The Jupiter and Saturn Cycle


Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

“If you know the Saturn in your chart,
it will become Jupiter.”
–Edith Wangemann
  • July 17, 2013:  Jupiter in Cancer was in a disseminating trine to Saturn in Scorpio at 5 degrees.
  • December 12, 2013:  Jupiter retrograde in Cancer was in a disseminating trine to Saturn in Scorpio at 19 degrees.
  • May 24, 2014:   Jupiter in Cancer was in the final trine in this cycle with Saturn retrograde in Scorpio at 18º59′ degrees.
  • The last conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn was on May 28, 2000 in Taurus at 22º43′.  They reached their opposition first on May 23, 2010 at 28 degrees, with Jupiter in Pisces and Saturn retrograde in Virgo.  Then, they opposed for a second time around August 16, 2010 at 3 degrees, with Jupiter retrograde in Aries and Saturn in Libra.  Finally, Saturn and Jupiter reached their third opposition at this time on March 28, 2011 at 15 degrees, with Jupiter in Aries and Saturn retrograde in Libra.  In the calendar shift from 2011 into 2012, Jupiter stationed direct at zero degrees of Taurus while Saturn began to station retrograde at the end of Libra- however, although they got within a couple of degrees of one another they did not reach an exact opposition at this time. In 2012 Jupiter moved away from the opposition.
  • Jupiter and Saturn will enter into the last quarter square phase on August 3, 2015 at 29 degrees of Leo and Scorpio.
  • Jupiter and Saturn will again reach an exact last quarter square on March 23, 2016 at 16-17 degrees at the same time as a Lunar Eclipse in Libra.  Jupiter and Saturn will complete the final exact last quarter square aspect on May 26, 2016 at 13-14 degrees with Jupiter direct and Saturn retrograde.
  • The next Jupiter and Saturn conjunction will be on December 21, 2020 in Aquarius at 00º29′.

Jupiter and Saturn since the dawn of astrology stood at the outer rings of the known solar system, rulers of the last four signs of the zodiac, gatekeepers to the realm of Spirit. Today in modern astrology, they still stand as gatekeepers between the more personal planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars) and the transpersonal (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto), at an intersection between the archetypal asteroid realm of the dwarf planet Ceres and the centaurs like Chiron and Chariklo, and all of the other more recent celestial discoveries with far out orbits.  One of the biggest popular trends in current astrology, however, is actually traditional astrology and there are many young, gifted astrologers focused upon ancient theory involving the sacred seven more so than the modern psychological astrology that dominated the second half of the twentieth century.  No matter your astrological philosophy, however, Jupiter and Saturn are unquestioned as pre-eminent points of focus in every astrology reading in every astrological tradition.  Working in tandem together on your behalf they create the necessary structure enabling you to express the full light of your consciousness into the world around you.  As my dear friend once wrote to me regarding her Saturn, “I have actually learned to like it more and more.  If I find a purpose, an aim to shoot my arrow at (Jupiter), then I am able to persevere and have extraordinary discipline.”

In the moment in which I am writing this, mellifluous Venus has passed through a conjunction with magnanimous Jupiter in the majestic sign of Leo.  It is always a good idea to honor Venus and Jupiter, but right now is an especially auspicious time. Interesting from a traditional astrological perspective, at the same time the two benefics of Venus and Jupiter are joining, the two malefics, Mars and Saturn, are approaching a conjunction.  In fact, on the next New Moon of August 26, Mars and Saturn will have reached a conjunction that is in square to Venus in Leo.  By the time of the Libra Equinox on September 24, Jupiter in Leo will be five degrees away from a square with Saturn in Scorpio.  However, Jupiter in Leo never quite reaches its exact last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio this upcoming season, as Jupiter will station retrograde and move back within its current disseminating phase.  In fact, Jupiter and Saturn will not leave the disseminating phase and enter the last quarter square phase for good until August of next year, 2015.

The terms “benefic” for Jupiter and “malefic” for Saturn are part of the protocol for Hellenistic, Medieval, and other forms of traditional astrology, as they help guide astrologers in predicting fortunate or unfortunate events, as well as help to pinpoint the challenges and obstacles on the horizon most in need of a remedy if the client desires to be successful.  However, getting wrapped up in thinking that Jupiter is “good” and Saturn is “bad” can mislead one into both overreaching on an undeveloped plan as well as fearfully retreating from a golden opportunity (though it does make sense to pay attention to whether or not Jupiter and Saturn are afflicted or supported in the natal chart or by transit).  Just as Jupiter in the chart and by transit can correlate with generosity, good fortune, gregariousness, and gorgeous gifts, the expansive archetypal force of Jupiter can also lead into quixotic egotism, greed, and an attitude enveloped in delusions of grandeur that lacks the disciplined effort necessary to turn starry-eyed visions into matter manifested with purpose.  In comparison, just as Saturn can correlate with times of darkness, solitude, suppression, and grief, so can Saturn in the chart or by transit help one give birth to transcendent experiences through applied focus and effort, through a letting go of what is ready to be released in order to strengthen what is ready to ripen.  We are in a constant balancing act between Jupiter and Saturn, and while some time periods call for more of the synthesizing growth of Jupiter, other times require more of the methodical approach of Saturn.  Yet the more we can unify their attributes together in our being, the more we will persevere in our endeavors.

