Neptune Part One

Neptune opposes its natal position in 2021 and 2022, and by observing previous conjunctions/oppositions, we will see the strong impact these positions have on the US. However, I am not suggesting a cause and effect: As with much of astrology, the relationship between planetary positions and events is symbolic and metaphoric and synecdochic.

The original Neptune conjoined its natal position in 1774, 1775, and 1776 with the natal return being the last of a series; it was during those years that the build-up of tension that finally resulted in the writing of the Declaration was growing. But of course the writing of the Declaration only indicated that the colonists were totally fed up with Britain. The Revolutionary War is considered to have started with the Battle of Lexington and Concord, on April 19, 1775, between the third and fourth exact conjunction.

Neptune then conjoined the IC of the United States, the only other time since the United States was declared a country, which was one Neptune cycle ago in the period 1857 through 1859 right before 1860-1864. That period marked the Civil War, a very important conflict, the most violent on American soil, one that had repercussions for the rest of the century, and one whose lessons we seem not to have learned. This war was between the Northern States and the Southern States, and it has often been said that the North won the war, but the South won the Reconstruction that followed.

The five exact demi-returns of Neptune were 5/24/1857, 7/27/1857, 3/14/1858, 10/31/1858, and 1/4/1859. The main cause of the American Civil War can be considered to be chattel slavery, which was practiced in the southern part of the United States. Those states were attempting to expand the number of states which would allow slavery. The immediate cause was the firing on the Union at Fort Sumter, but two important causes, which spokesmen for the South proclaimed, were the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (published March 20, 1852) and John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry. This raid took place between October 16 through 18, 1859. This was following the last exact pass of Neptune and was an attempt to start a slave rebellion. Though John Brown was executed by the United States, he was considered a martyr by many in the North, and a popular song was composed at the time: John Brown’s Body. That song was later renamed The Battle Hymn of the Republic and different lyrics were added by Julia Ward Howe. One can only imagine the fear invoked in Southerners to see many in the North so praising someone that the South considered a fiend and often singing a song dedicated to him. It was reasonable for them to assume that even though Brown’s attempt failed, there would be more actions like that, and eventually the South would be faced by a slave rebellion supported by many in the North.

Last Demi-Return before John Brown’s Raid
First Neptune Return

Moving on to the next Neptune Return, and the first since the birth of the country, we see the following: The three exact transits of Neptune to its natal position were on 10/28/1938, 2/24/1939, 8/30/1939. These dates are obviously just before World War II broke out, and the last date is one day before Germany invaded Poland, which officially marks the beginning of World War Two. While I am not suggesting that a Neptune transit will be quickly followed by an event whose significance will be immediately apparent, it is interesting to note the strong correspondence. When looking back at the Civil War demi-return, the transits ended several months before John Brown’s raid, not as close to the significant event as in the case of World War II, but of course there were certainly other events presaging the Civil War that took place closer to the date of the last return.

Last Neptune Return
First Neptune Demi-Return This Series

We can see the equivalent positions of Neptune opposite its natal position in this year and the next: May 1, August 21, and March 1, 2022. And the opposition is very close to exact now in the beginning weeks of 2021. On the first of the new year Neptune was four degrees away from its demi-return and closing.

Second Demi-Return

By now, we can see that the dominant trend setter of the next decade will be the response to Covid-19. People tend to personify possibly non-living entities like viruses, but they actually do nothing except be a virus. It is the human response that causes large scale changes to society. A famous example of this type of personification is the book with the title The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. Genes do not know lust, pity, selfishness, or any other of the seven deadly sins, and to describe them thusly is extreme personification — ascribing human characteristics to the non-human. This is often done with animals, but to do such personification with micro-entities stretches the bounds of the acceptable.

Final Demi-Return

As of early 2021, the death toll for the Covid-19 pandemic is just over one-half million for the United States, and slightly over 2.5 million for the world. And a death is a binary activity, a person is either dead or alive (unless you inhabit a zombie movie), so one would think the numbers are quite clear in describing the scale of the crises. But in March 2020, after a suggestion from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a directive on filling out a death certificate for deaths from Covid-19, overriding the method of filling out such form that had been in place for 17 years. In this new method, deaths was no longer considered to be “from Covid” but rather ” with Covid” which meant having a positive (usually PCR) test within 28 days of death. As both the WHO and Doctor Fauci have recently admitted, a PCR test is inaccurate if the Cycle Threshold is too big. The PCR (Polymerse Chain Reaction) test, which earned its inventor a Nobel Prize (he was also into astrology, but I don’t know if their is a connection!!) works by taking small bits of genetic material and magnifying them a number of times, and that number is a called the CT. Tests with a CT of 17 are 100% accurate, and the WHO states that those with a CT over 35 provide mostly false positives. Most commonly tests were performed with a CT of 38-45 before WHO spoke. As anyone who has magnified a low-resolution forty times and seen the huge numbers of artifacts that resulted has seen how this problem works.

The point of this long and technical discussion is that we really don’t know how many deaths have been caused by SARS-CoV-2 that can be compared to other deaths caused by other things such as heart disease, cancer, or influenza. Thus Neptune has seeped into what should be a simple binary decision. Since both my parents died of pneumonia, though one had lung cancer and the other had just had a heart attack, I’m very sensitive to the methods that cause of death are determined and the problems that can occur in such determination.

It is slowly becoming clear that the response by various governments and other bodies around the world to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 is having the greatest impact on the world since World War II. This will color the rest of the decade, and perhaps years after that. This of course is right on time. As we’ve seen before, these Neptune returns/demi-returns corresponded to the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II, with each disaster (bad stars) being more widespread than the one before. So we now know what the “Fourth Turning” (book by Neil Howe and William Strauss) will be. And since we are just at the beginning, there are many more derived things to come down the pike. The response of people to the response to the virus will be large and will play out in unexpected ways. Stay Tuned! For example, what is the origin of this virus? Many claim that the virus was created in a lab and there has been a huge campaign to deny this, but whatever the truth, there have been experiments to increase the potency of viruses in a laboratory called “gain-of-function” research for many years, and sooner or later one of these experiments will escape into the human population. There needs to be more awareness of this dangerous research.

For the various crises that will develop in this decade, people will use a code word or synecdoche; I have heard several, such as the obvious Covid-19, or the Great Reset (™ World Economic Forum) or Covid-1984 or Flu D’état. The reason so many terms have already been created is that people realize, perhaps unconsciously, that the implication of what has happened the previous year are great and will effect the course of history. I hope everyone is paying attention because we live in historic times.

I have tried to construct a Covid chart. I first looked for Patient Zero, the first patient to get the disease. I then tried to look for when the disease was first identified. There is much confusion (Neptune again) about these things, as well as the actual origin and what animals it moved through before coming to humans. But one date kept being mentioned over and over: March 11, 2020. That was the date that the WHO announced that Covid-19 was a pandemic, after changing the definition of a pandemic a few years earlier. More Neptune. As he opened the news conference, the Director-General of WHO said “Good Afternoon” so we can surmise that it was not in the morning.

Pandemic Declared

Looking at the chart, we should first note that Mercury went Direct on the previous day. It was as if the authorities could not announce this pandemic until Mercury had turned around. Since we don’t have an exact time, the angles are meaningless, but the several clusters of planets are not. As has been written about before the three planets that defined the year of 2020 — Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto — are all conjunct in the chart, with the addition of Mars to make it more energetic. Then, to again emphasize Neptune, we see that that planet is closely conjunct the Sun, indicating it is a Neptune day, and both are in Neptune ruled Pisces. Perhaps the conjunction is at the Midheaven if the news conference started in the early afternoon. The Moon was below the horizon for the next six hours, showing that the public (the Moon) was kept in the dark. There is also a conjunction of Venus and Uranus, and the statement Ebertin gives about this conjunction is worth quoting in full: A strong and hardly controllable tension in emotional life, a self-willed and obstinate disposition, strange urges and inclinations. It seems like the perfect chart.

There have been some trends in the past few years for a more progressive, more equitable future. All these trends have now been reversed. I’m sure many who have opposed this movement for a more equitable future will be pleased with this action. Consider some of the outcomes that we already see: This last year has seen the greatest upward transfer of wealth in history. Many small business ceased operation, and more sales were seen by Amazon and other massive businesses. In addition, most of the “stimulus” in America was given to large corporation, while individuals got $1200 or $600 if they were lucky. The stock market is booming, while many struggle to get enough to eat since their jobs are gone.

Since many people were without jobs or income, they found it difficult to pay their mortgage or rent. There was an eviction moratorium that temporarily suspended the prospect of losing one’s home, but eventually the moratorium must end, with a huge lump sum payment due and the strong probability of many evictions in the upcoming months. And I personally know a large family with a new baby who had just closely avoided being burned out by this year’s fires who were just evicted, since there are many loopholes to the eviction moratorium. We already have a huge homeless population — a noticeable phenomenon of neoliberalism. With all the upcoming evictions the population of homeless will increase.

But developed countries such as the United States and the members of the European Union will be relatively lucky, unlike poorer countries which will not be so fortunate. Oxfam International estimates a potential death of 150,000,000 in the developing countries as a result of the response. And fewer people have jobs in these areas that can be done from home, and many are in what is called the “informal economy” which are not covered by any government mandates or restrictions. I saw an estimate of 10,000 extra monthly deaths in Africa because much less aid coming from the developed countries which currently have their own problems.

Partially because of the lack of affordable childcare, four times more women than men have exited the workforce, thus fulfilling the dream of some to keep women at home and in the kitchen (probably making sourdough bread). Once these changes happen it is difficult to override them in a short time frame.

Middle class people often work in offices, and the injunction to work from home was easily met for those who used to commute to the office. So many have decided that working from home is easy and productive that office real estate is seeing a difficult time since if people don’t need to work in a standard office, what becomes of all those buildings that were rented for a high price.

But many people in the working class do physical work (as opposed to shuffling papers) which requires them to be physically present, and they cannot “work from home”. These are the people who will more often lose their jobs during this time. Those who can work from home are often considered members of the Professional Managerial Class — PMC — and that has become the primary constituent of the Democratic Party which supposedly represented the working class, so you can imagine how the working class will be more and more angry that they are being ignored by the PMC-loving elite.

