The Year of Saturn-Neptune
As we complete 1988, its three conjunctions between Saturn and Uranus were a primary feature of the year. I felt that the three conjunctions in late Sagittarius marked the beginning of a new chapter in humanity’s attempt to integrate the traditional past and the innovative future, to achieve a compromise between hierarchical executive power and democratic equality. Above all, since the conjunctions occurred in Sagittarius, I think that traditional religious beliefs including the belief in materialism by both scientists and many astrologers, will be challenged by the increasing evidence which demonstrates the power of the mind. Since the next Saturn-Uranus conjunction is not due for about 45 years, we have a good chunk of time to work on these issues.
A primary feature for 1989 will be the three conjunctions between Saturn and Neptune in 10 to 11 degrees of Capricorn. This earth-water combination emphasizes a serious approach to life as we try to integrate unconscious faith, empathy, and a beautiful dream with the “rules of the game”, Puritan virtues, and the consequences of past actions. For many people, Saturn is associated with fear, whether of the rules, the authorities who enforce them, the report card from the world or the judgment by one’s conscience. But if we are working realistically, with faith in a Higher Power after we have done our share, the Saturn-Neptune combination can be very constructive.
A look at history can be helpful when analyzing the possible meaning of a repeating astrological pattern even though other features in the sky will be different each time. There was a Saturn-Neptune conjunction on March 27, 1703 at 11 Aries 44. A chart for the aspect shows a strong emphasis on fire and water, the emotional elements. In the preceding year, the three mile territorial sea zone was established by the Dutch jurist Van Bynkershoek. Neptune is associated with the sea and Saturn with the law. Events during 1703 included a great storm in England which killed thousands and a terrible earthquake and fire in Japan which killed about 200,000 people. Neptune is associated with dissolution in contrast to Saturn’s association with rigidity and crystallization. In an earthquake, the earth temporarily loses its solidity. The possibility of fires would be symbolized by the emphasis in fire planets, houses, and/or signs.
The next Saturn-Neptune conjunction took place on July 2, 1738 with the two planets in 0 Cancer square Vesta and opposite Uranus. Two months earlier, John Wesley had the first meeting of the society which became the Methodist Church. Neptune, along with Jupiter, is a key to religious faith. In the preceding October, an earthquake in Calcutta, India resulted in the second largest number of deaths from any quake in known history. In 1739, the potato crop failed in Ireland, leading to mass starvation and immigration. Also, in 1739-1740, more Frenchmen died of hunger than in all the wars of Louis XIV. The reduced food production was blamed on the division of family land holdings due to inheritance by several children.
Saturn and Neptune were conjunct in 18 Virgo 43 on September 27, 1773, octile Vesta on one side and Mars-Venus on the other side. Setting the chart in Washington, DC (our future capital) puts Uranus almost on the MC. The colonies were approaching their break with mother-England. The famous Boston Tea Party took place on December 16, 1773 and similar acts were carried out in 1774 in New York, York, Maine, and Annapolis, Maryland; all protesting the tax on tea. The first Continental Congress started on September 5, 1774 at Philadelphia, and our revolutionary war began in 1775. 1774 was also marked by a poor harvest in France. One astrological theory associates some countries with certain planets and Neptune may have extra meaning for France. Also in 1774, the Jesuit Order was dissolved by Pope Clement XIV, a power struggle between different levels of the religious hierarchy.
The December 1, 1809 conjunction occurred with Saturn and Neptune at 6 Sagittarius 40, conjunct the Sun at 9 Sagittarius. Mars was rising in Washington, DC, and we were approaching our second war with England. Perhaps all wars are fought for power, land or other forms of wealth. In the horoscope which I think is accurate for the U.S. Declaration of Independence, (note additional article in this issue of The Mutable Dilemma), Neptune is in the first house (our right and ability to do what we please) and Saturn is in the second house (our right and ability to enjoy the material world on our own terms). Neptune in our chart squares Mars in the tenth house and Saturn squares our Sun on the cusp of the eleventh house, so there is a clear indication of our resistance to limits and lessons in handling power. One possible expression of the second house-eleventh house square is a contest between personal greed and altruistic recognition of the rights of all humanity.
Events of 1809 to 1810 included the first ocean voyage by steamboat which gave us increased power over the sea. The first parochial school in the U.S. was started near Baltimore, combining religion and the establishment. Homeopathic medicine was started in Germany. Neptune is associated with drugs, chemicals, and healing. Homeopathy uses extremely diluted drug extracts; so diluted by water that in many doses, there is no molecule left of the original drug or herb. Recent experiments in several countries, including France, Scotland, and Israel, have supported the reality and helpfulness of homeopathic tinctures. Water seems to have some kind of “memory” of the drug which was shaken in it, even when the drug is gone. Orthodox scientists are having conniption fits trying to discredit the research. This work is just a small part of current research which is challenging the structure of materialism and which will lead to its dissolution as an explanation of ultimate reality.
