2020 began with a bang that has reverberated for the entire year. The conjunction between Saturn and Pluto has stayed in orb throughout (aside from a couple of weeks in May). Saturn and Pluto will finally move apart on December 26, 2020. Alongside the smash of the karmic reset button came the clash of a great crisis, symbolised by Jupiter’s conjunction to Pluto, three times this year too. Here we were presented with a huge opportunity for change, a potentially great transformation. This year is not going out quietly either as another massive conjunction will occur in December, just as the last echoes of Saturn and Pluto fall away.
Saturn enters Aquarius at 05:03 (UT) on December 17, 2020.
Jupiter enters Aquarius at 13:07 (UT) on December 19, 2020.
The Great Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn will take place at 18:20 (UT) on December 21, 2020 at 00°Aq29′.
December 21, 2020 is also the date of the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere which symbolises the return of the light. Not only that, this is also the date (in the UK) of the First Quarter Moon which will take place on the Aries point (0 Aries). This is also a potent degree, filled with vibrant potential and an uprush of energy. Another symbolic factor is that, religious or not, we all know the tale about the three wise men (astrologers!) who followed the great star that led them to the Christ child. Whether or not that star was a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction is up for debate but still, the story is embedded deep in the collective psyche. Given all the surrounding symbolism that accompanies the Great Conjunction, we are being told that this is a new beginning and a return to the light.
Jupiter and Saturn have been in orb of a conjunction since September 17, 2020 but the mix of these two has been wrapped up with Pluto. Jupiter and Pluto’s conjunction ends December 23, 2020. So, the Great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn will still be imbued with the last vestiges of the Pluto energy, deepening and intensifying our experience of it.
FROM EARTH TO AIR
Generally, Jupiter and Saturn meet around every 20 years and as they begin a new synodic cycle, society too enters a new chapter. Jupiter and Saturn are considered Social Planets. The placement of these two planets in the birth chart show something of how we move from our own personal world to connect with the wider world. This conjunction in 2020 however, is not just beginning a new chapter for society but a new era. For the next 200 years, Jupiter and Saturn will meet only in Air signs after meeting in earth signs since 1842.
There was however, one Great Conjunction in Libra in 1980 and this gave us a flavour of things to come. For the next 20 years until the next Jupiter and Saturn conjunction in 2000, we found new ways to connect and our technological world exploded. Air signs are associated with communication, mind and intellect. The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in 2000 though was in materialistic Taurus and so between then and now we have seen the rise, fall and rise of the dot.com industry. Technology has continued to rapidly advance, but it has been driven by a desire to amass greater fortune. Material having has become the God that rules. How much money can I make with this website/new phone/new laptop? Human connection has been lost in the midst…until now.
THE NATURE OF AQUARIUS
Aquarius is the last of the air signs. It is connected to the global 11th house and ruled by both Saturn (traditional) and Uranus (modern). Aquarius is Higher Mind, Uranus a higher vibration of Mercury. In Aquarius we are connected to ‘God mind’ receiving cosmic downloads straight into the brain. It’s not about feeling, it’s about thinking. It’s not so much about gut instinct and intuition but an instant and brilliant knowing.
Some people struggle to see the connection between disciplined Saturn and rebellious Aquarius, but we need rules and regulations for society to function as well as the freedom to express ourselves and the liberty to lead our own lives with Uranus. I also use the analogy of a scientist too – Uranus is mad but brilliant, haphazardly testing out wild theories generated by out of the box thinking. But science needs Saturn too – the one who is willing to test and test and test again to ensure the experiment worked. Saturn is method and order, preparation, caution.
Aquarius energy is considered to be cool, detached, friendly but sometimes aloof. It makes me think of glass, the high ‘ting’ of finger symbol or a pure note struck from a tuning fork. There is something crystal clear about Aquarius and we can see how Saturn can correlate to the stripped back, airy nature of this sign. If Aquarius was a room, maybe it would be a loft apartment, painted white, minimal furniture with a skylight to the clear blue sky above it. It makes me think of Iceland.
Aquarius season each year lasts from around January 21 – February 21 so certainly the icy season in the Northern hemisphere. It is during Aquarius time that we celebrate the Pagan festival of Imbolc and the Christian festival of Candlemas. Both these festivals, ancient and modern are connected to the idea of purification and cleansing. Imbolc means ‘in the belly’ and speaks of a time when the Earth is stirring with new life, even whilst the ground may still be covered with snow. At Candlemas, candles are blessed for the year – once again speaking of the idea of bringing back the light. It is said that this was also the time that Mary was allowed back in the church to be once again ‘purified’ after giving birth. As uncomfortable as that last symbolism is, we can easily see how much of Aquarius season is connected to the concept of cleansing and even perhaps a return to youthfulness – interesting as the previous sign Capricorn is associated with old age.
