The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction this month, arriving the same day as Winter Solstice on December 21, is the biggest news in decades - and in centuries and even millennia.
It's that big.
A Jupiter-Saturn conjunction occurs when the planets Jupiter and Saturn come together (or "conjoin") in the same degree of the same zodiac sign.
Jupiter and Saturn do this every 20 years. It's a special alignment called a grand conjunction (sometimes called a great conjunction).
Their meetings matter to everyone because a grand conjunction starts a new 20-year era on Earth. It's one reason we feel change "in the air" at these 20-year intervals and suddenly see life differently and start pursuing new interests, ideas, and relationships. Society changes, and our purpose within it adjusts.
In astrology, Jupiter and Saturn are called the "social planets" because they have a powerful effect on how humanity builds and organizes society.
With each grand conjunction, we see a shift (sometimes quite dramatic) in society and culture, influencing and guiding everything from the arts and relationships to politics and economics to spirituality and communication.
The last grand conjunction happened May 28, 2000, in the astrological sign Taurus.
Since then, humanity has seen a marked increase in focus on material concerns such as money and banking, economic security and control, and global financial disparities between "haves" and "have nots."
This period also has sparked greater concern over classic Taurus themes including Earth and her well being, animal welfare, nature, conservation, and climate change.
The next grand conjunction will occur in Aquarius, bringing a far different energy to everyday life and affecting all aspects of culture and society.
While every grand conjunction has significant impact, this one is extra special because it's coming exactly on the day of this year's Winter Solstice (in the northern hemisphere - in southern latitudes it occurs at Summer Solstice).
Winter Solstice 2020 occurs on December 21.
Every Winter Solstice is an astrological event because it's defined as the day on which the Sun moves into the zodiacal sign Capricorn.
In 2020, the Sun enters Capricorn at 4:03 a.m. U.S. central time on Monday, December 21. That officially makes this day the Winter Solstice.
Winter Solstice is one of four "power days" each year: the two solstices that begin winter and summer and the two equinoxes that begin spring and autumn.
In the case of Winter Solstice, it's a moment of stillness during the year when we experience the day of least daylight and the Sun appears to stand still in the sky, very low on the horizon. After the Winter Solstice, the amount of daylight steadily increases each day, giving us a natural metaphor for our spiritual lives: just as the external light increases, so must our inner light increase as we evolve inwardly over the course of each year throughout our lives.
If you go outside right after sundown this month, you can see the story of this year's grand conjunction developing. Stand facing toward the south and look to your right, toward the southwest. Fairly low on the horizon, you'll see two planets shining in the night sky; the brighter one is Jupiter, and the dimmer one is Saturn.
This month, these planets will move through the last part of Capricorn before they come together in Aquarius.
Here's the timetable as we count down to the 2020 grand conjunction:
While every grand conjunction is powerful and important, this one packs an extra punch - in fact, several extra punches.
It's the biggest shift not only in 20 years but in 200 years, 400 years, 600 years, 2,000 years - and even 26,000 years.
It's truly a "shift for the ages" - and OF the ages.
When Jupiter and Saturn meet every 20 years, they get together in zodiac signs of the same element each time for 200 years (with an occasional exception in a different element).
For example, starting in 1802, these two planets began forming grand conjunctions in earth signs. They kept meeting in the signs Virgo, Taurus, and Capricorn up through 2000 (except for 1980-1981, when they joined in Libra). This earth sign period coincided with strongly materialistic concerns on Earth, including the rise of the Industrial Revolution and growth of huge, hierarchical, multinational companies and banking and financial enterprises.
Before that era, Jupiter and Saturn met in fire signs from 1603 until the 1802 shift to earth. That period coincided with the American and French Revolutions and other fiery, enthusiastic impulses to change society to align with spiritual ideals.
This year's change to air brings us "the great air mutation," which will refocus humanity away from earthy and solely material concerns. Instead, society will shift toward greater focus on all things associated with the air element.
With the exception of 2159 (when the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction will occur in Scorpio), the next 200 years will see these grand conjunctions in the air signs Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. Humanity will experience a shift in society, with more attention on the mind as well as communication and ideas, partnerships and other relationships, and futuristic concepts and technology.
The 2020 grand conjunction also is special because it's the closest one since 1623.
Every grand conjunction brings Jupiter and Saturn together exactly in the same degree, minutes, and seconds of arc within the same sign of the zodiac. That means these planets are aligned horizontally in the same place in the sky.
Usually, though, these planets are separated vertically, one above the other with a fair amount of space in between (as seen from our vantage point here on Earth).
