Gazing mysteriously over Giza, the inscrutable Egyptian sphinx is descriptive of the ancients' link between royalty and the king of beasts. From Assyrian days, the ceremonial lion hunt held special importance for the king. By slaying the wild creature, the king affirmed his power over nature and asserted his sovereignty as the reigning shepherd of his flock. Early writings depict a tradition, dating back to the mythology of planet/god Ninurta (or Saturn), as the original hunting deity. Leo is emblematic of both lions and kings, and from July 16, 2005 until September 2, 2007 Saturn will return to this area of the zodiac, as the leaders face their test.
The Fall of Kings and Kingdoms
Historical fact shows that neither kings nor kingdoms fare well with Saturn in Leo. Saturn, the boundary marker of the planets, is involved with re-arranging national borders and usurping existing empires. It was there for the Bolshevik revolution, and the sacking of the Tsar's palace in 1917. It foreshadowed the reshuffling of national frontiers across Europe and the Middle East, following World War I, the Great War.
Saturn returned to Leo at the end of the Second World War. This was perhaps a more important time, in light of today, as it ties in with an important 60-year geo-political cycle involving both Saturn and Jupiter. The Sun set on the British Raj, India assumed independence, and the nation Pakistan was created. Korea was split into North and South, and Germany East and West. Nationalist China came into being, and Japan replaced their Emperor. Israel was born from Palestine 's division. These nations and their leaders are most open to change and restructure over the next two and a half years.
In a personal horoscope Saturn in Leo portends powerful leadership potential, with karmic overtones. Such was the case for Nelson Mandela, whose twenty-seven year imprisonment for civil rights protests propelled him along destiny's road. It eventually led to the leadership of his country, and social equality for his people. Conversely Adolf Hitler's obsession with centralizing power, at the expense of others' freedom, led to the destruction of himself and his homeland.
The time of judgment is now upon many leaders. Saturn's sojourn through the domestic home sign of Cancer has coincided with public privations and family sacrifices. The repercussions of this will be felt with increased support for the leaders who have fairly represented their people, and an abrupt fall for those who haven't. A Conan the Barbarian approach will be a fast-train to failure. Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (born with a Sun-Saturn conjunction in Leo) is one who will find that pushing too hard only incites even more powerful opposition.
The Saturn-Neptune Opposition
At least as important as a planet's sign placement are its fellow planetary connections. Saturn's main relationship from Leo will be via a face-off to Neptune in the opposite sign of Aquarius from August 31, 2006, lasting until June 25, 2007. This is a classic clash of idealism versus practicality, religion versus the establishment, greenies against governments.
Financially, it means that easy credit access and low interest rates have inflated a real estate (Saturn) bubble (Neptune) waiting to burst. Property values have grown exponentially, but as Saturn exits Cancer it initiates a gradual decline in property value. Coupled with measured interest rate rises, and increased family debt, this will reflect upon speculative confidence. Leo is the sign of the speculator, and Saturn definitely hedges bets. Expect contracting markets and possibly a fall in the gold standard from the middle of 2006 onward as Saturn and Neptune square off.
Politically, Neptune rules socialism and the common collective. Saturn represents capitalism and control of a different order. The current Saturn/Neptune cycle began in 1989, with “perestroika” and the fall of the Berlin wall. As these planets move toward opposition, a widening gap between the right and left political wings will need to be addressed. These planets have also proved integral to China 's modern history. They tied in with the Boxer rebellion, the Japanese invasion of the mid-thirties, and the 1989 Tiananmen Square tragedy. Authoritarian administrations have the most to lose now.
The opposition aspect has not only spelt a changing of the guard for world leaders, but pointedly the British Royals. The death of Queen Victoria, demise of King George V, the renunciation of King Edward, and then the passing of Edward are prime examples. Even Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at a beginning of a Saturn/Neptune cycle. In this light, Prince Charles' succession intentions should surely become plainly evident from mid 2006 onward.
Medically, a Saturn/Neptune combination has been linked to pandemics such as Spanish Influenza. The medical world will work overtime to combat such threats, along with the omnipresent bio-terror risk. And Neptune, of course, rules chemicals, oil and the sea. As the limitations of an oil-based economy become increasingly evident, we will see stricter controls in this domain as well as over seaways and water supplies. Rationing seems a matter of course.
Positively, it's important to note that over the last century Saturn in Leo has signaled the ending of conflicts, be they the First or Second World Wars, or Vietnam. The US military withdrew from Vietnam at the last opposition. This one may well spell a scaling down on military involvement in Iraq, as impossible as that might sound now?
During the last Saturn/Neptune opposition, President Nixon became the first US leader to visit China. The gap between East and West was greatly diminished. In the lead up to the Bejing Olympics relations between US and China will again assume similar importance.
Saturn in Leo is a positive aspect for ego control, personally as well as nationally. Its opposition with Neptune begs for balance between spirit and the material world. It's the planet's message to our planet, on a collective and individual basis.