Portions of this article were excerpted for the NCGR memberletter; the full article was translated into Spanish and published in the Argentine magazine, Medium Coeli in 2009
When Uranus as a transiting body configures one's natal Saturn, the stability, equilibrium or status of the fixtures of one's life are disturbed. This can be a good thing depending on what other combinations are in play, but more often such changes are viewed as difficult if not outright undesirable. Saturn represents the things and circumstances that are ongoing, traditional or designed to be permanent, so when such things change, wrenching emotional trauma often results.
When Saturn as a transiting body configures one's natal Uranus, one's options and freedom of action are circumscribed. This too is not necessarily a bad thing and may be construed as essential if one's attention must be directed toward a single end for an extended period; but again most people experience the transit as undesirable because Saturn is seen more often in terms of limitation than focused attention.
It has often been observed that people with Saturn and Uranus in aspect at birth tend to be progressive, but insistent and unwilling to tolerate resistance to implementation of their ideas. They seek positions that afford them the freedom of action that attends complete autonomy. Frequently, if the aspect is close, such people are reformers who overhaul an existing structure without altering its essential tradition. Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla, born May 18, 1920 at Wadowice near Krakow, Poland) has Saturn opposite Uranus only ½° from exact. He has certainly poured old wine into new bottles in respect of the need, as he perceived it, to promote the unchanging relevance of the Catholic faith to contemporary parishioners by modernizing many church functions.
So contrary in nature are these two bodies however, Saturn fundamentally inclined to eschew change and Uranus fundamentally inclined to eschew a state of rest, that when they come together as transiting bodies, the effect is sometimes like the meeting of the irresistible force and the immovable object, which effect is a conflagration.
World War II began in the summer of 1939 when the Germans attacked Poland. Saturn was square Pluto and Neptune was trine Uranus at the time. When Saturn and Uranus drew close to a conjunction in the summer of 1941 before falling away from each other, virtually all of Europe had been overrun by the Nazis as well as much of Russia and North Africa. The Japanese had swept virtually all before them in China, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. The Western Allies, including the United States, after December 7, 1941, were reeling on all sides under a withering fire from the Axis powers.
Finally in the spring of 1942 Saturn caught up with Uranus which coincided with an amazing change of fortune. Saturn was conjoined to Uranus exact to the second of arc on May 3, 1942. On May 7-8, 1942, opposing Japanese and American aircraft carrier task forces fought the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first battle entirely fought by fleets that never saw each other except through the eyes of their pilots. Each side sank one carrier and badly damaged another. The battle was tactically a draw but since the planned Japanese invasion of Port Moresby, New Guinea and ultimately Australia had to be cancelled, the Battle of the Coral Sea was a strategic victory for the Allies.
Less than four weeks later the Japanese attempted to take Midway Island, the westernmost in the Hawaiian Island chain, 1150 miles northwest of Oahu. The Japanese fleet dispatched to Midway comprised 165 warships, still the largest armada ever assembled in the Pacific. Yet this great might was compromised because the Americans, through an intelligence coup, had broken the code of the Japanese Imperial Navy and therefore knew Japanese intentions and their timetable for taking Midway Island. Accordingly, the Americans were stationed north of Midway with a small force but one which contained three aircraft carriers, Enterprise, Yorktown and Hornet crammed with almost as many airplanes as the Japanese had aboard the four carriers in their fleet. The Americans in the ensuing Battle of Midway sank all four Japanese carriers while losing Yorktown. The carriers sunk at Midway—Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu—had launched the planes that attacked Pearl Harbor, and yet they themselves went to Davy Jones's Locker, which with the strategic significance of the battle itself, underscores the intrinsic meaning of the Saturn-Uranus combination when both are transiting bodies: a stunning reversal of fortune, a turning of the tide, a change in trend so profound as to be irreversible until the issue at hand is concluded. The Battle of Midway was the decisive battle in the Pacific during World War II. The Japanese were thereafter on the defensive having lost their offensive initiative due to the destruction of five of their aircraft carriers in less than four weeks as well as the cream of their naval aviators, and the invaluable experience of the mechanics and armorers aboard those ships.
In August 1942 the immense Battle of Stalingrad began in earnest which was not concluded until the end of December 1942, when the Russians finally threw back the Germans in the East, each side having sustained colossal losses. The German offensive was blunted by enormous problems of supply, tactical errors and the implacable will of Russian infantry and armor. In October and November 1942, the British won a spectacular victory against the Germans and Italians at El Alamein, which saved the Suez Canal and ended German plans to enter the Middle East. While the Germans were not forced out of Africa until 1943, after El Alamein, their offensive capability in North Africa was limited and their ultimate departure was not in doubt. Even though millions would die after 1942, the final outcome of the war turned on the great battles fought that year after Uranus caught up to and overtook Saturn in the zodiac.
The reversals inherent in the Saturn-Uranus combination pertain to all modes of life, both personal and impersonal although the combination is easiest to make out in the large, i.e. mass trends that are so huge as to constitute the sort of inertia that drives a market. For example, just before the bull market began that has driven the world financial markets in the 1980s and '90s, Saturn and Uranus hung almost motionless in the sky in a precise semi-square during July 1982. Once the aspect was exact to the second of arc and slowly began to draw away from partile, the change was effected and the recession of 1979-82 was over. In August 1982, the bulls came charging into Wall Street because the sentiment had been turned around in the public awareness regarding the viability of being carried out of recession by the deficit spending policies of the Reagan administration. Financial types, ever vigilant for such changes, noticed it immediately.
An examination of the Saturn-Uranus relationships (in Table 1 below) in celestial longitude during the 20th century will illustrate further what is implicit in the combination.
Table 1. Saturn-Uranus aspects during the 20th Century with dates of exact contact.
From Table 1 it can be seen that there are two sets of conjunctions (0°), two sets of oppositions (180°), four sets of inconjuncts (150°), four sets of sesquiquadrates (135°), four sets of trines (120°), five sets of squares (90°), five sets of sextiles (60°), five sets of semi-squares (45°) and five sets of semi-sextiles (30°). Three conjunctions or oppositions in a 100-year period are extremely rare because the Saturn-Uranus mean synodic period is 45.363 years. The emphasis is on mean period here because the interval between the two 20th century conjunctions was 46.15 years.
Table 1 shows that there is no apparent pattern that can be applied to mass trends and world events based upon the so-called fortunate aspects of 60° and 120° nor the so-called unfortunate ones of 180°, 135°, 90° and 45°. There are three squares between Saturn and Uranus in the near future. A glance at the past squares and some of the most noteworthy periods of the century to see if they display a pattern in the world of business, for example, suggests that what really matters is the contact itself, not the supposed nature of the aspect.
There have been four severe depressions in the United States in the 20th century as measured by declines in GNP, industrial production, non-farm employment and consequent rise in unemployment: 1907-08, 1921-23, 1929-33 and 1937-38. The first one, popularly known as the "Knickerbocker Crisis" or the "Roosevelt Panic," of 1907 was characterized by a severe shortage of gold, disappearance of credit, runs on banks, collapse of stock prices (which had doubled between 1904 and 1906), and many bankruptcies. Industrial output declined by 16% in a single year and steel and cast iron production were only half the level of the previous year. Similar problems occurred at the same time in the industrialized European countries. There was no Saturn-Uranus aspect in 1907 although Saturn was closely square Pluto throughout most of the year, which was the symbolism for the 1907-08 meltdown.
One of the earliest periods of vigorous expansion in the 20th century was the recovery from the Knickerbocker Crisis during the period 1908-10 which saw stock prices return to their 1906 levels. From Table 1 it will be seen that Saturn was square Uranus during 1909-10. If there were something intrinsically negative about the square, it seems to this writer that a square between heavy bodies which hangs close between partile contacts should have some untoward effect. There was no ill effect on business while the 1909-10 Saturn-Uranus square held sway. Instead the period was invigorating and heralded a sea change from an abysmal business climate to a robust one. The need for a national bank, which Congress authorized in 1913 via the Federal Reserve Act (whose board is currently chaired by Allen Greenspan), was a direct consequence of the Knickerbocker Crisis of 1907.
In October 1918 when Saturn came to the exact opposition of Uranus, German resistance and that of their allies collapsed. In September 1918, Saturn had come to the exact semi-square with Pluto symbolic of both sides being bled white but the Germans and their allies were nearer the end of their rope than the Western Allies. On September 29, 1918 the German field commander in France, general Ludendorff, advised his government to initiate armistice negotiations because he recognized—just as the the Saturn-Uranus opposition was becoming exact—that the tide had irrevocably turned against the Germans. In the Balkans, the Italians, Serbs, French, British and Greeks broke Bulgarian-German resistance there, which produced an armistice on that front on September 30, 1918. On October 1 and 2, 1918, the British and Arabs took Damascus and Beirut (the latter with naval assistance from the French) which threw the Turkish government down a slippery slope that took the Turks out of the war with an armistice on October 30, 1918. On October 4, 1918, representatives of the German and Austrian governments attempted without success to secure an armistice based on the American president Woodrow Wilson's proposed Fourteen Points. Even though fighting did continue in October and November until the hostilities ended with the armistice of November 11, 1918, the Germans and their allies were in general retreat, their defeats were imminent or had only just been effected when the war turned on the Saturn-Uranus opposition of October 1, 1918.
Immediately following upon the end of World War I, industrial production declined precipitously in the industrialized countries, especially in the United States, which sustained a drop of 20% in the first ten months after the end of the war. Such a realignment of priorities, as peacetime commodities supplanted war materiel, is consistent with the Saturn-Uranus opposition, which obtained until the late spring of 1920. Strange to say, even though American exports in 1919 were three times greater than the figure for 1913, because war (for the winners) is more profitable than peace, and because wartime financing is highly inflationary, the immediate postwar period was initially depressed in respect of total production. It appears that Saturn-Pluto combinations are symbolic of those things inasmuch as economic downturns are far more consistently in play when Saturn and Pluto are in combination than Saturn-Uranus.* The Saturn-Pluto semi-square of 1918 and the Saturn-Pluto sextile of 1919 and 1920 coincided both with the horrors of World War I itself from a human perspective, and the immense dislocation and economic damage left in its aftermath. To that should also be added the worldwide influenza epidemic which did most of its damage in 1919. The number of flu deaths on a global scale far exceeded combat deaths (estimated at nine million total dead for all combatants combined in fifty-two months of combat) for the entire period of World War I.
The depression that began in earnest in the summer of 1921 began to show itself in the spring of 1920, when Saturn was sextile Pluto. Commodity prices had by and large doubled during World War I, but they continued to rise by more than 15% in 1919. The Federal Reserve raised the discount rate to restrict credit to deal with the inflation and the federal government slashed spending. The federal budget had been $6 billion in 1920; it was half as much two years later when Saturn was square Pluto. The stock market slumped in 1920 but more significantly, commodity prices fell by 30% and then another 26% in the first half of 1921. Farmers were particularly hard hit, as the prices of some farm commodities fell below the cost of production and many farm prices declined by more than 50% from their December 1919 highs. Again a vicious cycle of massive unemployment (particularly for the four million returning veterans), reduced wages, reduced production (in February 1922, U.S. exports were 27% of their high figure for 1919) and bankruptcies obtained until most of the deflation had run its course by the end of 1922 when Saturn moved out of orb of its square to Pluto. All the major industrialized countries were hit at approximately the same time with similar results. Fifteen per cent of the labor force was unemployed in England in 1922. Wage cuts reached 36% there in 1922 compared to the 1920 level. Similar conditions were experienced in France, Germany and Japan as excessive credit and inflation were wrung out of those countries.
After early 1923, the rest of the decade was wildly prosperous despite two mild recessions before the stock market crash of October 1929. The Dow-Jones Industrial Average had poked through the 100 point level briefly during the previous seventeen years but could never maintain that level until finally there was a sustained breakout beyond the 100 point level in 1924 which soared five years later to a high of 381 on September 3, 1929. Saturn and Uranus came to the exact square in February 1930 but they had not formed up into even a very wide, hence weak combination when the New York Stock Exchange was battered in the fall of 1929.
