Neptune Square Saturn 2016

This is a multi-part astrosophical perspective on a significant starry configuration throughout 2016: Saturn in a square relation (90 degree angle) to Neptune in the thematic context of the square of Jupiter and Saturn this year as we approach their Great Conjunction in 2020.  Each part was posted on Facebook over the period of one month.

PART I(posted 9/1/2016)

This Saturn relation to Neptune is the most significant aspect of Saturn until it meets Pluto in early 2020 leading up to the Great Conjunction in December 2020. Saturn has had three recent exact squares with Neptune (Nov, 2015; June, 2016, and Sept, 2016) but due to their slow movements, this essential square relationship extends over the entire year. An understanding of the cosmic gestures as reflections of divine being is a living complex process, so this configuration will be explored in the context of history as well as spiritual science, through the work of Rudolf Steiner and Willi Sucher. Various posts have been done over the year, (see, that have discussed related themes.

PART II (posted 9/5/2016)

To start, tomorrow, September 2,  the Sun will be opposite Neptune, both in the Moon nodes (today the Moon conjuncts the Sun, a new Moon, and in the moon node, a partial eclipse). This opposition of Sun to Neptune in the Lunar Nodes forms a T square, meaning at right angles to Saturn and Mars together in Scorpion at the bottom of the T. This is a mighty imagination to contemplate. The Sun in Lion (see 8/2/2016 post is a picture of the ”Spiritual I” in the constellation of the heart. Now it comes to stand looking across to Neptune in Waterman, with the enhanced quality of both being in the Lunar Nodes (the Moon Nodes are open doors from the cosmic realm into the earthly realm, see previous Facebook post 2/28/16). Opposite constellations are uniquely related to each other. The sphere of Neptune will be explored in a following post, but based on the research of Willi Sucher, this sphere is currently associated with one of the three “spirit sheaths” of aura of the human being: the Life Spirit. This sphere if not developed by humanity currently serves Anti-Life, or Ahriman's goals to bind humanity to matter. Over the next days, human beings can take up through the Spirit I, the great question of Neptune in Waterman. Will humanity rise towards the goals of the 6th Cultural Age to find our common humanity, our shared life? Or will the forces of Ahriman garner success in further separating humanity from this goal through the lies of materialism and the fear it fosters. Essential to a new astrosophy is the understanding that the “stars are silent now”, however they await human beings who rise through spiritual cognition to “speak to the stars” as co-participants in the spiritual evolution of the Earth.

PART II (posted 9/5/2016)

The previous post of September 1st introduced the square relation between Saturn and Neptune occurring over this year and connected it to the T square aspect which was formed with the Sun opposite Neptune, both in the lunar nodes, with Mars and Saturn at the bottom of the T on September 2nd.  

In this post, we look at this Saturn/Neptune biography from one perspective in order to come to a deeper understanding of howhumanity can consciously meet these star gestures. This relationshipbiography began with the last conjunction of these two planets and playsitself out during their cycle of square-opposition-square, culminatingin the next conjunction.  In a new star wisdom, it is necessary to enterwith our thinking into cycles of time.  Just as an event in humanrelationships makes no sense out of the context of that full relationship in time, so an angular aspect between planets makes nosense outside the context of the biography of that particularrelationship. We must begin to think of Beings living in time when wethink of the stars and planets, not material bodies in space in angular relationships. A true penetration into meaning cannot be possible only with analytical brain bound mathematical and mechanical thinking, for that will only give us theobservable data, but not take us into the deeper revelation of these spheres of being.

The current square relationship occurring three times over this year must be seen as an expression of the life of this particular 36 year relationship. The synodic cycle (meaning from conjunction to conjunction) of Saturn and Neptune is about 36 years.  The original conjunction (or one could say conference meeting) between Saturn and Neptune for this cycle was in 1989, when the intent of this relationship cycle was birthed. This is of course taken up from the previous cycle, just as all cycles of time pick up the threads of previous themes. That conjunction was threefold, occurring in March, June and November, 1989. The following first (or opening) square occurred during 1998, followed by the opposition during 2006, and now the closing square which will then lead to the culmination of this cycle and the birth of a new cycle in 2026. In effect, it’s one long continuous 36-year relationship punctuated by four periods of acute activation, each over one year. During that year, the relevant aspect will be exact three times―so, the current square was exact on November 26, 2015; again on June 18, 2016; and again on September 10th. In the previous post, I mentioned that this Saturn/Neptune biography was also deeply connected to the Great Conjunction of 2020. This is due to the fact that the conjunction of Saturn and Neptune in 1989 coincides with a great opposition of Jupiter and Saturn. Thus, Jupiter was opposite both Saturn and Neptune during their conjunction. This opposition of 1989/90 is the opposition that is the herald of the Great Conjunction of 2020.

