diagram of Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto parallels

Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto Parallels ~ Dec. 2019 to Jan. 2020

Saturn and Pluto were parallel by declination from 2016 to 2020. Jupiter joined them from 2019 to 2020. These parallels set the stage for their triple conjunction in Capricorn and Aquarius in 2020.

Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. ~ Maya Angelou

Saturn and Pluto have traveled in Parallel by Declination since the beginning of 2016. Jupiter joined them at the start of 2019, and the three are parallel until late 2020. This has been setting the stage for the 2020 conjunctions in Capricorn and Aquarius. As the 2020 New Year approaches, the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars are braided and woven together with these slower planets throughout December and January, in parallel and conjunction. It's the perfect time to get ready for the Big Show in 2020!

Throughout December and January, the Sun, Mercury and Venus (joined later by Mars in January and February) all go through Capricorn and interact with Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto by conjunction and parallel. In other words, the fast Inner Planets are all dancing with the Big Boys in Capricorn this month and next. This brings next year's larger-than-life Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto energy into a more personalized access and gives us a chance to get into sync with that powerful energy.

Here are a few notable encounters.

Mercury, Venus and Pluto all crisscross exactly in parallel on Dec.18 2019. And Mercury and Venus also cross Saturn within 1-2 days before and after. So, for about 3 days we have Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Pluto dancing together in parallel.

Open your mind and your heart to the deeper levels of awareness of events happening around you. Whether it's enjoyable festivities or heavy current events, you have a chance to peer below the surface and get a glimpse of the complexities of that situation.

Sun, Venus and Jupiter all three crisscross on Dec.14-15 2019. In addition, the Sun at Solstice (maximum south declination) is tightly parallel to Jupiter from Dec.15 until Dec.29.

In addition, Mars and the Moon join the party at year-end and in mid-January. Seems everybody's having a party on the South side of Earth, except Uranus, Neptune and Chiron!

So, we have a loooong and lean Sun-Jupiter parallel for 2 weeks (no more than 10 declination minutes apart), launched by Venus a week before the Capricorn Solstice. Under these 3 energizing benevolent forces of nature, it's a great time to party, get awesome gift ideas for your loved ones, and do things that help you feel beautiful, confident, loved and on top of your game!

The Solstice (Cancer or Capricorn) is a turning point when we begin to turn the developments of the previous quarter-year into manifestation. Whether it's spring's beginnings blossoming into summer's splendour, or fall's spectacular finish descending into winter's hibernation, it's a time of culmination when we now must create something out of what has come before.

Jupiter plays a key role in this Solstice. So, it's a time to take your ideals, hopes and potential, and find ways to walk the walk, not just dream the dream. Jupiter can boost your feeling and need for greater self-confidence, although since he's in cautious Capricorn right now you might do better to take a serious look at how you attain and maintain your self-confidence, stability, authority and goals.

The Declination Graph above shows how these planets weave back and forth, in and out of parallel, throughout December and January. There's also a table at the end of this article with exact dates of the parallels and conjunctions.

It's not uncommon for planets that are conjunct to also be parallel, but there can be a surprising amount of time between the parallel and the conjunction. In this particular case, Saturn and Pluto spend 4 years in parallel before they reach conjunction. And Jupiter is parallel to both of them for 1.5 to 2 years before they come together in conjunction. These three planets disperse and go their separate ways beginning in November 2020 through January 2021, but in the meantime they are joined at the hip as they march through Capricorn (as well as Sagittarius, for Jupiter).

Diagram of parallels

What's a Parallel?
What is Declination?

First, think of the zodiac as being horizontal, with a "right-left" direction. A planet is a certain degree in a particular sign, moving right-to-left through the zodiac, along the Ecliptic (the path of the Sun). We call this Longitude. Example: the Sun at 0° of Capricorn.

We can also measure a planet's position "up and down" relative to Earth's Equator (and its extension out into space: the Celestial Equator). This is called Declination, measured in degrees, North or South.

Planets that are at the same declination are Parallel, although they may or may not be near each other by sign/degree. There need not be any kind of aspect between them to be parallel as long as they're the same declination (within an orb of about 1°).

Planets that are conjunct by longitude are often not very far away from each other by declination, but planets that are parallel might be very far away from each other by sign.

Planets that are parallel resonate their energies together, which could be either "good" or "bad" or "neutral." See more about this in our Glossary.

The Personal and the Transpersonal

Life does not change if you only modify the content,
your life will change if you will dare to alter the context.
~ Santosh Kalwar

So now, just to spice things up a bit, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto are encountered by the Sun, Mercury and Venus in December 2019 and January 2020, and Mars joins up by parallel in mid-January (but doesn't get to Capricorn until mid-February or conjoin the Big Guys until March).

Since the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars are more personal energies – meaning we experience them more consciously than the outer planets – we are likely to feel the combined energies of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto more readily than we have before. Their effects are likely to become more clearly in focus, and your understanding of those energies are within closer reach. (This happened to a lesser extent in January 2019, but only the Sun, Mercury, Saturn and Pluto were involved. This time around is bound to be more vivid because of the extra planetary weight in Capricorn.)

As a result, this is an excellent opportunity to make choices about how to frame the upcoming Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto experiences of 2020. It's a time when you can start to prepare for and decide on the best way for you to respond and work with them. With Saturn and Pluto involved, as well as a very serious Jupiter, these are heavy energies you're dealing with. It's easy to get caught up in the strong undercurrents and carried away by emotional reactions--in both "positive" and "negative" ways.

That said, it's also important to find ways to take a step back and take a break when the intensity spikes, so that you can choose how you need or want to respond instead of just succumbing to knee-jerk reactions. The idea is to find constructive ways to work with these energies, rather than falling into counter-productive reactions out of habit. And when we're tired, weary, worn out or over-stressed, that's when we tend to fall back to what's familiar, which often isn't well suited to deal effectively with the current situation.

So, there are ways to protect and take care of yourself during the coming year. But what about actually creating something positive and constructive with the planets? Isn't there something you can do with these energies beyond simply enduring and surviving them?

Staying in the Struggle

All you really need to know for the moment is that
the universe is a lot more complicated than you might think,
even if you start from a position of thinking it's pretty damn complicated in the first place.
~ Douglas Adams

Saturn and Pluto are arguably the heaviest planetary energies in the solar system. Saturn confronts us with cold hard reality, and Pluto confronts us with power and control dynamics. It's useful to think of Saturn as being outer reality while Pluto is more of an inner reality – both are about coming to terms with what is, as it relates to our place in the world or what we're made of inside.

Although the rewards are great, it takes courage, strength and dedication to work with either of these energies. And when we must deal with them together, we're usually faced with outer situations and circumstances that stir up feelings and urges from deep within, both individually and collectively. Again: it's easy to get caught up in the powerful undercurrent of these larger-than-life dynamics.

Therefore, it's important to do what you can to "stay in the struggle" and not simply defer to old habits, assumptions and automatic reactions. Find activities that can help you bring what you're feeling inward toward self-awareness. And especially be open to seeing something you hadn't seen before, or to perceiving something in a new way.

What do you see in your life that needs to change in order to achieve a goal that has been elusive? What's been in the way of that goal? If it's something outside of yourself, how are you responding to it? Are you strategizing how you might get around that obstacle, or have you given up trying?

By the way, giving up isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes we repeatedly hurl ourselves against an unsurpassable wall, which only drains our energy and makes us feel powerless and helpless. Maybe it's not the best time to move ahead, or you are exhausted and need to recharge your batteries before you try again. Or perhaps you need to acquire a skill or resource in order to proceed. Or maybe it's something that's not in your best interest right now.

So, "giving up" can actually become a time when you accept what is and work with what you have. That said, there is a fine line between acceptance that nurtures healing versus just giving up and sinking into cynicism and pessimism. They can be hard to tell apart. Only you can decide which it is, but you'll still need to "stay in the struggle" to understand what it is for you and how you can best respond to it.

Whatever your situation, if you get stuck in the same-old-same-old reactions (which of course is bound to bring the same-old-same-old results), then this can be an excellent opportunity to observe your patterns of emotions, triggers and expectations. BUT you will probably need to take some time out in order to process what you're noticing and connect the dots that can lead to a greater understanding of what you're dealing with. And it is that expanded perception, deeper understanding, or more thorough assessment of the situation that can give you increased options and choices about how you want/need to or could/should respond.

So, as the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars make contact with Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto over the next couple of months, by parallel – and for some also the conjunction – they may bring to the surface various feelings, awareness, interactions, reactions and drives that are connected to these heavier, deeper planetary energies. At the time, you might feel stimulated, inspired, challenged or triggered by them, but do also use them to give you a fresh look at old familiar feelings, assumptions, expectations and urges.

It can be very helpful to work with a journal to write down what you experience or notice. Write a story or poem. Write a letter that you don't mail but simply use it to tell your truth. If you're not comfortable with writing, dictate your thoughts and ideas into a recorder. If you don't like trying to put things into words, try something more creative or intuitive: drawing, collage, or singing or dancing to songs that reflect what you're feeling. Or, you could find things outside of you that might express what you're going through, like an art gallery, or a movie, or surrounding yourself with nature, or people-watching in a crowd.

The idea is to make connections, connect the dots, and think about what you're noticing. Don't just accept it on face value – dig a little deeper. That said, don't just assume that if you have an brainstorm about something, it will necessarily be the factual truth, but take it as a doorway through which your curiosity can lead you to a greater awareness and understanding.

And this cannot be understated: Keep your observations free from judgment as much as possible. If you see something in yourself you don't like and you berate and shame yourself for it, this can censor any further understanding about it. By all means acknowledge things that need to be improved or changed, but it's best to leave room to accept that you're human. You're a work in progress.

In the same way, if you're seeing something about someone else that you don't like, aim for greater understanding. By all means do what you need to do to take care of yourself and stay safe, especially if you are feeling vulnerable or could be in danger. But once you're in a safe space, this is also an opportunity to peer below the surface of what's happening, both about the other person and about how you handle the situation. It doesn't mean you have to put up with behaviour that is hostile or uncomfortable, but it can be a chance to observe something deeper about human nature, about the other person and about yourself.

Toward the 2020 Transits

"This could be the worst disaster NASA's ever experienced."
"With all due respect, sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour."
~ Apollo 13, Ed Harris as Gene Kranz, Flight Director

The 2020 conjunctions of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto are not going to suddenly make their presence known next year. We've been marinating in these energies for up to 4 years already as they've travelled in parallel! This timespan has seen a sharp spike in political, religious, ecological, economic and interpersonal controversy throughout our rapidly shrinking Global Village.

Saturn and Pluto tend to bring dramatic changes in authority and the balance of power. Jupiter added to the mix stirs up intense idealism and the determination for our own truth, beliefs, morality and vision to become the one that predominates.

I do think the Big Conjunctions of 2020 – Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto – are bound to crystalize and solidify the mounting energies of the last few years. It will be time to choose a decisive turning point in our personal and collective direction, resulting from how we are able to understand and resolve the disruptions of recent years. Decisions must be crafted from our conclusions, based on Jupiter's optimism and breadth of vision while in Sagittarius, as well as the hard realities presented by Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn that we're struggling to face.

And now that Jupiter is in Capricorn, that optimism can't just be based on Sagittarian imagination or vision. It must be applied to concrete potential—what can be done, rather than what we hope might be achieved. Capricorn's restrictions put boundaries into place, within which Jupiter's creative imagination must work with what is available. It doesn't mean the possibilities are diminished, so much as we'll need to be more inventive and visionary using the tools, materials and reality within our grasp.

