“Whether it’s science or magic, if it’s of fun benefit, enjoy!” ~ ed.
This Winter Solstice, December 21, 2020, the planets Jupiter and Saturn will meet each other in the sky.
This “Great Conjunction” between the two largest planets in our solar system occurs every 20 years, and since ancient times has been seen by astrologers as a portent of a new age. It signifies major shifts in political and social norms.
This year’s conjunction, the first since 2000, is extra potent, however, for several reasons:
1. With only 0.1 degrees of separation between them, it is the closest the two planets will have been since 1623.
2. The conjunction will occur on the date of the (Northern Hemisphere) winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and a powerfully symbolic time in myriad cultural traditions. It represents the rebirth of the light, the point after which the days become incrementally longer.
3. The conjunction occurs at 0 degrees of the zodiac sign Aquarius.
Planetary placements at 0 degrees have additional significance in astrology, as they are considered to symbolise the beginning of a cycle where we learn to deal with a brand new energy. These placements are both brimming with potential and exuberance and filled with potential hurdles as we will be tempted to leap before we learn how to fly.
All this would be more than enough to make astrologers sit up and take notice, but there’s more to the story—a deeper and even more fundamental shift. While Great Conjunctions occur on 20-year cycles, they also operate on longer, approximately 200-year cycles, where every conjunction occurs in signs of the same element (Earth, Air, Fire, or Water).
Since 1842, Great Conjunctions have been occurring in Earth signs, with the exception of 1980, where the conjunction dipped into Air in Libra before reverting back to Earth for a final time in 2000. As Aquarius is an Air sign, this conjunction represents the final shift into the Air cycle, which will continue until 2219.
What does this mean for us?
While it won’t happen overnight, we will start to notice a shift from the energies and topics characteristic of Earth to those of Air. Earth energy is dense and tangible, associated with the accumulation of material wealth, predominantly through the extraction of natural resources and subsequent manufacturing processes. It is also associated with maintaining tradition. And if recent years have taught us anything, it is that, despite professions to the contrary, top-down governance, racism, sexism, income inequality, and social stratification very much exist and continue to shape our collective experience.
The energy associated with Air, on the contrary, is curious and fluid—focused on ideas rather than products. The shift into Air could see continued and increased focus on the accumulation of intellectual capital, broad dissemination of ideas through the internet, and the rise of collaborative, non-hierarchical structures. Aquarius is a sign that has a strong affinity for the good of the collective and a penchant for independent thinking, which may provide innovative solutions for some of the issues that plague us, from COVID-19 to high unemployment to climate change.
While the themes associated with elemental shifts tend to play out on a global scale, Great Conjunctions also affect us individually by serving as a reset and opportunity to start fresh. Astrologically, Jupiter supplies vision, and Saturn offers the structure to bring visions to fruition. Where these planets will touch in our birth chart indicates where the transformation could occur.
For instance, the last Great Conjunction in Taurus (in May 2000) took place in my first house, which is associated with identity and self-image. During that year, I graduated from high school, moved out of my parents’ house and interstate to attend university, fell in love for the first time, and even cut my hair into the super-short pixie style that was popular at the time. It definitely was a life reset—a transition to adulthood that set the tone for the next 20 years.
This year, the Great Conjunction will fall in my 10th house of career, and I have already taken steps to move away from the traditional 9-5, ladder-climbing paradigm. I am moving from a place where you define yourself by your job title to a more balanced lifestyle that emphasizes family and community and feels more intrinsically aligned to my values.
If you know your own chart, look where Taurus is positioned and reflect on whether any major shifts happened in that house around 2000 (if you were born then). Then check out where the first degree of Aquarius is located for guidance on where you may feel the impacts of the upcoming Great Conjunction.
If you don’t have familiarity with your chart, it may be worth thinking back on what stories loom over your life from 2000. Assess whether any of those are naturally coming to a conclusion now or taking a change in direction.
This year has been incredibly hard for everyone in some way, and the astrological energies have similarly been unyielding and challenging.
The Great Conjunction, however, truly represents a breath of fresh air (pun intended). It gives us a chance to dislodge some blockages and peer with excitement over the precipice.
It’s the hope of a new and much-awaited tomorrow.