The courageous nature of both Jupiter and Saturn can be traced all the way back into the myths and astrology of Babylon, as Michael Baigent revealed in his book From the Omens of Babylon that in ancient Mesopotamia the mythic representations of both Jupiter and Saturn embodied heroic qualities that could defy any odds or challenging crisis.  Indeed it was Marduk, the Babylonian Jupiter, who saved humanity by defeating the great serpent of chaos, Tiamat.  At the crescent moon closest to the Spring Equinox every year, a new year’s celebration was held in which the people ritualized the fear of chaos overwhelming the city with the imprisonment of Marduk, as chaos was given space to express itself before Nabu, the Babylonian Mercury, rescued his father Marduk to re-establish order:

During those eleven days of rituals, both public and private, the rights of the king along with the stability and strength of the civilization itself were first called into question and then symbolically reasserted- as though disintegration were so close to the surface that only a deliberate and conscious regular revocation could hold chaos at bay.  And so, symbolically, within prescribed limits, this festival allowed the primordial chaos a chance to emerge once again, briefly; to tear aside the fabric of civilization built by order and hierarchy. It emerged to be again defeated, for another year. (Baigent, p. 141)

Similarly, Baigent also showed through his research that the Babylonian Saturn, Ninurta, was also a hero of the people who retrieved the “tablets of fate” which “conferred the power over fate upon the owner” from the clutches of Zu, a “winged dragon of storms . . . who was in league with the great sea-dwelling dragon of chaos” (Baigent, p. 128).  Well, to be more accurate, apparently Ninurta nimbly nabbed the tablets from the nest of Zu, becoming a hero who was given custody of the tablets when he returned them to the people.  Therefore, similar to how in astrology Saturn is seen as a ruler of time who confronts us with the limits of time and space, so was Ninurta seen as a ruler of fate who confronted one with their destiny.  By also showing how Ninurta was connected with law and order in a similar way to Saturn in western astrology, Baigent takes us to what in the end may be the core meaning for us on an archetypal level of Jupiter and Saturn:  how to manage the chaos of life.

While the mythic link between figures associated with Jupiter and Saturn beating back goddesses of chaos to establish order make many of us associate them with the horrific oppression that arose along with the order of hierarchical patriarchy, it is important to remember that at heart the archetypal Jupiter is a divinely creative intelligence.  Robert Bly’s book on modern masculinity, Iron John, was helpful for me in breaking down my negative feelings regarding patriarchy that impacted my self-image of my own masculinity, especially with regard to his illumination of the significance of Zeus:

There’s a general assumption now that every man in a position of power is or will soon be corrupt and oppressive.  Yet the Greeks understood and praised a positive male energy that has accepted authority.  They called it Zeus energy, which encompasses intelligence, robust health, compassionate decisiveness, good will, generous leadership.  Zeus energy is male authority accepted for the sake of the community. (Bly, p. 22)

This idea of Zeus energy being in service to the community is important when considering the meaning behind the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, as Jupiter and Saturn are the planets that are less concerned with personal matters like Mercury, Venus, and Mars, and more concerned with society, culture, beliefs, customs, and how we fit in and find our own role to play.



Dane Rudhyar in his 1958 article on the Jupiter and Neptune cycle wrote that the meaning behind Jupiter and Saturn involves how human beings interact in groups and form societies that create shared culture, language, laws, values, ideals, religions, needs, and institutions.  Rudhyar also listed memories as another manifestation of the community produced by Jupiter and Saturn, and this feeling of belonging, or nostalgia, that can come from shared memories with others is an especially poignant aspect of Jupiter and Saturn to bear in mind.  Along these lines Rudhyar connected Saturn with how people participate with embodied boundaries in the role they function through and act from in society.  The particular boundaries one develops for their role often has to do with a shared sense of consensus expectations a particular culture develops for the role, often linked to the shared memory of tradition.  For example, how one may parent a child or teach a classroom in one culture may tend in general to be dramatically different from how one parents a child or teaches a classroom in a dramatically different culture.  As a result cultural taboos can be formed to define what is outside the lines of consensus expectations for a behavior or role in society, and this is very important to realize as we are now mid-way through the transit of Saturn in Scorpio.  Since an important aspect of the Scorpio archetype is a willingness to breach taboos and break free of cultural codes of conduct, the unique cultural taboos getting in between our desires being unfulfilled and fulfilled have been in the process of being revealed to each and every one of us.

