I first encountered the late, great mundane astrologer Charles Harvey when he gave a lecture in Glasgow in the early 1980s. At that point I was grappling with the intricacies of chart calculation (yes, folks, there was an era when we had no option but to do that manually!) and learning the basics of interpretation. I was then only dimly aware of the profound significance of planetary cycles and their bearing on our collective and personal lives.
One hour in that lecture theatre with Charles, quite simply, threw open a door for me to hitherto unknown, compelling territory where – to quote Charles quoting Plato (something he was very fond of doing) – ‘Time is the flowing image of Eternity’: with the planets in their never-ending cycles being the instruments of Time. I have never forgotten that first introduction; fascination for the timing and wisdom planetary cycles have to offer has deepened as my personal time has unfolded.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.(i) Whether the cycle is huge, like the 500 year Neptune/Pluto one, or small, like the monthly Sun/Moon one, the same basic stages apply: seeding, germinating, sprouting, flowering, ripening, harvesting, dying back in preparation for the new.
In considering the unfolding of any cycle, we can’t do better than to use the symbolic template of the monthly 29.5 days Sun/Moon cycle – easily observable in the night sky above us – to guide us in our reflections, actions, and choices.
The crescent moon, first indication that the energies of a New Moon are beginning to take form in the world, does not appear until two or three days into the cycle. As a rule of thumb, that is around one twelfth of the whole 29.5 day period.
From that first encounter with Charles’ inspiring perspective, over the years of continuing to work with clients’ and students’ horoscopes as well as my own, I became increasingly fascinated with the developmental significance of the first and final twelfths of any cycle (equivalent to the waxing and waning crescents): not least because of the enduring fascination over millennia and all cultures, and its significance in mathematics, of the number twelve.(ii)
(I should perhaps declare the possibility of some personal bias here, though: as well as having far too many planets in the twelfth house, I was born in number twelve of the street in which my parents lived at the time!)
I slowly began to notice that the ending/balsamic/twelfth house phase of an old cycle seemed to carry clues – seeds – in an individual’s horoscope regarding what the major themes arising in the new one might be. Recently, it has occurred to me that one can apply this principle to the very much larger cycles of collective life too, something about which I am currently writing at some length.
Focusing for the moment on the opening twelfth of personal cycles, the one which ‘delivers’ most clearly is the 29/30 year Saturn cycle. I’ve seen innumerable examples over the years, of how the most significant changes which were decisively to shape someone’s life thereafter, appeared more clearly in the two or three years post Saturn Return, than in the year of the Return itself.(iii)
In my own case, I changed career, becoming an unqualified social worker on my Saturn Return. In the subsequent two to three years I qualified in my new profession, met my future husband – and began seriously to investigate astrology.
I had a bafflingly accurate horoscope reading in my late twenties following a chance encounter in a launderette in Bath, Somerset during the twelfth house phase of my first Saturn cycle: this shook my scepticism (based on the usual ignorance) to the core, sowing seeds of which I was then completely unaware which would later grow into a career of nearly forty years’ duration.
My previous column mused on the conundrum in which we are currently held this year, metaphorically speaking: the new Saturn/Pluto cycle which will force us to re-define how we live as a human collective has only just begun.
But two Jupiter/Saturn cycles – one of twenty years, the other of over two hundred years concluding the Jupiter/Saturn series through the Earth Element since 1803 – have yet to end, with a dramatic flourish at the winter solstice of 2020.
The 2000 to 2020 final Jupiter/Saturn cycle in Earth can be seen as the twelfth house phase of the long cyclic journey which began in 1803, as the Industrial Revolution started gaining the momentum which has totally transformed how we live on Planet Earth.
The first significant event of that 2000/2020 cycle, which took place at the ‘crescent moon’ stage, can be seen as 9/11, the terrorist attack taking down New York’s Twin Towers on 11 September 2001 which has resulted in a hugely disruptive re-ordering of geo-political structures right across the globe.
The other major world-changer which began to accelerate from 2000 has been the massive rise of a computer and smartphone-expedited inter-connected world.
Ever since Saturn moved into Aquarius in late March 2020, and lockdown has spread to varying degrees across the map in our collective struggle to contain the covid 19 epidemic, we have seen the seeds of a new world order emerge with the massive rise and spread of internet platforms such as Zoom.
It’s a very difficult time to be a human – and the best break the planet has ever had from our increasingly destructive activities.
I’m finding it useful to regard the first twenty year Jupiter/Saturn cycle in Air from Winter Solstice 2020 to Hallowe’en 2040 ( WHO chose those dates?!) as the emerging ‘crescent moon’ phase of a very long cycling of Jupiter/Saturn through the Air element.
This suggests the need for us as a human community to learn patience and humility in the face of the regulating planetary cycles which have been symbolically pointing out two very significant things to which we should be paying close attention.
One, we have come to the end of a whole way of living on Planet Earth which has become increasingly unsustainable by any of the creatures inhabiting it. Two, it is going to take us at least the next twenty years, realistically, to re-shape our world into a new order which hopefully will be an improvement.
This will be led by an emerging generation of young folks whose ideals, on the whole, seem to be more collective and environmentally responsible than the materialistic baby-boomers of my generation whose race is almost run…
i) The Bible: Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 Verse 1 King James Version (KJV)
iii) For an in-depth article related to this topic, see “Shadow Transits – A Hidden Forecasting Tool” by Frank Clifford: https://www.astro.com/astrology/tma_article150504_e.htm
(This post is a slightly edited version of my 29th Not the Astrology Column featured in the July/August 2020 Issue of the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver.)
1150 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2020
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