Saturn and Jupiter conjunctions

Gordon Brennan
Gordon Brennan

by Gordon Brennan

Saturn and Jupiter are the two largest planets in our solar system after the Sun. Their conjunction every 20 years is a major event for humanity. Each conjunction happens in the signs of one element, for example air signs, followed by the next element, in that case water signs, nearly 250 years later.

A long cycle of approximately 900 years is divided into four periods of Saturn/Jupiter conjunctions in the order of the elements in the zodiac, i.e. fire, earth, air, water. In terms of human society this follows the development of the four Purusharthas or purposes of human existence: Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. These four cover the entire human experience.

First comes Dharma or duty and righteousness, to be able to fulfil which men and women come into the world with a certain Punya or merit, which they have already earned. This merit also enables them to acquire for themselves the Artha or means to succeed in the world, after which they are entitled to Kama, the legitimate enjoyment of that success.Finally, having realised that all of the worldly things are temporary and give no permanent satisfaction, they feel the need again for the eternal and seek for the truth or for enlightenment.

In the Zodiac each Purushartha is also divided into 3 stages, represented by the three qualities of the Signs: Rajas (movement), Tamas (dullness) and Sattva (purity), or in other words, in this respect, youth, maturity and old age.

In this combination of 4 elements and 3 qualities Saturn represents the division into 4 – he represents Brahma, the creator, who has 4 faces; he also represents the positive strength as well as the negative qualities of the four angles of the chart. Jupiter represents Sadashiva or Vamana, the destroyer of the demon Bali; whose three steps cover the entire creation; he also represents the auspiciousness as well as the dynamic qualities of the three trines. Saturn is also Kurma, the support of the turning solar system. The combination of their energies in the order of fire and Rajas, earth and Tamas, air and Sattva, water and Rajas or Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and so on, is ruled over by the Sun, who is the lord of the 12 signs of the zodiac.

Each conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter takes place in the next but one trine or the next but one quality of the signs just described; so for example the sequence in the fire or Dharma signs: Aries, Sagittarius, Leo and back to Aries, jumping 9 signs each time. Then after a little less than a quarter of a millennium the fire sign conjunctions change to the next element, earth or Artha signs, i.e. Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo etc.

The time taken for one cycle of twelve signs is a little less than 3000 years. This consists of 3 cycles of about 900 years each. Each 200-250 years a new Jupiter-Saturn cycle will begin, starting with one of the twelve signs of the zodiac. The periods of Sandhi or conjunctions moving from one element to another within these ages are periods of major changes in human society. The periods when the conjunctions are repeating in the signs of a single element likewise are times of more stability. The periods of gradual change take many years.

The current change from Fire to Earth element started in 1921

There was a Saturn/Jupiter conjunction at the beginning of Virgo. But then it reverted in 1940 to a triple conjunction in fiery Aries, energising the warring tendencies of that era. After that the conjunctions began again in the early parts of the Earth signs, but in 2000 a final fire sign conjunction happened, again in Aries at 28 degrees 51 minutes, as shown below.

The chart for 2000 (28/5/2000 at 17.08 BST or 18.08 GMT) has a powerful Kala Sarpa Yoga (all of the planets moving towards Rahu and following Ketu, leaving half of the chart unoccupied: a very unbalanced situation). Not only is the fire energy of the conjunction increased in the Navamsa, but also the Sun, Rahu and Ketu are all Vargottama.

Rahu has been in Cancer in several significant 20th century solar eclipses and Rahu Mars in Leo in the Navamsha indicates explosive events to come. Note also that Rahu and Mars are in Nakshatra Sandhi positions – on the borders of Nakshatras, which makes their combination in the Navamsa chart – both at the precise division of Cancer and Leo – very powerful indeed.

This chart will have a considerable effect. It is a very powerful fire conjunction at the very end of the fire cycle. Great upheaval took place after the 1940 conjunction, so we can expect another such upheaval – but of a quite different manifestation due to the different positions of all of the planets and the fact that we have moved further into the earth cycle.


Timing of events is commonly done by Vimshottari Dasha

This works very well with mundane charts. The forces acting at any time during the effect of this conjunction can be seen by the use of Vimshottari Dasha. The Dasha in New York at the time of ‘9/11’ for example was Saturn/ Sun/ Sun/ Mars. In the chart above, which has a fiery Leo Lagna, Taurus has both lagna lord Sun and 9th lord Mars, both having digbala, with their energy increased by the proximity of 10th lord Venus in its own sign in the tenth house – a situation full of the most powerful yogas, not the least of which is the further increase of power from the ‘scissors’ yoga made by the Saturn Jupiter conjunction in Aries and Mercury in its own sign.

