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Saturn in Capricorn: Major Themes From 2017–2020

Saturn in Capricorn: Major Themes From 2017–2020

In episode 140 of the podcast astrologers Austin Coppock and Patrick Watson join the show to talk about the transit of Saturn through Capricorn, which will occur from December 2017 through December 2020.

We begin the episode by talking about the natures of the planet Saturn and the zodiacal sign Capricorn, and how their significations have been conceptualized in both ancient and modern times.

Eventually we move on to a discussion of some themes that have come up in the world during past transits of Saturn in Capricorn, and how we expect some of those themes to manifest during the current transit.

Past natal and mundane examples are reviewed, followed by an overview of the next few years.

For more information on this topic see Austin’s article on Saturn in Capricorn.

See also Patrick’s video workshop titled Sunshine, Rainbows & Daisies: Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn 2018-2020.

This episode is available in both a video and an audio version.

Below you will find the show notes, followed by links to download or stream the recording of this episode of the podcast.

News and Announcements

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If you are experiencing a delay in receiving yours then please email Chris for tracking and more info on possible solutions: astrologue@gmail.com

I’m switching to Amazon for shipping in order to resolve those issues, and you can already order the posters from them on this page.

Show Notes

  • Review of Saturn’s significations.
    • Reading passages from Vettius Valens and Richard Tarnas.
  • Saturn ruling Capricorn.
  • Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions triplicity cycle context.
  • Saturn moving into conjunction with Pluto.
  • Themes:
    • Imprisonment and fortification
    • Planning and panic
    • Fear. Heightened fear.
    • History, the past, the dead
    • Credit where credit is due
  • Strategies/Advice:?
  • Natal examples:
    • Michael J. Fox – November 13th 1990 – first sign of Parkinson’s during Saturn return
    • James Earl Jones – “on a spring day in 1960” – “breakthrough opportunity as an actor” acting in Henry V in the first “Shakespeare in Central Park”, in same year played first leading role on the New York stage.
    • Charles Dickens – role of Saturn in Capricorn in his life – focus of writings on poverty, hard times, misery based on experience of father in debtor’s prison, controversial Saturn return to America (Jan 3rd 1842), visited American prisons.
  • The Saturn returns of the Uranus-Neptune-Saturn in Capricorn generation born in late 80s/early 90s.
  • Historical Examples (Mundane):
    • US 29-32 – Federal Bureau of Prisons, Riker’s Island established
    • 59-62 – Berlin Wall constructed,
    • 89-92 – Berlin Wall falls, construction of Colorado Supermax Prison
  • Timeline for the next few years:
    • 2018: Mars copresent in Cap for 3 months due to retrograde.
    • 2019: SN in Cap (Solar Jan 5, Lunar July 16, Solar Dec 25!), Sat-Plut v. close, Sextile Neptune
    • 2020: Lunar Eclipse in Cap, July 4th (!!!) Sat-Pluto complete in Jan. Jupiter copresent.  Back-and-forth Cap <->Aqua, Square Mars RX Aries.

Watch the Video Version of this Episode

Here is the video version of this month’s forecast episode:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 140 transcript

Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode

You can either play this episode of the podcast directly from the website or download it as an MP3 to your computer by using the buttons below:

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  • The exact conjunction of Saturn and Pluto is on Jan 12, 2020 (I know b/c that is my birthday, lol and the conj is right on my natal Sun). The most recent prior Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn was in 1518 in early January (usually Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Cap occurs roughly every 250 years but the 1760s Cap conjunction did not occur). The late 1510s and 1520s were a time of trmendous change-further exploration of the New World and conquering of natives; in Europe, the Protestant Reformation (Luther nailed his 95 theses on the church door on Oct 31, 1517); the African slave trade began; an odd occurrence was the “DancingPlague” in which a few hundred people danced without stopping for days and even weeks at a time and some died from heart attacks or exhaustion. No cause was ever given for the outbreak of manic dancing

