I’ve been talking for a while now about the importance of the Jupiter/Saturn/Pluto transits that will be occurring this year. These transits are significant on many levels and are a big deal, so I wanted to take the opportunity to flesh out some of the deeper themes behind them. It is a highly significant transit, not only for where in the zodiac it is occurring but also because some astrologers think this type of conjunction, on the Capricorn/Aquarius cusp, has not taken place for at least 2,000 years. This means it is more challenging for astrologers to get a feel for the potential outcome of this conjunction, as we have nothing in recorded history to compare it with.
As I’ve said previously, these transits are taking place in the last (known as critical) degrees of Capricorn. When planets are on the cusp, or, to put it more directly, the same planet/s straddle two neighbouring signs, their influences show aspects of both signs in play – in this case Capricorn and Aquarius. Capricorn rules finances, resource management, empires, control, time (it is ruled by Saturn) and Aquarius rules ingenuity, technology, chaos, revolution, sudden occurrences, so we can see this is where the power of the conjunction is going to manifest. As these big planets move from Capricorn into Aquarius it heralds, I would argue, the end of one type of financial outlook and the beginning of another that could be freer, more egalitarian and less hierarchical. It also suggests less abuses through money will take place.
If we look back through the myths we can see that in both Greek and Norse tradition there is a prominent tale of a god facing a giant sea snake of some kind and through its defeat they achieve some kind of prominent position or significant trophy. In the Greek myth, Zeus becomes leader of the gods and in the Norse myth, Thor wins the biggest known mead cauldron from Tyr’s stepfather, Hymir. Zeus has to battle the sea monster Typhon and overcome it, while Thor inadvertently pulls the Midgard serpent, Jormangdr, from the sea whilst fishing with Hymir. Pluto, ruler of the Underworld, is in charge of things coming up from the deep and, given the murky influence of Neptune in my last reading, a sea monster is most appropriate for a current situation. In this article, I’ll be concentrating on the Zeus/Chronos/Typhon myth.
Every so often, the hero has to undergo an event that will test him to his very limits. This is not just about physical strength and fortitude, which undoubtedly help, but being willing and able to confront what the monster represents – in other words, courage.
Jupiter/Saturn/Pluto in conjunction brings to mind the myth of the dawn of the gods. Chronos, in this tale, is an established patriarchal figure. He rules the cosmos with his Titan army and has devoured his children, seeing them as a potential threat to his order. There are many layers to this myth but from an astrological level it signifies the planets have congregated under his rule, which we can see as they are in Capricorn. Capricorn is a very much maligned and, I would argue, misunderstood sign, probably because we no longer have a deep enough understanding of how different cycles of time work and fit together. Saturn, with his approximately 30-year cycle, signifies generational time, and a “year” for him is the time it takes to go from one generation to the next. It is no coincidence that he presides over the Northern festival of Yule (Jul is an old Norse word for wheel), which celebrates the turning of the year. Nor is it a coincidence that he is associated with the god Janus and his month of January. He is not just looking back at the old year and down towards the next, but also the young and old in each person – essentially, he is a figure of wisdom and regeneration, and continuation of that wisdom. This is why his month is associated with Santa Claus, the infant Jesus, Dionysus, Herne and Gwyn ap Nudd, all of whom are associated with either age and wisdom, youthful hope or fertility, potency and strength of the land.
To me, the planets congregating in Capricorn represent Chronos eating his children. In this regard, Chronos represents a pressurised vessel, a crucible which ensures the necessary change will occur. This necessary change, or evolution, usually presents itself in the guise of adversity, which is where the phrase “opportunity often comes disguised as a loss” comes from. I do not mean to be flippant about adversity. It can be hard, degrading and there is a real risk of losing the self in some way, altogether. What the myths teach us is that through skill, wisdom and knowledge, it can be overcome and we can integrate its lessons more quickly and easily than we can with secular knowledge, which seems to try to avoid adversity altogether. This is anti-nature. Adversity, in the guise of Chronos, is a necessary foe for us to realise our true potential through (which is why Saturn’s transits are often associated with life challenges).
Zeus is aided firstly by his mother Rhea, who helps him escape Chronos’s clutches, and then by his first wife, Metis, the goddess of prudence, who helps him overthrow Chronos. Metis’s name comes from the proto-Indo-European root “me”, the root of the word to measure. In this instance, Metis knew through knowledge (tricking him into taking a vomit-inducing herb) and waiting for the right time, Chronos would have to vomit out his children eventually. Metis keeps the tempo, the rhythm and knows Chronos cannot stop time or hold on to the planets for ever. For the rest of the year Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter form a stellium in late Capricorn. By the end of the year, on the winter solstice, they will have moved into Aquarius (and they will also make a significant trine to the Pleiades, which I will write an article about nearer the time).
