In order to better understand the
current global tensions, we can look at the current opposition of Saturn and
Pluto (see A New Global
Perspective) and follow its cycle back through history. We can follow the rhythms of a pair of planets (like Saturn and Pluto) by tracking
the history of its phases from NEW (at conjunction) to FULL (at opposition) and back again.
The 33-year Cycle
Saturn and Pluto line up every 33 years as Saturn passes between Pluto and the Earth.
This, like a New Moon, is a conjunction. Then, halfway through the 33-year cycle,
Saturn and Pluto, in their “full” phase, are on opposite sides of the Earth…as
they are now.
To uncover the meaning of this cycle, we can calculate the times of the
new and full phase for Saturn-Pluto and see if there is any correlation of events
with this cycle. Because the Saturn-Pluto conjunction is a repetitive 33-year
cycle, the opposition at the halfway point should occur 16.5 years later.
Planetary mechanics, however, are complicated by the fact that we don’t measure
these cycles from a stationary point in space. We measure them from here on Earth
as we fly around the Sun in our own orbit. This can vary the cycle by nearly a
Also, because we are looking at the long cycles of outer planets, the moving Earth
can create the illusion of the conjunction or opposition repeating three times over
several months as the Earth moves around the Sun.
below lists recent new and full Saturn phases with respect
to Pluto (conjunctions and oppositions).
Table of Recent Saturn-Pluto Alignments
Sep 30 1834
Jun 6, 1851 - Feb 9, 1852
Nov 1 1866
May 22 1883
Dec 6 1898
Oct 4, 1914 - May 19, 1915
Feb 17, 1931 - Dec 13, 1931
Aug 10 1947
Apr 23, 1965 - Feb 19, 1966
Nov 7 1982
Aug 5, 2001 – May 25 2002
The 19th Century
Let's follow a couple of threads in this list of dates.
Within a year of the 1834 Saturn-Pluto opposition, Great Britain abolished slavery throughout its colonies.
In 1850, just prior to the following conjunction, Henry Clay opened the “Great Debate” on the slavery
issue in the United States, warning the South against secession. Then,
less than a year prior to the next opposition,
in 1866, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to U.S. General Grant at Appomattox, thus ending the war
against slavery. In the very same year, the United States Congress passed 13th Amendment abolishing slavery.
At the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in 1851-1852,
other changes were brewing around the world, setting the stage for the Great World War that began
at the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in 1914. In 1852, France challenged
the claim of Russian guardianship of the Holy Land when it secured privileges from Sultan Abd
for the Latin churches. The tensions led to the Crimean War in 1853 between Russia and the
Ottoman Empire, England and France. The immediate
issue that led to the outbreak of the Crimean War was a dispute between Russia and France over Palestinian
holy places. Sound familiar?
At the opposition in 1866, The Austro-Prussian War broke out between Prussia, allied with Italy,
against Austria and several German states.
At the next conjunction in November 1882, Great Britain invaded and occupied Egypt to protect its interest in
the Suez Canal. Again we see territorialism around the Arab lands. Also during this conjunction,
Germany, Austria and Italy formed the Triple Alliance. Remember at the previous opposition, Germany
was at war with Austria. This confirmed the political alliances for World War I. Additionally,
European nations met in Berlin (The Berlin West Africa Conference) to divide Africa amongst themselves
in a blatantly imperialistic atmosphere.
Zionism and The Great World War
Next came the opposition of 1898. In the Treaty of Paris, the colonial power of Spain was diminished
as it relinquished Cuba. It is interesting to note that Spain lost its hold in the Americas when
Simón Bolívar liberated New Granada (now Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador) at a previous Saturn-Pluto
conjunction in 1819. With respect to empire expansion, 1898 was also the year that the U.S. took the
Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam from the Spanish, and England took Hong Kong from the Chinese, signing
a 99-year lease. This also marked the beginning of the Boxer Uprising, an anti-foreign movement in China.
Another significant historical thread surfaced at the opposition just prior to the turn of the
century. In 1897, the First Zionist Congress was held in
Switzerland and the World Zionist Organization was established with the goal of creating a Jewish
homeland around Jerusalem. Zionism has had ongoing significance at Saturn-Pluto conjunctions and
oppositions leading up to the present day.
The first Saturn-Pluto conjunction of the 20th century was exact on October 4, 1914.