The symbol of Aquarius is the water bearer and the word Aquarius itself contains the word for water – ‘aqua’. It’s not that Aquarius is unfeeling, but it contains feelings – bearing water – to hold up, to contain, to allow for but not to be overwhelmed by. There is something distinctly rational about Aquarius, yet the flip side can be brutally cold. Aquarius also has an electrical quality which can both spark excitement and inspiration or simply ‘switch off’ if it’s not getting what it needs. Still, positively in Aquarius we find scientific acumen, a modern, progressive outlook. The global 11th house where Aquarius resides is about groups, networks, friends, the wider community, society, politics and humanitarian causes. It’s also a place we look to for our future hopes so there is a certain idealism around this sign too.
The Tarot card associated to Aquarius is the Star. In this image we see the water bearer pouring two jugs of water – one onto the Earth and the other into a pool. One foot is on the ground, one in the water. The woman is bare. Again, we have the idea of cleansing, being in touch with and yet not ruled by emotion. The brilliant stars, billions of miles away remind us of a wider connection to the cosmos only unlike the next sign Pisces, this is not about angels and merging with the whole – more it is about the wonder of the universe, the urge to answer the question ‘is it just us, are we alone?’.
SPACE, ALIENS AND ROBOTS (Oh my!).
The X Files began on September 10, 1993, when Saturn was last in Aquarius. The film Contact, which follows Jodie Foster as she is contacted by an alien race that helps her build a machine that will take her to their planet was released in 1997, when both Uranus and Jupiter were in Aquarius. One of the main lines from the movie was “So if it’s just us… seems like an awful waste of space.”.
Aquarius in the rocket taking off and every scientist who helped to make it happen. It’s Walter Bishop in Fringe, Einstein, Carl Sagan – and maybe the odd mad professor who experiments with whatever he can get his hands on. Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein had Pluto conjunct the North Node in Aquarius with Pluto anaretic to boot. I find myself chilled as I write that, wondering whether some prescience of my own sees humans too playing God by the time that Pluto once again reaches the 29th degree of Aquarius in 2042. Elon Musk, head of SpaceX has Mars conjunct the North Node in Aquarius. I imagine that we may hear a lot more from him during these next few years. Generally, I anticipate a lot more space news along with more science fiction being made. I also anticipate that as we move into this Aquarius era, we will see an explosion of scientific breakthroughs and the rise of the machines. Will sentient robots come of the back of this? It’s difficult to tell but then again, a robot that is more intelligent that a human can seem God-like even if it is soulless.
MONOLITHS AND THE COLLECTIVE PSYCHE
It’s not escaped my attention that as we stand on the edge of this Aquarius era, we have seen news stories about strange monoliths being found in Utah, Romania, California and The Isle of Wight. Whether an artist’s concept or a global joke (perhaps a little of both as Aquarius has a weird sense of humour!), the symbolism is fascinating. Most likely these monoliths are based off that from 2001, A Space Odyssey. If you haven’t seen the movie, (which by the way is brilliant!), “The Monolith in the movie seems to represent and even trigger epic transitions in the history of human evolution, evolution of humans from ape-like beings to civilised people, hence the odyssey of humankind.” Wikipedia. Just before Trump came to power, the news was full of people seeing scary clowns. Clown sightings tend to become prominent when the psyche of the collective is fearful. Now with the monolith symbolism in place, it feels like we’re not only being shown the potential for an epic transition and the evolution of civilisation, but also that we have the ability to endure. The Star, and Aquarius, make us think ahead, consider the future we are creating and so this is part of the story for Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius.
THE GREAT WORK
I’ve been calling the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn ‘the Great Work’. We are beginning something now that will lay the foundation for the future, both in our own lives and collectively. The action of Saturn is to contract, the action of Jupiter is to expand. These two planets moving through Aquarius are going to give us different tests, challenges and opportunities yet all are connected to Aquarius themes. Positively, Jupiter and Saturn can work well together with Saturn curbing Jupiter’s excesses and Jupiter pushing Saturn to transcend doubts and limits. But as the conjunction between the two only lasts until February 2021, it may seem like we are having a duel journey.
