The prototype of a planetary cycle, the period between one conjunction to the next of any pair of planets, is the lunar cycle, something that humanity has been intimately familiar with for millennia. The lunar cycle starts with the New Moon — a conjunction the Sun and the Moon — then precedes through the opposition of the Sun and Moon — called the Full Moon — and then goes on to the next conjunction, that is the next New Moon. Symbolically, the cycle starts at the conjunction, and whatever the cycle represents reaches a culmination at the opposition and then precedes to gather resources in preparation for the end of this cycle and the beginning of the next cycle with the next conjunction. This “Lunation Cycle” has been spelled out in detail by renowned astrologer Dane Rudhyar in a book of the same name.
But this cycle from conjunction through opposition to conjunction can be looked at with any two planets. The Jupiter-Saturn cycle was explored in a series of posts about Watershed Elections a couple of years ago. Since we have recently explored two Saturn Pluto oppositions in a post called “Bookends of the American Empire“, I thought it would be interesting to explore recent Saturn-Pluto cycles, especially in light of the fact that we are ending one of these cycles and thus startling a new one in a year.
After the Saturn Pluto opposition in 1898, which was discussed previously, and which saw the Spanish-American war, the war in which the United States divested Spain of its colonies in the Caribbean and Pacific, the next conjunction of Saturn and Pluto was in 1914 at 2 Cancer, that is near the Cardinal axis. This Saturn-Pluto conjunction saw the start of World War One. (Of Interest, the closing square of those two planets corresponded exactly to what is called the Panic of 1907 in the United States, where the stock market lost 50% of its value in three weeks and a wealthy individual had to bail out the US.) This is illustrated in the chart below. This is only one of many examples as to why Saturn-Pluto has such a fearsome reputation.
When these Saturn-Pluto aspects are looked at in light of the relations between Russia and the United States, this conjunction heralded the first Cold War, after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Immediately after that revolution a civil war broke out in Russia and American President Woodrow Wilson, along with many European nations and Japan, sent troops to fight on the non-Communist side in that Civil War. After that the United States refused to recognize the Soviet Union until President Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933, near the time of the opposition mentioned below.
This Saturn-Pluto cycle lasted until the end of the Second World War, in 1947, so it covered the period of both World Wars. This particular Saturn Pluto cycle can be considered the “World War Cycle”. Some authorities consider the Second World War to be merely a continuation of the First World War, with a brief intermission — the “Roaring” Twenties — between the segments. For America, which only got involved in the First World War in the last year, the Second World War did not start until Pearl Harbor was bombed at the end of 1941. But officially the Second World War started on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. But the war had been raging long before that, though it wasn’t called a war: Japan invaded China early in the Thirties; in Spain, Franco, with the aid of Hitler, was fighting the Spanish Civil War in the middle Thirties.
The midpoint of this “War” cycle happened in 1931. This was the equivalent of a Full Moon in the lunation cycle, the peak of the energy that started at the conjunction. The culmination of this cycle, with the opposition of Saturn and Pluto, is illustrated in the above chart. The first obvious event happening in 1931 was the worldwide Great Depression that was reaching its depths in the early Thirties. This year also saw the rise of fascism in Europe, with for example Hitler being elected Chancellor of Germany in January of 1933. In Asia, Japan took over parts of China with the invasion of Manchuria on September 19, 1931. So the clouds of war were gathering at the opposition which would result in the Second World War in a few years. Notice that Uranus is square Pluto, Uranus is sesquiquadrate Neptune, and, though the orb is very large, Pluto is semisquare to Neptune, the three aspects that highlight the Great Depression, though all three are not always in orb for the whole period.
The next conjunction followed directly the end of World War II in 1947. This corresponds to, among other things, the rise of the Cold War (or the Second Cold War, if we consider the First to be the one after the previous Saturn Pluto conjunction) between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the United States, this Cold War is seen as exclusively the result of the expansionistic tendencies of Stalin and the Soviet Union (see for example any book by John Lewis Gaddis), but a more balanced appraisal would see that a badly crushed Soviet Union, whose territory had been ravished by the Germans and had lost on the order of 27 million people, was hardly in the same league as the United States, which had recently dropped two nuclear weapons on a defeated enemy. The Soviets desperately wanted the security that could be provided by a border of friendly nations, which just happened to be those invaded by Soviet troops during World War II since the West was in no hurry to come to the aid of the Soviet Union in its fight with Germany.
The next Saturn-Pluto Cycle lasted from 1947 to 1982. This was a period called by the French Les Trente Glorieuses – the thirty golden years following the Second World War (see for example Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century) when inequality in many countries of the world was reduced. So I believe that this second Saturn-Pluto Cycle of the Twentieth Century was a period of economic compression, called the Great Compression by some economists. This was a period when the views of such people as Lord Maynard Keynes of Britain were given credence, and activities like the Bretton-Woods Conference set up an economic program for the whole world. Major decolonization took place, such as India becoming an independent nation, and the State of Israel was proclaimed out of what was formerly part of the Ottoman Empire before World War I. Victory in the Chinese Civil War for the Communist side was only two years off and that victory caused repercussion among the masses of Southeast Asia who had just thrown off the yoke of European colonial powers.
