- by Debbie Allen
The September 2010 issue of the ASC e-News carried an article by Mr. Michael Roboz on the Great Opposition of Jupiter and Saturn. Mr. Roboz brought this topic to the English speaking members through his contemplation of that which was brought forth in the German SternKalendar, and a Camphill article by Hazel Straker, “The Challenge of Saturn and Jupiter Beings”. To this topic I wish to add my further thoughts on the matter and thank Mr. Roboz for first bringing this to our greater attention.
The manifestations of the Spiritual Hierarchies working together take shape before our eyes, presenting themselves as the planets traversing the Heavens leaving behind the trails of the Cosmic Script they have written, and pressing before themselves the Cosmic Script to come. As the physical Planets move about in their orbits around the Sun they come together and move apart in great rhythms; the myriad of Spiritual Beings associated with these planets are all the while directing their conversations to the Earth in our yearly orbit around the Sun. From our human earth-centered perspective this plays out in the nightly heavens as the movement of the Moon and Planets against the nightly backdrop of the Zodiac. The movement of the Sun through the Zodiac makes it appear as if the Zodiacal Constellations get swallowed up by the encroaching Sun to appear again months later in the evening resulting in the seasons of the Zodiac.
As we know from Mr. Roboz’s article, Saturn and Jupiter require 30 years and 12 years respectively to complete one revolution through the Zodiac. Although Saturn travels more slowly, it still is moving, thus Jupiter requires approximately 20 years to catch up to Saturn from one conjunction to the next conjunction. Conjunction is the term used to define when two or more planets, Sun, or Moon, are closely aligned together in their orbits relative to the earth. When a conjunction of planets is visible in the night sky it can be quite beautiful due to the rarity with which these events are visible from any given location on earth under prevailing atmospheric conditions.
At a point half-way between Conjunctions these two great planets, Jupiter and Saturn, come into Opposition. Opposition is the term used to define when planets are farthest apart from one another in their orbits. Rhythms of Opposition between Jupiter and Saturn occur also approximately every 20 years with such a scenario currently at work during this present time. We have entered a time when Jupiter and Saturn are occupying opposite sides of the Zodiac. Jupiter the planet of the karmic future (Zachariel and the Kyriotetes) is traversing the constellation of Pisces. Saturn the planet of the karmic past (Oriphiel and Thrones) is traversing the constellation of Virgo. The whole world is caught between the tensions arising out of our collective past actions, and our collective intentions for the future.
From our Earthly, geocentric perspective, Jupiter and Saturn are almost standing still in their ‘Moment of Opposition’ setting the main backdrop of the cosmic stage through which the earth is passing over the next while. The Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars travel nearly a full pass through the Zodiac bringing them first nearer to Saturn, then to Jupiter, and on towards Saturn again while Jupiter and Saturn anchor opposite sides of the Zodiac.
I would define this “Moment of Opposition” between Jupiter and Saturn as being from the first opposition on Whitsunday, May 23, 2010 to the third and last opposition on March 28, 2011, or approximately 10 months. The wider umbrella of time under which this Great Opposition is working arises and falls away from Easter 2010 to Whitsun 2011, with the three “moments of opposition” contained within that time frame.
The question might arise in the reader: “How do Planets come to opposition three times?” Due to the relative speed of the planets in their orbits, combined with our yearly motion around the Sun, the Planets appear at times to stop in space and then travel backwards for a time before stopping again to move forward. The apparent backward movement is called Retrograde Motion. The rhythms of retrograde motion happen in different locations of space, and with varying relationships to Sun, so that special spatial relationships are required for human beings to witness three moments of Opposition between Jupiter and Saturn such as we are currently witnessing. Unlike conjunctions, one cannot witness both sides of an opposition at the same time – one must witness Jupiter in the evening and Saturn in the morning. This will reverse as we approach the third opposition.
In the September article the third and final point of opposition is referenced with respect to Easter 2011. Easter, defined by the Sun crossing the Vernal Equinox in space and the appearance of the first full Moon that follows it in time, will be on April 24, 2011, almost three weeks after the last place of the Jupiter Saturn opposition, but still under its influence.
However, the final and perhaps true opposition occurs on March 28, 2011, very near Rudolf Steiner’s 85th death anniversary on March 30, 2011. This event will take place in the year of global celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s birth This is noteworthy to the occult student of Rudolf Steiner for with respect to the significance of the Great Opposition and Easter, one must ponder the significance of Rudolf Steiner to our Anthroposophical understanding of Easter.