In contrast, Rudhyar wrote that Jupiter is less about the boundaries of behavior we express in our role, and more about the quality of feeling generated for us through a role that brings us a sense of being connected and belonging to a community or culture.  And yet, for Rudhyar here is the place where we can pivot into the shadow side of Jupiter that can too easily conform to cultural expectations in order to be rewarded by feelings of validation from others.  Rudhyar was interested in intergalactic evolutionary growth and being a seed of future visions, and this type of evolutionary development in one’s self is unlikely to happen if one is tied into being accepted and understood by a great many people in the populace.  Often it takes going alone, and going misunderstood by most except one’s tribe of affinity in order to do groundbreaking and dynamic work in the world.  To Rudhyar, “conforming is not taking the next evolutionary step” but rather, the new step will involve “an initial loss of balance, a fall, immediately followed by a recovery” (para. 24).  With Neptune in Pisces dissolving what is left of our past attachments to what Uranus in Aries has been shattering, we can use the transformative nature of Saturn in Scorpio to help us ultimately recover from whatever has knocked us off balance in this past year.  Jupiter spent a long time in Cancer in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn while being in square to Uranus in Aries, eventually creating a cardinal grand cross with Mars in Libra.  This was a time of dislodging making space for not just chaos but a vision of our evolutionary path forward. Today, though Jupiter is still within range of a square from Mars in Scorpio, Jupiter in the sign of Leo has the fiery nature of a pioneer who can blaze a trail forward for us, especially if we focus with the intensity of Saturn in Scorpio.

In evolutionary astrology as taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green, Jupiter as an archetype correlates with the type of belief and vision needed by an individual to nurture their development and self-realization.  Here Jupiter is the intuitive aspect of consciousness that is non-linear, image-based, and able to perceive in the starry sky at night that we are connected to something much larger than the human societies we live within.  Since the nature of our beliefs is fundamental to what we perceive and how we experience our world, and since each soul incarnates into a culture with a dominant consensus belief system, Jupiter in evolutionary astrology is a key to understanding the relationship between the vision of life we are drawn to as a result of our soul desires and needs, and the beliefs of our culture and family that surround us from birth.   Through this astrological lens, Jupiter’s epic journey through the sign of Cancer, featuring a long opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries, brought up numerous issues and events leading us to examine the beliefs we were living from and whether or not we were living from a sense of conformity to the inherited values of the family, society, friends, or associations surrounding us.  For many of us this transit sparked a critical reflection upon the core meaning of our experience and a re-formulation of the personal philosophy we live life from. While working with Saturn in Scorpio at the same time, as a result we could realize which cultural taboos restricting us were in reality not something we believed needed honoring with conformity.  Now, with Jupiter in Leo, we can take the wisdom gained from the past year of intense reflection to fuel our drive forward in pursuit of the sense of destiny we found inside our ruminations.

In the Hellenistic tradition of astrology an intrinsic concept is the Joy of the Planets, a fascinating theory that seems to be the source of many aspects of our entire western astrological framework, and in various ancient writing is ascribed to a source text by the legendary Hermes Trismegistus.  After listening to a webinar by Chris Brennan on the Joys of the Planets (I’ve posted a link to his pdf paper under references below) in which he discussed how Saturn has its Joy in the house of Bad Spirit (the 12th house) and Jupiter has its Joy in the house of Good Spirit (the 11th house), I found myself continuing to reflect upon Brennan’s observation that the houses above the horizon of the natal chart, the solar hemisphere, have to do with “the realm of the Sun, which the author of the scheme seems to have associated with the spirit (daimōn),” (Brennan, p. 26).  In contrast, this means that the houses below the horizon, the lunar hemisphere, are the “realm of the Moon, which the author of the joys associated with the concept of fortune (tuchē)” (Brennan, p. 26).  Throughout Hellenistic writing, the solar hemisphere of Spirit was associated with the soul, the mind, and the intellect, whereas the lunar hemisphere of Fortune was associated with the body, physical incarnation, and matter.  Brennan showed how this illuminates the meaning behind the 11th house, where the benefic Jupiter has its Joy and we  can experience things beneficial to our soul and mind, such as the Aristotelian connection between friendship and the affinity of souls.  In contrast, the 12th house where the malefic Saturn has its Joy took on a meaning of experiences that can cause our soul and mind to suffer.

However, keeping in mind the more heroic depiction of Saturn, many of us know that it can require passing through the darkness of difficult “12th house events” in order to cultivate our ability to transcend our past “karma” or attachments, and move us out of repetition of past patterns onto a trajectory taking us toward the zenith of our life, represented by the movement of the 12th house above the horizon into the 11th house and beyond to the Mid-heaven of our chart, just as the Sun rises above us every day of our life.  Saturn having its Joy in the 12th House is also illuminating to me from the perspective of moving counter-clockwise through the houses around the chart, beginning with the first house and ending with the 12th.  In this way Saturn rejoices in the final house of the cyle, in the place of letting go, and this concept is paramount in line with keeping our Jupiter energy focused upon dynamic growth instead of conforming growth that leads to stagnation.  A Saturn that is afraid of the limitations of its own time, that is stuck in a depressive cycle of withdrawal is going nowhere, or if it is going somewhere Jupiter is most likely taking us to a place of escapism and overindulgence in one way or another.  However, a Saturn that is open to the change of chaos, the pain that comes with loss and death that leads to the birth of the new, is a Saturn that can work with Jupiter to constantly re-structure and move with the flow of life, into the flow of Good Spirit toward our zenith.

