Saturn Neptune conjunctions come round roughly three times a century – in 1989 in Capricorn, in 1953 in Libra and in 1917/18 in Leo. The next one falls in Aries in 2025/26.
Historically they have been associated with the fight for womens’ and workers’ rights, epidemics, religious events and collapsing empires.
From The Astrological History of the World.
‘Neptune’s compassion for the victim meets Saturn’s ability to organize in a constructive way. If the balance is wrong, however, then Saturn’s authoritarian need to exert order and maintain the status quo can completely crush the Neptunian dream.
The English Peasants’ Revolt during the Saturn–Neptune conjunction in Aries in 1381, demanding an end to serfdom was suppressed and its leader, Wat Tyler, beheaded. Two conjunctions later, in Virgo, Irish rebel Jack Cade leading the Kent and Essex peasants’ revolt, was also killed. Another two conjunctions further on, in Pisces in 1524, there were extensive peasants’ revolts in Germany.
By 1845 with Saturn–Neptune in tolerant Aquarius, Engels was writing The Condition of the Working Class in England. Still under the same influence, the Irish potato-crop failure of the following year drew attention to the plight of the starving and the suffering. By the next conjunction in Taurus in 1881, British prime minister William Gladstone had passed the Irish Land Act to prevent excessively high rents, although the outrages of 1882, when 10,500 Irish farming families were evicted, gave every indication that Saturnine rigidity and greed still held sway. In the United States, the American Federation of Labor was founded in Pittsburgh in 1881.
One conjunction on, in 1917 in Leo, striking Russian workers rose up, and were joined by soldiers to overthrow the last feudal tsardom.
During the last Saturn–Neptune conjunction of the 20th century, in Capricorn in 1989, Solidarity, the Polish workers’ party, came to power in democratic elections. The fall of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe freed workers to control their own lives and government. There was also mass rehabilitation of Russian citizens who were victims of Stalin’s brutal purges, Stalin himself having succumbed on the Saturn–Neptune conjunction of 1953. Also in 1989, the Tiananmen Square demonstration in China, staged by students and workers, was brutally suppressed, resulting in 2000 deaths. In Britain just a year later there were the violent Poll Tax Riots, the first serious mass revolt against the government in decades.’
There’s always a dual nature to this conjunction, more so than most since they are diametrically opposed energies – Neptune dissolves and undermines while Saturn aims to build and maintain boundaries.
Although Saturn Neptune doesn’t sound rebellious it tends to bring the state and the status quo (Saturn) into conflict with spiritual movements or the underdogs (Neptune). The flower power, hippie movement was very much a Saturn Neptune in Libra phenomenon in the 1950s.
The 20th Century ones aren’t necessarily a good guide since the 1989 one was a triple conjunction with Uranus; and the 1953 had Saturn Neptune square Uranus.
The 1917/18 Saturn Neptune oversaw the Spanish flu epidemic which wiped out more people in a single year than the Middle Ages black death plague had done.
It doesn’t happen in isolation, of course. In 2025 Neptune moves into Aries along with Saturn and Pluto two years earlier has made the shift into into Aquarius and Uranus is poised to move into Gemini – so quite a shift of the outer planets. At one point there will be a Pluto sextile Uranus with Saturn Neptune as the midpoint. At best that could be a reforming movement that leads to a fairer society. Though that’s probably wildly optimistic.
Saturn in Aries tends to be tough and hard, producing circumstances that require self-reliance; Saturn Pluto is war-like and deprived; Neptune Pluto fosters megalomania. But there’ll be enough good in there to produce positive changes (Saturn Uranus), creative inspiration (Uranus Neptune) and the perseverance to make at least some benefits of new thinking stick.
I hope Andre Barbault is right about this upcoming Neptune Saturn in Aries though it did sound a touch hopeful. I’ll look tomorrow at previous Neptune in Aries back through history.