Saturn, Uranus, Pluto and Capricorn~I was sick — sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me. The sentence — the dread sentence of death — was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears. After that, the sound of the inquisitorial voices seemed merged in one dreamy indeterminate hum. It conveyed to my soul the idea of revolution. ~I at length felt that I was free. The surcingle hung in ribands from my body. But the stroke of the pendulum already pressed upon my bosom. It had divided the serge of the robe. It had cut through the linen beneath. Twice again it swung, and a sharp sense of pain shot through every nerve. But the moment of escape had arrived. At a wave of my hand my deliverers hurried tumultuously away. With a steady movement — cautious, sidelong, shrinking, and slow — I slid from the embrace of the bandage and beyond the reach of the scimitar. For the moment, at least, I was free. ~The Inquisitorial vengeance had been hurried by my two-fold escape, and there was to be no more dallying with the King of Terrors. The room had been square. I saw that two of its iron angles were now acute — two, consequently, obtuse. The fearful difference quickly increased with a low rumbling or moaning sound. In an instant the apartment had shifted its form into that of a lozenge. But the alteration stopped not here — I neither hoped nor desired it to stop. I could have clasped the red walls to my bosom as a garment of eternal peace. "Death," I said, "any death but that of the pit!" Fool! might I have not known that into the pit it was the object of the burning iron to urge me? Could I resist its glow? Or if even that, could I withstand its pressure? And now, flatter and flatter grew the lozenge, with a rapidity that left me no time for contemplation. Its centre, and of course, its greatest width, came just over the yawning gulf. I shrank back — but the closing walls pressed me resistlessly onward. At length for my seared and writhing body there was no longer an inch of foothold on the firm floor of the prison. I struggled no more, but the agony of my soul found vent in one loud, long, and final scream of despair. I felt that I tottered upon the brink — I averted my eyes —
From The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe
In this story which takes place during the Inquisition, the character is imprisoned in a cell with a gaping pit, a swinging blade descending from above, and once freed from the pendulum -- closing walls. This aptly describes the condition of life, albeit in extreme and unpleasant terms, where one entrapment leads to another, death being the escape, so we assume.
Life begins with a wiggle as the tail-whipping sperm cell pushes his way past the egg's boundary with a force impossible to comprehend. In a sense, the walls close in when the human grows in the womb, squirming and kicking, then it's thrust through a small chamber with such strength as to squeeze the head of the fetus into a monstrous object, finding liberation at birth only to be entrapped again within the confines of the body now having to learn to survive on its own with all its unending demands. We're stuck maintaining the rebellious body and its desire to make more bodies forever. Captives of time and space.
The nucleus of a cell also remains trapped until the moment of division when it immediately becomes confined again. Humans can't live without these cells and their strict boundaries, yet they seek freedom and revolution throughout life, setting the stage for the Saturn-Uranus configuration so prevalent in the years ahead. Pressure builds, as in Poe's story, until the moment of release comes, and the new space entered becomes the next cell -- the next enclosure stimulating the desire for escape. Sometimes I think that the moment of liberation is so sublime that humans intentionally, if subconsciously, create mini-prisons lifelong in order to wiggle out and experience the sensation of freedom. Even coming home at the end of the day and getting out of restrictive street clothing is such a moment. The digestive process is one of tightening and loosening in perfect rhythm, as what comes in must come out.
With Saturn-Uranus, both actions are inevitable. Increasing clamps and escapes coming on and off. Where is the source of release? Everyone knows the next cell is ahead, also with its built-in exits as the story unfolds. There is no one Grand Liberator as there is no Grand Inquisitor. The dynamic between the two entities continues all through the 16 years of Pluto in Capricorn, and is followed by further study in these phenomena when Pluto transits Aquarius.
So the question of fate versus free will is bound to be pondered with predestined Saturn and unpredictable Uranus. For those who cling to order, Uranian urges might prove to be unnerving, while those who resist restriction will find Saturn's heavy hand hard to bear, especially when the same old thing keeps turning around and around like the circular passage of time. How much freedom one finds is equal to how much one needs. Collectively we are only as free as the dissident confined to his jail cell, or the child sold into slavery, but also as free as the farmer fleeing the tornado or the human released from disease.
This tells me that rather than some magical times of liberation, there could be a more inclusive understanding of what freedom really is. It only functions in contrast to enclosure. If one wants one, one must have the other. In the end, maybe the structure will continue to define the boundaries society lives within, sometimes terribly oppressive, sometimes less so, while some savor the moments of breakthrough as they come. People can learn to live with or without the panic that often accompanies sudden tightening, and remember that loosening is not permanent. Perhaps the real liberation will arrive with knowledge and acceptance of limitations knowing the ability to maneuver is always there. "I know" are the keywords of Aquarius. One can wiggle out of most of what is, eventually, while wiggling into the next place within the larger structure. Close in and push. Open and release. Press and pull. In and out. Yin and yang. The Grand Squeeze that gets the creature through the passageway from birth to death.
The ultimate achievement is locating the oppressor, the intention of Pluto's search through Capricorn, mistakenly thought to be the person outside or some perceived figure(s) of divine control. Once the jailor is pinpointed, some liberation can truly be enacted, the natural confinements of living notwithstanding.