With the inventive nature of Aquarius working via the scholarly energy of Jupiter, there certainly seems the potential for great discoveries during this time. It seems likely that this transit may also speak more of online tuition, particularly for universities. Increased communication and connection are also suggested but as Saturn will also be here, it is highly likely that this will be done under the rules of the ‘new normal’ sparked by the pandemic.
Saturn is certainly not touchy feely and Aquarius is a sign associated with distance (think again of the star being far, far away). I doubt we will see a return to our old ways during the transit of Saturn in Aquarius. Social distancing will become mainstream practice. Still, the great work we are doing here is about developing (Jupiter) stability (Saturn) as a society (Aquarius). Right now, we are fractured. The atmosphere is angry and divisive. The Pluto in Capricorn years, particularly this last year, have really exposed the underbelly of capitalism and brought out all kinds of toxic behaviour. Racism and sexism are rife and on the increase. Democracy itself is under threat. Saturn in Aquarius will push us to ask how cohesive our society is – are we falling together or falling apart?
With Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius, doubts about the future vie with hope. There is cause to hope and there is cause to doubt. We may be socially distanced and yet new means of communication open up. It’s likely that given the increased emphasis on technology for us to do our jobs and connect with one another, new laws will follow. Jupiter is connected to law specifically and Saturn brings rules. So, expect tighter rules around the internet, what can and can’t be said, the role and rights of social media. And talking of laws, depending on the ruling, a landmark case in the UK could also see councils here forced to make the air cleaner after a young child died, quite probably from air pollution. Saturn in Aquarius may push us to purify the air planet-wide as the climate crisis continues.
Whilst some rules may be there for our protection, others may curb our freedoms. Aquarius is a sign associated with liberty, uniqueness and difference. It embraces all that is weird and wonderful and unique. Maybe those who have been on the fringes may find more acceptance during these coming years. Outsiders can become mainstream. Jupiter in Aquarius may hopefully give us a more progressive education with a better understanding of science. However, the shadow side of Saturn in Aquarius could seek to silence all fringe thought – a possibly dangerous move. There needs to be room for discourse. Astrology too comes under the realm of Aquarius so I feel it’s important that we don’t end up in a situation where the rise of science and reason that could be expected and welcomed from these transits don’t drown out the voice of spirituality and the arts. Hopefully any imbalance may be corrected when Jupiter enters Pisces.
JUPITER AND SATURN SQUARE URANUS
As Jupiter and Saturn make their way through Aquarius, they will both square Uranus. Jupiter will make only one square on January 17, 2021 whereas Saturn will create three squares in February, June and December of 2021.
Jupiter square Uranus increases the possibility of rebellion, unrest, destabilisation. Jupiter magnifies what it touches and Uranus is the revolutionary. This aspect could also manifest as increased excitement but the energy is wired and fraught with tension. It doesn’t escape my attention that this occurs just a few days before the US inauguration. The aspect is further inflamed by a volatile conjunction between Mars and Uranus making this a particularly unstable period.
Saturn and Uranus represent the clash of old and new, conventional versus unconventional, rules versus freedom, stability versus instability, conformity versus non-conformity. With Uranus moving through Taurus, there are big shake-ups happening around money and security. The pandemic has pushed many people to the brink. Businesses have gone bust. Hospitality, entertainment, sporting and travel industries are on their knees.
Recently, I noticed in the news in the UK that all captive birds must now be kept inside due to an outbreak of bird flu. Birds are creatures of the air but they are effectively ‘grounded’ by this situation – a sad but perfect example of Saturn moving into Aquarius action. Perhaps too we can expect many of our planes to continue to be grounded. Whilst governments worldwide have pumped trillions of dollars into the system, there’s a sense that there is more to come. As Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Taurus tell us, the system must change and change it will. How this plays out is yet to be seen but Saturn and Uranus will keep the banks and stock markets on their toes. There’s also a strong feeling that we must be willing to get out of our comfort zone for the sake of our future – take charge (Saturn) and innovate (Uranus). But some may feel uncomfortable as the old and familiar lifestyles fall away. Some may rebel (Uranus) to keep things the same (Saturn). It makes me think of the phrase from the Borg ‘Resistance is Futile!’.
A NEW REALITY
Old structures must change but we can take the best of the past. We don’t have to throw out everything we have built or learned. It’s vital that we stay flexible as the more we resist, the more stress and anxiety manifests. 2020 was the year that knocked us down. It was the karmic reset we needed to take stock, reassess, and find out what is truly important in our lives. 2021 will bring us an opportunity to lay the foundations of a new future and awaken us to a new reality.
Painting – Space Force Construction by Lyubov Popova