Saturn conjunct Pluto is exact on January 12th, 16.59 GMT at 22 degrees 46′ Capricorn.
In the tarot, using the astrological attributions based on the Order of the Golden Dawn system – Saturn correlates with The World card and Pluto with Judgement. Which simplistically sums up the influence – the world we live in, the structures and rules that define material reality and our earthly existence are under review, being evaluated. We are at the end of an era and a new phase, a complete change and metamorphosis beckons.
Circumstances and the state of affairs are being tested, challenged, an assessment of their value is occurring, giving rise to power struggles and resistance. An awakening is underway, as details, additional considerations and unthought of scenarios emerge, developing realisations that can’t be set aside. Ultimately on a global level, verdicts are being reached and mandates that alter the future landscape for good or ill are in the process of being put in place.
Global events ripple outwards leaving an imprint on individual lives at variable levels – could be a faint outline, hardly noticeable or make a deep indentation. On a personal level, the Saturn-Pluto conjunction will perhaps only be fully discernible and significant if you have natal planets or angles being influenced, especially anything between approx 20-26 degrees Capricorn (conjunction), Cancer (opposition), Aries or Libra (square) – and by now, it is likely possibly becoming evident what personal message or mission the influence is delivering.
Certainly on a worldly level the energy and influence of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction has been clearly present, escalating and intensifying as the exact conjunction approaches. A brief glance at the news of 2019/20 sees here in the UK Brexit is going ahead, in the US Donald Trump has been impeached and ordered the killing of a top Iranian general, climate change protests, the Australian fires, the Hong Kong protests, the Epstein scandal that connects unfavourably to Prince Andrew and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex resigning from the Royal Family.
The closest Saturn and Pluto have been until now in December was in April 2019 when they were about 3 degrees apart – but alongside this throughout 2019 Saturn and Pluto have been parallel by declination (they have been parallel since 2016), illuminating and enhancing their endeavours.
A parallel is measured by declination the distance north or south, up or down from the celestial equator, where as a conjunction by degrees longitude is measured by the distance east or west along the ecliptic. A parallel shows the alignment of planets, and is considered to have an influence similar to a conjunction. The parallel between Saturn and Pluto was exact three times in 2019 – March 10th, July 16th – a lunar eclipse at 24 degrees Capricorn also occurred on July 16th – and November 5th.
Jupiter has also been parallel to Saturn and Pluto throughout 2019.
2020 ~ Change~ As New Planetary Cycles Begin
Significantly, 2020 discerns change all over – in company with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, other influences are also shifting gears, altering the atmosphere and terrain. Along with the fact that the current Saturn-Pluto cycle (approx 33-38 years) is in the process of ending leading to the start of a new one (conjunction) in addition the Jupiter-Saturn (approx 20 years) and Jupiter-Pluto (approx 12 years) cycles are also ending and beginning afresh.
The planetary cycles of the slower moving planets and the phase they are in, determine the nuances of life, the unfolding story, this insight helps reveal the possible themes and events that may arise.
“In a sense we could say that each pair of planets, each cycle of the heavens, is responsible for spinning one thread of the tapestry of unfolding creation. But before we look at these separate threads we need first to see whether there is some way in which we can have a global view of all the planets together. For ultimately all the planets are one ‘multi-unity’ hymning one unitive symphony which only appears fragmented to our limited vision.” ~ Mundane Astrology by Baigent, Campion and Harvey, page 167
New Planetary Cycle Dates 2020
Saturn-Pluto conjunction ~ January 12th ~ 22 degrees Capricorn
Jupiter-Pluto conjunction ~ April 4th, June 30th ~ 24 degrees Capricorn ~ November 12th ~ 22 degrees Capricorn
Jupiter-Saturn conjunction ~ December 21st ~ 0 degrees Aquarius
Conspicuously the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction takes place on Winter Solstice 2020, and in Aquarius an air sign. For nearly 200 years their conjunctions have all taken place in earth signs – apart from the first shift into air with the triple conjunctions of 1980-81 in Libra. The last Jupiter-Saturn conjunction returned to earth taking place on May 31st 2000 in Taurus.
The last conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto was on December 11th 2007 in Sagittarius.
Whilst the Saturn-Pluto conjunction may, perhaps, have allowed unsettled or even fearful feelings to arise, keep in mind humanity has been on the brink of, and faced many crises before …. and we are still here, life goes on. The influence of Saturn-Pluto is now at a peak, and looking ahead the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction will certainly change things – a shift that will see solutions being sought that emphasise equality, respect for each other and the earth. Alongside the planetary cycle changes, the lunar nodes also change signs in May 2020 leaving Cancer/Capricorn for Gemini/Sagittarius.
Past Saturn-Pluto Conjunctions
One of the best ways to try and understand, get insight into the current Saturn-Pluto conjunction is to go back, look into the history and the events that occurred at previous Saturn-Pluto conjunctions, see what themes emerge.