Many of the businesses that require people to be present, that are not just office work, are run by non-white people, more so than would be expected by their share of the population. Black owned business were twice as likely to be shut down as white owned businesses during the lockdown, thus further increasing Black poverty. This reverses trends that have been going on for several years. It may be considered cynical to point out that this increasing Black unemployment and poverty goes along with a celebration of Black culture by the PMC.

Speaking of poverty, the upcoming world will see levels of poverty not seen since WWII. Again, while the United States will see increased poverty for many of the reasons outlined above, the non-rich countries that are called the developing nations, and which got aid from the developed countries that has now ceased, will see even more increases in poverty, again reversing trends of the last decades.

In today’s highly-industrial society, mental health has been precarious, and now prisons are one of of the few institution housing those with mental health problems. The constant bombardment by fear and the increasing isolation from friends and support groups has lead to increased mental problems in people. At one point the daily calls to a suicide hotline was approaching the number of calls normally seen in a month. In San Francisco at one point a year’s worth of suicide was seen in a month. That area also saw more drug overdose deaths than Covid deaths. And there is much more consumption of alcohol, with foreseen consequences.

There have been warnings of increased mental health problems for youth who normally would be in school where potential problems can be observed, counselors are available, and often necessary free lunches can be provided. Since most children were sitting at home and staring at screens (if an Internet connection was available), mental health problems are not being caught in time and there are more cases of physical abuse of children who were now with their parents for long stretches of time. Recently the CDC reported a 400% increase in adolescent depression. A sign of this is the fact that schools in Nevada had to resume classes after a spate of student suicides.

Because of isolation and containment we have seen increased domestic violence and child abuse. Children had their classes curtailed, so many children are fearful and mistrustful, and children are behind developmentally where they normally would be at their age. The whole “Covid generation” of children who have gone through this will reverberate down through the years as a group of people behind where socially they should be. These children, with Pluto in Sagittarius or Capricorn, will be marked for life, especially since they witnessed the Great Recession of 2007-2009 or the aftermath of it.

With the greatly increased unemployment — some observers estimate that the unemployment will be greater than that of the Great Depression — there will be more deaths. For a long time the unemployment figures have been deceptive, since they only counted as unemployed those looking for work; the discouraged workers who had dropped out of searching were not even counted as unemployed, and the numbers of discouraged workers has been increasing for a decade. It has been estimated that for every one percent increase in unemployment there is an additional 36,000 deaths in the United States.

And there will be many deaths from other causes, such as heart attacks and cancer, that were not caught by early detection because hospitals and doctors were busy dealing with the pandemic. In the early days many people would avoid ER or A&E (in the UK) because they thought they would get the virus if they went in. In addition, many children did not get their scheduled vaccinations because they were at home. And of course many people locked in their homes missed exercise, sunshine, and fresh air, all of which helps build a strong immune system.

All of these massive changes to society will not be overcome or reversed in a few months, but rather — as more authorities are now saying — will take the rest of the decade or more to be reversed, if that is even desired by our leaders. That of course is if it is possible to imagine that things could possibly go back to what they were after so many things have gone down. And of course if you observe the upcoming transits for the decade, which have been talked about incessantly in this blog, you will see that the changes have only started. Those items mentioned above are only the beginning; the reactions — political, cultural, social — will be far reaching and haven’t really started yet, or at least have not been publicly recognized.

Pluto Demi-Return

That this Neptune cycle also corresponds to the first Pluto Return for the United States suggests even more “fun and games” for the U.S. Note also that the Pluto demi-return happened in the years 1935-1938, just before Neptune conjoined its natal position and the world was in the throes of the Great Depression. You may wonder why one full Neptune cycle corresponded to half a Pluto cycle, and the second half of the Pluto cycle corresponds to just half a Neptune cycle. To repeat, Pluto slowed down during the second half of its cycle, and was even inside the orbit of Neptune for 20 years recently.

DIY Presidential Election

People often ask “Where have the moderate Republicans gone?” The answer is obvious, they are still here but now are called “Democrats”. Former President Obama once gave the ploy away by saying that in the 1980’s he’d be considered a moderate Republican, and in fact he got a Republican health care bill passed, one designed by the right wing Heritage Foundation. These “Republicans” have gone on for forty plus years, and it was more accented in the current Democratic “convention” where many named Republicans spoke to unify the image that the Republicans have joined the Democrats. So essentially we have two Republican parties, the “Real” Republicans (TM) for a full-bodied Republican experience, and a Republican-lite Party, that will give you much the same treatment but with soupçon of progressive values. So whichever candidate wins the election, which is planned for November, a Republican will be our next president, beginning the 53rd year with a Republican President.

An interesting phenomenon of this recent election cycle is the number of Republican elites showing their allegiance to the Biden-Harris team. There are two ways of looking at this. Even though these elites could make more money under the corporate-friendly Trump administration, the risk is too great that the people might revolt since Trump is too up-front about his actions; it is better to have a more subtle corporate-friendly administration in charge so that the populace does not get too riled up and actually do something about their horrible so-called leaders. On the other hand, perhaps these elites know that one of the draws of Trump in 2016 was that since the elites hated him the people voted for Trump as a way to give the middle finger to said elites, and when the populace sees even more elites turning away from Trump they will support him even more, so that these elites actually want Trump to win. It is really hard to tell what their plan is.

And in the current situation where every question about the suitability of the Democrats can be answered by “but Trump” Biden can be even more Republican since he assumes the progressive have no one else to vote for.

Since this quadrennial exercise in something they call democracy has only two candidates that can win the election, we will inspect the charts for those two people.

As Paul Simon put it many years ago: “Laugh about it, shout about it/When you have to choose/Any way you look at it you lose”. Harry Truman also had something appropriate to say many years ago: “Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.” But now the question is, who is the real Republican.

The current atmosphere is so intensely partisan that I will not pick a winner. Rather I will point out the relevant charts — election and inauguration transits and solar returns — and allow you to make whatever judgement most closely aligns with your politics. But whoever wins, the United States will have a Republican President, that I know with certainty.

Donald Trump 10:54

First lets look briefly at the natal charts. There are three of them. The first is the standard chart for Donald Trump, the birth time most commonly used. It gives him an Ascendant of 0 Virgo, and as someone who has a Virgo Ascendant, I find that very hard to believe. After the other chart — an hour earlier — was promoted, many astrologers used it as an excuse for their incorrect prediction of a win for Clinton in 2016. In this 10:54 chart we see Mars near the Ascendant, but since he is the first president not to start a foreign war in 40 years this seems a bad example of Mars on the Ascendant. But perhaps Mars being in the Twelfth house explains it: he wants to start a real war like other presidents, but the hidden effect of Mars in the twelfth house forces him to just apply many sanctions instead. But in both charts we will see Sun opposite Moon (that is a Full Moon birth) with the North Node of the Moon closely conjunct the Sun. Donald Trump was born under a lunar eclipse, something that has seldom been talked about, but it is certainly important. Eclipses have for millennia been considered significant and special. He also has Uranus conjunct the Sun, suggesting that he is an agent of change, whether he does the change or causes others to make the change.

Joseph Biden Natal

As far as I know there is only one given birth time for Joe Biden. In his chart all planets but one are above the horizon, suggesting a person directed towards the outer world, very comfortably in the public. The Sun-Venus conjunction (one degree in Scorpio) suggests an affectionate nature and willing to show this. Perhaps this in an indication of his famous “handiness” and preference to smelling the hair of young girls. Note that his Uranus is right on the Descendant (it is actually half a degree below, but if the birth time were off by just a couple of minutes, not unlikely, then Uranus would be above the horizon). Uranus here indicates that he attracts rebels or revolutionary people. Perhaps he is a closet Marxist? Note that he is a heavy Scorpio with four personal planets in that sign. The previous Democratic candidate also was a Scorpio. Perhaps his candidacy is the Scorpio revenge, since the sign was denied victory last time. The Sun sign of Scorpio is the most common sign for Presidents, along with Aquarius.

Donald Trump 9:51

The other time for Donald Trump, about an hour earlier, comes from who is know as the Trump family astrologer, Marilyn Briggs. In this chart we have Jupiter closely trine Uranus with the Ascendant sextile both, and thus also a midpoint configuration. Ebertin says of Ascendant equals Jupiter/Uranus “The ability to shape one’s environment according to one’s own ideas…Shared happiness with others”. Uranus and Jupiter together suggest a real love of freedom, a don’t fence me in attitude, optimism. This is the only real difference between the two charts, since most planets don’t move that much in an hour. In this chart his rising sign is in the middle of Leo. Ask yourself is Trump an example of Virgo rising or Leo rising?

Trump 10:54 Election

Let us look at the transits to these three charts on election day. For the first chart for Trump there is nothing very spectacular, and the only important transits are those that also occur in the other chart, since the angles, the only thing that really changes in an hour, are not affected. The important Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto conjunction, discussed in the previous post, is opposite the Venus-Saturn conjunction in the natal chart. Specifically, Saturn is opposite Venus — traditionally trouble with women (who knew!) — and Jupiter-Pluto is more strongly opposed to his natal Saturn, perhaps energizing his sense of responsibilities indicated by Saturn.

Biden Election

For Joe Biden on election day, we have that same triple conjunction opposite his natal Jupiter, perhaps emphasizing Biden’s sense of victory and optimism. Most notable is that the transiting Sun for this day is one degree from exact conjunction to his natal Mars: Joe Biden will feel particularly energized on that day, but hopefully he will not feel violent. Neptune is on his IC, opposite his Midheaven, and from the graphical ephemeris for this year we can see that the opposition was exact in April of 2020, about the time he was sewing up his command of the Democratic Primary, the middle of August — about the time of the convention — and finally for the third pass early February of 2021, shortly after the inauguration of the President. The only case I know off-hand of this transit of Neptune over the IC was a twenty-some male who “experimented with psychedelics” under that transit. I’ll go out on a limb and say that this will not be the Biden experience. Neptune in this position could indicate the spiritual underpinning of Mr. Biden’s campaign to save the soul of America, or it could indicate that his foundation (which is what the IC represents) is a delusion.