The role of America in the world is going to be dramatic to say the least for the period of 2000-2020 when the next conjunction happens. Of course the conjunction will affect the whole world, so there will major events all over, but Leo lagna applies within the American continent here. The same charts – with a very small variation in the lagna – apply to Washington DC, so this can be taken to generally represent the USA as well.

Every time has the character of the element, which the Saturn/Jupiter conjunctions are taking place in. The charts of the conjunctions show how this is happening and the Lagnas show how each part of the world is affected. Today, after a very fiery time of major discoveries in science, technological innovation and new intellectual life we are coming to a time when the concern for common humanity and for the environment, characteristics of the earth period, are becoming more and more a matter of urgency to everyone.

The fire period was ushered in during the 18th century time known as the Age of Enlightenment, which had followed on from a water period of great expression of religious devotion, itself inspired by the previous air period, which had culminated, as far as Europe was concerned, in the Florentine Renaissance.

In every field of human life the element earth is now becoming more important

Organisations that care for the Earth have started in the 20th century, many with apparently little chance of success at the outset, but they are very resilient and are still here: there are green movements, peace movements, conservation movements and environmental movements.

Some examples of these are the Green Party, the Ban the Bomb movement, the Ecology Party, the Body Shop, Greenpeace, Shelter, the United Nations, UNESCO and thousands upon thousands of other such bodies devoted to caring for the Earth and its inhabitants. James Lovelock introduced the concept of ‘Gaia’, a living Earth, to the public in the 1960s, and E F Schumacher brought economics down to earth with ‘Small is Beautiful’ as a counter to the dreamy macro-economic theories of the time.

Famous individuals have sprung into prominence in the 20th century to carry out specific tasks in this change of elements, defined by the movement of Saturn and Jupiter conjunctions from fire into earth signs. For example, Mahatma Gandhi and other proponents of non-violence, such as pacifist movements or lately animal rights movements.

Another example is Albert Einstein, whose theory of relativity and vision of peaceful nuclear development to supply the energy needs of humanity was used by the warring nations to produce the atomic bomb, which Einstein fought against. In the field of economics there is the example of Monnet and others, whose 1930s vision created the EEC, to prevent war between neighbouring countries by tying them to each other’s fortunes.

In the USA, one of the last great expressions of the fire element is the presidency of George Bush, who is widely seen as a militarist, anti-environmentalist and close friend of the more aggressive self-serving elements in the oil industry. In general most oil comes from the underdeveloped East and flows to the overdeveloped West. But the East is developing economically now and it will need the oil, which the West has to a large extent used up already.

This change of elements is seen in the colours of the elements

Green is the colour of Mercury and he is the lord of the earth element. Mars period ruled the Fire period, when armies, dressed in red or brightly coloured uniforms, marched into battle to the sound of the drum. Everyone was judged then on their honour or their uprightness or their standards or their brilliance or even just the colour of their skin.

That has given way to a period of recovery, when everyone will be valued for being simply human. Armies are now all dressed in earthy coloured camouflage, standards are not adhered to in society and colour or racial discrimination has been outlawed, but earthy or low or even bestial behaviour by individuals is on the increase. This is the negative side of the Earth element and should be guarded against.

In 100-150 years time however there will be a new inspiration or air period, when great new ideas will inspire mankind and another 200 or 250 years after that there will be a new expression of religious ideals, which will take humanity into the Age of Aquarius.

In our time, like the rebirth of the plants in the spring, a new growth of human society will spring up after the devastation caused by the fire element. Already the brilliant fiery classical music of the fire period has been pushed into a corner by the loud earthy rhythm of rock groups. The formal structure of poetry has been replaced by self-expression without such rules. Art has lost its expression through classical structure, as largely has architecture. The new elements in humanity are uniting to overthrow the old tyrants of the fire period. We are entering a period of rejection of old forms and of care for the planet.


Oil represents the combination of Fire and Earth and is the defining moment, the 20th century fulcrum, around which the change from Fire to Earth has been happening. As the earth period develops the reliance on oil will diminish. It has after all almost all been extracted in this 20th century period of destructive exploitation of the Earth’s resources. Today the main users of oil are starting to envisage major expenditure to develop non-oil based means of power and transport.

The final powerful expression of the fire period is however yet to come. This should begin very soon.

Gordon Brennan

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