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Understanding the Jupiter–Saturn Cycle

by
Greg Bogart

Each system of astrology is built around certain core principles. Vedic astrology is built on the system of planetary strengths and weaknesses, planetary yogas and dasa/bhukti periods. Medieval European and Islamic astrology emphasized essential dignities and debilities, nocturnal versus diurnal birthtimes, house lords, and planetary parts. Some modern systems of chart interpretation focus on the influence of midpoints and harmonics. And the foundation of the humanistic- transpersonal astrology pioneered by Dane Rudhyar is the understanding of cycles in human experience-the awareness that everything has a beginning, a formative period, a culmination or climactic moment, reevaluation and growth of consciousness often accompanied by the breakdown of structures; and finally a moment of expectancy in preparation for a new cycle of growth that is about to begin.


Most of us are aware of the Sun-Moon cycle, the most basic cycle of the evolving life force. We all know the importance of watching the phases of the Moon each month, and we can use this cycle to time the rhythms of our basic life activities. There is a New Moon, waxing crescent Moon (first quarter), Full Moon, waning crescent (third quarter), and the balsamic Moon at the end of the cycle. We can apply the same cyclic principles in studying other interplanetary relationships. To do so, we distinguish between cycles of planetary position-for example the Saturn cycle, Saturn's transiting relationship to its own natal position-and cycles of interplanetary relationship, defined by the cyclic interaction between any two planets (for example, the monthly interplay between the Sun and Moon). In this article, I will explore one of the most important interplanetary cycles, the cycle of Jupiter and Saturn. In ancient times the cycle of these two planets were used to predict collective events of great importance, events affections kings and kingdoms. It has a long history of usage in the astrological tradition. In the book, Mundane Astrology, Charles Harvey writes,

These two planets used to be known as the "Great Chronocrators," or rulers of the ages. Their cycle can be considered the ground base of human development which marks the interaction between the perception of ideas, potentialities, possibilities (Jupiter) and their manifestation in the concrete material world (Saturn). (1)

Jupiter and Saturn are the planetary pair that refer to the urge to find a mode of meaningful participation in social living. Alexander Ruperti called Jupiter and Saturn the planets of social destiny (2). They are concerned with the formation of our sense of social purpose and direction, our quest for concrete achievements in the world. They are the planets most concerned with vocational development, the development of our occupation and our pursuit of success. They are the planets of positive, constructive social activity. The ongoing relationship between these two planets marks major phases of our developing life's work, and the conjunction in particular is a time when we can form a new sense of social purpose or direction.


The twenty year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn defines the story of our efforts to make something of ourselves and our lives in this world. Jupiter-Saturn as a pair represent a positive, focused attitude, the attempt to define and focus our ambitions, what we seek to achieve. They signify our search for success in all of our activities. The major phases of their cycle correspond to turning points in our efforts to actualize our ambitions.


At the time of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions we start to see new directions for our ambitions. We begin to formulate new goals for social activity and achievement. If the transiting conjunction (or other major phases of the cycle) falls in a powerful place in our natal chart, we may see specific accomplishments occurring at that time. The conjunction is the beginning of a formative process that will continue to unfold over the next twenty years.

Looking Back at the Past Cycle
Before we look forward at how the recent Jupiter-Saturn conjuction in Taurus may influence us, it is helpful look back at the cycle that has recently ended. The previous Jupiter-Saturn conjunction formed between November 1980 and August 1981, in the first ten degrees of Libra. Look at your own chart and find where that conjunction fell. At the time of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction we make commitments to major projects. Because the last conjunction fell in Libra, love and relationships of all kinds (not only romantic or marital ones) were central to our new life-direction. One woman who had the conjunction in her 5th house decided to get married specifically for the purpose of having children. This was the formative commitment of the conjunction. Whatever is set in motion at the conjunction is carried forward and has continuing ramifications over the next twenty years, according to the sign and natal house the conjunction falls in, and the aspects formed to natal planets.


A woman who had Jupiter-Saturn conjunct her natal Mercury-Jupiter applied to college and decided she wanted to write an illustrated children's story. Another woman, with the conjunction in her 9th house met her spiritual teacher (9th house). My own spiritual guide, Swami Muktananda, had a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction conjunct his MC in 1961. Over the next twenty years, this man, who had spent the previous thirty years living as a monk wandering around India and meditating in a hut, suddenly became a famous teacher, a world renowned guru.

