If I had a hammer...

If you would have a thing shrink, first you must stretch it
If you would have a thing weakened, first you must strengthen it
If you would have a thing put aside, first you must set it up
If you would take from a thing, first you must give to it

-Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

You may have noticed how well things are going this week.

Depending on who you are, that is. There's an awful lot of agreement in the air, and if you happen to be a power broker, things are generally on the uptick. Saturn and Pluto have your back.

The stock ticker, for example. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time high this week, closing at record levels two days in a row - despite some rather glum economic news and worries about how the U.S. "sequester" may affect the economy in the future. Although there is always both encouraging and discouraging news that moves the markets, this week's push upward seems to come from a belief that the status quo will be maintained.

Maintaining the status quo is also the theme in Rome (or at least part of it), as the College of Cardinals has decided that a media blackout is necessary for their conclave to pick the next pope. The cardinals had to enter their deliberations earlier this week under the shadow of Scottish Cardinal O'Brien saying he had engaged in sexual misconduct. Secrecy must seem like a good idea to the red hats, considering.

Taking a cue from Venus and Mercury, who have been in easy aspect to Saturn and Pluto, President Obama has decided to take the Senate and Congress out to dinner. Finesse may work better than threats when challenging entrenched positions - a lesson we may all want to keep in mind this week.

There are more stories that speak of consolidation of power, on many levels. It doesn't go well for everyone, of course. Former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi is going to jail for a year, and Microsoft was fined a record amount for not living up to their agreement to offer a choice of web browsers on Windows systems in Europe.

Yes, Saturn and Pluto may have the back or the rich and powerful, but with those two behind you, you may feel a sharp pain between the shoulder blades. Ultimately, these two outer planets are working to transform our economic and political systems, but change happens through a process.

The two outer planets are in each others' signs, Saturn in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn, and the planets themselves are in exact sextile (an easy, cooperative aspect) on Friday March 8th. Things couldn't look more chummy between these two very different planets, and they seem to be very much favoring the status quo. Scorpio and Capricorn are the signs most associated with government, power, and money.

Yet we frequently see that change comes about through more of the same. Pluto, especially, often works through inflating a bubble until it bursts, rather than taking the air out slowly (that's more Saturn's style). So the status quo may not last that long, after all. But don't expect change to look the way you expect - or want - it to look.

In the long run, Saturn and Pluto aren't taking sides.