This present Jupiter Saturn opposition is taking place along the Equinox Line with Jupiter hovering over the Vernal Equinox and Saturn hovering over the Autumnal Equinox, and each Planet, through apparent retrograde motion, crosses over and back and over their respective Equinox locations so that they may be said to be pivoting around the two points in space where the Celestial Equator meets the Ecliptic.
As an eye-witness to these planetary events, perhaps I might sufficiently acquaint the reader with the events playing out on the Heavenly stage so as to encourage you to turn your eyes skyward for the events to come.
After leaving their last place of conjunction on May 28, 2000 at 23 degrees Taurus, Jupiter travelled 10 Zodiac signs to arrive at the Vernal Equinox and Saturn travelled a little more than 4 Zodiac signs to arrive at the Autumnal Equinox in the ten years that brought them to opposition on Whitsunday May 23, 2010. By May the inner planets and much of the night viewing is already becoming limited by the Sun racing towards the Solstice and long day light hours, however in the spring of 2010 Venus, Mars, and Saturn, in that order from the West after the Sun set were visible stars near the ecliptic line that runs above the southern horizon.
Venus is the easiest of the planets to observe being the brightest visible star to appear after the Sun sets or before the Sun rises, and can rise quite high above the horizon. Saturn is currently visible above Venus in the wee morning hours in the constellation of the Virgin. Saturn, moving retrograde over the Autumnal Equinox, came into Opposition to the Sun from our Earth prospective on Sunday March 21, 2010, the day after the Sun crossed the Vernal Equinox. Thus, Saturn, at its location near the Autumnal Equinox, was at its brightest when the Sun crossed the Vernal Equinox in 2010. Saturn has since disappeared behind the Sun, re-emerged as a morning planet and is once again growing towards maximum brightest on April 3, 2011.
On May 23, 2010 the waxing full Moon and Saturn were in near conjunction high overheard in the midnight hours; Mars could be located between bright Venus in the West and Moon-Saturn high in the south.
As time progressed towards the second of the Great Oppositions we find the Planets in a very interesting line up. Once again facing south looking towards the west just after sunset (late at that time of year here in the North) on August 12, the first night of the Perseid Meteors, one would have seen the faint brief glow of Mercury close to the horizon, followed by the first sliver of the new crescent Moon, the imperceptible light of Saturn, the brighter glow of Venus and the nearly imperceptible Mars who had just recently overtaken Saturn and Venus on its way to a reunion with Jupiter. That is what some people got to witness as was reported live on the evening news from Toronto.
For those who were able to view the meteor shower they were also able to witness Jupiter rising in the east in the midnight hours through the spectacular display of Michaelic Iron. The Cosmic Display continued on through August 13 with the exact Jupiter Saturn opposition occurring on August 16th, 2010. The Sun was on its way to the Autumnal Equinox, and conjunction with Saturn (making Saturn invisible), and opposition to Jupiter. When a Planet is in opposition to the Sun, the planet shines most brightly.
That event of the Sun crossing the Autumnal Equinox is now behind us and with that event we have entered the season of Michael when the meteor showers are most prevalent. After the Perseids, the next best meteor shower viewing will be between November 3 and 13 under the Taurids (seeming to arise out of Taurus the Bull, near Orion. Meteor showers take place bi-monthly from October through the Holy Nights into January, so are visible most nights from now until after the New Year 2011. Here in the North we are experiencing a strong display of Northern Lights to go with the meteors, and the full Moon - Jupiter dance high in the southern sky.
At the time that the Sun crossed the Autumnal Equinox, the Full Moon rose in conjunction with Jupiter, both in opposition to the Sun and cradling the space on either side of the Vernal Equinox. This was significant enough to capture the attention of Astronomers. The SkyNews Astronomy magazine, in the Sept/Oct 2010 edition carried an article titled “Equinox Encounter” that was accompanied by a computer generated image of the event as follows:
This year, the full Moon officially occurs early on the morning of September 23, six hours after the autumnal equinox. So the full Moon that rises on the evening of September 22…can be called the year’s Harvest Moon. By coincidence, Jupiter reaches opposition the day before, placing both Jupiter and the Moon close together and close to the point in the sky directly opposite the Sun, marked here” (in the computer generated image) “by the location of the Earth’s invisible shadow. What’s more, all are clustered near the imaginary spot where the ecliptic crosses the celestial equator. This is the vernal, or spring, equinox position, where the Sun will sit six months from now.”
