Astro Journal

Saturn in Aquarius: Social Reform and Identity Politics

Saturn transits Aquarius from 2020 to 2023 and people are already getting wild with excitement. Hopes are being raised and visionary ideas are being shared – a new mini age of Aquarius has arrived! Unfortunately, most of this is hot air and fantasy and the reality may be quite different. Whatever happens, it’s going to take work and effort – this is Saturn, after all!

Saturn visits Aquarius only briefly this year, giving us a glimpse of what’s to come later. He entered Aquarius on 22 March and goes back into Capricorn on 2 July, then returns to Aquarius on 17 December just before the solstice, where he stays until 7 March 2023.

As soon as Saturn entered Aquarius he began to form a square to Uranus in Taurus. It’s not exact until February 2021, but it gets close from April to June this year. This alignment runs until early in 2023 and prepares the way for Pluto who enters Aquarius just after Saturn leaves.

Saturn was last in Aquarius from February 1991 to December 1993, so if you were born then you’ll be having your Saturn return in the next three years. Prior to that he was there between 1962 and 1964, and those old pros will be having their second Saturn return in the next few years. (More on that here)

Saturn rules Aquarius so he works well in this fixed air sign. He represents structure and boundaries and the laws that make civilisation possible, as seen in Capricorn. These structures can become too restrictive, so you need the maverick Aquarius to question old norms and reform society for the benefit of all. Aquarius is the outsider who can see what needs to be changed because he’s detached – or even exiled – from society.

Saturn in Aquarius will build new structures by bringing people together to network and exchange visionary ideas about the future based on humanitarian values. There may be innovations in science and technology, and radical changes in political systems around the world. Here are some of the events that occurred during the previous Saturn transit of Aquarius:

  • Dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War
  • Lots of independence movements in countries around the world, including the breakup of the former Yugoslavia
  • Maastricht Treaty signed marking the start of the European Union
  • India began neoliberal reforms of their economy
  • White South Africans voted for political reform which led to the end of apartheid
  • Betty Boothroyd became the first female Speaker of the House of Commons in the UK
  • Church of England voted to allow women to become priests
  • Reality check for cult leader David Koresh and the Branch Davidians at Waco
  • Use of so-called ‘smart bombs’ in the Gulf War in Iraq
  • Tim Berners-Lee launched the World Wide Web project – not sure what happened to that 😉
  • First text message was sent by an engineer at Sema Group – and it’s been downhill ever since!

The push for independence is a theme this time around too. The UK is busy ‘doing Brexit’ and leaving the European Union, which was formed during the previous transit. We’re in the transition period which is due to end in December 2020, just after the Jupiter Saturn conjunction in Aquarius, so there’ll be new rules from January 2021 (unless it gets delayed thanks to a certain virus).

There are many other independence movements springing up around the world that, like Brexit, appear to be nationalistic rather than ‘progressive’ in nature. This may reflect the current Capricorn weather, but also the process of decentralisation in reaction to the effects of globalism – something that will pick up speed after the Jupiter Saturn conjunction at the end of the year.

The nature of these reforms reveals something people often forget: that progressivism has to be understood in context and change doesn’t always bring positive results – at least not for everyone. The progressive ideals associated with the globalist economic and political system appear to align with Aquarian principles with its focus on equality, democracy, freedom and human rights, and the dominance of science and technology. But appearances can be deceptive.

There’s a rising pushback against this neoliberal system because its totalising policies are anything but progressive in reality. It’s actually based on exploitation – of people, animals, and the natural world – dressed up as freedom and progress. Neoliberal freedom only applies to a shrinking number of people so the entire structure is beginning to unravel. More on the dehumanising effects of the system here: Mind War

Perhaps Saturn in Aquarius will bring a reality check to these systems and force reform in alignment with true humanitarian values – aided by the square to Uranus. Or we could see a doubling-down of control through technology as we lose even more of our freedom and humanity to algorithms and robotics.

Aquarius is idealistic, to a fault, and wants to bring about a utopian brotherhood and sisterhood of shiny happy people. 😇 However, we need to let go of the idea that history is a straight-forward march of progress towards a glorious future where everything will be perfect. That’s the Aquarian dream – reality is messier.

Saturn in Aquarius represents an opportunity to build better systems that serve people, rather than the other way around. This especially applies to our use of technology and how it impacts the structure of society and our relationships with each other. At best, we can find new ways to live and work together with a focus on equality and social justice.

However, Saturn could also reveal the shadow side of the tech revolution: the loss of privacy, for example, and its use in social programming and behavioural control. We could see greater protections for privacy and the use of data, but also increased regulation of the internet leading to censorship and suppression of free speech, along with a digital currency and social credit scores.

The ongoing corona virus crisis (thanks to Saturn-Pluto-Jupiter-Mars) has revealed how precarious our social and economic systems are, but also how much we depend on each other. Sweeping draconian reforms are already being discussed and we can expect the world to look very different by the end of the Saturn Uranus square. (Read this excellent post by Kelly Surtees for more on the virus and when we can expect it to subside.)

