On 21 December 2020, there will be a conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn, which is also known as a Great Conjunction. A conjunction between these two slow moving planets is a relatively rare event in itself, but the 2020 event is even rarer, as will be explained shortly.
Jupiter’s annual motion is about 30˚ and Saturn moves about 12˚ per year. Leaving a difference of approximately 18˚ per year, we can work out that Jupiter will perfect a conjunction with Saturn roughly every 20 years. This also means that each conjunction will take place 240˚, or eight signs, further along the zodiac. Were these figures to be exact, the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions would always take place in one of the three signs of the same element. But this is not the case. The exact duration between two conjunctions is 19.8 years, which means that, over time, the place of conjunction moves backwards through each sign. And so, after about 200 years one cycle of conjunctions in the signs of one particular element comes to an end and another cycle of conjunctions in signs of the following element begins. This seems to be a long time to comprehend, but there is still another, larger cycle to be observed. After about 800 years the conjunctions have taken place in the signs of all four elements and another, new, 800 year cycle begins.
Having established the general patterns of the Great Conjunction, with its 20, 200, and 800 year cycles, we can now begin to look at the finer details. The last Great Conjunction occurred in 2000 when Jupiter and Saturn were conjunct in Taurus. It was the last conjunction in an Earth sign, in a cycle that began back in 1802. Between 2020 and 2140 all Great Conjunctions will take place in Air signs, beginning with Aquarius. The sequence will be as follows:
21 December 2020 0 Aquarius 29
31 October 2040 17 Libra 55
7 April 2060 0 Gemini 46
15 March 2080 11 Aquarius 52
18 September 2100 25 Libra 32
16 July 2119 14 Gemini 51
14 January 2140 17 Aquarius 04
This will be followed by one Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in 7 Scorpio 58, on 21 December 2159. Thereafter, there will be another two Great Conjunctions in Gemini and Aquarius respectively, before a new cycle of conjunctions in Water signs will begin in 2219.
The chart below, cast for London, shows the 2020 Jupiter/Saturn conjunction:
This Great Conjunction is taking place in the first decanate of the fixed Air sign Aquarius, wherein Saturn, the greater malefic is domicile ruler. We can see that in the chart cast for London, Jupiter and Saturn are tightly conjunct the Descendant (and therefore also opposing the Ascendant). This angularity strongly indicates that the conjunction will be particularly potent for the United Kingdom. Another glance at the chart also shows that the lesser malefic, Mars, is prominently located in the 10th house, in Aries, the sign he has rulership over. In mundane astrology, the 10th house governs the monarch or president, the government and people in authority, as well as national trade. Mars governs the military, soldiers, war, terrorist attacks, and conflicts.
It is also of importance to realise that the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction will occur at the same time as the Sun’s ingress into Capricorn, commonly known as the Winter Solstice. Due to the Ascendant of the UK’s Aries ingress chart being in Virgo, the Capricorn ingress chart is also of vital interest and of great importance for the judgment of the the UK’s state of affairs during the last quarter of the solar year. Aquarius, the sign wherein the Great Conjunction will take place, and Capricorn, the other sign Saturn has rulership over, are opposing Cancer and Leo, which are the domiciles of the Moon and the Sun respectively. For this reason, it seems only natural to also look at the Solar eclipse that took place on 21 June 2020 and its effects. I have already discussed the possible effects of this eclipse for India and China, which tie in with problems related to the Saturn/Jupiter conjunction, in my blog post from 12 June 2020. The blog entry can be read HERE.
