My horoscope columns and telephone lines are prepared weeks and months before publication and transmission so you'll appreciate that it is something of a feat when I refer to a 'current' situation that in fact lies some time ahead. Fortunately, synchronicities occur frequently and, especially when it comes to my weekly letter-to-readers, I experience a deep sense of satisfaction when some topic that sprang to mind turns out, some seven weeks later, to be right on the mark. Which brings me to the writing of this article.
On 12th July I began working on my forecast for week beginning 28th August. And it was quite a week: a Jupiter-Uranus trine , a Mars-Pluto square, a Mercury-Uranus opposition and, last but not least, a Saturn-Neptune opposition. Now, the Saturn-Neptune opposition of the 31st August was not news to me - I'd seen it coming a long time back - but having to put across the effects of this aspect to a general readership forced me to look deeply into its meaning, its role in history, and its likely manifestation in collective and individual terms. Lo and behold, as I was putting pen to paper events in the Middle East took a sudden turn for the worse - no longer were the news networks delivering the depressingly familiar litany of dead and wounded in Iraq but missiles were flying from Hizbollah to Haifa, and Israel was turning Southern Lebanon into rubble. And with Syria and Iran implicated in events it wasn't long before fears of the onset of World War Three were being voiced. Needless to say, I took these developments to have some connection with the Saturn-Neptune opposition.
While the Saturn-Neptune opposition was not the only astrological signature on events in the Middle east during Mid-July - we must go back to the Cancer Ingress chart for those, with its Mars-Saturn conjunction, and the prevailing Grand Cross in Fixed signs that had been in play since November 2005 - the conjunctions and oppositions of Saturn and Neptune play a huge part in the evolution of wars (often their endings), the fall of governments and the demise of leaders and rulers.
The current Saturn-Neptune cycle began in 1989 with the conjunction of these planets in Capricorn. November 13th 1989 saw its third and final pass, and, with the added boost of an opposition by Jupiter, it carved its signature on such portentous developments as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Ceaucescau Regime in Romania. I remember this period very clearly because of life-defining events in my personal life. I recall a great sense of hope and a huge welling of the human spirit, which embraced me and lifted me up - sadly, before ultimately dropping me into a big black hole. The hands of the people tearing down the Berlin Wall brick by brick was particularly emblematic of the Saturn-Neptune opposition - Saturn representing lasting structures and unbreakable barriers and Neptune, the power of faith to overcome all obstacles. In November 1989 it seemed humanity was eradicating the bulwarks it had created and stepping into into a new peace-inspired age. Some seventeen years later, it appears we still have work to do. Big black holes are everywhere to be seen.
The previous Saturn-Neptune opposition took place in 1971/72 and occupied the early degrees of Gemini (Saturn) and Sagittarius (Neptune). The Vietnam War was coming to an end - and it is worth noting that the US did not leave Vietnam victorious, it withdrew in the clear knowledge that the war was un-winnable and not worth the continuing loss of American lives. In 1972 Richard Nixon became the first Western leader to visit China and China joined the UN. 1972 was also the year of the Summer Olympics in Munich, during which several Israeli athletes were taken hostage by Palestinian terrorists and killed. Governor George Wallace was shot and paralysed, and a small burglary in Washington sparked the infamous Watergate scandal, and ultimately the downfall of President Nixon. Across the Pond in Great Britain, Prime Minister Edward Heath and the Conservative Government were plagued by strikes - the power of the Trade-Unionists (Neptune) effectively brought the Tory Party (Saturn) to its knees.
If we go back another thirty-seven years we come to the Saturn-Neptune opposition of 1936/37, this time occupying the mid-degrees of Pisces (Saturn) and Virgo (Neptune). The Spanish Civil War was in full swing and within two years the whole world would be at war for the second time in half a century. The death of King George V in January 1936 put Edward VIII on the throne, yet on December 10th of the same year Edward abdicated. Indeed, the Saturn-Neptune cycle appears to play a vital part in the changing face of the British monarchy: Queen Victoria died in January 1901, a matter of months after the third and final Saturn-Neptune opposition in Sagittarius (Saturn) and Gemini (Neptune). The present Queen of England, Elizabeth II, ascended the throne in 1952 after the death of her father, George VI, earlier in the year: on this occasion Saturn and Neptune were in conjunction in Libra.
Now, I could keep going back in history but repetition can be tedious and it leads us slightly away from the burning issue of the moment - what might transpire under the Saturn-Neptune opposition of 2006/07. 31st August, 2006 is the date of the first pass (17 degrees 53 minutes of Leo-Aquarius - Neptune being retrograde and Saturn direct) , the second pass occurs on 28th February, 2007 (20 degrees 15 minutes of Leo-Aquarius - this time Saturn is retrograde and Neptune direct) and the third and final opposition, which I expect to have the greatest meaning and impact of all, takes place on 25 June, 2007 (21 degrees 47 of Leo-Aquarius, Neptune in retrograde). However, I also believe that because of the fluid nature of such a transit, this crucial opposition will remain in force until the end of 2007 and it has surely been in effect since late 2005 - consider for a moment the volume of lies being fed to the American people by the US administration on its maniacal Neo-Con mission for world dominion and the scale of corruption in the British government, which has allowed ministers guilty of criminal acts to keep their top jobs, and, of course, most graphically, the breaching of the levies that virtually destroyed New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But, if you're still not convinced, August and September of 2006 may well provide us with everything we needed to know and more about a Saturn-Neptune opposition due to the added impact of the full moon in Aquarius of 9 August, which is within two degrees of the opposition, and the combination of two eclipses and Jupiter's position in Scorpio, which will square Saturn and Neptune in mid-to-late September.
Saturn and Neptune are entirely opposite functions so when they come together, whether by conjunction, square or opposition, they can blend their principles in a positive way or bring out the worst in each other. In simple terms, the dreams of Neptune can be made real by Saturn and Saturn's hard line can be softened by Neptune. Yet, on the minus side, Neptune can erode the Saturnian structures that give substance and form to society and provide safety and security for us all, while Saturn can crush our Neptunian spirit, our hopes and dreams, and ride roughshod over the weak, the poor and the underprivileged.
In terms of archetypes, we might perceive Saturn as the law-enforcer, the scientist and the sceptic and Neptune as the artist, mystic, healer and helper - one has little in common with the other yet without each other life would spiral into Neptunian chaos or become a relentless Saturnian prison. A Saturn-Neptune opposition thus represents the inherent battle between control and the Establishment, on the one hand, and freedom and socialism on the other: it is idealism versus conformity, religion versus science, feelings as opposed to facts.
In personal terms, those of us born under a Saturn-Neptune opposition may grow up with a deep fascination for the national and international events bearing its signature. We may experience a conflict between the necessity to conform, to live up to society's expectations and those of our parents, and the desire to escape, to live out our dreams, and to answer to a higher power, rather than adhering to man-made laws. An element of sacrifice will be called for and a more than average number of rejections and losses to contend with in life. And always a dilemma between acknowledging one's limitations and seeking to transcend them.
Hard Saturn-Neptune angles could be said to inspire a psychology of despair, thus those things that respond to the subtle tides of life - the economy, fashion, the arts and the media for instance - are likely to enter a dark phase, with the trend for bear markets, not bull. And this time around, with Neptune in idealistic Aquarius and Saturn in the king of signs, Leo, (both Fixed signs, of course) the extremes will be even sharper and the consequences ever more indelible.
What is also worth considering in light of any Saturn-Neptune transit is the concept of karma. Since Saturn has much to do with the process of time and the consequences of previous actions Neptune can provide a means of redemption for past crimes and a route for atonement. It is thus possible to view many current conflicts as the consequence of decades, if not centuries, of oppression and denial reaching a point at which reparation can be made, divisions healed and conflicts overcome. In strictly religious terms - and Neptune is quintessentially spiritual - the world is not only witnessing the rise of Islam, which is in turn pitted against Christianity, but within each religion there is an ever widening chasm between those who hold to a softer, more accommodating version of their 'truth' and those hard-liners and reformers who would kill for their beliefs. Which begs the question, during this Saturn-Neptune opposition, will matters reach a decisive head so that a wider, global, conflict is spawned or will major peace initiatives prove successful. Then again, it may take until the Saturn-Neptune conjunction of 2025/6 for the seeds of current actions to bear fruit.