The combinations that were involved are only apparent in mundo, i.e., reckoned along the equator in a mundane square. Neptune and Jupiter appeared simultaneously on the inferior angles (descendant and I.C. respectively) for Wall Street in lower Manhattan on the day of the high, separated by forty eight seconds of time (1/5°). This mundane square between Neptune and Jupiter that had been building throughout the summer of 1929 was exact to the second of arc two days later. The Dow-Jones Average immediately declined after the Jupiter-Neptune paran square was beyond exact. There had been many warning signs throughout the year that markets were saturated and that the entire system was awash in a flood of credit (margin purchases) that made the market top heavy with speculators. The Federal Reserve had raised the discount rate earlier in the year to slow the overheated economy but it was too little too late. Even in the face of flagging numbers that clearly demonstrated that the economy was softening, the market continued to rise because Jupiter-Neptune represents increases built on speculation and paper shuffling rather than the slow steady growth of Jupiter-Saturn which is based on real productivity per man/hour increases, solid engineering, timely innovation and firm markets.
By the end of September 1929 the Dow-Jones closed at 343 having lost more than 10% of its September 3rd value. The market continued to slowly shed points until the storm broke on Wednesday October 23rd. The market had closed at 326 the previous day. Too many professional investors decided all at once that they were beating a dead horse, that in fact a bear market had set in and it was time to get out. Panic selling, especially during the last hour of trading, pulled all the speculators into a frenzy, which saw an unprecedented number of shares, traded that day. The Dow-Jones average sank to close at 305 on October 23rd and then 298 on Thursday the 24th. On Friday the 25th a group of bank presidents acting in concert, attempted to stem the tide by dumping one billion dollars (according to a Wall Street Journal estimate) into the market to support prices and snatch up bargains. It worked; the market closed higher on the 26th at 301 but fell again the next day in a Saturday session to 298. Absolute pandemonium took over again on Monday the 28th which saw the market drop 38 points to close at 268. Tuesday the 29th was a repeat performance. The acute carnage ended with the October 29th close: 230 points, the low for the ￼year. The market had lost almost 40% of its September 3rd value in only eight weeks. The next day many wealthy investors, in particular John D. Rockefeller, went bottom fishing to buy as much quality as possible at bargain basement prices. The market rallied to 258 on the 30th and closed the month on Halloween at 273, but after that the slide continued. At year's end the market stood at 241, but it didn't hit bottom until July 8, 1932 when the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 31 (thirty-one!), which represents a loss of almost 92% from the then all time high of September 3, 1929.
The instrument that pricked the Jupiter-Neptune balloon was, of course, Saturn which became involved in a tight mundane square with Neptune in October. When the panic began on October 23 the mundane square between Saturn and Neptune, which again appeared on inferior angles, (Saturn set when Neptune anticulminated through the I.C.) was 27 seconds of time from exact at the close. Twenty seven seconds of time is 1/11° (one eleventh). Saturn exposes Neptune's exaggeration, false promise and misrepresentation for what it is. Interestingly, it is often good as a natal aspect because the inspiration and creative imagination that Neptune can provide often does have practical value when allied with Saturn. If either body is debilitated however, a profound sense of lack of purpose and/or insecurity may develop in individuals. In the world, various forms of political extremism can result; witness the witch hunts of the political right during the McCarthy era and the frenetic stock piling of nuclear weapons when Neptune was in its detriment (Virgo). On the left when Saturn was in its detriment (Cancer) the Bolshevik Revolution was spawned which opposed the Western democracies for more than seventy years except during World War II. In both cases in 1917 and 1953 Saturn and Neptune were in a conjunction. More recently when Saturn was trine Neptune in 2001 and 2002, the Catholic Church was rocked by scandal when the extent of sexual abuse by priests became widely known. Neptune is also symbolic of religion and spirituality. The trine of Saturn to Neptune obviously cannot be construed as a fundamentally “good” except insofar as the church was justifiably chastised and forced to acknowledge and make restitution for the damage to parishioners. For the church itself, the matter was a complete debacle, which has seriously weakened it in the eyes of potential converts, present practitioners and even would-be priests themselves. Saturn-Neptune combinations often relate to exposure of crimes, schemes, guilt, profound humiliation and embarrassment or getting caught in some kind of misguided affair, occasionally of an unholy sort.
