by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The Cultural Planets – Jupiter and Saturn
The Generational Planets
Although the ancients seemed to be aware of the outer three planets (*see The Twelfth Planet, page 205 by Zecharia Sitchin), they did not use them in chart delineation. They worked with only the seven bodies: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, the seven spirits before the throne, the seven candlesticks (lights), the seven angels (heavenly bodies) of the Bible, all which could be seen from our earthly vantage point. The seven closer bodies specifically pertain to our practical, everyday, visible or conscious experience. But there is always more to experience besides just the visible. More recently, we have “discovered” three outer planets: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Notice I said discovered, not invented. There may be more, but this is more than enough to handle at this point. Repeat: I am retaining Pluto in its planetary status. These three have always been here within our system, just not consciously visible to us. Electricity existed and operated without our knowledge and still does. We did not invent electricity, we just discovered it and we are still trying to understand it. That which is invisible (unknown) resides in our unconscious. Once discovered, it becomes visible, which translates to known, and now must be included in our conscious experience. Uranus is occasionally visible under certain conditions, but was not identified as a planet for many years. Sporadic is a good Uranus keyword!
Credit: The Twelfth Planet by Zecharia Sitchin
The Cultural Planets – Jupiter and Saturn
Jupiter and Saturn refer to our cultural conditioning, overall philosophy and sense of responsibility. Jupiter’s orbit of one sign per year, and around the zodiac in 11.86 years, affects the masses. Jupiter primarily refers to the environmental and cultural philosophic overview of one year’s worth of human evolution, the principle of expansion or enlargement coupled with ritualistic or codified religious practices. Why? Jupiter is the principle of expansion that is contained within Saturn’s principle of contraction or organization. Our religious or philosophic expansion can develop only to the boundary Saturn establishes. To achieve more abstract, less rigid, spirituality, we must pass outside the boundary and structure of Saturn.
Jupiter’s contribution to evolutionary progress is quick by comparison to the orbits of the three outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Yet Jupiter’s contribution systematically develops the culture’s evolving philosophical skills in response to the cycle of evolution indicated by the slower moving bodies, Saturn through Pluto. Each outer planet contains the rest of the planetary system within its orbit of influence. Each influence acts as a theme or general influence to all contained within its individual circle (orbit), by sign progression and by stage-setting aspects, particularly to the outer planets. The outer planet sets the stage and the inner planet carries through the action.
Sign-by-sign, over a twelve-year orbital period, Jupiter offers quite a systematic pattern of cultural development. Society evolves and cultural philosophy develops with a natural flow. To me, Jupiter in a natal chart represents that cultural philosophy expressed through our family, clan and national identity. Wherever it is placed in the natal chart by sign, by house and aspect, it represents your philosophical approach as taught by your family and your developing society.
Saturn, with its incredible ring system, is the most distant planet we can see with the unassisted eye, the limits of our physical reality, or at least our perception of a limit to physical reality. Once space probes gave us a closer view, we realized that the rings around Saturn are far more structured and complex than originally thought. Scientists described one of the ring structures as a “braid” of loose rocks. Braided loose rocks?
To the ancients, Saturn represented the outer limits of the working solar system, the “Ring Pass Not” of occult literature. Metaphorically, we look at Saturn as our structural limits – how far we can expand ourselves within our own self-concept. It is our testing ground, what we can accomplish in a mundane, physical way. In order to reach into the more abstract qualities represented by the balance of our own solar system and the cosmos itself, you must prove your worthiness and that you have learned what is necessary. You are not able to pass into a greater frame of consciousness until you show that you know what you are doing with your primary lessons. Saturn is the planet of testing, but not in terms of some petty god sitting on a cloud making up idiotic tests. It is a process to determine your progress. You say, “I have mastered this.” Saturn says “Oh yeah, prove it to me!” This is how you determine if you truly have learned what you thought you did, or if you have whitewashed a problem and the problem still exists. We are allowed 29.46 years per zodiacal orbit, or 2½ years per sign.
