Saturn is a relatively fast moving planet, compared with the three outer planets of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Saturn was the slowest moving known planet through all of history before the Enlightenment, and circles the Sun in about a third of the time as the next outer planet Uranus — Saturn takes almost 30 years. So transits of Saturn across the angles of the US chart are not nearly as impressive as those of the slower moving planets, but there is something noticeable. This is important to discuss now, since we are seeing another case of this transit, along with a slower moving transit. As two examples below indicate, when Saturn transits an angle combined with a transit of an outer planet over the same angle, the results can be especially impressive.
The first Saturn Ascendant case we will explore is the Spanish American War, when Saturn was conjunct the Ascendant of the US, and to make this more important, Pluto was on the Descendant and thus opposite Saturn at the same time, as was explored in an early entry on this blog. The Spanish America War is considered important to the development of the imperial United States because it was the first time that the US took a colony, and in fact several, outside the confines of continental North America. Not only did the US take Cuba from the Spanish, and it was a “colony” of the United States until it was overthrown by Fidel Castro in 1959, but also an even larger colony of the Philippines, which necessitated a bloody war to put down a rebellion. The American Anti-Imperialist League was founded in 1898 to oppose annexation of the Philippines. Among the prominent members were authors Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Henry James, and William Dean Howells, as well as ex-president Grover Cleveland and industrialist Andrew Carnegie.
Saturn was opposite the Ascendant of the United States in 1942 and 1943, when the US had just entered World War II, despite strong reservations about entering the war among the populace, and the war was not going in the Allies favor. The Soviet Union had been invaded by Germany the previous year, and large scale fighting was happening on the Eastern Front, with millions killed. The beginning of the Holocaust was happening, though few in America had an inkling of what was going on.
The following conjunction of Saturn to the Ascendant was in 1957 as the first earth satellite, Sputnik, was launched by the Soviets on October 4. The beep, beep, beep that the satellite put out was a sign of fear in the United States; this was the height of the Cold War, when America, which had survived the Second World War with little damage or loss of life, thought that they were far beyond the Soviets, who had much of the war fought on their territory and had lost tens of millions of people. The Americans had real fears when the Soviets were ahead of them in the “Space Race”. The fact that early American attempts at launching a satellite failed did not help the mood in the country. The thought was that the Soviets could launch nuclear-armed ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) at America with their missile technology. As a result, much like the current emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) studies, there developed after this event a push for more science and mathematics education in the US schools, which probably resulted in many computer people who made their mark on the country in the last decades.
The next opposition was in June 1972, just as the break-in at the Watergate Hotel was happening (June 17, 1972). This seemingly minor break-in, before a Presidential election, would have profound repercussions for the United States in the next couple of years. In the following years, this seemed like a traumatic event, and the nation’s peoples were rooted to their television sets (no social media at the time, since the Internet was only some three years old and not available to the public) following the preceedings of the Watergate Committee of Congress.
The next Saturn conjunct Ascendant was December 1986 as the Iran-Contra Affair was unfolding. In normal cases this incident, which involved the US government trading arms illegally to Iran in exchange for the Western hostages that were held by allies of Iran in Lebanon, would have resulted in the impeachment of President Reagan. But the “Teflon” President scraped through, arguing that he was unaware of the incident. This exposure made many Americans more doubtful about their country. Eugene Hasenfus, an American pilot, was shot down over Nicaragua on October 5, 1986, while carrying weapons to the US-supported Contras which were fighting the government of Nicaragua, thus exposing the whole scheme.
The next opposition, when Saturn was on the Descendant and Pluto was on the Ascendant, the opposite of the Spanish-American War configuration, was when the Twin Towers in New York City were taken down by airplanes, known as 9/11. This was discussed in more detail here.
The next conjunction is in this year, 2016, but there is also at the same time a transit of the outer planet Neptune square the Ascendant, and thus this is the transiting Saturn square Neptune aspect also which has been discussed at least twice before. Briefly, this aspect occurs when the people are getting tired of something that seemed like a good idea when it was started. While you can see the link for a full discussion of these events with charts, I will summarize them again. These words were written before the Brexit vote in Great Britain, but the results of that vote are entirely in keeping with the meaning of Saturn in hard aspect to Neptune. The European Union, which a majority of United Kingdom voters chose to leave, is primarily a neoliberal institution, despite the hopes of those who initially had the idea of a united Europe.
These quadrature aspects — conjunction, opposition, square — of Saturn and Neptune often happen near the end of long wars. This is especially true with our current two long running wars — in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, America is now involved in so many wars around the world, and attempting to start more wars, that as the saying goes it is difficult to keep track of them all without a scorecard. In fact, the New York Times recently noted that President Obama is the first President during whose entire eight years in office the US was at war. That fact alone says an awful lot about the times we live in.
Saturn was opposite Neptune in late 1862 and 1863 when the Civil War was being fought, the bloodiest battle on the Continental United States. Many people had doubts about the wisdom of this war. Men in the North could pay $300 for someone to take their place in the Army and many did.
The opposition of these two planets occurred again, three times, in 1899, after the Spanish American War had been stated. There was growing doubt about this war which was America’s first attempt at colonialism, as illustrated by the formation of the American Anti-Imperialist League mentioned above.
A Saturn-Neptune conjunction occurred in late 1917 just as America entered the First World War, despite President Woodrow Wilson campaigning on the pledge to keep the US out of the War. The jingoism inspired by this entry to the War changed America and the government in ways that could not have been foreseen.
There was a square of the two planets in 1944, 1945 as World War II was nearing its end, though not all realized it at the time. The battle had been long and bloody, especially for America soldiers in the war in the Pacific.
These was a conjunction of those two planets in late 1952 and 1953, as the Korean War, which appeared to be an easy victory when it started, dragged on for several years to the increasing disgust of Americans.
