The Saturn-Uranus Opposition

I had been meaning to write this piece at the beginning of September, but events rather overtook me. And by events, I mean the speed of the global economic meltdown, and the roller-coaster ride that is the US election, upon which the signature of the Saturn-Uranus opposition is clearly stamped. Indeed, on the day the next President of the United States is to be elected - 4th November 2008 - the Saturn-Uranus opposition reaches exactitude. We are seeing poetry in motion here, the force of radical change, revolution (Uranus) sweeping away the established order of things (Saturn). At the time of writing this is already obvious in the collapse of the banking systems across the world but an even more defining manifestation of this powerful opposition would be the election of Barack Obama, America's first black President.

Saturn and Uranus have regular meetings, the most important of which are the conjunctions, squares and oppositions. The last such opposition took place from March 1965 to December 1966, a period which saw the escalation of tension between many nations (most notably China and India) many military coups (Nigeria, Syria and Iraq among them) and, of course, the ongoing Vietnam War. A vast social revolution was also taking place; a youth movement that turned the establishment on its head, a movement whose beat pulsed through every aspect of life from fashion, music and the arts to education and politics. In the mid-sixties, this opposition took place in the same signs as it does now, Pisces and Virgo, but with a role reversal - Saturn was in Pisces and Uranus in Virgo. So, we have a template to refer to, which is somewhat reassuring in that we can expect not only great discomfort as old and familiar structures fall apart at the seams but joy as a new conciousness begins to filter through all tiers of life.

Just for the record, Saturn and Uranus were in conjunction during 1988 and 1989 - a time that saw the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the overthrow of the Ceaucescau Regime in Romania...

Fears of another Great Depression have surfaced recently and it is interesting to note that in October 1929 Saturn and Uranus were approaching a square to each other, which became exact in December the following year. Interesting too that the reasons for the Wall Street Crash which precipitated the Great Depression were exactly the same as they are today - high consumer debt, ill-regulated markets that allowed malfeasance by banks, and, more importantly, a sudden loss of confidence in the economic future. So, I think we need to take seriously the notion that the US followed by the rest of the world is facing the prospect not of a recession but a depression. And what could play crucially into the unfolding of such a scenario is the next incumbent of The White House.

On Wednesday, 15th October, I watched the final debate on television between Senator Obama and Senator McCain and I came away from it thinking that it was not so much a debate about policies but personas. And herein lies the conundrum. For while Obama is clearly the man of the moment, a man who has captured the zeitgeist - the spirit of the times - his typically socialist policies, albeit wrapped up in a 'Progressive' package, are more likely to plunge the US into a depression whereas McCain, a man whose time has gone, has policies that will do more to help America ride out the storm, without tumbling into a full-blown depression. And I wonder, when the people of America stand in the voting booth, will they be thinking policies or of the man who can lead them into the promised land...

Barack Obama
Aug 4 1961, 7.24pm AHT, Honolulu, HI

click to enlarge

Curiously enough, both Obama and McCain have planets at 22 ° Virgo, a degree area which is slap bang in the sights of the Saturn-Uranus opposition. Thus, this election is a watershed for them both. For Barack, the presence of Saturn on his Mars opposed by Uranus poses some physical dangers, and, of course, there have been rumours of threats to his life and there is certainly a body of people who would go to extreme lengths to prevent him from occupying The White House. For McCain, Saturn is conjunct his Venus and Uranus opposes it - more a picture of disappointment and a reversal of fortune. Nonetheless, both men are in the line of fire and the days on and near the election will be turbulent for the two of them. And making a judgement from their charts as to who will win the election is very difficult. Both have planets with key connections to the US chart. McCain's MC/IC axis at 11° Sagittarius/Gemini is the US Ascendant/Descendant axis, his Mercury at 1° Libra is conjunct the US MC, his Ascendant at 6° Pisces and sun at 6° Virgo are trine and sextile respectively the US Jupiter at 5° Cancer and his Venus-Saturn opposition at 23° Virgo and 20° Pisces connects with the US Neptune at 22° Virgo. Obama's Venus at 1° Cancer is within a degree of the US Venus-Jupiter conjunction and squaring the US MC/IC axis, his Mid-heaven at 28° Scorpio, his Uranus at 25° Leo and North Node at 27° Leo respectively square and oppose the US moon and, of course, his Mars is bang on the US Neptune.