The marking of the imaginary Vernal point by the Moon (Angels) and Jupiter (Kyriotetes) embracing the invisible shadow of the Earth cast by the Earth impeding the glow of the Sun (Exusiai) is truly something to reflect upon.
Recall that on March 21, 2010 Saturn was at opposition to the Sun, and we had the very opposite scenario of this Great Opposition: Saturn at its brightest in its place near the Autumnal Equinox when the Sun crossed the Vernal Equinox, the space it will occupy again in 2011. There was no Moon with Saturn on the Vernal Equinox Day but that is precisely what happened on May 23, 2011: the Moon Angels sat with the Saturn Thrones and cradled the Autumnal Equinox. The Moon was conjunct with Saturn on May 22, 2010 on the Virgo side of the Autumnal Equinox and by the next day, May 23, 2010 the Moon had stepped across the Autumnal Equinox position to the Libra side of it.
The conjunction of the full Moon and Jupiter on September 22 and 23 was very bright and beautiful, all but obscuring the stars in their vicinity. Only Pleides and Aldebaran in the Constellation of the Bull rising in the East behind them had the audacity to remain visible. The Moon and Jupiter will continue their visible monthly encounters until the Sun steps in the way as we approach the third and final opposition of Jupiter and Saturn in this round on March 28, 2011, when Jupiter will be invisible.
I must note here that the reason were we able to witness this extraordinary Celestial event of the Moon Angels and Jupiter Kyriotetes cradling the imaginary Vernal Equinox is because Jupiter has been moving retrograde since July 23, 2010 and crossed backward over the Vernal Equinox just two weeks before the Sun crossed the Autumnal Equinox, and thereby just bracketing this imaginary place between it and the full Moon. Jupiter progressed backwards farther away from the Vernal Equinox until November 19, 2010 when it stopped, to charge forward to cross it again on January 23, 2011. Between January 10 and 12, 2011 there will be another opportunity to witness a slightly different manifestation of the Autumnal Equinox event; the Moon will be in is first quarter not full; Jupiter will be much less bright due to the approaching Sun Exusiai, but the Moon and Jupiter will still be visible.
Midway between the Autumnal Equinox we have just left behind, and the Vernal Equinox in 2011 as we approach this final opposition, lies the Winter Solstice December 21, 2010 and a Total Eclipse of the moon (see separate article).
On a physical level the movements of the planets are beautiful – but to come to a clearer understanding of the “Great Cosmic Conversations” as Mr. Roboz so rightly called them, we cannot look at this event as a stand alone event. In fact we must look at the chain of astronomical events that have occurred since Humanity crossed the threshold into the 21st century and ask ourselves “How is it that I have arrived at this place in time when the Spiritual Hierarchies are gracing the Heavens with so many rare and wondrous sights?” The scope of the discussion of these events must be limited to the activities of Jupiter and Saturn but there have been rare transits of Mercury and Venus, and other significant planetary constellations on the way to this present one.
To better understand why this one planetary alignment is significant, one needs to better understand the aspect between Saturn and Jupiter that is more often discussed: their conjunction or the Great Conjunction, as it is known. We are exactly midway between two Great Conjunctions.
As stated previously, all conjunctions between planets take place in repeated rhythms of varying durations. Owing to the great distances of their orbits, and the relative time it takes Jupiter and Saturn to traverse the Zodiac, Jupiter requires actually 19.86 years to catch up to Saturn between each conjunction.
Therefore, conjunctions happen approximately every 20 years but they do so in a formation called a trigon. In brief, the conjunctions take place in three different Zodiac signs in a 60 year period with the conjunctions occurring in signs predominantly of one element (Fire, Earth, Air, and Water, in that order, over a 200 year period. For the Conjunctions to traverse all 12 Zodiac signs a much longer period of 800 (794.4) years is required. The Grand Conjunction, particularly at a change of trigon, such as we are in now, was traditionally viewed as an indicator of social or political change, and at an Occult level, the time when one might most likely expect the birth, or appearance of an Initiate. The conjunction at the Vernal Equinox, at the beginning of a Grand Conjunction Cycle, had exceptional significance.