The culmination of this cycle, when Saturn was opposite Pluto, was in 1965, just as the Vietnam War was starting to heat up — the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed in the US Senate August of the previous year. This was an obvious manifestation of the Cold War which had started with the conjunction eighteen years earlier. There were many urban riots in the United States, such as Watts Riot in August 1965, Detroit Riot July 1967, Newark July 1966. Civil rights leader Medgar Evers was killed in June 1963 in Mississippi; the Birmingham, Alabama church bombing occurred September 1963; Chaney, Goodman,and Schwerner were killed in June 1964, also in Mississippi. There was a coup in Indonesia October 1965 that killed between half a million and a million and a half and set the stage for a dictatorship in Indonesia that lasted over thirty years, almost until this century.
The next Saturn-Pluto cycle, which started in 1982, and which we are still in, was totally different. No longer a great compression, but rather a great expansion, as Neoliberalism started to take off under Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States. This was a period where the wealthy 10%, 1% and most especially 0.1% increased their share of the wealth. While their share of the wealth increased from the early Eighties, this increase in inequality really took off after the Great Recession of 2008. This can be seen as the Neoliberal cycle.
The culmination of this cycle was discussed previously. There were three Saturn-Pluto Oppositions. Here is a chart for the second, on November 2, 2001. For any astrologer at the time, it should have been obvious that something momentous was going to happen in late 2001.
Mea Culpa: I did not see this happening myself, since at the time I favored the Gemini Rising USA chart, if I even thought about a chart for the United States, and even though I had read the Dane Rudhyar book (Astrology of America’s Destiny) that promoted the Sibly chart, and at the time I thought little of Saturn and Pluto transits, and hadn’t looked at any past transits. But 9/11 seemed such a big event to the United States that it must surely show up in the natal chart for that country, and show up in an appropriate way. Jupiter transits wouldn’t cut it. The aspects to the Sibly chart, as shown in the last post (and very similar to the chart above) are the most appropriate transits possible. If one were to make up the transits for such an event, nothing would be more fitting than the actual chart. Pluto on the Ascendant describes 9/11 to a tee.
We are now in the last year of this “Neoliberal” cycle of Saturn and Pluto, and the results of the reign of capital over the previous 35 plus years is becoming painfully obvious. We are seeing the dregs of our long bout of neoliberalism coming to an end with a strong hangover. People are starting to vent their anger in many countries, to the obvious displeasure of those elites who profited so handsomely over the Saturn-Pluto cycle now coming to an end.
But another Saturn Pluto conjunction is happening soon, just a year away. What will the new cycle bring? My guess is that it will see the end of Neoliberalism, the hallmark of the previous cycle, but we will also see the end of other trends that have manifesting themselves recently. Whatever it will be, the upcoming period will be different than the preceding 35 years.
In this case the conjunction only happens once. This is followed by a conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto three times, followed by a single conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn at 0 Aquarius on the Winter Solstice. This new cycle of Saturn and Pluto, starting in 2020, corresponds to the Zeitgeist Change that I wrote about for several months. This will be a preview of all the changes coming our way. One can see that conjunction as the “opening gun” for the big changes to happen in the third decade of the Twenty-First Century. Since two other important cycles are also stating at about this time, the Jupiter-Pluto and the Jupiter Saturn conjunctions, change will be the hallmark. The Jupiter-Saturn cycle was discussed at length in post about Watershed Presidential elections and 2020 will see another Watershed Election. In the chart for the single Saturn-Pluto conjunction on January 12, 2020, we see that both the Sun and Mercury are conjoined Saturn and Pluto. This quadruple conjunction is also configured with the United States chart, as shown below. It is trine the US Saturn, opposite the US Mercury, and sesquiquadrate the US Uranus. So this Saturn-Pluto will definitely affect the US, in ways we can’t see yet. Not shown is the inconjunct (quincunx – aspect of 150 degrees – separation or adjustment) between the multiple conjunction and natal Mars, suggesting the military and war will be involved. Also emphasizing this fact is that the antiscia (reflection over the Cancer/Capricorn axis) transiting Mars is on that super conjunction.
So what we have is Saturn and Pluto, which can be dire, but then Jupiter comes along, changing the gravity of the situation. My feeling for the Pluto-Saturn conjunction is that it will be the culmination of a crisis already developing, something involving violence or war (viz. Mars). This crisis will be so close to fruition, only saved by the oncoming Jupiter, that the peoples of the world will be scared out of their standard thought processes and there will be an opening opportunity to explore some new options. Jupiter will save us from the developing catastrophe signaled by the first Saturn-Pluto conjunction in 38 years. After the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction comes the single Jupiter-Saturn conjunction that sets the stage for the next twenty years. The first decade — the 2020s — will be the expansion decade: think the decade of the Sixties — and the second decade — the 2030s — will be the contraction decade: think the decade of the Seventies. It will be a truly historic two decades for the world, one that will be long remembered, if possibly only by the cockroaches.
All of these transits are shown in the two-year graphical ephemeris below. The single conjunction of Saturn and Pluto happens first, shown by the black arrow at the beginning of 2020. Then comes the three Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions; the first of these conjunctions is at the red arrow at the end of March. Finally there is the single Jupiter-Saturn conjunction shown by the green arrow in December of 2020. 2020 will be a packed year!