I’ve only just realised that Saturn makes a square to Pluto this year, on 15th November. So that makes 3 major configurations this year, along with Saturn opposition Uranus (2 more crossings) and the remarkable Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune triple conjunction at 26 Aquarius in May.
I reckon we’ll begin to feel the effect of Saturn-Pluto from May onwards, when Saturn changes direction. Oppositions usually have a more obvious effect than squares, and with Saturn opposing Uranus all year, the effects of Saturn-Pluto may not be that easily discernible.
All the same, the square will be part of an important cycle that began in 1982 with the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto. One regular feature of the hard aspects of this cycle is the empowerment (Pluto) of Conservatism (Saturn) in American politics. 1982, for example, saw the rise of Reaganism; the opening square of 1993/4 saw the Republicans under Newt Gingrich take control of Congress; and the opposition of 2001 saw George W Bush come to power. It is quite possible, therefore, that we shall see a new impulse towards conservatism in US politics over the course of the next year.
It won’t come from Congressional elections, because there aren’t any. But it may come from Barack Obama. He may turn out to be a much more conservative figure than people had hoped for. Already his spending plans to stimulate the economy are running into trouble with Democratic Senators for not being bold or liberal enough.
From the New York Times online: ‘Senate Democrats complained that major components of his plan were not bold enough and urged more focus on creating jobs and rebuilding the nation’s energy infrastructure rather than cutting taxes’. “There is only one thing we have got to do in the stimulus, and that is how can we create jobs,” said Senator Tom Harkin Democrat of Iowa. “I am a little concerned by the way that Mr. Summers and others are going at this in that, to me, it still looks like a little more of this trickle-down, if we just put it in at the top, it’s going to trickle down. A number of people in there said, ‘Look, we have got to have programs that actually create jobs and put people to work.’ ”
I think a good way to look at Barack Obama as President is through his Saturn-Jupiter conjunction. These 2 planets are not purely personal, for they also describe our interaction with the social/public sphere. In conjunction, they can describe a powerful leader. It is interesting that Obama’s Saturn is in conservative Capricorn, and his Jupiter is in futuristic Aquarius. It mirrors the exact Saturn-Uranus opposition under which he was elected, and shows how important both these impulses are in him. Perhaps what we saw in his campaigning was the liberal who would bring America into a new and united future. But equally strong in his chart is his cautious, conservative Saturn.
This has become clearer to me over time ever since his comment about wanting to see Jerusalem remain the undivided capital of Israel. I found this a shocking, hawkish thing to say. His silence over the Israeli assault on Gaza also spoke volumes.
As Jessica Murray put it last month: “Obama’s approach to the economic crisis is perhaps the most Saturnine feature of his approach. Besides arguing for the banker bail-out, he has chosen as advisors men who have been stalwarts of the Wall Street establishment, taking counsel from the very man who led the crusade for deregulation at the Clinton Treasury: Robert Rubin. Tim Geithner, one of the premier architects of the current global financial disaster, is a contender for his cabinet [and as of publication of this issue of Daykeeper, Geithner has been named Secretary of the Treasury—Ed.]. And then there is the odious Larry Summers, also at one point on the short list for Treasury Secretary. Another Clinton-era Friedmanite, Summers not only promoted the export of toxic debt to the rest of the world, he took the idea to its most literal extreme by advocating the export of actual toxic pollution to impoverished nations.”
So it will be interesting to watch these 2 impulses at play in Barack Obama. With a Saturn-Pluto square coming up this year that hard aspects both the US MC and Obama’s Venus (popular appeal), it may well be that the man increasingly defines himself to the right of the political spectrum.
On the other hand, Saturn doesn't finish squaring Pluto till August 2010, just before the mid-term Congressional elections. So it may be that Congress lurches to the right at that point instead of - or as well as - Obama doing so.
Saturn-Pluto is also associated with war, terrorism and violence. The present cycle, which began in 1982, saw “the depths of the Soviet war in Afghanistan that led to the rise of the Islamic jihadist movement, fuelled by clandestine US support” (Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, p215.) The opening square of 1992-4 “exactly coincided with the first World Trade Center bombing, Osama bin Laden’s first call for a jihad against America, and the coming to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan." (ibid, p216). The opposition of 2001 of course saw the World Trade Center attacks and the start of George Bush’s War on Terror.
So over the next year we are likely to see a new phase open up in this war between Islam and the West. If the US begins to withdraw from Iraq, it may be a winding down of this war. On the other hand, it may intensify in Afghanistan, where it all began.
Saturn-Pluto has its economic aspect, due to Pluto’s association with wealth. Under the 1982 conjunction, we saw the rise of a new economic era after the stagflation of the 1970s, associated with deregulation and monetarist policies. The square of 1993/4 marked the long boom of the Clinton years. The dotcom bubble of 2001/2001 was arguably the peak of this period, as the Saturn-Pluto cycle reached its mid-point. 2009/10 will see the closing square of this cycle, just as 1973/4 was the closing square of the last cycle: the associated world oil crisis was arguably the death knell of that Saturn-Pluto economic cycle.
It is clear to many of us that we are witnessing the slow death of the current economic model, and this year’s Saturn-Pluto is testament to this. The conjunction of Pluto to Saturn represents the planting of a new and potent seed. The opening square is its empowerment, the opposition its peak and the closing square its gradual death, the cleansing of what was impure.