen (Pluto) the threat of mortality (Saturn) while simultaneously empowering (Pluto) discipline and self-sufficiency (Saturn). Mel Gibson’s Mad Max series of movies takes place in a world in which there is a shortage (Saturn) of power (Pluto). Gibson’s character “Max” embodies the depth (Pluto) and seriousness (Saturn) of this combination. The movie Apocalypto, written, directed, and produced by Gibson, tells the story of the mortal dangers (Saturn) of nature (Pluto) and the ending (Saturn) of an entire mass of people (Pluto).
Examples of how hardship creates authority can be seen in the Saturn/Pluto combinations of the RZA and the GZA, founding members of the hip hop group, Wu-Tang Clan. Saturn is the archetype of burden, constriction, hardship, as well as responsibility, maturity, and authority. Pluto deepens and intensifies what it touches to life or death proportions.
We often see Pluto deepening and intensifying the Saturnian archetype of constriction and hardship, forcing lessons of survival. Both the RZA and the GZA grew up in impoverished surroundings. Of his childhood the RZA states in his autobiographical account, The Tao of Wu,
“Imagine you’re eight years old, going to the store with thirty-five cents to buy a pack of Now and Laters and a bag of sunflower seeds. You get there, three teenagers choke you with an umbrella, take your thirty-five cents, and buy cigarettes…imagine you live with eighteen relatives in a two-bedroom apartment across the street from the courthouse and the county jail. You wonder why the jail and courthouse are so close to the projects; when you get locked up there a few years later, you learn…in 1978 my mother, who worked in a numbers house, hit the number for about four g’s—enough money to move eight of us into a three-bedroom place on Dumont Avenue. This was in Marcus Garvey, a violent ghetto, but for a minute there we felt like the white kids on the TV show Eight is Enough: eight kids with toys, bikes, and a new home. But before we could move in, the place was robbed. All our stuff—toys, bikes, furniture—was gone, right before Christmas…in times of heavy rain, human excrement floated by under our basement-level bedroom, where me and my five brothers slept on two twin beds. No one chooses to live like that…”
In his lyrics for the song “I Gotcha Back,” the GZA says,
“…I’m from Brooklyn, a place where stars are born, streets are shot-up, apartment buildings are torn and ripped up…kids are slinging in my lobby, little Steve and Bobby, getting paid but it’s a life-threatening hobby…My life-style was so far from well, could of wrote a book with a title “Age Twelve and Going Through Hell.” Then I realize the plan, I’m trapped in a deadly video game with just one man… What is the meaning of crime? Is it criminals robbing innocent motherfuckers every time? Little shorties take walks to the schoolyard, trying to solve the puzzle to why is life so hard. And as soon as they reach the playground, shots ring off, and now one of them lay down. It’s so hard to escape the gun-fire, I wish I could rule it out like an umpire.”
Here we see the Saturnian element of hardship driven to an overwhelmingly burdensome and life-threatening degree by Pluto. This combination of Saturn and Pluto in hard aspect can be one of the most difficult archetypal combinations. Yet, as with all combinations of the archetypes, the deeper the challenge, the deeper the potential strength. The other side of Saturn is responsibility and authority. The RZA states,
“I made my first trip down there (to Ohio) at the age of nineteen, and that time I came with righteousness. I brought my book of Lessons and started teaching Mathematics to anyone who wanted to learn. Before long I had about twenty students. We’d meet every day at the town library, and soon our group got so big that they moved us to a community center. Then other community leaders started showing up and we started running roundtable discussions. We talked about Divine Mathematics, but also geometry, biology, and all sorts of other subjects. It was like a seminar of the streets.”
Add to Saturn’s element of authority the intensification of Pluto and you have the moment when the RZA founded the Wu-Tang Clan and asked each member to join:
“I had the contracts ready. I said give me five years and I will take us to number one. It was a long conversation, eye-to-eye, man-to-man. I said that no one could question my authority. It had to be a dictatorship.”
In both the RZA’s and the GZA’s life we see the combination of Saturn and Pluto manifesting as both the hardship and the authority earned from facing such hardship.