The Great Conjunction And The Age of Aquarius According To Carl Jung
Monday 21 December 2020 will be a special astronomical and astrological moment: Jupiter and Saturn will align to great precision from the perspective of Earth, causing a Great Conjunction exactly on Winter Solstice. The Conjunction will be visible in the sky between 17:15 and 18:15 in the case of clear weather, and its climax will be at 19:22 (Dutch time).
A Great Conjunction happens every 20 years and so doesn’t seem that special from an astronomical perspective, but it is made more significant astrologically by the sign the conjunction happens in and the closeness of the conjunction. This conjunction will happen in the sign of Aquarius, on Winter Solstice, and is extremely precise.
This is one of the reasons why, according to many Western astrologers, 21 December 2020 will be the moment we shift to an entirely new astrological epoch: the Age of Pisces will end, the Age of Aquarius will start. They say it will be the start of a new Platonic month (which happens once every 2000 years), or even the start of a completely new cycle in The Great Year (which happens once every 24,000 years), as defined by the precession of the equinoxes (Earth’s “wobble” around its axis).
So what to think about astrology as a modern person with a scientific mind? When it comes to these questions I always turn to Carl Jung, by far the most advanced thinker I know when it comes to the combination of science and spirituality. His concept of synchronicity opens the door to interpret the relative movements in the stars and planets as parallel to relative movements in our collective psyche, without having to assume a causal mechanism.
Jung’s book ‘Aion — Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self’ (1951) is for a large part about trying to comprehend the history of the psyche over the last 2000 years using astrology as a tool to point out key psychic and physical changes within this period. One of the key astrological features he analyses is the Great Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn.
One of Jung’s basic ideas is that the fish symbolism that gathered around the figure of Christ was synchronistically parallel to the new astrological age of the fishes (Pisces) which was then dawning. We know from a wealth of data that the early Christians explicitly identified Christ with the fish. The sign of the fish was used as a secret talisman to identify one Christian to another. Christ became a kind of personification of his aeon.
Indeed, there was a similarly close Great Conjunction in 7BC — around Christ’s birth — that happened in the Sign of Pisces (fishes). There are speculations that the famous “star of Bethlehem” as witnessed by the three Kings (or better: Magi) was in fact the momentary fusion of Saturn and Jupiter.
So what is the significance of the coming Great Conjunction, and the turn into the new astrological epoch, according to Jung? It will all be about a shift from the polarization between opposites, to the union of opposites.
The “opposites” may concern every duality such as the one between good and evil, but opposition in the case of Jung often also applies to the gender opposition between the masculine and the feminine. It is about duality itself: the contrast between light and darkness.
The union of this opposition can only be experienced within ourselves, so it requires shadow work and deep introspection. Or in the words of Carl Jung himself (Aion, p.86/87):
“The present age must come to terms drastically with the facts as they are, with the absolute opposition that is not only tearing the world asunder politically but has planted a schism in the human heart. We need to find our way back to the original, living spirit which, because of its ambivalence, is also a mediator and uniter of opposites, an idea that preoccupied the alchemists for many centuries.
If, as seems probable, the aeon of the fishes is ruled by the archetypal motif of the hostile brothers, then the approach of the next Platonic month, namely Aquarius, will constellate the problem of the union of opposites. It will then no longer be possible to write off evil as the mere privation of good; its real existence will have to be recognized.
This problem can be solved neither by philosophy, nor by economics, nor by politics, but only by the individual human being, via his experience of the living spirit, whose fire descended upon Joachim, one of many, and, despite all contemporary misunderstandings, was handed onward into the future.“