Saturn is the wall you run into time after time as you learn and re-learn life’s lessons. It is Father Time and all the lessons we must learn about time and timing. Structure is Saturn’s domain, organization, responsibility, duty and obligation, boundaries, traditional behaviors and expectations. Saturn represents personal growth through the fulfillment of earthly obligations. The urge for self-discipline, the ability to solidify, crystallize or codify into useable form the essence of experience is Saturn’s milieu. It is the path one must take to evolve, and the price to be paid. As our outer boundary, Saturn is the giver of form, the sense of achievement with all of its ramifications. Saturn can show its effects through the more positive expression of structure. Since Saturn rules reality, its lessons tend to be painful.
Try to recognize that, although many consider this world on which we live to be “maya” or “illusion”. We are here living on and in this world and we have to deal with it. Until our level of consciousness and understanding exceeds the demands of this lifetime, this will continue to be our experience. We may use our creativity and evolution to build something better. But until we have that capacity, this is reality and we had better deal with it. We do not learn our lessons by avoiding them.
Saturn is the Lord of Karma. As you sow, so shall you reap, whether you set it in motion through action or non-action. Saturn is the teacher, the lessons to learn, the name and qualities of the teacher, and restrictions felt. People of Saturn’s sign and house position test you or act as teacher. Their job is to make that particular lesson more realistic, crystallized, defined, and clear. Saturn is the policeman, the long arm of the law. Saturn is maturity and getting old, the actual process of aging.
The Generational Planets
Bode’s Law There is order to the universe, even within our solar system. According to astronomical principles, the planets and their orbits are distributed in a mathematical progression outward from the Sun. This is known as Titius Bode’s Law. Simply put, planets are located at measurable proportional distances from the Sun, with a couple of exceptions. Counting the distance from the Earth to the Sun as one astronomical unit (1 AU), Mercury is .4 AU, Venus is .7 AU, Earth / Moon is 1 AU, Mars 1.6 AU, the asteroid belt (missing planet?) 2.8 AU, Jupiter 5.2 AU, Saturn 10 AU, Uranus 19.6 AU, next planet 38.8 AU, next planet 77.2 AU. Neptune is far too close at 30.07 AU, creating a conundrum, and Pluto is at 39.52 AU, approximately where Neptune should be. Why? For my originating information on this, read Alan Oken’s As Above, So Below, pages 243-4. Also look to the astronomy and mathematics websites for the scientific explanation.
Uranus takes 84 Earth years to complete one cycle through the zodiac, a little over the current normal human life span in the U.S., and it takes seven years to traverse a sign. How does this affect us by generation? A generation is equal to about twenty years. At seven years per sign, Uranus squares its own position in three signs of travel, or about 21 years.
- Generation gap? Stresses produced by progressive thinking as humanity collectively moves forward?
- In 42 years, Uranus opposes itself. Grandchildren? Another generation gap?
- Do you suppose you may have stumbled across one of the reasons there is such a gap?
- Remember that this gap in consciousness is normal for the progression of the human race. Evolution requires progression in human development. To stand still or to attempt to return to an earlier phase represents devolution.
Uranus rules lightning, earthquakes, explosions and surprises. Its job is to provoke, prod, and destroy outdated structure, and to look forward into the future and enlighten. Uranus makes screaming headlines. Saturn’s job is to structure. Saturn rules from the past, our knowns. Uranus pushes us toward the future, the new. What can we learn about Saturn and Uranus in transits leading or following one another?
- Saturn completes its orbit in 29.5 years.
- Uranus completes its orbit in 84 years.
- Saturn goes around two (almost three) times in one Uranus orbit.
- So Saturn can either lead or follow repeatedly in an orderly pattern.
If Uranus precedes Saturn in orbit, existing structures are blown up and then Saturn comes along to bring order out of chaos – explosion followed by structure.
- What if Saturn precedes Uranus? Structure, then explosion. WOW!
- This arrangement may take a lot longer for the possibility of re-establishing a sound structure.
- Does it sound like what has been going on recently?
- By sign progression, Uranus systematically kicks open the doors of the future; in general through the sign, in particular by outer planet aspect.
- Because Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are outside Saturn’s orbit, they are not bound by Saturn’s rules.
- Each planet successively takes us deeper, wider, farther.
- Uranus awakens us,
- Neptune lures us through our imagination and vision,
- and Pluto psychologically changes us.
- For a more personal application, look to house position and individual aspect.
