The Angel of Desire

The opposition of Saturn to Pluto dominates the second half of 2001 and the first half of 2002.   The actual oppositions occur at 13, 14, and 17 degrees of Gemini and Sagittarius (@73-77), but related events stretch the scene of the crime to 9-19 degrees (@69-79).   A separate timetable will detail these events.

As for interpretation, the downside of Saturn-Pluto is the appearance of limitation, perhaps serious limitation, and the upside is the opportunity to concentrate our energy very intensely.   Consider it to be an extended visitation by the Angel of Focus.   Grief over the options we let go of, in order to focus on what's most important, is part of the package.

Therefore, I recommend the following: whenever you notice that you are dwelling on what you don't want, take a moment to identify and acknowledge your feelings.   Then think about what you do want, and focus on that in some way - such as visualization, affirmation, prayer, asking, or wondering.   Do not skip the step of identifying and acknowledging your feelings.   I plan to include a separate essay on manifestation.

In this essay I'll examine the history behind the current Saturn-Pluto energy, identifying its 20th-century occurrences.   I'll postpone technical details till the end of this essay.

Many folks have mentioned that Saturn opposite Pluto last occurred in 1965, and that we may therefore expect recurrences of events similar to those of the mid-60s.   I take major exception with these folks, for a couple of reasons.   Foremost, the 1965 Saturn-Pluto was much much more complex than the current one, as I'll explain below.   Comparing 1965 with the current Saturn-Pluto is like comparing a jetliner to a tree root.

Secondly, I consider all "hard" Saturn-Pluto aspects (conjunction, square, opposition) to be more similar to one another than they are different from one another.   (See the separate essay on the "90-degree-wheel").   Therefore I look to all hard Saturn-Pluto aspects for our history, not just the oppositions.   Seen through this lens, the Angel of Focus visits us every 7 to 10 years.


This Angel's most recent visit was in 1993-94.   I don't believe that visit was at all similar to the current visitation, however, because in 1993-94 we were overwhelmed by the once-in-200-years conjunction of Uranus and Neptune.   Can't get much more ethereal than Uranus-Neptune (the Angel of Ecstasy), so in fact we were lucky then to have a concurrent Saturn-Pluto to keep us somewhat grounded.   Limitation was not the issue most of us were facing in 1993-94, except perhaps to transcend it.

Prior to that, the Angel of Focus paid us a brief visit in the last few days of 1982.   I don't find that one comparable to the current visit either, since it was so short.   Most outer-planet events like Saturn-Pluto, occur 3 times, spreading out over 6-12 months.   The 1982 event occurred only once, lasting only a matter of weeks.

On the other hand, the 1982 event was the conjunction.   One can say that the seed is planted at the conjunction, which blooms at the opposition - that is, now.   What was the salient event of 1982?   I was sitting on a beach on Maui when Henry Kaufman announced that 20% interest rates would be history, beginning the great bull market in common stocks.   Does the opposition indicate the end of the "roaring 80s and 90s" then?   Let's talk about that after we look at more history.


The most recent visit of the Angel of Focus which was anything like our current sequence, was the one which spanned September 1973 through May 1974.   If you were on the planet then, how old were you?   I was just old enough to "achieve mortality" for the first time.   It was 10 years before I turned that decision around.   When we understand that these energies are temporary - and not even personal, we can save ourselves from decisions like this, decisions that lock us into energy that's long gone.

The good news in 1973 was that compulsory military conscription ("the draft") ended in the US, as did the bombing of Cambodia.   Without American bombers or troops, there were serious limitations for capitalists in South Vietnam.   Under pressure for illegal activities, first US VP Spiro Agnew and then President Richard Nixon were forced by resign.   Limitation for some, opportunity for others.

The most striking correspondence between "real-world" events and this visit of the Angel of Focus, was what we called the "gas crisis."   OPEC increased petroleum prices by 70% in September and October of 1993, exactly corresponding to the first two Saturn-Pluto events of this triad.   If you were a devotee of consumerism and suburbia, this was a severe limitation.   If you were a friend of the planet, this was an opportunity to make life more sustainable.

It's interesting that Dubya has been singing the same song that avaritionists were singing in 1973-74.   He was probably just old enough then to be excited by the dollar signs in his poppy's eyes as Texas began its days of glory.   More blackouts to come for California?   Or another opportunity, like 1973-74, to focus on alternative energy sources? In 1973-74, government was still focused enough on voters, to support alternatives.   Now, with government focused on campaign contributors, we have to create them ourselves.

What is it they say, "If it doesn't kill ya, it makes ya stronger"?   There may be some truth in that, but there's little compassion.   There is a race on.   "First-world" humans must raise themselves to "third-world" standards of community before "third-world" humans raise themselves to "first-world" standards of consumption.   The "first-worlders" are off to a very slow start.   We can only hope they, like Tortoise, demonstrate their perseverance in the end.


The visitation prior to that, was the one we mentioned earlier, in 1965-66.   Saturn and Pluto were bit players in this drama, as the star was the once-in-120-years conjunction of Uranus and Pluto.   The astrological events of 1965-66 were Saturn-Chiron-Uranus-Pluto-Dragon events, with Jupiter and a couple of major asteroids jumping in for guest spots.   This complex does a much better job of correlating with the major events of the mid-60s, than does Saturn-Pluto.   Uranus-Pluto energy (the Angel of Liberation) visits us next in 2012-2015, the years we've marked for the "Havenot Revolution."

The event prior to this, was a Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto-Dragon at the end of 1955 and most of 1956.   Uranus and Neptune were also dancing at this time, as they were in 1993-94.   The visitations of August 1947 and March 1940 were also single events, though a noteworthy "real-world" event of 1947 was the completion of the first major suburbs ("Levittowns" on Long Island), presaging the gas crisis of 1973.   The "Marshall Plan" was also announced in 1947 - Congressman Nixon was a major supporter - and the Viet Minh were busy defeating the French.


The 1931-32 visitation was another triple event, like the current episode, but it was a Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Pluto- Dragon event, like 1965 much more complex than the current visitation.   A lot of people were feeling serious limitation in 1931-32, not because of the stock market crash several years earlier, but because protectionism and pre-Keynsian monetary policy caused contraction of the money supply.   So goes the liberal rhetoric.   The liberal rhetoric has since been replaced by "neoliberal" rhetoric, however.   According to Susan George,

"For the neo-liberal, the market is so wise and so good that like God, the Invisible Hand can bring good out of apparent evil.   Thus [Margaret] Thatcher once said in a speech, ‘It is our job to glory in inequality and see that talents and abilities are given vent and expression for the benefit of us all.'   In other words, don't worry about those who might be left behind in the competitive struggle.   People are unequal by nature, but this is good because the contributions of the well-born, the best-educated, the toughest, will eventually benefit everyone.   Nothing in particular is owed to the weak, the poorly educated, what happens to them is their own fault, never the fault of society.   If the competitive system is ‘given vent' as Margaret says, society will be the better for it."

In 1931-32, government acted to attempt to protect the wealth of the few.   Hmmm, interesting comparison to now.   Perhaps before this decade is over, Senator Jeffords will turn out to be even more of a hero than he already is.   There is little chance that Alan Greenspan will squeeze the money supply like they did in 1931, and he seems to be firmly entrenched in office.   Natally, Alan (born 3-6-1926) has a sesquisquare between Saturn and Pluto.   He also has Ceres out of bounds, a placement that may give him some desire to protect the planet.

Ceres is out of bounds (declination greater than 23 degrees 27 minutes), on an irregular schedule, about a third of the time.   This means that only a third of us are born with a strong urge to protect the planet, and that we're outnumbered 2-to-1 by those dedicated to avarice.   With a majority like this it's only natural that many of the minority would sell out to try to appear "normal" - though of course there are also other astrological indications for an urge to protect one's home.   In 1931 Ceres completed the grand cross with these other planets.   We can't help but correlate that with the beginning of the Dust Bowl in the same year on the American Great Plains.

In a campaign speech in 1928, Herbert Hoover claimed that "We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land."   The official history says he believed that "while people must not suffer from hunger and cold, caring for them must be primarily a local and voluntary responsibility."   Sounds a lot like Dubya's supposedly compassionate conservatism.

Economics - 1931-32 and 2001-02

Curious that, as in 1931, we've also had a stock-market "crash" a few years earlier.   The Dow Jones Industrial Average actually bottomed in the third quarter of 1932 (Alan Greenspan was 6), at 41, a descent of almost 80% from where it was at the beginning of 1931.   That was already a 50% drop from it's 1929 peak of 381.   Let's compare that to today's situation.   An 80% drop from today's 10,400 would take us to about 2,100 - the level of 1987, when Alan took office.   However, the Dow Jones has only dropped 10% from its peak of a few years ago, not 50%.

The NASDAQ Index, however, has fallen 60% from it's April 2000 high of 5,000, and the NASDAQ was the growth engine of the roaring 90s.   Hmmm, intriguing parallel, eh?

Stanley Schultz lists 5 reasons for the Great Depression that followed 1931-32.

  "Unequal distribution of wealth and income" comes first, with the most avaricious 1% of the US population having income 65 times that of the poorest 10%.   This ratio has approximately doubled since then.

The second reason was "unequal distribution of corporate power" due to mergers and acquisitions, resulting in less competition and more vulnerability.   We continue to see enormous corporate consolidation today, much of it international.

