Saturn and Neptune: The 2006/7 Opposition

Saturn, the planet of reality, and Neptune, the planet of unreality, will form an opposition aspect in 2006-7 when Saturn in Leo opposes Neptune in Aquarius. The coming together by conjunction and opposition of these two planets, that seemingly have little or nothing in common, mark times in history during which some very interesting social and political movements have occurred.

Saturn, the lord of limits, boundaries and responsibility is the foundation of societal structure. It gives us messages like “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” or “what goes around comes around.” Saturn deals in the world of material reality. It is the great rule-maker, the cosmic scorekeeper that demands payback for that which may have come too easily. With Saturn, individuals and nations reap what they have sown. Neptune, on the other hand, seeks to dissolve all boundaries and structure. It is the planet of illusion that knows no limitations. Neptune abides in the world of the spirit where that which is invisible is more real than that which can be seen and touched. Neptune is about faith and belief, about sacrifice and martyrdom. Neptune sounds the message that “we are the world” and that “love is all we need.” It beckons us to dream the impossible dream and lures us with visions of an ideal, utopian society.

The Saturn/Neptune Cycle

Saturn travels around the zodiac in about 29.42 years while it takes Neptune 163.74 years to move through all 12 signs. Saturn joins Neptune in a conjunction aspect about every 36 years with the opposition aspect happening about halfway through the cycle. Here is a listing of the Saturn and Neptune conjunction and opposition dates for the years 1846-2010:

