The exact crossings of the last Saturn-Neptune opposition occurred between June 1971 and April 1972, but it wasn’t for another 18 months that the event for which that opposition is probably best known occurred: the 1973 Oil Crisis. By that time Saturn was at 4 Cancer, and Neptune at 6 Sag, so they were way out of orb.
It can often be like that with major transits. The period of the crossings is a time of invisible change, and it is only some time afterwards that we see the outward events, the fruit of that inner change. In the case of Saturn-Neptune, symbolically it perfectly described an oil crisis, while the time of the actual transit was a time of growing (and justified) Arab discontent with the price they were receiving for their oil, as well as discontent with western support for Israel in the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict.
With the current Saturn-Neptune transit, the most prominent geo-political theme is another form of the conflict between the US and the Middle East, this time crystallised in the ongoing Iraq War. Between 1973 and now, this conflict has grown from an economic/military issue into much more of a religious/cultural one, with America having long been known as ‘The Great Satan’ by many in the Arab world.
The natural outcome of the present Saturn-Neptune opposition seems to be that, sooner or later, the US will admit defeat in the Iraq War. With tr Pluto squaring the Piscean Sun of the Iraq War all of next year (with the final crossing about 2 weeks before the Presidential election), it could well be that, like the last Saturn-Neptune opposition, we see its outcome about 18 months after the final crossing in 2 weeks time. So that, for example, one of the first acts of the President-elect in Nov 2008 could be to announce that he will pull the US out of Iraq – perhaps reflecting a campaign promise.
This isn’t what I want to happen. I would like to see Bush forced to effectively admit defeat, and to be the subject of an inquiry, well before he goes. Astrologically it is certainly possible, because you can never quite tell when the major events around a transit are going to happen. So we’ll just have to wait and see.
Nowadays prediction seems to be frowned upon by many astrologers, but I really like it. It’s great when you score a hit. But I think in making political predictions, there needs to be an etiquette whereby you ‘declare an interest’, i.e. you let it be known whether what you are predicting coincides with what you WANT to happen. This doesn’t invalidate the prediction, but it does help create more objectivity. And helps less experienced astrologers understand that it is your interpretation, rather than what the heavens are unequivocally declaring.
Because it is 2 planets acting at once, Saturn-Neptune can be a pretty hefty, life-changing aspect on a personal level. It is the struggle between heaven and earth, between the need to honour the Divine in ourselves, and the need to incarnate, to enter deeply into the apparent limitations of material reality. And really, it is about coming to understand that they are not separate, that ‘spirituality’ (Neptune) lies in a deep acceptance of your present life (Saturn), with all its limitations. As someone once said about good writing, the Universal is to be found in the perfect description of the particular. Or as the Buddhists would put it, the distinction between the Conditioned and the Unconditioned is empty, it is Mahasunyata.
So the hardest part of the Saturn-Neptune opposition is, perhaps, about to come to an end, whether on the one hand we have been forced to dissolve our narrow, Saturnian box, or forced to look more deeply within it. But the implications of what it has wrought in us – probably unknowable at this stage – will be unfolding for some time yet.