Major Conjunctions in History

By Gordon Brennan

Certain periods stand out in history as times of great change.   They are accompanied by great planetary conjunctions.  The most famous are Jupiter-Saturn Conjunctions.

Occasionally there are double or triple conjunctions, most famously in recent times the triple Saturn-Jupiter conjunction in 1940/41 and in the past in 6BC about the time of the birth of Christ.

At certain times also all of the planets come to station together in one sign.  This is an extremely rare event and signifies a very definite change in direction of the life of mankind.  It can be a sign of a great renaissance.  As such they are times of great spiritual change.

Although the periods are not very easy to define it can be said that there are periods of about 900-1000 years at the end of which there are very significant changes.  Also, at about halfway through these periods there can also be great changes.

Approximately every 500 years then there are great changes in the world.

Some examples of these are:-


1 – 60AD


1020 – 1080


2020  –   ?  AD

These are very approximate timings.

Of course not a great deal is known of the period of 500BC, but if you consider the first period then the following names – the inspiration of much of the modern world were all living near to the same time.

Confucius and Lao Tse – the inspiration of the Chinese form of Buddhism with Buddha some time earlier.

The first Shankara, who drove Buddhism out of India and re-established the tradition of Advaita.  The modern date for this is in the first half of the 8th Century, but there seem to be two eras mixed up together.

The Golden age of Greece – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, and the poets Aescylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes.  Pythagoras a little earlier.

The founding of the Roman Republic.

The rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem.

The Celts spread rapidly into Europe and the British Isles at this time.

End of Babylonian empire – Cyrus of Persia and then Darius the Great.

There was also a great revival of Art in Egypt.

Then 500 years on –

Greece has just lost its independence and its influence has been completely expelled from the India conquered by Alexander, and then from the Afghan world.

Egypt becomes a mere province of Rome.

In Rome Octavian re-establishes the power or Rome after civil war and is given the title Emperor Augustus – the power of Rome begins to grow again after many years of decline.

Persecution of the Jews – leading to destruction of the Jewish State.

Many more civil wars are raging in Europe and the Middle and Far East

In the middle of all this Jesus Christ is born to sow the seeds for the Age of Pisces.

500 years later, there is again a need for a renaissance. 

There are violent forces opposing each other and also great philosophers, who re-establish spiritual traditions.

Boethius – the great Christian mystic.

Benedict – who founded the Benedictine order of monks at the abbey of Montecassino.

King Arthur of the Britons is said to have established Britain.  He is believed to have died in 537.

Clovis first Catholic king of France

St. David takes Christianity to Wales in 550

Not long after in 563 St. Columba brings Christianity to Iona.

Later in 597 St. Augustine establishes Christianity to England.

The power of Rome in the West has come to an end but in 527 Justinian restores the power in Constantinople, the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire.  He is the last Latin-speaking Roman Emperor.  The Byzantine Empire will endure for over 900 years.

Justinian’s rule is extended far and wide in a period of constant civil unrest by his army under great generals, the most famous of whom is Belisarius.  Justinian rules with a rod of iron.  The Vandal Kingdom is annihilated.  In Constantinople Belisarius puts down riots – 30,000 killed.  Carthage in North Africa recaptured.  All over Italy war rages and Justinian’s forces fight the Gothic wars.

There is first peace and then war between the Persian and Byzantine empires.  Egypt becomes part of the Byzantine Empire.  Even part of Spain is annexed.

In 529 Justinian officially shuts down the famous universities in Athens, established at the time of Plato and Aristotle.  This is seen by some today as the archetypal victory of ignorance over knowledge.  Nothing can oppose the law.  This principle runs right through European legislation today.

But a great artistic movement begins to flourish under his reign.  The great church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is rebuilt after an earthquake.  By subterfuge Justinian ends the monopoly by the Chinese and Persians of the silk trade.

The Persian wars end in 532 – accession of Chosroes I – greatest of the Sassanid Monarchs.   In India the Gupta Empire collapses.  The Hunas are defeated.

In China there is civil war.  The Wei Empire splits into two halves.

It is not surprising that a great planetary conjunction appears at this time.

In 531AD all of the planets are in Gemini, the major players within a very few degrees. 

And in approximately 535, according to modern scientific research, was the greatest earthquake before our times.  It is suggested that at that time Sumatra and Java split into two islands, creating the Sunda Strait.

All over the world, including Europe, there was famine.  Tree ring examinations show severe stunting of growth from the Far East to North and South America, suggesting failure of crops and famines lasting years.

There are written records saying that the Sun did not shine properly for 18 months due to the dense clouds obscuring its light.  There were droughts lasting up to 30 years.

The Chinese emperor ceased tax collections because the peasants had nothing to give.  Cannibalism occurred over large areas.  Following this time there are migrations of population, riots, civil wars, famines, bubonic plague ravages far and wide.

