Here's what Jupiter and Saturn's big move into this futuristic sign means for next year and beyond.
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Given that 2020 has been utterly brimming with change and upheaval (to put it lightly), many people are breathing a sigh of relief that a new year is right around the corner. Sure, on the surface, 2021 might feel like nothing more than a turn of the calendar page, but when it comes to what the planets have to say, there's reason to believe that a new era is on the horizon.

Boundary-setting Saturn and big-picture Jupiter have spent much of the past year in cardinal earth sign Capricorn, but on December 17 and 19 respectively, they'll move into fixed air sign Aquarius, where they will both remain for much of 2021. (Related: The Best Gifts for Every Zodiac Sign)

Because both planets move so slowly — Saturn switches signs every 2.5 years, while Jupiter spends about one year in a sign — they tend to affect social patterns, norms, trends, and politics more than your everyday life.

Here are the details on what their shift from traditionalist Capricorn into progressive Aquarius — dubbed the Age of Aquarius — means for the year ahead and beyond.

Also Read: Your December 2020 Horoscope

The Transition from Capricorn to Aquarius

Saturn — the planet of restriction, limitations, boundaries, discipline, authority figures, and challenges — might sound like a downer, but it can also serve as a stabilizing force. It can serve as a reminder that you often need to learn hard lessons and do the work to better understand yourself and the world around you, evolve, and grow. And its effect can also bolster commitment and help create lasting foundations and structures. From December 19, 2017 to March 21, 2020, and again from July 1, 2020 to December 17, 2020, Saturn was "at home" in pragmatic Capricorn (the sign it rules), bringing an industrious, nose-to-the-grindstone vibe to social structures.

Because it's ruled by Saturn, Cap is known to be traditionalist and old school — so it's no wonder that Saturn's time in its home sign has been marked by conservative power.

That was only exacerbated by fortunate Jupiter, which has a magnifying effect on everything it touches, moving into Cap on December 2, 2019. The result was a pragmatic, one-step-at-a-time, workhorse approach to building wealth, claiming personal power, and making your luck.

As both planets traveled through Capricorn, they each separately were conjunct (meaning came within close range of) with Pluto, the planet of transformation and power, which has also been in the industrious earth sign since January 27, 2008. As you can imagine, these pairings had some behind-the-scenes impact on a great deal of the lessons and drama that happened this year.

But while Pluto still has until 2023 to work its way through Capricorn (it changes signs every 11-30 years), Jupiter and Saturn are leaving the earth sign behind for progressive, eccentric, science-driven Aquarius this month.

Jupiter and Saturn: The Great Conjunction

Although Jupiter and Saturn both spent time in Cap over the past year, they were traveling far enough away from one another that they were never conjunct. But on December 21, they'll meet at 0 degrees Aquarius. The biggest planet in the solar system and the ringed planet meet every 20 years — the last time was in 2000 in Taurus — but this is the first time since 1623 that they'll be this close. So close that they sight of them cozied up to one another is being referred to by NASA and others as the "Christmas star." And yes, that star will be visible — just look southwest starting about 30 minutes after sunset (you know, when it already feels and looks like midnight in many parts of the U.S.!).

To understand the conjunction astrologically, it pays to look at the Sabian symbol (a system, shared by a clairvoyant named Elsie Wheeler, that illustrates the meaning of each degree of the zodiac) for 0 Aquarius, which is "an old adobe mission in California." A possible interpretation: Adobe missions took great communal effort to build and that effort was fueled by shared values. So, as Jupiter conjuncts Saturn in this spot, we could be considering what we have faith in and if that faith could serve to fuel a collective effort. And if Aquarius has anything to say about it, that collective effort will be for the greater good of society — and feel like an electric shock.

Because magnifying Jupiter and stabilizing Saturn are such slow-moving planets and tend to affect society as a whole, you might not feel its effects right away. Instead, think of this conjunction as the first sentence in a new chapter characterized by Aquarian energy. (Turn to your natal chart, instead, to learn more about your personal astrology.)

What to Expect for 2021 and Beyond

Until May 13 — when Jupiter moves into Pisces for a two-ish month stint — and then again from July 28 to December 28, Jupiter and Saturn will be traveling through the quirky, humanitarian air sign together.

The big planets' joint trip in the fixed air sign could feel like we're moving away from a time ruled by the old guard and antiquated structures, especially related to power. And with Aquarius at the helm, we might begin steering toward a new way of working together to achieve our goals, prioritizing the good of community as a whole. In other words, we've only begun to see just how useful social activism can be to achieve progressive aims.

In addition to being a mental energy-oriented air sign, Aquarius is also extremely science-minded, often scoffing at spiritual or metaphysical ideas that cannot be proven. They're the first sign (besides perhaps Virgos) to want to see peer-reviewed research, lest they'll be hesitant to believe something's real or not. This could make for global gains when it comes to technological advancement — and yes, with hope, medicine and health care (ahem, COVID-19).

And because Aquarius is free-spirited and often drawn to platonic, unconventional relationships, it wouldn't be unusual see more widespread striking out against romantic conventions like marriage and monogamy. You may be inspired to create intimate arrangements that suit you as an individual as opposed to those that fit a particular, society-sanctioned mold.

But it would be a mistake to think about Jupiter and Saturn's time in Aquarius as what might come to mind when you think of the "Age of Aquarius" — an idyllic, anything-goes, peace and love paradise. Remember: Saturn is the planet of hard work, rules, and boundaries; Jupiter's tendency to magnify doesn't guarantee a positive effect; and for all its forward-thinking merits, Aquarian energy is still fixed, which means it could cause people on both sides of heated, communal, big-picture issues to dig their heels in on their beliefs.

Instead, this period will be about learning and growth around how we as individuals contribute to and affect — for better or worse — the world around us, whether that's a collaborative effort with colleagues or fellow environmental protection activists. It'll be about putting in the work and reaping the benefits of trading "me" for "we."

Maressa Brown is a writer and astrologer with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to being Shape's resident astrologer, she contributes to InStyle, Parents, Astrology.com, and more. Follow her Instagram and Twitter at @MaressaSylvie.