Saturn is the God of Time and Pluto, Lord of the Underworld – when they join forces scenarios arise around the structure and control (Saturn) of Power (Pluto) – being at the peak of power, and the desire to retain it at all cost or aspiring to attain it, willing to endure struggle and hardship along the way. Fear and courage may exist side-by-side, survival is the overriding focus. At the same time, loss (Saturn) can lead to lasting (Saturn) transformation and renewal (Pluto), what lies beyond current perceptions of reality (Pluto) can also be materialised, given form (Saturn) – spiritually or literally as in what was secret, mysterious being revealed, even aliens (Roswell UFO incident 1947) and the prospect of life on other planets.
Richard Tarnas who magnificently connects history with the angular position of the planets in Cosmos and Psyche writes that –
“The successive alignments of the Saturn-Pluto cycle coincided with especially challenging historical periods marked by a pervasive quality of intense contraction; eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organised violence and oppression, all sometimes marked by lasting traumatic effects” ~ Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View by Richard Tarnas
Richard Tarnas also recommends using an orb of 15 degrees either side of an exact conjunction when looking at world events, this means the upcoming Saturn-Pluto conjunction has been in orb since January 2018 and will remain in orb until December 2021.
The previous century saw three Saturn-Pluto conjunctions – the last one was in 1982. So below is a small, and far from complete list of historical events (my love of astrology has, and continues to improve my knowledge and understanding of history – I got quite fascinatingly sidetracked exploring the history here!).
November 8th 1982 ~ Libra
- 1980-81 recession in the United Kingdom, massive unemployment, race/class tension and mistrust of the Police led to serious riots (April-July 1981) in many major cities – London, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham.
- 1981 – assassination attempts on US president Ronald Reagan (March 30th) and Pope John Paul II (May 30th) and the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat (October 6th).
- 1981-82 recession in the United States.
- AIDS – September 1982 the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used the term Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome to describe the disease for the first time.
- *The Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom April 2nd-June 14th 1982.
- The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated 2 bombs during British military ceremonies in Hyde Park and Regents Park, Central London on July 20th 1982. The IRA also detonated a bomb outside the department store Harrods, Central London on December 17th 1983.
- Michael Jackson album “Thriller” released on November 30th 1982, featuring a spectacular horror themed music video for the title track.
- The film “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” is released (U.S – June 11th 1982/U.K – December 9th 1982) and was an immediate hit, holding the title of the highest grossing film of all time until 1993.
- 1982 – The personal computer is selected as Time magazine’s man of the year (machine of the year) – the first time a non-human was selected for the award.
August 11th 1947 ~ Leo
- World War II ended just before in 1945. The United States had used nuclear weapons to end WWII, dropping bombs on 2 Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this led to a nuclear arms race developing between the US and the Soviet Union and the start of the Cold War.
- India and Pakistan become Independent nations, free from British rule on August 14th (Pakistan) and 15th (India) 1947, the partition of British India into two nations triggered riots, bloodshed and massive levels of migration. To this day the relationship between India and Pakistan is tense and fraught.
- The United Nations votes in favour of an independent Jewish State of Israel in 1947, on May 14th 1948 Israel was officially declared an independent state. It is estimated between 700-900,00 Palestinians were forced to leave their homes, violent conflict between Israel and Palestine continues to this day.
- International Monetary Fund (IMF) established December 1945.
- The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) established September 18th 1947.
- Roswell UFO incident – June/July 1947
- 1947 – Zika virus first identified in Uganda, in monkeys.
Triple Conjunction ~ October 14th – November 1st 1914 – May 19th 1915 ~ Cancer
- On June 28th 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot and killed along with his wife, leading to World War I (1914-1918). Millions died during the war, and the destruction and devastation it brought permanently altered the world economically, politically, socially and culturally.
- Suffragette campaign for women’s right to vote – In the UK the outbreak of war suspended the larger suffragette action. During the war a shortage of manpower led to women taking on many traditional male roles and jobs, ultimately leading to Parliament passing an act granting women over 30 the right to vote in February 1918. In November 1918 another act was passed that allowed women to be elected into the House of Commons.
Last Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn
The last Saturn-Pluto conjunction to take place in Capricorn was 500 years ago – Henry VIII was King of England.
January 3rd 1518
- May 1st 1517 -Evil May Day Riots in London. During this time there was an economic downturn and Londoners protested against foreigners living in London stealing their jobs and livelihood. Many foreign merchants and craftsmen were granted advantages, that allowed them to prosper. Henry VIII and the aristocracy liked the goods the foreigners provided – The Crown had ultimate authority allowing the King to exempt foreigners from rules the Londoners had to follow.