Neptune takes 164.7 years per zodiacal orbit, or 13.7 years per sign, with about fourteen years of the world’s population born with a common Neptune principle. Considering how well we cooperate internationally, this must be buried deep within our subconscious. I certainly do not see it working in the external world.
I like to think of Neptune as the old image of the donkey with a stick dangling a carrot before his nose. Neptune dangles the shiny carrot of a better life, relationship, or possibility before the noses of humanity and we shuffle forward like the donkey attempting to reach the mostly unreachable prize. If we could not dream, hope, or believe, life with its harsh realities could be just too hard to take.
Neptune is our capacity to reach out for something more, something greater than we are. The cosmos opens, infinite possibilities emerge, we hope for more, and have faith in more. When positive, Neptune inspires and uplifts, bestowing the gift of the mystic and the artist, and the vision of the future. When negative, Neptune deludes, confuses, lies, builds pipe dreams. Remember, positive and negative are a combination of choice of application and perception, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. By sign progression, Neptune lures us toward a better vision, in general through the sign, in particular by outer planet aspect. For a more personal Neptune application look to house position and individual aspect.
Before we finish with Neptune, here is a generational observation. Do you not find it interesting that Uranus transits two signs in fourteen years and Neptune transits a single sign in 13.7 years? They both line right up with the hormonal free-for-all that occurs to humanity’s children around age fourteen! I swore that my four children left home and total strangers moved into their bedrooms at that age!
We all know the adage about adults going “over the hill” at age thirty. There is some real astrological reasoning why that is so.
- Uranus traverses four signs in 28 years,
- and Neptune traverses two signs in 28 years (another hormonal moment?).
- Saturn completes its full orbit in 29.5 years.
- The progressing Moon completes one full Sidereal cycle in 27 years and one full Synodic cycle in 29 years.
- Added to what is true for everyone as given would be the individual aspects that form in a personal chart. This information is true for every birth chart and progression, so all the changes encountered would make a tremendous difference in the perception and experience of a 30-year-old.
Pluto is the only planet in our solar system with an orbit inclined 17˚ to the ecliptic. All the planets orbit in approximately the same plane as the Earth, except Pluto. I read a description of the eccentricity of Pluto’s orbit as three-dimensional as compared to the orbits of the other planets. All the orbits are not quite circular in nature or elliptical, which causes reasonable equality of travel through the signs, again except for Pluto. Pluto takes 248.6 years, with 20.7 years average per sign or mean motion. There is that 20-21-year averaged cycle again. In reality, Pluto travels twelve to thirty years per sign. Despite astronomers’ demotion of Pluto to a planetoid, my 49 years of experience reading Pluto keeps it as a planet.
Also because of Pluto’s eccentricity, Pluto at times crosses inside Neptune’s orbit for about twenty years per full 164.7-year orbit. There is that generational number again, with Pluto traveling closer to the Sun and the inner planets than Neptune. Most recently, this occurred Feb 7, 1979 to Feb 11, 1999*. Pluto rules the underground, that which lives or is buried beneath the surface. Translated into human terms, the unconscious, psychological in nature. Pluto acts like a roto-rooter churning up what has been buried, digging it up, bringing it to the surface into visibility and consciousness, and forcing us to face our personal cans of worms, collectively and individually.
Pluto rules the extremes in human nature, annihilation, transformation, and regeneration. Consciousness forces the objective healing of these subjective energies. Generationally, we must unearth that which needs purging in human consciousness, and that is not particularly pretty. By sign progression, Pluto systematically purges the unconscious – in general through the sign, in particular by outer planet aspect. For a more personal application, look to house position and individual aspect.
When I originally wrote this material in August of 2001, two more small planets were discovered outside Pluto’s orbit in the Kuiper Belt, which is the inner segment of the Oort Cloud. Are they planets, escaped moons, asteroids or comets in the making? New energies to learn! In 2007, Pluto was removed from the major planetary society and relegated to dwarf planet status along with the two larger planets discovered in that same realm of space. Recent advances in far viewing have placed them as planetoids or dwarf planets. At these distances, it is difficult to know if a body is an asteroid with more dirt than ice or a comet with more ice than dirt. Dwarf planet status makes them dense in composition and larger than an asteroid.
