Salty Dogs

Adam Sommer
3 min readJul 18


…on the Mars/Saturn opposition, just before she stations

Let’s be honest, if we were to spend most of our lives out at sea, always studying the clouds and waves, dealing with the concentrated drama on deck, sunburnt, lonely, and always fighting the anchor pulling us down from true longing, some may call us a salty dog. No amount of star gazing or Madeira wine can remedy the constant confrontation with all four winds waving goodbye. After a Saturn cycle (whether 7 or 27 years), the unknown will have had its way with us. And speaking of Saturn, who has been sailing the seas of Pisces since March, he is about to be confronted by an ornery deckhand.

This confrontation will occur through an opposition on the 20th of July (6º Pisces/Virgo) — just a small stack of hours before Venus stations Rx.

Whatever school of astrology you may consult about this transit, you will encounter unsavory answers. This is especially true in traditional variants. Here’s what Valens says about the two in Anthologies:

“Mars opposite Saturn is a difficult and evil aspect. It brings poverty, illness, and even death.”

Bleak. Not completely wrong, but not fully accurate either. What is true is they are both ‘malefics’ and the opposition is indeed often difficult; what is wrong, is that it’s not evil. It’s a confrontation with a reality. It could be evil we are faced with, but the transit is not. And wherever they point in our chart is precisely where we will experience this reality. Whether we call it evil or something else depends on our vocabulary.

Saturn in Pisces has a subtle paradox swimming around it: the planetary god relates to the senex — “the old man” archetype — in us, yet the sign often pertains to the puer — “the eternal child.” Depending on us and where it’s happening in our chart, it’s bringing up one of the two. Is it time for us to grow up (puer affiliated) or to lighten up (senex afflicted); Is it time to truly bear the cross (puer) or go to Burning Man (senex); delete Tiktok or download it. We are still getting used to Saturn’s time here and we may still be confused about the influence, yet if there is magic on this planet — or on that one — it’s in the water (Pisces). Reflect on that.

When Mars storms in, much is triggered. A good fight hooks into the themes above. A reaction to a comment that sends us sliding overboard. Thoughts of mutiny, clenched fights, bloody knuckles, repeating: IT’S JUST NOT FAIR! Unfortunately, the gods aren’t interested in fairness. They seem to be interested in karma, reality, and being on time. The moment we accept it is the moment the war begins to end. Being in Virgo, its drive is in thinking he can actually fix the situation. Perhaps some of the ship is salvageable, but likely it’s over. It’s helpful energetics for when Venus comes close in the coming weeks. A clean break could be possible.

In the end, no aspect nor transit is evil, though they can help us recognize it — both within and without. It’s not hard to see the tyranny of evil on the outside, but can we see it within ourselves? We all have placed something at the top of our hierarchy of needs (better: wants) that tyrannizes us from up high. It could be alcohol, it might be sex or love, and it’s likely to be at least partially on the device you are reading this on. It’s essential we become aware of it because once we do, we understand where our truest battles may lie.

a thought: Perhaps those who spend too long at sea become salty dogs because they don’t have enough people to talk to, to mirror them, to show them their unconscious “evils.” Now, replace [sea] with [social media] and read again.

another thought (but from Karen Blixen): “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.”

It’s an eventful start to the weekend. May you avoid the rocky shoals and the sirens online. Be brave!

* I’ve taught many classes on Mars and Saturn throughout the years and you can find them all on my website below…




Adam Sommer

Dedicated to Kosmos, Mythos, and Psyche. “Great stories are worthy of constellations.” Substack: