In astronomy, a conjunction occurs when any two astronomical objects (such as asteroids, moons, planets, and stars) appear to be close together in the sky, as observed from Earth. A conjunction is an apparent phenomenon caused by the observer's perspective: the two objects involved are not actually close to one another in space.
Conjunctions between two bright objects close to the ecliptic, such as two bright planets, can be seen with the naked eye and have been of great importance in ancient astrology and astronomy.
- Venus-Mars conjunctions have an influence upon the people or nation concerned (1923-07-27-GA228)
- Jupiter-Saturn conjunction occur with interval of 20 years, moving per trigon of an element every 200 years, in 800 years the whole zodiac is traversed (see E. Vreede extract below)
- historical importance: The importance of conjunctions already appears in Abraham Ibn Ezra’s (1089-1167) writings. Pietro d'Abano (c. 1257 – 1316) believed that astral conjunctions controlled everything on Earth. Albertus Magnus (before 1200 - 1280) was also much involved in the debate on conjunctions.
Lecture coverage and references
For an introduction to the work of Pietro d'Abano (1257-1316), see 'History of magic and experimental science' published in 1923 by Lynn Thorndike (1882-1965), eg where d'Abano's writings such as 'Conciliator' are discussed (pages 894 to 897):
In a number of places in the Conciliator Peter discusses the subject of the effects of conjunctions of the planets. He states that very rarely at long intervals of times, when a greatest conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter occurs in the beginning of the sign of the Ram, a well-balanced type of constitution is produced, but never more than a single specimen at one time. Such a man becomes "a prophet, introducing a new law or religion, and teaching sages and men".
Peter also alludes to the less significant minor conjunctions which happen every twenty years, to the moderate ones which take place every 240 or 260 years, and to the effects following eclipses.
GA018 covers the 800 year cycles, see Vreede p 328 (link with supernova's) 1923-07-27-GA228
If we want to understand the impulses in the universe connected with the formation of human speech, we must turn our gaze to this strange life that weaves between Venus and Mars. When destiny wills it, the relationship of Venus to Mars is therefore a factor of great significance in the development of the speech or language of a people. A language is deepened, imbued with the quality of soul, when, for example, Venus is square to Mars. On the other hand a language tends to become superficial, poor in qualities of soul, when Venus and Mars are in conjunction, and this in turn has an influence upon the people or nation concerned. Such are the impulses which originate in the universe and then work into the earthly world.
The trine period is related to the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which in consequence of the slow movement of these planets only takes place every 20 years. This was always called in astrology the 'great conjunction', and Rudolf Steiner once said that this conjunction signified periods of renaissance. Naturally there is not a renaissance every 20 years, but just here the 'trine period' plays a part. For the conjunctions take their course according to a remarkable law. The zodiac has been divided from ancient times into four trigons (three times four signs) which are related to the sequence of the four elements of fire, water, air, earth. .. Three such similar signs form a trigon, eg Aries Leo Sagittarius (fire), Piscels, Cancer, Scorpio (water), etc. Now the successive conjunctions of Jupiter with Saturn proceed so that they occur in turn in the three signs of a trigon, but against the signs of the zodiac.
Thus after several such scycles the Saturn-Jupîter conjunction leaves the trigon and moves to the next. Such a period lasts about 200 years. In the four times 200 years or about 800 years the whole zodiac is traversed.
In these 800 year periods we can see periods of which Rudolf Steiner spoke in the introduction to 'Riddles of Philosophy' as well as in lectures, as being characteristic of the 'course of development of the philosophical endeavor of humanity'. These are:
- from 8th century BC to the MoG
- from MoG to 800 AD
- from 800 to 1600 AD
References and further reading
- Elisabeth Vreede: 'Astronomy and Spiritual Science'
- Alessandro Palazzo: 'Astrology and Politics: the Theory of Great Conjunctions in Albert the Great'
- abstract of the paper:
The doctrine of great conjunctions, first theorized by the Arab astrologer Albumasar in the De magnis coniunctionibus (Book of Religions and Dynasties), is a form of general astrology characterized by the attempt to explain events affecting the Earth as a whole or in part (e.g. cataclysms – floods of water and fire, plagues, famine, etc. – the succession of civilizations, new empires, religions and prophets) as a consequence of the mean conjunctions of Saturn and Jupiter. The paper deals with Albert the Great’s remarkable contribution to the medieval debate on great conjunctions by focusing on a few passages from his De causis proprietatum elementorum and his Politica commentary (II 6 and V 9). The potential and risks posed by this all-embracing explanation of natural phenomena and the human domain did not escape Albert the Great. He grasped the subversive character of the universal determinism underlying the great conjunctions, as well as their scientific value. The first selection of his texts, mainly taken from the De causis proprietatum elementorum, establishes the scientific nature of conjunctionist theory. They elucidate its complex and sophisticated notions, describe the effects of planetary conjunctions on the sublunary world, and oppose this theory to pseudoscientific explanations of natural processes. Albert also discusses the epistemological status of conjunctionist theory, clarifying its relationship to other branches of astrology. By contrast, the texts from the Politica commentary relate the great conjunctions to human history and political processes, exploring the conflict between astral determinism and human responsibility.
- abstract of the paper: