December 22, 2020: Great Conjunction / Solstice

Great conjunction of Saturn and JupiterThe Great Conjunction approaches. The (Summer) Solstice is the same day as the Great Conjunction, in fact, around two hours prior. There is much attention given to this conjunction in the media, from the point of astronomy. Others speak of the conjunction bringing a wave of energy from the Grand Central Sun of our Universe. Others speak of this conjunction occurring in the sign of Aquarius, so heralds the onset of the Age of Aquarius, and make reference to various calendars (Mayan and others), eons, the Fall of Atlantis and commencement of yugas. There are many theories. We take a look at this conjunction from the view of Vedic Astrology.


Great Conjunction

Jupiter and Saturn will have their 2020 great conjunction on December 21, the day of the December solstice. These two worlds will be visibly closer in our sky than they’ve been since medieval times, in 1226. At their closest, Jupiter and Saturn will be only 0.1 degree apart. The closest alignment will appear just a tenth of a degree apart and last for a few days. On the 21st, they will appear so close that a pinkie finger at arm’s length will easily cover both planets in the sky. The planets will be easy to see with the unaided eye by looking toward the southwest just after sunset.

From our vantage point on Earth the huge gas giants will appear very close together, but they will remain hundreds of millions of miles apart in space. And while the conjunction is happening on the same day as the winter solstice, the timing is merely a coincidence, based on the orbits of the planets and the tilt of the Earth.

Orbs of Influence

Orbs of Influence occur when a planet approaches another planet within specific degree. In Vedic Astrology, all the planets have specific orbs, ranging from 15° for the Sun, 12° for the Moon, and 9° for Jupiter and Saturn. Mercury and Venus have orbs of 7°, Mars has an orb of 8°. Outer Planets such as Uranus, Neptune and Pluto have (traditionally) used orbs of 3°-5° to register their influence. Orbs of Influence are particularly useful in understanding birth charts, when planets are very close together; it alters the both the strength of the planet as well as the influence on the native.

Orb of Influence...
Orb of Influence…
As we write this, Saturn and Jupiter are only 27 minutes apart. You may as well conclude that this conjunction is occurring as you read this and will continue to have effect of a conjunction until the two planets are greater than 9° apart .. and that will not occur until 22 February 2020. So a long period of effect of this orb of influence. Why is this important? Everything is light; it is maya or illusion that prevents us from seeing all as light on the inner sky of the heart. The task of the planets is to distribute light to the human, light in various strengths and gradations so that we may consume the karma we have selected for this lifetime and progress towards the purusharthas, the goals of life. One purpose of Vedic Astrology is that it provides a map of the karma of the native that has been selected for consumption in this lifetime, and show how spiritual progress can be achieved.

So when we have a conjunction of planets, we have a twinning of light, there is the stronger planet, there is the planet that owns the sign (Saturn) there is the slower planet and the faster planet, and there is planetary war. There are debilitation and exaltation, moolatrikona and deccans. Other matters of significance include whether the sign is fixed, movable or mutable, what element applies to the sign, which direction it faces, whether is it masculine or feminine and whether the sign is a kendra or trikona, or a sign of increase or decreasing of strength and energy and / or whether it is one of the trika houses, houses that give decline and destruction and do not fulfil their potential of light influx to the native.

In this wise, we have a Great Conjunction (of Jupiter and Saturn) is … among other matters …

  • takes place in the third house;
  • the third house being a weaker sign for those under 50 years, and a sign of increase for those aged 50+
  • it is a house of desire;
  • if there are malefics here, there is resistance to disease;
  • In Capricorn, the sign of Saturn; (Saturn is a great Malefic)
  • In a Movable sign; it is of the Earth element, it is of Vata nature (with some pitta)
  • third house is the sign of public communications, education, infrastructure, governing democracy, peace talks
  • it links global to regional climate change; the effects are felt locally;
  • In the nakshatra of Uttara Ashada in Pada 3, under the influence of the Sun
  • The Sun (the personality, the conscious awareness) is in Mula, the nakshatra that leads to the Origins of the Universe
  • The Sun (our personality, our conscious awareness) is therefore receiving energy transmitted by the source and multiplied by this Conjunction;
Vimshopaka
Vimshopaka: the overall strength of the planets; here Saturn is showing strength over Jupiter, being in dignity in its own sign.

Uttara Ashada Nakshatra

Uttara Ashada nakshatra rules the last 3°20′ of Sagittarius, and the first 10° of Capricorn. It is a nakshatra of the Sun, radiating universal light and portends winning the final battle, and makes the winning positive choice. The gana or class of nakshatra is human; the Murthi or Lord is Shiva, the direction is South and the guna is sathwic / rajasic / sathwic with a goal of Moksha. Sun is the ruler, Saturn presides over pada 3. It is a nakshatra of beginnings, planning and spiritual intent.

The Deity is Vishnu in his third incarnation as Varaha, the Boar who saves Bhudevi (Mother Earth) from the water demon Hiranyaksha. Perhaps the sacred intent of this time – this shift – is the raising of energy for Mother Earth so that all upon her are saved from rising sea levels and the dangers that come with Climate Change.