Of course, the usual power games were continuing. The U.S. seized property in West Florida from Spain. Hidalgo’s unsuccessful rebellion sought to free Mexico from Spanish rule. Napoleon was achieving victories in Europe, including taking the Pope prisoner; religion and power. He also divorced Josephine who had not born him a son. Lamarck offered his controversial theories on evolution which were rejected at the time in favor of Darwin but which are currently being reconsidered. Ricardo published his theory that a high price on bullion was a sign of the depreciation of the value of bank notes. The latter theory strongly influenced subsequent British economic policy.
1846 brought three conjunctions at 25, 26, and 27 Aquarius. President Polk started the Mexican war in January 1846 and Congress made it official in May. California settlers also revolted against Mexico. The U.S. signed a treaty with Britain establishing the 49th parallel as the boundary with Canada. We also signed our first treaty with China. The potato crop in Ireland failed again and a half million people starved or died of hunger-related typhus. The Irish immigrated to England, Canada, Australia and the U.S. Brigham Young led the Mormons west with a temporary stop in Omaha. The Smithsonian Institution was founded. Anesthesiology (associated with Neptune) was pioneered by a Boston dentist. The Communist Manifesto was published in 1847 and became a “religion of materialism.” Also published was an abolitionist newspaper by an escaped slave who had bought his freedom with the proceeds of an autobiography published two years earlier. Neptune is traditionally associated with slavery and the U.S. was just starting on the path which would lead to ending it at the cost of the Civil War.
May 12, 1882 brought a conjunction at 16 Taurus 29 with Sun, Chiron, and Pluto also in Taurus. In Washington, DC, four of the Taurus factors were in the ninth house. Pluto and five factors in Gemini were in the tenth house. Events that year included an agreement at a Hague (Holland) Convention on a three mile limit for territorial waters which was signed by the world powers. There was a drought in the western U.S. rangelands and the U.S. passed its first law restricting general immigration. Crop failures and mass starvation in southern Japan started a mass immigration of Japanese workers to Hawaii which brought in 100,000 during the next 30 years. The TB bacillus was discovered by Koch and Breuer started psychoanalysis with a hysteric girl, getting her to relive scenes in her earlier life. Freud picked it up from Breuer. Matson began shipping sugar from Hawaii to San Francisco, achieving a near-monopoly. And a Philadelphia lawyer showed John D Rockefeller how to use personal estate laws on trusts in industry. In this way, Rockefeller was able to circumvent state corporation laws. He incorporated Standard Oil Trust, bringing 95% of the U.S. petroleum industry under the control of a 9-man directorate. At the time, Standard Oil Trust was the richest company in the world, controlling 14,000 miles of underground pipelines and all oil cars of the Pennsylvania railroad. Many other trusts soon followed Rockefeller’s example.
Data for the Saturn-Neptune conjunctions in the earlier part of this century is readily available in the ephemerides published by ACS, as well as ample historical material, so interested students can calculate the charts and look at the historical record. I will just comment that the August 1, 1917 conjunction came just after we had entered the First World War. The major reason given for our entry into the war was the German submarine attacks on our shipping, a power struggle at sea.
There were three conjunctions in 1952-3. Eisenhower got us out of the Korean War in 1953 after being elected in 1952. One of the most interesting events involved a criminal investigation into the “international oil cartel,” which was called off by outgoing President Truman when the Justice Department told him that it would endanger national security. Truman also tried to claim offshore oil deposits for the Federal government, but Congress gave control back to the states bordering the ocean.
Some repeated themes appear in the preceding lists of events, including control over the sea; crop failures and immigration; U.S. struggles or involvement with several European countries, Japan, and Mexico; power and bondage issues; major theories and developments in economics, infections, anesthetics, and psychotherapy; power issues involving church leaders. As we face 1989, the U.S. is supposedly lowering trade barriers with Canada but starting a trade war with Europe over cattle hormones, and continuing struggles over the trade policies of Brazil and several Asian countries. The issue of oil and other monopolies is in high focus as mergers continue to increase the size of giant international corporations that have far more power than most governments. There were 3,310 mergers or acquisitions in the U.S. in 1988, including 325 firms acquired by foreign investors. On December 28, 1988, Reagan extended the U.S. territorial waters from 3 miles to 12. He instituted that change by executive proclamation while in Los Angeles, supposedly to keep Russian spy trawlers (disguised as fishing boats) farther from our shores. With a bona fide member of the Elite becoming President in a few weeks, we should have an interesting year ahead.
All three Saturn-Neptune conjunctions in 1989 emphasize earth and water, pointing to security issues, though the June 24 chart has a good leavening of air. All three charts also have a strong focus on faith and ethics. The March 3 chart calculated for Washington, DC has factors in all the earth and water signs and houses with the fire limited to the MC and asteroids: Vesta in the Sagittarius sign and house but close to the MC for an additional earth emphasis, Juno in Leo but in the sixth (earth) house and retrograde, and Ceres in the Aries sign and house but exactly square the tenth house Capricorn Moon. The issue of jobs and working conditions is certainly highlighted, but the rich will be getting richer with Mars conjunct Jupiter in Taurus in the second house and sextile the Ascendant. Every air house is empty, and Mercury in Aquarius is the only occupied air sign but its presence in the twelfth (water) house supports the importance of faith if we are to “take things lightly,” and offers little hope for any movement toward democracy and equality.
The second conjunction on June 24 replaces the earlier Pisces stellium in the twelfth house with one in Capricorn. Vesta has moved to conjunct Uranus, quincunx Mars in Leo, and oppose the Sun, though the Moon is sextile-trine the opposition. Saturn and Neptune are about five degrees above the horizon, sextile Pluto on the MC within three degrees, trine Juno, opposite Chiron and quincunx Mercury. The combination again favors those who already have money, property and power.
The third conjunction on November is totally earth and water except for Ascendant-East Point in Sagittarius, lunar nodes in Leo-Aquarius, third house-ninth house, and Juno in Libra in the Aquarian house. The twelfth house Sun is exactly square the nodes, closely conjunct Mercury, and more widely opposite the Moon. The call for attention to faith, values, and ethics is shown by the strong twelfth house in all three charts and by aspects in all charts between Saturn-Neptune and either Jupiter or Chiron which is like Jupiter. In the March 4 chart, Saturn-Neptune-Moon are trioctile Mars-Jupiter, Uranus opposes Chiron, Vesta-MC in Sagittarius are square the Pisces Ascendant-East Point-Antivertex. In the June 24 chart, Saturn-Neptune oppose Chiron, Uranus-Vesta oppose the Sun, and the Pisces Moon squares Ceres and is octile the Ascendant.
In the November 13 chart, Uranus-Saturn-Neptune-Venus-Antivertex-Vesta in Capricorn oppose Ceres-Jupiter-Chiron across the houses of finances, two-eight. The Antivertex is at the midpoint of Saturn-Neptune and Vesta, octile the Ascendant. The grand cross in fixed signs has been mentioned above. If any of these charts can offer clues to a recession, the fall of 1989 would seem to be a possible time. Fall is also the most conflicted period in the personal horoscope of George Bush. But this Saturn-Neptune chart also has strong earth and water trines and sextiles. I do not see any suggestion of a threat to the “system.” It seems more likely that the rich will be getting much richer and increasing their control of the world. It is likely to be the middle 1990s before we start to reverse the tide. My advice continues to be to get out of debt and to build mutual support systems with family and friends.
Since many of the past Saturn-Neptune conjunctions have been associated with U.S. military action, we have to consider that possibility. With China and Russia and even the PLO apparently moving toward peaceful coexistence with the capitalist world, the military-industrial complex which supplies much of the wealth for our elite may need a new justification for defense spending. Libya is one available scapegoat, but hardly adequate to keep the Pentagon fully funded. One astrological tradition anticipates action in the geographic areas where planets are conjunct the angles. The November 13 chart (which remains a key to Saturn-Neptune matters until the next conjunction in about 35 years) is especially dramatic with Saturn and Neptune conjunct the MC on a line running through east Africa, the Near East, and up through Russia. The conjunction is within one degree of the MC in the capitals of five countries: Nairobi, Kenya; Amman, Jordan; Jerusalem, Israel; Damascus, Syria; Beirut, Lebanon. It is within two degrees of the MC in Moscow, U.S.S.R., and in Lilongwe, Malawi. It is within three degrees of the capital of Ethiopia, Adis Ababa. It also crosses Mozambique, Tanzania, Sudan, and Turkey. The example chart is calculated for Jerusalem with geocentric positions in the inner wheel and heliocentric positions in the outer wheel. For Russia, this period may bring the reversal of hard-line Marxism. Remember that Marx published near the time of an earlier conjunction. Crop failures and starvation are a threat in Africa. In the Near East, the religious and political struggles show no signs of early solution despite the major concessions offered by the PLO. Power and survival are at stake, and most humans are still a long way from the empathy and compassion, the faith and realization of oneness that are the high side of Neptune. But we’re on the way.