It appears that, though the US Commerce Department reported consecutive quarterly economic contraction, there was a veritable Mercury-square-Mars-like tension of narratives between Democrat and Republican pundits, with the latter criticizing the former for denying that the continuing economic contraction is, indeed, the definition of a recession.
This week, Treasury Secretary Yellen denied the big ‘R’, claiming that the US economy was in a “transition” instead. This is a particularly interesting phrase, mirroring the broader astrology. How, you might ask? Stick with this blog and I’ll tell you about North Node’s economic signature. In the sign of Taurus, the business cycle absolutely does signify a transition but, when conjunct or aspected by malefics, the economic outlook is anything but favourable.
If you're keen to skip the protracted history lesson, then scroll down to the major transits of the week, otherwise, indulge me while I unpack the Triple Conjunction influences in a slightly different fashion.
July 31: Triple Conjunction Dysfunction — the Saturn-Uranus Cycle and North Node’s Influence over Business Growth
The biggest astrological news this week is, of course, the Triple Conjunction that perfects later today and into tomorrow, depending on where you are in the world.
Last week, I published my Triple Conjunction survival guide and I made a comment about archetypal patterns and energies, which got me thinking about the overarching quality of the epoch-making energies we’re living through right now.
Now, this Triple Conjunction occurring between Mars, Uranus and the North Node in the sign of Taurus, in an applying although weaker square to retrograde Saturn, got me thinking about the larger Saturn-Uranus cycle which is winding down. These cycles last approximately 45 years; the one we’re currently in began in 1988 in the last and challenging degrees of Sagittarius.
Why challenging degrees?
Because the bounds and terms, which are basically an unequal division of each sign according to the Chaldean order of the planets, are typically ruled by malefic planets and, in Sagittarius’ case, the last four degrees are in Mars’ bounds — planets inevitably grind up against some difficulties here.
In a 1999 issue of the short-lived Apollon astrological journal, astrologer Charles Harvey wrote the following about the Saturn-Uranus cycle:
“Depending on your viewpoint, the Saturn-Uranus cycle marks out the “march of progress” or the “myth of progress”. More than any other cycle it expresses the remorseless building up and breaking down of ideas, nations, cultures and civilisations. It is the embodiment of Heraclitus’ dictum, that the one certitude is Change…Everything reverses into its opposite. The volcano’s Uranian erupting lava turns to Saturnine stone. Today’s mould-breaking fashion becomes tomorrow’s “old hat”. The latest hot technological invention becomes tomorrow’s industrial dinosaur. The political revolutionaries gain power and become the new reactionaries. The revolution, like Saturn, devours its children and its father.”
Pretty interesting words to consider, especially as we wind down our current cycle, and look ahead to the next conjunction between Saturn and Uranus in 2032.
The Saturn-Uranus Cycle Unpacked
If we look at the transits of late January 1988, we see Saturn and Uranus came together within 54 minutes of each other on January 24 in the sign of Sagittarius with Mars co-present at 10 degrees of Sagittarius. Saturn and Uranus meet up again a bit later in Capricorn, this time under Saturn’s rulership.
The initial conjunction in Jupiter’s sky temple had Jupiter in the sign of Aries–where it currently is–configured by mutual reception to that co-present Mars, in a fiery trine. Taken together, this is a signature of truth, independence, conflict, spiritual, religious and ideological friction, and sudden upheavals, but also profound breakthroughs. No wonder this conjunction gave birth to the end of communism in Europe, the end of South African apartheid, and significant shifts in the Islamic and Arab world with respect to geopolitical security. From Benazhir Bhutto’s election to the Gulf War, this is a fiery energy, where things are incendiary and unstable, but also revolutionary in the best and worst sense of the word.
If you’re old enough to be able to track this cycle, like me, then it may be interesting to note that the opening square was in 1999, with Saturn and Uranus in the opposite signs that they’re in currently. So, that means Saturn was in Taurus, and Uranus in Aquarius. On a more personal level, we might consider where we were in our lives in 1999 — what were our priorities, what were we striving for, what was holding us back — and, now, are there any thematic reversals to that almost twenty-year spread between who we were back then and who we are now?
Then opposition straddled 2007-ish to 2010 mostly in Virgo-Pisces, but briefly in Libra-Aries, and now the closing square of this cycle is occurring in the reverse signs of 1999’s square — Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus. The next conjunction, initiating the new cycle, will take place in 2032, in Gemini — the opposite sign of the 1988 conjunction in Sagittarius. It’s fascinating that these cycles share axial affiliations, and, like Harvey’s observation, turn into their opposites.
Now, without going into too long an analytic dive into the overall cycle as no shortage of astrologers are covering the heck out of the Triple Conjunction right now, my own interest in it relates to the North Node — specifically from a book on stock market cycles that was published in the late 1930s by Louise McWhirter.
She hypothesized that the movement of the North Node in particular had a correlation with major economic cycles. Planetary aspects to this Node form a kind of “secondary influence,” as she calls it.
The cycle generally sees Leo as a high point in a cycle and Aquarius at a low point, however, anywhere in between certain aspects to the North Node can cause a downward trend to an otherwise normal or average business cycle.
Taking a look at the opening Saturn-Uranus square from 1999, I found this article from April 30, 1999, from CNN concerning the US economy:
“It just keeps going and growing. Strong economic growth, stable prices for goods and services, record-low unemployment and stable lending rates have made the U.S. economy look remarkably similar to the Energizer Bunny on steroids. Absolutely nothing seems able to stop it.
“The Dow Jones industrial average is now within spitting distance of the dizzying 11,000 mark. The economy is chugging along at an impressive 4.5 percent pace…Inflation is practically non-existent, currently below 1 percent, and unemployment rests at 4.2 percent, a 29-year low, while demand for labor remains more robust than ever and labor costs remain subdued.
“So what gives? How can the economy keep going at this dizzying pace without, at some point, slowing down?
“Technology, say the experts.”
Technology. The domain of Uranus.
In the 1990s, the US economy was next-level lit: low inflation, steady job growth, and seemingly boundless prosperity. The market was unquestionably bull and, as CNN indicated, technology was the reason. The 1999 square also had Uranus opposing the North Node and in the sign that is commonly associated with the internet — namely Aquarius. So, think tech boom, but also, with Uranus opposing the North Node, in a limiting, troubling aspect, think tech bubble and bust.
Now, I did a little research on the tech boom to learn that it wasn’t confined to the United States; in the Arab world, this was also a time when Al-Jazeera launched; when, in four months, Saudi Arabia had a 140% increase in internet users; and Qatar’s personal computer market growth ranked third, behind China and Egypt. All this to say, this was an era of connectivity, of unprecedented broadband expansion, and of a booming internet age.
Fast forward to the very tail end of 2007, when North Node entered Aquarius, which, McWhirter claims is the low point of the cycle, with Capricorn and Sagittarius transits comprising similarly low periods–this roughly coincided with the Saturn-Uranus opposition–and the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States, which lasted from about 2007–2010.
If we look at a transit chart for around December of 2007, we’ll see the North Node in Pisces with Uranus in an exceedingly wide orb, opposite Saturn in Virgo. Pisces’ ruler, Jupiter, is in domicile, in Sagittarius, but in tight conjunction with Pluto — one possible signature being the destruction (Pluto) of wealth (Jupiter).
Now, at the closing of this Saturn-Uranus cycle, the North Node is in Taurus, which McWhirter notes is the transition point in the business cycle. It’s not actually supposed to be a bad time financially, but as she writes, “a warning that the normal position of the Business Volume Curve has been reached and that the trend of Business activity is slowly going from normal to below normal for the next three or four years.”
Now, it definitely doesn’t feel like a transition to us right now, but rather something more dire. Here are some of the conditions that she says tend to depress a business curve, so, if you’re supposed to have regular growth, these planetary aspects could drag it down:
Saturn conjunct, square or opposite to the North Node
Saturn conjunct, square, opposite, or semi-square to Uranus
Uranus conjunct, opposite, or square the North node.
There are other conditions noted as well, but these seemed the most relevant given the archetypal signatures in the sky currently.
It’s interesting to think about the financial implications here, since I’ve been blogging quite a bit about food and internet security, and of course our cash flows. It’s also interesting to note that Taurus represents the transition point, as Secretary Yellen suggested, but, the malefics forming aspects to the Node are, of course, pulling that normal business cycle down.
