The Dance of the Decades

Many years ago I was researching astrology in a college library, and came across a Persian book about astrological cycles.  In most college libraries, only a historical treatise on astrology would be allowed in, though I knew the librarian at a different college library and she ordered some books by Dane Rudhyar and Marc Edmund Jones for the college library she worked in so there are differences.   This Persian  book described the Jupiter-Saturn cycle, from conjunction to the next conjunction, and associated that cycle with the rise and fall of kings.

That Jupiter-Saturn cycle is still considered important, with the phenomena known as “Tecumseh’s Curse” that bedeviled Presidents.   Supposedly this “Curse” says that every president elected during a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction would die while in office.

Jupiter take twelve years  to orbit the Sun, spending about one year in each sign, and Saturn takes almost 30 years for its cycle.  But what we are talking about is called the synodic cycle, that is the period from conjunction of two planets to the next conjunction.  This is similar to the period between a New Moon, which is a conjunction of the Moon and the Sun, until the next New Moon.  This period is different that the time it takes the Moon to revolve around the Earth, because in that time  the Sun has moved about one-twelfth of the distance along its orbit.   The period between the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn are about twenty years, and it recent times  this conjunction has occurred approximately with the start of an even decade, which starts in a years either ending with zero or one, depending on your view of the beginning of a century and the fact that there is no year zero.

Here are two chart for the first Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of a cycle.  In one case this occurs in 1682  and the next  case in 1981.  Even though these two charts are 300 years apart, the both occur at the beginning of their respective decades.   The third  example is the Jupiter-Saturn opposition (shown below) following the last conjunction shown.  This opposition occurs in 1990, the beginning of the “odd” decade.

Thus the Curse of Tecumseh applied to the Presidents elected in 1840 — William Henry Harrison,  who got sick  at his very long inaugural — it was a cold March in Washington and he wore no head covering, feeling it would make him look old — address and died a month later — 1860 — Abraham Lincoln  who was killed at the beginning of his second term — 1880 — James Garfield, assassinated by a “deranged office seeker” — 1900 — William McKinley, who was shot by a “anarchist”  — 1920, Warren Harding who died of “cerebral hemorrhage” three years into his term — 1940, Franklin Roosevelt who died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the beginning of his fourth term — 1960, John Kennedy, who was shot by a lone gunman — 1980, Ronald Reagan,  who  was shot by a deranged gunman again.  But wait, Reagan did not die of his wounds.  I’ve expressed earlier that I think that John Lennon took the bullet for Ronald Reagan.  Astrologers have a theory to explain why the conjunction of 1980 was different, such as that it occurred in a different element than all other conjunctions that resulted in deaths.  Then there is the non-death of George Bush elected in 2000.  But was he really elected?  Maybe Al Gore should have died.   But this trip through the past is merely to illustrated the notoriety given to the Jupiter Saturn conjunction.

In this scheme the Jupiter-Saturn synodic cycle can be compared to the Sun-Moon cycle.  That cycles starts at the New Moon, and then there is the waxing moon until it is Full, and then the  Sun is opposite the Moon (as seen from the earth, of course) and that is followed by the waning Moon, until the next New Moon and the process starts all over again.  The waxing moon, symbolically the growth of a cycle, reaching its culmination at the  Full Moon, and then under the waning moon the loose ends of the previous waxing moon are gathered together in preparation of a new cycle to start at the next New Moon.  The cycle is described completely in Dane Runhyar’s The Lunation Cycle.

We can see the Jupiter-Saturn synodic cycle in the same way, but applying to mundane affairs.  The cycle starts with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, which starts near the beginning of an even decade, the waxing period occurs during that decade, and the “Full Moon” happens at the Jupiter-Saturn opposition at the start of an odd decade, and then the waning period goes on during that decade in preparation of the next Jupiter-Saturn conjunction at the start of the next even decade.  The various happenings of each decade are influenced by other things that happen during that decade, obviously, but looking at the waxing waning cycle gives us an overview of that decade.  Below I will discuss examples of decades starting with the turn of the Twentieth Century.    Notice that that are also other thing that happen:  The Uranus-Pluto conjunction was during an waxing decade, while the equally important Uranus-Neptune conjunction  happened in an waning decade, which may be one reason that that decade is not as highly considered.  Also World War one was in an waning decade but World War Two was in an waxing decade. So this Jupiter-Saturn cycle just sets the tone for a given decade.

As discussed previously the decade of the 1900s was filled with much change.  This decade was the beginnings of the modern world.  Many important astrological  events happened, including two cardinal crossings by outer planets, Uranus and Neptune; Pluto would make a Cardinal crossing in the next decade.  The was also the midpoint configuration — Uranus = Neptune/Pluto — in that decade, with at one point Uranus at 0 Capricorn.  In the United States this was the Progressive Decade, and there were many anarchists movements throughout the world.

The beginning of the next decade contained much of he change from the first decade, but there was also buildup for war.  One forerunner of this was the two Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913.  The Ottoman Empire — the Empire of  Turkey —  which had existed for 600 years, was slowly unraveling  and these wars were attempts by various Balkan counties to break away and defeat the crumbling Ottoman Empire.  This was a prelude to the First World War that dominated the second decade of the Twentieth Century and shaped the upcoming history,

The third decade, the decade of the 1920s, happened directly after the end of Word War I, which saw the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, forming many countries of the Middle East, such as Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and  Israel, which are so much in the news today.  Germany had its first democratic government.  In the United States the Twenties are well known for prohibition  and the rise of the bootleggers (leading to organized crime)  and stock market rise.

