Timing Important Life Periods With Synodic Returns

Index

Astrology uses two types of planetary motion: sidereal (from sider- the Greek word for star) and synodic (from sunodikós - a Greek word referring to a meeting or assembly). A sidereal return is when a planetary body reaches the same position in the sky relative to a fixed star. A synodic return is relative to a conjunction with its own previous position or a return to a conjunction with another planetary body).

Astrologers can mark important periods in an individual's life by looking at times when synodic returns coincide. This article examines the synodic return of double outer planet transits measured by the time interval between the successive conjunctions of any two planets. If one outer planet moves to aspect a natal planet, angle or close network of planets (a group of planets that are close to the same degree regardless of sign), then two at once marks a particularly important life period.

Synodic returns look at the moving planets, not just their static position in the natal chart.

Now to look at contacts to the natal chart:

If Jupiter takes 12 years to complete a cycle and Saturn takes 29 ½ years to complete a cycle, then it is logical that it would take Jupiter, the faster moving body, even more time than its own cycle to reach Saturn’s new position to be conjunct again.

The Jupiter/Saturn synodic cycle is 19.859 years [often rounded off to 20 years]. If one knows when the last Jupiter/Saturn conjunction took place, then rather predictably, future such synodic returns can be estimated even without an ephemeris.  In Tables of Planetary Phenomena by Neil F. Michelsen one can find the outer planet conjunctions from 501 B.C. to 2100 plus their major aspects including the quarter and half cycles from 1700 to 2050. There is no need to immediately purchase this text, but be aware that such reference texts are valuable additions to an astrologers' professional library.

The Neptune/Pluto synodic return or conjunction occurs approximately every 500 years; the Uranus/Neptune return every 170 years; and the Uranus/Pluto return every 140 years. None of these fit the human life span very well. Instead, modern astrologers use those synodic returns to describe larger mundane changes in the world. In fact, most modern mundane astrologers rely heavily upon the synodic returns of all of the outer planets to fill out their interpretations and forecasts.

The synodic returns most noticeable in personal charts are the Saturn synodic returns.

The time periods for these are:

  • 45 years Saturn/Uranus;
  • 36 years Saturn/Neptune;
  • 33 years Saturn/Pluto and the Jupiter returns:
  • 20 years Jupiter/Saturn;
  • 14 years Jupiter/Uranus;
  • 13 years Jupiter/Neptune and
  • 12 years the Jupiter/Pluto return.

These synodic returns are only important if their conjunction closely aspects a planet, angle or sensitive point in the chart. This can be a natal chart of an individual, a country, a corporation, etc. This technique is about transit cycles of the outer planets, but particularly, the synodic return as an interplanetary “dance”.

Table of Planetary Pairs in Synodic Conjunction Late 19th-Early 21st Century

Nep/Pl 1891*
8 Ge 19
                 
Ur/Nep 1993*
18 Cp 48
                 
Ur/Pl 1966*
16 Vi 28
                 
Sat/Ur 1897*
26 Sc 26
    1942 
29 Ta 20
    1988* 
27 Sg 49
  2032 
28 Ge 01
 2079* 
28 Cp 13
Sat/Nep 1882
16 Ta 29
1917
4 Le 45
    1952* 
22 Li 47
  1989* 
11 Cp 14
    2026 
0 Ar 45
Sat/Pl 1883
29 Ta 46
  1914* 
2 Ca 04
1947 
13 Le 07
    1982 
27 Li 36
  2020 
22 Cp 46
2053* 
14 Pi 22
Jup/Sat 1881*
1 Ta 36
1901
14 Cp 00
1921
26 Vi 36
1941*
12 Ta 28
  1961 
25 Cp 12
1981* 
8 Li 06
2000 
22 Ta 43
2020 
0 Aq 29
 
Jup/Ur 1900
10 Sg 06
1914
9 Aq 32
1927*
3 Ar 00
1941
25 Ta 38
1955*
26 Ca 04
1969*
2 Li 27
1983*
7 Sg 41
1997
5 Aq 56
 2010*
0 Ar 15

 2024
19 Ta 50
Jup/Nep 1907
10 Ca 50
1919*
9 Le 12
1932
8 Vi 25
1945
5 Li 54
1958
3 Sc 18
1971*
1 Sg 44
1984
0 Cp 01
1997
27 Cp 09

 2009*
23 Aq 0

2022
23 Pi 58

Jup/Pl 1906
22 Ge 31
1918
6 Ca 03
1931
19 Ca 16
1943
6 Le 53
1956*
27 Le 36
1968
23 Vi 40
1981
24 Li 53
1994
28 Sc 26
2007 
28° Sg 22

2020*
28° Cp 50

*Asterisk denotes the middle point of the direct, retrograde and direct conjunction of the planetary pair extending the contact effect to over 8 months, and longer for Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

Look at the table above to find the most recent synodic conjunctions of the outer planetary pairs most pertinent to human affairs. If you are interested in mundane astrology you may notice the correlation of synodic planetary returns to appropriate historical events. For example, notice the 1914 triple Sat/Pluto synodic return at 2 Cancer 04 and the Jupiter/Uranus synodic return at 9 Aquarius 32 that same year to mark the beginning of WW I. Then again in 1941 a triple Jupiter/Saturn synodic return at 12 Taurus 08 and a Jupiter/Uranus synodic return that same year at 25 Taurus 38 mark the beginning of the U.S. entry into WW II with the1942 Saturn/Uranus synodic return at 29 Taurus 20 following soon after. See what other mundane correlations you can make.


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