You may see the effects of the outer planets on world evolution by watching sign ingress of the three outer planets. Start with the discovery charts:
- Uranus March 3, 1781 in England,
- Neptune September 23, 1846 in Germany,
- and Pluto February 18, 1930 at the Lowell Observatory in the USA.
Geocentric Uranus was at 24 Gemini 23, Neptune was at 25 Aquarius 53 and Pluto was at 17 Cancer 46 upon their discoveries. Neptune and Pluto were retrograde. This is the moment when the unconscious energy of an invisible, yet existing, planet became conscious. As an exercise, watch the outer planets as they progress through the signs – consciously, visibly.
- Examine Uranus for invention and breakthroughs,
- Neptune for inspiration such as music and film,
- Pluto as the psychologist / psychiatrist revealing humanity’s psychological basement. These are the unfolding processes that affect evolution.
But how do we determine the core principle of this process? Look to the planting of the seed itself!
- The seed concept is always the conjunction between the bodies (phase wheel).
- The balance of the aspects work on the seed that was planted at the conjunction (again, the phase wheel).
- In any conjunction, the outer planet anchors the concept, and the inner planet carries out the action and also informs the outer planet. Both planets are thereby changed by the experience.
Conjunctions generationally by epoch:
- Neptune / Pluto synodic cycle = 492.828 years, two cycles of Pluto, three of Neptune, half a millennia.
- Uranus / Pluto synodic cycle = 127.28 years(?), almost two cycles of Uranus, ½ cycle of Pluto, six-to-seven generations.
- Uranus / Neptune synodic cycle 171.4 years, one cycle of Neptune, two cycles of Uranus, eight generations.
Add the cultural factor to the generational factor (synodic cycles given where available).
- Jupiter takes twelve years; its base starts with twelve, then adds the time it takes to catch up to each planet, brief moments in the time patterns discussed, but a necessary part of the evolutionary process.
- Jupiter conjuncts Saturn in 19.86 years at an advance of 243˚.
- Each 198 years, 265 days, conjunctions occur in a sign of the same element.
- Every 800-960 years, the conjunction returns in Sagittarius, called the Grand Climatic conjunction, which marks supreme epochs in the history of mankind.
- The ancients considered the Saturn / Jupiter conjunction in a natal chart a “fresh start” lifetime.
- Jupiter conjunctions to Uranus at just under fourteen years. Puberty?
- Jupiter conjunctions to Neptune at just under thirteen years. Puberty?
- Jupiter conjunctions to Pluto (and do remember Pluto’s orbit is very eccentric, so time may distort) twelve-thirteen years. Puberty?
- Could these collective conjunctions contribute to hormonal fluctuations?
- Saturn takes 29 ½ years to orbit, plus the time it takes it to catch up to each outer planet.
- The Saturn / Uranus synodic cycle 45.36 years, slightly over two generations.
- Saturn / Neptune is about 36 years, which is also three Jupiter cycle returns.
- Saturn / Pluto (and again, do remember Pluto’s orbit is very eccentric, so time may distort) is 32-38 years, again close to Jupiter’s return cycle, depending upon the sign.
Weather, politics, economics, social and cultural evolution, warfare, health and disease, famines, renaissance, migration – circles within circles. We are currently governed by these conjunctions. My original research gave heliocentric positions, which are very close to geocentric positions in these longer timespans. Note that the Saturn / Neptune 2026 position is geocentric.
- Neptune / Pluto 1/1/1892 at 8 Gemini (intellect and reason), next about 2390 at 12 Gemini.
- Uranus / Neptune 4/21/1993 at 19 Capricorn (business and responsibility), next about 2165 at 7 Aquarius.
- Uranus / Pluto 1/8/1966 at 17 Virgo (work and service), next about 2110 possibly in early Aquarius.
- Saturn / Pluto 12/24/1982 at 27 Libra 16 (relating and cooperation), next 1/2020 in Capricorn. (This has already occurred for this 2022 rewrite of this chapter, in effect NOW!)
