How the Saturn/Neptune Synod Works

In a Saturn/Neptune synod, Saturn takes the energy of Neptune and makes it work on the earth plane. Neptune is quite pliable. It can manifest as an ideology like Communism that promises good to all people, and yet commits a hundred million political murders; it can channel a religion like Christianity that saves the best of an ancient crumbling civilization, thus benefiting humanity forever; it can manifest as the highest and the lowest. What matters is how its user uses it. For example, Mozart had the Sun Neptune opposition and used that to compose some of the world’s greatest music. Abraham Lincoln employed his Neptune to hold the American Union together.

A synod occurs within the framework of a complex cycle. Its wholeness must be applied to the chart of a nation. One must not fail to separate out the whole cycle. The conjunction period for SA/NE cycles lasts for approximately two years. Below is a sampling.


The SA/NE synod of 1951-1953 is found in the 6th house of the inauguration (ascent-to-power) chart of the new President, Dwight Eisenhower. It placed its stamp on his eight years of rule, on the important issues of the day—the threat of totalitarian rule from abroad, the desire of many people, high in government circles, to go to war, the later problems of race discrimination and segregation, and the religion/frenzy of anti-Communism and McCarthy.

eisenhower image horoscope

Ascent To Power for President Eisenhower

The dynamic impact point of this synod conjuncted Eisenhower’s natal Sun during the ’52 election and again during June, July and August of ’53. This opened the gateway to the exercise of an enormous power, which he primarily used to bring the world back into a situation of global peace.

On Oct. 8, 1953, in the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, the Soviet dictator died (SA 26° LI Rx, NE 23° LI Rx). The rigid totalitarian rule which had begun in 1917 under a previous SANE, started a slow thirty-six-year period of dissolution, which culminated in the freeing of the Eastern European nations like Poland and East Germany and the collapse of the Berlin Wall. This all happened in November 1989, when Neptune/Saturn were again exactly conjunct (100 Capricorn).

This synod occurs every 36 years on an averaged out basis because of Saturn’s high orbital eccentricity. It will always have as its focus the need to make real an inner vision. A theme of oneness always reverberates through this cycle.

This synod was present at the creation of the Soviet Union (Nov. 1917: SA 14° LE, NE 07°LE). Communism had an inner vision, namely, that we are all one and should look after and take care of each other. This philosophy comes from many different strains of the Judeo-Christian tradition. In practice, it never seemed to work that way.

Depending on where this synod occurs in a nation’s chart it can herald the rise of many new circumstances. In cultural America, in the Fifties, it was responsible for the rise in popularity of rock and roll music, for the spread of television and other transformations of mass culture. Neptune is a ruler of the arts; figure and shape, style and structure are what Saturn rules. At the conjunction or new phase of Saturn/Neptune, one can expect the arts to somehow change and take a new form.

At the new phase, at their conjunction, politically and historically, a symbolic ending or beginning often occurs. Stalin’s death, after a reign of terror that lasted for a full Saturn cycle (thirty years), was a conclusion, an ending to the misuse of SA/NE energy. The “cult of personality”, the police state and KGB, prison camps for “enemies of the state”, total censorship, and the power and privileges of the nomenklatura, were so ingrained that it would take a whole SA/NE cycle (1953 to 1989) just for this system to wind down, and for the people who had lived under it to deprogram themselves.

In the historical process, Saturn is a political planet, and when it is the consort of Neptune, an entire political system can be generated. The synods of SA/NE often rule the political philosophies of the “left”. These include liberalism, socialism and Communism, which is a philosophy of oneness. One can follow the political fortunes of the left—in America it would be the Democratic Party; in Britain, Labor; in France and other European nations, the Socialists—by analyzing the phase relationship of Saturn/Neptune.

In America, in 1952/53 during the balsamic and new phases of SA/NE, the forces of liberalism in America were weak. A conservative president had been sworn into office, and Congress, regardless of party affiliation, was often more conservative than the president.

