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The Sun-Mars Opposition
©2002 by Richard Nolle

As seen from Earth, the Sun lines up in opposition to Saturn once a year: Earth, Saturn and the Sun all aligned, with Earth and Saturn on the same side of the Sun. This puts Saturn in its annual nominal apogee position; i.e. closest approach to Earth. If the opposition occurs around the time of Earth's aphelion (i.e. the point in Earth's orbit farthest from the Sun), this further reduces the distance between Earth and Saturn, making for a tighter perigee yet: a Saturn super-perigee, as it were. Such an alignment happens at most only three times per century: the last such occurrence was in 1989, and the only other 20th Century alignments of this type happened in 1901 and 1930. The next one - and the only one of the 21st Century - takes place in 2048. (The actual date of Earth's aphelion changes over time, coming later with each passing century. It occurs around July 4 in the 20th Century, around July 5 in the 21st Century, and around July 12 at the end of the 23rd Century. Conversely, aphelion was reached around July 2 in the 19th Century, around June 30-July 1 for most of the 18th Century, around June 3 in the 1st Century, etc. Aphelion in summer - as is now the case - means global warming. Aphelion in winter - as was the case some 20,000 years ago, coinciding with a peak in North American glaciation - means global cooling.)

The opposition of Sun and Saturn with Saturn at perihelion is another especially prominent case, which occurs thousands of years apart. The last such alignment took place on November 26, 588 CE.

As with all superior planets (those outside Earth's orbit), Saturn is always retrograde when opposed by the Sun. Both in time and by degree, the aspect occurs at the midpoint between Saturn's retrograde and direct stations. The solar opposition represents the culmination of a superior planet's significance in the annual cycle - its peak power for the year, if no longer-term aspects intervene. At such times, the opposed planet rises as the Sun sets and shines at or near its greatest magnitude throughout the night.

Stately Saturn determines the sign value of this opposition. Spending about 2-1/2 years in a sign, Saturn is opposed two or three times by the Sun in the course of its sojourn in a single sign. So the Sun-Saturn opposition happens in the same pair of signs two or three times before moving into the next pair. The 1999 conjunction is the second in the series with Saturn in Taurus that began in October 1998. (Previous 20th Century alignments in this series occurred in 1910-11, 1940-41 and 1969-70.) Each successive opposition occurs approximately 12 degrees in advance of its predecessor. An opposition in a particular degree will not be repeated for hundreds of years. For example, the alignment on November 6, 1999 is the first to occur with Saturn in the 14th degree of Taurus (13 degrees 42 minutes) since October 16, 1175 (Saturn at 13 degrees 47 minutes Taurus).

Doing things the hard way is the essence of the Sun-Saturn opposition: nothing good comes easily at such times. The major stock market corrections in recent years have begun around the time of Saturn's retrograde station, and bottomed out around the time the Sun opposed Saturn. This aspect signifies, if not outright depression in the broadest sense of the term, at least a seriousness that borders on the grave.

People born under the Sun-Saturn opposition - within plus or minus seven days of the exact alignment - are either over-achievers or downtrodden victims. Those who rise to the best potential signified by this aspect are well-organized, ambitious and hard-working despite all obstacles - and there are plenty, more than their share. In extreme, these qualities can lead to perfectionism, a destructive obsession to see that no flaws mar their work, their relationships, their lives. On the other hand, some people seem utterly defeated by this aspect. It's as if everything in life is a crushing burden to them.

Examples of people born under the Sun's opposition to Saturn include actresses Christina Applegate, Eva Bartok, Tanya Boyd, Barbara Hershey and Elke Sommer, Nobel Laureate Ralph Bunch, film director Frank Capra, sportscaster Harry Caray, historian Thomas Carlyle, astronaut Scott Carpenter, murderer Mark David Chapman and alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, skater Tiffany Chin, baseball greats Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens, royals Czarevitch Alexis of Russia and Emperor Meiji of Japan, psychologist (and astrology researcher) Francoise Gauquelin, German Kaiser Wilhelm II, astrologer Rob Hand, football great Franco Harris, tragic rock 'n rollers Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Holly, writers Victor Hugo and Upton Sinclair, tycoon-politician Ross Perot, actors James Mitchell, Roy Rogers, Kurt Russell and Clint Walker, General Norman Schwarzkopf, baseball tycoon George Steinbrenner, metaphysician Rudolf Steiner, and 28th US President Woodrow Wilson.

copyright ©2002 by Richard Nolle
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Richard Nolle, Certified Professional Astrologer
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