Navamsha

After we have achieved our tasks in various asramas or stages of life, the birth chart ceases to have complete reference and the Navamsha chart, the 9th division of the Birth chart takes centre stage and indicates the remaining foci for the rest of life; this is the reference for those aged 48 and older. (There are upachaya signs in the birth chart that indicated matters and increase for those older than 50; these are relevant and not to be ignored.) Nonetheless, the general life task and spiritual advance towards the goal of life is given to us in the 9th division, the Navamsha.

At the time of this conjunction, Saturn and Jupiter, in the Navamsha chart (D9) are…

  • in the first house, the house of the personality, the self;
  • being the first house, is both a kendra and trikona, so, very strong
  • in the sign of Aquarius, the sign of Saturn;
  • in a Fixed sign; it is of the Air element, it is of Vata nature,
  • Aquarius attends to the mind, nervous system and communications;
  • Jupiter and Saturn are conjunct Ketu, the South node of the Moon;
  • this conjunction with Ketu – in the same nakshatra – indicates some disconnect or detachment occurring;
  • in the nakshatra of Jupiter, Purva Bhadrapada
  • Purva Bhadrapada being of rajasic (active) nature, seeks wealth as its goal and is generally of Sathwic pursuits;
  • the Deity of the nakshatra is Aja-eka-pada, the single-footed (sure-footed)
  • The murthis of Purva Bhadrapada is Brahma (rajas) it is based on desires, of a mineral nature and faces west;
  • this conjunction – in the Navamsha – expresses and shows a design to communicate clearly, and to promote the sanctity of the home environment.

Significance of Solstice:

The Solstice is the time when the Sun leaves the Southern path (Dakshinaya) and commences traversing the Northern path (Uttaranaya). This has a significance, for in Hinduism, all who pass over duing the Uttaranaya path can obtain liberation, freedom from the cycle of birth-death-and-birth-again. In the Hindu calendar (called Panchang) this event occurs around 14/15 January of each year and is called Pongal / Makara Sankranti.

Reflections

Saturn and Jupiter enter conjunction every twenty years. It is of no small coincidence that this conjunction takes place at the solstice time, and is reckoned as THE SHIFT, a time of transmission of light energy from the Grand Central Sun of our Universe, located in Mula nakshatra. What of the conjunction itself?

Saturn is the planet of duty, task, responsibility, standing up to your word, and doing most carefully, indeed, slowly. Saturn is manda, the slow one, the last known incarnation of Saturn – he was lame, hopping about on one foot. Take note. Saturn takes things away to encourage self-confidence, self-sufficiency and perhaps, for sade sati, humility and the giftedness of being fully human, and fully aware of one’s circumstances. Take up your responsibility, do your duty, fulfil your task, and thereafter, have your rights. No matter how long this takes, this is the path Saturn guides many along. Saturn is said to be karaka for digital engagement, and when people are forcibly disengaged from the web and social media, Saturn is the one with whom they come face to face.

Jupiter is the planet of expansion, of philosophy, of higher learning, of magnanimity and of cell division and replication: life energy expanding ever outwards into new forms. Jupiter is not the planet of vaulting ambition o’erleaping itself; that is the task of Rahu. Jupiter would have us forever immersing ourselves into vidyartha: the wealth of learning and discovery that is ever continuing. We note that man – and woman – has not yet delved into the depths of the Vedas; there are icca shakti waiting to be discovered that can alter the course of climate change, that can control the weather, that can raise the dignity of human life; nay, all life. There is much to be discovered, and Jupiter is the karaka, the lord of this learning and exploration. Jupiter understands social structures, law-makers, class distinctions. Jupiter rules connection, expansion, social participation, and diverse social responsibilities. Many tasks can be undertaken by Jupiter.

When Jupiter and Saturn come within the mutual orb of influence of 9° then the expansive nature of Jupiter encounters the limits and lawful boundaries of Saturn – for they meet in the sign of Saturn, in both the Birth Chart and the Navamsha. Jupiter is a multiplier and explores doctrine and development; Saturn brings doctrinal discipline. (It is like testing the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine; there is a great rush to get it out but the trials must be undertaken and the results analysed thoroughly. This is an example of the Jupiter-Saturn tension.) Where Jupiter seeks growth in business, philosophy, education, Saturn says there must be controlled growth, protection of those returning to work, protection of the classroom – the welfare of students – must be first priority. Where protection of the community has been focussed on the extreme right, Saturn tells, “Attend to the left; attend to the threats on the home front, in your own house”. Where the conventional wisdom has been to focus on only one source of threat or input, Saturn tells, consider all possibilities, and take your time. Human life is time, and time must be well used. Jupiter can jump timelines, Saturn makes us use time wisely.

Perhaps this is the underlying message of this Great Conjunction: not to have manifold expectations (Jupiter) of life after the conjunction, but to remain in the present and use our time wisely (Saturn).

 

Saturn and Jupiter
Looking through the telecope – Jupiter with four of its moons, and Saturn.

 

 

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