So far, we've replicated the top two reasons.

The third reason Schultz cites, was "bad banking structure" - there were a lot of bankrupt banks, whose troubles were covered up by the good times of the 20s.   This was true after the Texas Oil bubble following the "gas crisis," but I don't believe it's true today.

Schultz's fourth reason was the "balance of payments."   Europe was in debt to the US from World War I and unable to make payments, which severely crimped trade.   1947's Marshall Plan resolved this trade problem after World War II.   Today crippling debt is a problem for Japan, for poor countries, and for the individuals caught on the lower end of the unequal distribution of wealth and income, but not for the larger economies of the US or Europe.   Trade has been crimped by the NASDAQ crash, however, and will be crimped further if consumers (60% of the US economy) run for cover.

Schultz's last reason was the "poor state of economic intelligence."   Of course this is always relative, but Keynsian economics has made a big shift in this.   Since Reagan, federal collection of economic data has been severely restricted, however, and many times Congress has withheld funding for data that conflicted with its political ideals.

And neoliberals are blind to the political dynamics of poverty.   They seem to believe that they can recreate colonialism at home, ignoring the influence of television and instant worldwide communication.   Their profit growth engine relies on creating rabid consumers by hypnotizing them through television.

However, they've already taken most of the money, and while naivete, famine, and police violence worked together to keep rage at bay in colonialism abroad, it doesn't work as well at home.   The Watts riots occurred under the 1965 Saturn-Pluto, and there have been similar episodes recently in Cincinnati and in English cities.   As we've said, both the 1965-66 and the 1931-32 Saturn-Pluto events were in fact Saturn-Uranus-Pluto events, when Saturn could add frustration to drive the Angel of Liberation to drastic action.

Economics - 1850 to 2050

According to Harry Dent, US demographics support continued growth till 2010.   Exploitative economics are easier to maintain while demand is increasing and most folks can still be hypnotized into believing they can win the neoliberal lottery.   After 2010, unless the US opens the immigration floodgates again, demand begins to decrease, and the illusion of sustainability becomes transparent.   Saturn-Pluto arrives again in 2009-10, bookended by Saturn-Uranus in 2008-09, and Uranus-Pluto in 2012-15.   This is when I expect our cultural institutions to collapse and the "Havenot Revolution" to occur, not 2002.

Please note that I am not advocating violence here.   The changes in civil rights that occurred in the mid-60s, and the end to the draft and to the Vietnamese War that occurred that occurred in 1973-74, required a significant mobilization of non-violent demonstration, and the majority of the violence that surrounded these events, was perpetrated by the police, not protestors.   It is my hope that the Havenot Revolution will be a non-violent revolution, a revolution in the attitudes of politicians more than a revolution on the barricades.

We may well have a recession in 2001-02, abetted by artificial imbalances in the energy markets, and of course fear.   It wouldn't be the first time that people focused on limitation rather than opportunity.   There were recessions in 1982 and 1974, both Saturn-Pluto years.   But recessions in 1990, 1980, 1970, 1960, 1957, 1953, 1949, and 1945 all occurred without the benefit of Saturn-Pluto.

The Moon goes "out of bounds" (declination greater than 23 degrees 27 minutes) for a few days twice a month, for about 10 years.   Then for the following 10 years, it does not stray out of bounds at all.   Can we assume that people will be more emotional when the Moon is out of bounds?   We'll have to watch to see, but my guess is yes.   The Moon has not been out of bounds since May 1992.   It begins it's decade of going out of bounds in September 2001, till May of 2011.   It will be interesting to see if consumers panic more after September, and bring about a real recession, rather than just the slowdown in growth we've seen so far.

The larger economic picture is carried by the Jupiter-Saturn cycle.   From about 1860 to 1960, all of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions were in earth signs.   Then in 1980, there was a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in an air sign.   In May 2000 there was a final earth-sign Jupiter-Saturn.   Beginning in 2020, there will be a century of air-sign Jupiter-Saturns.   The personal computer was born in 1980, and the economic expansion of 1980-2000 was driven by the productivity improvements resulting from this class of devices.   The collapse of "dot-com mania" and the NASDAQ in spring 2000 corresponded almost exactly with the final earth-sign Jupiter-Saturn.

So the two decades from 2000 to 2020, are about the swan song of the industrial revolution.   The primary task to be done, is integrating the electronic revolution into the corporate structures built by the industrial revolution.   This will fail, just as tyrannosaurus failed to eat shrews out of existence.   But much will be learned on both sides in the interim, as 20-something dot-commers learn about profit and loss, and 40-something managers learn about Microsoft and monopoly.   It might be better to say that the primary task to be done, is salvaging any institutional structures from the industrial revolution, that may be useful when the electronic revolution resumes.

