“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
— J. R. R. Tolkein, The Fellowship of the Ring
Outgunned, outnumbered, and running out of time, our heroes are up against the possibility that all their efforts may not be enough. It might be too much. The bad guys might win.
But something shifts. Something changes. Deep within their hearts, a spark turns into a roaring flame, and in the face of impossible odds, inspiration and hope drive them forward in the fight to beat back the darkness.
Inspiration and hope are funny things. They emerge ex nihilo in the strangest of places, often without rhyme or reason. They’re not known for being based in reason. Rational, realistic views on life tend to preclude this kind of thinking much of the time.
But inspiration and hope can move mountains, defy the odds, make the impossible possible — in the right time, at just the right moment.
Jupiter spends all but the last month of 2019 in Sagittarius. In the archer’s sign he does what he does best: inspires hope and faith in that which cannot be readily seen — divinity, justice, the spirit, the soul, gods, angels, a better future, a brighter tomorrow, a light at the end of the tunnel that will emerge if you just make it a little further through. He is lord of philosophy and expansion, particularly expansion of one’s mind, but also expansion of one’s world and life and viewpoint.
Jupiter also spends much of 2019 in a square with Neptune. Neptune is idealism taken to an extreme—she can influence us to fantasy, escapism, and delusion. In aspect with Jupiter, she can bring that unreasonable, illogical hope that things will get better a newfound freedom from the reality around it. In aspect with Neptune, Jupiter finds it easier to believe in hope for hope’s sake, to fight for what he believes in even when the odds are utterly stacked against him, to go for the grand prize even if it’s the furthest thing from reasonable.
We need that energy in 2019. We need people who are empowered to fight for the impossible dream that things can be better, that life doesn’t have to be this dark, that the good guys can win in the end after all. Because it is only when we fight against those impossible odds that all of us, together, save the future.
2019’s other major characteristic is the Saturn-Pluto conjunction which perfects in January of 2020, but has been in effect for all of 2018 and will continue to be felt until the end of 2021. I get these dates from Richard Tarnas’s excellent 2006 book Cosmos & Psyche, which speaks to a number of historical cycles connected with outer planet transits. (In researching the Jupiter-Neptune cycle, I found this paper of his which can give you a taste of what he writes in that book, which you should absolutely read if you haven’t already.) He tends to use particularly wide orbs (range of degrees where an aspect is active) as that is what his historical research has found to be most descriptive; based on his arguments, I am inclined to agree.
Section V of Tarnas’s book is devoted to the Saturn-Pluto cycle. At the beginning of the section he describes it thus:
“…the Saturn-Pluto cycle coincided with especially challenging historical periods marked by a pervasive quality of contraction: eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression… An atmosphere of gravity and tension tended to accompany these three-to-four-year periods, as did a widespread sense of epochal closure:… the destruction of an earlier mode of life that in retrospect may seem to have been marked by widespread indulgence, decadence, naïveté, denial, and inflation. Profound transformation was a dominant theme…” (209)
A few chapters later however, he says more:
“As dark and problematic as was its shadow… [the Saturn-Pluto] archetypal complex seemed equally capable of constellating actions, transformations, and enduring social-political consequences involving extraordinary moral determination as well as sheer physical and volitional effort… [S]uch periods seem to coincide consistently with a collective sense of stern purposefulness and determination, a galvanizing of the will against overwhelming odds, grim resolution in the face of extreme danger.” (257)
In other words—Nazis, but also the French Resistance to the Nazis. AIDS, but also ACT UP. The terrorist attacks of 9/11, but also the heroic efforts of first responders to that attack.
I’ll be honest with you. History is getting darker. It always does during these Saturn-Pluto periods. Authoritarianism, totalitarianism, and fascism seem to be rising up around the world. Many governments have such leaders already. But in spite of all that we have an impulse towards moral courage, alongside a little voice in the ear whispering to us that we should hope, that it doesn’t have to be this way, that things can be better. “We can turn this shit around” as Tank Girl says.
And so we must. Drawing upon the unreasonable idealism of Jupiter-Neptune and the steely resolve of Saturn-Pluto, we must fight against the dying of the light, and bring into our little corners of the world a piece of joy, of optimism, of brilliance.
Because we can. Because all of us have these strengths within us. Because we can make the world a better place in spite of empowered forces of authoritarian oppression.
Because all of us together are heroic, and that’s what heroes do.