  • Hey guys!
    Thank you so much for generously sharing your knowledge, insight, wisdom, time, and energy. I listen to this podcast often and have an immense appreciation for the work. And although I have listened often, this is the first time I have felt overwhelmingly compelled to share.
    As I was listening to the historical details of what has been collectively highlighted during Saturn’s transit through Cap and Saturn/Pluto conjunctions, I was thinking “but all of this is happening RIGHT NOW” … not one thing was named that is not already taking place:

    slavery/ prisons — CHECK/ CHECK
    maybe we will now see the reality of the FEMA camps? that is the only way I can imagine that the reality of this situation could get worse.

    world war – CHECK

    I do hope that Austin’s perspective on this transit is accurate.. “coming to the end of”.. but in order to end anything, it must be acknowledged as happening. And certainly, the prison industrial complex/ modern slavery is not a part of the national conversation, as illustrated by it not given any lip service during this conversation. Hope Saturn/Pluto deliver that into the collective consciousness. And with the help of Jupiter’stransit through Scorpio maybe more will come to realize that so many of the conspiracy “theories”, are conspiracy FACT. Which circles us back around to the endless wars/ military industrial complex, modern slavery/prison industrial complex.

    Wouldn’t it be FABULOUS to see Saturn work for the 99% rather than the 1%? One can always hope…


    • Hi Christa, thanks for your thoughts. I think the hard aspects of Saturn and Pluto bring us the establishments, developments, and climaxes of these terrible topics. They don’t go away in between, they’re more like you said, less prominent, not at the forefront of a national conversation. They are ongoing and lead up to the more definitive events of the major hard aspects between Saturn and Pluto, at which point they likely will be part of the national conversation. We couldn’t name something that will happen that isn’t already taking place to some degree today, because today’s context is the prelude to the more visible developments that will materialize at the conjunction. I too hope that the Saturn-Pluto conjunction will be the “end” of private prisons and modern slave labor. However, what has happened in the past is that while Saturn-Pluto conjunctions provide endings of terrible chapters, it always seems to lay the seeds down for something else awful. Sigh.

    • Hello,
      I have recently discovered astrology….. I am incredibly thirsty for knowledge and love your podcast.
      It is interesting because in this episode you speak of those going through their Saturn return who will shake up astrology…
      Firstly my Saturn is Capricorn. Secondly, I have conjunct uranus and Neptune.
      I even have Pluto in Scorpio.
      What did you mean by being the ones to shake up astrology??? What does this all mean?
      It was mind blowing because as I was listening you literally described my exact alignment!! mind blown.
      What blew my mind even more is that when you said this there were 11:11 seconds left of the episode ( a little shoutout to our cousin numerology)
      I’m absolutley loving the podcast.
      Ps. Apologies. Astrology is still my second language.

  • Terrific. A wonderfully organised and delivered podcast. Fascinating points and examples giving a solid and cohesive breakdown of Saturn’s transit through Capricorn. Thanks guys.

  • Thanks I learn so much from these podcasts. I have Saturn rx 23 Cap, Jup rx 27 Cap. So my Saturn return is happening when Pluto conjuncts. I am so apprehensive because it seem so unpredictable!

  • Thanks for this great Podcast.. very informative
    What i do find very interesting is that about two weeks before the exact Saturn/Pluto conjunction we have an eclipse at the fifth degree of Capricorn on the 26th(or 25th for people not living in central Europe like me) of Dec.2019… This Eclipse series belongs to the Saros cycle 3 South according to Bernadette Brady which started at the 13 th of August in 1208 julian calendar.

  • A possible prediction…. You guys mentioned Warren Buffet in the list of Saturn return people. I immediately thought about his “current” opinion on cryptocurrency. Crypto in general this year, but the fact that you mentioned him made me think of what is coming in the blockchain space. That’s very exciting for us blockchain crypto supporters, not to mention crypto supporting Saturnians like me. Great episode!!!! Taylor Swift seems so irrelevant now. LoL That part was really funny for Patrick.