Or rather, the next revolution - by then it will be optical and molecular and biological, rather than electronic.

So the NASDAQ may well be underwater for quite a while, as this occurs.   The Dow Jones did not surmount its 1929 highs until 1955 (a Saturn-Pluto year, recall).   And when the market started going sideways in 1966 (another Saturn-Pluto year, eh?), it tread water till 1982, yet another Saturn-Pluto year.   So there is some correspondence between market turns and Saturn-Pluto.   My best guess is that 2002 will witness a turn upwards in the economy and stock market, though not a return to the overexuberance of the 90s, and that the next Saturn- Pluto, in 2009-10, will see a market top that will survive for several decades.   If the market survives.

In this slower-growth environment, the social implications of corporatism will become more and more obvious to more and more people.


But we digressed.   We haven't finished our tour of the 20th century.   The September 1922 visitation was again a single visit, but prior to that there were two triple events, like the current one.   The 1914-15 episode found us in World War I.   The 1907-08 visitation, like the 1955 and 1993-94 events, also accompanied a visit by the Angel of Ecstasy, Uranus-Neptune.   Saturn-Pluto was present at all 3 of the Uranus-Neptunes of the 20th century.   At the next Uranus-Neptune, around 2043, Saturn trines Pluto.

Technical details

1993-1994:   The dexter Saturn-Pluto squares occurred in mid-March 1993 at 21 degrees of Aquarius and Scorpio (@51), in early October at 24 (@54), and January 2, 1994 at 28 (@58).   However, this was a tsquare with Chiron in Leo, with the Chiron aspects exact throughout 1993.   In addition, in early 1994 Dragon joined Pluto in Scorpio.   The main event, though, was the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune in February, August, and October of 1993 at 21-22 degrees of Capricorn (@21-22), joined in October by Jupiter.   The Moon was in bounds during this period.

1982:   Saturn conjunct Pluto at 28 Libra (@28) in early November.   The Moon was in bounds.

1973-74:   Sinister square from Saturn at 4-5 Cancer to Pluto at 4-5 Libra (@4-5), in mid-September 1973, early October, and late May 1974.   The Moon was out of bounds.

1965-66:   This was an opposition of Saturn to Pluto, from Pisces to Virgo, but it was smeared all over both years and then some, and combined with Uranus in Virgo conjuncting Pluto, Chiron and Ceres in Pisces conjuncting Saturn, and early on, also Dragon, Jupiter, and Vesta squaring from Gemini, and Mars retrograding in Virgo.   Busy, busy, busy.   All this spanned 10-25 mutable degrees (@70-85).   Notice that this are the same locations spanned by the current opposition.   The Moon was out of bounds.

1955-56:   The dexter square from Saturn in Scorpio back to Pluto in Leo, Saturn being joined by Dragon and Pluto by Jupiter, at 27-30 degrees (@57-60), from December 1955 through October 1956.   Concurrently, Uranus in Cancer was squaring Neptune in Libra, at 25-29 degrees, stretching into 1 degree of Leo and Scorpio (@25-31), from late 1954 through mid-1956.   Uranus was joined by Jupiter, and Chiron completed the tsquare from 1-3 Aquarius (@31-33) in late 1955.   The Moon was in bounds.

1947:   Conjunction at 14 of Leo (@44) in mid-August.   The Moon was out of bounds.

1940:   Sinister square of Saturn in Taurus to Pluto in Leo, at 1 degree (@31), in March.   The Moon was in bounds, but Pluto was out of bounds.

1931-32:   Opposition of Saturn in Capricorn to Pluto in Cancer, tsquared by Uranus in Aries, at 20-24 degrees (@20-24).   Jupiter joins Pluto in Cancer, Dragon joins Uranus in Aries, and Ceres completes the grand cross from Libra.   Note that these are the same degrees as the Uranus-Neptune of 1993-94.   The Moon was out of bounds.   Ceres was out of bounds from March to December of 1932.

1922:   Dexter square of Saturn in Libra to Scorpio stationary retrograde at 12 of Cancer (@12) in September.   The Moon was in bounds.

1914-15:   Conjunction at 1-3 degrees of Cancer (@1-3), in October 1914 and May 1915.   At the October conjunction, both Saturn and Pluto were stationary retrograde and scratching one another's backs very slowly, such that this aspect (actually, two aspects back to back) would have been extraordinarily strong.   The Moon was out of bounds.

1907-08:   Sinister square from Saturn in Pisces to Pluto in Gemini at 22-25 degrees (@82-85), in April and September of 1907, and January 1908.   The Moon was in bounds.

@copy 2001, Jim Buss.   Page updated 7/30/2001.  
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