Trump 9:51 Election

The other chart for Trump is quite different. In this case the Midheaven has moved enough so that Uranus is at the Midheaven with an orb of 2 minutes (relocated to Washington, DC, where he currently lives; at his birth place the conjunction is not as tight). As we can see from the graphical ephemeris, this conjunction was exact in June 2020, May 2021, as well as November 2020. This conjunction could presage a surprise or upset. Since natally Uranus conjoins his Sun, Mr. Trump is a agent of change, and this election will emphasize it. To some, this election will bring in the fascist shock-troops, and a less partisan belief might say this election will cause major, perhaps even revolutionary, changes to the country.

Also of interest are the transits on inauguration day, which will be January 20, 2021. Interestingly, on the date of inauguration the transiting Sun has just entered Aquarius and is conjunct the spot of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction that happened a month before. While both Jupiter and Saturn have moved on, they are still loosely conjunct the Sun. There is also on inauguration day a tight — five minutes — conjunction between Mars and Uranus. Mars Uranus hard aspect are an astrological cliche, suggesting accidents. Ebertin says “Obstinacy, brutal frankness.. intolerance… premature action”. Sounds like what many people are predicting as a result of the election no matter who wins.

Trump 10:54 Inauguration

Looking at the Trump 10:54 chart, the conjunction mentioned in the previous paragraph is widely making a hard aspect – a semisquare — to Trump’s Sun-Node-Uranus conjunction and a wide sesquiquadrate to his moon. These aspects will remain for his other chart, since only the angles really move in the hour between those two charts. Other that a Venus sesquiquadrate his Ascendant, there is little action to his angles — Ascendant and Midheaven — just as in the chart for the election.

Biden Inauguration

For Joe Biden, that loose conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and the Sun is sesquiquadrate his Midheaven and square his Moon. This Saturn action may indicate that he is assuming serious duties, that of a President. Neptune is still on his IC, opposite his Midheaven, as in the election day chart, but it is closer, only one degree away.

Trump 9:51 Inauguration

Finally we have the inauguration chart for Trump born at 9:51. While the Mars-Uranus conjunction doesn’t do much in the other natal charts, for this Trump chart that conjunction is on his MC, not surprising because Uranus is on is MC for much of the year, as shown in the graphical ephemeris. This may indicate the uproar if Trump — with this natal chart — loses the election. Or it could indicate the uproar among the Democrats and their media if Trump — again with this chart — wins the election. If you thought the pushback in 2017 was something, wait until you see the response in 2021. Also this will be a good test of which natal chart is more accurate. Stay tuned.

Biden Graphical Ephemeris

Trump Graphical Ephemeris

We also have two solar returns to look at for each candidate, once because Donald Trump has two charts, and the other set because Joe Biden’s birthday is three weeks after election so that the return right after the election is possibly more relevant than the one almost a year before the election.

Then there is the age old question of which solar return to use, the one for the birthplace or the one for the place of location. Since both these men were born close to their current residence, this does not make much difference. But to some this is important. I knew a person once who spent the night in my house on his way to an obscure location in Eastern Washington because he thought he would have a favorable return at that location.The other question is should the tropical or precessed (similar to sidereal where an adjustment is made for precession of the equinox) zodiac be used for the return.

I once did an experiment with two friends, both astrologers, who had life changing health occurrences in a year. I drew up four return charts for the appropriate year: precessed and non-prrecessed for both the birth location and the current location, and these two locations for both people differed by over 1000 miles. We then looked at all charts, and without coaching by me they picked out the most relevant chart. I then made a judgement and chose the same charts as they did — it was quite evident which chart suggested the upcoming year properly. In both cases the non-precessed chart for the birth location was the one that worked. So that is what I have used for these two candidates.

Trump 10:54 Solar Return

The return for Trump for the 10:54 chart is not especially noteworthy. Nothing really stand s out to me. In this chart all planets except for the Sun are above the horizon, and the Sun is in the first house, the house of self projection. The Sun is square Mars-Neptune-Moon conjunction. That conjunction is important also in the Solar Return based on the 9:51 chart where we will talk about it. The Jupiter Pluto (and also loosely Saturn) conjunction is right on his Descendant. Powerful forces (indicated by those three planets) which have been building up during 2016 are most likely coming for him from the outside environment, thought some make suggest that he will have a dominating control over his environment. My belief is that the Descendant (as opposed to the Ascendant) indicates the external environment for the human being whose projection is represented by the Ascendant. Most of the planets above the horizon indicate that the year in question will be very public for him.

Trump 9:51 Solar Return

The return of the 9:51 chart shows that all of these planets are above the horizon, more so than in the 10:54 return. That would suggest that in the year to come June 2020 to June 2021 — he will be in the public eye. As in Joe Biden’s 2020 return, Mercury on the Ascendant indicates speaking to the public. The Mars – Neptune conjunction on the Midheaven is problematic. Mars-Neptune usually indicates unfocused or confused action — witness the Mars-Neptune square in the US chart. According to Ebertin, this conjunction on the MC suggest failure and a sense of inferiority, something that Mr. Trump feels from his childhood in Queens, an “inferior” borough compared to Manhattan. Or perhaps it suggests his sense of rejection at having lost the election. The Moon is also on the Midheaven but in the Tenth house suggesting that the public will be very aware of him, but of course that is a given.

Biden Solar Return 2019

The return for Biden for 2019 show most of the planets below the horizon. Only Uranus, Neptune, and the Moon are clearly about the horizon. Perhaps this indicates how he has been kept in the basement both literally and figuratively. The Sun is clearly at the lowest point of the chart reinforcing his actions from home. The Moon conjunct the Ascendant suggests his connection with the American people, at least Democrats, and is indicative of his amazing comeback in the Democratic primary, from almost dead to a front runner almost overnight.

Biden Solar Return 2020

The return for Joe Biden drawn for November 2020, shortly after the election, has of the planets below the horizon except Venus with Mercury slightly above and exactly conjoined the Ascendant. Perhaps this shows that he will not be the “real” president, but only a figurehead, and that others, like his vice president and other people that he has surrounded himself with even before the election, mostly retreads from the Clinton and Obama administration as well as some neoconservative Republicans, will be the ones really running his administration. In fact, I’ve already seen talk about the Harris administration, with Joe Biden. Uranus is on the Descendant, suggesting progressive forces trying to push him from the outside.

So there you have it, a look at the 2020 presidential election through the lens of astrology. Perhaps in a month or so we will know the results.

These Two Years

Periods of time — for convenience we will use years, a standard measure of time for humans and also an astrological base unit of time — can be defined by the primary planetary pattern which dominate that period. This has been discussed before with the measure of larger periods of time, the one-half of a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, a decade. So as mentioned before, the decade called the Sixties is defined by the Uranus-Pluto conjunction that was exact in 1965 and 1966, and the decade called the Nineties is defined by the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of 1992 and 1993. But years also have their unique astrological signatures, and in this post we will look at the year 2020 and next year 2021, though of course the trends started in those years can carry forward to succeeding years.

The year of 2020 saw three important conjunctions: Saturn-Pluto (single conjunction January 12), Jupiter-Pluto (three conjunctions April 5, June 30, and November 12), and Jupiter-Saturn (single conjunction December 21). Each is important by itself, but when all three occur together that is more notable. I’ve looked at these combinations over the last 500 years and they occur about once a century.

Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions occur every twenty years, like clockwork, and over the last few centuries have happened at the beginning of what I’ve called a bi-decade, a twenty year (two decade) period that starts in the year starting with zero or one and an even decade number. For example a bi-decade started in 1960/61, 1980/81, 2000/01, and now 2020/21. Even for those without the astrological knowledge, these twenty years periods are recognizable as different from each other. Most would agree that the period 1960-1979 is different from the period 1980-1999 and is different from the period 2000-2019 because of political and social trends, among other things. We are starting a new bi-decade (officially with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of December 21) now, and I’m sure most would agree that this year is different from the preceding year.

The period between successive Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions and Saturn-Pluto conjunctions is more variable because each conjunction involves Pluto, the wild-card of the Solar System (and some believe that Pluto is not a true planet) which has an extremely eccentric orbit so that sometime it is within the orbit of Neptune and thus is not the outermost planet of the Solar System. The last time Pluto was inside the orbit of Neptune, which occurs once ever 250 years, was in the twenty year period 1979-1999, which closely corresponds to the bi-decade of the Eighties and Nineties. In this new century Pluto again moved outside the orbit of Neptune and is gaining speed.

Sidebar for nerds: Johannes Kepler is considered one of the founders of modern science and his laws are considered the basis for calculating ephemerides. His second law (of planetary motion) says that as a planet travels around the Sun, its radius vector (an imaginary line from the Sun to the planet) sweeps out equal areas in equal time, which implies that when the planet is closest to the Sun it travels faster than when it is further away from the Sun. While most major planets have relatively circular orbits, Pluto is the one that does not, so it travels much faster when it is closer to the Sun and thus inside the orbit of Neptune. I found a nice diagram of this at Kepler made his living at one point of his life by reading astrological charts, mostly for rich clients, and he probably would not have developed his planetary laws if he were not already into astrology. A recent book A Scheme of Heaven: The History of Astrology and the Search for our Destiny in Data by Alexander Boxer discusses the connection between astrology and modern science in more detail.

Saturn Pluto conjunctions and oppositions have long been associated with dire events, often wars. This is discussed fully in Section V of Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas, and has been discussed in this blog several times. For example, the preceding Saturn-Pluto opposition corresponded to the attacks of 9/11, the conjunction of those two planets in 1947 corresponded to the start of the Cold War, the conjunction of 1914 corresponds to the start of World War One, and the opposition of 1898 corresponded to the Spanish-American War.

I’ve long tried to get a fix on Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions, which occur more often that Saturn-Pluto conjunctions. The best I have been able to come up with for an interpretation of these two planets together is that the conjunction emphasizes what is already going on, like a cosmic exclamation mark. For these two planets Ebertin says “A desire for power” and “The qualities of leadership”. For the three planets together it is worth quoting Ebertin in full: “Plainness and simplicity, excessive modesty, the inclination to sacrifice oneself for others, religious and social fanaticism, difficulties caused through illness.” Ahem!

