These Two Years

Periods of time — for convenience we will use years, a standard measure of time for humans and also an astrological base unit of time — can be defined by the primary planetary pattern which dominate that period. This has been discussed before with the measure of larger periods of time, the one-half of a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, a decade. So as mentioned before, the decade called the Sixties is defined by the Uranus-Pluto conjunction that was exact in 1965 and 1966, and the decade called the Nineties is defined by the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of 1992 and 1993. But years also have their unique astrological signatures, and in this post we will look at the year 2020 and next year 2021, though of course the trends started in those years can carry forward to succeeding years.

The year of 2020 saw three important conjunctions: Saturn-Pluto (single conjunction January 12), Jupiter-Pluto (three conjunctions April 5, June 30, and November 12), and Jupiter-Saturn (single conjunction December 21). Each is important by itself, but when all three occur together that is more notable. I’ve looked at these combinations over the last 500 years and they occur about once a century.

Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions occur every twenty years, like clockwork, and over the last few centuries have happened at the beginning of what I’ve called a bi-decade, a twenty year (two decade) period that starts in the year starting with zero or one and an even decade number. For example a bi-decade started in 1960/61, 1980/81, 2000/01, and now 2020/21. Even for those without the astrological knowledge, these twenty years periods are recognizable as different from each other. Most would agree that the period 1960-1979 is different from the period 1980-1999 and is different from the period 2000-2019 because of political and social trends, among other things. We are starting a new bi-decade (officially with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of December 21) now, and I’m sure most would agree that this year is different from the preceding year.

The period between successive Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions and Saturn-Pluto conjunctions is more variable because each conjunction involves Pluto, the wild-card of the Solar System (and some believe that Pluto is not a true planet) which has an extremely eccentric orbit so that sometime it is within the orbit of Neptune and thus is not the outermost planet of the Solar System. The last time Pluto was inside the orbit of Neptune, which occurs once ever 250 years, was in the twenty year period 1979-1999, which closely corresponds to the bi-decade of the Eighties and Nineties. In this new century Pluto again moved outside the orbit of Neptune and is gaining speed.

Sidebar for nerds: Johannes Kepler is considered one of the founders of modern science and his laws are considered the basis for calculating ephemerides. His second law (of planetary motion) says that as a planet travels around the Sun, its radius vector (an imaginary line from the Sun to the planet) sweeps out equal areas in equal time, which implies that when the planet is closest to the Sun it travels faster than when it is further away from the Sun. While most major planets have relatively circular orbits, Pluto is the one that does not, so it travels much faster when it is closer to the Sun and thus inside the orbit of Neptune. I found a nice diagram of this at Kepler made his living at one point of his life by reading astrological charts, mostly for rich clients, and he probably would not have developed his planetary laws if he were not already into astrology. A recent book A Scheme of Heaven: The History of Astrology and the Search for our Destiny in Data by Alexander Boxer discusses the connection between astrology and modern science in more detail.

Saturn Pluto conjunctions and oppositions have long been associated with dire events, often wars. This is discussed fully in Section V of Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas, and has been discussed in this blog several times. For example, the preceding Saturn-Pluto opposition corresponded to the attacks of 9/11, the conjunction of those two planets in 1947 corresponded to the start of the Cold War, the conjunction of 1914 corresponds to the start of World War One, and the opposition of 1898 corresponded to the Spanish-American War.

I’ve long tried to get a fix on Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions, which occur more often that Saturn-Pluto conjunctions. The best I have been able to come up with for an interpretation of these two planets together is that the conjunction emphasizes what is already going on, like a cosmic exclamation mark. For these two planets Ebertin says “A desire for power” and “The qualities of leadership”. For the three planets together it is worth quoting Ebertin in full: “Plainness and simplicity, excessive modesty, the inclination to sacrifice oneself for others, religious and social fanaticism, difficulties caused through illness.” Ahem!

It is important to note that the period encompassing these three conjunction is less than one year, from January 12 to December 21. For comparison, let us look at the previous times when all three conjunctions occurred together. All of these graphical ephemerides are shown for a three year period. This is important to note, since they all have the same scale one can compare them easily.

The conjunctions of these three planets for the Twentieth Century occurred in 1982, corresponding to the rise of Neo-liberalism, a philosophy which has dominated the modern world. The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of January 1981 was the first of the three different conjunctions to occur in this period. The last was a Saturn-Pluto conjunction in November 1982 though there is a close approach of those two planets in July 1983. But the period between first conjunction and the last is 21 months.