A woman with the conjunction in her 2nd house became a banker at the last conjunction. Her life became focused on creating financial stability and wealth. In contrast, a woman with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in her 12th house conjunct natal Neptune formed a commitment to a spiritual path at that time. She was also somewhat confused and up in the air about her goals in the external world.

For me, the Libra conjunction also fell in the 12th house, the realm of astrology and metaphysics, spirituality, and mysticism. For me, this was a period in which I was not drawn at all toward a conventional career or social ambitions. I was in total retreat, immersed in dreamwork, meditation, and studies of astrology, symbols, myth and religion. All of this seemed totally impractical, yet my entire being was focused inward in these ways. Then, at the time of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, life provided me with a remarkable opportunity. I formed an association with a mentor, Andres Takra, an astrologer from Venezuela, who hired me as his assistant. I actually got paid to have daily private lessons in astrology! I formed a commitment to the path of mysticism and spiritual study. I became the apprentice to an astrologer and formed a new social identity as an astrologer that has continued since 1981. My entire career has been an emanation of the work I did at that time. In addition, the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction squared my natal Mercury in the 3rd house. Mr. Takra hired me to ghost-write a book with him (3). This set in motion a period of twenty years in which I would be engaged extensively in writing. This was the inception of a cycle in which my Mercury abilities would come forth. That is when I became a writer: Jupiter-Saturn square Mercury.

At the conjunction a new commitment is formed. We start putting energy into a project. We develop certitude that this is what we are going to do with our lives, and that this is what we hope to achieve. At the opening Jupiter-Saturn square we are asked to take some decisive step toward actualizing the purpose and commitment formed at the conjunction. In the spring of 1986, Jupiter was at 10° Pisces square Saturn at 10° Sagittarius. A woman named "Brenda" had the 1981 Jupiter-Saturn conjunction conjunct her natal Venus-Neptune in Libra. She began to teach art (Libra rules art and beauty). Jupiter-Saturn were transiting her 11th house so her teaching involved not just lecturing but also facilitating group process (11th house). Then, during the square in 1986, she expanded her school and went national with her work through promotional advertising and a lecture tour. With transiting Jupiter in her 4th house, she established a new base of operations, moving to a major city and opening two new centers. (Natal Saturn was in Brenda's 9th house, so note that the whole cycle referred to her innate desire and capacity to teach.)

The opening square of any cycle is a time for decisive action to make the dream or ambition become real, to make it happen, to fulfill the purpose of the cycle, the purpose that was revealed at the conjunction. In 1986 I made the decision that to be an effective astrologer in this culture I needed psychological training and technique. Thus, I returned to school to become a psychotherapist. Transiting Saturn was in my 3rd house in Sagittarius (education), while Jupiter in Pisces passed through my 6th house-the house of vocational planning, training, and skill enhancement.

Ideally we should see some climactic outcome by the time of the Jupiter-Saturn opposition. The opposition phase of the last Jupiter-Saturn cycle lasted a long time, from 1989­1991 (Sept­Nov 1989, 7­11° Cancer/ Capricorn; July 1990, 23°Cancer/Capricorn; and March­May 1991, 4­7° Leo/Aquarius). A woman who had Jupiter conjunct her MC and Saturn at her IC received a large donation from a millionaire philanthropist, which enabled her to expand her business. A man with Saturn conjunct MC and Jupiter conjunct IC in 1989 entered a period of noteable accomplishment in his legal career, arguing two cases before the State Supreme Court. Another man, with Jupiter conjunct MC and Saturn conjunct IC, found a publisher for his novel after years of work to complete it.

At the opposition Brenda wrote a series of instructional videos based on the work she started at the conjunction and expanded at the opening square. It described her complete philosophy of art, education, and creativity. It was the culmination of years of work.

The third quarter square of Jupiter-Saturn occurred in February 1995 at 13° Sag/Pisces and in November 1995, at 19° Sag/Pisces. The closing square of any cycle is a time of reorientation of attitude and commitment. There is often the beginning of a breakdown of form, because your attitude is changing. Brenda, the woman mentioned earlier, lost interest in her business at the closing square and thought about selling the company. The closing square is the beginning of a breakdown of our commitments to the project that has defined that cycle. It is the beginning of the end of that cycle.

