In October of 1929 the New York Stock Exchange collapsed, occurring just after the collapse of the London Stock Exchange and marking the start of the Great Depression. At the time, Saturn was entering into a conflictual square with Uranus, as it was at the start of the Civil War, and as it is today. One of the essential themes that arises in correlation with this aspect is an open struggle between forces of oligarchy — the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a privileged few — and forces of democracy.
The Great Depression offers us a paradigmatic glimpse: Incumbent president Herbert Hoover tried to recover the economy by cutting taxes and government programs, with the idea that the resulting concentration of wealth at the top would naturally distribute into the populace via charity and industrious job growth. He believed that private industry should remain unencumbered by government interference to handle the crisis.
Hoover's approach was a disaster. The situation only got worse as the American people spiraled further into poverty. Hoover's resulting unpopularity allowed a new visionary president to be elected, namely Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
As Saturn approached a harmonious sextile with Uranus in 1933, FDR's New Deal got underway. This was an approach to the Great Depression very different from Hoover's, one that enhanced government's role in regulating business and supporting the needs of everyday life. FDR was an Aquarius who focused his administration's efforts on Aquarian ideals of social prosperity, inventing new ways to distribute work and wealth, and giving solidarity and purpose to the greater population. The government programs enacted under the New Deal were highly successful at helping the economy recover and preparing the country for its eventual entrance into World War II.
We see a similar crisis and bounce-back of democracy in the 1860s. Just prior to the Civil War, with Saturn and Uranus again entering into a conflictual square aspect, Southern politicians were promoting a style of government that deliberately put wealth and power in the hands of a few white, male plantation-owning enslavers. They declared, in typical oligarchic fashion, that anyone who was not white and rich was of a lower class whose place was to carry the hard burdens unfitting of their elite masters.
While democracy was in peril, it was still functioning well enough for the people to elect another visionary Aquarian: Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln promoted a government infused with the Aquarian spirit "of the people, by the people, and for the people." As Saturn reached a strongly harmonious trine aspect with Uranus, the war was won and slavery was abolished. While the political situation was far from optimal, a great democratic milestone had been reached.
Saturn and Uranus aspects are especially meaningful for the United States, in part because of those planets' associations with democratic ideals and the institutions that serve and enforce them, as well as scientific advances and technological inventions. Democracy in particular is an essential keyword of American rhetoric, as it is of the sign Aquarius, where the nation's Moon is placed, a sign governed specifically by the planets Saturn and Uranus. Most of America's greatest crises and greatest triumphs have occurred while these two planets were in strong aspect.
Moreover, Saturn and Uranus are at a trine aspect in the natal chart of the United States, suggesting what we have already seen many times since the country's founding, that no matter how serious the crisis, American democracy tends to emerge stronger as a result. It's as if each major crisis brings to light deeply dysfunctional patterns that force us as a country to deal with them, as far as we can. This leads to overall improvements that inch us toward a more functional democratic ideal, until the next Saturn-Uranus conflict.
The next major aspect between these two planets will be a harmonious and cooperative one, namely a 60º sextile, in 2025. When Saturn and Uranus were at this same waning sextile from 1933-1936, FDR's "new deal for the forgotten man" was deployed throughout America. The country rebounded and even became an exemplar of the power of democracy, until the programs and laws instituted by FDR began to be dismantled in the 1980s by a different kind of Aquarian, Ronald Reagan
The "Reagan Revolution," begun with Saturn and Uranus in sextile in the early 1980s, was successful at freeing up stagnant capital that stimulated investment and lowered inflation. But Reagan's emphasis on downsizing government led to a vast disparity in wealth concentration. Similar to Hoover, Reagan's rationale was that wealth concentrated at the top would naturally find its way into the pockets of the working class, but the opposite became true as the rich became richer. In the end, Reagan's oligarchic revolution overthrew Roosevelt's democratic one.
Yet the wheel of revolution continues to turn. Saturn and Uranus reach sextile again in 2025-2026, with Saturn in Pisces and Uranus in Taurus. Coming after a Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in 2024, this sextile aspect suggests a relief to social and economic woes, as well as a shoring up of democracy. Similar to FDR's New Deal, structural enhancements that support a better functioning society may burgeon into the societal strata at this time. More specifically, it may be a time where the tangible benefits from President Biden's infrastructure bill become clearly visible.
In 2025 the years-long aspect of Uranus trine Pluto begins, an aspect that consistently correlates with economic booms and cultural renaissances nurtured by a diverse distribution of people, energy, money, and technology. This appears to be a very active and optimistic time, not one that would resonate archetypally with an oligarchic takeover of government.
It is understandable for anyone today to feel great anxiety about where America is heading as a nation. But history and astrology, taken together, give us good reason to remain optimistic for the latter half of this decade. As we have seen, just when American democracy seems overshadowed by a grave threat, courageous leaders, institutions, and ordinary people arise and reassert more openly, articulately, and durably, the basic democratic principles that reflect the best of what America stands for.