Saturn will commence its transit through the sign of Libra from 29 October 2009 to 7 April 2010, and then again from 21 July 2010 through to 5 October 2012.
At any time in history certain events occur which capture the essence of some astrological transit of the time. The essence of the time, like the secrets of the perfumers’ art, is inevitably a complex blend of ingredients that takes some subtlety to discern. (See Dustin Hoffman’s character in the movie Poison.)
Yet here we are attempting to discern the occurrence and effect of just one of these ingredients of the essence of the time – the transit of Saturn through the sign of Libra – the only inanimate sign in the ‘circle of animals’, the sign depicted by the Scales, representing the concept of balance.
To begin, we must know what ingredients we are looking for. Saturn, the figure of the senex, the wise old man, the law-maker, the ruler (as opposed to the King), the administrator or the authority and upholder of the Law is going through his ‘Libran phase’. This period, lasting a total of around two and a half years, is characterised by a greater sense of ‘balance’, meaning fairness, equality, justice and the redressing of injustice. However, lest we begin to hope for another Golden Age of fair dealing let us remember this is only one strand of the perfume we might detect.
So how does an old man, a lifelong upholder of the rules, an authority figure, a bringer of the Law (such as Moses in the Old Testament) take to the concept of fairness? Not as you might imagine, and not all that easily. He is more likely to remind you of your responsibility to treat others fairly and give you a speeding ticket if you’ve broken the rules and disregarded your fellow human beings – perhaps less viciously than he might under the influence of Scorpio, but nevertheless in proportion to your transgression. ‘In proportion’ is a good Libran term, and proportion implies fair measurement. So the good news is that he is not really vindictive at this stage of his cycle, but still not inclined to mercy.
We can see a benevolent side to Saturn in Libra through the establishment of various treaties in the past, such as the Washington Treaty of 1921 between USA, the British Empire, France and Japan to respect each others’ rights over insular possessions in the Pacific; the Rapallo Treaty of 1922 between Germany and Russia which lead to the resumption of diplomatic and trade relations; and the Treaty of Friendship between Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia in 1953.
In contrast, the beginning the process of unification of the USSR in December 1922, and the approval of the Constitution of the USSR on 6 July 1923 came as the bloody Russian civil war which claimed an estimated 15 million lives was grinding to a halt, having exhausted the resources of the entire country. It was symbolically an appropriate time for a new government (‘administration’, ‘structure’, ‘government’ are all connected to Saturn) to attempt to halt the destruction and restore some sense of equilibrium or balance (another Libran term) to the devastated country and peoples.
Other events of note include the British Empire Conference of 1923 which recognised the right of Dominions to make treaties with foreign powers; and the founding of Interpol, (also in 1923) the international police coordination body, at a conference in Vienna.
The cooperation theme is also captured in the first-ever ascent of Mt Everest by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing in 1953, although this event also featured four planets in the sign of Gemini in the week leading up to this historic achievement, highlighting the partnership that made the final ascent.
Of course, Libra is not the only sign promoting cooperation, and treaties are constantly being negotiated and signed because countries need allies in various ways and for various reasons: some military, some economic.
Nor does Libra guarantee cooperation, as the rioting between Hindus and Muslims in Delhi in 1924 demonstrated. Often there is a drive to be aggressive as a way to bring a situation back into balance, if the scales have tipped too far to one side. The Korean War was largely fought in the early 1950s during Saturn’s transit through Libra, though it began shortly before this time.
In October 1952 Iran broke diplomatic relations with Britain over an oil dispute. Here we saw Saturn in Libra conjunct Neptune (symbolically connected with oil) squared by (at odds with) Uranus in Cancer, the sentiment of which could be interpreted as ‘We don’t like what you’re trying to do with our oil and we’re going to do our own thing.’
Also in 1952 the USA exploded the first hydrogen bomb in the Pacific, under the equally challenging and confronting transits of Mars (the God of War) linking in to the above configuration.
The invasion of Iran by Iraq in 1980 occurred on the first day of Saturn’s transit of Libra. The Falklands War from April to June 1982 also occurred during the extra-long seven and a half-month transit of Mars through Libra.
So we are beginning to see that Saturn alone will not carry the day if other powerful transits arise, though it brings possibilities for cooperation. One of these was the launch of IBM’s personal computers using MS-DOS, a partnership that was to make Bill Gates the richest man in the world.
As Libra is the only sign depicted by an inanimate object (the Scales) rather than a living creature, it was also fitting that Japan’s leading newspaper, in September 1980, was produced by the use of new technology ‘untouched by human hands’. Saturn here became the structure that allowed this: the machine, the organisation, just as the wheels within wheels, the ‘party machine’ can ultimately determine the course of a country’s direction. Here also Saturn takes on the guise of the recorder of history (the publisher of the ‘news’) whereby humanity’s achievements are documented for future generations.
And what of the next transit of Saturn through Libra? First Saturn opposes Uranus in September 2009, April 2010 and July 2010, highlighting issues of corporate and government responsibility (for example for the environment or our place in it, such as the debates in Victoria, Australia, around the building code in bushfire-prone areas) versus the rights of the individual to do what they like. Of course this extends clearly to current concerns over climate change and what we ought to do about it, and how much we as individuals ultimately will have to pay in the long term. This theme has been particularly highlighted for a few years now.
Next we have three exact square aspects of Saturn in Libra to Pluto in Capricorn in November 2009, February 2010 and August 2010, essentially a year in which this transit is active. Here we can expect further structural (government) intervention in the economy in the interests of ‘balancing’ the economic boat so that it doesn’t rock too hard.
With another long transit of Mars through the sign of Leo from mid October 2009 to early June 2010 we may be in for another half year of exuberance and buoyant optimism, with the feeling that the worst of the global financial crisis is behind us. Whether it is or not only time will tell. For a while the optimists may be in the majority, which is usually not a bad thing as long as they pay their bills in the end.
© Rainer Rollfink, 2009