THE GREAT CONJUNCTION & THE AQUARIAN SHIFT
Updated: Jan 22, 2021
*A note on gender and planetary pronouns: The 7 classical planets have traditionally corresponded with either a masculine or feminine gender, with the exception of Mercury who is considered gender-fluid. It’s commonplace to use the pronouns He/Him for traditionally masculine-corresponding planets Jupiter & Saturn, and I have in this article - but I want to acknowledge that it does not have to be this way. Both Jupiterian and Saturnian qualities do not have to be thought of as exclusively masculine. Should anyone ever want to use different pronouns for Jupiter or Saturn, by all means go for it!
THE AQUARIAN SHIFT
We are on the precipice of a major Aquarian shift with the two largest and slowest classical planets, Jupiter & Saturn, moving into the sign of Aquarius within days of each other in December:
Saturn into Aquarius: December 17th, 2020 (orbit, 29-ish years)
Jupiter into Aquarius: December 19th, 2020 (orbit, 12-ish years)
What does this mean? We’ll be getting big doses of Aquarian energy in 2021 and it’s themes will be playing out in the world, bigtime: Community, The Collective, Equality, Humanitarianism, Social Justice, Human Rights, Awakening, Revolution, Individuality, Freedom, Intellectuality, Eccentricity, Science, Knowledge, Invention, Innovation, Idealism, Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Progressiveness, Futuristic Everything.
There are a few things to understand about all this in order to get the full picture. Read on to nerd out about the details!
SATURN & JUPITER IN AQUARIUS IN 2021
These two planets do not typically travel together. Saturn - planet of reality, discipline, authority, work, time, endurance, structure, foundations, boundaries and general adulting - takes about 29 years to complete a tour of the zodiac and spends about 2 - 3 years in each sign. Jupiter - planet of jubilant expansion, amplification, benevolence, grace, blessings and general cosmic door-opening - takes 12 years to complete its orbit and spends about 1 year in each sign. An easy way to think of it is like this: Jupiter waters, Saturn prunes. Because of the length of time both Jupiter and Saturn take to pass through any one sign, the energetic impact they have on that sign’s themes is deep and thorough.
They’ve been working together in Capricorn alongside Pluto (darkness, death, transformation, rebirth, power) for all of 2020, and will be working together to expand and evolve our consciousness on planet earth in 2021, this time through Aquarian themes - which are, again:
Community, The Collective, Equality, Humanitarianism, Social Justice, Human Rights, Awakening, Revolution, Individuality, Freedom, Intellectuality, Eccentricity, Science, Knowledge, Invention, Innovation, Idealism, Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Progressiveness, Futuristic Everything.
Saturn actually first entered Aquarius on March 21st, 2020 and stayed until July 1st before retrograding back into Capricorn, so we’ve already seen some of these themes begin to play out with social (Aquarian) distancing (Saturn - boundaries, literally) and the restructuring (Saturn) of the internet and the collective (Aquarius). Saturn will stay in Aquarius longer than Jupiter - which makes sense, given that Daddy Saturn is all about strong foundations and building them the right way without shortcuts, so it takes him some time to do his job. (There are no shortcuts with Saturn. He is having none of this flimsy, jerry-rigged house-of-cards business.) He will be in Aquarius until March 7th, 2023, helping us anchor the new Aquarian expansion Jupiter inspired into solid structures and foundations that will last for years to come.
PLANETARY STRENGTH: HOW WELL CAN THEY DO THEIR THING IN THIS AQUARIAN ENVIRONMENT?
Saturn is powerful in Aquarius. Not all planets are equally strong in all signs - every planet has signs where it functions optimally as well as signs where the environment doesn’t support its innate nature. Saturn is said to be “dignified” - or on home turf - in two signs: Capricorn & Aquarius, being the traditional ruler of these two signs. When any planet is dignified, it has a lot of strength and ability to bring about the events that it’s in charge of (shoutout to Demetra George for describing it so perfectly this way). Saturn can do his thing freely, easily and well while in both Capricorn & Aquarius. But he is considered slightly stronger in Aquarius than Capricorn because he is what we call a “diurnal planet” and Aquarius is a diurnal sign (air signs have a masculine, solar, and expressive quality, and earth signs have a feminine, lunar and receptive quality).
Jupiter is not dignified in Aquarius, but at least he’s not in hostile territory any longer as he has been in all of 2020 in Capricorn. Jupiter has been in fall in Capricorn. It hasn't been cute. Capricorn is the opposite sign - and opposite environment - of Jupiter's exaltation (another type of dignity) in Cancer. He hasn’t had the resources and support he’s needed to be at his best in Capricorn. And it’s been doubly so, as Saturn has also been in Capricorn alongside him through his entire journey, enforcing additional restriction and pruning. So, Jupiter may not be at his most powerful in Aquarius, and he may still have to work closely with a powerful Saturn this year, but at least Aquarius is more neutral territory for him and not impeding his energy.