Like the quote above, Jupiter in Capricorn, the sign of its fall, doesn't have to mean Jupiter's gifts are disabled. It means Jupiter must rise to the challenge to do more with less. We are called upon to exercise a greater level of creative problem solving. Instead of our Jupiterian qualities of hope, vision and imagination expanding in all directions, we are challenged now to work within realistic bounds in order to rise above mere limitations.

Throughout the Saturn-Pluto parallel, we have lived in demanding times that take all of our passion, all of our love, all of our dedication and all of our faith in order to survive ourselves. Jupiter has now joined Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, so the need for our strength and integrity, as well as living according to our highest values, is ramped up to a new level.

So, this December and January the Sun, Mercury and Venus awaken and evoke the Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto energies, both personally and collectively. These are times when we may feel added pressure to put our money where our mouth is—literally and figuratively. It's a time to tread carefully and mindfully – this terrain is tricky to travel. And taking place during holiday season that is typically stressful (especially in the Northern Hemisphere where we are in the dark of the year) means this one could be a bit more challenging than usual.

So, it's okay—and perhaps essential—to slow down and check in frequently with your personal values and ideals, to bring them down to earth and let them guide you through everyday life---or to reconsider what your standards really are and whether it's time to adjust what is important to you. Where possible, keep it simple, stable and serene, and if difficult external events can't be avoided, take some time out to breathe and get yourself grounded and centered again.

Celebration and fun—for the season or "just because"—is another valuable part of your strategy to get through the next couple of months, and indeed the coming year. Jupiter in Capricorn might not be the party animal he is while in Sagittarius, but he knows how to get the animals to party! So, invite your inner Capricorn goat to come down off the mountainside for a while and frolic with the centaurs and nature spirits. Or do whatever helps you put some sparkle on your personal Tree of Life.

Parallel Dates and Important Declination Events

So, here are the dates in December and January of the parallels. Parallels that occur near each other are grouped together. Note that some parallels repeat during December and January. Why? Because those planets move away from the equator, then arc around and move back toward the equator. You can see this visually in the Declination Graph at the top of this page. The corresponding conjunctions of these parallels are also listed if they occur during this time period. Dates are for North American Eastern Standard Time.

Sun - Saturn#1 Dec.03 2019  
Sun - Pluto #1 Dec.04 2019  
Venus - Jupiter Dec.14 2019 Nov.24 2019
Sun - Venus Dec.14 2019  
Sun - Jupiter #1 Dec.15 2019  
Mercury - Saturn #1 Dec.17 2019 Jan.12 2020
Mercury - Pluto #1 Dec.18 2019 Jan.12 2020
Mercury - Venus Dec.18 2019  
Venus - Pluto Dec.18 2019 Dec.13 2019
Venus - Saturn Dec.20 2019 Dec.11 2019
Mercury - Jupiter #1 Dec.21 2019 Jan.02 2020
Solstice ~ Sun's max South declination Dec.21 2019  
Sun - Mercury Dec.22 2019 Jan.10 2020
Mercury goes OOB Dec.22 2019  
Sun - Jupiter #2 Dec.29 2019 Dec.27 2019
Moon - Venus Dec.29 2019 Dec.27 2019
Moon - Mars Dec.29 2019 Dec.27 2019
Venus - Mars Dec.29 2019 Dec.27 2019
Sun - Pluto #2 Jan.08 2020 Jan.13 2020
Mercury comes In-Bounds Jan.12 2020  
Sun - Saturn #2 Jan.13 2020 Jan.13 2020
Sun - Mars Jan.14 2020  
Mars - Saturn Jan.14 2020  
Mercury - Jupiter #2 Jan.14 2020 Jan.02 2020
Mercury - Pluto #2 Jan.16 2020 Jan.12 2020
Mercury - Saturn #2 Jan.18 2020 Jan.12 2020


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