The discovery and exploitation of oil in the early 19th century made a lot of whales very happy indeed. Until that time whale oil was extensively used primarily for lighting and to a certain extent for cooking, but with the development of kerosene, the bottom – fortunately for whales – fell out of the whaling industry over a period of several decades. Plastic is currently performing the same service for trees. Traditionally oil and gas have been associated with the planet Neptune (as indeed whales are), and it is probably no coincidence that the first commercial exploitation of oil in the 1850’s took place soon after the discovery of Neptune in 1846.When Neptune was discovered, it was in exact conjunction with Saturn at 25 Aquarius, and subsequent Saturn/Neptune conjunctions have correlated with dramatic political upheavals – there were many (relatively peaceful) social revolutions in Europe in the late 1840’s because of the rise of socialism. The correlation of the 35-year Saturn/Neptune cycle with social change has been well documented, especially as regards communism, whose defining moments – the 1917 revolution, the death of Stalin in1953, and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989 – all occurred at the conjunction.To a certain extent the Saturn/Neptune cycle is also related to the supply of oil and gas, which is natural enough considering the association of Saturn with restriction and blockage, and of Neptune with oil. As consumers, we become aware of this through the price of oil at the petrol pump, but the correlation between petrol prices and oil supply is complicated by a number of factors, not least the desire of OPEC countries to maintain stable oil prices by pumping more or less oil as the situation demands. There is naturally also a correlation between oil supply and growth and prosperity, but again there are a number of factors that complicate the equation. For example there has been excellent growth in the United States in 2005 even though the price of oil tripled over the last three years.  Conversely, with the discovery of the largest oil pool ever in Texas in 1930 – at the time of a precise Saturn/Neptune trine – the price of oil was brought crashing down bringing chaos to the industry and considerably worsening the Great Depression. High oil prices do not guarantee economic woe, and low prices do not guarantee prosperity. Stable prices are best.

The classic example of the correlation between oil supply and the Saturn/Neptune cycle is related to the opposition that took place prior to the 1973 Yom Kippur war and subsequent Arab oil embargo. In fact the first opposition (in a series of three) took place on June 25th, 1971 at 0 degrees Gemini/Sagittarius, and it seems as if the entry of Neptune into Sagittarius at the beginning of the seventies heralded an epoch in which “foreign” countries, where the oil originated, began to take control. This was a time when OPEC flexed its muscles, supporting Iraq for example when it nationalized Western oil companies in Iraq in June 1972. OPEC itself was formed on September 14, 1960, when Saturn made a precise sextile to Neptune. (Note 1)

Oil prices rose dramatically up to 1974, and leveled off, even falling, but with the political disintegration of Iran and overthrow of the shah, oil prices took off once again and the price of oil almost doubled in relation to the 1974 peak of $38 per barrel (2005 dollar rate) to reach $63 by 1981. This was largely due to the US embargo on Iranian products in the wake of the US embassy hostage crisis in 1979 and the subsequent Iraq/Iran war in 1980. Astrologically this is interesting, because the Saturn/Neptune square from September 1979 to June 1980 spanned this period. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that the opposition and square in the 70’s – a time when Neptune was in Sagittarius – corresponds to restrictions on oil connected to Arab nations with a strongly religious agenda.

A new Saturn/Neptune cycle began in 1989 with the series of conjunctions that took place around 10 degrees Capricorn from March to November. As with all previous conjunctions, this had monumental political repercussions – in this case no less than a New World Order, which was connected with the fact that Uranus also conjoined Neptune and commenced a new 172 year cycle shortly afterwards. It seems likely that the Saturn/Neptune conjunction creates the new political structures through which form the background for oil supply, and that each conjunction has a different emphasis. At any rate it seems that the newly formed Russia, sensitive as it is to the Saturn/Neptune cycle, is now taking over in significance from the Middle East, and with the current build up to the first opposition of the 1989 cycle, it is Russia that is flexing her muscles rather than OPEC.

The bullying tactics of Russia have been clearly apparent in their dealings with the Ukraine as 2006 began. This was a major manifestation of the colossal grand cross between Saturn, Neptune, Jupiter and Mars, that was operative from August 2005 to February 2006, and it gives a foretaste of what is to come when the Saturn/Neptune opposition really kicks in. Basically Ukraine refused to allow the gas pipelines that go through its country to come under the control of the state-owned Russian gas giant Gazprom, and Gazprom responded by demanding that Ukraine would then have to pay the EU market price for gas, which at around $220 per 1000 cubic meters quadrupled the price for Ukraine. When Ukraine understandably rejected this – they had previously been guaranteed a fixed price five years into the future – Gazprom shut down supplies.

As the gas pressure fell also for European countries, it became quite clear for the EU that they themselves were now vulnerable to Russian blackmail, as Gazprom already supplies 25% of EU’s gas. What is more, this figure is growing as European supplies of gas dwindle, and new pipelines are being built from Russia. Interestingly, Gerhard Schroeder, the former premier of Germany is chairman of the board of the Gazprom branch for the pipeline going directly under the Baltic Sea to Germany. There are even rumors that Italy’s premier Berlusconi – if he loses his current post, will become chairman of the southern Gazprom pipeline bound for Italy. As Putin expands Russia’s web of pipelines into Europe he will clearly acquire a stranglehold on EU energy. Obviously this will not be used overtly – that is bad business practice – but Russia will acquire enormous influence… and great riches too. This must be sweet music to the Russian nation after the economic humiliations of the 1990’s.

