Another important cycle to discuss is that of Saturn and Neptune. That combination can be looked at in two lights. Neptune is illusion and Saturn is reality, so the combination allows one to see the reality beyond the illusion. Neptune has many positive meanings when talking about a human being, but when talking about a collective, such a a nation-state, it is very hard to manifest a positive meaning. Since much of the world is governed by illusion, with Saturn connected one is able to break through the illusion and see the reality beneath. But that is not always comfortable. Illusion is much more comfortable, which is why we like to spend time with movies and television, an obvious example of illusion (and Neptune), to allows us to escape from reality. Saturn and Neptune also allows one to renunciate worldly reality; Saturn and Neptune together allowing one to avoid worldly charms.
Some example of the conjunction of these two planets will make the preceding more clear when seen in the world and not in an individual person. Richard Tarnas mentions that Saturn Neptune hard aspects often occur in the later stages of war. We will see a few examples of that below. One good phrase for Saturn Neptune is “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time”. In other worlds, the illusion that starting a war (or some other project, as in the first example) is glorious happens at the start. Often propaganda (a Neptunian institution) is used to make the populace feel that everything will be great if we just have this war. But after a few years of actual war, the reality of the situation sets in. There is death and destruction and lack of progress. What seemed like a good idea at the start now seems horrible. Those realizations often happen under hard Saturn-Neptune aspects. We will take a look at some conjunctions of those two planets.
The last conjunction of these two planets was in 1989. The notable event of that year was the fall of the Berlin Wall, which had been built a Saturn cycle before (that is, it fell as Saturn was approaching its natal position, and still 14 degrees off); many Communist countries in Eastern Europe also dissolved at the time. In fact, the fall of the Berlin Wall was just four days before the exact conjunction shown in the chart, on November 9, 1989. For the German people, November 9 marks another important anniversary of an event 45 years earlier. Kristallnacht happened on the evening of November 9, 1938. This was a wave of pogroms in German that was a foreshadowing of the Holocaust to come in the next decade. It is also called the Night of the Broken Glass since the shop windows of so many Jewish owned businesses were broken.
French astrologer Andre Barbault has written a nice mini-history of the Soviet Union on the basis of hard aspect of Saturn and Neptune. In this description, we will only touch on the conjunctions. And obviously, we have started at the end of the complete cycle, with the fall of Communism in Europe, to followed by the end of the Soviet Union two years later.
The previous conjunction of those two planets was in 1953, about one month before the Korean War ended. The Korean War started in June 1950 and was essentially won within a few months as the invading North Koreans were driven back across the border with South Korea. But General Douglas MacArthur, the leader of the “United Nations ” troops, wanted more, and he drove into the North and up to the Chinese border. MacArthur was fired by President Truman in April 1951. The Chinese then fought against “United Nation’s” troops and the war became bloodier and longer than anyone had expected. MacArthur wanted to use many nuclear weapons in the battle, and most towns and large buildings were destroyed in the North. Americans pilots complained about no targets left to destroy. Approximately 20% of the Northern population was killed. Dikes were destroyed, and rice paddies were then flooded, a war crime when committed during World War II. Many in the United States were getting unhappy with the war that was promised to be short, and when General Dwight Eisenhower ran for the President in 1952, he vowed to go to Korea to see what could be done about the War. He went to Korea on November 29, 1952 shortly after he was elected President. The war itself was ended in July 1953, though of course a peace treaty has never been signed with North Korea so technically the war has still not ended.
On March 15, 1953, about two months before that exact conjunction, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin died. He had ruled the Soviet Union since the death of Lenin in 1924. Soviet citizens had long suffered under the ruthless leadership of Stalin. He was replaced by Nikita Khrushchev, who made a secret speech to the 20th Party Congress denouncing Stalin and his crimes, and instituted a policy of destalinization, which of course angered hard liners that had served under Stalin. This policy lasted a few years until the hard-liners were able to regain some control.
There was another conjunction in 1917, a little over a year before World War I ended. This was about four months after the US entered the War. By this time there was widespread disillusionment with the war, which had started with such great hopes that it would be over quickly. At the beginning, troops believed they would be home by Christmas of 1914. In Russia, the Tsar had been overthrown, partly because of war-weariness, but still a major battle called the Kerensky offensive was started, named after the leader of the Provisional Government that had replaced the Tsar, and its failure led to the Russian army falling apart, the Bolsheviks seizing power in November, and the withdrawal of Russia from the war. This caused some in Germany to think that the war should be ended now that a major force against them had disappeared. In Germany, socialist Rosa Luxembourg led opposition to the war and was jailed because of that. British lieutenant Siegfried Sassoon protested the war as being prolonged on purpose by those who could end it; many in combatant countries felt the same way. Socialists attempted to hold a peace conference in Stockholm in July, but counties refused to issue passports for those wishing to attend. In general, many were upset that the “War To End All Wars” hadn’t ended. Again, the war started as seemingly a good idea but by the time of the Saturn-Neptune conjunction, many wanted the war to be over.
Here is chart for the start of the Mexican-American War in 1846, a war that saw the first anti-war movement in United States, with among other people a young Whig congressman by the name of Abraham Lincoln. In this chart we see the conjunction of the two planets on the US Moon, representing the people of the US. And the war was certainly controversial. The Democratic President James Polk (a Scorpio) was all for expanding the United States, and the concept of manifest destiny had just become popular. He sent troops beyond the border recognized by Mexico hoping for the response which he got. But many people, including most of the Whig party, which was the alternative to the Democrats of Andrew Jackson, opposed the War. The exact conjunction on 4/3/1846. Despite the large number of people against the war, it went on with many questionable activities from the American troops. This has been discussed in more detail in a previous post. The war finally ended in February of 1848, and resulted in the United States adding California, Nevada, Utah, and most of Arizona and New Mexico, the biggest expansion of the country since the Louisiana Purchase.
So it appears that Saturn-Neptune conjunctions are positive in the sense that people turn away from bad circumstances, such as war; the problem was finally revealed but the bad circumstances were allowed to go on for a long time.