- The New (00º to 45º),
- Crescent (45º to 90º),
- First Quarter (90º to 135º),
- Gibbous (135º to 180º),
- Full (180º to 225º),
- Disseminating (225º to 270º),
- Last Quarter (270º to 315º) and
- Balsamic (315º to 360º or 00º).
Each phase expresses a specific meaning. For example, the Crescent phase is the overcoming obstacles portion of the cycle while the First Quarter phase is when the organizing begins after overcoming obstacles. Another interesting phase is the Balsamic phase, the last phase, where all seems quiet but everything is beginning and not yet seen.
Synodic cycles are the conjunction of two planets, excluding the Moon and the Sun. Their lengths vary markedly and they can be tracked using the same template we use for the lunation cycle.For example,
- The Mars/Jupiter cycle takes only 2.24 years before Mars and Jupiter conjunct again to start a new cycle.
- The conjunction of Neptune/Pluto takes approximately 493 years to return to the initial conjunction.
In any of the synodic conjunctions, one planet always transits faster than the other. There are two approaches to synodic cycles. With the first, the faster of the two planets in the conjunction and its path around the synodic template is focused on, and the second considers the two planets in the synodic cycle as they are in transit to transit to each other. The primary method I use focuses on the faster of the two planets involved in the synodic conjunction and observing its movement through the eight-phase lunation cycle in relation to the original conjunction.
The 45-year Saturn/Uranus Synodic Cycle
Using this concept, let us explore one of the longer cycles, the Saturn/Uranus synodic cycle. This cycle takes 45-years to complete before a new cycle begins. Saturn is the faster of the two planets, so it transits the eight phases before Uranus. In the case of Saturn/Uranus, Saturn returns to the original Saturn/Uranus position at around the 29.5-year Saturn return cycle but then travels through three or four more of the lunation phases in the original conjunction template before the next Saturn/Uranus conjunction begins again.
The return of Saturn to the original position usually brings matters of approximately the last thirty years to a head, matters that are indicative of the energies of Saturn/Uranus.
This return reveals both the weaknesses as well as the strengths that developed since the cycle began, offering an opportunity to make right what has gone wrong, or at least explore areas that one previously had no prior experience of that may now present challenges. When the return occurs, it requires a practical approach to both the problems and benefits that arose prior to the return, those issues rearing their head during the Balsamic phase. The remaining time that Saturn is activating this cycle is an opportunity to rectify issues. Saturn is notorious for cleaning up problems and unleashing karmic paybacks.
- The Saturn/Uranus synodic cycle occurring prior to the one in which we find ourselves now was on May 3, 1942, at 29º Taurus 20’.
- The current one occurred on February 12, 1988, at 29º Sagittarius 55’.
- The next one is June 28, 2032, at 28° Gemini 01’ and will be exactly opposite the current 1988 cycle.
The 1942 Saturn/Uranus Conjunction
In the USA chart (July 4, 1776, 5:10 PM, Philadelphia, PA–see Sibly chart; click on chart to enlarge), this Saturn/Uranus conjunction took place in the country’s sixth house, the house of labor, systems, factories, workers, and food reserves.
Radical changes occurred in the USA during this time to move the cause forward. Most of the male population went to war and out of expediency, the stay at home wife and mother could no longer stay at home because she was needed to work in the factories. The iconic image of ‘Rosie the Riveter’[i] became a national emblem.
As the war ended in 1945, and troops came home by the numbers, the need for jobs (sixth house) and gainful employment increased. As transit Saturn moved from the Crescent Phase, July 6, 1945, right before the war ended to September 13, 1948, when it entered the First Quarter Phase, the population known as Baby Boomers grew exponentially.
The Interstate Highway system began expanding during the 1950s, a time when transit Saturn was leaving the First Quarter Square relationship to the original conjunction and moving into the Gibbous Phase. Since Uranus rules the third house of communications and transport systems in the USA chart, the radical idea of implementing an interstate highway system was encouraged by the growing population. Americans took to these highways and the era of the big flashy cars began.