It is important to note that the period encompassing these three conjunction is less than one year, from January 12 to December 21. For comparison, let us look at the previous times when all three conjunctions occurred together. All of these graphical ephemerides are shown for a three year period. This is important to note, since they all have the same scale one can compare them easily.

The conjunctions of these three planets for the Twentieth Century occurred in 1982, corresponding to the rise of Neo-liberalism, a philosophy which has dominated the modern world. The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of January 1981 was the first of the three different conjunctions to occur in this period. The last was a Saturn-Pluto conjunction in November 1982 though there is a close approach of those two planets in July 1983. But the period between first conjunction and the last is 21 months.

The conjunctions of the Nineteenth Century occurred in 1883 as the world moved into modernity. The first conjunction in the series was a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in April 1881. The last conjunction was of Saturn-Pluto in May 1983. Thus the period in question was 26 months.

But there was also another conjunction set for that century, in 1820, which corresponded to the rise of rationalism as mentioned in previous posts. There were a lot of important aspects happening at the time, as can be seen from the graphical ephemeris with all the curves representing transiting planets near zero Aries — the solid horizontal black line. The first conjunction of the three under discussion was the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in May 1819. The final act in that play was the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of June 1821, so the whole play was 26 months. Note that in this period of time, besides other important events I’ve pointed out recently, saw the Congress of Vienna which marked the final defeat of Napoleon and started what is known as the century of peace in Europe (relatively speaking) which was only ended by the outbreak called World War I in 1914 which started the bloody Twentieth Century.

Since there were two of the triple conjunction periods in the Nineteenth Century, there were none in the Eighteenth Century. The next conjunction set was in 1680, corresponding to the rise of Science, also mentioned in the previous posts. The whole period was started out with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of February 1678 and ended with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of July 1680. The whole period lasted 30 months.

The conjunction set before that was in 1585. This is when the New World was being conquered by white Europeans and colonies were being set up. The first conjunction of this period was the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in May 1583; the last was the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of March 1585. Thus this whole period lasted 22 months.

The conjunction set before that was in 1446. As mentioned previously, this marked the development of the printing press, a invention that was to have profound implications for the world. The first conjunction was the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of July 1444. The last was the conjunction was Saturn-Pluto in May 1446. The whole period encompassed 22 months.

If we compare these previous six periods of Jupiter-Saturn, Jupiter-Pluto, and Saturn-Pluto conjunctions, we can see that the current one is shorter — more compressed that any of the six others, but it also takes place conveniently within one calendar year, that being 2020, with the first conjunction in January and the last conjunction in December of this year. Thus this time the cycle takes 11 months, by far a record for this 500 year period. You can judge for yourself what the tone of 2020 has been like. I think most people would agree that 2020 has been important, and standout, and possible unique. If I had to use one word it would be “crazy”. We are all so caught up in the daily headlines that is is impossible to have a perspective of what this year has wrought, so I think our correct judgements need to be postponed until we have a little hindsight, which can only be obtained by one method, sans a time machine. The year of 2020 has had the intensity of the triple conjunction of the three planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, which as we’ve seen happens once a century but this time compressed to only eleven months so much more intense than previously. Previous examples of this triple conjunction presaged an important change in world progress; imagine what the outcome of this compressed one will be when seen from ten years in the future.

The year of 2021 will be different. I’ve previously discussed that for the United States, that year will see the transiting Pluto opposite the natal Mercury, which suggests a conflict with the media, and a Neptune opposition (demi-return) which suggests increasing bewilderment at what is happening. But those are for the United States. The dominant transit (what is called a “world transit” since it does not require a natal chart) will be the square of Uranus and Saturn. I discussed the opposition of the two planets in the Red Summer of 1919. This aspect highlights the conflict between normal consensual reality, the establishment that controls of the world (Saturn) and the impulse to rebellion and revolution, the new, the nonordinary (Uranus). My feeling is this year will see a growing opposition to the craziness of the previous year and the forces that helped it happen. This aspect hits a personal point of the United States chart —the node of the Moon —and so this world transit will also be strongly felt by the United States tying in with the growing distrust of the media symbolized by the Pluto Mercury opposition but disguised by Neptune.

These squares of Saturn and Uranus take place in March of 2021, July, and December, pretty much filling up the year of 2021 much like those three conjunctions filled up 2020. Note that in October of 2022 — as the US Pluto return is exact –the square is very close but not exact. So after the year 2020 ends, and after the final conjunction which is Jupiter and Saturn on the Winter Solstice as the Sun enters Capricorn and as the conjunction takes place at zero Aquarius, a new year will start, and also a new bi-decade officially starts. The election madness in the United States will possibly be over, and the repercussions to that and to the other craziness of the ending year will fill up the year of 2021. May I be the first to wish you a Happy New Year!

The Disenchantment of the World – Part II

We have seen the growth of a materialistic viewpoint over the last 500 years.  It started  very slowly but with the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions and the Enlightenment, that worldview has become dominant.  Scientists were praised as gods after the dropping of the Atomic bomb 75 years ago and that has not really abated in the years since.  And even those religions that claim to be rooted in the older worldview have subscribed to the modern materialism.  Everyone has so bought into the Cartesian worldview that any alternative is quickly banished or mocked.

In the current world, science is the new religion, and scientists are looked to as authorities just as in an earlier age religious figures were sought for guidance.  This is a direct example of Uranus killing Neptune.  In the modern age, science has been bought out by Capitalism whose handmaiden it has become, totally prostituted by Mammon.  As an example see how many medical organizations are funded by pharmaceutical companies who support a certain theory of disease.  It is no wonder that the promptings of science are increasingly disbelieved by the populace.  Consider such subjects as nuclear power, genetically modified organisms (GMO), vaccines, various psychiatric drugs for whatever ails you, wireless transmission for cell phones and WiFi and especially 5G, geoengineering, fluoridated water, even astrology.  I’m sure you can add or subtract from that list.  And for almost all of those items, corporations stand to make much money from the use of them. Though l’m not aware of any astronomers who make more if people disbelieve in astrology, astrology is such obvious nonsense to the scientific world view that scientists disbelieve and criticize the belief in astrology as a freebie, to show that they are honest.  Many years ago 86 scientists signed a letter condemning astrology (I remember this since my mother would send me newspaper clippings of this story).  Carl Sagan refused to sign that letter since he had not studied astrology.  That was a true scientist.

Science has been corrupted by corporations; as long as that is the case science will cease being believed even though it has truth to share.  In fact, a scientist recently wrote that “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.  Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness…  The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming.  In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world.  Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data.”  That was a statement of the editor of the prominent British medical journal The Lancet, Richard Horton, in 2015.

A recent article published and then retracted by The Lancet (with the same editor) shows that this problem has not gone away.  The President of the United States has touted the long used anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) (with zinc, it is important to add) for Covid19.  The drug has been used without safety warnings for 70 years.  Soon after the recommendation a study documenting the health risks of such a regimen appeared in The Lancet.  The report was so dodgy one wonders why it was accepted in the first place.  Since HCQ is inexpensive ($20 for a two week supply), its use is a threat to the large profits that can be made by a vaccine.  It appears from analysis of the report that it was an obvious fraud.  This kind of scandal will again darken the name of science and medicine, being yet another example why science will not be trusted in the future.  So again Capitalism has bought out Science.  A sad day for science.  (On a personal note, as a college undergraduate I took many lab courses in both physics and chemistry and one of the first things a student figures out is how to fudge results.  Just sayin’.)  Doctor Horton explained this fault by saying that pharmaceutical companies are so powerful, and have so much money, that it is difficult to withstand their onslaught.

Technocracy is another word that indicates this over-dominance of the rational.  Technocracy was a political movement of the early Twentieth Century that has since become unpopular as a word but very popular in reality.  Both former President Obama and all of Silicon Valley are heavily technocratic.  The basic philosophy behind technocracy is that only scientists really know what is happening and so scientists should rule the world.  People think you must listen to science (Greta Thundberg on the occasion of Earth Day said exactly that) which is a direct statement of technocratic thinking.  But technocracy is not a new concept.  Francis Bacon, the father of the scientific method, wrote New Atlantis, a utopian novel published in 1626.  In this novel a Pacific island is discovered — this being the time when new lands were being found — that is run by scientists and where everyone on the island is morally superior.

Technocracy is an example of technological fundamentalism: technology will save us, which has been called (James Howard Kunstler) the Google mindset – ‘Dude, we’ve got technology so no worries’ and so we don’t have to change our way of thinking.  One example of this belief that technology will save us is the current negative reaction (and censorship) among environmentalists to the recent film The Planet of Humans produced by Michael Moore, who once was a darling of the Green Set.  Many in the green energy movement believe that once everything is electrified we will be be free to continue our previous lifestyle.  Many who don’t think of themselves as “climate deniers” nevertheless don’t really see that they deny the magnitude of the “problem”, which is not a problem but rather a predicament (John Michael Greer).  A problem needs a solution; a predicament needs a change so you can live with it, since the predicament will not go away once a (not the) solution is found.

Transhumanism is another concept promoted by technocratic oriented individuals, especially those around Silicon Valley.  Loosely, this is the idea that human beings can avoid illness and even death through technology, though one may wonder if the resulting being can still be considered human.  A current streaming show called Upload illustrates this belief in overcoming death through technology.   Expect to see more news about transhumanism in the future as the wealthy geniuses of Silicon Valley reveal more of their plans to the public, worked up about health threats from the latest pandemic.






While it is hard to produce a date and chart for this overriding event of the last 500 years, a good chart for the crux of this turning is found in 1821, just as the Industrial Revolution was reaching a wider world than just Great Britain.  It has been a doctrine of this blog that the outer planets and their angular relations are important in historical events.  Aspects of the three outer planets, such as the conjunctions of Uranus and Pluto in the decade of the Sixties or the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune in the decade of the Nineties were defining of the nature of that decade.  Even more potent are aspects involving all three outer planets, especially midpoints.  Also important for world events are aspects to the cardinal — Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn — points, as in for example the conjunction of Pluto with zero Capricorn as signifier of the Great Recession.  So it interesting to look at the aspects of the third decade of the Nineteenth Century, with Pluto a 0 Aries square the Uranus-Neptune conjunction at 0 Capricorn.  Many charts could be drawn for this period of time; the one I chose has Uranus and Neptune conjoined at zero Capricorn square Pluto at zero Aries; Mars is opposite the conjunction at one Cancer forming a T-Square with Pluto at the apex; Jupiter and Saturn are a few days past a conjunction showing the start of a new twenty year cycle.  There is also a Full Moon.  This is an important time for humanity.  And if you graph the per capita GDP for the world over time, it continually grows at a steady rate with only two upwards bends: around 1820 and just after 1945.

