Saturn, Pluto, and Bruce Lee

Saturn-Pluto aspects are still very much in my thoughts after the world experienced massive fear, pandemic, and lockdown following the conjunction of these planets in January of 2020. As I read through Richard Tarnas’s chapters on Saturn-Pluto aspects in his 2006 masterpiece Cosmos and Psyche, I was struck how his description of these archetypal energies nearly foretold what was to occur. Saturn-Pluto eras, he wrote, are times of contraction, when the volcanic evolutionary forces meet the forces of repression and control. Something powerful demands change and growth while equally powerful forces form a resistance to defend the status quo. And individuals born under the conjunction, square, or opposition of Saturn and Pluto, Tarnas writes, will lead lives which embody these titanic clashes. They carry within them a sense of urgency to create a “deeper and stronger structure of moral consciousness.” They have in their psyches the courage to serve as warriors in moving human consciousness forward.


Bruce Lee was one such individual. Born at the applying square of Saturn and Pluto, he harnessed an almost superhuman discipline as a martial artist to create an image so powerful that the lines dividing east and west were blown apart. The prejudice of white, European culture towards Asians flourished during Bruce Lee’s lifetime. That an Asian man could star in Hollywood movies as something other than a servant was unthinkable. Bruce Lee smashed through this barrier to star in action films in both the US and Hong Kong, with audiences around the world adoring his performances both then and now.


We see in Bruce Lee’s chart that many of his personal planets are enmeshed with the Saturn-Pluto square, telling us that he will as an individual play an important role in collective movements. Venus, Mars, the Moon, and Mercury all oppose Saturn and square Pluto, creating a T-square in the chart. From the sixth house Saturn’s discipline to create a strong and invincible body, the Scorpio planets lying opposite in the twelfth house show us Bruce Lee’s willingness to release what in non-essential to his progress. He is quotes as stating, “It is not daily increase but daily decrease, hack away the unessential. The closer to the source, the less wastage there is.”


Pluto, then, is at the apex of the T-square, in the ninth house. Bruce Lee is able to explode the hyper-nationalism manifesting as World War II at the time of his birth and present throughout his life. His parents were from Hong Kong and he grew up there, but he had been born in the US while his parents were on tour. He held both passports and would eventually settle in California, a citizen of the east and the west. But all this energy being propelled into the ninth house is most evident in the martial arts philosophy he founded and taught called Jeet Kune Do. He took the best he had learned from traditional practices and street fighting, eliminated unnecessary movements and an overreliance on form, and created a fluid, present, vital way of practicing martial arts which is still popular today. At the heart of this philosophy are the tenets of simplicity, directness, and freedom. The Sun ruling this Pluto, passionate and principled in Sagittarius, was rising at the moment of his birth and shines in his chart like a searchlight.


Time magazine would declare Bruce Lee to be one of the most important people of the twentieth century. As humanity at a creakingly slow pace is inching towards a one-world belief system, seeing ourselves in others, we face certain destruction if we veer from this path. Bruce Lee was one of the good guys, a fighter for our survival as a species.