Sidenote: There’s joy and power increase on the horizon for Jupiter! Remember that Jupiter is the planet of blessings, expansion, all good things - as I like to say “The Cosmic YES”. Jupiter is dignified and powerful in the sign of Pisces, where he’ll dip into briefly between May 13th and July 28th, 2021, before returning to Aquarius to complete his journey and transformation there. So we will have a very strong Jupiter for parts of 2021, and going full-on in 2022. Which means stronger blessings and benevolence. Something to look forward to!
Back to Aquarius. Saturn and Jupiter being together in a sign means that the energy of that sign will be very dominant in the collective - so we are about to experience what I’ve been calling an Aquarian Shift.
THE GREAT CONJUNCTION
Saturn + Jupiter Great Conjunction: December 21st, 2020 at 0° Aquarius
Not only are Jupiter & Saturn going to be moving into Aquarius together at the same time and working together there throughout 2021, but they will be making an exact conjunction for the first time in 20 years. Even though they were close together in Capricorn throughout all of 2020 (alongside Pluto), they did not perfectly align from our vantage point on earth.
These Great Conjunctions that happen every 20 years are very significant shifts in energy and consciousness. This Great Conjunction at 0° Aquarius is an even greater deal because it marks the official beginning of a new 200-year cycle where Jupiter and Saturn will conjoin in Air signs. They’ve been conjoining every 20 years in earth signs for the last 200 years. As we move from one age to another, there is often a little bit of back-and-forth before the new cycle completely begins. For example, we did have the first Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in the air sign of Libra (which was a series of 3 conjunctions) in 1980/1981, but the earth-element cycle was not finished and the subsequent conjunction in the year 2000 was in the earth sign of Taurus. So, 2021’s conjunction will be the first official conjunction in an Air sign where we are completely finished with the cycle of conjunctions in earth signs. The next Jupiter-Saturn conjunction outside of the air element will not be until 2219 in the water sign of Scorpio. So certainly, these cycles of conjunctions mark longer arcs of energy and consciousness.
AHEAD OF OUR TIME?
As a sidenote, one of my teachers Nina Gryphon has expressed that some people born around the 1980/81 conjunction in Libra were a bit ahead of their time, on the first wave of the new air cycle of Great Conjunctions - and now that we’re about to shift fully into it, these people may finally be able to move forward in ways that are more aligned with their nature and consciousness. This resonates with me, a 1982 baby born on the heels of this conjunction. I would welcome this for sure!
THE HISTORY: WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME?
When Jupiter & Pluto last conjoined at 22° Taurus on May 28th, 2000, we were on the brink of what would be another contested election between Bush & Gore. Astrologer Mark Lerner wrote an interesting article which goes deeper into history and detailed astrological configurations or past conjunctions for those who want to go down that rabbit hole! You can read it here.
THE ELEMENT OF AIR (BUT ISN’T AQUARIUS THE WATER-BEARER?)
The water-bearer is the symbol of Aquarius, but Aquarius is actually governed by the element of Air - not water. Confusing, I know. I think the popular website www.cafeastrology.com has a great and simple breakdown of the symbolism of the water-bearer, so I’m just going to leave it here:
“The symbol for Aquarius is the Water Bearer, symbolically and eternally giving life and spiritual food to the world. The water from the vessel washes away the past, leaving room for a fresh, new start. The sign of Aquarius is forward-looking and growth-oriented. Concerned with equality and individual freedom, Aquarius seeks to dispense its knowledge, and its vision of equality and individuality, to all.”
Now let’s dive into the element of air. Air is a mental and intellectual energy, light and free. It can also be quite communicative, verbal and social! Air is connection and relation-oriented and loves to share ideas, thoughts and experiences. But this stands in contrast to the emotional and often non-verbal way water signs experience connection, feeling deeply and sometimes getting lost in the feelings. The element of air is not emotional. It has a cognitive and conceptual understanding of its connections, values, beliefs and experiences. Of course, there are benefits to this as well a shadow side (all energy has the potential for light and shadow expression).
We see the themes of connection and relating to others in the other two air signs of Gemini & Libra too, although each sign has a slightly different focus. Aquarius is focused on friendship, community and equality.
The quality of Aquarian air is “fixed” - more stable and maybe less flexible than the mutable and cardinal air signs of Gemini and Libra. I also have to acknowledge the classic Aquarian juxtaposition of being a friendly, humanitarian sign that is also known to be independent and emotionally detached, deeply valuing individuality and freedom. Aquarian consciousness is thoughtful and compassionate but not touchy-feely. We should remember that as progressive as Aquarius is, it’s still governed by Saturn, and so can hold a clear vision of the future with the strength, purpose and sense of responsibility and practicality needed to embody that vision, beginning to anchor it by example before the masses have caught up. Aquarius consciousness is different and trail-blazing.