One woman told me that at the closing square she was burdened by a sense of a failure, feeling that he had not achieved the goals she set for herself at the conjunction. I reminded her of a key astrological concept: that there is always another cycle, another opportunity, another chance to fulfill the unfinished evolutionary business of the past (4). The upcoming Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in the spring of 2000 was, for all of us, the beginning of an entirely new cycle, an opportunity to define new aspirations and goals, and to choose where we're going to focus our energies for constructive activity during the next twenty years.

The Conjunction in Taurus

The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in May­June 2000 was at 23­24° Taurus. Look at your chart and find where these degrees fall in your chart, the house placement of the conjunction and any aspects formed. This is where your life has started going, where your life is heading, where you need to focus your energies. This is an area where ideally personal commitments have been made, and where you are striving for tangible achievement of your life goals, the goal of the Jupiter-Saturn.

In the study of astrology we learn to use the formative power of the will in alignment with planetary symbolism, for the purpose of evolving and unfolding all of our potentials (5). Thus, the conjunction means what we make it mean. It is not a question of "What is going to happen to me at this time?" but rather, "What am I going to make of this transit? How do I choose to invent the meaning of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction?" That moment has lasting impact on us all. For example, a woman who wanted to buy a house was going to have the conjunction in her 4th house. She lined up her loan from a bank, months ahead of time. She got ready for the conjunction, and by the time it occurred she was ready to proceed, she found the right place, and she purchased (Taurus) home and property (4th house). A new cycle of life began for her.

For all of us, the recent Jupiter-Saturn in Taurus has made financial stability a major issue. The conjunction initiated a time of active striving to earn more money, a time of greater focus on financial commitments and generating wealth. Jupiter and Saturn conjunct in Taurus means taking charge of our financial destiny. Taurus is the sign of the ox, a beast of burden. Pulling a cart like an ox requires strength, determination, persistence. We place greater emphasis on working hard and saving money.

The conjunction in Taurus reminds us that, to counterbalance the electric but airy, disembodied quality of the growing electronic culture (Uranus in Aquarius), we also need to connect to nature, the earth. Connect to the consciousness of the cow. Feel your roundness and solidity, the strength of your legs beneath you, connected through your feet to the earth below. Chew your life experience slowly and thoroughly. Cut through neurotic speed. Be at ease. Log off the internet and hug a tree. Feel your connection to the plant kingdom. Taurus symbolizes the physical world, the biosphere. Thus, the conjunction asks us to value nature and confront how we've trashed our precious natural resources. Ecological awareness and preservation of the environment become central priorities. Atmospheric degradation and pollution of the biosphere require that we learn new ways to meet our basic survival needs. Taurus corresponds to the level of agrarian societies, learning the arts of cultivation, so this recent conjunction has asked us to learn to cultivate crops and products of concrete value and intrinsic worth, crafted with artistry.

Our attitudes toward money change, becoming more realistic, more resourceful. This may mean a determination to earn more money. Or it could mean a recognition of the things in life we value besides money, such as time, nature, music, love and friendship. For me, these are the true wealth of my life, the sources of joy; and I find that as I put my energy into these areas of my life, I always have enough money. You may wish to try this for yourself.

 

The Conjunction Through the Houses

Now, let us consider the general meaning of the conjunction in the twelve houses of the birth chart. These descriptions of general themes are intended to be suggestive, not exhaustive, and of course will be modified by the aspects the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction makes to our natal planets.

House I: Commitment to the project of creating a more stable, viable social identity. New professional demeanor, focus on professional advancement. Greater professionalism in appearance and attitude. New spirit of discipline and seriousness of purpose. Stronger intention to become successful and to gain substance and wealth over time. Decisions to assume a more responsible or adult role in the world, such as that of parent (especially if natal Moon or Saturn are placed in the 1st house).

House II: Commitment to the project of earning money. Setting financial goals. Starting to earn more money. Becoming more focused on getting tangible rewards for one's efforts. Beginning to meet the material problems of existence more effectively. Significant purchases.