Only months before, the assassination of Duke Ferdinand precipitated the outbreak
of the Great World War with millions killed. Complicating the developing thread of Zionism and control of the Holy Land,
the British promised Arab lands their independence from the Ottoman
Empire in return for the Arabs’ support against the Turks and the Germans. The significance
of these alliances became apparent at the following opposition.
The 1931 Opposition
In 1931, at the next Saturn-Pluto opposition, Jewish Zionists were angered by England’s
loyalty to Palestine, which was created along with Iraq, Iran and Turkey as a fulfillment
of England’s promise to the Arabs for their support in World War I. This
was also the year
of Hitler’s rise to power as the Nazi Party emerged in German national elections.
In 1933, Hitler assumed the role of Chancellor of Germany.
In 1931, on the Indian subcontinent, Mahatma Gandhi led a march to sea to make the
symbolic gesture of manufacturing salt, which had been outlawed by the British as part
of their exercise of political control. Stalin had gained control of the Soviet Union
and the Japanese expansion began with their invasion of Manchuria.
article is not considering Saturn-Pluto squares,
they are also active in the cycle. Saturn and Pluto were in a square aspect on March 25,
1940. Only 6 months prior to the square, England and France declared war on Germany.
Then, in the spring of 1940, Germany took France and soon thereafter
started bombing England.
The 1947 Conjunction
The Saturn-Pluto conjunction of August 10, 1947 corresponded with
significant events on the world
August 15, within 5 days of the exact conjunction, India and Pakistan were divided
and granted independence by Britain. Over 400,000 people were slaughtered during the
ensuring mass migrations of Hindus and Moslems into the newly created religious states.
In 1946, the first session of the United Nations was held. Then, in 1947,
on the Middle-Eastern front, martial law was declared in Jewish areas of Palestine
because of their attacks on the British, who were still helping the Palestinians maintain
their homeland. The British withdrew from Palestine. The United Nations adapted a plan to split
Palestine into an Arab and Jewish state. Israel was established the following year and Palestine
disappeared from the map.
It was also in these post-World War II years that the boundaries of the Cold War became
immovable as the Communists and Capitalists squared off. The Iron Curtain
was drawn. Mao Tse Tung was reshaping the Chinese political landscape with
Communism. And, on August 29, 1947, the United States announced it had achieved plutonium fission suitable
for nuclear power.
At the Saturn-Pluto opposition of 1965, we had the explosion of American troops in Vietnam
as the Cold War heated up. Vietnam was an East-West clash, here ostensibly between the “Free World” and “Communism.”
Back in the United States, an anti-war movement was building and Martin
Luther King was at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement. Continuing
Mid-East theme, that region was a tinderbox and led to war by 1967.
The Saturn-Pluto conjunction of 1982 didn’t produce events as powerful as the previous 20th century
conjunctions of 1914 and 1947, but there were significant developments all
over the globe. Israel was
again at war, this time invading Lebanon. The Soviet-Afghan War was in full swing. England
declared war on Argentina over an old colonial dispute involving the Falkland Islands. And
the following year, the U.S. invaded Granada and the Soviets shot down a Korean airliner
in a border dispute. There was quite a bit of global tension around territorial issues.
One other oddity of the 1982 conjunction demonstrates how the planetary
cycles are symbolically manifested. At the previous conjunction in 1947, Gandhi’s political
and social movement resulted in India’s freedom. At this conjunction in
1982, the movie “Gandhi”
was released and his story and the story of India's freedom became
refreshed in our awareness.
The Current Saturn-Pluto Opposition
This brings us up to date. The current Saturn-Pluto opposition was exact back on
August 5, 2001 and, because of retrograde motion, will repeat the alignment again on
November 1, 2001 and May 25, 2002. Will the next months bring events of even greater
magnitude than the 9/11 attacks and the current war being waged upon the Taliban? Will the
current acts of anthrax terrorism subside or are we on the front edge of a larger geopolitical
storm? Obviously, time will tell, but astrology certainly helps us see these events in
a larger perspective.
Saturn represents the status quo and the structure and stability of national states.
Symbolically, Saturn is being opposed by Pluto, which represents inevitable change…change
even to those things which apparently do not change. We are experiencing a repetitive cycle
of history. Those things that do not change are meeting in a head on collision, an
evolutionary tide which changes everything in its path.
In the next article of this series, we will explore at some key dates for the Roman Empire and
look at a millennium of European and Arabian expansion and contraction.