- October 31st 1517 – Martin Luther nailed a copy of his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church, sparking the Protestant Reformation. One criticism was the corrupt selling of “indulgences” by the Catholic Church to provide sinners access to heaven.
- July 1518 – Dancing Plague sweeps Strasbourg, many people die.
- August 18th 1518 – Significant escalation of the slave trade when Charles V, King of Spain, issued a charter allowing slaves to be transported directly from Africa to the Americas. The charter introduced a licence called the Asiento, sold by the Spanish authorities which allowed the supply of a given number of slaves, the money going to the King.
- 1518 – A new silver coin was first minted called the Joachimsthaler or “thalers” which were the origins of a standard coin for trade and commerce throughout Europe. When Spain conquered the Americas the coin was also used there, where the pronunciation of thaler – taler/tolar became dolar and eventually the currency – Dollar. After the United States became independent, the US Dollar was created in 1792.
- 1517 – Spanish discovery of Mexico, leading to the 1519 expedition, the Spanish-Mexican War (1519-1521) and Mexico becoming part of the Spanish Empire.
I had to take a pause here! – ponder time, life, how fleeting our individual chapter is, how life marches relentlessly on – and the correlations between 500 years ago and now. Many connections can be made – but perhaps in essence how money and material wealth is valued far more than people, how it is pursued without thought to the human suffering it contributes to or the damage to the Earth herself, along with all her inhabitants – bringing attention to the earthy, materialistic sign of Capricorn.
Capricorn, ruled by Saturn is associated with ambition, material attainment, ascending to the top of the mountain – worldly success, what is sometimes overlooked is that Capricorn is also a powerfully spiritual sign. Christmas takes place during Capricorn season and depicts the juxtaposition clearly, being a time that encompasses both the deeply spiritual and wildly materialistic.
Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, was linked by the Church to the Pagan celebrations and traditions surrounding the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice, when the Sun is re-born, occurs on the Capricorn ingress in the northern hemisphere. A momentous turning point in the Wheel of the Year denoting a return of the light, new beginnings, a renewal of life and fertility – the immortality of the Sun.
Capricorn is associated with the mountain goat, carefully and nimbly scaling the most precarious heights, but if we go back, Capricorn was the goat-fish or sea-goat. In Babylonian Mythology Capricorn was the god Ea (Sumerian Enki) who had the head and body of a goat and the tail of a fish. Ea ruled the waters beneath the earth, from which he would rise to teach wisdom to the people.
In Greek Mythology Pricus was father of the sea-goats (Capricornus ~ Wikipedia), Pricus was immortal and could manipulate time. The sea-goats had the ability to think and speak and are favoured by the gods, but Pricus’ children kept climbing out onto the land where they would lose their special abilities and become normal goats. Despite Pricus reversing time and trying everything possible to prevent them leaving the sea and Pricus alone, the only sea-goat, he cannot restrain their curiosity of the land or control their fate. Eventually deeply miserable and lonely, Pricus asks Kronos to let him die, Kronos places Pricus in the sky as Capricorn.
Earth and Water – two signs have the ability to live on earth and in water, the solstice signs where the Sun reaches his zenith or descends to his lowest – Cancer the crab and Capricorn the sea-goat.
“According to Chaldean and Platonist philosophy, Cancer was the ‘Gate of Men’ through which souls descended from heaven into human bodies, or into creation. Its opposite sign Capricorn represents the ‘Gates of the Gods’ where souls of the departed ascended back to heaven.” ~ Capricornus, the goat, Constellation of Words
Reflecting our spiritual origins (water), the place we came from and return to, and the mysterious cycle of life, death, re-birth that transports us between Earth and the spiritual realms.
In Esoteric Astrology Capricorn is associated with the The Crocodile, The Goat and The Unicorn.
“Capricorn is the sign of a mountain goat, that looks for the means of existence in the rocky and arid parts of the world, and thus relates a man with the mineral kingdom. It is also the sign of the Crocodiles, living half in the water, half on land; spiritually it is the sign of the Unicorn, who represents the “fighting and triumphant creature” of the ancient myths” ~ Esoteric Astrology by Alice Bailey
“The unicorn was adopted by the Mysteries as a symbol of the illuminated spiritual nature, the horn with which it defends itself being the flaming sword of the spiritual doctrine against which nothing can prevail” ~ The Secret Teachings of all Ages by Manly P. Hall
” .. the first half of the sign is the slave of Venus, and that with guilt involved, but a more virtuous old age is promised by the conjoined fish below” ~ Astronomica, Manilus, 1st Century AD
Capricorn is – The Devil in the tarot, which can be an intimidating card at first glance. This card symbolises many things, one is a distorted view of reality, a belief that materiality, the earthly realms are all that exist, the pleasures available potent and tempting.