Gazprom was formed at the Saturn/Neptune conjunction in 1989 and though privatized during the 1990’s Putin reasserted state control by acquiring 51% of the shares when he came to power. He went on to crush the competing oil giant Yukos, whose chairman Mikhail Khordorkovsky was jailed in 2004 for tax evasion… though everyone knows that the real reason was that he had presidential ambitions. The head of Gazprom is Aleksej Miller who is an old pal of Putin’s from his time as mayor of St. Petersburg. In reality Gazprom is an arm of the Kremlin, and is being used not just as a financial instrument but also as a political tool. Whilst America depletes its resources on foreign adventures in Iraq, Russia is rapidly consolidating its power. Quite apart from huge pipelines to northern, central and southern Europe, there are deals with Japan, Korea and the Far East, capitalizing on the huge demand for oil in these countries, which Russia is in a strong position to satisfy because it has almost a third of the world’s gas reserves.

It is in this light that the coming Saturn/Neptune opposition should be seen. This phase of the Saturn/Neptune cycle corresponds to the earlier 1972 opposition phase – in other words it is likely that the last half of the 35 cycle – from 2006 to the next conjunction (in Aries) in June 2025, will see the use of oil and gas to leverage Russia as a growing power on the world stage. The opposition phase of a cycle is connected with awareness, and just as the West became aware of the power of the Middle East in the previous cycle, the EU, and belatedly the US, will become aware of the power of Russia in this cycle. The events connected with Ukraine prove that this is not a benign influence… the power is there to gain advantage.

It is too late to do anything about the growing power of Russia… the pipelines are complete or under construction, North Sea supplies are running down, Europe is hungry. It is Russia’s turn to prosper, and the country is in great need of wealth after a dire period of poverty and disintegration. The choices in Europe are stark, and there will naturally be a strong incentive to economize by building economical houses and cars and investing in alternative energy supplies, and this in turn will stand Europe in good stead when the next Saturn/Neptune cycle runs its course from 2025 to 2060. It is those countries that become relatively independent of fossil fuels that will be in a supreme position as it becomes more and more expensive to extract diminishing quantities from the earth.

Meanwhile it is likely that the Saturn/Neptune opposition from 2006 to 2007 (see graph) will brings economic unrest. As Jupiter is involved in this – and Jupiter/Neptune squares are associated with the bursting of economic bubbles – there is likely to be some kind of market crash connected with power and corruption (Jupiter in Scorpio). Anything unrealistically priced will be cut down to size (watch it Google, watch it property market!). The warnings will come in the first quarter of 2006, but the crash is likely in September and October. But with Saturn increasing its restrictive grip on oil supply, I would imagine oil prices will go up even from their current highs. Venezuela is encouraging a wave of solidarity in South America and reducing the control the USA has on its deliveries from that quarter. Iraq’s already damaged production could get even worse through civil war. Iran’s confrontation course with the West can limit supplies. These factors are likely to contribute to economic depression in the USA and Europe.

The Yom Kippur war and Arab oil embargo took place a year after the previous Saturn/Neptune opposition, and it seems like there will be upheaval after the 2006-7 opposition, with the building up of an awesome grand cross involving Pluto which enters Capricorn and Uranus which enters Aries, indicating an aggressive period in world politics spanning the years from 2010 to 2014. There is likely to be highly charged interaction between the West, Russia and China at this time, and some political reconstruction will take place owing to the rise of extremism. This may or may not be related to the economic discomfort likely to be experienced in the wake of the Saturn/Neptune opposition.

The Age of Oil will run its course, just as the Age of Coal did. At current rates of extraction, oil will run out in the middle of the 21st century, though – as it gets more and more expensive per barrel – it will be a slow process as oil gradually gets supplanted by other power sources. The big question is: how peaceful will this process be? As dynamic technological progress made living easier, populations have exploded and dependence on cheap energy is what makes the world go around today. Yet there will be a future in which the burning of fossil fuels simply does not take place. Houses will not be heated by coal, gas or oil. Cars will not run on gasoline. Power will not come from oil, gas or coal-fired stations.

There are two views as to what will happen in the transition process. One is the Roman Empire model – the fall of civilization. The other is that man’s ingenuity will find solutions, and this view is more in keeping with the Aquarian Age prophecy. The exploitation of Earth’s resources is a phenomenon largely reflected astrologically by the 200 year Saturn/Jupiter conjunction cycle in Earth. When this moves to Air for another 200 year period – in 2020 – other energy sources based on light and waveforms will gradually take over in an extremely low-energy society. Whilst we have difficulty imagining this transition, our children, and our children’s children will easily find the way.

Saturn – Neptune cycle

Adrian Ross Duncan 10th January 2005

Note 1. Book of World Horoscopes. OPEC stands for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC countries supply about half the world’s oil.