Another example of how Saturn and Uranus combinations represent a change in trend is the turn-around in March 2009 of the crisis that began in September 2008 with the most extreme financial debacle in the United States since the Great depression. Saturn was opposite Uranus exact to the second in celestial longitude on February 5, 2009, which symbolized a market ready to turn. Sometimes a nudge is needed, however, to effect the change. Transiting Jupiter came to the trine of the Declaration of Independence Uranus that was exact on February 26, 2009, symbolic of powerful business interests who saw an opportunity; but what really did the trick was the retrograde station of Venus on Friday, March 6, 2009 in Pisces less than a degree from the square to the Declaration of Independence Sun. That day, March 6, was the low of the meltdown that began in September 2008. The market revived on Monday March 9th and didn't look back. The NYSE regained 20% of its losses in the following three weeks This situation also illustrates that oppositions are not inherently "bad" and that stations have great power whether retrograde or direct. It also points out that things happen in concert. The Saturn-Uranus opposition set the stage for a reversal of the trend that many people worried would be worse than 1929, but transiting Jupiter trine the U.S. Uranus and transiting Venus in her station square the U.S. Sun provided the push that became a recovery. I submit that if Saturn and Uranus had not been in play, however, the Jupiter and Venus transits would not have been enough to provide a sustained breakout because it is outer planet transits that indicate over-all trend.
*The problem of teasing out the differences vis-a-vis Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto is due to the fact that when one of them becomes involved with another, the other two form up in some aspect such that two unconnected pairs or a quartet of two connected pairs are in play at approximately the same time, i.e. when Saturn and Pluto come into relationship with each other, Uranus and Neptune are always waiting in the wings to make a relationship with each other or it happens at the same time, likewise with Uranus-Pluto and Saturn-Neptune or Saturn-Uranus and Neptune-Pluto. The reason behind the pair/quartet relationships is that the orbits of the four outer planets are near subsets of each other. Pluto's orbital period is (in Gregorian years) 247.686 years; Neptune's is 164.79345 years; Uranus' is 84.01331 years; and Saturn's is 29.45772 years. One and 1/3 orbits of Pluto (1.333333 x 164.79345) equals 2.004 orbits of Neptune. One and 1⁄2 orbits of Pluto equals 2.254 orbits of Neptune. Two orbits of Pluto equals 3.006 orbits of Neptune and so on; in other words, there is a 2:3 relationship between Pluto and Neptune. Pluto and Uranus are in 5:14.75 relationship, i.e. five orbits of Pluto equal fourteen and 3⁄4 orbits of Uranus. Pluto and Saturn are in a 1.25:10.5 relationship, i.e. one and 1⁄4 orbits of Pluto equals 10.51 orbits of Saturn or 2 1⁄2 orbits of Pluto equals 21.02 orbits of Saturn. Neptune appears to be near a 1:2 relationship with Uranus but actually their relationship is approximately 1.25:2.45, i.e. twelve and 1⁄2 orbits of Neptune equals 2059.9 years while twenty-four and 1⁄2 orbits of Uranus equals 2058.3 years. Neptune and Saturn are in a 1.25:5.5 relationship, i.e. one and 1⁄4 orbits of Neptune equals 6.992 orbits of Saturn, two and 1⁄2 orbits of Neptune equals 13.985 orbits of Saturn, etc. Uranus and Saturn are in a 5:14.25 relationship, i.e. five orbits of Uranus equals 14.26 orbits of Saturn, ten orbits of Uranus equals 28.52 orbits of Saturn etc. The result of this peculiar relationship between the four outermost planets is that their inter-relations always dovetail, i.e. their mutual aspects develop within a narrow span of time. So it is important to note what other outer planet relations are in play when a Saturn-Uranus aspect is examined.
© Kenneth Bowser, all rights reserved.