According to Joachim Schultz from “Movement and Rhythms of the Stars, A guide to the naked-eye observation of Sun, Moon and planets”:
The tropical revolution of the conjunctions, embracing almost eight centuries and falling into four natural subdivisions of two centuries each, was known in ancient star-lore, as well as in medieval times, as the rhythm of the Great Conjunction. An exceptional significance was attached in particular to the passage of the positions of conjunction through the vernal equinox. This point of time was reckoned as the beginning of a new eight-hundred-year conjunction-period. The last such passage took place in 1593, at the time of Kepler. Kepler himself devoted much attention to the rhythms of the meetings between Jupiter and Saturn. In the forward to his early work Mysterium Cosmographicum (1596) he describes in detail how the construction of the trigon figures of the Great Conjunction led him to the idea which became the most fundamental feature of his astronomical research during the whole of his life: proceeding from the regular geometrical figures and the Platonic solids, to discover the proportions and harmonic relationships between the sizes and separations of the different planetary orbits.
To summarize the above: A Jupiter Saturn conjunction on the Vernal Equinox was considered significant; the last such conjunction was in 1593; the Great Conjunction cycle lasts 794.4 years divided into four 200-year cycles, one cycle per element of the Zodiac: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water.
The present Great Conjunction Cycle will end approximately 2,387 A.D., or approximately 155 years after the end of the present Earthly Ruler ship by the Archai Michael; in other words, almost one third through the reign of Oriphiel the Saturn Archangel. Of the reign of Oriphiel it is said “No seed, no harvest.” What is it that needs to be planted during the Reign of Michael so that Oriphiel may harvest what is necessary for mankind? The seeds of Consciousness of the Spiritual Beings, in whose bosom we reside between death and a new life, needs to be planted in the hearts of Human Beings. Mr. Roboz took this view forward beyond the end of the Reign of the Archai Michael all the way to the future Jupiter: “Humanity needs to prepare for the next stage of earth evolution, the future ‘Jupiter’.” I agree with that; and, I might say that the Jupiter evolution is yet a long way off. The call to the Michaelites is now. Since Humanity crossed the threshold into the 21st century, Michael has been rising to the Apex of his Rulership over Humanity.
The Great Conjunction cycle that ended in 1593 began in approximately 800 AD, or the Ninth Century under the change of Planetary Rulership from Zachariel the Jupiter Archangel, to Raphael the Mercury Archangel as the Cosmic Intelligence descended to Earth.
In 2010 during the Great Opposition, at the mid-point between two Great Conjunctions, we are also at the mid-point of a Great Conjunction Cycle. The Great Conjunctions of 2000 and 2020 mark the transition in the trigons from the Earth element to the Air element at the 400 year mark within the 800 year Great Conjunction Cycle. We are truly at the middle of this great cycle.
The 2000 AD conjunction took place at 23 degrees Taurus on May 29, 2000; however, the Sun being also in the Sign of Taurus at that time of year, the conjunction took place behind the glow of the Sun from our perspective. Still, the approach to conjunction and the separation from conjunction for the outer planets yields an umbrella of time under which Earthly events proceed. In this case the binary constellation of Jupiter Saturn, traversing the Fixed Constellations of Aries and Taurus, drew together as evening stars, disappeared behind the Sun, emerged as morning stars over the time period approximately expressed as Christmas 1999 to Michaelmas 2000 after which time the Sun occulted them both and Jupiter sped towards this place in time and space which is furthest from Saturn and that we are now discussing: the Great Opposition of 2010 – 2011 and it’s significance.
The elements of significance so far outlined:
1. The opposition is taking place along the Equinox line with Jupiter crossing the Vernal Point: the Vernal Point being of significance out of the Old Mysteries; Jupiter being the Planet that symbolizes the next stage in Earthly Evolution. On September 23, 2010, hours after the Sun crossed the Autumnal Equinox, the full Moon crossed the Vernal Equinox. As the Full Moon rose, followed by Jupiter, there existed the possibility to reflect on the black space between the Moon and Jupiter as holding the mystery of the Vernal Equinox.
2. The opposition is occurring at the middle of the Great Conjunction Cycle that began in 1593 and will end approximately 2,387AD. At this time the conjunctions have entered a new trigon of 200 years until approximately 2,188 A.D.
3. The influence of this opposition lasts from Easter 2010 to Pentecost 2011. (150th Anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s birth and 86th Anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s death fall under this umbrella of time.)
