Okay, this is one of the "big ones", and I wrote this about it in my Overview for 2011:
The other "carry-over" alignment from 2010 is the opposition (Full Moon) of Jupiter and Saturn. Their cycle, from Conjunction to Conjunction, (or as in this case, Opposition to Opposition), is 20 years. In 2010 they came to an opposition in late May and mid-August, and their final contact will be on March 28, 2011.
With Jupiter ruling principles, truths and beliefs, and Saturn ruling structures, institutions and reality, their opposition provides a sharp contrast for us to see how much what we believe to be true is being lived out in fact. In other words, it is a time for a reckoning between the belief or meaning behind the form and the form or reality itself. More often than not, (and this depends upon what else is happening down here and "up there"), this opposition can create a crisis of faith in our belief systems or a loss of trust in our institutions... or both. Certainly, here and around the world, this was a year of reckoning, and more than we might at first realize.
The Great Mutation of Jupiter and Saturn
For this dance of Jupiter and Saturn has a storied history for astrologers. We have used their serial alignments as they progress through the elements to understand some of the larger forces at play in our universe. What we have discovered is that Jupiter and Saturn will come together in their conjunction in the same element, (Fire, Earth, Air and Water), for about 180 to 200 years, before they move onto the next element. This movement from element to element is called the "Great Mutation".
Since 1842 their conjunctions have been occurring in Earth and their last such alignment was in the spring of 2000. While in an elemental phase, those conditions established by that element permeate and promote the developments in culture and society. So, the last 169+ years have witnessed an explosion in the harnessing of energies and materials of the earth, literally. It has been an "age" of materialism, of the rise of our carbon fueled society and the creation of a very specific kind of reality. But there is change in the air already, and our reality is about to be transformed...
For what we have also found is that there is often a sign of things to come right before the next Great Mutation. Often, it seems, the second to last conjunction occurs in that next element in the series. So in 1802 there was a precursor alignment in Earth. And most recently, it was the 1980-81 Air conjunction in Libra, before we reached the final alignment in Earth via the Taurus conjunction of May 2000.
What these seem to provide is a "seeding" of what is to come, a taste of the new world that will be inaugurated at the next Great Mutation, which for us is just ahead in 2020. As the 1802 conjunction jump-started the "Age of Materialism", so too has the 1980-81 alignment initiated what we might call the "Age of Virtue".
Though some aspects of this Virtuousness or "Virtuosity" have manifested in rather physical forms, such as in the developments in the 1980's and 90's which witnessed the proliferation of computers, cellular phones and the internet, (our interconnectedness was accelerating), and which has now lead to the evolution of virtual worlds and communities, (such as experienced in phenomena like Facebook), I know that the 2020's and beyond will witness the continuing unfoldment of forms of connectivity that will transcend these physical forms and their limits. But we, I, are getting ahead of ourselves.
Jupiter and Saturn Now
At the present moment, the final opposition of Jupiter and Saturn within the Earth series provides us with this moment in time to see to what extent we have transformed ourselves and our world through our material "mastery". And, it equally reminds us what limits and challenges have been created by this earthy paradigm in our consciousness as well. We may marvel at our creations, yet we must mourn what we have sacrificed of this Earth to bring about our present world reality.