  • The location for Cook County Jail in Chicago where it stands today on California Ave was established in 1871 when Saturn was in Capricorn.

  • Fantastic podcast. I have a natal Saturn in Capricorn (10 degrees) conjunct a Capricorn Sun (17 degrees) in the 4th house and will be experiencing a second Saturn return in December 2018. Pluto transited my Saturn in 2013 and my Sun in 2016-17. Oh the stories I have about the transit of Pluto to my natal Saturn and Sun! Circumstances have been profoundly difficult and at times unbearable. In the end pain is inevitable but suffering is optional and I’ve come out of this Pluto transit, starting my second Saturn return with a kind of serenity and fortitude. I have hope but without optimism. If you ever want Saturn stories for your research feel free to contact me. Thank again for a great Podcast.

    • Wendy – I can relate (not to be presumptuous) For me – Moon/Sat natal in Sag – just exiting the heart of a Sade Sati (Saturn crossed Moon) and 2nd Sat return in H4. H5 transit will the results phase of that. H5 square H8 Sun reinforcing Death and Endings. So much heart ache. So I like your take that suffering is optional because after a point we can direct the sorrow only if we take back control – another Saturnian duality- suffering/control. Personal empowerment is the only way out. Death is followed by resurrection. Pluto went through my 4th house my entire marriage which was also governed by Saturn in a Level 1 Time period (Zodiacal Release calculation in Aquarius for both of us). Nothing but hard work. The theme of imprisonment really resonates, and I think it is important within that context to ask also – who is the jailer? There will be one. In retrospect, 29 1/2 years ago I do see the restriction – the isolation, the sense of being held prisoner that ties in very clearly with house placement. One foot in front of the other – one day at a time, doing the duty within that context. With Pluto there – just so intense and devastating – resurrection is the hope. We can build other things too – not just prisons, it may just feel that we are in prison while doing so.

      • Well said Jen. I do see a theme of resurrection after being crucified. Saturn is sacrifice of Spirit into matter. Pluto in Capricorn going over Capricorn planets certainly put me face to face with terror. Some of my (worst) fears became reality. So many things are beyond our control and freedom from this prison (life certainly feels like a prison at times) is accepting life on life’s terms and with the reality. Am grateful for the ride.

  • I haven’t listened the whole podcast yet (you guys are great by the way), and I agree, there is the “end of something” coming in. I wonder if it could be related to the end of (cheap) oil or some kind of energy crisis. Have a look at this documentary:

  • My comment was meant as a friendly razz. I’m a gen Xer and at times forget to include the appropriate emojis. Loved this episode.

  • I would like to second Christa’s comment about the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in 2020 and its link to the U.S. prison system. It’s a direct link back to the conjunction in 1518, as the prisons are considered to be modern plantations. Check out the documentary “13th” on Netflix.

    We would do well to not underestimate or oversimplify the 1518 conjunction, even though it was a one-and-done conjunction (i.e., no retrogrades invovlved). Considering its timing with the beginning of the slave trade as we mostly recognize it today, the conjunction carries with it 500 years of the absolutely brutal colonial, imperial, and genocidal dynamics of Empire upon which a great deal of western culture (and most definitely the United States) is founded. It’s the air we breathe.

    The fact that the term “white supremacy” is showing up in the news daily is linked to the approaching Saturn-Pluto conjunction. The fact that racism is called out more frequently and openly in our culture (though we have a LOT of work yet to do) is linked to the approaching conjunction. The dramatic increase of alt-right politics is a sure sign that the western psyche is calling forth these 1518 dynamics for review, and not everyone is eager to embrace a shift of power toward more equitable policies. The more we can invite and genuinely welcome the voices of people of color into the astrological community, the more we can have in-depth conversations about these vital topics, rather than simply skipping over them unchecked.

