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Jupiter Conjunct Saturn

Back in the day, before the discovery of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, astrologers few options when it came to long term cycles that could help them understand gradual shifts in matters like politics, the economy and the weather. All they had was Jupiter and Saturn. So they start paying close attention to the cyclic nature of the conjunctions of these two planets.

Jupiter and Saturn align with one another every twenty years or so. Each conjunction tends to occur in a sign belonging to the same element as the previous conjunction, until it doesn’t. For example, between 1842 and 1961 there have been seven conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn, all in Earth signs. When these conjunctions shift to a new element, that is considered a significant event, but it comes with a bit of a stutter. In 1981 the conjunction occurred in Libra, an Air sign, but in 2000 it was back in an Earth sign, Taurus. The next conjunction will occur on December 21. It will begin a long series of conjunctions in Air signs.

Of course, these days we have lots of slower moving celestial bodies with which we can track long term changes in world events and generational shifts. Nonetheless, our fascination with the cycle of Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions persists. The one in December is of particular interest because it will occur on the winter solstice. The pandemic along with the continued controversy over the election and Trump’s refusal to admit defeat is another reason why astrologers are looking at this conjunction with special interest.

Unfortunately, these Jupiter/Saturn cycles don’t seem to have much to do contemporary politics. Instead, they seem to reflect very long term shifts in societal attitudes. The Earth sign cycle began in 1802, around the time that the Industrial Revolution was taking off and monetary wealth was replacing nobility and rank as an indicator of social prominence. After this point, who your great-great grandfather was began to matter less to the world than how much money you had in the bank.

If you had told some duke or viscount in 1802 that in 150 years his title would be worthless, he would have probably slapped your face and challenged you to a duel. Flash forward to the end of the Earth sign passage of the Jupiter/Saturn cycle, and not only is dueling illegal, but no one really knows what a viscount is.

The most obvious change that we might expect from the new Air cycle that will begin in earnest on Dec. 21 is an information revolution. We can track that back to when the conjunction took its first stutter step into the Air element back in 1981. However, the last information explosion we had, the one that followed the invention of the Guttenberg printing press in the mid-1400s, occurred during a Water sign series. So, maybe it won’t be that obvious.

One major change that’s happened this year is in the way in which we view the air we share with other human beings. Used to be, we gave no thought to what viruses might be coming out of a person’s nose and mouth as our breathes mingled with those of friends and strangers alike. Now it terrorizes us. On an increasingly crowded planet where microbes seem ready to challenge us for the position of dominant species, the big societal change could be face masks becoming a permanent fashion accessory.