To understand the nature of this relationship as well as the approaching 2020 Great Conjunction, we can look first at what happened in the world during these dates as a kind of phenomenology of the spiritual nature of this conjunction and the coming Great Conjunction. This spiritual nature is complex, but in the next post we will go a bit more into that. For this post, we look at world events in 1989 as the historical theme unfolding. What was happening in 1989?

• Perhaps the most significant event was in November, 1989: The Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Empire rapidly collapsed with the official dissolution of the USSR by 1991.

• In China, the famous student uprising for freedom at Tiananmen Square was quelled by government troops, shooting into the crowds as they did so. The photo of the lone protester in front of the tank was a central image of this year.

• Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, died. He was responsible for the fatwa (a call for death) against novelist Salman Rushdie, which ruptured relations with the countries of the European community. He also created the theocratic government which based legislation on shari’a (Islamic law), which is still the ruling government ideology.

• The first World Wide Web server was developed.

In a famous analysis of that year, Francis Fukuyama, a well known American scholar, published an essay about 1989 titled "The End of History." His central point was that:: "What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." (from 1989: The Year That Defined Today’s World, by the editors of TIME magazine)

Also interesting to look back at historical events during the previous conjunction of Saturn and Neptune in 1953 to see a theme which evolves over the cycles.

• East Berliners riot against Communist rule and for re-unification

• Death of Stalin.

• Rosenbergs executed in USA: the peak of McCarthyism

• Castro starts his rebellion in Cuba

• The Shah of Iran is brought back to rule Iran after the US and Great Britain orchestrate the overthrow of the elected government.

The square and opposition years could now be further explored to see the emergence of this Neptune and Saturn cycle.  What is happening now, in 2016, that might reflect an evolution in these themes particularly in a square quality, meaning challenges and working out differences in world karma? And most importantly, how can human beings become conscious of these themes in order to unite with the evolutionary world forces rather than the anti-forces? What themes emerge in 2016? Perhaps the US election and the issues around the choices in USA; Brexit and European unity; relations with Russia/Putin; the re-opening of relations with Cuba by US; Islamic issues in the world. What will culminate in 2026, six years after the Great Conjunction in 2020?

Part III (posted 9/26/16)

In the previous post, we explored the historical events occurring around the time of the conjunction of Saturn and Neptune in 1989 as a way to understand the theme of this conjunction biography now being played out in the second of two squares formed during the 36 years of this conjunction timeline.

In this post, we take a further look at the history of Neptune/Saturn and its relation to current events. We begin by looking at the "birth" of Neptune in human consciousness, meaning its discovery at Michaelmas, 1846, in Berlin.

Neptune's existence was calculated mathematically about one year before it was actually sighted in a telescope which used those mathematical calculations to locate it. This discovery of Neptune was a sensational moment for 19th century science as it confirmed Newton's theory of gravitation.  It was the first planet to be "discovered" through intellectual calculation before actual physical sighting.  The terms "calculation",  "intellect", and "gravitational forces" which are central to the nature of this discovery, already give some insight into the nature of Neptune, just in the manner that it entered human consciousness. 

Of great significance for this series about Neptune and Saturn is the fact that at its discovery in 1846, Neptune was conjunct Saturn.  So the entering of Neptune into humanity consciousness occurred when Saturn was there conjunct with Neptune. Therefore the series of Saturn/Neptune conjunctions are all deeply related to world karma and the fundamental nature of Neptune. What was happening in the world around this time of Neptune's discovery?  A full analysis is beyond the scope of this post, however two key points are important to communicate.  

In the natural sciences, the 1840’s marked the beginnings of the discovery of electromagnetism and the inventions developing radio and telephone.  In 1840 American Charles Grafton Page passed an electric current through a coil of wire placed between the poles of a horseshoe magnet and observed a ringing sound in the magnet. The idea of a telephone was developed as early as 1844. By 1860 Johann Philipp Reis made a functioning electromagnetic device that could transmit musical notes. He called it a telefon. The ongoing history of Neptune conjunct Saturn would exhibit further developments in the field of electro-magnetism.

In the philosophical/political realm, in 1843 Karl Marx began developing his theory of dialectical materialism, in which, working together with Max Engels, he would unfold a purely materialistic interpretation of human nature.  The Communist Manifesto was first published on February 21, 1848.  

