Generally speaking, I have a terrible head for the dates of historical events. I’ve found that astrology often offers a more tangible context for such things; but even then, I’m more likely to remember the themes of the event rather than the exact date or even the exact astrology.

A windy walk on Hermit Island, Maine, in January 2021. Photo by Amanda Painter

Yet my astro-antennae perked up when I saw another astrologer mentioning themes related to water in correlation to Saturn entering Pisces; immediately the rolodex of my memory started flipping through the years I spent working at Planet Waves, and I found what I was looking for: two major environmental events coinciding with slower-moving planets entering and leaving Pisces.

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oilrig in the Gulf of Mexico sent unconscionable amounts of crude oil gushing into a delicate, rich ocean ecosystem. Less than 24 hours before this explosive leak began, Chiron had made its initial entrance into Pisces.

Chiron, the planet of raising awareness and healing crises, offered a message about how fast and loose we, collectively, are playing with the health of the world’s life-giving waters. Some people have listened but largely business has gone on as usual.

On March 11, 2011, a building in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan caught fire following an earthquake, sending astonishing levels of radiation not only into the air but directly into the ocean, where currents carried it swiftly to far-off shores. Mere hours later, Uranus left Pisces for the final time and entered Aries.

Uranus, the planet of shocking upheaval and technology, seemed to shout a warning about how truly precarious our reliance on tech is (not to mention the problems with nuclear power), and how far-reaching the consequences to the natural world when there’s a major failure. No matter how enmeshed we become with digital tools and modern “conveniences,” our bodies are organic material. We are inseparable from the sea and the soil; behaving otherwise is no longer an option.

Now here we are with Saturn visiting Pisces (its one and only entrance this time around — no retrograding back into Aquarius). It arrived there at 8:35 am EST today, and it’ll traipse through this sign for the better part of three years.

As attention grabbing as the Deepwater Horizon and Fukushima Daiichi events were, as far-reaching their repercussions, it can be difficult to translate major disasters into personal choices unless personally impacted. They serve as wake-up calls for many but for many more, they become something awful that “someone” should do “something” about. I’m in that boat as much as anyone else.

Saturn’s cycle marks phases of human maturity. So I’m wondering if perhaps Saturn entering Pisces might show up more subtly than Chiron and Uranus did — less in our faces, but insistent and undeniable nonetheless — at least, until those moments when it interacts with higher-energy planets.

Could Saturn’s two-plus years in Pisces possibly signal a willingness in more of us to begin taking greater responsibility for our home planet’s oceans? Are we ready to find tangible ways to become authorities on our local waterways? If Saturn signals growth and maturity, what would it mean to put what we’ve learned to work for the collective health of our water and ourselves?

In the chart for Saturn entering Pisces, three asteroids are in close contact with Saturn: Damocles and Hephaistos in the first degree of Pisces, and Askalaphus in the second degree of Gemini making a square to those three. I’ll put links to brief descriptions of those three asteroids in the comments. Briefly, here’s what they are calling to mind:

The sword hanging over our collective heads regarding the state of our literal waters is one that we have all forged together over the course of decades and centuries. To acknowledge it hanging there is an inconvenient truth: one that can spur us either toward deeper escapism, denial, and vague anxiety or toward recognizing that we already possess the tools and craftsmanship to hammer out new solutions and behaviors.

It’s up to each of us individually how we resolve that tension, yet it will be helpful to remember none of us needs to act alone. Even if you need to take frequent introvert breaks from being social, staying connected to others (especially offline) is a key defense against continuing repercussions of the damaging isolation we’ve all recently experienced.

I do not claim to be an expert in the kind of “spiritual discipline” I’m describing in this piece, and I’m far from perfect at it. Perfection isn’t the goal, anyway, since it’s not actually possible. It’s about continuing, as we are able, along the spiral path of healing, growth, and creative expression, with compassion for all that we share in this wild life — and for all that shares it with us.

With love,


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