Speculation is all the rage among astrologers as the great shootout in the sky is about to commence this summer, marking the last opposition of Saturn and Uranus (begun on American election day 2008) swelled by the mutual square to Pluto in Capricorn and conjunction of Jupiter to Uranus just entering Aries. By August 7, it will be a monster cardinal grand cross with Venus, Mars, and the Moon all joining Saturn in Libra. It does look rather horrendous, and of late has even the usually droll Michael Lutin freaking out with metaphors he previously avoided.
So what is so special, that makes this more than just another middle and outer planetary tangle? The usual glance rearward at planetary cycles helps. The Jupiter/Uranus synodic cycle is only about fourteen years – but the planets’ tight orbital resonance of 7:1 (seven orbits of Jupiter equals one of Uranus) puts them back together entering the same sign, in the same year, every 84 years, taking 400 years (and five joint entries) to move it along a sign. In recent history they’ve been jumping into Gemini and Leo together as well, but when that sign is Aries, the result is really aggressive and you tend to notice it a lot. The last three times were 1762, 1845, and 1927. Now this, and then again in 2094.
1762 was perhaps the most special, as it was marked by Saturn added to the conjunction, modifying the sometimes explosive and uncontrolled expansion this combination otherwise engenders. It also was followed by the only grand trine of the outer planets in modern history, and with it the writings and movements marking what was to be the Enlightenment founding of modern democratic government in the West. Original ideas and ways of thinking that were perfectly in tune to grow through the ages were born forcefully but gracefully, though it would take a series of revolutions, political, social, and scientific, to finally bring it all into place.
1845 was nowhere near so controlled an expression. Right after Jupiter hit Uranus, it went on to hit Pluto, and following that, Uranus itself moved to hit Pluto, in America marking the Mexican War and huge, uncontrolled expansion into Texas and California, the Gold Rush, and the intractable issues defining the Civil War. In Europe the destabilizing Irish famine followed, and after that the great revolutionary uprisings of the late 1840s in nearly every country in Europe.
1927 was even worse. The explosive new idea that hit society was national socialism and “socialist” dictatorship solutions to a failing world economy. That year, in Germany the speaking ban on Hitler was lifted, in Italy fascist extremists were “normalized” by Mussolini, and in the Soviet Union moderate Trotsky was expelled as Stalin seized power. And, with Saturn opposite the bowl of the outer planets in a grand trine with Neptune and Uranus, appealingly convenient evil was an easy sell, meeting little resistance on earth or above for some years after, at great price.
Socially and politically, what seems to make the difference between a positive/creative and negative/destructive outcome of this explosive, expansive, instant-action conjunction is its contemporary and follow-up contexts. The one we’re going into is dreadful while it’s happening, being part of a huge T-square and series of grand crosses. But most of that passes almost immediately after this summer’s blowup, as Saturn flees and dutifully tucks itself inside the bowl of the outer planets, a reliable but overlooked indicator of stabilizing government, crisis resolution, and social progress.
So this time the chances are, on the world stage at least, we may get off with a near-miss and recovery after some explosive confrontations that could actually lead to better (though perhaps bitter) solutions. How each of our lives is affected by this rough ride is another matter, but there’s already a really good book out on that subject. By Scots astrologer Anne Whitaker, it’s called, not surprisingly, Jupiter Meets Uranus. So, go read it…