I’m not about to make any major predictions about what lies ahead, but according to McWhirter:
“In 1929, the North Node was in Taurus and had been there since December 1928, giving the warning six to eight months in advance that the Bull Market Boom was nearing its end. Jupiter was in Taurus in conjunction with the North Node in May and June of 1929, a favourable secondary factor, which sent the Business Curve upward six points through June. However, when this aspect passed, the Curve dropped, and remained below normal for four years until the North Node passed out of the sign of Aquarius, which is the sign on the low point of the Business Cycle Chart.”
For us, the North Node won’t reach Aquarius until 2026–when Pluto also happens to be in Aquarius–but it’s interesting that we have some of the signatures of difficulty already gnawing at the transition period. Saturn and Uranus will be in a sextile aspect in 2026, which could afford us some more harmonious stability (though perhaps not much) during these turbulent times, but I think the North Node thread is interesting to watch out for and another story line that concerns us all, especially as a backdrop to the overall profile of the Triple Conjunction.
Now, let’s talk about all the other sky news.
Today, Mercury in Leo opposes retrograde Saturn in Aquarius. This aspect will be brief as Mercury picks up speed, but oppositions are one of those tricky aspects we need to watch out for.
Limitations, restrictions, anxiety, conflict–take your pick–it won’t necessarily be pretty on either side of today’s tense aspect, which could drag into early next week.
Saturn can be a Debbie Downer, and Mercury in fiery Leo could want to speak its mind, so be careful about giving voice to fears and anxieties, and upon whose shoulder you might cry.
Additionally, be careful to check your verbal reaction to authority figures or even Saturnine individuals in your life — elder fathers, grandfathers, et cetera.
The general caution around avoiding rash behaviour continues, since Mercury may get the sudden urge to free itself from a limiting situation. This is not the month for impulse decisions, so try to wait out the effects of this transit before making any moves.
From Monday, August 1 to Tuesday, August 2, Venus in Cancer will sextile the Triple Conjunction planets in Taurus — first, with the North Node and Uranus on the 1st and then with Mars on the 2nd, but expect this aspect to already be in effect at the time that you’re reading this, and for its effects to continue for a few days after. This could be a tiny bright light in what could otherwise be an extremely challenging, disorienting and destabilizing transit.
One of Venus’ primary natural significations is relationships. Although the topical significations of Venus in your individual natal charts will vary, this is ultimately a comparatively lighter transit, which could see you wanting to check out a new social scene, try your hand at online dating (if anyone does that these days), or undergo a beauty procedure. Maybe you’re thinking of a new tattoo, to partake in some modern art, or just get together with friends for some raucous good times. Just be aware that Uranus is volatile and unpredictable, so if you have a penchant to go stirring up trouble, it could backfire.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 4
On Thursday, August 4, Mercury enters Virgo. This is a big dignity change for Mercury, who is both in the house of its rulership and exaltation in this sign.
In Leo, Mercury struggled with its debilitation under the sun’s beams and, in general, with the excessively drying quality of the sun. Here in Virgo, a cold and dry sign, Mercury does better.
According to Medieval astrologers, Mercury has all its powers in Virgo — rulership, exaltation, triplicity, and, when it’s in its bounds and terms, it’s especially powerful.
By transit, Mercury also escapes that square from Mars and Uranus, which lets it get back some energetic focus.
This Mercury is going to help us get our life back on track if we’ve been feeling disorganized or discombobulated.
It’ll be a far more purposeful and deliberate Mercury. It also forms a nice sextile to the Moon, which, though brief, could have us taking some comfort in making lists — on pretty paper no less, since the sextile is the nature of Venus — and getting the houses that Mercury is transiting in our natal charts in order.
If for you this is hitting your first and seventh houses, you might be focused on your relationships and yourself; second and eighth houses, you may be taking stock of your financial matters; three and eight, education, social media, your internet presence or spiritual practices; five and eleven, creativity and alliances that support those endeavors; and six and twelve, work and work-related sojourns, as well as health regimes.
So, that’s all I’ve got for you this week. If you found any of this helpful, don’t forget to clap, comment and subscribe! Come back next Sunday for another week-ahead forecast.
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