2006 has been an intense year so far, with planetary dances creating a cycle that alternates between a building of tension through the hard aspects: squares (between Jupiter and Neptune and between Jupiter and Saturn) and oppositions (Saturn to Chiron); and an opening of the doors of consciousness and awareness through the flowing aspect of the trine (Uranus and Jupiter).

The two planets that dominate these cycles are Jupiter (expansion and possibilities) and Saturn (contraction and boundaries). These two planets have been dancing in a square (challenging aspect) since December of 2005 and this cycle will conclude in late October of this year. Jupiter wants to expand our awareness, and Saturn wants to impose limitations. Jupiter believes all things are possible, and Saturn can be cold and judgmental, sowing the seeds of discontent. Saturn is often seen as the bad guy in this cycle, throwing a wet blanket over Jupiter’s exuberance and spoiling the fun. However, while Jupiter’s influence is no doubt a more enjoyable one, it is Saturn that teaches wisdom and practicality, providing the security that is needed to live on Planet Earth.

Jupiter is said to rule the sign of Sagittarius, and because Pluto is traveling through the tail end of Sagittarius the issues of Jupiter are in the process of being transformed by Pluto. Jupiter is said to be the “greater benefic,” and bestows good fortune and positive thinking. Jupiter is the principle that positive thoughts reap positive outcomes, and tends to be optimistic and expansive, ready to take advantage of all opportunities. Jupiter, of course, was King of the Gods, and as such he was the ruler of all and created his own laws. Jupiter is associated with law, theology, and our search for the meaning of life. Often this finds us in the realm of religion, which is the sharing of personal ideals with others. Jupiter represents blind faith – it also can show where we may find ourselves bigger than we actually are in life. It also rules expansion, and tends to bring an exaggerated manifestation of planets with which it comes into contact.

The Jupiter/Saturn cycle teaches us the balance between faith (Jupiter) and secularism (Saturn), between optimism (Jupiter) and realism (Saturn). The current 20-year cycle began with the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Taurus in the year 2000. We are currently in the waxing square phase of this cycle, in which new ideas and business frameworks are introduced, and then tested as the planets begin to form a 90 degree angle, or “square”, to each other. The Jupiter/Saturn square cycle deals with our ability to balance an openness of mind and optimistic viewpoint (Jupiter) with our ability to be practical and reasonable and be aware of our limitations (Saturn). Often the square aspect between these two planets creates expansive periods (Jupiter) that are followed shortly by a heavy dose of reality (Saturn).

The 20-year Jupiter/Saturn cycle is associated with the adjustment of social and political structures, including economic and ideological elements. At the hard angle points (squares and oppositions), there is a correction of any imbalance that exists between the exuberance of Jupiter and the hard realism of Saturn. For example, the conjunction in 2000 coincided with the end of an “irrational exuberance” (Jupiter) that brought the stock market to a screeching halt as the dot-com boom busted (Saturn), causing a recession that lasted for several years. The Jupiter/Saturn cycle is associated with volatility in the stock market as well as social and political relationships, and since the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in 2000, political forces have been extremely polarized not only in the US but abroad as well. Many financial experts who seek geocosmic guidance predict a financial downturn as the current square cycle concludes in October 2006.

On a more personal level, the square of Jupiter and Saturn this year has most intimately affected those of us with planets in the fixed signs of Scorpio, Taurus, Leo and Aquarius but all of us have been affected to some extent by the need to balance our need for expansion and fun (Jupiter) with our responsibilities and duties (Saturn). On a spiritual level, we may have found ourselves aligning with structured modalities of spiritual or healing practices (Jupiter) that we seek to impose on others (Saturn). Despite the challenges inherent in the “square” aspect between these two planets, they are both strongly present as teachers now and we can learn their lessons if we open our hearts and minds by asking ourselves where we may be out of balance. Are we being held captive by our responsibilities? (Saturn imbalance.) Are we holding on to unrealistic expectations? (Jupiter imbalance.) Do we impose our views on others? (Saturn) Are we spending more money than we earn? (Jupiter) The more we make a conscious effort to balance these powerful influences, the more we will flow through the conclusion of the cycle without having to learn its more painful lessons.

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