December 2020 Update: The Grand Conjunction

Newgrange at the Winter Solstice

December is here and that means… THE END OF 2020! It seems that throughout this whole decade, or at least the last half of the decade, the words on everybody’s lips around New Year’s have been “that was the worst year ever, I hope the next one is better”. This year may be the grandaddy of them all. Since 2018 we’ve been caught in Saturn and Pluto’s iron jaws, and over the last year Jupiter has joined in, raising the stakes. Though this triple conjunction has been going on for almost a year, Jupiter and Saturn have not yet made an conjunction. Both have made exact conjunctions with Pluto, but not with each other. The exact aspect is like the breaking of a wave. We are already caught in the wave and are just waiting for it to break.

The Grand Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter occurs on the Winter Solstice this year, in the first degree of Aquarius. Occurring in Aquarius, an air sign, after two-hundred years of Grand Conjunctions in earth signs, this wave is breaking on a new shore. A conjunction (like a New Moon) marks the beginning of a planetary cycle, shaping the relationship between two planets over their cycle until the next conjunction.

The once-every-twenty-year Grand Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn is seen as a significator of a new cultural/ political paradigm. The last one happened at the beginning of the Bush administration, the previous one at the beginning of the Reagan administration, etc. These were not everyday presidential administrations. Through their economic, domestic, and foreign policies and the values they represented, through the tone they set for political discourse, through the reactions they engendered from the other side, they set the tone for everything that would unfold over the next twenty years.

Saturn and Jupiter are the biggest shapers of consensus reality. Jupiter refers to what we believe in, what we perceive to be possible, and where we set our sights. It traditionally relates to kingship, like the Sun — seen through binoculars, Jupiter with its many moons resembles a mini solar system. Above all, Jupiter is expansive and visionary and it resonates with the ideas like “common purpose” or “the common good”. Saturn, on the other hand, refers to what is possible at the moment, given our constraints; it refers to tradition, the momentum of the past, work, hierarchies, and the building of structures. Finally, Saturn is about manifestation in the 3D world. Combine this with Jupiter’s vision, and you have a Grand Conjunction, indeed — a “King Maker”.

Many of us are ready for a new cultural/ political paradigm, so it is heartening that this harbinger of the new order should happen in the first degree of Aquarius, the sign most associated with freedom, progress, and humanitarian ideals. It is even more amazing that it is happening on the Winter Solstice, the most ancient and visceral astrological symbol of rebirth. At the point of maximum darkness, when the nights are longest, suddenly and surely the light is reborn and the days begin to lengthen. Superimpose this astronomical fact and mythic symbolism on the bigger astrological picture of our time: Saturn and Pluto represent the “point of maximum darkness”. They have been doing their work in Capricorn, purging the Capricornian shadow of oppression and repression, patriarchy, duty, power, and stoicism. On December 21, though, we will get a fresh infusion of Aquarian energy. Aquarius, like every sign, has its share of shadow. But at least it is a sign of progress, radical change, and fresh perspectives on the meaning of being human. Every sign in the zodiac helps to correct for the shadowy excesses of the previous sign. After dealing with so much shadowy Capricornian excess, this will be a welcome change. As sure as the days grow longer after December 21, light will shine in the world once again after this dark passage. I am hopeful that we will find some hope around this Winter Solstice.

Alex Stein is an archetypal astrologer.

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