It will be of no surprise that Saturn and Neptune are making an impact on the charts of Israel and Palestine at this time. (The horoscope I am using for Palestine is one set up for the Termination of the British Mandate in Palestine, which expired at 00.00 hrs. on 15 May, 1948; the chart for Israel relates to its independence, which occurred some eight hours earlier, at 4.00 pm on 14 May. Jerusalem is the location used in both cases) Saturn is to be found at 16 1/2 degrees of Leo in each chart, thus both peoples are experiencing their second Saturn Return in 2006 - a notoriously trying event, with those things that were left undone at the first Return coming back with a vengeance the second time around. By the way, the date of their mutual Saturn Return is 19 August. Palestine currently has the added plus of transiting Neptune conjunct its Ascendant at 14 degrees 49 of Aquarius; it thus bears the full brunt of the Saturn-Neptune opposition. This people's search for a state, recognition and acceptance looks ever more bleak.
You can probably tell that I have little faith in the triumph of peace over strife during this Saturn-Neptune opposition. We only have to go back to 2003, and the impressive configuration that prevailed in early November to see how dismally humanity failed, yet again, to access any remotely spiritual 'energy' and expand in consciousness. (You can find a full discussion of this in my article, Harmonic Convergences, Eclipses And Other Awe-Inspiring Matters on this website.) Given that Mercury was retrograde at the time the recent conflict erupted in Southern Lebanon there was sure to be some reconsideration of the situation once this planet turned direct on 29th July. But even if the rumoured ceasefire comes about, it seems a lasting peace and a resolution of the fundamental conflict between Hizbollah and Israel, Palestine and Israel, Muslim and Christian, East and West is a way off. We appear to be headed determinedly towards Armageddon, like so many lemmings toward the cliff edge.
Then there is the Saturn-Neptune opposition and its relevance to the British monarchy. Will some key events also take place in the House of Windsor during this Saturn-Neptune season? Queen Elizabeth II seems hale and hearty enough, so unless she suffers a fatal accident, or perhaps succumbs to a deadly flu virus, the like of the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic, which, incidentally took off under a Saturn-Neptune conjunction in Leo, it is highly unlikely that Prince Charles will accede the throne. And, in any case, I have long held the view that Charles will never become King (the reasons for which I explore at length in my books, Romancing The Stars and With Love From Diana). Nonetheless, the final pass of the Saturn-Neptune opposition in June of 2007 is alarmingly close to both the Queen's Jupiter-Neptune opposition (on the first-seventh house axis) and Prince Philip's moon at 22 of Leo (in the eighth house), so the prospect of illness and loss looms large over the horizon.
But with or without a change of guard in the House of Windsor the rumblings of crisis and controversy have been reverberating through royal corridors for the past year and they have a very Saturn-Neptune aura about them... By 21st July, the inquiry into the death of Princess Diana was nearing its completion when suddenly the coroner in charge of the inquest, Michael Burgess, resigned, citing as his reasons pressure of work. Lord Stevens, who was leading the inquiry, had been expecting to present his initial findings to Mr Burgess in August, with a view to a full inquest taking place in 2007: with the resignation of Mr Burgess, the inquiry into her death effectively ground to a halt, along with any chance of establishing whether her death was an accident or an assassination. Indeed, we may never know. Is this a case of Neptune in the form of conspiracy, fantasy and incompetence being held in check by fact-finder, legally-mindful, Saturn, or the crushing power of the Establishment thwarting the disclosure of murder most fowl?
The monarchy as an institution may alter little during this Saturn-Neptune opposition, and even in the event of the demise of eighty-five-year-old Prince Philip, his death will not inspire any constitutional change. However, I think the seeds of constitutional change are being sown, and the transformation of the British monarchy is already taking place. And it may take the Saturn-Neptune conjunction of 2025 for the greater changes to come about, whether through the death of Queen Elizabeth or because the political climate will no longer support the institution. Furthermore, I am not at all sure that Prince William believes that the monarchy, at least in its present form, has a place in the twenty-first Century, and, for one reason or another, Great Britain may never be ruled by King William V.
At the time of going to press, the rumoured cease-fire between Hizbollah and Israel has not come about, the controversy over the departure of coroner, Michael Burgess, has died down and all is quiet on the Windsor front. But Saturn and Neptune have not gone away: they are moving relentlessly towards each other, and I expect they have much yet to teach us about the dissolution of time-honoured institutions, the break down of law and order, the devastating effect of nature and the elements, and, hopefully, the triumph of love and compassion over adversity and the indestructible power of the human spirit. As something of a footnote, Fidel Castro has just handed over power temporarily to his brother, Raul, due to a serious health problem: Castro will celebrate his birthday on 13 August, and with the Saturn-Neptune opposition flanking his natal sun-moon opposition - the sun, incidentally is conjunct Neptune radically - it may indeed be time for the Bearded Lion to leave his presidential lair.
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