The photos above show two ‘heavy-hitter’ planets who have traveled together in the sky for the past two years. The brighter one is Jupiter and the pinprick dot you have to look for in the pictures is Saturn. Invisible in the far reaches of the solar system nearby is Pluto.
Whether we believe they are causal or simply coincidental, the combination of these three planets – and even just the two visible ones – corresponds to periods of great change and upheaval in society.
Jupiter in mythology was the king of Gods. In the sky, it is the giant planet in our solar system that nearly became another sun. It amplifies and expands. While it’s generally considered one of the ‘lucky’ planets for that reason, sometimes we get more than we bargained for of something. Jupiter’s influence can lead to excess and over-optimism. The other planet in the duo, Saturn, known for its rings, represents the principle of contraction. It is associated with isolation and fear, as well as crystallizing what has been diffuse and bringing it into form.
When Jupiter and Saturn come together in the sky as they did on the December Solstice, 2020, they begin a 20 year cycle of the new. Their conjunction in the sky marks a period of big ideas and visions being brought into reality, first through expansion and perhaps even over-doing, then through contraction and structure. The first decade or so after their joining is generally a time of expansion and initiation. As an example, after their conjunction in the year 2000, there was fairly rapid expansion of the US economy, particularly in housing. In the second half of their cycle, Saturn provides the ‘reality checks’ to Jupiter’s ebullience. In 2008, approaching the mid-point of the Jupiter-Saturn cycle, the housing market crashed and contracted, as did other aspects of our economy. As with all events in astrology, there were other influences as well, but the Saturn-Jupiter dance laid the groundwork.
The latest conjunction, in the sign of Aquarius in December of 2020, occurred in the context of the great crisis and contraction of the Saturn – Pluto conjunction in January of that year. The new visions and projects for many of us have been on hold by ongoing current events.
But behind the obvious effects of the crisis, Saturn’s energy of contraction has dominated Jupiter’s desire to expand since December of 2019, when Jupiter entered Saturn’s ‘home’ in the sign Capricorn. They entered Saturn’s other domicile, Aquarius, at the time of their conjunction in December of 2020. Hanging out in Saturn’s house, except for a brief period last May and June, has seriously hampered many desires for freedom, growth, and even understanding a bigger picture. The two planets’ proximity in the sky has been a visual illustration all this time.
That changes now.
Jupiter ended a many-month period of retrograde (apparently backward) motion on Sunday, October 17th. As Jupiter begins its forward movement in the sky again, it finally begins to pull away from Saturn for the first time in more than a decade. And after two years in Saturn’s homes, Jupiter finally moves again into its own sign of Pisces at the end of December, staying there off an on until the end of 2022. The forces of growth, expansion, and exploring a wider world finally have the freedom to move.
You may have had a taste of this shift in late May or June, and can think back to that time to see what, if anything, might have felt like a brief escape from a cramped, limited space. (I recorded a five minute video on the subject back then). Perhaps, like me, you started something new, or expanded your world somehow. The first live episode of The Natural Wisdom Podcast was recorded on July 10th.
Now there is opportunity to see what progress we can make with our new ideas and undertakings.
Jupiter is associated, too, with faith, freedom and truth. This is not faith in something or someone else, freedom from external restraint, or truth according to others so much as that which comes from our individual abilities to choose our beliefs and act in accordance with them. Again, our capacity for faith and belief have been held back under Saturn’s cautious eye. And again, the planetary shifts of the past week encourage us to find our faith again – in ourselves and our fundamental beliefs. What we put our faith in determines our actions, and the very course of our lives. If we have been held by Saturn’s fear, perhaps now we can find a way to move forward in accordance with our greatest truth again.
Wednesday’s Full Moon in Aries may have brought to light ways in which we have been ‘going along to get along’. This time of renewed faith and greater perspective forms a foundation for standing up for ourselves, for greater wisdom, and for a bigger story that honors all of life.