The Romantic Movement was a large reaction to the rise of rationalism in the Eighteenth Century indicated by the Enlightenment, the rise of laissez faire capitalism, and the Industrial Revolution.  This too is signified by this chart.  The Romantic Movement was an intellectual fashion during the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth centuries in literature, art, and many other fields that emphasized emotion, intuition, nature, and a return to historical roots.  The planet Neptune is almost synonymous with the Romantic idea, as opposed to Uranus, a good symbol for the Rational, Enlightenment period.  Uranus was discovered in 1781 just as these trends were getting started, whereas Neptune was discovered near the End of the Romantic Movement in 1846.






In every case over these many centuries with hard aspects of Uranus and Neptune, Neptune was bent to Uranian principles, because that is what served the direction of society.  The way this manifested itself is what I call “Electronic Drugs”, the Electronic part suggesting Uranus and the Drugs part suggesting Neptune.  For example, in the conjunction of 1821, the “Electronic Drug” was photography.  We can not imagine, since photography is so common these days and many people take photographs many times a day, what an immense change this was from the norm of the preceding millennia.  The only fixed representation of a scene known by people before that time was a painting.  Then for the opposition of the early 1900’s the electronic drug was moving pictures, which again was a huge change from what had gone before.  Previously only in a stage play could one see life recreated, but with cinema this could happen often.  Also at this time George Eastman introduced the box camera so that individuals and not just professionals could create photographs.  Radio also was developed in this time frame.  Then for the square of those two planets in the middle Fifties the electronic drug was television, which had existed before but by that period became immensely popular.  Again this was a huge change where people could watch moving pictures in their home.  This also changed politics, for example in the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960.  Then, with the conjunction of the early Nineties, the world saw the rise of the World Wide Web, the Internet brought to the masses.  Video and more are now streaming.  Many more ideas are now set loose on the world, it could be a hard time for orthodoxy.  The web will be seen to have huge implication of most everything in life, and we are only beginning to see some of the changes.  You can see this with the censorship of the web becoming more and more popular.






But notice in every one of these hard aspects, Neptune has not really been manifested in a Neptunian way, one that is gravely needed.  Perhaps when Neptune goes to zero Aries and at the apex of Uranus and Pluto, these totally Neptunian manifestation will be shown.



World Wide Web


The development of the industrial world and all that implies was made possible by these scientific inventions of the last 500 years, and especially made possible by hydrocarbon based energy, first from coal for the first 100 years and then by oil.  This made growth the watchword of the industrial world.  Some have called the Nineteenth Century the Coal Century and the Twentieth Century the Oil Century; what energy source will define  the Twenty-First Century?

Growth is the mantra that all government systems – fascism, capitalism, socialism, communism, whatever — follow wholeheartedly.  This system of growth practiced by all governments worldwide is what is breaking down.  This was highlighted almost 50 years ago by a book called The Limits (Saturn) of Growth (Jupiter) which was immediately rejected by many “serious” thinkers upon publication in 1973.  What seemed as a fantasy by many people back then now seems like a description of the world.  The book’s projection of the world in 2000 is now seen as hewing closely to reality.  That book’s lessons on exponential growth is something everyone should know.

So this is the result of 500 years of rejection of an ancient way of looking at the world and thus disenchantment.

There are signs that the materialistic worldview in Science is changing, that there is a recognition that mysticism has something to teach science.  There are bookshelves of volumes indicating this, and the rush was started by the publication in 1975 of the book The Tao of Physics by physicist Fritjof Capra.  That field of study has only expanded in the last 45 years.  Those interested should check out the works of physicists David Bohm (“implicate and explicate order”) and biochemist Rupert Sheldrake (“morphogenetic fields”).  Many of the ideas expressed in these books extend from quantum mechanics, a major scientific revolution that started in the first decade of the Twentieth Century which I most closely associate with German physicists Max Planck and Albert Einstein, but many others contributed to the study.  These developments started under under the midpoint of Uranus (at zero Capricorn) at the apex of Neptune and Pluto, the first major zeitgeist change of the Twentieth Century that I pointed out previously.  That these  developments in what could be called “meta-physics” started with the ferment of the Sixties is nakedly indicated by the book called How the Hippies Saved Physics by David Kaiser.



Quantum Theory


I’ve discussed previously the predominance of Neptune in the next 10 years.  Combining this with the above discussion of Neptune as the irrational, one may read this as the end of the over reliance on the rational, that is a growth of irrational or Romantic in this decade as one possible interpretation of Neptune.  One of the trends we may see in this decade, still new and according to some not starting until 2021 (the argument being that there was no year zero) is an increasing respect for the irrational, the right brained, the feminine, the lunar.  We need to make the world whole again by bringing back the irrational.  We need a re-enchantment of the world.  Another useful book in this regard is by Morris Berman called The Reenchantment of the World published in 1981, which lays out another argument along the lines of this post.

But Neptune can play out in many ways.  For example, the powers in charge of the world are currently trying to form a Dickian (after the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick) world (called the Great Reset by the World Economic Forum) if we let them, and they are using Neptune to hide what they are doing from us.  Hyper rationality is being used as a cover.  (You don’t want to argue with Science; are you some kind of Luddite??)  Will we see through the illusion in time to wrest control back into peoples’ hands and restore democracy?  Neptune can go several ways and so which one will it be?  This dominance of Neptune also suggests (self) deception so we must be eternally skeptical of pronouncements and always look beneath the surface truths.  But Neptune also represents the Irrational as shown above, and perhaps this prominence of Neptune over the next 10 years represents the return of the irrational for a more balanced position in the world.  Perhaps this coming decade will see the re-enchantment of the world after 500 years of the growth of the rational.

The Disenchantment of the World – Part I

For the last five hundred years, the rational side of human beings — symbolized by the planet Uranus — has grown continually, while the irrational side — symbolized by Neptune — has been considered not worthy of discussion.  This growth of the rational at the expense of the irrational — a term now considered so pejorative it is used as an insult — has reached its climax in the current day.  But “rational” versus “irrational” can be thought as the same type of polarity as “left brain” versus “right brain” or even Masculine versus Feminine.  This dichotomy has been given many names throughout the ages.  And usually one side is dominant over the other.  (Fortunately, we don’t have a problem with the Masculine dominating the Feminine in this society !!!)  Humanity needs both sides of this division in order to survive.

This polarity can also be seen in the concepts Apollonian and Dionysian, a dichotomy made famous by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.  These names are respectively from the Greek god of the Sun — Apollo — and the Greek god of wine and madness — Dionysus; these two gods and their respective eponymous classifications represent rationality and irrationally, the two opposing ideas of this post.  Nietzsche divides people into Apollonians and Dionysians; these concepts appears in popular culture in such widely divergent sources as Eugene O’Neill’s play Desire Under the Elms and Robert A. Heinlein’s novel Stranger in a Strange Land.  One can even apply this division to the last two Presidents.

We sometimes confuse the polarity of Uranus-Neptune with that of the Sun-Moon.  You can see this conflation in the statement, no longer popular or allowed (but current 100 years ago) that men are rational creatures while women are irrational (and for example shouldn’t be allowed to vote).  Perhaps now that women are more noticed/respected in general culture it could presage a greater recognition of Neptune and all that it represents in the zeitgeist.



Gutenberg Bible


This trip into the hyper rational can be considered to have begun with the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1453-4 — almost exactly 500 years before the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1964-65 — which saw the invention of something that was incredibly important to not only the development of science but also to the Reformation and even the Renaissance itself; that was the creation of the printing press, which has been compared to the development of the Internet as a element of cultural change.  Because results could be delivered in the printed form it became possible to communicate scientific discoveries easily.  It is hard to list all things that have been “caused” by printing.

The first real printed document is called the Gutenberg Bible, and the first date we have for this is October 22, 1454.  In the chart for this event, we see the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in Leo square the Sun and Saturn in Scorpio.  There is also a Jupiter-Saturn opposition, showing that this period of time is half-way through the Jupiter-Saturn cycle that began ten years earlier, the equivalent of a full moon.




English Renaissance


The Scientific Revolution in Europe started with the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1596 through 1598.  In England, this was the High Renaissance, best known for the many famous playwrights such as Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Spenser.  A man who is thought of as the father of the scientific method, Francis Bacon, was coming of age in this period and influenced by the pace of the English Renaissance.  Galileo, in Italy, made some fundamental discoveries at this time that would later allow for his belief in a book published by Copernicus about 50 years earlier.  Kepler was publishing a book that laid the foundation for his belief in the heliocentric theory first promulgated in the same book by Copernicus at the preceding Uranus Pluto opposition.

In the chart for an exact conjunction of those two planets at this time, we see the conjunction in Aries.  This was the Uranus-Pluto conjunction one cycle after the one that saw the printing press.  Many things had changed in the ensuing 140 years.  When the Gutenberg Bible was printed, the Western hemisphere was unknown to Europeans.  Note that because of the very elliptical orbit of Pluto, the period between two conjunctions can vary widely.

The scientific movement grew throughout the next century with, for example, the founding of the Royal Society in England on November 28, 1660, a few years after the Uranus conjunct Neptune opposite Pluto, which marked the height of the English Civil War and increasing belief in science.  To see how science was growing during this period consider that Galileo died in 1642 and Newton was born less than a year later.



World Turned Upside Down


The middle of the Seventeenth Century saw an imposing astrological configuration: Pluto in Gemini opposed to the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune in Sagittarius mentioned previously.  This is representative of the powerful changes that occurred in this century, with the English Civil War and all the social changes that went along with that, so many that this time has been call a World Turned Upside Down ( cf history of this period under that title by English historian Christopher Hill).




Rene Descartes


The French mathematician and philosopher Rene Descartes personifies this growing rationalism.  He was born during the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the late Sixteenth Century and died during the Uranus-Pluto opposition in the middle Seventeenth Century which are illustrated above.  He invented what is called the Cartesian coordinate system (used in for example the graphical ephemeris) in which the X coordinate is horizontal and the Y coordinate is vertical.  Cartesian coordinates allow one to look at reality reduced to points on a graph.  This is a concepts all mathematicians know instinctively.  Descartes was influenced by the teaching of Galileo and is thought to be the major influence on Newton, so one can see him as a binding person between these two great scientists.




Descartes Death


While we have a time for his death, the time of his birth is only a guess.  Some suggest that Descartes, knowing the power of astrology, did not want his birth time revealed, but had no power over the release of his death time.   In his birth chart, we see the Uranus-Pluto conjunction on his Sun, an indication of someone who would epitomize the Uranus-Pluto power.  At his death the Uranus-Neptune conjunction was trine the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of his birth.



Descartes’ Vision


On November 10, 1619 Descartes has a “vision” where he saw the whole universe and thus human beings as a mathematical system.  This vision laid the basis for his mechanistic philosophy that was to influence the beliefs of science from that day forward.  If we look at the transits for that day to Descartes’ chart we see a close opposition of transiting Neptune to his Sun, almost a cliche for a vision.  There is also Pluto opposite his Midheaven but since his birth time is not good, I would not give this aspect much credence.  But since the Sun moves only one degree per day, the Neptune transits is correct.

While Galileo and Newton (among others) are considered the founders of modern science, it is important to note that that they had not totally entered the realm of the hyper-rational which did not develop until the later Nineteenth Century.  Galileo was also an astrologer and Newton was an alchemist, interesting but seldom reported facts about two important men in the history of science.



Birth Industrial Revolution


The next century — the Eighteenth — saw the first developments of what was to be called the Industrial Revolution with the next Uranus Pluto conjunction (trine Neptune) of 1710.  In England Abraham Darby created iron in a blast furnace powered by coke rather than charcoal setting the stage for the use of iron and steel in manufacturing and Thomas Newcomen created the first practical steam engine (later refined by James Watt) also advancing the coming of industrialism.  At the time the Industrial Revolution was only in England, and they kept tight hold of it.  The Industrial Revolution came to America with Samuel Slater (illegally) liberating the ideas from Britain and establishing them in America at the end of that Century.  The Industrial Revolution hit the rest of Europe by the early Nineteenth Century.  This Neptune-Pluto trine was to last most of the century, the Century of the Enlightenment.



The Grandest Trine


This century also saw the Enlightenment, where many rejected the church as a final authority and instead depended on science and reason, the science that had developed in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.  The French philosopher Rene Descartes is a prime example of Enlightenment thinking though he lived in the previous century.  The Enlightenment is best symbolized by the Grand Trine of the three outer planets, a configuration that only occurs once every 500 years.

This growing rationalism resulted in what German sociologist Max Weber called the disenchantment of the world (die Entziehung der Welt).  The magic of the world, something known to ancients and also taught in various Mystery Schools, was reduced to a materialistic, mechanistic worldview, symbolized by the Cartesian coordinate system where life and the world are reduced to just a series of events operating as if by clockwork, in which everything can be determined if we only have enough data.  In fact, the mechanical clock was a paradigm for how the world and the universe were thought to work.  Humans are also thought of as machines, with the mind like a computer, thought this analogy did not occur until the later Twentieth Century.

This split, this disenchantment of the world, was the subject of a popular movie about 40 years ago called Koyaanisqatsi.  This title means in the Hopi language “Life Out of Balance” which describes exactly the same conflict we have been describing, that something is out of balance, that the rational — Uranian — side of out natures is not balanced by the much weaker irrational — Neptunian — side, and the movie shows what has been the result.  It is not pretty, but we know the resulting world well — the passage of forty years has only made things worse.

This disenchantment has reached its peak in the current era, where it is finally seen that this worldview, that the world is ours to use, is leading in a short time to the destruction of the planet.  While it was taught in that ancient text, the Bible, that humans have dominion over the world, it was not until the last 500 years that this could be realized.

There once was a world view opposed to this, believed in by so-called primitive humans who saw the world as a magic place.  Perhaps in the current era the foremost proponents of that philosophy are astrologers, who claim that the planets determine/signify what happens here on earth even though science says that is clearly impossible.  One can see why this view is called magic by most.  For further discussion of these ideas, see The Secret History of the World by Mark Booth, or for traditionalists, The Secret Teachings For All Ages by Manley P. Hall.

Neptune Über Alles

We have had a whole lot of Neptune over the last few years, and it is not going to end any time soon.  I’ve previously written about the Neptune transits to the Ascendant and the Sun of the United States.  The last of those transits has just about finished.  But coming up is the Neptune demi-return, the return of Neptune to be opposite its natal position.  This occurs at almost the same time as the Pluto return.  This is not too surprising, since the period of Neptune — 168 years — is almost two-thirds the period of Pluto — 248 years — so there is a certain resonance to their periods.  This Neptune demi-return will be followed soon after by Neptune hitting 0 Aries and Neptune crossing the IC — opposite the Midheaven —  of the US, so soon the whole world, and especially the United States, will have more than a touch of Neptune.



Second Neptune Demi-Return


Neptune the planet — who was in Roman mythology (Poseidon in Greek) the god of the Seas (and also earthquakes) — covers many ideas.  In the best sense it can relate to spiritual matters, but also deception and illusion in a mundane situation or for those who are not spiritual adepts.  Neptune should be strong in actors (witness Elizabeth Taylor’s birth in Neptune-ruled Pisces) who need to behave like someone they are not.  But is difficult to manifest the spiritual side of Neptune when we are talking about countries (eg US) or many people in their mundane existence.  In such cases Neptune can represent lies, deception, dissembling, but also vapors, poison gas, and illness, especially when the causes are not well know.  In particular, with the current COVID-19 pandemic that is engulfing the world, Neptune is a fitting symbol.  But remember Neptune symbolizes many things, so don’t get caught up in assigning it just one meaning, as Neptune is more difficult to tack down than other planets.  Though is seems a little too obvious, Neptune can easily be associated with plagues or pandemics.  More fundamentally Neptune can represent invisible or at least unclear things, as in the term “Neptunian” fog.  So things now are very Neptunian — the situation is unclear, and it is almost as if everyone has an opinion of what is happening, and some quote “experts” but in a more general sense, no one really knows what the future will be, but it wouldn’t be “more of the same”.

Let us briefly look at previous times Neptune made hard aspects — conjunction, square, opposition — with its natal position.  There are relatively few of these, since Neptune moves slowly around the Sun.  In a human being with a limited lifespan, the stages of a life can be measured with the aspects of Saturn to its natal position, most commonly labeled with the term “Saturn Return” though other aspects are important also.  But with a country, and especially the United States, the progress of the country can best be measured with the aspects of Neptune, as I indicate in the following paragraphs.



First Opening Neptune Square


The first opening square of transiting Neptune to its natal position was in 1817.  This was an interesting time even if there were no stand-out events.  The last of the “Virginia Dynasty” Presidents, all of whom came from the state of Virginia, James Monroe, had just been elected.  It is known as “The Era of Good Feelings” when past animosities were ended.  The War of 1812, which had seen the burning of the nation’s capital city, had ended two years earlier.  The Federalist Party, those who had essentially started the country before there were actually political parties, and had been represented by the first two Presidents, was for all intents and purposes dead.  This time represents the end of the “childhood” of the country and a time when it moved into adolescence.  Not only were Presidents elected that were different than the first few, for example Andrew Jackson in another ten years, but the contentious issue of slavery was about to become very obvious and could no longer be ignored with the Missouri problem that was solved by the eponymously name Compromise.



First Neptune  Demi-Return


The first time it was opposite its natal position was in 1858 and 1859.  We all know what was happening then:  This was the final run-up to the American Civil War, which had been developing for at least forty years since the opening square, but by the time of that demi-return the war was almost here.  This Civil War marked America’s entrance into young adulthood after it “solved” a problem that had been with the country since its founding.



First Closing Neptune Square


The closing square of Neptune was in 1898.  It is noteworthy how often several important transits happen at the same time — the current decade is a hallmark example of such a phenomena.  But this Neptune aspect was also an example; this period saw the Spanish American War and the beginning of the Philippines War while there was a Saturn Pluto opposition.  America was now passing out of earlier adulthood which was marked by the Civil War and was becoming a full adult and, wanting to be considered a “successful” country, became an empire.  This can be seen as the beginning of the “American Century”.



Neptune Return


The first complete Neptune cycle, which involved Neptune returning to its natal position, was 1938 and 1939; in the same way that that first demi-return was a run-up to the American Civil War, this return was the run up to the Second World War, though most Americans at the time were just happy that the worst of the Great Depression was over.   Those who paid attention to what was happening in Europe or the Far East knew something was coming down.  By the end of the War, America had achieved the promise that had been set in motion at the closing square: it was truly a world-spanning empire.



Second Opening Neptune Square


The second opening square, which also corresponds to a Saturn-Pluto conjunction and much else was happening in 1980 and 1981.  As has been mentioned before, this is the beginning of Neo-liberalism, that branch of extreme capitalism that has dominated the world for the last forty years, and, I believe, is coming to an end with the Neptune demi-return.  This closing square represented elderhood for the country, but not in a good way — the country has become older without becoming wiser, like an elderly teenager.  This upcoming decade represents hopefully a maturing out of that difficult stage.  Unlike a physical human being, countries can have more than one “lifespan”.  In this sense the upcoming Pluto return (symbolically, since Pluto can represent death) is the end of that stage most represented by the promise of the first Neptune return.

Since in the US chart, Neptune is close to the Midheaven, it is not surprising that the Neptune returns and demi-returns corresponds closely to Neptune at the MC or opposite the MC, which has been shown before to correspond to a crisis in America.  The first such crisis was the Revolutionary War, then the Civil War, then World War II.  This next crisis is coming up, and one indicator is the Neptune demi-return that also corresponds to the Pluto return, so one might guess that this return/demi-return of two outer planets will be more impressive/significant than either by themselves.  But these returns also correspond to Neptune on the Cardinal axis, either at 0 Aries or 0 Libra so they also represent major changes in the World.

US history in textbooks is often divided into four periods — before the Revolutionary War, between Revolutionary and Civil Wars, after the Civil War but before World War Two, and after World War Two, that is today.  So American history is conveniently demarcated by those the events, though all signify ongoing events to which those turning points — Revolutionary, Civil, World War — are significant.  And it should be obvious that life before the Revolutionary War, when people were British citizens, was different than life after when they were citizens of a new country.  After the Civil War, those who were slaves were now free and could, theoretically at least, vote and travel about.  And after World War Two so many things changed that it is often called the Great Acceleration or the start of the Anthropocene — literally a new era in world history.  We are soon to reach another one of those turning points.  The time after this Neptune demi-return (and many other events which I have talked about before)  will be unlike the time before (ie, now).  The history of the world, when looked back at from the future, will show that there was a major change that happened in the third decade of the Twenty First century.  Neptune is a big, but not the only, part of this, symbolized by the only outer-planet midpoint configuration with Neptune at the apex in 500 years and Neptune crossing the Cardinal axis at Zero Aries, the start of things.

This future could be determined by the same forces that made the last 70 (or 500) years what they have become, or it could be determined in a more democratic way.  I believe it was the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume who said that in all societies the people are the ones that truly have the power, but they have been convinced that they don’t, so it does not matter.  In authoritarian societies like the former Soviet Union, it was obvious that the media and the government were lying to citizens and so they paid attention to the samizdat (unauthorized newspapers), but in more “democratic” societies people don’t know they are being lied to, so it is almost a harder problem to convince them that they have the power.  What we need to see now is that the individuals come to believe that they are the powerful ones and not allow themselves to be controlled by the government and that handmaiden of government, the mass media, all of whom are owned by large corporations that do not have the interests of individual citizens as their prime concern.

In the chart of the US, Neptune is square Mars.  This is an extremely problematic aspect for a nation.  The country in question is deluded about its use of power, which in the case of a nation is military power.  It — the country — tends to believe that all uses of force are only for the benefit of others and military operations are done with the best of intentions: Deception is paramount.  When transiting Neptune is conjunct/opposed the natal Neptune it is also squaring the natal Mars, further emphasizing the ingrained Mars Neptune square.  This demi-return could be the time of another crusade to save the world.  In the current US this crusade comes in two flavors: straight neoconservative, often the favorite of Republicans, and the responsibility to protect (R2P) which is favored by Democrats (also called “the cruise missile left”).  In practical application, there is not much difference in outcome, but the R2P crowd (Samantha Powers is a good example) are often cheered in elite publications.  That is the “respectable” type of intervention.




In the fourth harmonic graphical ephemeris we can see how close the lines for Mars and Neptune are, near the bottom of the image.  Neptune first comes close to Neptune-Mars in the summer of 2020 and first exactly contacts both planets in Spring of 2021.  Both planets are contacted throughout the remainder of 2021 and 2022 and the last exact opposition to natal Neptune is at the end of 2022.  Also visible in the upper half of the graphical ephemeris is the progress of the Pluto Return which starts and ends a little later than the demi-return.

But I don’t want to be all negative.  This Mars-Neptune emphasis could be a time for self reflection (in the country) and a realization of how much the National Security State (aka Military Industrial Complex or Deep State), that was born shortly after World War II, has come to influence and even determine what the United States does.  The current media mindset with Russia,Russia,Russia (they’re going to hack our 2020 elections also!) shows how much an enemy is needed.  And before Russia the enemy was terrorism, and before that drugs, and before that Communism, and before that Germany, and before that Spain, and before that the South (from a Northern perspective), and before that the British.

Neptune indicates the very fluidity of the situation.  It is at such a time that the maximum amount of change can be made, or else we can fight among ourselves and let our “Masters” control the situation and its outcome.  But one thing is certain: with Neptune so involved, don’t accept anything at first impression, always look beneath the Neptunian surface.


Prelude to the Pluto Return

Mercury rules mentation — the use of the mind — and communication, and other related topics.  But when you consider the chart for an entity, in this case the United States, the meaning of Mercury subtly changes but still has the same core meaning.  For a nation, Mercury represents the press, formerly just the printed press, but now also the cable news networks and news carried on the Internet in places such as Facebook and YouTube.  As the means of communications have expanded, so have the referents of Mercury.  This brief discussion of the meanings of Mercury is a foreword to the discussion of a transit of Mercury coming up in the next two years.

In the natal chart of the US, Mercury is opposite Pluto with an orb of a little over three degrees, not terribly tight.  This suggests that the press has been a transformative medium in American history.  For example, with the rise of political parties in the late Eighteenth Century, newspapers were also created simultaneously to support the parties being formed and that press did much to support the birth of those political parties.  And even today most of the press, while perhaps called “non-partisan”, are closely associated with political parties: the New York Times is associated with the Democratic Party these day, and so are the cable channels CNN and MSNBC, so much so that it is often called MSDNC.  Fox Cable news channel is a mouthpiece for the Republican party.




Pluto Opposite Mercury


But coming up will be a transit of Pluto opposite the natal Mercury just before the Pluto return, as can be expected from the geometry of those two planets as just mentioned.  This is likely to change our relationship to the press.  First, lets looks at a graphical ephemeris showing the whole period of the opposition.  We can see that the opposition first becomes close in early 2019, where the red curved line representing transiting Pluto comes close to the dashed horizontal gold line representing natal Mercury.  The first exact opposition happens shortly after the Saturn Pluto conjunction of January 2020.  The exact opposition continues to happen throughout 2020 and 2021, including a stationary period in the Fall and Winter of 2021 about three quarters into the graphical ephemeris.  Finally, in 2022 as the actual Pluto return happens, the opposition is ending but still as close a it was in 2019.  So we have Pluto opposite natal Mercury being effective for at least four years, 2019-23, if not extending even further.  Perhaps it can be considered to be happening now, with the rise of the term “Fake News”.  If so, it will grow, though the standard theory of time suggests that it will be more powerful after the aspect than before.

One can see that as soon as Pluto went away from the opposition of the Sun, which continued on at least through 2017, it began approaching the opposition to Mercury and the shouts of “fake news” began to be heard.  Since in the current times the Sun represents the government and especially the President of the United States, this opposition to the Sun represented the animosity toward whomever was President before 2017, resulting in the obvious upset election in 2016.  Not only were people angry with the government and its representative, but they were also mistrustful of the press.  Jim Acosta from CNN being booed should have been no surprise.

Today in America — and perhaps other places in the world, witness the UK, Spain, Brazil — “truth” is a very partisan issue; depending on your political viewpoint a thing is either black or white (or perhaps in America we should say blue or red), with no shades of grey allowed or even an expression of a wrong color viewpoint.  And if you believe white then black believers are a spawn of demons and deserve to be in a low circle of Hell.

But here we are talking about Pluto opposite the US Mercury, so let’s restrict our comments to the United States.  This opposition suggests some major changes in store for the press and their connections to the bigger world, and the way we believe in truth in the United States.

According to Democrat partisans it is only because of the brave American press that we know of the nefarious crimes of President Donald J. Trump, such as his attempts at bribery of the new president of the Ukraine, a place that we need to help fight the Russians so that we don’t end of fighting them in America, as one Democrat-sponsored witness in Congress said, later quoted by the Congressman from Hollywood California.  If this sounds familiar, it is because George W. Bush said that we had to fight terrorists in Iraq so we did not have to fight them here.  To the Republican partisans Trump is a brave man who is trying to stand up to the nefarious doings of the Deep State which thinks him a bad spokesman for the American agenda: he’s not smart enough (or politician enough) to know he should put lipstick on the pig, and the press is not telling this story of the Deep State coup.

Currently there are several extremely important issues that a free press should be reporting on, but we hear mostly nothing about them in the prestige press.  This lack of reporting of vital matters that could be of use to Americans in seeing the world represents a big problem for citizens who want to understand the true relationship of their country to the world.

The Washington Post recently published what is called the Afghanistan Papers that reveal that throughout America’s longest war, which is still happening, Americans were lied to with great regularity, that the people running the war did not know what was going on, and that the press pretended that all was going smoothly.  This has been compared to the release of the Pentagon Papers in the Seventies that disclosed similar stupidity in regards to the Vietnam War, which at the time held the distinction of being the longest war of the United States.  The Pentagon Papers were a phenomena at the time.  Newspapers published excepts, and there was much talk about them.  They even played a role in the Watergate crisis, whereas the President sent people to burgle the office of the psychiatrist who was treating the person who released the Pentagon Papers.  But in today’s world, these newly released documents which expose a similar malfeasance for a recent war don’t get any respect.  Perhaps now that we only have an economic draft so that only the children of the poor end of fighting the wars it is of little concern to Democrats to represent families with children killed in the current iteration of what has been called regime changes wars.

The UN commission called the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released a report in 2018 accusing the Syrian government (a putative enemy of the United States) of using poison gas on its population, even though this did not make sense since the Syrian side was winning and had no reason to do something that would bring international condemnation with no upside for them.  In response the US, UK, and France bombed Syria.  But in recent weeks there have been several whistle-blowers from inside the OPCW and a document dump from Wikileaks that have shown the the OPCW report was contrary to the opinions of its staff and was oriented to align with US government beliefs and so that the report (and thus the OPCW itself) has no credibility.  One would expect this to be a big story, that a UN commission lied and thus several countries committed war crimes as a result, but there is no news of this.

The third major story that is not given coverage is the unlawful imprisonment and torture of a man who is considered by many independent observers as the most important journalist in the world today, whose reports many mainstream newspapers published once upon a time, but who now can not give that journalist the time of day.  The extradition trial of Julian Assange has been truly a kangaroo court that is happening in Great Britain, a travesty that has been compared to the Dreyfus case that eventually roiled France at the end of the Nineteenth Century.  But if the press reports about Assange at all, it is to deposit calumny on him.  Many Democrats consider him — in cooperation with Vladimir Putin — the reason Hillary Clinton lost the election in 2016.