Saturn moving through Scorpio resonates with bearing witness with brutal honesty to all of the pain and challenges swirling within and around us, as we are still within the intense series of seven squares between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, and Neptune continues to move deeper into the mystifying nature of Pisces.  Saturn in Scorpio wants us to go as deep into our core as we can, and though the loss of anything we have grown attached to can make us become fearful, anxious, or depressed, Saturn in Scorpio is also a fitting placement for solitude, grief, and shadow work if necessary.  The more we can burn off the better, and we will likewise want to utilize the inspiration and courage of Jupiter in Leo to lift ourselves out of any doldrums we have fallen into as we will want to avoid getting stuck at this time as much as possible.  And remember, going into a cave like a hermit is not necessarily being stuck, as what may be a tomb to some is a womb for others, a sacred space to birth a new sense of burgeoning being.

saturn by cristoforo de predis

Saturn by Cristoforo de Predis

It is of further importance to realize that we are in the disseminating phase of the Saturn and Jupiter cycle at this time, as Saturn is the slower moving planet and so from that perspective Jupiter has already moved past the polarity point of opposition, through the disseminating trine aspect, and now for the next year will be moving back and forth within the latter part of the disseminating phase.  The strong connection of meaning between Jupiter and Saturn and the societies we create to live within is very fitting for the disseminating phase, as during this phase we want to live out the values we have developed in this cycle in order to share our message in our community and distribute our meaning through networks of communication.  Using the metaphor of the plant cycle that Dane Rudhyar brilliantly developed for his lunation cycles, in the disseminating phase our ripened fruit is ready to eat and it is time to live our discovered life purpose and communicate our vision not only through activities like teaching, but also simply through living a conscious, intentional life.

And where was the seed of this cycle?  On May 28, 2000 the current cycle of Jupiter and Saturn began at 23 degrees of Taurus.  As a result, we are in a cycle of Jupiter and Saturn with a strong affinity with Venus, and the inner side of Venus associated with the sensual sign of Taurus.  Despite the popular view of our current culture numbing its connection to its environment through technological gadgets and other material possessions, to me the purpose of this current Taurus seed cycle is not to be in possession of the latest technology or satiating ourselves with other material comforts, but rather to go within and get in touch with our bodies, with our subconscious, with our light body, our soul body, to deeply feel and sense our own nature and our surrounding natural environment.  Of course, Taurus also has to do with survival, and indeed this has also been a major theme of this cycle as our global community has had to survive numerous wars and economic collapses.  As we continue to come to grips with widespread environmental devastation, another Taurus theme of the right use of resources has also come to the forefront.  The more we can go within, the more we will be able to sense what is surrounding us, leading in the end to a more highly tuned ability to respond to what needs help in our environment.

Previous Saturn-Jupiter conjunctions in Taurus were on August 8, 1940 at 14º27′ and on October 20, 1940 with both Jupiter and Saturn retrograde at 12º28′ of Taurus.  And before that time, there was a conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in Taurus on April 18, 1881 at 1º36′.  Among other themes, the previous decades following each of the last two times that Jupiter and Saturn started a cycle in Taurus coincided with dramatic shifts in energy resources.  In the 1880s there was a dramatic increase in electrical power and many inventions coinciding with the Industrial Age coming into full power;  in the 1940s humanity experienced the onslaught of nuclear power, including nuclear bombs and the fear from awareness that nuclear warfare could potentially obliterate humanity from the face of the earth.  Our current Jupiter-Saturn cycle rode an economic boom from the acceleration of Internet resources in the economy into greater warfare across our planet that climaxed into a global economic crisis as Jupiter and Saturn reached their opposition point in 2010.  On a wider time scale, the opposition timeframe of 2010 into 2011 of this current Jupiter and Saturn cycle revealed the devastating impact on earth’s environment since the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Taurus in 1881, as our global community realized stark facts regarding the destruction to our ecosystem wrought by the Industrial Age, and potential danger we must now take responsibility to mitigate.  Since the opposition between Jupiter and Saturn in 2010 and 2011 occurred along the Pisces-Virgo, and Aries-Libra axes, it makes sense that an ultimate understanding of what is in need of healing in our global environment would be polarized and revealed, as well as how we can form relationships with others to initiate efforts at collective reform.

The Gregorian calendar system ruling many lives today has been moving in synchronicity with the Jupiter and Saturn cycle in this past century, as the opening and close of each decade has coincided with either a Jupiter and Saturn conjunction or opposition.  For example, the years 1900, 1920, 1940, 1960, 1980, and 2000 roughly line up with the new cycle conjunction, while the years 1910, 1930, 1950, 1970, 1990, and 2010 line up with the polarity of the full phase opposition.  In this way, just as the new cycle of economic growth in the 1920s led into the economic collapse and Great Depression of the 1930s, so did the economic growth of the shift into 2000 lead into the global economic collapse of the 2010 time period.

graves joyous young pine

Joyous Young Pine by Morris Graves (1944)