As with all social reforms, the results can be unpredictable and we usually end up with a mixture of positive and negative consequences. The tech revolution is only just getting started so the reforms we introduce in the next three years will provide the foundation for what’s to come as the decade unfolds.

Are we going to embrace technocracy and spin off into a fantasy world of augmented and virtual reality, get nano-chips in our brains, and give responsibility for running our lives to machines and AI?

Or are we going to recognise the dangers of living this way and how it reduces our humanity, and so develop a more responsible (and adult) use of technology?

The potential for positive reform now is huge, although we may have to fight for it. We need to make informed choices and think about the kind of future society we want to create. We can radically transform the way we live together in communities around the world, redesigning cities and transport, for example, to protect the Earth and respond to climate disasters like floods and wildfires.

With a little help from Uranus in Taurus, there could be a return to localised economies and a revolution in energy use and distribution, such as renewables, and even new forms of energy (although that’s more likely once Pluto enters Aquarius). Meanwhile, carbon taxes and smart meters could mean the rationing of energy – an example of technology being used to reinforce neoliberal economics, dressed up as ‘saving the planet.’

The inspirational William Kamkwamba shows what can be done in a positive way. When he was 14, he taught himself how to build a windmill to generate electricity for his home in Malawi:

William’s story illustrates another aspect of Saturn in Aquarius: the need to take responsibility for how you relate to society and find a place within the community so you can make a contribution that benefits others. Where Aquarius falls in your horoscope may indicate how you can do this. Saturn will encourage you to develop the skills you need to make that contribution a reality.

Every individual within society is interconnected and interdependent, and that gives rise to a more inclusive awareness, or group consciousness. In group consciousness you maintain awareness of yourself as an individual as you come together with others. The inclusive awareness doesn’t erase your identity, but enhances it because the group is defined by something that transcends the individual.

Without this deeper connection to something larger, the individual is cut off and alone and has no clear sense of how they belong in society. This is a dangerous condition because it makes you prone to being overtaken by the unconscious, or mass consciousness. When this happens, you get lost within the group and lose your sense of individuality.

It’s important to note that individuality doesn’t come from the ego – that’s the least unique part of you! For more, read: Active Hope and Expanding the Sense of Self

Mass consciousness is a side-effect of the ego which is defined by fear and insecurity. When you’re stuck in ego, you want to feel safe so your behaviour is driven by conformity to social norms and rules. Instead of being yourself, you take your identity from others.

This conflict is reflected in Aquarius and its shadow often manifests as fanaticism, tribalism and groupthink. There’s been an explosion of this in recent years with the ever-decreasing circles of identity politics.

Being ‘progressive’ and ‘woke’ has become an ego trip rather than a genuine response to real problems. Wokeness claims to be compassionate and humane, but it reduces people to labels and erases their humanity. In this climate of outrage, social justice sets people against each other by controlling the use of language, which stops you thinking for yourself – the epitome of mass consciousness.

The challenge is to define your individuality at the same time as recognising your interdependence with others. The only way to do this is to transcend the ego and embrace the individuation process. Saturn governs the timing of this process so while he’s in Aquarius you may be challenged to explore how you express your individuality and how that impacts others.

Are you being true to yourself or are you losing yourself in the group? Are you trying to get acceptance from others to compensate for a lack of self-acceptance? Are your friendships based on real connections or superficial labels?

During this transit, you can find your tribe and like-minded friends, but Saturn wants you to go deeper. You may need to find a way to connect with others that doesn’t depend on the superficial differences between people. When you understand that we’re all connected in the most profound way – in the heart – you can be a friend to everyone, regardless whether you share a label, because you share a common humanity.

Saturn in Aquarius may bring a more realistic attitude to the fight for social justice and a return to the humane values we share, rather than getting hung up on what makes us different. It’s an opportunity to discover what it means to be human and how to live together on this planet without killing each other.

Buddhism sees your true nature as essentially good, and Christianity sees it as divine – made in the image of God. This is true for you, and for everyone else, including the people you disagree with or dislike.

So Saturn in Aquarius is a wake-up call to align with your true nature as a human being. That means working towards individuation and the realisation of your true Self – your essential divine nature.

Imagine if we all did this – what effect would that have on society? Maybe this is my Aquarius ascendant talking (!), but we have to start somewhere…

Explore further:

3 thoughts on “Saturn in Aquarius: Social Reform and Identity Politics

  1. I love this article and this quote somehow stuck with me:
    “Saturn in Aquarius may bring a more realistic attitude to the fight for social justice and a return to the humane values we share, rather than getting hung up on what makes us different.”
    Yes, we can be both “localized” and universal. I hope for the world that out of the painful division a unity will emerge.

    Liked by 1 person

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