In 1054 the Great Schism broke the Christian world into two.  Coincidentally there was a large supernova, out of whose remnants the Crab Nebula was formed.  Almost 500 years later in 1524 there is another great planetary conjunction.

This is only the 2nd such conjunction in nearly 5000 years.  The previous one occurred in 3243 BC in Taurus, before the beginning of the dark age, or Kaliyuga, age of Kali.

Now this time eight planets station together in Aquarius.  This may not be such a powerful conjunction, as Mercury is still in Capricorn at the time of the New Moon.

What happens is still a worldwide phenomenon.  It could be called The Age of Aquarius, except that it actually happens during the Age of Pisces.  There are great changes in social, philosophical and to an extent in religious matters.

The last great display of mediaeval chivalry in Europe takes place in 1520 in France – the ‘Field of the Cloth of Gold’.  Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigates the world.  Copernicus revolutionises astronomy.

Paracelsus writes the first European modern manual of surgery.  The Knights of St. John are given the island of Malta. Spanish and German troops sack Rome and capture the Pope.  Luther protests against the corruption of the Catholic Church.

The birth of Protestantism.  Henry VIII dismisses the Chancellor Thomas Wolsey.  Appoints Thomas More.  Henry fights with the Pope.  He closes the monasteries in England.  Calvin starts the protestant movement in France.

Ivan the Terrible becomes the ruler of Russia.  Jesuits founded by Loyola.  War between France and Spain.  The peasants’ revolt is put down in Germany, Prussia established.  Teutonic order is dissolved.

In 1525 the Bible is translated for the first time into English by William Tyndale.  He has to flee, is eventually captured and burnt for heresy.  The English language begins its rapid ascent to the sublime expressions of Shakespeare.  Flemish artists bring silk weaving to England, where it becomes an important industry.

The Act of Union of England and Wales.  The Reformation.

There is civil war in the Inca Empire – There has been civil war off and on for almost 900 years.  In 1532 Pizzaro begins the conquest of the Inca Empire.  The Inca’s know that their empire is doomed – their astronomers have clearly foretold it for many years.  They offer no resistance to Pizzaro’s minute force and are slaughtered wholesale.  In one day, 7000 Incas are slaughtered by 150 Portuguese.

The whole length of the American continent, north and south is invaded or is being explored.  New European diseases will wipe out millions, including almost the entire population of Mexico.

The Mayan empire is conquered in 1524.  The last Aztec King has already been murdered by the Spanish invaders under Cortez.  But the religion of the conquerors is accepted eagerly.  Instead of a religion that demanded sacrifices – including human – here is a religion whose God dies for the people, not the people for their God.

Portuguese traders go into Goa.  Later the first Europeans into Japan.  But China rebuilds the Great Wall to keep out foreign influences.  The first Mogul emperor of India – 1526.  The Moslem faith is enforced on the Indians.  Wholesale destruction of Indian temples.  Guru Nanak establishes the Sikh religion.  The Ottoman Empire expands, Selim I has conquered Egypt. Later under its most successful ruler Suleiman the Magnificent, it is nevertheless turned back at Vienna.

At the same time Christianity and Islam, both established for many hundreds of years are suddenly competing to spread their monotheistic influence across the whole world.  The Italian Renaissance has inspired a new vision of mankind’s role in the world and the worldwide expansion of religion is centred around 1524 the year of the greatest conjunction for 1000 years.

The next major conjunction of this type is in 1962.  But this is of a different nature. It is not a straightforward spiritual expansion, but both a turning inward spiritually and also outwardly into degrading forms of materiality, as we are seeing today, so there is a deep division created in humanity.

All of the planets come together in the sign of Capricorn.  Within one degree either side of Ketu (highly spiritual in Saturn’s sign) at the solar eclipse are retrograde Mercury, Venus and Jupiter, each defeating the next in planetary war.  The Moon is just 2 degrees from Ketu.

All of the good influences are tainted.  Every planet is combust.  The only planet, who seems to benefit from the situation is Rahu in Cancer.  Solar eclipses keep repeating in Ashlesha at these times– stirring up the same kind of energy.  The influence of Capricorn is mysterious but it is well known that through Capricorn people can experience a painful spiritual re-birth or a recognition and return to their true responsibilities as a human being.

As well as representing success in worldly terms it represents going on a pilgrimage.  You could say that through ignorant behaviour mankind is confronted with its own excesses and has to choose to abandon them to find his spiritual path or perish.

This chart represents the low point between two periods of renaissance.  Preceded by the two most devastating wars in history we are now at a period, when, as we are experiencing, there is still turmoil and disaster all over the world.

We can expect that in about 300 years’ time there will be a major new renaissance.  Its seeds will be here now so it is worth considering what will come at that time, when the Saturn/Jupiter conjunctions move from air signs to water signs…  At any rate you may be relieved to hear that there will not be another such planetary conjunction for many thousands of years!