The conjunctions of the Nineteenth Century occurred in 1883 as the world moved into modernity. The first conjunction in the series was a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in April 1881. The last conjunction was of Saturn-Pluto in May 1983. Thus the period in question was 26 months.

But there was also another conjunction set for that century, in 1820, which corresponded to the rise of rationalism as mentioned in previous posts. There were a lot of important aspects happening at the time, as can be seen from the graphical ephemeris with all the curves representing transiting planets near zero Aries — the solid horizontal black line. The first conjunction of the three under discussion was the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in May 1819. The final act in that play was the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of June 1821, so the whole play was 26 months. Note that in this period of time, besides other important events I’ve pointed out recently, saw the Congress of Vienna which marked the final defeat of Napoleon and started what is known as the century of peace in Europe (relatively speaking) which was only ended by the outbreak called World War I in 1914 which started the bloody Twentieth Century.

Since there were two of the triple conjunction periods in the Nineteenth Century, there were none in the Eighteenth Century. The next conjunction set was in 1680, corresponding to the rise of Science, also mentioned in the previous posts. The whole period was started out with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of February 1678 and ended with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of July 1680. The whole period lasted 30 months.

The conjunction set before that was in 1585. This is when the New World was being conquered by white Europeans and colonies were being set up. The first conjunction of this period was the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in May 1583; the last was the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of March 1585. Thus this whole period lasted 22 months.

The conjunction set before that was in 1446. As mentioned previously, this marked the development of the printing press, a invention that was to have profound implications for the world. The first conjunction was the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of July 1444. The last was the conjunction was Saturn-Pluto in May 1446. The whole period encompassed 22 months.

If we compare these previous six periods of Jupiter-Saturn, Jupiter-Pluto, and Saturn-Pluto conjunctions, we can see that the current one is shorter — more compressed that any of the six others, but it also takes place conveniently within one calendar year, that being 2020, with the first conjunction in January and the last conjunction in December of this year. Thus this time the cycle takes 11 months, by far a record for this 500 year period. You can judge for yourself what the tone of 2020 has been like. I think most people would agree that 2020 has been important, and standout, and possible unique. If I had to use one word it would be “crazy”. We are all so caught up in the daily headlines that is is impossible to have a perspective of what this year has wrought, so I think our correct judgements need to be postponed until we have a little hindsight, which can only be obtained by one method, sans a time machine. The year of 2020 has had the intensity of the triple conjunction of the three planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, which as we’ve seen happens once a century but this time compressed to only eleven months so much more intense than previously. Previous examples of this triple conjunction presaged an important change in world progress; imagine what the outcome of this compressed one will be when seen from ten years in the future.

The year of 2021 will be different. I’ve previously discussed that for the United States, that year will see the transiting Pluto opposite the natal Mercury, which suggests a conflict with the media, and a Neptune opposition (demi-return) which suggests increasing bewilderment at what is happening. But those are for the United States. The dominant transit (what is called a “world transit” since it does not require a natal chart) will be the square of Uranus and Saturn. I discussed the opposition of the two planets in the Red Summer of 1919. This aspect highlights the conflict between normal consensual reality, the establishment that controls of the world (Saturn) and the impulse to rebellion and revolution, the new, the nonordinary (Uranus). My feeling is this year will see a growing opposition to the craziness of the previous year and the forces that helped it happen. This aspect hits a personal point of the United States chart —the node of the Moon —and so this world transit will also be strongly felt by the United States tying in with the growing distrust of the media symbolized by the Pluto Mercury opposition but disguised by Neptune.

These squares of Saturn and Uranus take place in March of 2021, July, and December, pretty much filling up the year of 2021 much like those three conjunctions filled up 2020. Note that in October of 2022 — as the US Pluto return is exact –the square is very close but not exact. So after the year 2020 ends, and after the final conjunction which is Jupiter and Saturn on the Winter Solstice as the Sun enters Capricorn and as the conjunction takes place at zero Aquarius, a new year will start, and also a new bi-decade officially starts. The election madness in the United States will possibly be over, and the repercussions to that and to the other craziness of the ending year will fill up the year of 2021. May I be the first to wish you a Happy New Year!

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