Sat Cnj  Nep    Apr 3 1846      27°Aq18′ D     27°Aq18′ D

Sat Cnj  Nep    Sep 4 1846      26°Aq19′ R     26°Aq19′ R

Sat Cnj Nep    Dec 11 1846    25°Aq42′ D     25°Aq42′ D

Sat Opp Nep   Nov 5 1862     01°Li26′ D      01°Ar26′ R

Sat Opp Nep   Mar 11 1863    03°Li03′ R       03°Ar03′ D

Sat Opp Nep   Sep 4 1863      05°Li18′ D      05°Ar18′ R

Sat Cnj Nep    May 12 1882   16°Ta28′ D      16°Ta28′ D

Sat Opp Nep   Feb 16 1899    22°Sg02′ D      22°Ge02′ R

Sat Opp Nep   May 2 1899     22°Sg57′ R      22°Ge57′ D

Sat Opp Nep   Dec 14 1899    25°Sg41′ D      25°Ge41′ R

Sat Opp Nep   Aug 16 1900   28°Sg39′ R      28°Ge39′ D

Sat Opp Nep   Oct 4 1900      29°Sg15′ D      29°Ge15′ R

Sat Cnj Nep    Aug 1 1917     04°Le45′ D      04°Le45′ D

Sat Opp Nep   Mar 21 1936    14°Pi59′ D       14°Vi59′ R

Sat Opp Nep   Oct 4 1936      17°Pi26′ R       17°Vi26′ D

Sat Opp Nep   Jan 17 1937     18°Pi45′ D       18°Vi45′ R

Sat Cnj Nep    Nov 21 1952   22°Li46′ D      22°Li46′ D

Sat Cnj  Nep    May 17 1953   21°Li38′ R       21°Li38′ R

Sat Cnj  Nep    Jul 21 1953      21°Li12′ D      21°Li12′ D

Sat Opp Nep   Jun 25 1971     00°Ge51′ D     00°Sg51′ R

Sat Opp Nep   Nov 27 1971   02°Ge52′ R     02°Sg52′ D

Sat Opp Nep   Apr 19 1972    04°Ge45′ D     04°Sg45′ R

Sat Cnj  Nep    Mar 3 1989      11°Cp54′ D     11°Cp54′ D

Sat Cnj  Nep    Jun 23 1989     11°Cp14′ R     11°Cp14′ R

Sat Cnj Nep    Nov 13 1989   10°Cp21′ D     10°Cp21′ D

Sat Opp Nep   Aug 31 2006   17°Le52′ D      17°Aq52′ R

Sat Opp Nep   Feb 28 2007    20°Le14′ R      20°Aq14′ D

Sat Opp Nep   Jun 25 2007     21°Le46′ D      21°Aq46′ R

Communism and the Saturn/Neptune Aspects of the Twentieth Century

Beginning with the Russian Revolution of 1917, some of the major events in the history of communism have coincided with the Saturn/Neptune conjunctions and oppositions. It’s interesting to note that the government of Czar Nicholas II of the Romanov dynasty was toppled with Saturn and Neptune in Leo, the sign of royalty. The degree of the conjunction was exactly square to the natal Pluto placement in the chart of the Romanov dynasty (March 3, 1613 NS, 12 PM, Moscow). The revolt against the Czar occurred quite spontaneously in February 1917, when the people took to the streets to protest the tyrannical regime. There were severe food shortages and a growing dissatisfaction with Russia’s involvement in the First World War. The protests turned violent as large numbers of citizens clashed with police and soldiers. However, when the bulk of the soldiers joined the protests, the uprising turned into a full-fledged revolution leading to the abdication of the Czar to a provisional government. The provisional government proved quite ineffective and, in November 1917, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, came to power, marking the beginning of the spread of communism in the twentieth century. And, with perfect Neptunian symbolism of faith and revelation, in 1917 near Fatima in Portugal, three children claim to see the Virgin Mary. During these apparitions, the Virgin warned that Russia would spread her errors throughout the world and, as many believe, presaging the Communist Revolution that would take place later that year.

After Lenin’s death in 1924, Joseph Stalin and two others led the Communist party in Russia. However, Stalin did not achieve absolute power until the Great Purge of 1936-8, during the time of the Saturn/Neptune opposition from Pisces to Virgo. The Great Purge is the name given to the campaign to remove all dissident elements from the Communist party. One of the most notable dissidents was Leon Trotsky who, while in exile in Mexico in 1936 wrote The Revolution Betrayed, a critique of the Soviet Union under Stalinism. In this prophetic work, Trotsky argued that the Soviet state had become a degenerated workers’ state controlled by an undemocratic bureaucracy, which would eventually either be overthrown by a second socialist revolution or become a capitalist state.

After World War II, Communism spread throughout Eastern Europe. By the time of the Saturn/Neptune conjunction of 1952-3 in Libra, there was considerable backlash against communism in the United States. In 1952, the U.S. government established the National Security Agency (NSA), which is responsible for both the collection and analysis of message communications. The Executive Order creating the agency was itself classified, remaining a secret for more than a generation. McCarthyism, named for Senator Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin who led the famous Senate hearings into “un-American” activities, reached a fever pitch during this time. In 1953, Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible as an allegory for the so-called “red scare”. Though the Crucible deals with the Salem Witch Trials of the late 17th Century, it makes a powerful statement about the dangers of hysteria. Miller, himself, was sent to jail for withholding information about presumed Communists. In 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in Sing Sing prison in New York for committing espionage on behalf of the USSR, despite protests in the U.S. and abroad. Even Pope Pius XII appealed to President Eisenhower on their behalf.

Across the sea in 1953, Joseph Stalin, who had ruled the Soviet Union for almost 30 years, dies. Nikita Khrushchev was named head of the Soviet Central Committee, a major step towards becoming Premier of the Soviet Union. He will become famous for this promise made to Western diplomats, “We will bury you” and for banging his shoe at the UN where he raged against their interference in the Congo. Also in 1953, a worker uprising in East Germany is quelled by Soviet troops and the Korean War ends when the U.S., China and North and South Korea sign an armistice agreement.

In 1971-72, during the opposition aspect of Saturn in Gemini and Neptune in Sagittarius, despite the war in Vietnam, several events occurred that marked a warming up of the “cold war”. In 1972, the US and the USSR signed the SALT I treaty limiting the build up in arms. And, in 1971, the US ends its trade embargo with China and, in 1972, President Nixon makes an unprecedented eight-day visit to China and meets with Chairman Mao. And, on the diplomatic front, the two Germanies recognize each other.

