Jupiter meets Saturn, is the glass half-full or half-empty?

When the big boys of the solar system get together, it can be a real contest.

Angela asks: “I have a Saturn/Jupiter Conjunction in the 5th house. Can you shed any light on this remarkable pairing – valid information is scarce at best!

The conjunction of Jupiter with Saturn occurs every 20 years and is in consideration not dissimlar to the conjunction of Venus with Mars, albeit writ large; while the manifestated effects are entirely different, the discomfort of blending opposed archetypes is common. It is a conjunction therefore containing the spirit of opposition at its core, and balancing is key, but this balancing act is not nearly so problematic as with Venus and Mars. These planets meet up in 200 year elemental cycles and 1980-81 saw the shift from earth to air (although the conjunction moved back into earth in 2000). Strictly speaking, neither Jupiter nor Saturn can be considered personal planets; so their combination is not always easy to apprehend subjectively, the effects are more pronounced when the conjunction is itself aspected by a personal planet. This is extremely important, a peregrine island (i.e. a Ptolemaically unaspected conjunction) of Jupiter – Saturn would be an experientially obscure impetus and you might be largely oblivious to its effects without the – dubious – benefit of major transits or directions.

This article deals most directly with the conjunction between the two, but indeed, all aspects are valid for consideration; bearing in mind that easy aspects tend to favour lower-friction exchanges, not easier ones!

One of the intriguing technical insights into the aspect is determining which planet is stronger. This is much easier to ascertain with Venus and Mars, the nature of that particular conjunction – being personal – is more readily apparent; Mars tends to coarsen Venus and unless the sign of the conjunction is very sympathetic to Venus, thus primarily Libra, but to a lesser extent Pisces and Taurus, then Venus does rather tend to lose out. Venusian qualities are under-represented therefore and there tends to be an Arian self-interest and pushiness in the character that results. With Jupiter – Saturn, the last 200 year cycle has tended to favour Saturn. As a profitable aside, the decade after the conjunction occurs during Jupiter’s waxing phase and the decade before, Saturn’s, a phenomenon which lends some slight advantage over the waning body, but even this pattern has not served to give especial weight to Jupiter during the earth-air transition. The previous century or so has evinced this pattern:

1901 – Nov 28th, 13°59′ Capricorn, Saturn’s domicile (Walt Disney)
1921 – Sep 10th, 26°35′ Virgo, Jupiter’s fall, (Gene Roddenberry)
1940 - Aug 8th, 14°27′ Virgo (1st pass of 3) Jupiter’s fall, (Bruce Lee, John Lennon, Paddy Ashdown)
1961 - Feb 19th, 25°12′ Capricorn ,Saturn’s domicile, (Billy Ray Cyrus, Heather Locklear)
1980 - Dec 31st, 09°29′ Libra (1st pass of 3) Saturn’s exaltation, (Lleyton Hewitt, Zara Philips)
2000 - May 28th, 22°43 Taurus (ruled by Venus, thus within Saturn’s exaltation, also term, face)
2020 - Dec 21st, 00°29′ Aquarius, Saturn’s domicile (trad.)

Every conjunction over the last two centuries therefore (by my reckoning) gives distinct favour to Saturn. Perhaps this is one reason why the combination is considered a “pillar of the community” style of aspect: it provokes a tendency to seek respectability, to be considered reliable and usually gives some measure of civic stardom, since both planets lend themselves to community endeavours rather than purely personal concerns. House positions would be important as well in this matter of weighting; if in the 9th, or the 12th, then Jupiter would be strengthened, if in the 10th or 7th, Saturn would gain more power, but in most cases, Saturn would be given greater emphasis, so he would lead while Jupiter would follow. Caution and responsibility would therefore, over time, win out.