When the opposition of Saturn and Neptune occurred, in ’72 and ’73 (April 1, 1972: SA: 4° GE; NE 4° SG), then their motion through the sky entered its full phase. This was a time of flowering or prospering of what was begun at the New Phase. At this time in America, the political left was as strong as it was in the Mid-1930′s in America, when the opposition occurred (March 1, 1936: Saturn: 15° Pisces; Neptune 15° Virgo). During this period a powerful Congress passed an enormous amount of legislation that embodied the philosophy of the Left. This Congress was strong enough to force a Republican president to resign from office. When SA/NE moved into its balsamic and new phases, the Left began losing its power. People began to criticize the Left for “not having ideas.” If institutions are allowed to remain free, it will always happen thus.


Milan Kundera image

The power of Neptune when it travels with Saturn can indeed be misused. One of the best and most poetic descriptions I have found of this kind of distortion comes from The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. It describes the application of Saturn/Neptune power in Czechoslovakia in the late 1940′s and early 1950′s:

I too once danced in a ring. It was in the spring of 1948. The Communists had just taken power in my country, the Socialist and Christian Democrat ministers had fled abroad, and I took other Communist students by the hand, I put my arms around their shoulders, and we took two steps in place, one step forward, lifted first one leg and then the other, and we did it just about every month, there being always something to celebrate, an anniversary here a special event there, old wrongs were righted, new wrongs perpetrated, factories were nationalized, thousands of people went to jail, medical care became free of charge, small shopkeepers lost their shops, aged workers took their first vacations ever in confiscated country houses, and we smiled the smile of happiness.

Then one day I said something I would better have left unsaid.

I was expelled from the Party and had to leave the circle. That is when I became aware of the magic qualities of the circle. Leave a row and you can always go back to it. The row is an open formation. But when a circle closes, there is no return. It is no accident that the planets move in a circle and when a stone breaks loose from one of them it is drawn inexorably away by centrifugal force. Like the meteorite broken loose from a planet, I too fell from the circle and have been falling ever since. Some people remain in the circle until they die, others smash to pieces at the end of a long fall … After all, we are everyone of us inhabitants of a universe where everything turns in circles.[from Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, trans. By Michael Heim. (New York: Viking Penguin, 1987) pp. 65-66]

And also:

… an idyll for all. People have always aspired to an idyll, a garden where nightingales sing, a realm of harmony where the world does not rise up as a stranger against man, nor man against other men, where the world and all its people are molded from a single stock and the fire lighting up the heavens is the fire burning in the hearts of men, where every man is a note in a magnificent Bach fugue and anyone who refuses his note is a mere black dot, useless and meaningless, easily caught and squashed between the fingers like an insect.

From the start there were people who realized they lacked the proper temperament for the idyll and wished to leave the country. But since by definition an idyll is one world for all, the people who wished to emigrate were implicitly denying its validity. Instead of going abroad, they went behind bars. Timid lovers held hands on moviescreens, marital infidelity received harsh penalties at citizen’s courts of honor. Nightingales sang and the body of Clementis swung back and forth like a bell ringing in the new dawn for mankind.”

Lower expressions of Neptune energy exist-the escapist, the addict, the smearing of a reputation through calumny, libeling, and any political fanaticism, whether from the right or the left. In the ascent-to-power chart cast for Adolph Hider at the time he was sworn in as First Chancellor, the planet Neptune sits right atop the line of the nodes, indicating all the above extremism. [Kundera, pp. 8-9]

When Neptune functions with Saturn in world affairs (in the Third Reich chart these two planets were exactly inconjunct) the energy of the synod can be distorted. Leaders tell lies to the people, and the people can be enslaved. When the intent of fairness in the law is distorted by faction, the idyll turns into a nightmare.

Yet history has shown us times when the power of this synod has been used well and correctly—giving rise to totally different conditions.

In its highest expression, Neptune represents the power of forgiveness; it represents union with all life. Neptune’s power of forgiveness and release can dissolve all barriers of separateness. The concept of sacrifice, which so often appears in discussions of the Neptune influence, is nothing more than the desire to do what is best for the whole, sometimes to the point where it might require dissolution of the individual ego. Neptune’s stimulus springs ultimately from a spiritual vision of love.

The martial energy of ancient Rome, the saturnine secret police power of the Soviets, the Jupiterian excesses of the French military dictatorship under Louis XIV of France—all are understandable and familiar expressions of power. Much of the Old Testament is a song to war. The King David story, as discussed elsewhere, is the epitome of the Age of Aries.

Rarely is Neptune in its highest expression found in the round of human affairs. Scrolling through history, one finds a few examples of its higher expression here and there, some in the Renaissance, some in antiquity. The pharaohs with the help of their scientist-priests may have applied Saturn/Neptune power in order to keep their land from being invaded, possibly by using it to control and confuse the minds of their enemies. But this of course is conjecture.

Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu



Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher born around the Triple Conjunction (born 604 B.C.?), whose teachings have helped guide the human race, understood the use of Neptune power:


A leader is best
When people barely know he exists,
Not so good when people obey and acclaim him,
Worst when they despise him.
Fail to honor people,
They fail to honor you.
But of a good leader, who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will say,
“We did this ourselves.”
[from Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Walter Bynner, trans.
(New York: Capricorn Books, 1942, Verse 17, P. 34]

To see an example of the highest expression of Neptune/Saturn energy, please visit the section on Abraham Lincoln.

Neptune/Saturn 1989-90
Feb 14, 1989: Saturn: 10° Capricorn 26 | Neptune: 11°26 Capricorn
Synod exact: March 3, 1989:  11°53΄ Capricorn
Rx Conjunction: June 23, 1989: 11° Capricorn 16΄
Direct conjunction: November 13, 1989: 10° Capricorn 19΄
1990: Not conjunct but very close

Overall this synod acted as a booster for the Uranus/Neptune synod; it intensified its influence, because it happened on and around the Uranus/Neptune conjunction.

In the USA George Bush was elected president. He promised to be kinder and gentler, and that is what he was until Saddam tried to take over much of the world’s oil supply. Over that issue, America would briefly go to war the next year.

Two scientists, Pons and Fleischman, announced they had discovered a new form of energy called “cold fusion”, which turned out to be something of a ponzi scheme, very Neptunian, very confusing. Nothing ever much came of it. Problem was that no one could replicate their experiments.

David Dinkins was the first African American elected mayor of New York City.

The Loma Prieta Earthquake happened in San Francisco October 17, 1989.

On and on and on: Nothing much happened in America.

Birth of the Soviet Union. Click for larger

Birth of the Soviet Union. Click for larger

However, Saturn/Neptune was exerting an enormous effect on the Soviet Union. Since we have a good time for the founding of that nation, we can use houses. We find that this synod formed and worked its effect in the fourth house of the chart of the Soviet Union, also where the Uranus/Neptune synod was working its effect. The fourth house in a nation’s chart is its foundations. These foundations were being dissolved by Saturn/Neptune.

On Feb. 15, 1989, when the synod was within a degree or so of the inconjunct of the natal Jupiter of this chart, the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan, where they had warring for ten years.

A new Congress of Deputies met between 25 May and 9 June 1989; it was filled with reformers; each day the Communist Party saw more of its powers slip away.

The Soviet Empire itself was dissolving: That year, in 1989, it lost Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldavia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.

The Soviet Union was born on a Saturn/Neptune in 1917 and it dying on one in 1989.

2006-2007 Saturn/Neptune in opposition
st Opposition: Aug 03, 2006 Neptune: 17° Aquarius 53΄ | Saturn 17° Leo 53΄
Retrograde Opposition: Feb 28, 2007: Neptune 20° Aquarius 13΄ | Saturn 20° Leo 13΄
Direct Opposition: Neptune: 21΄ Aquarius 47΄| Saturn 21° Leo 47΄

Chart of President Bush

Chart of George Bush. Click for larger.

Chart of George Bush. Click for larger.

The most important part of this opposition and its effect on American history was that President Bush had lost his popularity over an unpopular war in Iraq. This is the year that the Democrats in a hotly contested election re-took the House of Representatives, and would take the whole congress and the presidency in 2008. For the first time a woman was elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives. By 2009, for the first time in nearly thirty years, the Democrats would have control of everything.

How things had changed from 1988 where the Republican candidate accused the Democratic candidate of being “liberal”!

In a republic, it has to work that way: Both sides get to exercise power.


To see an example of the highest expression of Neptune/Saturn energy, please visit the section on Abraham Lincoln.