But, in 1989 with Saturn and Neptune conjunct in Capricorn, the sign of government and material power, a number of crucial events occurred. The most notable of these is probably the fall of the Berlin Wall, two years after Ronald Reagan gave his famous speech at the Brandenburg Gate challenging Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union to “tear down this wall”. Mass demonstrations against the East German government led to the lifting of travel restrictions between East and West Germany and the fall of the wall was the first step to the reunification of Germany. In the Soviet Union, the first free elections for parliament go against the Communist party. It was also in 1989 that Hungary removed its border restrictions with Austria and the Solidarity party is victorious in Poland, leading to peaceful anti-communist revolutions in other Eastern European countries. This would include the “velvet revolution”, a bloodless revolution in Czechoslovakia that saw the overthrow of the government there. A bloody revolution does occur in Romania, however, and the communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu ends with his execution and that of his wife. In China, students carved “the Goddess of Democracy” and erected the statue in Tiananmen Square. Because of growing inflation and corruption in the government, the students enjoyed widespread support from workers in Beijing and other cities in China. However, the Chinese government declared martial law and forcibly ended the protests by killing and wounding hundreds of citizens, seriously damaging the reputation of China in the West.

Civil Rights and Other Social Movements

During the Saturn/Neptune opposition of 1862-3, the United States was fully engaged in the Civil War. It was at this time that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued declaring that all slaves in the states that had seceded from the union were now free. Of course, the Federal government could not enforce this policy in those seceded states making the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation largely symbolic. However, it still represented a major step toward the ultimate abolition of slavery in the United States. It’s interesting to note that the Cotton Gin, invented in 1793 during another Saturn/Neptune opposition, is believed to have allowed the slavery system in the U.S. to become more sustainable. In 1936, during yet another Saturn/Neptune opposition, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind was published. Historians regard the book as having a strong ideological commitment to the cause of the Confederacy yet the book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. In 1971, during yet another opposition of Saturn and Neptune, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously that forced busing of students may be ordered to achieve racial desegregation. The Attica Prison riots also occurred in 1971 bringing public attention to prison conditions and how American prison systems operated in regards to race issues, as many of the prison guards were seen as bigots. Saturn/Neptune conjunction or opposition years also marked milestone events in politics for African-Americans. In 1937, William Henry Hastie became the first African-American appointed to a Federal judgeship. And, in 1972, Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress, declares her candidacy for the U.S. Presidency. Also in 1972, the first Rainbow Gathering takes place in Colorado on the fourth of July. In 1989, Douglas Wilder wins the gubernatorial race in Virginia becoming the first elected African American governor and, in New York City, David Dinkins is elected the first African American mayor of that city.

In 1863, The International Red Cross is established and the group received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1917 in recognition of its work in World War I. The Geneva Convention, which sets standards for international law for humanitarian concerns, especially during the conduct of war, was first signed in October 1863. And, in1882 at the time of a Saturn/Neptune conjunction, the U.S. ratified the First Geneva Convention, because of the efforts of Clara Barton. In a similar vein, in 1952, Sister Theresa becomes Mother Theresa and begins her charity work in Calcutta.

1882 was the year that Labor Day was first celebrated in the United States as a day to commemorate the worker movement. In 1936, the newly formed United Auto Workers union staged sit-down strikes against General Motors plants in Atlanta, Georgia and Flint, Michigan. This powerful union set the standard for other unions in terms of fighting for fair wages and benefits for workers. However, in the early 1970’s (during another Saturn/Neptune opposition), as a result of auto imports from outside the U.S., the UAW found itself in the position of having to give back many of the benefits it had fought so hard to win for its workers. 1989’s Roger & Me, a film directed and narrated by Michael Moore, chronicles the negative impact of General Motors summary action of closing several auto plants in Flint, Michigan, costing 40,000 people their jobs and economically devastating that city.

Neptune is also associated with drugs and alcohol and it is interesting that many events surrounding addictive behaviors began during Saturn/Neptune aspects. In 1935, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith met for the first time in Akron, Ohio and thus began the movement known as Alcoholics Anonymous. During 1936-37, their work gains momentum and meetings begin to spring up around the country. Also, in 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act is signed, killing the US hemp industry just as it was about to benefit from new technology that would make it competitive with cotton and wood pulp. In 1953, Narcotics Anonymous holds its first meeting in California. And, in 1971, the U.S. bans cigarette advertising on television.

