The process of transformation is never easy. It’s usually through the catalyst of loss and disappointment that we discover the potent alchemical mix that pushes us towards personal mastery. How do we know what we’re made of if we’re never tested? How do we know what needs to be healed if we never experience the gnawing pain of an old wound? How do we know we’re alive if we don’t confront the specter of mortality?

Scorpio has a well deserved reputation because it’s the sign that deals in bracing honesty. It’s also the sign that shows us everything we’d rather not see about ourselves, whether it’s our fears, our shame, or our shadow. Scorpio is life and death situations. Scorpio is sex — the kind of sex where there’s no illusion or pretense. Scorpio is raw. Scorpio is soul baring truths. Scorpio is seeing the ashes of your life and knowing that there will be life again. Scorpio is life through the prism of death. And what is death but another form of transformation.

So here we are on the threshold of rebirth, poised to take another turn in this evolutionary adventure called life. With Saturn’s ingress into Scorpio on October 5, 2012, we’re moving from the relative comfort of Libra, where it is exalted, into the darker waters of Scorpio. By now, hopefully, we’ve mastered the relationship lessons of Libra. Or rather we’ve mastered courtship, but now we’ve got the wedding night to contend with. Feel that clench in the pit of your stomach? That’s Scorpio knocking.

Obviously this is enough to make a person nervous and I don’t want anyone to think I’m peddling fear because, as with anything, the energy is what we make of it. True, no one likes to face the music and do Scorpio for the next two and a half years. No one wants to see what they’ve been hiding away or reminded of their mortality. But it is through these experiences that we truly know who we are and experience the biggest growth. (For a 101 level breakdown of Saturn in Scorpio, click here.)

So what can we expect between now and 2015?

Saturn makes us learn our soul lessons. Saturn is the karmic chicken coming home to roost. Saturn makes us conscious of lack and the people in power above us. But on the flip side, Saturn pushes us to be our own authority and when Saturn is in Scorpio, we’re learning to be an authority in lessons of power, intimacy, and shared resources. Yes, Scorpio rules debt, but at the end of the day all Saturn wants is for you to balance the checkbook. That’s mastery — mastery over the exchange of energy between two people, whether it is money or sex.

Other Saturn in Scorpio themes include:

  • Banking and debt restructuring
  • Taxes
  • Lessons in privacy
  • Uncovering corruption and abuse
  • Sex scandals
  • Political falls from grace
  • Lessons in power
  • Taboo
  • Lack of resources and money
  • Trouble with inheritances
  • Domination
  • Dark father issues
  • Sexual shame
  • Transmuting shadow into light
  • Interacting with the dead
  • Mediumship
  • Empowerment
  • Becoming our own authority

Before you run for the hills, thankfully there’s a Saturn/Neptune trine to smooth out the ride. Neptune in its home sign of Pisces softens the hard Scorpio edge and the Saturn/Neptune trine is about dissolving boundaries, going beyond the physical, and surrendering. So what are we surrendering to? Intimacy? Transformation? Vulnerability? Our own darkness? If Saturn in Scorpio is all about facing our fears, a dash of Neptune at least takes the sting out. Small miracles, I know.

Here are some tips on how to work with Saturn in Scorpio proactively:

  • Utilize talk therapy to deeply explore the psyche
  • Be more vulnerable
  • Transmute fears into strengths
  • Share your energy and money only with worthy partners
  • Heal any shame associated with sexuality
  • Purge any needless superficialities
  • Confront the shadow self

Much like Pluto in Capricorn, this is a transit we all have to face. Death is a natural and necessary part of life. And it is through Scorpio that we strip bare, cast off the old aspects of self, and step into the fire to be reborn.