John McCain
Aug 29 1936, 6.25pm EST, Cocosolo, Panama

click to enlarge

July 4 1776 Philadelphia, PA
5 10 pm LMT

click to enlarge

In many ways, John McCain has the more impressive links with the US chart, which could tip the election in his favour, but it must be remembered that already he has played a hugely significant role in the history of the United States. Barack Obabma, on the other hand, with Aquarius rising and ruler, Uranus in the seventh house of relationships and angular, is the banner boy for Uranus. It is he who is the maverick rather than John McCain who claims the epithet. Indeed, these two men personify the Saturn-Uranus opposition: Saturn John - the old guard, the senior, the Republican, trailing the baggage of the Bush Years behind him, and Barack, Uranus - the young, callow, visionary of the Democrats wielding the sword of change and bearing the shield of reform.

Astrology draws much of its interpretation from the myths of the planets and there was indeed a great struggle, a Titanic struggle, between Uranus and Saturn. In Greek myth, Cronus (Saturn) - one of the twelve Titans and son of Ouranus (Uranus) - came to power by castrating his father. On the face of it Saturn overpowered Uranus yet Saturn was the young pretender and Uranus the old guard... The discovery of planet Uranus in 1781 was revolutionary: up to that point Saturn remained the outpost of the solar system, no celestial body was thought to lie beyond, it was the final boundary, so when Uranus and its eccentric orbit was observed it overturned thousands of years of scientific belief; its discovery also coincided with revolutions of one sort or another, including the industrial revolution. Which is how astrologers came to understand the workings and meaning of this maverick planet, this planet of revolution. To my mind, Uranus will always break down the barriers imposed by Saturn, whether those barriers are represented by political regimes, scientific thought or social mores. In terms of human consciousness, change is central to growth, stagnation is not an option. Therefore it is only a matter of time before all outworn, inappropriate structures are blown away. And, of course, in time, the new structures being created now will be replaced by more appropriate ones - and after a titanic struggle.

The Saturn-Uranus opposition will remain active until October 2010 so this two-year period will be characterized by conflict and reformation on both a collective and personal level. However, Saturn and Uranus will not always be alone; they will be joined by Pluto from September 2009, thus forming a 'T'-square in cardinal signs. This 'T'-square is reminiscent of that of the early Nineteen-Thirties when Saturn in Capricorn opposed Pluto in Cancer while Uranus in Aries squared them both. During this period the Depression continued to cast its dark shadow over the world and out of the collective anger, fear and sense of hopelessness a new ideology was born - fascism. Now, I'm not saying that we will have a return to the good-old-bad-old days of fascism but, as we can see from the more recent model of the mid-Nineteen-Sixties, new movements emerge during times of crisis. And while right now the struggle we are experiencing is related to the economy it would be disingenuous not to expect some serious conflict between nation and nation beginning in late 2009.

But before I have you reaching for the cyanide we should remember that the 'Swinging Sixties' gave rise to a culture of youth, liberty and free love so out of the latter Noughties will come a new conciousness, a new movement. What this new consciousness will be remains to be seen but I would hazard a guess that it will have nothing to do with youth and the power of youth to transform society, nor its antithesis, the power of the pensioner to do the same, but the brotherhood of man.

On November 4th 2008 as Saturn precisely opposes Uranus a new President will be elected in America, and it is a choice we must watch closely because whoever emerges the winner is the bringer of great change. He is 'the reformist'. Through this President and the first two years of his administration we will see the outworking of the Saturn-Uranus opposition and it promises to be a stormy passage.

Penny Thornton

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved