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Slow Global Warming


by Gary Brand - written October 10, 2009,
published in the November 2009 edition of Echo* newspaper
What a Saturn-Pluto square looks like This is what Saturn square Pluto looks like, with Earth at a right angle (90 degress) to the two planets (Earth is upper left, Saturn is upper right, and Pluto is lower left).  Given that the current Saturn-Pluto aspect is a waning square, do you know what is wrong with this depiction?  The photos of these three planets are to scale as far as size is concerned but are not to scale in terms of distances from each other.  Images are courtesy of NASA.

This is a composite of three images taken by the Cassini spacecraft on January 30, 2008 using red, green and blue filters, which results in this natural color view.  Saturn is on the right with the ring shadows spread across it, its moon Titan is upper right near the edge or limb of Saturn, and its moon Tethys is lower left.  The rings appear dark because we are viewing their unilluminated side.  Courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

This is a composite of three images taken by the Cassini spacecraft far above the ringplane on April 23, 2007 using red, green and blue filters, which results in this natural color view.  Saturn's night or dark side is shown, the lower portion of which is illuminated by sunlight reflected by the rings.  A small sliver of direct sunlight appears on the left and even the large area of Saturn above the part illuminated by "ringlight" receives some light that filtered through the rings.  The unilluminated side of the D and C rings are shown at the bottom of this view and the innermost strands of the D ring cross the bottom of the planet as faint bands.  Saturn casts its shadow across the rings at bottom right.  Courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

Although these two moons of Saturn appear close together, they were actually on different sides of Saturn and its rings.  In this image, taken by the Cassini spacecraft on July 3, 2006, Dione is the larger of the two and its dark side was partially illuminated by "Saturnshine" or light reflected by the planet because it was on the far side of the planet and the rings.  On the other hand, the dark side of Mimas received no "Saturnshine" because it was on the near of side Saturn and the rings.  Can you tell whether Saturn is off camera to the right or left?  Courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.
nyone familiar with the Star Wars movies knows about Darth Vader, the evil Emperor, and their use of the “dark side of the force.”  As Yoda, the Master Jedi explained, the “force” is what animates all life.  If we think of the planets of our solar system as components or archetypes of this universal force that flows through everything, then Saturn and Pluto represent the “dark side” of that planetary life force.  There cannot be a “light side” of the force without its complimentary dark side.  We all have a dark side, even if we don’t often express it, just as we all have Saturn and Pluto somewhere in our birth chart.  Saturn represents greed and fear, while Pluto symbolizes extremes.  Periods of economic prosperity and boom driven by greed must, inevitably, be followed by a period of contraction and bust driven by fear (greed and fear are the two primary emotions that drive financial and real estate markets).  The more extreme and protracted the boom is, the more extreme and protracted the bust.

The Saturn-Pluto cycle is 31-37 years in length and begins with their conjunction (when they are both at the same degree and minute in the zodiac), so the period of this cycle is the length of time it takes faster-moving Saturn to catch up with Pluto.  There are two squares (90 degree separations) during a cycle:  the first occurs when the cycle is one-quarter complete and the other when it is three-quarters complete.  Based on an examination of U.S. economic history since the Revolution, the first square of the Saturn-Pluto cycle, the “waxing” square, often corresponds with the U.S. emerging from recessions or depressions (or it occurs between them).  Conversely, the second square, the “waning” square (when Pluto is “leading” or in front of Saturn in the zodiac), seems to be the worst of the two, occurring at times when the U.S. economy plunges into significant and protracted recessions or depressions.  Therefore, the waning square is a reliable, general economic indicator.

From November 2009 – early April 2010, from late July – early November 2010, and from late February – August 2011, Saturn is square Pluto (90 degrees ± 10 degrees) in the waning square of their current cycle.  This square does not bode well for the so-called “recovery” of the U.S. economy.  I know I’m not going to be popular for making this prediction but this square indicates that the recession we are experiencing will deepen and worsen over the coming two years.  Our history of economic recessions and depressions explains why.

The last time the waning square occurred between Saturn and Pluto was August – December 1973, late April – August 1974, and November 1974 – May 1975.  This was during the OPEC oil embargo that resulted in long lines at gas pumps, almost year-round daylight savings, and it was coincident with a recession that lasted from November 1973 – March 1975.  During this recession, the business activity index dropped by 9% while both unemployment and inflation increased.

The next previous waning square between Saturn and Pluto was July – September 1939, late March – early June 1940, and late September 1940 – early March 1941.  This is the only time that a waning Saturn-Pluto square was not coincident with a major recession or depression in U.S. history (since the Revolution), although World War II began in Europe in September 1939 and spread under its influence.

The next preceding waning square from Saturn to Pluto was April – early August 1906 and late January 1907 – mid March 1908.  It was coincident with a severe recession, the so-called “panic of 1907” from May 1907 – June 1908, that was characterized by an acute monetary contraction and a steep decline of 29% in the business activity index (the 3rd worst economic downturn in the 20th century).  The aftermath led to the creation of the Federal Reserve System.

The next previous waning square between Saturn and Pluto was April – July 1874 and April 1875 – February 1876.  This was coincident with one of the worst and the longest depression (according to the National Bureau of Economic Research) in U.S. history, from October 1873 – March 1879 that resulted in a drop of 34% in the business activity index.  This depression lasted longer than the Saturn waning square to Pluto because it was followed by a Uranus-Pluto square (another indicator of economic contraction) that lasted through August 1878.  As I pointed out in my December 2008 article in Echo, “Change Is Coming, America,” that depression was also coincident with a Saturn-Uranus opposition during 1874-1875.  So the period we are in, from late 2008 – early 2018, contains a Saturn-Uranus opposition, a waning Saturn-Pluto square, and a Uranus-Pluto square (all indicators of a depressed economy) – the same lineup of aspects that occurred from 1874 through 1878, concurrent with that depression.  It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that the current economic meltdown will continue (perhaps on and off) through early 2018.

The next previous waning square between Saturn and Pluto was February – June 1842 and November 1842 – January 1844, which occurred during one of the deepest and longest depressions in U.S. history, from late 1839 – late 1843.  This depression resulted in a drop of 34% in the business activity index (the 2nd worst U.S. economic downturn in the 19th century) and was characterized by profound deflation and widespread default on debt.

The next previous waning square between Saturn and Pluto was November 1809 – December 1811, which occurred toward the end of the depression that lasted from 1807–1810.  During this depression, which resulted from the U.S. Embargo Act of 1807, trade contracted while stock and commodity prices fell.  The recovery was weak because a brief recession began early in 1812.

Although economic circumstances during the recessions and depressions prior to the 20th century were different than today (before the Federal Reserve, FDIC, or SEC), history repeats itself so there is no reason to presume that the Saturn-Pluto waning square no longer heralds a recession or depression.

In a future article, I will explain the mythological and psychological symbolism of the square between Saturn and Pluto.

Data about recessions and depressions contained in this article are from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and Wikipedia.

See another article about Saturn square Pluto at:  "Saturn Square Pluto - Part 2"

*Echo is a monthly newspaper about community, the environment, health, cuisine, and spirituality that is distributed in central Virginia.

Printable version (without images)
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida

© copyright 2009-2013 Gary Brand.  All rights reserved.