There are, naturally, a great many ‘broad’ effects of the combination because these are not especially precise instruments; I personally find Charles Carter’s remarks very useful (modified in our apprehension particularly for the astrological Zeitgeist) :

It must be considered potentially gloomy, for it occurs sometimes in maps of suicide, especially if it falls in Virgo. It distinctly favours a hard life, with privation, struggle or danger. The native essays difficult though sometimes glorious feats and may acquire fame through performances of great arduousness, either mental, physical or spiritual. It is distinctly a sign of great possibilities to be realised by hard work.”

This judgment makes a great deal of sense. For a start the combination will give the early life a distinct degree of hardship because faith and optimism are curtailed by Saturn’s hard opinions; it is an archetypal struggle between optimism and pessimism that must be balanced by life-experience; a sense of tempering (or temperance) therefore comes naturally to the consideration of the pair as a requirement for realising benefit. Clearly improvement (Jupiter) must be attained through industry (Saturn), and these considerations form the basis for Carter’s insights. For this reason I would say that Jupiter – Saturn contacts have an enormous number of potential manifestations but these are very much dependent upon age and also upon contacts to personal planets and the tenor of the nativity as whole, because neither are personal planets. They cannot therefore be directly expressed.

Other than improvement through hard-work, there can be a tendency to swing, ofttimes rather wildly, between extremes of optimism and pessimism, which at worst will manifest as inflated pessimism (Jupiter operating on Saturn) and this is a tendency that with age might be transmuted through awareness into a brand of cautious optimism, being able to carefully reach one’s goals and targets in life (Saturn operating on Jupiter).

So you can perhaps see that the Jupiter – Saturn contact is not so much a state as a process; as all the best astrology ought to be. Fundamentally it is a test of faith and belief in the bounty of the Universe and this is – in my experience – astonishingly pertinent to the combination, regardless of aspect. Earlier in life there is a feeling that the world is not safe, not giving and plentiful, but with experience comes an adjustment of expectations, a sobering down occurs, Saturn begins to do his slow, relentless work on Jupiter’s excessive optimism and gradually perspective dawns. One realises that provided one takes a responsible and sensible course, great benefits are possible.

The pessimism and gloominess inferred by Carter is also quite easy to decipher. Saturn is moralising and ‘proper’ in the extreme and Jupiter tends to exaggerate these qualities, many people with the contact strong actually struggle under the weight of their own strict moral codes, they feel weighed down by their own sense of justice and self-imposed standards. An inflated Saturn cannot be much fun and one might be considered, or even consider oneself, to be something of a wet blanket, forever putting the brakes on the more relaxed predilections of others in the environment. Jupiter exaggerates Saturn’s sense of responsibility, so this aspect makes the mother who is continually providing cautionary curbs on the childrens’ enthusiasms: “put your coat on or you’ll catch cold,” or “don’t climb on that wall, you’ll fall off and break your neck!”

Looked at in this way, it is easy to see how natives with this combination can ofte end up being pillars of their community. Quite apart from the sense of civic (Jupiter) responsibility (Saturn), Jupiter once again expands the Saturnine 10th house tenets of respectability, achievement and social standing. It also tends to increase ones conservatism, or it makes at best, a serious and committed liberal!

Getting the best out of the blend can take time, experience and a measure of good-standing

As can perhaps be deduced, Saturn needs time to temper his working materials, so it is a combination that takes patience to really kick into gear and begin paying dividends, perhaps because it takes experience to master the sense of fine judgment and timing that the aspect implies. In the dichotomy between risk and caution, there is an early difficulty with taking chances where caution is called for and with opting to play it safe when a gamble would create opportunities; this challenge is always at the heart of Jupiter – Saturn contacts and personal planets connecting with the pairing will often give a sense of how this tends to manifest. If Venus conjoins in some way, then both money and love are areas of immense early difficulty (or at least concern); the native will often tend to stick when they should twist and as a result struggle to learn good lessons. The next time that love (or an investment opportunity) comes their way they will remember the hard lesson from before and be cautious and thus lose an opportunity for happiness or profit or alternately take a wild chance (with an exclamation of “what the hell!”) on a bad bet and find themselves subsequently crushed. It takes a long time for these natives to learn how to judge each case on its own terms and this is because Jupiter overly-inflates the value of Saturn’s experience. If Mars is configured, it takes great experience before the native understands when and how to assert, and it can be a long and painful road to tread for anyone with Mars connected to this pairing, quite apart from the enervation of swinging between periods of high-energy and enthusiasm and general exhaustion and pessimism. Both Mars and Mercury with Jupiter/Saturn tends to speak too plainly when circumspection is called for, and keep its counsel when free discourse would be appreciated, until experience can be brought to bear.