After Zeus has defeated Chronos, he banishes the Titans to the depths of the Underworld, Tartarus. In revenge for this, Gaia creates Typhon – a terrible sea monster that lurches up from the deep to kill Zeus and his siblings. Typhon represents Pluto and, in this context, Neptune too (Neptune represents the collective subconscious and, here, the manipulation of our emotions into fear and despair). He not only represents the remnants of the old order but our collective emotional fear and suffering. Typhon is the shadow. He shows the true face of what is left. Zeus and his siblings have to band together to overthrow him and restore the cosmic balance – but this time in a different way. In this way, Chronos can be re-born as the young and virile Dionysus.
The planet Jupiter, signified by Zeus, represents the forces of growth and evolution. Jupiter is another poorly understood planet as it is often portrayed solely as some sort of bumbling, careless influence. Each element, beginning with Aries, evolves as it progresses through the zodiac. Mars, as the ruler of Aries, represents ignition, passion, the first burst of flame. It is the desire to come into manifestation. Leo, ruled by the Sun, is the life-force and Jupiter is the desire to evolve (which eventually necessitates a return to the Martian energy of conception). This is why the Jupiterian instinct is to be optimistic, to forge ahead, come what may, do or die, for better or worse – it has to, to ensure its continuation (don’t forget that Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, occurs during the darkest month of the year). All planets have a healing and positive side, as well as a destructive and negative side.
So, at this point in the tale/zodiac, Typhon is representing the surfacing of many past abuses, corruption and evil. His mighty strength and fearsomeness show how embedded those abuses are. He is the last gasp of a decaying structure that is angry that its charges (us) have escaped and are wanting to grow and evolve by questioning things and searching for wisdom. Zeus has to confront this monster before he can take his rightful place as leader of the gods. He has to prove his worth. Similarly, we as a collective have to confront this. It is very typical for astrologers et al to advocate “looking within”, etc, during times of great change, and there is great truth to this because we are microcosms of the Universe. However, it seems to me that this time the battle is “out there”, we have to confront and acknowledge the corruption and degradation that has been operating all around us, unheeded for many years now. It is only through this confrontation and acknowledgment that we will take the throne of Olympus.
This is what the Jupiter/Saturn/Pluto conjunction is about. The desire for growth (Jupiter) and the old order (Saturn) wanting to hold us back as it fears loss of control (Pluto). This change is necessary. Our desire to grow, to evolve, is hard-won and we must prove we really want this. Gaia accepts Typhon’s death and the overthrowing of the old peacefully, and gets on with allowing Olympus to reign. These two will be battling all of this year, until the winter solstice, so we need to become accustomed to these two energies duking it out throughout 2020.
On a more mundane level, the Saturn/Jupiter conjunction occurs roughly every 20 years, which traditionally was when a young man came of age. This is what we are experiencing now on a much grander level. Pushing past our fear of adversity is part of this. Life on Earth is not supposed to be idyllic, it has to be hard and difficult in places, we have to confront the corrupt and uncomfortable, that is how we develop virtue and wisdom – that is how we evolve. Sometimes it can take years or even lifetimes to integrate a particular hardship. The life of the soul does not operate on the same timescale as life on Earth. It is Zeus’s contact with this death force, with Typhon (Pluto) and the prospect of his own death, that pushes him towards living and winning.
In shamanic cultures, it is thought that we have to be brought as close as is possible to the death force for the life force to be stimulated in us, so that transformation and evolution can come. It is part of the natural way. We have to remember this, we have to remember all of this. The current decline of the West in all its forms is part of a bigger, natural cycle so that it can be reinvigorated and evolve. This is necessary. The gods have never abandoned us – ever. They know all we experience is part of a grander, bigger cycle, one that is beyond our ordinary comprehension. What we are experiencing is a necessary death so that transformation and regeneration can occur. This is where astrology can help us, as it allows us to contemplate these cycles of time and how they all fit together.
So, during these turbulent times it serves us well to look to Zeus for inspiration. Only he can lead us out of this. We have to be bold and brave, and focus on what enables us, individually and collectively, to evolve and thrive. That is how we defeat Typhon and that is how Chronos can become Dionysus once again.Become a Patron!