House III: Commitment to the project of learning. Practical focus to learning or education. Acquiring knowledge that will be of practical value and will help in earning more money. Getting schooling that will directly lead to a good job. Reading financial news, following markets. Learning basic money skills, such as accounting, bookkeeping, money management; reading financial news and trends.

House IV: Commitment to the projects of home and family. Focus on home or property value. Possible purchase of land or home, or expenditures for home/property improvements. Earning money to support family development. Major events affecting family. Opening a place of business.

House V: Commitment to the project of having or raising children. Expenditure on children. Planning for child's education. Milestones in child's social/professional advancement. Greater seriousness about creativity, and investment in creative projects. Seeking profit through speculation or gambling.

House VI: Commitment to the projects of health and self-betterment. Getting better health care or insurance. Seeking or finding a better paying job. Expenditure for health care or health products. Greater commitment to self-improvement, skill enhancement, job training, health program, or spiritual practice. More investment in vocational/occupational role, job responsibilities. Greater responsibility for management of workers, employees.

House VII: Commitment to the project of meaningful relationships with others. Important developments in personal friendships or relationships. Decision to get married. Relationship with ambitious or successful person. Milestones in partner's career choice or advancement. Business partnership forms.

House VIII: Commitment to the project of shared financial ventures. Business investments. Shared financial decisions or undertakings. Important developments, and potential growth, in marital finances. Partner begins to earn more money. Deeper interpersonal fusion, through touch, sexual union. Matters concerning inheritance, financial legacy. Receiving loans from financial institutions and increased involvement in investment strategies. Financial empowerment through deeper interpersonal commitments. New efforts to get out of debt.

House IX: Commitment to the project of cultivating wisdom through travel and study. Paying for education. Study of economic theory, physical sciences, or practical, down-to-earth subjects. Payment for teaching, publication. Professional plans require education. Expenses related to travel, schooling. Profiting from one's knowledge. International business opportunities. Growth through publishing, advertising, self-promotion.

House X: Commitment to the project of success in career. Important career developments. Professional opportunity and progress, expansion. More authority in profession. Greater responsibility, financial reward from career. Reputation grows. External recognition of self-worth.

House XI: Commitment to the project of community, group, or political involvement. Deeper involvement in a group. Organizational commitments. Increased political consciousness, activism. Fund-raising for an organization or political cause.

House XII: Commitment to the project of enlightenment, self-transcendence, consciousness expansion. Pursuing the inner journey. Discovery of the mysteries of life. New understanding of astrology and the laws of karma. Formation of goals and ambitions focused around spiritual goals and values. Assuming the social identity of a mystic, committed meditator, astrologer, monk/nun, philanthropist, or servant of humanity.

Now map out where the subsequent phases of the current Jupiter-Saturn cycle occur in your chart. Examine each phase of the cycle and envision how the cycle may unfold for you. Imagine the possibilities.

Subsequent Phases

Jupiter–Saturn conjunction, 24° Taurus, June 2000

Jupiter 11° Scorpio square Saturn 11° Leo, December 2005

Jupiter 28° Pisces opposite Saturn 28° Virgo, May 2010, just as Uranus enters Aries
Jupiter 3° Aries opposite Saturn 3° Libra, August 2010
Jupiter 15° Aries opposite Saturn 15° Libra, March 2011

Jupiter 29° Leo square Saturn 29° Scorpio, August 2015
Jupiter 17° Virgo square Saturn, 17° Sagittarius, March 2016
Jupiter stationary direct, 14° Virgo square Saturn retrograde 14° Sagittarius, May 2016

Jupiter–Saturn conjunction 1° Aquarius, December 2020.

May this Jupiter–Saturn cycle bring you new growth, new commitments, new opportunities to reach your goals, and lead you toward the fruition that you seek.

References

1. M. Baigent, N. Campion, & C. Harvey, Mundane Astrology: The Astrology of Nations and Groups. Wellingborough, UK: The Aquarian Press, 1984, p. 184.

2. A. Ruperti, Cycles of Becoming. Sebastopol, CA: CRCS Publications. 1978.

3. A. Takra, The Wisdom of Sidereal Astrology. Albuquerque, NM: Sun Books, 1983.

4. D. Rudhyar, Rhthym of Wholeness. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 1983).

5. G. Bogart, "Astrology, Meditation, and the Fearless Contemplation of Change." The Mountain Astrologer, June/July 1998.


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