Anthroposophy NYC Blog
MEETING OUR TIMES
Saturn in Capricorn: Awakening through Catharsis
Author: Jonathan Hilton
On March 10th, Saturn leaves the Archer (Sagittarius), where it has been since November 2017, and steps into the fixed stars of Capricorn. On March 30th, Saturn will stand in conjunction with Mars and be in the same location as it will also be at the Great Conjunction in December of 2020. (See previous article on the Great Conjunction.) Saturn will go retrograde in May, then briefly slowly return into the Archer in late July, before going direct again and returning into Capricorn during Advent 2020, just before coming into the Great Conjunction at Christmas 2020. It will then remain in Capricorn until March of 2023. As one can see, this slow moving planet’s transition from one constellation into another can reflect a shift over several years into a new zodiacal relationship through which Saturn, as keeper of the evolutionary plan, will unfold the higher divine intentions for humanity. Saturn is that planetary sphere that carries the divine plan for humanity since our origins. It is the cosmic memory, the cosmic keeper of the law of the Father, and thus the bearer of world and individual karma. It often confronts us with the past, with our attunement or deviation from evolutionary intentions, individual as well as humanity-wide, and thus can challenge us with a hard reckoning. How can we understand this transition of the great keeper of the Divine Plan and world karma for humanity as it moves through Capricorn over the next few years, especially now in the context of this Great Conjunction in Capricorn?
First, let us recall that the Great Conjunctions of Saturn and Jupiter occur every 20 years in three corners of the zodiac, forming a cosmic equilateral triangle, known as the Golden Star or Golden Triangle. Every 60 years these conjunctions return again to the same corner of the triangle, but the entire triangle shifts forward along the zodiac about 8 to 10 degrees every 60 years. So these conjunctions will occur over about 180 years in the same constellation. Thus this new Capricorn stream of this particular Great Conjunction corner of the triangle moves out of the stars of the Archer and into the stars of Capricorn in December 2020, where it will continue for three further Great Conjunctions in 2080, in 2140, and in 2200 (actually 2199 exact), at the transition leaving Capricorn for Aquarius. Just a reminder that we should not become rigid about degrees of zodiacal boundaries, but remember that these directions from the zodiac, though demarcated, should not be fixed to one or two degrees. So we can see that when we look to the stars and their rhythms, particularly the outer planets, we are concerned with greater themes in human history, though only a moment in the great course of evolution, which Saturn remembers from the very beginnings. This Great Triangle completes one full revolution around the zodiac in the great wheel of time of 2500 years, called in Indian spiritual tradition the Kali Chakra. For more on this Golden Triangle of conjunctions, please see the video course on astrosophy at www.astrosophy.com and the videos on the planets.
So as Saturn now enters Capricorn, standing at the same point where it will be at the Great Conjunction of December 2020, we can look to the cosmic properties of this constellation to better understand what Saturn will be recording and receiving from this zodiacal region of the cosmic twelve-fold being over the next three years, as it travels through Capricorn and sets also its rhythm of Great Conjunctions in this constellation over the next 180 years. Capricorn was in ancient Greek times called the “Gateway to the Gods.” It was that constellation associated with initiation, with the path taken by those initiated out into the cosmos, there to receive enlightenment and to bring back to humanity spiritual guidance from the divine world. In Greek mythology, Hercules ascended to the gods via the stars of Capricorn after his full cycle of 12 labors through the zodiac. Thus Capricorn marked the completion and fulfillment of his initiation path. Above the constellation of Capricorn is the constellation of Aquila, the Eagle, another symbol of ancient initiation, the one who views life from above. The Eagle is the form in which Zeus took the youth Ganymede from the Earth to become his cup bearer and take over the role of Hebe, who formerly bore the cup, carrying the elixir of the gods, the cup of eternal youth. This myth would take us into the story associated with Aquarius, so will not be elaborated here, except to say that upon his ascent to the gods, Hercules was betrothed to the goddess Hebe. Another feature of this story is depicted in a Roman representation that seems to have originated in Phoenicia, with a grouping of Hercules standing upon a horned lion and the Eagle above all enclosed in a triangle or pyramid form resting on top of a square base (square being the form of space/earth). One can also see in this the four archetypes of the zodiac “corners”: Lion, Bull, Eagle, Man. The Eagle carrying the immortal being to the heavens ascends from the apex of the pyramid. So we can see from the Greeks this deep association of Capricorn with the breakthrough of initiation into the divine world. Capricorn stands opposite the constellation of Cancer, the Crab, which was viewed as the path of incarnation, of embodiment into the Earth. These two portals are significant gateways from the divine to Earth and again back into the divine. It is interesting to note that during the Three Years of the incarnation of Christ in Jesus, the embodiment, Saturn was passing through the constellation of Cancer.