The history ofSaturn/Neptune conjunctions is itself a study in relation to developments of this world view, historically expressed in Russia and Communism:

  • 1846 - Discovery of Neptune when conjunct Saturn: development of dialectical materialism and publication of The Communist Manifesto
  • 1882 - Czar Alexander II was assassinated and revolutionaries called for rebellion.  The Czarist regime, to keep control, instituted the notorious May Laws which diverted the rebellion by scapegoating the Jews, leading to mass persecution and emigration from Russia. One third of the Jewish population was killed in pogroms or emigrated.  But two thirds remained and became a force against Czarist Russia. 
  • 1917 -  The Russian Revolution
  • 1953 - Riots in East Berlin against communist rule.  Peak of McCarthyism in USA and execution of the Rosenbergs
  • 1989 - The start of the current conjunction biography cycle of Neptune and Saturn: The fall of Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Heralded around the world as a turning point in time; the "end of history" as known in post-war ideological struggles.
  • 2026 - ?

What are relevant themes in 2016 with this final square relation of Saturn and Neptune in preparation for the culmination of the 1989 cycle and start of a new cycle in 2026? Two recent news items are of interest in following this thread. 

  1. Politico news organization recently wrote about the "unraveling of the post-1989 world order" of globalization and universalization of western democracy.  (see previous article from 1989,  in which a news article heralded the year as "the end of History", the end of the cold war and the transition to the new age of globalization and of western democracy).  Now there are increasing signs of nationalism in the USA (re Donald Trump); Brexit and the rumblings across Europe on nationalism; Russian aggression in Crimea and Putin's new assertion of power are just some examples.  
  2. A recent news special on US television titled "The New Cold War" elaborated the build up in show of force with nuclear weaponry on both sides.  The USA flew B52 war planes on a mission over the north pole which has not been done since the Cold War. Just a few other examples of news reports state: the buildup of NATO forces on Russia's borders is reminiscent of a Cold War-era conflict which brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation; "Putin’s Military Buildup in the Baltic Stokes Invasion Fears".

Over this year, we have experienced a square relation between Saturn and Jupiter preparing for the 2020 Great Conjunction, a significant historical moment.   The square relationship of Neptune and Saturn over the entire year carries the memory of their conjunction of 1989, as well as the heritage of these conjunctions since 1846...all in preparation for the next conjunction in 2026.  As mentioned at the start of this article, Neptune was discovered at Michaelmas conjunct Saturn.  Thus its birth into humanity's consciousness coincides with the time of Michael.

What does all this tell us of the spiritual question now of Neptune in Waterman and its square relation to Saturn in the heart of Scorpion?  The spiritual nature of Neptune and its relation to the goals of Ahriman or the goals of the 6th Cultural Age will be explored in the next final part of this series.

Part IV (posted on Facebook, 10/4.2016)

This post will conclude a four part series on the Neptune-Saturn square relationship over 2016. In this post, we shall look at the spiritual nature of these spheres from the work of Willi Sucher. In previous posts we have explored the histories of the relationship of Saturn and Neptune from its discovery in 1846 and historical events/themes as one phenomenological  tool for understanding. 

As presented in previous posts, the sphere of Saturn carries the great cosmic memory of the divine plan for humanity from the very beginnings on Ancient Saturn,  insuring the past is remembered and reconciled/fulfilled in the present and future.  This line of history in Saturn is deeply related to both individual and world karma as an unfolding of the past into the present with the aim of achieving the great divine plan for the Earth.  

Neptune’s relationship to Saturn reflects how this karmic plan is or is not being fulfilled by humanity in its free struggle to unfold the higher human capacities and achieve its evolutionary goals.  Neptune is a “newcomer” in human consciousness to the cosmic family of planets.  Rudolf Steiner refers to it as follows:  Uranus and Neptune came from beyond and joined themselves to it (the planetary system). As antiquity did not discover Uranus and Neptune, Saturn was taken to be the outermost planet and it is still justifiable today to go as far as Saturn. Astrologers still have an inkling of these things for they connect Uranus and Neptune only with those human qualities which transcend the personal, make a man a genius, go beyond the individual personal element — where he is concerned with things that no longer have to do with his personal development. (Pluto had not been discovered in Steiner’s time, but the same can hold true for this new planetary sphere of activity.)