The  Thirties, on the other hand, saw world wide depression – called the Great Depression because it was beyond what the world  had  witnessed the past few hundred years, and the rise of fascist movements, mentioned here in Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan.  Wars were breaking out as Japan invaded China and Germany invaded Czechoslovakia.  The harsh behavior of  Japan in China gave rise to a nascent Communist Revolution.

The decade of the Forties saw the outbreak of World War II, which would prove to be much  more  deadly than the first one.  Like the first one, this  world war would ultimately change the shape of the world.  The war ended  half way through the decade, and the remainder of the decade was spent sorting out the changes to the world made by the war.  This saw the first change of the GDP per capita rate of growth of the world in 120 years.

The Fifties  were the waning decade of the Forties, and they are known as “boring”.   Nothing much is considered as happening during this decade, which of course  is very untrue, but the reputation  remains.  There were  no big wars, as in the previous decade. And there was much recovery in many countries that had been ravished by the long war.  In the United States, however, there had been no destruction since the war had conveniently been fought elsewhere, and so that the country embarked on a Cold War against one of its allies during the previous war, which served as a major boost to the defense industries that had seen great promotion during the war of the previous decade.

Next comes the seventh decade of the Twentieth Century, that mythical time known as the Sixties.  This  decade was both a waxing decade and saw  the first outer planet conjunction of the century, so  it was doubly  blessed or cursed.  It also followed the decade of the Fifties, which had an unfortunate reputation, so it couldn’t help but be different.  Also  there was a big demographic shift.  Many people were born after men returned from the Second World War, and by this decade they started to be old enough they they could influence society just by their numbers.  This was the so-called Baby Boom generation.

The Seventies were a waning decade, and so bound to  be a let down form the previous waxing decade.  This decade saw the first warning — with the oil shocks — that everything wasn’t hunky dory and that natural resources that we expected to last forever were indeed finite.  To accentuate this idea, the book Limits of Growth was published in 1973 in an attempt to cause a change in our thinking.

At the end of the Seventies we saw another midpoint complex, this was Uranus = Neptune/Pluto, and the responses  to that midpoint colored the decade of the Eighties.  The world saw leaders Margret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan brought to power and dominate the world scene, even though a reformer by the name of Mikhail Gorbachev  rose to  power in the Soviet Union, and, as the only one of those three still alive, could have brought some needed changes to his country and the world, but it was not to be.

The Nineties, which will be discussed in more details later, was a  waning decade but it had the second outer planet conjunction of the Twentieth Century. The  big event of this decade was the rise of the World Wide Web, which ultimately lead  to the Dot Com Bust that marked the end of the decade.

The first decade of the Twenty-First Century, and also the first decade of a new millennium, was marked by the rise of terrorism, which was never seen as a response  by third  world countries, so long under the thumb of first world countries, to the actions of those first world counties.  The book Blowback by Chalmers Johnson, published in 1999, discusses this idea in great detail

The second decade of this new century, the decade we are in now, saw further responses and aftermaths to the War on Terror that had highlighted the previous decade.  People also came to realize that the climate was changing in ways not helpful for human life, but for the most part the world’s leaders just talked about the problems.   Solutions were suggested that may have worked if proposed in 1980, when the first hints of the problems of growth were suggested, but that had  been decades previous.

The next decade is a waxing decade, and we will see changes, either positive or negative, happen at a greatly increasing rate, as discussed previously.

Let’s look at some charts for the recent Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions/opposition.  Do they suggest anything about the upcoming decade?  Perhaps.


The Sixties

In the chart for the decade of the Sixties — February 18, 1961 — we see Pluto-Node opposite Mercury.  Could this opposition suggest the Plutonian  upheavals that would mark the upcoming decade, and that would be widely communicated so that hardly anyone would not notice it?


The Eighties

In the conjunction chart for the Eighties, December 31, 1980, we see that conjunction square the Sun-Mercury conjunction. During the decade of the Eighties, the iron law of the market became more dominant in the world.  Perhaps the Saturn square the Sun presages this.


The Nineties

The opposition chart for the Nineties — September 19, 1989, just two months before the fall of the Berlin Wall — has the Saturn-Neptune conjunction opposite Jupiter, highlighting that conjunction that we have discussed previously.


The Aughts

The conjunction chart for the first decade of this century, on May 28. 2000 is most suggestive: The sun is opposite Pluto.  The next decade would be most Plutonian, with the US  approved “War on Terror”  making terror the watchword around the world, with many repressive regimes using the excuse of fighting terrorism — if it’s good for the US it is good for us may be their motto — allowing them to repress those considered undesirable.


The Teens

The Jupiter- Saturn opposition chart for this decade — May 23, 2010 — shows Jupiter and Uranus at the Aries point, opposite Saturn and the Moon, and Pluto is opposite Venus. For Jupiter-Uranus Ebertin says optimism, a lucky chance.  And  despite some depressing news of the day, in general many people, especially politicians in the United States, seem to be optimistic that we can escape the onrushing juggernaut that is known by the moniker “climate change” and that our lucky chance will allow us to avoid the unpleasant consequences of our own behavior.  But the opposition to Saturn should temper that optimism.  The next decade will show our folly.


The Twenties

The chart for the next decade — December 21, 2020 — occurs at the Winter Solstice, when the Sun is at zero Capricorn.  The other most obvious aspect is Mars  square Pluto with only a one degree orb.   This does not suggest a peaceful decade.  Many of the recent decade charts have had Pluto aspects.  Perhaps this suggests that this century will be very Plutonian, full of transformation.

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