Here in south-central Colorado, we are blessed being able to see the starry skies at night. Understanding the portents of the heavens used to be common discussion in generations past. Everyone knew the primary constellations, the zodiac and others, as well as how to tell a planet from other points of light. You might have noticed that the night sky has had strong markers this year: Mars –a reddish glow as it rises, Venus –always pointed and beautiful, plus Jupiter and Saturn dancing together most of this year. Unseen with the naked eye has been Pluto with the last two. Astronomically, the three planets are in the constellation Sagittarius while western (sidereal) astrology puts them in Capricorn. Now, in mid-November, Saturn and Jupiter are very bright to the south after the sun is fully set (west). A bright red light rising in the east is Mars. Because the Earth and the planets move with the sun through the Milky Way galaxy which is moving through space, in December Saturn and Jupiter will be visible in the southwestern sky for an hour or so after the sun sets. Mars will be bright to the south southeast. Venus rising before the sun in the morning.
Astronomy and western astrology are related but not the same. Astronomy is a visual science that uses the fixed stars and their constellations as location references, then watches the planets wander through them. In fact, the word “planet” is Greek for “wanderer.” Eastern astrology uses the same astronomical placement of planets to create a birth chart and give interpretation. Western astrology adopted a different approach for determining the placement of planets. But it’s a bit too much to explain. However, if you were born in India, your birth sign would likely be the sign before the one you currently identify with. For example, I was born on July 10th and am a Cancer by western sidereal astrology. In India, which uses tropical astrology (astronomically based), I would be a Gemini. This is said because your favorite meteorologist might on occasion mention planets to watch in the night sky. If so, he or she is referring to their astronomical location not western astrological one.
Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions have happened before. Both planets are visible to the naked eye, so when they come together (conjunction) the occurrence has always been considered a portend. Jupiter is interpreted as a gift-giver, a beneficial or benevolent influence. Saturn is associated with responsibility, causes-results, and discipline. As a result, Saturn can be viewed as an omen calling for right responsibility and no longer dismissing facts. Rectification is in order.
Astronomical locations of the planets can be calculated forward or backward in time. Using such mathematics and computer simulations, it is thought that a Jupiter-Saturn- Venus conjunction was the “star in the east” that guided the wise men to the Christ Child. Jupiter indicates royalty, blessing, good news and Saturn states authority and leadership expressed through example. It is also thought that Jupiter-Saturn were conjunct when Siddharta Gautauma was born as well. He would become the Buddha. In both cases, astrologers in the royal courts were called upon to interpret the signs. The signs declared that world-level teachers had been born, that the child would grow to manhood and provide the world with ideas and truths that help humanity rule itself with justice (Saturn) and equanimity (Jupiter).
No matter the sign the two are in, a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction calls to the heart (Jupiter) and mind (Saturn) of each of us. Saturn asks, What is real? Have you analyzed your point of view or just believe something without due investigation? What discipline, reality-check, or down-to-earth practical assessment of one’s self and choices has been made? The future will roll-out predictably according to the causative choices that one makes. Saturn’s rings report that what goes ’round comes around. Yet, Saturn’s clarity and matter-of-factness mentor us in positive steps forward that benefit all of life because life is completely interdependent.
Jupiter is the biggest planet in the solar system. It represents abundance and possibilities. Nature is an example of abundance and, as a result, all of Nature thrives. Lack is a human-made conundrum. Jupiter is gifts, blessing, benevolence, charity/generosity, and standing in the power of the good for all. Life is a vast whole, interconnected in every way. Jupiter signals the necessity of all living beings to the whole of life.
Before Christmas, both planets will advance together into the next sign of the zodiac. Western astrology states that to be Aquarius, the sign of universal ideas and visionary possibilities for humanity and the world. Neither astrology nor astronomy can wave magic wands to fix the world; that transformation lies with humanity. The great Teachers of all traditions have given us much to embody and wisdom to live by. Jesus and Buddha were revolutionary in their times. Both boldly went against established cultural norms: they included women in their inner circles, were equanimous and inclusive of all castes and races, and both stated doctrines of wisdom and compassion, insight and right action. “Love one another as I have loved you,” said Christ –a Jupiterian statement of magnanimity, the heart of every human being. Buddha said, “Be your own master. Who else could be?” –calling everyone to stand forthrightly in innate wisdom and truth of Being –Saturn’s precision and clarity.
Look to the skies, my friends.