Crucially though, the effects are much easier to isolate when any personal planet is configured, either by aspect or through a halfsum picture. Mars = Jupiter/Saturn will evince the aformementioned effect with regard to energy and assertion, as will Mars squaring Jupiter conjunct Saturn (which is in itself a halfsum picture as well when in tight orb of course).

On the whole though, this aspect is a good teacher, so long as neither archetype is allowed to gain the upper hand, and with time, age and (often bitter) experience, there can be a real power of application and industry applied to worthy goals with subsequent achievement. The highest realisation of the combination is the enlightened judge, the judicious optimist and having faith in one’s responsible, considered nature and ability to keep improving is key to manifesting the best potentials of the combination.

Perhaps Saint Francis of Assisi coined best the mantra for those with aspects between these distant bodies:

“Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Amen to that.

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5 comments on “Jupiter meets Saturn, is the glass half-full or half-empty?

  1. Stella says:

    Thanks for this article. I have this conjunction prominant in my chart and in asect to all personal planets bar the Sun and I’ve always wondered how to correctly interpret those aspects to my Jupiter Saturn conjunction.

    Very insighful!

  2. Ellen Longo says:

    Very thorough and enlightening explanation. Thank you. I have two questions:

    1. You say, “It is a conjunction therefore containing the spirit of opposition at its core”. I have not heard this before. Are you saying it because Jupiter and Saturn are natural opposites, or do all conjunctions contain opposition at their core? If the latter, can you say more about that?

    2.I looked up client and family charts with this conjunction as I was reading your article. Many, even most, had the conjunction across the sign line. Do you regard these as conjunctions? My first teachers said yes; more recent teacher says no.

    Thanks!

  3. lbotti says:

    Hello Jeremy,

    Once again, a great post.
    Let me just note this : I think the 1940 cunjunct was in Taurus (not in Virgo). No big deal, since it’s repeated in 2000, and it’s a detail which has no effect of the profound sense of your article.
    So Thanks for your insight ;)

    Laurent

  4. Morvah says:

    How very interesting Jeremy – synchronous also: Just this morning I discovered that both David Cameron and Nick Clegg have transiting Jupiter conjunct their natal Saturn @24 Pisces on General Election day 6th May (Cameron exact to the minute). Oddly, Gordon Brown has it conjunct his natal Venus! Whatever are we to make of this? Large responsibilities indeed!

  5. Bob says:

    Thank you for this, it’s an aspect in my chart I’m just now looking into. All you’ve said resonates deeply and is actually reassuring in a kind of way; namely, in that it confirms gut-level suspicions about my chosen course. “Gotta work, and work hard.” Like having one’s house “suddenly” be completed (after a lengthy apprenticeship of laying it down, brick by brick by brick with one’s own hands, through many seasons).

    I wonder, though, how it plays out, with my Saturn at 25 Capricorn in the 7th conjunct Jupiter at 29 Cap but in the 8th. Of course, I’ll find out. It seems a grind but there is no other grind I’d choose, and that’s just how it is, or seems to be. Still, the different house aspect is curious. If you have any thoughts I’d certainly appreciate them.

    (This conjunction, by the way, sextiles my 5th house Scorpio Mars.)

    At any rate, Jeremy, this is by far the best information I’ve come across in my two days searching. As always, you take it to a higher level. It’s truly appreciated.

    I saw somewhere, by the way, that Walt Disney has – well, had – this aspect.

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