Miraj by Sultan Muhammad. An 15th century work depicting the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension to heaven.

Just one month after Saturn entered Sagittarius in 2015 the shooting at the headquarters of the weekly French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo took place in Paris. Two shooters, supposedly murderously inflamed about the magazine’s depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, caused 12 fatalities in an act that reportedly was meant to avenge the Prophet.

Immediately, a set of some of the core questions that would unfurl over the next 2.5 years crystallized. And the impact of those questions becomes even more evident and consequential in the following 2.5 years to come.

When Saturn enters a sign, it gives a good hard shake to the foundational themes archetypally represented by the sign. If something cracks, bends or breaks, that’s the work to be focused on in the coming years. If the foundation is sturdy, Saturn provides the distinct pleasure of hard work, paring down to basics, and rarefied clarity to build on the established foundation. (The foundation is never seems to be sturdy enough.)

In Sagittarius, Saturn pushed Sagittarian inflation into the sharp corners of a room, and started to ask questions.

Where full free speech is protected  — even speech that offends or fans the flames of violence — what if any are the considerations of courtesy that speakers should make?

And an echoed response, the ways in which the value of freedom of speech is exalted is in the coexisting freedom to be critical of speech’s content.

Looping the thread around Saturn’s stay in Sagittarius were fake news and alternative facts. The repeal of Net Neutrality tied the bow.

Also originally enacted in 2015, Net Neutrality classified ISPs as common carriers, so they are treated as utilities, and provide neutral access to all of the internet.

Net Neutrality’s opponents are the monopolistic ISPs that stand to be deregulated. Its proponents are a bipartisan majority of Americans. What currently appears to be at stake is an internet free of censorship or payment tiers for different levels of speed, or other types of restrictions at ISPs discretion.

But the deeper considerations through Saturn in Sagittarius come into play here too. Posed by Ian Bogost,  some of the big questions we should be asking ourselves require zooming out to understand what the internet actually even is and what it’s doing to us.

And in contrast to only having a handful of internet providers to choose from, Bogost argues we are beholden to the other set of internet overlords – big tech companies like Facebook and Google, who aggregate user data and harvest it for advertising revenue.

But Bogost implores an exploration of a set of questions about the consequences of our dependency on the internet. And the fact that so much of our public and private lives take place on it.

Of course the story is not so simple. And the big tech companies do facilitate good, too.

At the borderline of the transition point from a Sagittarian era to a Capricorn one,  there are overarching questions.

If Sagittarius is the expansion of knowledge and consciousness, through travel, through cultural tolerance, through vision quests and deep spirituality, then Capricorn is living that vastness in action.

To ponder at this liminal moment:

What is the most important set of personal beliefs framing my life?
Why do I think that?
How can I regularly participate in making my world embody those beliefs?
What are the most fulfilling routes to living one or two of my beliefs, alongside others?

On the eve of Saturn in Capricorn,
I remain,
Yours truly,

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