Saturn in Sagittarius: The Skeptic, the Architect and the Luddite

 Saturn in Sagittarius 2015-2017

Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces: Fantasy Squares Off with Reality

In 2015, Saturn will be in Sagittarius while square Neptune in Pisces. The Saturn-Neptune cycle juxtaposes skepticism versus belief, pessimism versus idealism, realism versus fantasy. Accompanying the phases of this cycle are events associated with disillusionment, loss of innocence, spiritual perseverance through tragedy, deception and delusion. The last two times this happened with Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces was in the Saturn in Sagittarius periods of 1691-1693 and 1368-1370.

That would indicate an astrological connection to the time of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692-1693. In addition to being a notable period of religious extremism, the square with Neptune in Pisces added another element of delusion, fantasy and paranoia. This was evident with the admission of “spectral evidence” and the unquestioned assumption of the existence of demons and witchcraft in the trials. Historian George Lincoln Burr remarked “More than once it has been said, too, that the Salem witchcraft was the rock on which the theocracy shattered.”((Burr, George Lincoln. Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases 1648-1706. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1914. 197. Print.))

The hallucinogenic effects of the germ ergot has been contentiously proposed as a reason for the erratic behavior of the “witches”. If it were true, it would be interesting because of Neptune’s pharmacological associations. Curiously, it was in the next Saturn in Sagittarius period after the Salem Witch Trials that variolation was first introduced to North America in 1721 to combat a smallpox epidemic, by none other than Cotton Mather.((Allen, Arthur (2007). Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. pp. 25–36.)) It seems that with Saturn’s current transit through Sagittarius squaring Neptune in Pisces, the conflict between anti-vax movement and the scientific consensus on vaccination might come to a head.

Over three centuries earlier, Pope Urban V made an idealistic attempt to re-establish the papacy as a worldwide organization in Rome from where it had become a French nationalist institution in Avignon. He arrived in Rome on October 13th 1367. He was stringently opposed by his cardinals who enjoyed the high life in France, and his warm welcome in hard-scrabble Rome was short-lived once he attempted to reassert control over the city’s administrative affairs. Eventually he was forced to retreat back to Avignon on September 5th 1370 and died shortly after. He was born in 1310, a previous Saturn in Sagittarius period, so his failure in Rome encapsulated his second Saturn Return in Sagittarius.

In 1370, Jews were massacred and banished from Brussels after they were blamed for spreading the bubonic plague.((“BRUSSELS (French, Bruxelles.” Jewish Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2015. <>.)) This bears some resemblance to the hysterics and paranoia of the Salem Witch Trials, not to mention severely strained relations between religious groups (Saturn in Sagittarius). Also in 1370, famed French thinker Nicole Oreseme published his book De Causis Mirabilium, or “The Causes of Marvels”.((Craig, Edward. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Index. London: Routledge, 1998. 157. Print.)) In this book, Oreseme outlined a skeptical argument against a host of “marvels”: that magical, religious and superstitious beliefs and experiences are not what they appear to be. He claimed that marvels are the result of delusion, misperception and faulty reasoning. His critical stand against various delusional beliefs was very characteristic of Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces, and remarkable as almost nothing like it can be found elsewhere in Medieval Europe.

Saturn in Sagittarius: Biden, 2016 Election, the Supreme Court

One of the biggest political stories from the last Saturn in Sagittarius period  was the failed nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. There have been many nominations to the Supreme Court, and many that have been contentious, but none quite like the Robert Bork nomination fight, and none with such staying power in our political collective memory. To this day, Republicans can still get annoyed talking about it, and in the years since, the term “Borking” has come to mean the undue vilification of a candidate for public office.

Again, we can see how Saturn is operating here. Sagittarius is given Jupiterian significations, such as judges, and Saturn scrutinizes them. Saturn did this in a particularly noteworthy way in 1988 because of its conjunction to Uranus. One of the major figures involved in the cross-examining of Bork was a Senator named Joe Biden. Now that Joe Biden is Vice President, the return of Saturn to Sagittarius which contains his Ascendant and opposes his Saturn-Uranus conjunction could be quite significant.

In that same Saturn in Sagittarius period, Biden ran for President in the 1988 elections but dropped out in the primary due to accusations of plagiarism. It would be weird but not surprising if there were a similar sequence of events or some sort of parallel for him in the upcoming Saturn in Sagittarius period, where he would have yet another unsuccessful presidential run for 2016 perhaps and then play a major role in helping confirm a judicial nominee?

An additional reason this might all be relevant now is that with a Republican majority in the Senate and a strongly disliked Democratic President with a couple of aging members of the court, and Saturn returning to the place of an infamous judicial nomination fight, well you see where this is going. I expect that there will be a kind of political revenge waged by the Senate Republicans, to “Bork” whoever the President chooses to replace a retiring member with.