  • Hello! I love the podcast too. This was was another winner! I’m a sun in Virgo and have Pluto conjoining Mercury in Virgo so I am intrested in the behind the curtain reasons about health and nutrition.
    Just thought i’d mention that Michael J. Fox was a AVID consumer of diet soda. Some feel that the side effects of the large consumption of artificial sweeteners lead to his Parkinsons. So perhaps his Saturn came home to roost on his dietary karma.

  • Hi, Chris. Where is Kelly? I thought you were going to do this one together, I don’t know why I got this impression, listening to your previous podcast. You, Austin and Kelly form a beautiful group and blend so well together.

    • Kelly was away on a trip all month and not available to record this episode with us, although she was back by the end of the month to record the forecast for February with us. Previously I had done the Saturn in Sagittarius episode with 6 people, but decided to cut it down to three this time in order to make things a bit more manageable.

      • Thank you, I’ll check on the February forecast. Maybe my question was translating the present Juno in Aquarius transit (why isn’t the group « committed », always the same?). I listen with great pleasure to all your podcasts, but the ones you do with this group add something more, because of the way you communicate with each other: civil without being stiff, respectful without pretense, rarely interrupting one another, friendly but not affable… plus you all have radio voices. You do the most interesting podcasts on astrology subjects, but I bet people would listen even if you spoke of spring to summer agricultural techniques in New Caledonia.
        My best to you

  • Really fun humor among this triad. Triad? Was just hearing that Robert WAgner is being called on the carpet regarding the death of Natalie Wood on November 29 1981. Thought I would check out the “credit where credit is due” theory and sure enough WAgner, borner Feb 10 1930 just had his 3rd saturn return. I have saturn exact my ascendant 0 Libra (not whole-house) and hoping the current saturn square is about putting down roots. When saturn is transitting a house, I like to think of it as “locked in” to that house. There is no avoiding it, so might as well build something.

  • I am just finishing up this episode and really feel like I know Saturn a lot better now. I am a capricorn rising with Neptune and Uranus right on top of my ascendant at 18° and have been experiencing Pluto on my ascendant for the last year or so. My natal Saturn is in 16° Aquarius. This gave me a lot to think about for my Saturn return in the upcoming years, particularly how the Pluto-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune-asc activity will affect things as Saturn traverses my twelfth and first houses.

    Additionally, one of my friends has Saturn in 24° Capricorn and will be experiencing their Saturn return just a couple weeks after the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. Jupiter will be on their Uranus-Neptune in Capricorn as well. Interesting stuff!

  • Austin around the 2:07 mark really nailed it. “What is my role?” has been a big question during this time as I’m going through my 1st Saturn Return. Especially since I’m changing careers (surprise– my Midheaven in Leo was eclipsed just prior to this). I haven’t faced too many actual problems outside of myself, which I’m going to credit my Venus being widely conjunct my Saturn for that, as well as Jupiter being in wide trine at least by house, + Saturn being in it’s domicile. (If anyone wants to know why, Chris and Lisa did a super job of breaking this down in their podcast on Saturn Returns a couple years back.)

    It’s interesting because my younger sister also is having her Saturn Return, and it’s a totally different experience for her. A few minutes before Austin made the comment about “What is my role?”, Chris had said that not everything is something within your locus of control. My sister and I’s Saturn Return occurring simultaneously demonstrates this clearly. For reference, we’re both night charts, born on the same day but 2 years apart, which is why it’s important to go listen to Chris & Lisa’s prior podcast on Saturn Returns, because you’ll clearly see some mitigating factors