Another perspective can perhaps shed further light on how we can understand Saturn in Capricorn. Willi Sucher, in his research of the stars in relation to the evolutionary cycles described by Rudolf Steiner in Occult Science, found an association of the so-called “dark zodiac” (Libra through Pisces) with the Ancient Moon evolution. He describes this fully, for those who wish to read more, in the book Isis Sophia II, available online at astrosophy.com under Willi Sucher Publications/Books. Here we come across an interesting correlation between the constellation of Capricorn and the Ancient Moon evolution. After the great rebellion on Ancient Moon, and the subsequent dual existence of the human being, alternating between the Sun and the Moon existence, which are carried by the preceding constellations of Scorpio and Sagittarius, there then occurred a great battle of restoration. The higher Sun beings fought to overcome the rebellious Moon beings and restore the Sun nature to the Earth again in a reunion of Sun and Moon. This great cosmic struggle is the prototype for all the myths and stories of the Great War in Heaven (for example, Revelation of St. John, Chapter XII). From Willi Sucher about this Great War in Heaven:
“The influence of the Sun beings on the Moon became increasingly stronger. Finally, the rebellious Moon beings were overcome and forced to conform to the intentions of the higher hierarchies who had previously left the Moon with the Sun… The physical body, which had become highly densified under the impact of the Moon rebellion, was now again rarefied and prepared for more etheric forms of existence… The elimination of the results of the rebellion is recorded in the constellation of the Goat (Capricorn)… It was, therefore, a cycle of great cosmic catharsis, of great spiritual battles between the Sun hierarchies and the beings who led the Moon body into extreme densification.”
This represents a stream of time in cosmic evolution moving forward from Scorpio on through Capricorn to Pisces, which culminated the Ancient Moon cycle, resulting in a cosmos of wisdom. If we follow the stream of time in the reverse direction, we see in Capricorn the future 7th Cultural Age of humanity, as the vernal point, which defines the cultural ages, passes from Pisces through Aquarius to Capricorn. We are now in the 5th Age of Pisces, followed by the Aquarian, the 6th Age, and culminating in the last, the 7th Ag, called the American Age, of this entire larger Post-Atlantean Epoch. To go into the tasks of these ages and the experiences of humanity during them exceeds the scope of this article. Only to say that we are now laying the determining factors associated with brotherhood and love for fellow humans, which will shape the composition for the 6th Age and the ultimate division of humanity. So one can see that to fully enter into the meaning of the stars of Capricorn, as one example, one needs to take into account a complex and profound spiritual understanding of evolution.
So let us now return to the coming Great Conjunction, which will be at the same position as Saturn comes to now as a kind of herald of December 2020. As described in the previous article on the Great Conjunction (click here to read it), this corner of the Golden Triangle carries the impulse remembered in the Star of the Magi, the birth of Zarathustra as Jesus, as described in the Matthew Gospel. Willi Sucher describes this corner of the Golden Triangle as always now carrying the theme of a great annunciation/birth for humanity. We can take this in the broadest sense of thematic meaning. For example, this corner of the Golden Triangle conjunctions occurred in 1901, the year Rudolf Steiner began his public teaching. One could follow this corner in history to more deeply understand the impulses associated with it in our spiritual human evolution.
Now let us return to the original Great Conjunction associated with the birth of Zarathustra. This great Sun Initiate founded the culture and spiritual impulse of the struggle between the Sun being Ahura Mazdao and the darker Earth god Ahriman. This cultural impulse took up the challenge for the first time of transforming the earthly through the Sun power, in recognizing the polarity of Sun and Earth matter, and the need to transform the Earth. The cultivation of agriculture, even as a kind of spiritual scientific activity of integrating the Sun forces into the dark earth, found its beginnings in this culture. Rudolf Steiner tells us that Zarathustra was the first human being who began to think in a new way with earthly concepts, and thus was the founder of what would develop as western civilization. This great Teacher was returning, as this Great Conjunction indicated to the Magi, to become the Earthly vessel for the incarnation of the great Sun Being, as his further task. He was to incarnate while the Sun was in the stars of Capricorn. Thirty years later, at the baptism in the Jordan, he sacrificed his being, departing the body of Jesus so that the Cosmic “I AM” could enter Earth existence. So this corner of the Golden Triangle is deeply related to the being of Zarathustra and his role in initiating new world impulses for the Sun, now transformed in the service of the Christ and the new revelation of the Christ. His long preparation in service to the Sun Mystery before Christ culminated in his birth as Jesus, and then continues in his service as one of the great Masters of esoteric Christianity towards the fulfillment of the Christ impulse on Earth. He is that master known as the Master Jesus who now works alongside Christian Rosenkreuz. Rudolf Steiner speaks of these two Masters of the west with whom he was actively engaged, who prepare for us the two paths of Christian initiation. Steiner was recorded as stating that these Masters incarnate every 100 hundred years. In a conversation with Friedrich Rittelmeyer, he stated that he was in “spiritual contact” with the then currently incarnated Master Jesus.
This leads us to the question: How is the Master Jesus working now? Can one see in this Great Conjunction, or series of conjunctions in relation to Capricorn, the specially active impulse of this Master in our world now, even possibly as an indication of his incarnation in the 21st Century? Rudolf Steiner says this about the Master Jesus:
“He is the inspirer of those who wanted to understand Christianity in its living growth and development; he inspired those within the esoteric schools whose perpetual task it was to develop the teachings of Christianity. He stands behind the great spiritual figures of Christianity, constantly teaching what the great event of Palestine signifies” (Sept. 21, 1909).
He goes further by saying that this Master will be a “resource for the future of evolution of mankind” to assist those who will be the Christ-bearers, or Christophori. Steiner also identified the Master Jesus as “the friend of god” who inspired the great teaching in the 14th century: “The ’Unknown Man from the Highlands’ was none other than the Master Jesus himself, in whose body Christ once lived on Earth. He too is with us today” (Esoteric Lesson, June 1,1907).
Sergei Prokofieff, in his book Rudolf Steiner and the Masters of Esoteric Christianity, brings the work of Rudolf Steiner into relation to the tasks of the Master Jesus when he writes of “the deep connection between the founder of anthroposophy and the Master Jesus, the substance of whose ego — imbued as it was with the Spirit of Christ — he received into himself at the turn of the century in order to make manifest to present-day humanity an archetypal picture of the new Christophorus.” He goes on to draw a relationship to this work out of the original stream of Zarathustra:
“Finally, the urgent task of overcoming the immense powers of Ahriman in modern civilization unites anthroposophy with the universally human mission of Zarathustra. Just as in the second cultural epoch Zarathustra indicated to humanity the path towards mastering the material world… so in the 20th century was spiritual science literally wrested by Rudolf Steiner from the Ahrimanic spirits with the help of the forces that entered into earthly evolution from the Mystery of Golgotha.”
So, my friends, one can see in just these bare indications that we are led into the depths of spiritual understanding in order to take up the question of the meaning of Saturn now entering the constellation of Capricorn at this particular time, and the next series of Great Conjunctions, starting with December 2020, which also will occur in Capricorn. Can we draw a conclusion that this conjunction in December 2020 is directly connected with the work and even coming incarnation of Master Jesus in this century? It is not a simple answer, but one, in which with the contemplation of these things, perhaps a pattern of evolutionary guidance from the Saturn sphere can be woven. We bring together some threads:
- The thread of Capricorn in relation to world evolution out of the past in its association with the great War in Heaven, the cosmic catharsis, that resulted in the reunion of Sun and Moon/Earth. Perhaps Saturn is reminding us of this divine evolutionary plan, being played out on many levels of time: rebellion/separation — struggle/war/catharsis in Capricorn — ultimate re-union with the Sun nature.
- The thread of Capricorn in relation to world evolution out of the future in its association with the 7th Cultural Age when the vernal point will pass through Capricorn, and the great war to take place at that time, for which we are now laying the foundations in preparation for the 6th Age, which will determine the two streams in humanity that will lead to the division in the 7th Age.
- The thread of the relation of Capricorn to initiation, which includes the struggles/trials that lead to a breakthrough in the individual, as well as in humanity, and reunion with the divine spiritual, as well as the work of Rudolf Steiner in bringing the new western path of initiation to humanity.
- The thread of Zarathustra and his further work as Master Jesus in relation to the Great Conjunctions to occur in Capricorn and to the particular challenges of our times in transforming the Ahrimanic forces strongly affecting human culture.
Though we are confronted all around with the seeming power wielded by Ahriman, we can remember well that the strength of only a small group of humanity acting out of the power of the force of love implanted into the Earth through the Christ — and the continued development of that impulse through the Master Jesus and the work of Rudolf Steiner in the world — is sufficient to overcome Ahriman. We must be always mindful that these Masters are not some distant abstract knowledge, but are beings active and available to us for help and guidance, if we but truly seek.
March 10, 2020
Jonathan Hilton is currently the President of the Council of New York City Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in America. He has been working with anthroposophy in various ways for over 40 years. His work includes a new approach to star wisdom, arising out of anthroposophy, as developed by Willi Sucher, with a particular focus on the cycle of the year as a path to the new Sun mysteries. astrosophy.com
This article is available in the PDF format for the followers of astrosophy.com.
Keep in touch with eNews.
Click on the button below to subscribe to our news and program updates…