In 2020, however, Jupiter and Saturn will align not only horizontally but vertically. (In astrology, that means they'll be at the same amount of declination, which indicates their vertical position in the sky). They'll be just 6 minutes of arc (or 0.1 degree) away from each other on the vertical axis, so from Earth it will appear as if they're nearly on top of each other.
That close positioning makes the 2020 grand conjunction all the more noteworthy and powerful.
Although the 1623 conjunction was nearly exact, people on Earth would not have seen it because Jupiter and Saturn were too close to the Sun at that time, making for poor conditions for stargazing.
In 1226, however, Jupiter and Saturn's grand conjunction (in Aquarius) was not only super close like the one in 2020 but much more easily visible than in 1623.
The Jupiter-Saturn alignment carries another special feature.
It's the first to occur in Aquarius since January 25, 1405.
So it's been more than 600 years since we've had a grand conjunction with the same type of airy, Aquarian energy.
The 1405 meetup was the final one in air before the grand conjunctions shifted to happening in water signs. Before this new era that's starting, the last air cycle of conjunctions occurred from 1226 through 1405 (with a "get ready" one, also in air, in 1186).
Besides all these notable features, the 2020 grand conjunction holds distinction as the final celestial push out of the Age of Pisces and into the Age of Aquarius.
According to ancient sages, who first recognized and studied the great ages of humanity, Earth and humans evolve according to a rhythm of cycles. One of the most important cycles involves the Great Year, which lasts about 26,000 years and includes a series of 12 ages, one for each zodiac sign.
Within the Great Year, we move through the zodiac signs in reverse order and spend about 2,000 years in each sign.
About 2,000 years ago, the world entered the Pisces Age after having spent a couple of millennia in the Aries Age. This shift was evident to ancient astrologers because they noted important planetary changes and alignments:
Some people are calling the December 21, 2020, grand conjunction another "Christmas Star" because it coincides with Christmas time and because it recalls the story of the magi, who "saw a star in the east" and came to see the child born in Bethlehem.
It's likely that the planetary alignments of 7 BC were among the signals prompting the magi to set out on their travels. They would have seen the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction forming in the sky over many months, as the two planets drew closer and closer to one another. On May 27, 7 BC, when the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction (in Pisces) was exact, stargazers would have been able to see the planets together in the east during the early morning hours before the Sun rose.
Since that time, humanity has been working with Pisces energy to develop compassion, evolve artistically, improve health (especially psychologically), and increase receptivity to mystical and spiritual impulses.
Now, it's time for us to make the "shift of the ages" into Aquarius.
For the next 2,000 years, we have the opportunity to develop our skills in detachment (especially emotionally), philanthropy, and discovering the inner truths about ourselves.
This age promises a new vision of utopia - that place of ideal perfection - and ways to create it.
To succeed, we must respect our dreams and wishes and cultivate hope and idealism. If we do, Aquarius energy will be available to help in the form of electric excitement about the future and human potential, new ideas for solving problems, and a commitment to fostering individual genius to benefit collective evolution and well being.
Finally, this year's Jupiter-Saturn conjunction is important historically: it's kicking off the first Age of Aquarius in 26,000 years.
The "new age" spirit came alive in the 1960s.
For about 50 years, we've been in the process of moving toward that new age that so many people have spoken of and worked toward. In February, 1962, a powerful Aquarius stellium occurred that brought together all seven classical planets in the zodiac sign Aquarius: the Sun and Moon along with Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
The Aquarian energies of the 1960s were "in the air," and great and hopeful changes began around the world to liberate people as former colonies became sovereign nations, civil rights legislation passed in the United States, and young people around the world rebelled against a society that no longer aligned with their well being or the ideals they held for how life could be.
To those who lived through those years, recent decades may have felt as if that early idealism was being lost. In part, the challenges to Aquarian changes stemmed from the lack of a grand conjunction in Aquarius to help support the eye popping stellium of 1962.
Yet that Aquarius Age spirit is set to flower once again.
Now, nearly 50 years later, we'll finally get that missing piece - along with even more help for anchoring in Aquarian mindsets and ideals. Jupiter and Saturn will meet in Aquarius in December 2020, the first of a new air cycle within a new Aquarian Age.
Together, they're ushering in the first Aquarian Age since 26,000 years ago.
We're making history.
Welcome to the electrical, high potential Age of Aquarius.
It's truly a new age, and it's our time to shine. We'll lift ourselves out of the waters of Pisces, and the earth of the last three years of working so hard in Capricorn, and the earthy focus of 200 years, and into the light and breezes of a 200 year air cycle within a 2,160 year air age.
The winds are at our backs. It's time to set sail. Lift off toward your most idealistic hopes, dreams, and wishes!