Money and the Economy

The Saturn/Neptune conjunctions and opposition also seem to correlate to major events in the financial world. For instance, the Buttonwood Agreement, an agreement signed by 24 stockbrokers in 1792 during a Saturn/Neptune opposition, started the New York Stock & Exchange Board (now called the NYSE). And, in 1971, during another Saturn/Neptune opposition, the NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations) began as the world’s first electronic stock market. In 1998, during a Saturn/Neptune square, a federal judge approved a $1.03 billion settlement against dozens of brokerage houses that were accused by investors of participating in a price fixing scheme on the NASDAQ.

Back in 1863, during a Saturn/Neptune opposition the Untied States Office of the Comptroller of the Currency was established to ensure the safety of the banking system and ensure fair and equal access to financial services to all Americans. In 1900, the Gold Standard Act was passed, establishing gold as the only standard for redeeming paper money and stopping bimetallism, which had allowed silver in exchange for gold. In that year, William Jennings Bryan was defeated in his Presidential bid by William McKinley. He ran on a platform of populism and was famous for chastising the Eastern monied classes for supporting the gold standard at the expense farmers and the working class. However, the last gasp of the 19th century gold standard came in 1937, the year of a Saturn/Neptune opposition when the attempt to balance the U.S. budget lead to the “Roosevelt Recession.” Even the most ardent gold advocates conceded that until it was possible to balance the budget, a gold standard would be impossible. In 1971, the U.S. dollar floods the currency markets and threatens European currencies, especially the Deutchmark. Several major European central banks halt currency trading. Later that year, President Nixon announced that the U.S. would no longer convert dollars to gold at a fixed value, effectively ending the Bretton Woods Gold Standard. And, in 1971, the U.S. dollar is devalued for only the second time in its history. Finally, in 1999, during a Saturn/Neptune square, the Euro was introduced in a non-physical form (the height of Neptunian symbolism) such as travelers’ checks, electronic transfers, etc. This single currency system increases the ease of trade between EU members and decreases the differences in prices helping to foster competition.

Science, Technology and Pop Culture

Both Urbain LeVerrier and John Couch Adams independently discovered Neptune itself in 1846 at the time of a Saturn/Neptune conjunction in Aquarius. But, befitting Neptune’s symbolism of deception, evidence later revealed that Adams did little more than some interesting mathematical calculations and that credit should go to LeVerrier alone for both predicting the planet’s placement and convincing astronomers to search for it. Important medical breakthroughs have occurred with the Saturn/Neptune cycle. In 1882, Robert Koch isolates the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis and in 1899, the Bayer Co. registers aspirin as a trademark. In 1952, the first open heart surgery is performed and, in 1953, the first mechanical heart and blood purifier is used for 29 minutes during a surgery. Also in 1953, Jonas Salk announces the polio vaccine and Francis Crick and James D. Watson publish on the molecular structure of nucleic acids, describing the double helix structure of DNA.

Technology for the masses seems to be a theme of the Saturn/Neptune cycle. In 1846, Elias Howe patented the sewing machine, allowing clothing to be mass produced and Adolph Saxe invents the saxophone. In 1900, New York City Mayor Van Wyck breaks ground for a new underground (Saturn) and underwater (Neptune) “Rapid Transit Railroad” that would link Manhattan and Brooklyn. This marks the beginnings of an extensive subway system that links the five Boroughs, which were consolidated into New York City a year earlier also during the Saturn/Neptune opposition. 1900 is also the year Kodak introduced the Brownie camera, an easy-to-operate, affordable camera that will make photographers out of ordinary citizens. In 1917, the first commercial jazz recordings are released by the Original Dixieland Jazz band, making good use of that saxophone discovered under that earlier conjunction of Saturn and Neptune. Jazz is the people’s music and spreads like wildfire. And, it’s interesting to note that the careers of Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole and Elvis Presley all began under Saturn/Neptune conjunctions or oppositions. Once the largest dam in the world, the Hoover Dam, completed in 1936, is located on the borders of Nevada and Arizona and is a principal source of flood control, irrigation and electrical power in the Southwest. It paved the way for the growth of the Southwest into a major population center. In 1953, the UNIVAC 1103 is the first commercial computer to use random access memory, paving the way for RAM junkies throughout the world. In 1971, the UNIX programmer’s manual is published, Intel releases the world’s first micorporcessor, the 4004 and a man named Ray Tomlinson sends the first email. In 1989, both Sega Genesis and Nintendo’s Game Boy are introduced, changing the Christmas wish lists of children of all ages forever. In that year, the first of 24 satellites of the Global Position System (GPS) is placed into orbit. And, in 1989, the Toronto Skydome, an architectural masterpiece of structure, form and vision, opened just as Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams was hitting the movie theatres. Indeed, if you build it, they will come.