I also expect some sort of interesting development with Anthony Kennedy since it will have been one Saturn cycle since he joined the court after Bork was rejected by the Senate. I doubt that it would be about Kennedy’s departure from the court, but I suspect he could be held uniquely responsible for controversial decisions from the Supreme Court as the swing vote. I expect abortion will be a big issue that comes up before the court since we are approaching the Uranus Opposition of the Roe v. Wade decision which protected the right to abortion. The reason I expect this is because the Uranus Oppositions to the Stonewall Riots and the War on Drugs occurred close to significant breakthroughs for gay marriage and marijuana, respectively.

Saturn in Sagittarius square Jupiter in Virgo: Artificial Intelligence, Programming Languages

Saturn in Sagittarius will square Jupiter in Virgo in 2016. The last time Saturn in Sagittarius squared Jupiter in Virgo was in 1956. Other dynamics were at play, but the Saturn in Sagittarius period of 1956-1958 captured a lot of the first serious research and accomplishments in artificial intelligence and accompanying programming languages. The implications of advanced artificial intelligence and what it could mean for the future of humanity have haunted the popular imagination since, in typical Saturn in Sagittarius fashion. One of AI’s pioneers in this time Marvin Minsky((Henderson, Harry. Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology. New York, NY: Facts On File, 2003. 313. Print.)) also had his Saturn Return in Sagittarius. Meanwhile Jupiter in Mercury’s sign of Virgo coincided with the dedication of rigorous logic to produce programming languages, such as IPL and LISP.  In this time was when Noam Chomsky also had his Saturn Return in Sagittarius and wrote his seminal Syntactic Structures.

Saturn in Sagittarius trine Uranus in Aries: The Future of Spaceflight

From December 2016 through 2017, Saturn in Sagittarius will trine Uranus in Aries. Knowing Saturn in Sagittarius’ associations with accomplishments and fear around travel, one company I am keeping my eye on is SpaceX. SpaceX is the first space tourism company in the world, started by Elon Musk in June 2002.((Doeden, Matt. SpaceX and Tesla Motors Engineer Elon Musk. Minneapolis: Lerner, 2015. 16. Print.)) In June 2002, Saturn was transiting 17-21 Gemini, the opposite of sign of Sagittarius. Musk himself was born with Saturn at 1 Gemini opposite Neptune at 0 Sagittarius, so he will lock into the Saturn-Neptune square in a similar way to Pope Francis.

The last time Saturn in Sagittarius trined Uranus in Aries was in 1927. In 1927 was when Charles Lindbergh threw open the doors to commercial aviation after flying the first successful transcontinental flight. It would be interesting to see if Elon Musk is able to achieve a similar breakthrough for space tourism under these similar astrological conditions. SpaceX has recently announced they will be attempting to land a rocket onto a floating platform in the ocean.

“…if SpaceX can land the rocket and reuse the stage, it will be a game changer for the company, potentially reducing the cost of launches by tens of millions of dollars and creating what investors and executives believe will be disruptive access to orbit.” – Quartz 

It is not hard to appreciate the great fear many might have about flying to space, in the same way that people did about planes and trains before in previous Saturn in Sagittarius periods. We already know this time period will relate back to the Challenger and Columbia disasters in some way, either that we have learned the lessons from that time or that we have a lot left to learn.


Popular descriptions of the astrological meanings of signs and planets tend to revolve around abstractions and generalizations like the ones I offered at the very beginning of this exposition. My distillation of Saturn in Sagittarius into three roles was functional yet still limiting. Pinpointing a comprehensive essence paradoxically takes us further away from the real historical examples of these concepts in action, from the fine print of personal lives to the broad strokes of history. Some of these well-known historical examples of transits can provide a kind of immediately accessible shorthand for otherwise elusive astrological concepts. If astronomy is astrology divorced from the observation of earthly correspondences, then history is astrology divorced from the observation of planetary correspondences. In the case of Sagittarius, we do not have to settle for cookbook interpretations regarding travel, knowledge and religion. We can point to bridges, railroads, highways, the Space Shuttle and the Internet. We can point to the Saturn in Sagittarius periods coinciding with Luther’s 95 Theses, the Galileo affair, the Salem Witch Trials, the Sputnik Crisis, the Salman Rushdie affair, the Challenger disaster, the Charlie Hebdo attacks and other developments which will avail themselves to us over the next 2 years. The only true kernel to which those connections in time can be reduced to is the periodicity itself: Saturn in Sagittarius.

8 thoughts on “Saturn in Sagittarius: The Skeptic, the Architect and the Luddite”

  1. This is a great article Patrick, so well researched and eloquently detailed….thank you for writing such a thorough another foreshadowing perhaps, I just read an article by Stacy Schiff in the Sept 7 New Yorker: The Witches of Salem: Terror in New England, 1692

    Best to you and your family.


  2. Pingback: Top 6 Things to Expect from Saturn in Sagittarius - Patrick Watson

  3. Pingback: Saturno en Sagitario, septiembre 17, 2015 a diciembre 21, 2017: la unión de Cronos con el Centauro | Prensa Educativa

  4. Pingback: 5 Lifehacks Every Astrologer Should Know - Patrick Watson

  5. Pingback: Top 6 Things to Expect from Saturn in Sagittarius – Patrick Watson

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top