Going back to the Saturn/Uranus conjunction of 1897, this took place at 27º Scorpio 39’. If the first house of a nation signifies its identity and its people, the earlier 1897 alignment occurred in the 12th house of the nation. The twelfth house can be isolating but is also the part of a chart where ideas are conceived, then born in the first house. In many ways, the twelfth house is the ‘Balsamic’ house of the chart. The twelfth house can also be the house of those disenfranchised, which was true during the Great Depression of the 1930s while the 1897 Saturn/Uranus was still in effect. That generation first experienced the newly developed telephones, party lines allowing only one user at a time.
The subsequent development and commercialization of radio, a Uranian device (Uranus rules large groups of people and communication networks), was used very effectively during the Great Depression and during World War II by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, an Aquarius. He used the radio technology as a new communication device for his famous fireside chats, which began on March 12, 1933, when transiting Saturn traveled (for the second and final time) through the later part of the Crescent Phase of the prior 1897 cycle. On May 14, 1934, transit Saturn entered the First Quarter Phase again and stayed there until the next 1942 conjunction.
Synchronistically, television was in development as early as 1897, starting with a German scientist, Karl Braun, and his Cathode Ray. Exactly 30 years later, as Saturn crossed over the 1897 Saturn/Uranus conjunction, Philo Farnsworth, an American inventor, transmitted a television image of 60 horizontal lines creating a dollar bill. This occurred in 1927. Two years later, as Saturn transited the 1897 New Phase again, a Russian inventor, Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, improved the Cathode Ray tube but called it the Kinescope. Zworykin was one of the first to demonstrate a television system, featuring the then modern picture tubes. Shortly before the Saturn return to the 1897 conjunction, in 1927, Zworykin filed a patent disclosure for color television picture tubes. Both radio and television were intertwining during these two cycles.
Moving through the Phases
The first Saturday morning children’s shows began in the First Quarter Phase of transit Saturn to the original 1942 conjunction, in 1950. In 1952, the first closed captions began. At the end of 1953, as transit Saturn entered the Gibbous Phase, the first commercial broadcasting RCA color television system appeared. As transit Saturn entered the Full Moon Phase, in 1956, the first remote control was produced by Zenith. The precursors to the current flat screen television designs can be traced as far back as 1964, as transit Saturn entered the Last Quarter Phase to the 1942 conjunction. The first Plasma display was developed by Donald Bitzer, Gene Slottow, and Robert Wilson.
This rapidly growing cycle with its great influences was mirrored in thought by Marshall McLuhan’s book, Understanding Media: The Extension of Man,[ii] published in 1964. His insightful work explored ‘medium’ as a vehicle through which we change our social contexts and that any new medium is the vehicle that creates highways of thought and change. That same book was reissued in 1994, thirty years after the Last Quarter Phase. McLuhan’s ideas and some of his terms like ‘the global village’ are still used today. The influence of communication mediums is explored further in my upcoming book, Pushing through Time, in the chapter on Uranus/Neptune.
The Saturn/Uranus Conjuction of 1988
Fast forward to the next Saturn/Uranus conjunction of February 12, 1988, at 29º Sagittarius 55’ (see illustration), and those born near, during, or after this Saturn/Uranus conjunction. Staying with the theme of medium and mass communications, this next generation grew up with technological advances and interactive learning tools and toys. The era of knobs or dials turning things on and off has been replaced with voice-activated advances.
The 29° Sagittarius 55’ is a critical degree because it is just a few moments away from cardinal 00º Capricorn 00’ and just past the Galactic Center, which is located somewhere between the point of the arrow of Sagittarius and the heart of the Scorpion, the home of the fixed star, Antares.
This is an intense and critical degree. When slower planets pass through this degree time seems to accelerate, things happen at lightning speed, leaving one disoriented. The 1988 Saturn/Uranus conjunction was in the first house of the USA chart. Again, the first house of a country’s chart represents the general state of the citizens and their identity issues.
Returning to the topic of highways and communications, with Saturn ruling the second house and Uranus ruling the third house the theme of highways is present. Rather than paved highways that were connecting people physically in post-World War II, the Saturn/Uranus conjunction of 1988 showed a new type of highway, the new virtual information highway. This moved society’s access to information from the traditional vehicles conveying information into an entirely new universe of possibilities.
By the early 1990s, the personal computer was already in the works but cell phones were just beginning to transmute from large hulking blocks to the present day slim, portable, magic wands, such as the Android or iPhone. The international community (Sagittarius) is connected now more than ever, offering both challenges and benefits.
The process has not been without a struggle. As transit Saturn moves through the various phases of the current Saturn/Uranus cycle it activates the original 1988 conjunction, whether it moves through it for the first time or the second time; since Saturn/Uranus is a 45-year cycle, Saturn, the faster of the two planets, will return again to conjunct Uranus and continue for three to four more phases before the next Saturn/Uranus conjunction.
Between March 20, 1992, and April 6, 1996, Saturn traveled through the Crescent Phase for the first time.
The Crescent Phase is a very difficult portion of the cycle because it requires exploration and discovery to see if the idea or concept is at all viable.
Many tech companies began during this time such as AOL, one of the first commercial web browsers. During the entire time that Saturn was moving in opposition to the original Synodic Cycle (29° Sag 55’), many of the technologies collapsed, making way for faster-emerging technologies. A multitude of dot-coms were bubbling but some bubbles popped, starting on March 10, 2000, when NASDAQ peaked at 5,132.51 and declined through 2003. Coincidentally, during this cycle, in March 2000, transit Saturn was forming a square with transit Uranus and transit Jupiter and transit Neptune were in square on March 16, 2000.
There are two ways to explore the synodic cycles:
First, the faster of the two planets in the conjunction and its path around the template is focused on, and the second is considering the two planets in the synodic cycle as they are in transit to transit to each other.
Often, the transit to transit of each to the other comes first, setting the stage for when the faster of the two planets involved is in hard aspect to the original configuration. When you have a pile-up of alignments, as in the example of the dot-com failures occurring, events are triggered like dominoes falling.
The lack of attention to customer service became a key factor in the failure of early dot-com businesses. Customer service was a cornerstone of business success during 1942’s synodic conjunction of Saturn/Uranus in the USA sixth house (Taurus). Customer service was a foreign concept to the early adapters of modern technology. As virtual businesses grew exponentially, customer service was sorely lacking. Growth was occurring at such a rapid pace that one of the basic tenets of a successful business, the customer service, was neglected. This lack encouraged the failure of many dot-com businesses. As Saturn transited the Balsamic Phase of the 1988 Saturn/Uranus conjunction, customer service was reconsidered and improved.
As the cycle continued, innovative ideas arose out of the need to communicate on a far larger scale. Facebook premiered in early 2004, just after the opposition of transiting Saturn to the original Saturn/Uranus conjunction of 1988. This period launched the idea of social, job and matchmaking networks. Other networks, such as cable networks, which became deregulated in the early 1980s, moved to more affordable access during the First Quarter Phase of Saturn to the original Saturn/Uranus conjunction, from 1996 to 1999.
As the opposition began, the cost of services increased considerably, compounded by the add-ons, such as high-definition and various options for commercial free cable TV. This incited the move to Internet television and streaming. Many people, particularly the Millennials, started a revolution by disconnecting from landlines and television lines, depending solely on streaming for their information wherever and whenever they wished.
Moving to Now
Saturn recently hit the original 29º Sagittarius 55’ on December 18, 2017. Massive digitization and access face new threats. Issues surrounding privacy, data collection, and the fact that hacking became an international issue threatens private citizens and their governments. Revelations of these events are in the daily news. In the very recent news it was suggested that North Korea was indeed responsible for the WannaCry virus that wreaked havoc in the spring of 2017, as Saturn was close to the Saturn/Uranus conjunction of 1988.
Saturn’s return to the original Saturn/Uranus conjunction of 1988 starts as a New Moon phase. As the transit begins again, issues unknown in the previous part of the cycle are revealed. The genie (Uranus) jumps out of the bottle.
Edward Snowden, during his own Saturn return, in June 2013, exposed the National Security Agency (NSA) for the hacking of private citizens. This occurred as transit Saturn entered the Balsamic Phase of the current 29º Sagittarius 55’ cycle. Until Snowden brought this information to light, most of us had no idea Big Brother was watching, and listening. The jury is still out on whether Snowden was a Light Bearer or, in his Promethean attempt to notify the world, a Traitor. Regardless, we now know this happens, is still happening and will continue to happen.
It would not be surprising that during this return of Saturn to the Saturn/Uranus conjunction of 1988 that there will be more news regarding Edward Snowden. Other examples began in the transit of Saturn through the Balsamic phase of the Saturn/Uranus of 1988 as in the news of the 2016 hacking of records belonging to the Democratic National Headquarters. This further exposed the fact that nations can spy on other nations. This is not in the spirit of transparency but an abject invasion of privacy. The most obvious concern is the securing of information or the reverse, the exposure of private information.
In terms of the information highways, international terrorist organizations are far more sophisticated than are given credit and will use this vehicle to gain headway unless someone with foresight gains headway and uses it first for counter-intelligence. Since Saturn influences re-organization in business, these challenges offer opportunities for brand new industries before the next conjunction in 2032, at 28º Gemini 01’.
As Saturn moves past the 1988 conjunction of 29º Sagittarius 55’ and continues through the First Quarter Square of the 1988 cycle, before this next Synodic Cycle, opportunities for solutions are more feasible as we now have the experience of the first leg of the cycle. The second leg offers further insight and more clarity. The hope is that we find solutions with Saturn traversing the latter part of the Saturn/ Uranus cycle from 2018 to 2032.
A comment on Net Neutrality
Since 1988, the World Wide Web has evolved due to the growing number of personal computers, the need to connect virtually, and the desire to freely express views (Sagittarius) to a global community. Increased demand for a faster and more readily available means of connecting for business and personal use has advanced the internet to be a necessary part of everyday life. However, the current threat from the recent vote against Net Neutrality by the FCC occurred as transiting Saturn returned precisely to the Saturn/Uranus conjunction of 1988, at 29º Sagittarius 55’.
The problems arising from this vote against Net Neutrality are yet to be resolved. The next Saturn/Uranus synodic cycle does not conjunct again until 2032, at 28º Gemini, leaving no question that a small information revolution is coming.
This is compounded by the fact that transiting Saturn also returned to the December 11, 2007 Jupiter/Pluto conjunction at 29º Sagittarius 23’. This cycle began just prior to the Obama administration, when the news arose regarding Net Neutrality. This move by the FCC has triggered an Internet revolution by the public clamoring for a fair and just Internet in competition with the fees imposed on by larger overinflated corporations. An Internet revolution for a Free Internet, which was always the intention of the originators, occurs as Saturn begins its last leg of the cycle between now and 2032. Those changes will come from the new technologies that will eliminate the middlemen, perhaps in the newly developing Blockchain technologies, which do just that.
Author Georgia Stathis, an international astrological lecturer, former Kepler faculty member and current chair of the newly formed Alexandria iBase Library Project (www.alexibase.org) can be reached through her website at www.starcycles.com. Stathis first explored synodic cycles in the late 1980s using the lunation cycle with the Jupiter/Saturn cycle to indicate career cycles in her book, Business Astrology 101: Weaving the Web between Business and Myth, which was released in 2000.
[i] Geraldine Hoff Doyle, the model for the iconic Rosie the Riveter, was born on July 31,1924 in Inkster, Michigan. She worked in a metal factory in Ann Arbor, Michigan at 17 years of age. A visiting United Press International photographer was at the factory taking pictures. Her image was used by artist J. Howard Miller for the “We Can Do It” poster, released during World War II. That image was later highlighted in Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post cover in 1943. She died in 2010 at the age of 86.
[ii] Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: the extensions of man, McGraw Hill, New York, NY, 1964