- Saturn / Neptune heliocentrically 7/18/1989 at 11 Capricorn 5 (business and responsibility) triple pass; then Feb 20, 2026 at 00 Aries (geocentrically)*. https://isarastrology.org/raymond-merriman-the-saturn-neptune-phases/#:~:text=The%20Saturn%2FNeptune%20cycle%20has,another%2C%20known%20as%20an%20aspect .
- Saturn / Uranus 6/9/1988 at 28 Sagittarius 55 (philosophy and expansion), next 7/2032 in Gemini.
Neil Michelsen’s Tables of Planetary Phenomena is a marvelous technical resource. I found incredible pieces of information with which to work.
Also, online Wikipedia encyclopedia has enormous tools for all this study.
Polaris Another, even more major cycle is at work outside our solar system, invisible unless someone points it out to you, but effective nonetheless. At present, Polaris, our north star, is our pole star. It is one of four in the approximate 26,000-year precession cycle.
- Our north pole (see it as a soda straw) is moving to its best alignment with Polaris in 2095 AD, off perfect alignment by only 26’30”, which is close to the tilt of the Earth on its axis, or less than ½ degree from exact.
- It will then slowly recede from the alignment as it begins to move towards the next pole star, which will be Alpha Cephei, thousands of years (about 6500) in the future.
- In 1990, Polaris was listed at 28 Gemini 25, moving approximately +8.2’ every ten years. The closest we can move to an exact alignment (conjunction) is 26’30”. 00 Cancer is the conjunction point, because that seems to be where it is headed, less the 26’30”,
- the critical position in 2095 is 29 Gemini 33’30”.
- Declination is 89 north.
- The 1990 position was close, only 1˚8’30” off, and getting closer every day. Our NOW! Once every roughly 26,000-year precessional cycle.
Only one period during a 6500-year precession quadrature draws in the strongest influence of the pole star. We are currently within that period. As the alignment perfects itself, the influence will grow stronger. In 2000, our alignment with Polaris moved 8.2’ closer, placing us within that 1˚ orb used by astrologers for fixed star alignments. The influence promised by Polaris is being directly funneled into our soda straw north pole now.
Do you suppose energy, magnetism, vibration, or cosmic influence by Polaris may have anything to do with the depletion of the ozone layer near the poles? Or could the alignment perhaps affect the distortion of the aurora borealis, our northern lights? Or the warming of Earth’s north and south poles and the breakup of large ice masses?
Few modern Astrologers seem to be paying attention to this 6500-year alignment. To me, this is probably the really important alignment to watch. Vivian Robeson’s Fixed Stars was my original source.
I get frequent calls from newspapers, clients, friends and other astrologers about the “new alignment of the planets”, such as the “harmonic convergence” or similar. These are truly minor in comparison to this lineup with Polaris. When the May 5, 2000 alignment with the seven inner planets in Taurus was a topic of discussion, I was puzzled why May 5th was picked, because to me May 3rd was the key date of the alignment. May of 1959 B.C. had a far tighter Taurus seven-planet conjunction, and we survived that one. Seven planets in one sign are rare. Ordinary stelliums, which are three or more planets in a single sign, are not really that rare. Random examples (this is an incomplete list) show:
June 22, 1881/seven in Taurus
May 7-8, 1940/five in Taurus
May 22-June 10, 1942/five in Gemini
July 31-August 2, 1943/five in Leo
August 15-16, 1947/six in Leo
August 5-6, 1948/five in Leo
September 22, 1952/four in Libra
June 30-July 2, 1954/five in Cancer
February 4-5, 1962/seven in Aquarius
February 8-9, 1986/five in Aquarius
August 25-26, 1987/five in Virgo
June 6, 1993/three in Capricorn
January 24-26, 2001/five in Aquarius
May 3-5, 2001/six and seven in Taurus
May 23-25, 2001/five in Gemini
I previously mentioned the time when the astrological world was buzzing with several planets at 17˚ of anything. It was supposed to produce some phenomenal result. Nothing happened. I could look at 17˚ as a numerologist. I could look up symbolic degrees in various reference texts (multiple signs). I would not, however, predict dire or earth-shattering events, especially if such astronomical phenomena occurred with any regularity. Astrologers traditionally use material that has been handed down from antiquity, material that has proven or disproven its worthiness over the ages. New research proven by additional research and researchers is what brings new valid material, not sensationalism or egotism.
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