But, between the devil’s horns is an inverted pentagram, – the upright pentagram is a symbol of the spiritual man, the unity and balance of all five elements, in reverse it suggests a mis-understanding of spiritual laws and man’s true spiritual nature. The outward, superficial appearance of reality, and their own fears, desires and greed, is all that keeps the two figures chained – the chains themselves are loose and can easily be removed.
SATURN CONJUNCT PLUTO NATIVES
Dylan Thomas 0 04′ Lynndie England 0 04′ Hedy Lamarr 0 13′ Anne Hathaway 0 21′ India 0 21′ Pakistan 0 21′ Davy Crockett 0 25′ Cheryl Cole 0 59’Edward Snowden 1 01′ Arnold Schwarzenegger 1 10′ Paulo Coelho 1 16′ Queen Victoria 1 22′ The C.I.A 1 30′ Nicholas Culpeper 1 50′ Virginia Roberts Giuffre 1 58′ Reeva Steenkamp 2 23′ Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall 2 26′ O. J. Simpson 3 09′ Howard Sasportas 3 11′ Alan Watts 3 21′ Stephen King 3 51′
In Capricorn ~ Edward II of England (1284) 0 48′ Tintiretto (1518) 1 30′ Archie Montbatten Windsor (2019) 2 37′ Notre-Dame de Paris fire (2019) 2 46′ Christchuch Mosque Shootings (2019) 3 54′
Saturn/Pluto – “Tenacity and toughness, endurance, capability to make record efforts of the highest possible order, ability to perform the most difficult work with extreme self-discipline, self-denial and renunciation …. A hard and unfeeling disposition …. tendency to violence …. Hard struggling for success …. the pursuit of difficult work or of painstaking and thorough research in seclusion, the process of growing spiritually and mentally.” ~COSI – The Combination of Stellar Influences by Reinhold Ebertin
The conjunction of Saturn and Pluto takes place in the third decan of Capricorn, ruled by the Sun (Mercury by triplicity) –
“A man holding a book which he opens and closes, and before him is the tail of a fish. This is a face of wealth and the accumulation of money and increase and embarking on trade and pressing on to a good end.” ~ Picatrix
“A woman chaste in body, and wise in her work, and a banker gathering his money together on the table. To govern in prudence, in covetousness of money, and in avarice.” ~ 3 Books of Occult Philosophy, Agrippa
The corresponding tarot card is the 4 of Pentacles called “Earthly Power” in Book T.
The Sun as ruler of this decan illuminates the pursuit and attainment of money, power and influence, but the possession of these rewards does not guarantee wisdom – Mercury, ruler of this decan by triplicity suggests that careful contemplation and recognition of the accompanying responsibilities is recommended, and perhaps by doing so what is lacking, or has been neglected will be noticed.
A throne or a mountain top can be lonely with just money for company, awareness can arise of vulnerability, that material power does not grant omnipotence, from here it is possible to glimpse the divine, and aspire to balance the material with the spiritual.
On a worldly level Saturn and Pluto are influencing break-ups and rearrangements – the energy can be utilised to conscientiously (Saturn) use power (Pluto) to create enduring (Saturn) transformation (Pluto), equally it can bring power struggles or resistance. On an individual level, whilst global events are mostly out of our control, we can try to be mature, sensible (Saturn) about change (Pluto) in our own lives, especially if it is was uninvited. However collectively we have power, many are already bringing attention to vital issues, and it is likely many more will join them.
Saturn and Pluto are changing and re-shaping the world around themes of Capricorn decan 3, an influence that will continue for many years, and potentially anyone in power or powerful structures/organisations who are not taking their duties seriously, and handling them with integrity are ripe for a fall.
Looking ahead the end of March sees Mars join Jupiter at 22 and Pluto at 25 Capricorn, Mars is exalted in Capricorn and we may see seeds already planted by Saturn and Pluto energised (Mars) and expanded (Jupiter), and Saturn enters Aquarius. Following on from this Jupiter and Pluto make 3 conjunctions and then at Winter Solstice Jupiter and Saturn meet up. Change is here, and will continue, and it is certainly not all doom and gloom – anyhow that’s for another article – this one is already long enough!
Images ~ The Aquatic Tarot by Andreas Schroter
Update ~ 24/01/20 – Wuhan Virus ~ When I was researching the historical events around Saturn/Pluto conjunctions I noticed a potential link with viruses – AIDS(1982), Zirka(1947) and after the 1914/5 conjunction in 1918 Spanish Flu, and the Dancing Plague(1518). The Spanish Flu however I left out of including above as it occurred 3 years (approx) after the exact conjunctions. The Spanish Flu had a massive death toll mostly between the ages of 20-40 rather than the normally expected young and elderly. But, the recent outbreak of the new and mysterious Wuhan Virus (Dec 2019/Jan 2020) leads me to think there is a strong correlation between Saturn/Pluto and new/mysterious/unusual viruses. I will do some further research and perhaps write more about this.