Mars-Saturn cycles and the seeds of discord
Why we need to watch the events around the 5th of April this year very carefully
Every planetary cycle has a story to tell. The two-year dance of the “malefic” planets, Mars and Saturn, tells tales of challenge, confrontation and strife. Think of it as a kind of metronome for human suffering and discord—and the strength needed to abide through it.
Until the transpersonal planets expanded the astrological toolbox, Mars-Saturn conjunctions were among the mainstays of mundane analysis. Their conjunctions in Cancer, happening roughly every 30 years, were considered the most important. With both planets debilitated in the Moon’s watery sign, they were thought to be more inclined to sow malevolence there. But whenever the two planets met in the sky, regardless of sign, traditional astrologers paid attention.
Now it’s our turn to pay attention. On the 5th of April, Mars and Saturn will conjoin at 22°Aquarius, their second meeting in Saturn’s airy domicile since 2020. We’ll need to watch what happens around that date very carefully, because those events will serve as a seed for the challenges the world will have to navigate over the coming two years.
In this piece, I want to present two dramatic examples that illustrate why this is so.
The Covid-19 cycle
The last time Mars and Saturn conjoined, on 31 March 2020, a deadly new virus was tearing across the planet—you may have heard of it. Cities from Wuhan to Washington were under lockdown orders and it was becoming abundantly clear that the old world, the pre-pandemic world, was dead. Covid-19 looked likely to define the times for years to come. And so it did: two years and counting.
Of course, once the pandemic was underway, you didn’t need a crystal ball to make that prediction. But there was a principle at work that would have given an astrologer strong confirmation that this was to be the case. It’s this: events at a conjunction foretell the full unfolding of the cycle they initiate. Once you understand this, you have one of the keys to prediction.
The coronavirus was rife at the time of that conjunction and, as a malefic event causing suffering, restriction and loss, it clearly fell under the domain of Mars-Saturn. With the two planets just 12 degrees from conjunction, on the 11th of March, Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Lo and behold, the story of the next two years was, in the main, the story of the virus.
We saw major developments in the pandemic at every hard aspect of Mars and Saturn through that two-year cycle. At the waxing square, which perfected three times from August 2020 to January 2021, the first widely known variants emerged: the so-called “UK” and “South African” strains.
In July 2021, Mars and Saturn opposed each other. It was right around this time that the Delta variant emerged into public consciousness. The strain had been identified months before in India, but it was in the summer of 2021 that its seriousness became widely known: the deadliest, most contagious variant yet was spreading across the planet at a terrifying rate. Fresh lockdowns and restrictions ensued. Delta represented the full flowering of what was promised by Mars-Saturn in March 2020. It was, I believe, the “full moon” of the coronavirus pandemic.
And the pandemic had another major sting left in its tail. In November 2021, Mars squared Saturn again, this time in the waning part of the cycle. It was around then that the Omicron variant came into view. It was the most contagious strain yet—albeit less deadly than some of those that came before, especially in light of higher vaccination rates.
To my mind it’s pretty clear that the dynamics of the pandemic were tied to the Mars-Saturn cycle. But I wouldn’t blame you if you’re not 100% convinced: the outbreak had begun in late 2019, a few months before the March conjunction, and it was also signified by other planetary movements, including Pluto entering Saturn’s bound in Capricorn in December 2019 (see my last article) and the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn in January 2020. What’s more, it’s hard to say when the virus was really peaking, given that it was hitting different parts of the world at different times. And while it feels like the acute phase of the pandemic is over in some parts of the world, it’s still hitting some countries hard.
So let’s consider a clearer—and even more dramatic—example.
The Cuban Missile Crisis cycle
Let’s turn the clock back to 1962. We’ll start with the history, then get to the astrology.
It was the height of the Cold War, and the world was ideologically, politically and economically divided: the capitalist United States and its allies faced a communist bloc led by the Soviet Union. After the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War, the Soviets had developed their own nuclear weapons, and by 1962 the two sides had dozens of intercontinental ballistic missiles and hundreds of shorter-range weapons ranged against each other. Nevertheless, the US had the advantage: more bombs, more missiles, and it had established missile sites in Turkey, close to Soviet territory. Needless to say, this troubled the Soviets.
In 1962, a chance to even things up presented itself to Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Soviet Union. Fidel Castro, leader of Communist-ruled Cuba, asked Khrushchev to position nuclear missiles on the island. The US had made a failed bid to overthrow Castro in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, and the Cuban leader thought a nuclear deterrent would prevent the Americans from trying again. Seeing an opportunity, Khrushchev agreed to Castro’s request in July 1962 and construction began on missile facilities in Cuba later that summer.
It wasn’t long before US intelligence discovered what was up. The crisis came to a head at 8.45am on 16 October 1962, when President John F Kennedy was shown photographs of Soviet missiles in Cuba taken by a U2 spy plane. Kennedy placed a naval blockade on the island and demanded the Soviets back down; from the American perspective, having nukes positioned just 90 miles from the continental United States was unthinkable.
The next two weeks were among the tensest of the Cold War. The whole world knew what was at stake: full-scale nuclear war seemed a very real and imminent possibility. Would either side back down? Or would the confrontation spiral out of control—and end up killing billions of human beings? “I thought it was the last Saturday I would ever see,” US Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara said of the episode.
Fortunately, cool heads eventually prevailed. On the 27th of October, after days of intense negotiations, Kennedy and Khrushchev struck a deal. The Soviets removed their nuclear missiles from Cuba. The US publicly promised not to invade the island, and secretly removed its weapons from Turkey. Apocalypse was averted.
Now, the astrology. Here’s the positions of Mars and Saturn when Kennedy was informed of the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba:
As you can see, they were very close to an opposition, and got closer over the ensuing days as the crisis went on. What this tells us is that the Cuban Missile Crisis represented the full flowering of a Mars-Saturn cycle.
That cycle had begun six months earlier, when the two planets conjoined on the 8th of February at 4°Aquarius. And what was happening at that time? Here’s what Wikipedia tells us, from its entry on the events of the 7th of February, 1962:
The United States government ban against all U.S.-related Cuban imports (and nearly all exports) went into effect at one minute after midnight. The next day, the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. approved a $133 million program of military aid to Cuba, after having delayed action on it for four months.
In other words, the US launched an economic war against Cuba (which is ongoing to this day); the following day, the USSR responded by launching a massive program of military aid to the country; and all this happened within a day of the conjunction of Mars and Saturn. Thus, a crisis over Cuba between the US and USSR was promised by that conjunction—and when the two planets opposed each other, one came.
That’s why when Mars and Saturn conjoin again on the 5th of April, we should be watching events very carefully. Whatever takes place around that time will set in motion a two-year story of challenge and discord synchronised with the malefic cycle. It seems almost certain to concern Ukraine: the conjunction will take place in a partile conjunction with the Moon of the country’s 1991 natal chart, and it will be rising in Kyiv when it goes exact. The cycle will come to fruition when Mars and Saturn oppose each other in July 2023. I think this will be an extremely dangerous moment.
I wrote in my last article that Pluto’s move into the Mars bound of Capricorn in January 2022 promised transformation by martial means, and that Pluto won’t leave that bound for the last time until January 2024. I suspect that whatever takes place around the 5th of April will end up being key to that Plutonian story. Let’s hope that, as in the Cuban Missile Crisis, world leaders see that we have nothing to gain from more war.