There was an opposition of the planets in 1971 and 1972 as there was increasing abhorrence of the long running Vietnam War, which had spread to neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia. Many protests erupted on campuses across the nation after the news about the incursions into other countries became known.
There was a square of Saturn and Neptune in 1979 and 1980, which saw the American hostages captured by Iran after the US-supported Shah had been overthrown in a popular uprising. The American hostages generated continuous headlines in the media and arguably lead to the defeat of President Carter in the election of 1980.
There was a conjunction of the two planets in 1989, discussed further here. This saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, almost on the date of the third exact conjunction, and the downfall of several other Communist regimes.
There was a square in 1998 and 1999, just as the Clinton Impeachment trial was happening. Americans were disgusted either by the tawdry details of Clinton’s affair or the Republicans hounding of a sitting President for a minor event. Meanwhile, there occurred the Battle of Seattle where crowds were protesting the World Trade Organization — another neolibereal institution — meeting in that city.
The previous oppositions of Saturn and Neptune were in 2006 and 2007, as the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, promised as quick victories, were still dragging on. But of course US troops are still fighting in both countries, plus many more, as the upcoming square happens on 11/26/2015, 6/17/2016, and 9/10/2016.
In this case, Neptune is square the Ascendant of the United states as well, and so that aspect has to also be considered, as well as the conjunction of Saturn to the Ascendant as well as the square of the two planets which will be felt around the world.
Here is a graphical ephemeris showing the behavior of Saturn and Neptune over this year. Saturn first crossed the Ascendant of the US (dashed golden line) at the black arrow, and then Saturn is square Neptune and they both cross the Ascendant at the red arrow, and on the center line, at June 15 of this year. Note that the horrific shooting at an Orlando nightclub took place on the morning of June 12. Then Saturn is again square Neptune at the green arrow, and the final crossing of Saturn over the Ascendant is at the blue arrow on approximately October 13.
While currently there are many things that looked like a good idea when started but are now seen to go badly, the most obvious, because there have been increasing signs of discontent from the populace, is Neoliberalism.
Neoliberalism started in the late Seventies and has grown since then. This graph will illustrate what has happened, so it is worth discussing in detail. In all instances, it is common for older people to complain that the world as it is now is not like the world they knew when they were young; this complaint that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket has echoed down through history: there are instances of the ancient Greeks making the same complaint. But as we shall see in the graph below, now the complaint is real: The world is more avaricious now then it was fifty years ago. This change has affected everything. See this link above for more details and what astrological formation represented this major change, and why it was such a major change.
The Gini Index is a standard measure of inequality. A Gini of 0 means total equality of income — everyone has the same income — while a Gini of 1 means total inequality, one person has everything. This graph shows the Gini in the United States and Great Britain (and Holland to some extent) over the last two hundred fifty years. Decreasing Gini show that more equality is happening while rising Gini shows that society is becoming more unequal. From the graph one can see that inequality increased to a peak in second half of the Nineteenth Century and then fell slightly. Then with the Great Depression inequality in the United States fell sharply until it bottomed out about 1950; inequality remained low through about 1975 when it began to rise and right now inequality is as high or higher than it has ever been in the United States. This has been the result of neoliberalism practiced over the last forty years. People in the working class have felt shafted for a long time, and with the Great Recession the middle class, those of that class that are left, have felt it also. But people remained compliant (see, for example, the recent book The Age of Acquiescence by Steve Fraser for details). But over the last few years we have seen a transit of Pluto opposite the Sun of the United States. The last time this happened was before birth of the US, when Britain passed various measures to get more money out of the colonies, and the stage for the Revolution was set. In that case the Sun represented the King and Great Britain. Now the Sun represents the President and government, and people are not happy with them. We’ve seen some of this played out on the political stage over the last year. Any politician who is somewhat wise (I realize that may be an oxymoron) should pay attention to these developments, because they are cresting after an incubation period of forty years. But at best politicians will blame any action against neoliberalism as the result of the deluded thinking of low-information voters.
This graphical ephemeris, for a seven and a half year period centered on January 6, 2015, shows Pluto’s transit opposite the Sun of the US chart – dark yellow dashed line. You can see that in the current times, about two grid lines to the right of the center line, Pluto again comes close to the US Sun, about two degrees from exact, but will not exactly oppose it again this cycle. Depending on the orb you use, Pluto has been opposite the US Sun for five years.
The effects of Neptune squaring the Ascendant are, well, Neptunian. There is much delusion in the public sphere; to me it seems worse than it has ever been, even in the first Cold War. The journalist profession has been greatly reduced by the rise of the Internet, but those that are left have engaged in malpractice by their propagandistic reporting. A couple of examples from the current time is the woeful failure of the news media, supporting the dominant paradigm, in their description of Presidential candidates (Trump is a fascist, Sanders is a socialist, Clinton is a progressive) and their behavior as a stenographer for the government in their covering up of the potential for war (if war has not already started), with a massing of NATO troops at the Russian border, the greatest the world has seen since World War II. It was 75 years ago that the last massing of troops on the Russian border happened — Operation Barbarossa — which resulted in over two million Soviet citizens killed within three months, and the Russians remember this, even if the West does not. The news media propaganda ignores facts such as seen in the map below. Neptune is very heavy in the cover-up.
Another more positive manifestation of Neptune is with drugs. The whole war on drugs scenario, which has been going on for a hundred years, and not forty some years as people like to claim, is rapidly being called into disrepute in states of the US and countries around the world. And once people lose their beliefs in the evils of (some) “drugs”, governments may have problems with their populace. This will cause big changes in the upcoming years, because a major lie of most countries and the United Nations has been exposed. People have yet another reason to distrust what they are told; this is not good for keeping the people in line.