World transits are long in the making and slow to unravel. Astrologically we’re not done with 2020 yet; the orb of its unprecedented three conjunctions continues throughout the year.* However, the defining influence of 2021 is this one: the Saturn/Uranus square. A new world dawned in 2020. The planets now battling to define this new world are Uranus and Saturn.
Their square is exact on February 17, June 15 and December 24, 2021.
From one conjunction to the next, each Saturn/Uranus cycle lasts about 45 years. The conjunctions plant seeds; the oppositions and squares incite crisis, chaos, uncertainty. Together these archetypes bring revolutionary uprisings and repressive crackdowns—social breakdowns and breakthroughs.
The day that Georgia voters handed the Senate to Democrats and Trump supporters stormed the Capitol illustrates the yin and yang of the Saturn/Uranus square. 2021 brings the waning square of a cycle that began in 1988—when eruptions of democratic freedom and the violence of authoritarian repression were also in the news.
It was then that the cold war between the US and the Soviets thawed; the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain across Eastern Europe fell. In China there was the inspiring student protest at Tiananmen Square—and the horrific state massacre that followed.
Saturn is the lord of authority, tradition, order and control. Uranus favors originality, the unexpected, freedom and rebellion. Their collisions represent a classic tale of social change—how “what’s new” must inevitably fight with “what’s old.” Yet things are not always what they seem. This battle between Saturn and Uranus is typically fought inside a house of mirrors.
The central Saturn/Uranus myth
In Greek myth, as Kronos, Saturn was actually the “new” one, the youngest child of Gaia and Ouranos, the original deities of Earth and Sky. It was Ouranos who didn’t like change. He rejected the future by stuffing his own children into crevices, the underworld, and Gaia’s very womb!
Tired of the nonsense, Gaia plots with her youngest son. She makes a stone scythe which Kronos then wields—to sever his father’s genitals. He topples the sky god and overtakes his father’s throne.
Yet–the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. Now it’s Kronos who starts eating his children. A prophet had once whispered in his ear, “Your son will overthrow you.” It’s Power that can’t stand change. So much does Authority love itself that it will eventually turn itself inside out–and become what it resisted. Or: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Kronos is just like Ouranos.
Also tired of the nonsense, Rhea—Kronos’ sister and wife—hatches her plot. She births her youngest, Zeus, in a cave, out of view—and then hands her hubby a stone in swaddling clothes to devour. Surreptitiously she raises Zeus—until he comes of age, overthrows his father, and makes him regurgitate all of the swallowed children.
Zeus truly changes the game. This is Jupiter—god of growth and expansion. He’s a lusty fellow. Not only does he not eat his children—he has them in abundance! Forever fearful of their own progeny, Saturn and Uranus are locked in a never-ending battle for control.
Jupiter breaking this cycle (no son deposed him) says it’s love and creativity—not violence—that truly changes the world. We also can’t neglect the significant role of the Divine Feminine in this tale. Gaia and Rhea are key instigators for real change. We’ll talk more about their role in a future post, when we look at how to put this transit to work in our own lives. After all, we have a whole year to journey inside this archetypal complex, angling to get the best from it.
Will the real patriots please stand up?
But first it’s important to see this as the collective transit that it is. It’s no secret that we live in a fractured society. This is an important time for choosing the leaders we want to follow and the causes we want to fund. Saturn is in Aquarius, the sign that’s the very definition of “the collective.” At its best Aquarius is progressive, humanitarian, democratic–valuing the greatest good for the greatest number. At its worst it’s the source of tyranny.
Which side do you endorse? Who are the real patriots? Alas, words can’t help us. After years of disinformation campaigns, in some circles words have become virtually meaningless. Today on both sides of the US divide you’ll hear “We’re the freedom fighters! We’re the ones who love this country!” In dark and divided times like these, shadow is a powerful, unconscious force. Under its spell it’s easy to become the very thing that we oppose. On the news I heard a Trump supporter at the Capitol shocked that she’d been tear-gassed—“It’s not us!” she shouted, “BLM and Antifa are the bad ones!”
Astrology aspects always play out on a continuum that ranges from the best to the worst. It’s not the gods, but we humans who ultimately shape events. Archetypal powers are wild and colorful yet essentially neutral energies—that our free will decides how to use.
Poised at the crossroads of history
True to the volatile and chaotic nature of Saturn/Uranus periods, the choices that confront us today are both exhilarating, scary, divisive and sad. We find ourselves in the unstable weeks between two presidents who are stark opposites—under the dual threats of a global pandemic and widespread economic catastrophe—seeing things we never thought we’d see. As extremism rises, alongside what some have called the greatest social movement in US history, BLM, we struggle to address the long-standing inequality, racism, and police brutality that have tarnished our ideals.
In his aptly titled “A Cascade of Crises,” NY Times writer David Leonhardt recalls another chaotic time in US history–1932-33–when we were in the throes of the Great Depression:
In the four months between Franklin Roosevelt’s election and his 1933 inauguration, much of the world descended into chaos. Adolf Hitler took power in Germany, and the Reichstag — the Parliament building — burned. Japan quit the League of Nations. In the U.S., hundreds of banks shut down. Lynchings surged in the South.
During those weeks, like now, we were under the beams of a waning Saturn/Uranus square, with Saturn also in Aquarius. Back then, Hitler took his country down the road to tyranny. Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched the New Deal–a breathtaking set of government programs dedicated to the welfare of the common man. How similar are the options this year. I hope the collective chooses wisely.
“Do your transits, my teacher used to say, “or they’ll do you!” What are your transits in the coming year? Fine-tune your personal forecast for 2021 with Steven Forrest’s fabulous Skylog report, available here. If your birthday is in the past or next three months, Mary Shea’s solar return report can complete the picture.
For more on The Saturn/Uranus square, these articles by Jessica Davidson are superb: