Sun Signs by Whitney Will

The dominating headline of 2021’s astrology is a series of squares between Saturn, the planet of constriction, and Uranus, the planet of rebellion. Squares are a relationship of 90 degrees between the planets that denotes conflict and tension between the two parties. They are simply at cross purposes, goading each other into action. They will remain in this tension for the entirety of 2021, and a good chunk of 2022, but the peak moments when the square becomes exact are Feb. 17, June 14, and Dec. 24.
To understand what this could portend, we need to understand not only both Saturn and Uranus, but also the tension between the two signs they now occupy – Aquarius and Taurus. Saturn, as the final visible planet, rules over boundaries. One such boundary is the status quo, Saturn likes doing things the way they have been done, or the way they should be done, and in Aquarius he straddles both sides. You will see people falling on to one side or the other – we must tear down all the statues of problematic historical figures, or we must keep them all for posterity no matter what they have done. The key feature of Saturn in Aquarius is inflexibility. Delighting to lay down laws and equally delighting in breaking them, that’s Saturn in Aquarius’ calling card. But overall, Aquarius is a humanitarian sign, the good of the many over that of the one, even if it breeds factions with varying ideas about “the good.”
Uranus, “the awakener,” is in Taurus. Planet of breakdowns and breakthroughs, uncompromising revolutionary, Taurus is a strange pasture to find him in. Taurus is a sign that worries primarily about material security – food, water, shelter, comfort, and money. With this innovative planet there since 2018, we have seen such breaks from tradition as crypto-currency, the Impossible Burger, and just a couple weeks ago, a bunch of Reddit bros out-hustle the hedge funds and make fortunes off the floundering GameStop stock. Uranus is electric, bringing both lightning insight to the mind and innovation to technology.
Aquarius looks at the big picture – society, climate, politics – while Taurus focuses on the body’s need for sustenance and safety. There is a fundamental tension between them because Aquarius never touches the ground and Taurus never leaves it. The tension between bold ideas for the future and the realities of caring for our basic needs during a pandemic, the utopian dream of social harmony vs. the lasting trauma of our colonial past; wherever you fall on the socio-political spectrum, you cannot help but get caught in the crossfire.
This is a big deal, and you will notice it in the headlines this year. If history is any indicator, you will see it in weather reports, civil rights topics, and technology. The last time Saturn and Uranus formed their waning square, as they are now, was 1976-77. But to find this square with Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus, as they are now, you would need to return back to 1522-23.
We know a lot more about 1976-77 than we do about 1522-23, but there were still significant moments that we can learn from. In 1522, Martin Luther wrote and released his German translation of the New Testament, a work which aided the rise of the reformation. Two days after the exact Saturn-Uranus square, with mounting violent protests, he tried to assuage the protesters to trust God’s word to bring about change rather than resort to violence. But the situation remained out of hand. 1522 also saw the most destructive earthquake in Spanish history, killing 2,500 people. Just a month later, on the Portugese Sao Miguel Island, the Vila Franca earthquake caused landslides that killed 3,000-5,000 people. Erratic weather, tumbling power structures, and civil unrest – sound familiar?
Fast forward to 1977. It snowed for the only time in recorded history in Miami. The continental United States saw its coldest January on record up to that point, while Alaska saw its warmest. The Mississippi River froze all the way to Illinois. You only need to check the headlines last weekend for similar weather gravitas – 100 million Americans under winter storm warning, the Pacific Northwest getting a year’s worth of snow in a day, etc. Erratic weather patterns might be the domain of Uranus, but Saturn and social progress are in tension as well.
1976-77 saw such authoritarian measures as the death penalty reinstated, but also civil rights advances like California’s repeal of its sodomy law. In 1977, after the murder of Robert Hillsborough, more than 200,000 people would march as part of San Francisco’s pride celebration. The closest that Saturn and Uranus got to perfection during their square in 2020? At the end of May and beginning of June, when hundreds of thousands of Americans were marching in protest of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
In late 1976 Apple was incorporated, and the world’s first personal computer was demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago in January 1977. 2021’s skies will beg questions about the limitations of the freedoms we have gained through technology. Netflix’s 2020 documentary “The Social Dilemma” raises serious questions about social media and the spread of disinformation, and collectively we are asking about what should be allowed to be said on Facebook and Twitter, and who should be allowed to say it.
We are facing the limitations of many of our “freedoms,” from mask-wearing to an ever increasingly problematic climate prognosis asking us to reconsider how we live. The squares between the two planets will force the issue in 2021. Stay tuned.
Whitney Will is a psychological astrologer and writer. For more about her work, visit