To provide one way of looking at segments of history, I offer the following table of events differentiated by the sequence of the trigons of Jupiter Saturn conjunctions. The events and people I have chosen to highlight in my interpretation of history arise out of my research into Rudolf Steiner’s “Karma Cycle Lectures”, and the collection of Rudolf Steiner Lectures printed in book form as “The Archangel Michael His mission and Ours”.
In a Table (click here to view) I have summarized the relationships between Grand Conjunction Cycles, Events of Interestand/Significant People, and the Ruling Archangel.
The Appendix of the above mentioned book on the Archangel Michael contains a wonderful work by Johannes Trithemius (1462-1516) the Abbot of Sponheim: “A Treatise on the Seven Secondary Causes. i.e, Intellegences, or Spirits, who move the Spheres according to God. A Little Book or MYSTICAL CHRONOLGY Containing within a Short Compass Marvellous Secrets Worthy of Interest”. I would turn the reader to that account by the Abbot of Sponheim for a more detailed account of Earthly happenings under the changing Rulership of the Seven Archangels.
The sequence of Great Conjunctions that began at the Vernal Equinox in 1593 and inspired Kepler includes the year 1861, the year Rudolf Steiner was born, November 28, 1901, September 10, 1921, and so on up to the present. There were two eras in which the Jupiter Saturn conjunction occurred at Sun Opposition giving rise to triple conjunctions over a period of about 1 year due to the apparent retrograde motion of both Jupiter and Saturn. These two eras occurred in 1940-1941 and 1981.
The first exact conjunction in 1981 was on January 1, 1981, during the Holy Nights. The conjunction took place at 9 degrees Libra, not far from where Saturn is presently residing at 15 degrees Libra. By January 1981 the Sun had stepped aside enough to have made this Great Conjunction quite visible (had I been looking!) The second manifestation of this event happened on March 2, 1981 at 8 degrees Libra when both planets were moving retrograde. The conjunction was brightest at the second meeting for as it approached the third and finally conjunction on July 24, 1981 at 5 degrees Libra the Sun was coming into view.
So, on Mar 2, 1981, days after the 120th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s birth, Jupiter and Saturn shone brightly in the Heavens together 100 years and a bit into the Reign of Archai Michael. I would hazard a guess that this did not go unnoticed by Mr. Steven Roboz during his group meetings in Vancouver in 1981.
Since the 1981 triple Great Conjunction, the May 29, 2000 Great Conjunction was lost behind the Sun. So in essence, one might say that the Great Opposition of 2010-2011, which has three moments of opposition between Whitsun 2010 and Rudolf Steiner’s 86th death anniversary in 2011, is a window of opportunity to contemplate the next approaching Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020. One might take time to reflect on this planetary opposition that the entire world is feeling, and reeling under(Wiki Leaks comes to mind).
By March 28, 2011 the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Mars will all be descending into Jupiter’s arena, all but dimmed by the brightness of the Sun. On the other hand Saturn will be increasing in brightness up to its opposition with the Sun on April 3, 2011. On the evening of March 19, 2011 the full Moon and Saturn will be bracketing the Autumnal Equinox once again, the flip side expression of one aspect of this Great Opposition.
The last moment of opposition will take place on March 28, 2011, with Saturn at 14 degrees Libra and Jupiter at 14 degrees Aries, very near to the 86th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s death. I find it prudent to bear in mind, and reflect upon Celestial events near the time of Rudolf Steiner’s death anniversary. As time moves on the relevance of Rudolf Steiner’s birth to our times will become less and less. I say this not irreverently as Anthroposophists worldwide are making plans for celebrating the 150th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s birth. These 150th year celebrations fall 30 years, or a Saturn cycle of time, after the triple Great Conjunction in 1981. For many Anthroposophists it has been a Saturn cycle to remember and a significant time to honour the man who brought the Michael School to human beings on Earth in the form of the School of Spiritual Science.
That said, the 100th year anniversaries of Rudolf Steiner’s deeds are significant, important, and only coming into being since humanity crossed the threshold of the 21st century. For some things we have only just passed the 81st anniversaries, such as the inauguration of the School of Spiritual Science in 1924. This anniversary was celebrated in Dornach through the First International Conference on the 19 Lessons of the School of Spiritual Science held in 2005.
The influence of the Spiritual hierarchies happens whether or not we are awake to them. When we are able to be conscious of the more significant aspects of the harmonies and disharmonies of the planets then can we better chart the rough waters of life. If life has felt a little discordant lately, it has meant to. This agitation is necessary to further our development of the Consciousness Soul – to assist us in becoming more conscious.