    Her Saturn Return is in the 5th house. Her Saturn is also in it’s domicile (Capricorn) but receives no bonification from Venus or Jupiter. Her Saturn is also under the beams of the Sun. I would say the focus of her Saturn Return deals with the 5th, the 8th, the 11th, and the 2nd (as per Chris & Lisa’s webcast), as well as the other house it rules, which is the 6th house for her. She’s going through a Jupiter profected year. She is also going through a career change, thought not as much by her choice. Just prior to Saturn entering Capricorn she had been thinking about quitting her job, but before she had the chance she was fired. Also just prior to Saturn entering Capricorn, she had a dust up with a very dramatic ending via betrayal to a friendly & romantic relationship. As of right now, financial pressure is putting a lot of stress on her household––she used to be the breadwinner, and now she is not (which really bothers her on a visceral level–a lot of guilt around that). It seems like she’s really being ran through the ring of fire. Thing is, she didn’t do anything to deserve what’s been going down in her life. Her work performance was superb, she tried everything to salvage that relationship, and now she has like 2 jobs and any side hustle she can scrap together to help her household. (On the positive side, if we think of the 5th house as creativity and the 11th as our audience, she’s been very successful in starting to build buzz around her creative endeavors in a grassroots kind of way. I don’t know if that really makes up for all the other stressors here, though, haha.)

    My Saturn Return is in the 3rd house. As mentioned prior to this, my Saturn is in it’s domicile (Capricorn), Venus is in a wide conjunction in the same house, and Jupiter is in a wide trine by house, so it has some bonification, and my Saturn is not under the beams. My Saturn Return is certainly bringing up themes around the 3rd, the 6th, the 9th, and the 12th houses, as well as the other house that Saturn rules–the 4th. I chose, just a few months prior to Saturn entering Capricorn, to begin making a transition out of my old career (my Leo Midheaven was being eclipsed, with the dragon’s head in Leo). I began to study astrology & art in earnest. 2018 is a mars profected year for me––and one of my Saturn return highlighted houses, the 6th house, is Aries. I’ve been changing my daily habits and routines BIG TIME. I’m not facing nearly as much outside adversity as my sister. Outside circumstances are actually surprisingly peaceful and supportive. But leading up to entering Saturn (and even right now), I’ve felt unignorably compelled to take the path of the “hermit”, and remove myself from public life and socializing (12th house). I closed all of my social media, with the exception of Facebook as it is related to my work transition. I also signed out of every chat apparatus where I could formerly be reached. My interests have been significantly drawn to creating a life “system”, as well as studying astrology + art, in a very ritualized manner (6th house). I’m relearning how to learn (3rd/9th house), as I have always been a “learn it by myself” kind of gal, because the things I see myself doing in the future require a level of mastery I can’t attain on my own or by my old methods used to attain skills. Most of my Saturnine fear and dread, is a constant existential crisis that varies in volume depending on the day. “Is this really what I should do with my life? What is my role? Is it responsible to throw an 11 year career down the drain, just because it doesn’t make me happy?” I know the answers to these questions, but the dread/fear still persists on a pretty regular schedule. Waiting to see if it hits a fever pitch when Mars conjoins Saturn tomorrow, right on top of my natal Saturn.

    Having said all that… I still prefer my Saturn Return to my sister’s. I will take the burden of existential dread any day over a lot of the outside stress she is facing.

    She also asks if she’s doing the right thing or what her role is, but it’s just not as much of a theme for her. Probably because she has far less time to contemplate those questions in the face of resolving so many obstacles on a daily basis.

    To summarize/conclude this very brief case study… Austin’s point of “What’s my role?” and Chris’s point that not everything that happens is something that you attract or deserve, is clearly demonstrated between me and my sister.

    My sister is a kind person who works very hard. She certainly didn’t deserve to lose her job, have a radical ending of a relationship with betrayal, or to face the financial pressure she is. The thing she CAN control, which has been her creative expression via music and food, is already starting to pay her back for hard conscientious work. Overall, however, she is having one hell of a Saturn Return––and I think this can be credited in her chart to having Saturn in a night chart, with no bonification from the benefics, and under the beams of the Sun.

    Although it would make more sense to continue building my 11 year career, I couldn’t do it anymore. I’ve been transitioning out of my former line of work, and facing the existential crisis of “What is my role?” since Saturn entered Capricorn. No outside forces or circumstances have been particularly burdensome. It’s really been a nearly exclusive internal conflict. I’ve been damn near demonically obsessed with daily routines, learning how to learn effectively, etc. I’ve voluntarily isolated myself in near completion (outside of my immediate household and the occasional blog comment). Other than my own internal battles, my Saturn Return has been “easy” in comparison to my sisters. I think this can be credited to my chart having Saturn bonified by Venus and Jupiter, and that it’s not under the beams of the Sun.

    I will say, as far as “deserving” or “attracting” goes, in a completely practical sense, I’ve made a few key decisions that are different than my sister. I live in a household where my fellow money makers have just as much ability and history to continue earning. I stayed in one career from the time I was 17, until this year. I live an extremely simple life in comparison to most people who live in America. I guess in some ways I was better prepared for my Saturn Return than she was. But does that mean she attracted or deserved what happened to her? No. I do believe Saturn always leaves us better than it found us, because if you’re aware of what’s going on, you can learn the gift of discipline in whatever area of your life it touches. So maybe in this way she is learning to be more disciplined and discriminating about her job, financial affairs, and romantic liaisons. I learned those things (outside of working in a job that didn’t fulfill me personally) earlier in life. I don’t think this is a case of her “attracting” or controlling these circumstances, but rather just the cycle of life playing out as it always does for each of us in it’s own unique way.

  • Hi. I’ve recently discovered your podcast and I am absolutely loving geeking out on everything. I have hit the books hard and feel like I’ve found all that I’ve been searching for…. Even though I previously didn’t know how thirsty I was for this knowledge.
    Excuse my “newbie” astrology language and understanding but during this episode I had an absolute epiphany…
    At 2:32:06 you talk about those with their Saturn in Capricorn and have just been through their first Saturn return who will discover astrology and “shake it up”. What did you mean by this as like you mentioned I also have conjunct Neptune and Uranus.
    My mind was blown as you literally described my exact experience.
    Please help me understand what this means?
    Ps. Side note if you believe in numerology. When you said this the minutes left of the podcast were 11:11. If my mind couldn’t be anymore blown!!!

    Thanks a heaps! loving your podcast.

  • I have a thought to add on to Austin’s musings about the association of Saturn with “water trade” in traditional texts and how that contrasts to Saturn’s Earthy associations. As part of my ceremonial magick training, I am studying the Kabalah. In Kabalistic thought, Saturn corresponds with the sephiroth Binah, which is associated with the sea. That’s a pretty loud and clear link in my mind which would have been well known among ancient occult scholars.

  • Amazing exploration of the themes of Saturn in Capricorn. Already having seen so much of what was talked about I am curious what more is left to happen. I hope you do more about the Saturn / Pluto conjunction and will especially look forward to the monthly overview for next December/January. Keep up the good work, guys!

  • Very good analysis and great side talk about nuances of astrology, so thank you much. I am wondering about Charles Dickens chart time? Astrodatabank has 6:15 pm whereas the chart you used as an example has 7:50 pm so is there an alternate source for this birth time that is not on Astrodatabank or is this a rectified time?
    It would be a good idea to state the source or have the Rodden rating on the charts you display. These days the source of data is not as critical an issue as it was before computers but accuracy of data is still really important as the 6:15 pm birthtime puts Saturn and Mercury in the 6th which makes your discussion about the 5th House with Saturn and Mercury moot.
    The Astrodatabank record has a B rating that this birthtime is from a biography but I am really interested in the source for the 7:50 pm time.
    Thanks much and keep up the stellar work!

    • My bad! Astrodatabank has 11:15 pm – their example chart has 6:15 pm from what I can tell so there is a more confusion about his birth data which I hope to clear up as I love this guys life story. Thank you again.