In Willi Sucher’s pioneering work in astrosophy and his collaboration with Dr. Elisabeth Vreede, he came to the conclusion that these outer planets, though not incorporated into the personal destiny and biology of human being as are the classical planets -- Saturn down through the Moon --  they are however connected with super-personal processes in humanity and the struggles around these in which individuals participate.  He wrote that they are now brought into human evolution and can be connected to “ ‘stumbling events’, or revolutions” as reflections of great evolutionary challenges.  These challenges are related to the striving of humanity to unfold the higher faculties reflected in the ego’s transformation of the astral, etheric and ultimately, the physical body.  These higher members of humanity are yet only seed potential, however they can now be developed due to the Christ impulse in the Earth and the new capacity of the human I.  These higher members are auric sheathes, not incorporated into the human body, the personal, but rather “around” the human form so to speak.  Because they stand “outside” of Saturn, one could say that they belong more to the realm of freedom than necessity.  They belong more to these times when humanity can work out of the ego in freedom to develop Spirit Self, the transformed astral, Life Spirit, the transformed etheric, and Spirit Human, the transformed physical.  This transformation begins now on the path of spirit knowing through the development of Imagination (transformation of thinking from abstract concepts to picture consciousness);  Inspiration (transformation of the middle rhythmic realm of life, which becomes hearing spiritual speech of divine beings); and Intution (transformation of the will, which becomes knowing union with divine beings).  

In Neptune “we would find the spirit home of the Life-Spirit, or Budhi, our 6th principle; it is…the focus around which everything will collect that we will be able to create through the transformation of our ether, or life body and that will in the dim future blossom forth into the 6th principle. We find a brief description of it in Rudolf Steiner’s Theosophy together with a picture of the Sixth Region (or sphere) of Spiritland.”   (Willi Sucher)

However, this development of humanity into the future is met with great opposition by those beings who have another plan.  For this post, we focus on the goals of Ahriman as the counter pole to the Life Spirit.  He is anti-Life.  The opposite pole of the sphere of Neptune, comes into the sub-sphere of Ahrimanic activity, to that which would turn all life into a machine and bind the human being to matter.  (Another aspect to Neptune which we will not go into in this post is its relation to the tone ether and to electromagnetism,  the fallen ether, which was discovered and worked with around the time of the discovery of Neptune.) Thus, just as the higher element of Neptune if consciously taken up by humanity, would lead to the new working with the life/etheric realm and the development of the Life Spirit, so the fallen Neptune under Ahriman would completely bind humanity to his materialistic/mechanistic world goal.  Rudolf Steiner describes the path of humanity without spiritual science as leading to the “chaos of materialism”.

In the lectures Lucifer and Ahriman (November, 1919) Steiner describes four primary preparations for the incarnation of Ahriman “before only a part of the third millennium..has elapsed”.   These arethe mathematical/mechanical conception of the universe of stars (cosmos as machine and human being as meaningless speck of dust);  the belief that economic and materialistic solutions will solve humanity’ssocial needs;  nationalism;  and religious fundamentalism (the narrow literal interpretation of spiritual teachings) which he specifically refers to within Christianity to prevent an awareness of the true Christ.   Much has been written about the work of Ahriman today in these realms.

The cycles of Neptune conjunct Saturn can be viewed as playing out this challenge in world karma.  As shown in the previous post, for example, these cycles are related to the development of dialectical materialism founded at the same time as the discovery of Neptune when it was conjunct Saturn.  Here  is one image of humanity defined by materialism, economics and the suppression of the individual in service of the state (bolshevism/Leninism in Russia, 1917) and  the struggle against this image and towards human freedom (the fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989). These cycles of Neptune and Saturn can be followed within this context even to the current increasing build up of tensions between Russia and the West which is now being called the "new Cold War".  Even today's news reflects this: “The US has cut off contacts with Russia on a Syrian truce, dashing hopes… Vladimir Putin suspended a six-year agreement with Washington on the reduction of military stocks of plutonium as tensions between the two countries mount.”

So in the sphere of Neptune, we find a great challenge and opportunity given by the divine world into the hands of humanity.  In the Neptune conjunction cycle with Saturn we have this challenge as it plays out in world karma.  Saturn stands like the Father Will of the World asking: Will humanity overcome the “chaos of materialism” and come to a recognition of its true spiritual nature? Will the future development of Life Spirit and the active working with the etheric realm be accomplished?  Or will Ahriman succeed in the complete mechanization and materialization of human existence?  The answer is in our hands.

Though the forces at work in the world seem overwhelming in their might, in this season of Michael, it is important to remember the power of consciousness in human beings who unite with the evolutionary world spiritual beings in the struggle for spiritual freedom.  Might is not in number.  Being conscious of this Neptune/Saturn relationship can help in our understanding of Ahriman’s goals using fear in the world economic situation,  in the rise in nationalism,  in the worsening relations between Russia and the West.  To be aware of these trends in the world and work to counter them in our own lives can help to meet the current square of Neptune and Saturn in positive ways and prepare for the next conjunction inFebruary, 2026 which follows the major Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter both conjunct Pluto throughout 2020.

Jonathan Hilton