Saturn/Neptune and the Environment

There have been a number of deadly tornadoes, hurricanes and floods as well as record cold weather that have occurred with the Saturn/Neptune aspects. But, the one really worth mentioning is the Great Smog of 1952, which caused over 4,000 fatalities in Great Britain over four days in December 1952. Another 8,000 deaths through March of 1953 are also attributed to the effects of the smog. Laced with sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides

and soot caused by a combination of the introduction of diesel transportation and the burning of coal during record cold weather, a dense smoke-filled fog enveloped the city of London. The event resulted in the coining of the word smog and with being an important force in the environmental movement.

In 1972, The Club of Rome raised considerable public attention with its report The Limits to Growth, which is the best selling environment book in world history. The report predicted that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of the limited availability of natural resources, particularly oil. According to its website, The Club of Rome is composed of “scientists, economists, businessmen, international high civil servants, heads of state and former heads of state from all five continents who are convinced that the future of humankind is not determined once and for all and that each human being can contribute to the improvement of our societies.” This mission statement of the Club of Rome speaks eloquently of government structures (Saturn) taking responsibility (Saturn) for working (Saturn) towards the common good (Neptune).

In 1989, Union Carbide agreed to pay $470 million to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal Disaster. However, the company never did admit responsibility for the negligence that caused the disaster. Also in 1989, the European Community nations agree to a ban on all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the end of the 20th century. And, in that same year in Alaska, the Exxon Valdez tanker runs aground and spills about 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound. The repercussions of the spill on the fishing industry and its impact on wildlife were considerable and the effects still linger long after 1989. In fact, a 2001 study indicated that about 20 acres of shoreline are still contaminated with oil.

What to Expect in 2006-7

So, what does all this mean for 2006-7. It’s safe to say that there will be political developments in the countries that formed during the 1989-91 fall of the Soviet Union. A number of these countries have Pluto in the range of 15-20 degrees of Scorpio and the Saturn/Neptune opposition in Leo/Aquarius will make a T-square with that Pluto placement. Some of the charts touched in this way are of the countries of Romania, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Armenia, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgysztan, and Russia itself. There may be some attempts by Russia to regain some of the territory formerly held by the Soviet Union. Or, several of the smaller countries may join together in some economic or political fashion. North Korea and Communist China both have their Plutos in Leo, near where the Saturn/Neptune opposition will form. Reunification of the Koreas may very well take place and it is likely that China will continue to move away from communism towards capitalism. National security is likely to remain a major concern in the U.S. and the details of the activities of the National Security Agency (NSA) may become a focus. Currently, we know little about this agency except that its electric bill nears $21 million annually and, in a partnership with Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, the NSA operates the ECHELON system, which monitors a good deal of the telephone, fax and data traffic of the world.

In the U.S., the debate about “moral values” continues to be an issue in the mid-term congressional elections. There may be considerable backlash from the populace against the policies of social conservatism and it may even be great enough to overtake the Republican majority in the Congress. The price of goods and services essential for life, such as food and oil, will increase while the price of luxury items like plasma TVs will fall. Look for a rise in small groups of “like-minded” people who will advocate personal responsibility for their health, their lifestyle and the environment. The “simple living” movement, alternative health cooperatives, group living and fair traded goods and services are all concepts that are likely to take hold at this time. The Social Security system will likely be a major focus and the economic implications of privatization become a major issue. The debate between individual accountability vs. governmental responsibility becomes quite vocal. It’s even possible that the Euro overtakes the U.S. dollar as the currency standard for OPEC oil transactions, causing the American economy to decline rapidly.

As the world moves closer to a global economy and grows even smaller through science and technology, we explore as never before the interrelatedness and interdependence of all nations. In the end, this examination moves us nearer to the highest expression of Neptunian symbolism, to the understanding that we are all one. And, who knows, we may even come to expand that vision beyond planet earth.