All of what has been said so far shows that the transition into what some may think of as the Age of Aquarius is not likely to be a smooth one. Aquarius has often been described as being representative of the archetypal innovative humanitarian. This may be so, but let us remind ourselves of the astrological basics which will heighten our understanding of what we may experience during the next 20 years and beyond. Taurus, the sign wherein the last Great Conjunction took place, is an Earth sign. Just like Virgo and Capricorn, the other two signs of the Earth triplicity, Taurus displays a particular focus on functionality and practical action. Solidity, pragmatism, and high levels of organisation are also typical for Earth signs. Aquarius, on the other hand, as an Air sign, displays high levels of fluidity and dynamic expression. Sociability, relentless communication, and intellectual curiosity are typical for Air signs. Furthermore, to highlight another division, Taurus is a feminine, nocturnal sign. Its core agendas are security and preservation of the status quo. Aquarius is one of the masculine, diurnal signs. Unlike the feminine, nocturnal signs, masculine, diurnal signs are expansive and naturally expressive. Their core agendas are those of action and movement. It may also be of interest to the reader what the 2nd century Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens has to say about Aquarius:
“Aquarius is the celestial sign which is masculine, solid, anthropomorphic, somewhat damp, single. It is mute, quite cold, free, upward-trending, feminizing, unchanging, base, with few offspring, the cause of troubles arising from athletic training, carrying burdens, or work in hard materials, an artisan, public. Men born under this sign are malicious, haters of their own families, incorrigible, self-willed, deceitful, tricky, concealing everything, misanthropic, godless, accusers, betrayers of reputations and the truth, envious, petty, occasionally generous (because of flow of water), uncontrollable. As a whole this sign is wet. By part it is as follows: the first parts are wet, the upper parts fiery, the lower worthless and useless.” (Vettius Valens, Anthologies, Book I)
Furthermore, both, Taurus and Aquarius are fixed signs. The 17th century astrologer William Ramesey writes in his Astrology Restored, that if Great Conjunctions occur “… in fixed signs, what they portend … is of continuance.” (p491)
To gain a better understanding about the nature of events that can be expected to be triggered by the upcoming Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, it may be of benefit to have another look at Ramesey’s Astrology Restored, wherein he writes:
“ … when these two highest planets are in conjunction in the fiery trigon … many commotions, wars, seditions, troubles, subversion of monarchies, kingdoms, states, alteration of laws, customs, privileges and rights, plagues, famine, desolation, anxiety and trouble, treason, treacheries, and the death of kings, nobles, princes, emperors and powers follow. So likewise when they are in conjunction in the first term of any trigon, … but not so forcible is their then effects, nor so terrible as the former, yet (though in a less degree) the forerunners and occasioners of grievous mutations and accidents, according to the nature of that planet which has most power of the two in the sign wherein they are joined; for if Saturn be stronger than Jupiter, it will be very terrible …in fiery, earthy and airy signs they cause draught and a scarcity of provisions, and barrenness of the ground, pestilence and famine. Also when these two first conjunctions are in any of the angles, … it denotes the arise of some new king or prophet … “ (p492, emphasis mine)
From what we have read above, we can deduct the likelihood of major change to take place. In the long run the old, highly organised and well structured, but conservative and pragmatic forces symbolised by Saturn are likely to be replaced with new ideas based on humanitarian principles. In other words the old, established political, financial, and most likely also social structures all of us have grown up with and have learnt to accept to be taken for granted are likely to be replaced. This will not happen over night and also not without a lot of resistance though, as the prominence and strength of Saturn in the Great Conjunction charts testifies.
New technology in its widest sense is probably to be found at the basis of some of these changes. A good example to think of is the continuing increase of (free) information available on-line. We are currently flooded with online information to the extent that one could get the impression we are entering a new era I am inclined to be the ‘Information Age’. For some people, this may be a great opportunity to enhance their level of education or make use of specialist resources. These have until recently only been available to academics who had to visit brick and mortar libraries or even had to travel to other countries to find the information they needed. But there are also downsides to this trend. These are, for example, the increase in distribution of unchecked, not peer-reviewed, or just downright false information, or the deliberate publication of what has become known as ‘fake news’. In short, unless a higher degree of responsibility, morality, or even the implementation of plain ethics will become mainstream and will be adhered to by the majority of people, these problems will stay with us.
Also, to give another example, there is already a noticeable shift in people’s working habits. The widespread availability of high speed broadband, together with the use of advanced conferencing tools, makes it possible to work from home for extended periods of time. Teaching children via online classes, rather than actually meetings them in classrooms everyday is also something that springs to mind. If continuing, this trend will eventually have an impact on a wide range of issues, like the reduction of air pollution due to reduced number of people travelling to and from work, less non-renewable resources used in office buildings, reduction of carbon footprint, and so forth. Hopefully this will solve some of the environmental issues we are currently facing.
There is also the possibility of new financial concepts being introduced. Universal Basic Income, springs to mind, which, in the spirit of Aquarius, could be a great stepping stone towards higher levels of social justice. Although already discussed by politicians, change seems to be still a long way away. This brings us back to the fact that Saturn is domicile ruler of Aquarius, telling us that the transition to Aquarian principles will not happen overnight and that we will have to deal with the rather harsh effects of the Great Conjunction first.
This article was published in Infinity Astrological Magazine #34 Nov/Dec 2020