One of the biggest issues on the global stage emerging during the current disseminating phase between Saturn in Scorpio and Jupiter in Leo concerns the right use of power.  James Hillman in his 1995 book Kinds of Power questioned and investigated cultural assumptions regarding power, in particular in connection with our economy that dominates world views, as to Hillman “it is the Economy where the contemporary unconscious resides and where psychological analysis is most needed” (p. 4).  As part of his deconstruction of power, he analyzed the way in which in the past century or so we have considered the word growth, which to me connects well in a similar manner to how in astrology we have come to define the growth associated with Jupiter on an archetypal level (p. 45):

  1. Increase in size (expansion or getting bigger)
  2. Evolution in form and function (differentiation or getting smarter)
  3. Progress (improvement or getting better)
  4. Conjunction of parts (synthesis, integration or wider networking)
  5. Temporal succession in stages (maturation or getting riper, wiser)
  6. Self-generation (spontaneity or becoming creative, independent)

Writing at the end of the 20th Century, Hillman saw this dominant idea regarding growth to be connected in a widely held belief in unending improvement through expansion, and that this was one of our culture’s biggest problems.  Hillman knew that continual expansion is not natural to life, for as there is a yin to every yang so there is a Fall to every Spring and a Crescent Moon to every Dark Moon.  In connection to the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, it is also worth noting that Hillman was writing this book in the waning half of their cycle, the same point we are at now.  Since the last conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in 2000, and their opposition in 2010, his thoughts on the damage caused to our planet and ourselves by the dominant idea of growth connected to economic power have become even more obvious and explicit in our surroundings.

Also applicable to the Saturn and Jupiter cycle, Hillman came up with a new list of ideas to associate with growth to correlate with the changes he saw happening at the end of the 20th Century, ideas that to me also correlate well with the meaning of the waning half of the cycle between Jupiter and Saturn, as well as anytime we unify the power of Jupiter and Saturn into concentrated effort (p. 50):

  1. Deepening 
  2. Intensification
  3. Shedding
  4. Repetition
  5. Emptying

To Hillman, deepening is a “growth of soul” that “brings ugly, twisted things out of the soil” (p. 52), an idea of staying power that is about “staying in the mess,” cleaning up the mess, and staying “planted,” with “no avoidance and no escape” (p. 50).  In comparison, intensification to Hillman is about “a devotional focus to what you are doing- an intensive concentration that seems like obsession,” like “the love brought to the art of your work and the love in which the work is done” (p. 54).  Ultimately, intensification is a different sort of efficiency, one more focused upon the greatest level of quality in every part of the process, like how poetry “intensifies by packing lots of implications and references into the small space of a word or a phrase” (p. 52).

Furthermore, Hillman’s conception of “shedding” is well-suited to the limits of time and space we are often tested with through Saturn, times of crisis carrying extraordinary challenge with the potential for profound transcendence if we can face them despite our fears.  To Hillman, “radical shedding happens in those crises that move in on the soul and cannot be easily fixed,” that come “unannounced” with “a specific and immediate cause . . . or no apparent cause at all” (p. 55).  The importance to Hillman is that “the crisis which forces shedding also forces a philosophical re-visioning, as if the crisis were demanding a discrimination between what must be held and what can be let go” (p.  57).  Interestingly, this is the exact type of language used by Dane Rudhyar to describe what happens at the opposition point of a planetary cycle as the cycle shifts into the waning phase, particularly as we reach the last quarter phase.  As we are still in the disseminating phase and not quite at the last quarter phase, this is important to keep in mind. Furthermore, since in this past year Jupiter was caught up in an opposition with Pluto, first quarter square with Uranus, and the cardinal grand square with Mars, we have already been experiencing this concept of “shedding” in relation to Jupiter this year.  Hillman’s advice is to use imagination in the process of facing the fears of “shedding” crises:  he suggests imagining as realistically as possible the consequences of catastrophe scenarios and to let go “of all security structures, comforting identities, realized achievements, forward planning.  See what remains, for only what remains can truly be relied on for growth” (p. 58).

My main aim in quoting James Hillman so much here, is that through his deconstruction of consensus conceptualization of words like power and growth, we can become more aware of how we can potentially conform and condition ourselves to outdated ideas that do not resonate with our ever changing reality.  Through actively working with the movement of Jupiter and Saturn, we can gain insight into how we can work within a collective effort to serve the changing needs of our world, in a manner artfully encapsulated by Hillman:

Our problems are inside our lives, yes; but our lives are lived inside fields of power, under the influence of others, in accord with authority, subject to tyrannies. Moreover, our lives are lived inside the fields of power that are our cities with their offices and cars, systems of work and mountains of trash. These too are powers impinging on our souls. When the wider world breaks down and is sick at heart, the individual suffers accordingly. Since he and she are not the underlying cause of their suffering, neither can they be its cure. The collective power failures in government bureaucracies, education, institutions and corporations, the ineffective transmission of power downward to the disenfranchised, oppressed and impoverished, and the sputtering generators of acrid heat below the streets of America’s cities require attention to the transformers and dynamos beyond the personal fuse box in your basement.  Attention has to be paid to the overhead power lines, those mainline ideas that are the archetypal wirings which energize our individualities. Personal recovery cannot substitute for national recovery. At best, they go hand in hand (p. 15).

