The Jupiter-Saturn Zeitgeist Conjunction by Maggie Hyde
Amongst the many planetary line-ups in 2020, one of the most important is the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction which falls just before Christmas on the actual day of the Winter Solstice, the longest night in the northern hemisphere. Because this doesn’t involve the slow outer planets, it often gets overlooked but it really shouldn’t do. It is very important.
These two planets join every 20 years and they are called the Chronocrators, the Markers of Time, because through the zodiac sign they join in, they indicate the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times. For 200 years the conjunction is made in the same element, so it takes 800 years to go through the four elements, fire, earth, air, and water. It’s called a mutation when it moves from one element to another. The last Jupiter-Saturn was in the year 2000 in Taurus, an earth sign, and the forthcoming conjunction is a mutation because it will be made in Aquarius, starting off a 200 year air cycle. Sometimes there is an “aberration‟ when the conjunction misses its element. This happened in 1980 when it was in a 200 year earth cycle but instead of earthy Virgo, it fell in airy Libra.
The Jupiter-Saturn cycle goes way back in the astrological tradition and it is very visible in a clear night sky. Some astrologers have considered the conjunction in Pisces in 7BC to be the Star of Bethlehem, heralding the King (Jupiter) of the Jews (Saturn). The conjunction was also made three times in 7BC and I like to fancifully imagine that it is a mythical source of the three wise men.
Of course, one would expect more than a twenty year Jupiter-Saturn cycle for the rise of a new religion and as Carl Jung has demonstrated, there were other grander astrological factors but the conjunction was a great support act. What is so intriguing is that its twenty year cycle is on a human scale and can be lived through several times in our own history and lifetime. The conjunction is said to bring changes in civilisation, from law, authority, politics, finance, religion, education, culture and so on, depending on the sign it is in and the house it falls in for each country. Its twenty year timing is also divided into two symbolic decades. The first ten years are governed by beneficial, expansive Jupiter, everything prospers, grows, develops, things are upbeat, optimistic, full of adventure. The second ten years, when the two planets form an opposition, is governed by Saturn, planet of boundaries and limits, so everything contracts, shrinks, is cut back and limited, things are hard, depressed and doubtful.
Well, that’s the theory but we must remember it is a symbolic imagining and hunting down historical dates and facts probably won’t prove anything. But painting a broad picture, we can see that humanity does recognise the spirit of certain times. We speak of the Roaring Twenties when Jupiter-Saturn joined in 1921 after WWI, bringing a Jupiter decade of extravagance with a desire for material wealth, luxury, film and glamour, and a total faith in perpetual growth. Ten years later, after the Wall Street crash of 1929, it was followed by a Saturn decade of the Great Depression, the Dustbowl, the rise of fascism and so on throughout the 1930’s. Similarly, the conjunction in 1961 accords with a Jupiter decade for the Swinging Sixties whilst the 1980 junction, made three times, brought us the Yuppy 80’s and Thatcher in the UK (1979-1990). It’s worth noting that politicians or celebrities whose birthchart connects with the zodiac degree of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction will play a major role in establishing the Zeitgeist, as did Thatcher.
Turning to the last Jupiter-Saturn of May 2000, it fell at 22 Taurus and with hindsight we can all see what changes have taken place in the last two decades, not least the enormous transformation of all culture through internet and digital devices. This is partly symbolised by the square which Jupiter-Saturn made with hi-tech Uranus. The dot com bubble had been building up and the Jupiter decade began with high hopes for dot com and tech stocks that seemed to be spun out of nothing. However, the earthy, Taurus nature of the conjunction kicked in and the bubble collapsed, followed by a truly Jupiterian expanse in bricks and mortar, as growth property prices soared. In the UK, every week newspapers reported that property owners had made yet more hundreds of pounds. The financial crash in 2008 brought us back to Taurus reality and in the Saturn decade which followed, every which way you turned there was austerity. The last year of Saturn in this cycle, bringing us all down, has been the covid-19 lockdown.
As with all big cycles in mundane astrology concerned with the collective, it is often best to relate the symbolism to one’s own small world, which often happens in unique and peculiar ways. For me, very near the time of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction at 22 Taurus in 2000, where I live there was a huge, spectacular thunderstorm. Afterwards, I went into my back garden to find that a tall comfrey plant had been completely flattened by the storm. I knew instantly that this meant the start of a Jupiter decade because Jupiter the sky god has thunder and lightening as his weapons, and he had wiped out the comfrey. As all astrological herbalists know, comfrey is a Saturn plant, used especially to help knit broken bones. So Jupiter in Taurus issues would dominate the next ten years, but what good was this symbolism for me? It confirmed that for ten years there would be growth in Taurean issues so it did not take me long to put the resources I had into buying property which became very lucrative. In the Saturn decade, after the 2008 crash, the frenzy went out of the buy-to-rent market.
With big cycle symbolism, you have to make it your own, bring it into context in your own life, not just think it is objectively out there for you to witness. So what is operative now with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction coming up for us soon? Before we move to the new zeitgeist of Jupiter-Saturn joining in Aquarius, for the rest of 2020 they must first finish travelling through Capricorn where they are hitting up against Pluto, lord of the Underworld. They have had to navigate transforming Pluto and his deathly underworld of locked-down darkness and dread, but when they come together in Aquarius they will at last be Pluto-free.
So what of the new spirit of the times in this air sign? Modern astrology equates air with intellect, logic, communication, and supposes it is cool and calculating, especially the fixed air sign of Aquarius. Yet in traditional astrology air is warm and moist. See for yourself when an Aquarian weeps for humanitarian issues, watching sad news.
At the moment of the Winter Solstice on 21st December, Jupiter and Saturn rise together on the Ascendant in London, and that evening, they join at 0 Aquarius and a new twenty year cycle of Jupiter-Saturn begins. It is also a mutation, the start of a 200-year air cycle of Jupiter-Saturn, but not a Great Mutation of 800 years, which would be when it moved from Pisces (water) into Aries (fire). The new Aquarian spirit may be more scientific and technological but also more humanitarian, sociable and friendly, concerned with rights and entitlements, leading to a growth in specialist groups and clubs, large gatherings, political demos and protests, especially where technology is involved – 5G, EMFs (electro-magnetic forces) and so on. Yet Aquarius is also dogmatic, principled, utilitarian, essentialist, so we mustn’t get too rosy-eyed about any changes in the social order, especially when Saturn governs the last ten years. It is also not an earth sign so it is doubtful that ecological issues will prevail. Their ideas, yes. In practice, not so certain.
However, since Aquarius is the water carrier, expect lots of issues around irrigation facilities! I remember once, some years ago, hearing about a man who was very sceptical about astrology. He said he was a scientist and didn’t believe in all this symbolic mumbo-jumbo. He was asked what sunsign he was and he said he was an Aquarian. When asked what job he did, it turns out he worked as a scientist in the middle east on water irrigation projects. It was very hard not to smile, thinking that this Aquarian irrigation specialist was truly an Aquarian water carrier.
We cannot know what this new 20-year cycle will bring but it is an honour to be present at its showing, and a delight to be able to witness whatever might be revealed. What is interesting is that Aquarius always has a sense of what is humane in any given situation, so let us trust that sense now, and follow where Aquarius leads us. Listen to what is shown, and enjoy. Already, in early December, as I write this, there is news of unusual ThunderSnow in Scotland. Thunder and lightning (Jupiter’s weapons), in a snowstorm (snowy Saturn). Jupiter and Saturn are already stirring.