IS ALL THIS AQUARIAN ENERGY THE SAME THING AS THE AGE OF AQUARIUS?
No. The Age of Aquarius refers to a particular 2000-ish--year age within a greater 26,000-ish-year cycle having to do with the precession of the equinoxes, sometimes referred to as The Great Year. So far, no one has really been able to agree precisely how long the Great Year is, how to measure it, how long each age is, or when the Age of Pisces ends and the Age of Aquarius begins, although there is general agreement that we are at least on the brink of the age of Aquarius now, if not in it. Various sources mark the shift from Pisces to Aquarius anywhere from 1447 CE (Terry MacKinnell) to 3597 CE (John Addey). All that said, the themes for the Age of Aquarius would generally be the same themes we’ll be dealing with for the next few years with both Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. It’s just a bigger picture with a longer arc when we’re dealing with Astrological ages. I personally would like to be clearer on all this and have deeper research to do, so I may update this section of the blog if I have more information to add.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS AQUARIAN ENERGY IN 2021 MEAN?
We’ll have to see! I believe we are in for a lot of new and innovative ideas, inventions and that we'll begin to build some new structures - in science, in business & finance, in tech, in communities, everywhere. Certainly I imagine that community and social justice movements will expand further with both Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Freedom and equality will continue to be major themes and I truly hope we’ll see greater progress and healing in the oppression of Women, BIPOC and the LGBTQI communities. I imagine social distancing will probably continue in some form as long as Saturn is in Aquarius through 2023 (Saturn is boundaries, literally, and Aquarius is the collective, literally).
I’m interested and maybe even a little excited to see what might happen with international borders, travel, work visas, digital currencies and higher education institutional structures as we’re seeing what’s possible virtually - and collectively, beyond borders. I would also guess an even bigger explosion of the internet and virtual connection technology - bringing new virtual structures (Saturn) we hadn’t previously conceived of into every existing industry, and even birthing new industries. Personally, I would love to be able to move back to California, work virtually for people anywhere in the world, and get a degree online from a respected and amazing institution in Canada or Europe. A year ago, this would have been inconceivable, and that excites me.
In 2021 we’ll also have Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius squaring Uranus in Taurus - a blog for another day, but in a nutshell, this is rebellion/revolution/awakening/futuristic energy at odds with existing structures/authorities. It’s interesting because I’ve been seeing the left as being the revolutionaries (Uranus) challenging existing order and institutions (Saturn) to progress social justice, equality and human rights. But as we’re seeing an administration switch in the United States and a lot of upset Trump supporters, we may experience some of the revolution/rebellion energy (Uranus) as the right, and some of the existing institution and authority (Saturn) as the left. It may be a mixed bag with multiple layers of symbolism. As someone who is decidedly left, I don’t tend to think of the right as progressive and future-oriented, but there is definitely a push for freedom and along some lines a departure from the status quo (Uranian themes). I’m sure I’ll have further clarity on this myself as time goes on. Will existing authorities and institutions continue to be challenged? This configuration suggests so. Uranus in Taurus also speaks to revolution within finance, the economy and agriculture, so it'll be interesting to see what happens there too. (It’s also worth noting that modern astrologers consider Uranus a co-ruler of the sign of Aquarius, so there’s another layer of Aquarian energy in the mix depending on your astrological practice.)
Individually, we can each find ways to be more ourselves, embrace our personal uniqueness and freedom, to fly our freak flags, to break the mould, to blaze some trails and lean into the future and all that is new. It can be quite exciting. I also hope we can find new and novel ways to connect with, honour, support and heal each other, finding community where we may have been isolated, and hope and progress where we may have previously felt hopelessly stuck. One thing is for sure, we will need to lean into this Aquarian energy in order to get the most out of it. Utopia isn’t just going to present and anchor itself. We must participate and work together to bring about the most blessed change. And in this sense, the Aquarian themes of individual freedom and collective equality are not at all at odds with each other. Those that enjoy the most privilege and advantage - even obliviously - are not winning as a result of the oppression of others. I believe that when everyone is free, honoured and supported, everyone stands to gain so much.
What will this Aquarian expansion mean for you personally, moving forward? Join me in sacred ceremony, merriment & community on zoom on December 20th to celebrate Yule, the Winter Solstice & The Great Conjunction, and to purposefully open a new channel and vision in your heart. We'll blend Astrology with Quantum Healing, Magick and all the holiday feels. See you there :)
Brightest Aquarian blessings and grace to you & yours! Cheers to the Future and a new paradigm!