Now that we are in the disseminating phase of this Jupiter and Saturn cycle that began in Taurus in 2000, it is time to glean the personal gift we each have to offer our global community and put it forth into our environment with all of our heart like the lion of Leo and the eagle of Scorpio.  It is time to express our message and to listen to the message of others:  at the next stage of this cycle Jupiter in Virgo, ruled by Mercury, and Saturn in Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, await us to provoke the philosophical debates necessary to bring about the crisis of consciousness found in the last quarter square.

Inner Eye Eagle with Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)


Baigent, Michael. (1994). From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia. Penguin Arkana.

Bly, Robert. (1990).  Iron John: a book about men.  Addison Wesley.

Brennan, Chris. (2012). The Planetary Joys and the Origins of the Significations of the Houses and Triplicities.

Hillman, James. (1995). Kinds of Power: a guide to its intelligent uses. Doubleday.

Noelle, Richard. (1999). The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1958). The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle. Horoscope Magazine.

24 thoughts on “The Jupiter and Saturn Cycle

  1. Here is an additional take on Hillman and growth. Personal Growth as Goal of Consultation
    The fantasy of ‘seeing’ differently in consultation has also to do with the notion of seeing or reimagining the fantasy of ‘growth’ differently. I will borrow generously from James Hillman here. Now this is key, most astrologers that I know are concerned with helping their clients in their efforts at personal or spiritual growth. Growth usually refers to expansion, accretion, building up, getting bigger (its better you know), increase, accumulation, etc. Typically the image of personal growth includes various elements of self-evolving, increasing happiness, expanding consciousness, improving conditions, becoming better, and incrementally moving toward maturity. It’s easy to understand why astrologers would idealize these factors.
    These are certainly productive aims but let’s imagine growth as a Persian carpet and the surface pattern has to do with improvement, making better, consciousness expansion, evolving, etc. But lifting the carpet and looking at its underside we see something quite different.
    Seeing Growth Differently
    Deepening is an element of growth that includes rooting ourselves in a situation rather than reaching for escape in self-improvement, weight loss programs, anger management, divorce, moving to a new location, or seeking a different employer. Digging yourself in, letting your roots grow down in order to get nourished by your difficulties.
    Intensification that may include condensing our awareness of our immediate surroundings to appreciate them, attending closely to how the world is presenting itself in this moment, speaking less and listening intently as a way to intensify intimacy with others.
    Shedding, the voluntary but more likely, the involuntary, stripping away of all that is unnecessary in our lives, simplifying, trimming away the excess, leaving baggage behind, the fiery purification of the Phoenix, or following Innana’s descent into the underworld. Loss, grief, illness, and other catastrophes are ways in which much gets cleared away and we discover what really matters.
    Repetition is that which includes routine and ritual, practicing, refining, kneading, polishing, and massaging the various factors in our lives. It’s not so much what we do in our lives as it is how we go about doing it.
    Lastly, emptying which can be hard to grasp, but it is not until we’ve been emptied of ideas, beliefs, and old habits, that we can be filled anew with a fresh tasting of life. In a Christian context, this is kenosis, the self-emptying of one’s own will and desire in order to be filled with Divine will. For Zen Buddhists, sunyata is the absence of an independent, substantial, or eternal self. We are miraculous distillations of emptiness.
    Philosophically, vast cosmic meaninglessness allows meaningfulness to emerge. Emptiness cries out for somethingness; the boundaries of the jar, the walls of the jug, or the shape of the bottle giving form to the void. Nature abhors a vacuum. It is the emptiness within these items that give them meaningful usefulness, just as the gaps, yearnings, hollows, longings, blanks, and depletions give our lives meaning. Think of emptiness as the silence out of which the sound emerges when the temple bell is struck or a mirror, empty in itself, yet reflecting everything.
    These Scorpionic addenda are features in a life that can be witnessed for and supported by the astrologer so the client will recognize these different weaves of growth. In considering these threads we give a more complete meaning to the term ‘growth’ by including both the fiery, airy expansiveness with the weepy condensations of water and earth.

    • Brad, the tolling of your bell is lovely, filled with depth and powerful as usual….Hope to see you in Arizona..Just the right response for esoteric embers, whose author is also so bright and on such an important track It is good to be in such deep, imaginal company. Judie

    • Thank you, Brad, for such a thoughtful response. I enjoyed reading your synthesis of Hillman in regards to facilitating growth and feel you hit his core meaning clearly. I especially liked reading your thoughts on “emptying.” To be honest, the reason I did not include a wider discussion of that concept in my post was because I wanted to get this posted, and in my impatience did not take the time to think of how to clearly fit that concept into what I was writing about. When I read Hillman, though, I did really like his description of the concept, including his thought about the space in between notes in music, and the meaning that you have elaborated upon here. Thank you so much for your comment. I like the image of emptiness as the silence from which the sound emerges.

  2. Wonderfully written, Gray. I see my exact natal last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn as the most challenging aspect of my chart. I just cannot think of expansion without contraction. I also found that Hillman’s book you quote from really illuminating and giving people like me hope to integrate both the energies represented by that aspect. Marc Edmund Jones made a reference to Jupiter in square to Saturn as “the last chance lifetime” (quoted after Liz Greene). I have got an old book by Liz Greene and Stephen Arroyo, which is compiled from the lectures given at a Jupiter/Saturn conference:
    The book’s title is misleading because only one chapter is actually devoted to Jupiter and Saturn, and it is the best one – chapter 8 written by Liz Greene. I know that C.G. Jung wrote extensively on Jupiter and Saturn in relation to great world religions. The great incarnations such as Moses, Buddha, Mohammed and Jesus were marked by particular Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions. This conjunction simply meant that a new ruler was born and life was renewed. Liz Greene quotes Yeats:
    “If Jupiter and Saturn meet,
    O what a crop of mummy wheat!”
    I love the image of mummy wheat signifying a new fertile beginning born of the death of old forms. Yeats wrote this when his son was born at the time of Saturn/Jupiter conjunction in Libra. Liz Greene explains:
    “Mummy wheat is connected with the Egyptian god Osiris, who is sometimes portrayed, during the time of his mummification before resurrection, as a dead body with shoots of wheat growing out of it. The wheat is the first sign of new life during the time when the spirit lies entombed and the cycle of death and rebirth is not yet completed.”
    And I hope you do not mind me giving you another quote by Liz Greene:
    “In one remarkable illustration which Jung includes in his book, Psychology and Alchemy, Saturn is being cooked in a big cauldron that looks a little like a cartoon of a cannibal pot. He is being boiled over a slow fire, and a white bird is rising up out of his head, which is the extraction of the spiritual essence. The fire in a way is Jupiter, because the fire in alchemy represents the heat of one’s passionate aspirations and hopes. It’s also the heat of desire and passion. This is the impatience and urgency of the puer’s vision, which can see what sort of potential that great lump of lead might eventually release.”
    There is so much alchemical wisdom in your post.

    • Thank you Monika, your thoughts and references are beautiful and stir my imagination. I love the connection of Saturn and Jupiter with Osiris. I have been meaning to re-visit my earlier writing on Osiris as an archetype and you are giving me great inspiration along these lines- I completely see what Liz Greene was writing about and it is the same idea I was trying to get across in my writing here concerning the meaning of the interplay between Saturn and Jupiter. Astrologers often separate out the meaning of Jupiter and Saturn but the poetic imagery of the mummy wheat is a symbolic reminder of the significance of keeping in mind how we participate with both of these archetypes at all times holistically. I want to get my hands on that Jupiter and Saturn book you are mentioning, it sounds like Liz Greene wrote something profound in her chapter on Jupiter and Saturn. In the 20th Century as far as rulers of popular culture go, it also reminds me how John Lennon was born at the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction in Taurus which is so fitting for him in the context of his chart. I did not realize that Carl Jung wrote so much about Jupiter and Saturn and also find that to be very intriguing. In Jeff Green’s first Pluto book he included a chart of Jesus of Nazareth with a source from Donald Jacobs showing Jupiter at 4 degrees of Pisces, Uranus at 9, Sun at 11, Saturn at 12, Venus at 21, and Moon at 29 of Pisces. So a Pisces Jupiter-Saturn conjunction is something I have seen associated with him there, not sure if Jung also thought the conjunction happened in Pisces or not.

      I feel you with having a significant Last quarter square involving Saturn, but for me it is different because I have a last quarter square between my Saturn in Cancer and Pluto in Libra. Between Jupiter and Saturn I am in the disseminating phase and have the strange bi-septile aspect between them, but it is pretty tight. It’s a 7th harmonic I am not sure if I understand yet but is one reason I sense there really is something to the 7th harmonic and septiles and not something to completely ignore like some astrologers do. I am very happy you found meaning in this post.

  3. On the subject of Saturn, quoting from your piece:

    “Along these lines Rudhyar connected Saturn with how people participate with embodied boundaries in the role they function through and act from in society. The particular boundaries one develops for their role often has to do with a shared sense of consensus expectations a particular culture develops for the role, often linked to the shared memory of tradition.”,

    and below that in the bit about its joy: “a Saturn that is open to the change of chaos”

    I personally can never think of Saturn without including mental reference to the Roman festival period of Saturnalia / Greek festival of Kronia. The Saturnalia, apart from being a drunken no holds barred no need to go to school couple of days off, included ritual reference to the importance of role reversal….whereby fools dress up as kings, slaves can order their masters around, and noblemen lose their say so. People were allowed to become “idiotic” and irresponsible. While the purpose of the Saturnalia may have simply been a clever pressure release valve….the main intent of which was to maintain the status quo, I think it can be seen more richly than that.

    Victor Turner, a “symbolic” anthropologist, one time professor at U of Chicago, was very interested in traditional cultures which had such a day,or period of days built into their annual calendar.

    I have copied and pasted a few lines (the following 4 paragraphs) from Mathieu Deflem biography of Turner as found on:

    “Rituals as Symbolic Action”….(general interest of Turner’s (Obviously (to me anyway) there is a parallel between rituals as symbols and planet as symbols))

    “Turner (1967:19) defined ritual as “prescribed formal behavior for occasions not given over to technological routine, having reference to beliefs in mystical beings and powers.”

    “Rituals are storehouses of meaningful symbols by which information is revealed and regarded as authoritative, as dealing with the crucial values of the community (Turner 1968a:2). Not only do symbols reveal crucial social and religious values; they are also (precisely because of their reference to the supernatural) transformative for human attitudes and behavior. The handling of symbols in ritual exposes their powers to act upon and change the persons involved in ritual performance.”

    “In 1955 Turner (1955:54) had already suggested that the temporal structure of rituals of rebellion, as described by Gluckman (1954), might shed light on the capacity of rituals to transfer a rebellious affect to the official social order.”

    In his book The Ritual Process, Turner talks about Structure (social), Anti-Structure, and Liminality…..that space in which we return, (and now I am translating what he said into my own language) to the immanent (represented symbolically, for instance, by The Fool in the tarot). The Saturnalia, and the ritual Turner described, the purpose of which is to turn on its head the idea that we are ONLY what is limited by social convention; the purpose of which is to recognize that social roles and persona are NOT the whole deal,seems essentially to involve play. In this play, a spirit of “Communitas” is experienced by the participants. This notion of communitas goes beyond “Community”, and into the realm of Martin Buber’s I and Thou ideas.

    It seems that buffoonery is a big part of this ritualized release from the structured and the static. And from the limitations of social position etc etc.,as suggested also by The Fool in the tarot: he is the alpha and the omega, the Nothing and the Journey of Becoming, of the Something which returns again to the Nothing.

    Apropos of this, I found Russel Brand’s commentary on Robin William’s suicide to include (as usual, incredibly perspicacious) well made musings on Light and Dark, and the ludic genius of Williams to be very touching. Victor Turner’s original interest (passed on to him by his mother), was in the theatre. Through theatre as well as poetry, and obviously, in this day and age, movies, we access the symbols which help us recognize who we are and who we might like better to be….and we also, as so many did in the week following William’s suicide, join in a common recognition of touching other selves in that liminal, no holds barred, spiritually common place….we step outside our petty roles and petty places for a moment.

    Ours is not a culture that has any of this recognition built into the social structure. Mardi Gras and Halloween excepted. I am always amazed at the difference between my children’s generation and substance abuse, and mine. I am old enough that I rode the coat tails of the 60’s, which was a culture wide expression of anti-structure. It seems like Tune in and Drop Out has lasted in its ethos, and rebellion is not integrated. 20 something year old Australians smoke and drink to reach annihilation, to just get beyond blotto….I don’t remember doing that when I was that age (and using plenty of recreational drugs). It is the excessive self-indulgent despair of Jupiter influenced flight, rather than the Structure/Anti-Structure liminal space which is in-built, I feel, to Saturn.

    I have not read enough of the astrological literature on Saturn to know if I am simply paraphrasing what is well-rehearsed in the literature….but I just thought I’d bring up that idea that inherent in notions of Saturn, if the Saturnalia is anything to go by, are notions of healthy chaos and rebellion, the purpose of which is to refresh the social order (rather than say the Uranian which is to bust it open). How exactly that ties in to what you have said in your piece, Gray, I’m not quite clever enough to say.

    • Thank you for sharing all of this, including the work of Victor Turner, who I was previously unaware of. Saturnalia is a great example on the Saturn side of things, as what I shared in Babylon was associated more with their Jupiter. I am going to revise this into a more in depth piece to possibly get published in a magazine of some sort, so I may end up dropping in a reference to Saturnalia as well. I do see the connections you are bringing up with what I wrote about, and the idea of using Saturn as part of social change rebellious energy to me links with the traditional rulership Saturn has of the sign Aquarius. To me, this is part of why Aquarius seemed like a fitting choice for modern astrologers to associate Uranus with. But I think this connection with Aquarius was already there through Saturn and that it is a different side of Saturn than the one more connected with Capricorn. The use of ritual is a perfect metaphor for the Jupiter and Saturn interplay as you have referenced here, as the Saturn use of structure and repetition leads to an intensification as well as a space for the emanations of Jupiter and associated feelings of euphoria or participation with the world soul. Or something like that. Thank you again, you have brought up some interesting further connections with Saturn and Jupiter. By the way, I lived my first 13 years outside New Orleans and so have some familiarity with Mardi Gras, though unfortunately it has become in some places more of the inebriation aspect you are referencing, whereas originally it was a purely communal traditional event.

      • Oh excellent, and interesting, Gray! I knew you’d be able to pull all that together into something relevant, thank you so much for doing so. I’d forgotten about Saturn ruling Aquarius….by the way, what do you make, in the wonderful drawing of Saturn by de Predis, of the Waterbearer on his right, and the Ram on his left? Is there an implied concept here?

          • I’m so used to seeing the goat of capricorn with that fish’s tail (an all essential reference to all sorts of interesting ideas) that I thought the Ram was a reference to Aries, and my head was doing all kinds of machinations….

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