Around the world at the time we are seeing a huge number of protests against the government of each country.  When looked at from above, all these protests are against the neoliberalism that has dominated the world for the last forty years.  But some protests get much more coverage in the American press than others.  The coverage of the Hong Kong protests against an official US opponent, even though they have been quite devoid of deaths and injuries, has been given very great media coverage, as opposed to the limited converge of the Yellow Vest movement against the government of a US ally, even though many have lost limbs or eyes from the activities of the French police, who apparently are more violent than the Hong Kong police.



Jupiter-Pluto Conjunction


The first Jupiter Pluto conjunction on April 4, 2020 is interesting because it is right opposite the natal Mercury, so this conjunction will have something to do with the media.  Pluto on this date is opposite natal Mercury with an orb of less than one degree.  The transiting Sun is opposite the natal Saturn, and to further accentuate Saturn, transiting Saturn is trine the US MC, as is transiting Venus (and thus transiting Venus and Saturn, both at the beginning of air signs, are trine), and thus the transiting midpoint of Venus and Saturn is on the Midheaven.  Venus and Saturn together talk about a limitation of justice, a concept that can be applied to many issues effecting the world today.  One of the meanings Ebertin gives for this midpoint is “the urge to seek  solitude” which I’m sure we can all relate to.

What I have called the mainstream media in the United States, for example the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, is being increasing paid attention to only by older readers and watchers, while younger people, those who grew up more in what can be called The Internet Age, get more of their news online.  This has caused a spilt in the Democratic Party which I call the split between the MSNBC Democrats — who get there news from the cable TV channel MSNBC — and the Jimmy Dore Democrats — who get their news from the YouTube channel The Jimmy Dore Show.  This dynamic can also be seen in the current Democratic primaries across the country, playing out  in the dichotomy of the two remaining candidates.  As the population ages and people born before 1960 continue to die, one can expect more and more news to be gotten online, which causes much worry among those producing legacy media.  But they also have themselves to blame: if they better reported the truth instead of what their owners want, there would be more trust of them among younger people.

A good source showing that media criticism is nothing new is the book Manufacturing Consent by Edward Herman (the main author, which is why his name came first on the title page) and his long time collaborator Noam Chomsky, published in 1988.  There is also a YouTube video.  After the book was published, Herman (who was an economics professor at Wharton) edited a magazine called Lies of Our Times, specializing in debunking the lies of the New York Times, which is indeed a full time job.

And of course before that were truth telling journalists such as I. F. Stone (who reported about what was really happening in Korea or Vietnam and whose Weekly newsletter was a must-read for Vietnam War protestors), A. J. Liebling (who famously said the press is free only for those who own one), Wilfred Burchett who was the first reporter at Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped, despite an embargo of Japan by the United States, and George Seldes, a critic of the press in the Thirties and Forties (even though he died at 104 in 1995) who said “The most sacred cow of the press is the press itself”.

So among the great changes that we will see in the upcoming decade will be changes in the media landscape of America and citizens’ relationship to it.  As the story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ reminds us, after you fail to tell the truth for a long time you will be disbelieved even if what you say is now true.

As Fast as Molasses in January

Molasses is a product derived from sugar cane and few are familiar with it anymore, though it is often used to make brown sugar and rum.  It can be a sweetening agent and it is more nutritious than for example honey.  But an interesting historical event happened one January in Boston where molasses took center stage.

I’ve previously written about all the things that happened in 1919  but here is one that I did not mention, and it is not signified by what I said was the major astrological configuration of that year: Saturn opposite Uranus, the staid versus the new.  But perhaps if you squint you eyes and try real hard you can see this case as the structure of the vat against the changeable molasses.

On the afternoon of January 15, 1919, at 12:40, a huge vat — 50 feet tall and 250 feet around — of molasses gave way, flooding the city of Boston, or at least the surrounding blocks on Commercial Street, with molasses.  The tank was owned by Purity Distilling Company, a subsidiary of U. S. Industrial Alcohol which used the molasses stored in the vat for war purposes.  That day was relatively warm for January in Boston: the temperature got to 45.  The vat was on Boston’s North Beach between what is now a skating rink and a park.  The location of the vat is now a baseball diamond.  The 2,300,000 gallons of molasses, weighting 13,000 tons, spread in all directions in a 30 foot wave.  Tenements in the region had their basements filled with molasses, and it was difficult to clean.  Molasses was tracked around Boston over the next few weeks as cleanup preceded.  Fresh water from fire hydrants proved unable to dilute the sticky substance, so finally salt water from the bay was used, resulting in much molasses being dumped into Boston’s harbor.  The situation would have been less serious if it had happened in July.  But in the colder temperatures of January, the molasses was slow and hard enough that some people and animals were trapped in it, and it was difficult to rescue some since the molasses, which had previously been warmed, was initially as fast moving as it would have been in summer months.  An estimated 21 people died as a result of the molasses flood; there were 150 injuries and 14 buildings were destroyed, including a two story brick firehouse that was almost dumped into the Boston Harbor.

Later scientists built scale models of the vat to determine what actually happened.  Using these measurements, they were able to estimate the speed of the molasses at 35 mph.  So now we know the speed of molasses in January!




It is fortunate that we have a time for this incident, so that the angles — the MC and the Ascendant — are somewhat accurate.  And the MC-IC axis definitely tells a story.  As we can see from the chart for this incident, not an especially big one like the start of a major war, but something definite, that Venus, the planets of sweet substances, was at the Midheaven, and opposite Neptune at the IC, a planet suggesting a liquid or lack of clarity or uncertainty at the foundation of the subject.  And if you are familiar with the planetary patterns of famous astrologer Marc Edmund Jones (who also gave us Sabian Symbols) this chart is an obvious see-saw, suggesting the theme of opposition and conflict.  There is also the Saturn opposite Uranus that was talked about previously and also Mars sesquiquadrate Pluto, suggesting transformation through motion (even if only at 35 mph), and the North Beach was certainly transformed, and an opposition of Mercury and Pluto suggesting the spectators that for several weeks gathered on the North Beach to marvel at the changes in that part of the city.  There is even a loose conjunction of Mars and Uranus in the tenth house, that almost stereotyped astrological signature of an accident.

And yes, it was later decided that the foundation of the vat holding the molasses was not especially sturdy.  Proper trace minerals that would have hardened the steel used for the vat were not added, the sturdiness of the vat was never tested with for example water before it was filled, and this time the vat held more molasses than was usually the case.  Some warm molasses was added shortly before the accident.

The molasses, imported from the Caribbean, was used to make alcohol for the First World War, and it had been a profitable business for U. S Industrial Alcohol.  But then this accident happened two months after the war ended.  This incident was a major source of litigation over the next years– one of the biggest set of legal cases in the history of Massachusetts, as families of people who were trapped or of animals that were lost sued USIA.  There were 119 claimants involved and 25,00 pages of testimony were produced from all the trials over a three year period.  U. S. Industrial Alcohol was the company that had owned the vat of molasses so important to the war that had just finished.  Since there was a Red Scare happening at the time with much accusations of anarchism and communists under the bed (the crime that Sacco and Vanzetti were accused of happened 15 months later in Braintree, Massachusetts, a dozen miles south), USIA initially accused saboteurs of destroying the vat.  But in the end USIA had to pay out $600,000 for the lack of technical supervision in construction of the vat.

And Just in Time For The Election

The dominant story of 2020 involves the three planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto.  Each pair of these planets has a conjunction during the year, and there is much expectation of what those conjunctions will bring.  The first is the Saturn-Pluto conjunction on January 12.  Then the first of three Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions takes place on April 4.  Finally the Jupiter Saturn conjunction occurs on the solstice of December 21, 2020.



Saturn Pluto Conjunction



Jupiter Pluto Conjunction



Jupiter Saturn Conjunction


But I want to point out a combination of the three planets with Mars added in just to give the whole thing some spice.  That is, as illustrated in the chart below, on or about October 16, 2010, less that three week before the Presidential election in the United States.



New Moon Before Election


Does this chart portend anything interesting?  It’s hard to pick the best date here, but I chose this one because there is also a new moon, which indicates new beginnings.  In this chart we have Jupiter conjunct Pluto conjunct Saturn within a total spread of about six degrees.  Pluto is at the midpoint of Jupiter and Saturn.  Mars is square Pluto and most especially Jupiter.  The New Moon is opposite Mars and square Saturn and closely square Pluto and thus there is a T-Square with that triple conjunction of those three planets that are the stars of 2020 at the apex.  Completing the picture we have Venus opposite Neptune (romantic love/deceptions in justice) and Uranus opposite Mercury (changes in the way of thinking).  So the two other outer planets, Uranus and Neptune, are aspecting two personal planets, Mercury and Venus.  On that day every planet is making an aspect.




Furthermore, looking at the US chart, the triple conjunction is opposite the US Mercury, representing the press of the nation, and the New Moon is squaring Mercury and sesquiquadrate Uranus, completing the natal Mercury semisquare Uranus, which represents a basic theme of the United States, freedom.  I am sure that basic issues about the nature of America will come up at this time.  And this year will bring up many issues regarding the press, which will be discussed in another blog post soon.



Last Quarter Moon


Another interesting chart is for the last quarter moon just before this new moon.  In this one retrograde Mars is exactly square Pluto, the Moon is opposite Jupiter and thus completing a T-square with the Sun at the apex, Neptune is sextile Jupiter and trine the Moon thus forming half a kite formation that shares a base opposition with the T-square.

If we compare this with the earlier chart Mars is even tighter in a square to Pluto and the Moon is opposite Jupiter and thus the Sun is square Jupiter, forming a T square.  Pluto is closely at the midpoint of Jupiter and Saturn chart on October 9, the last quarter moon before the New Moon on October 16.  In this chart the square of Mars and Pluto is almost exact.



These various permutations of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto are obvious in the graphical ephemeris for the period in question.  Starting in August Mars (red line) crosses in order Jupiter (blue line), Pluto (dark red line), and then Saturn (light blue line), turns retrograde and the again crosses Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter before turning direct and crossing those three planets — Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter — again at the beginning of 2021; Mars squares Jupiter for the last time when Jupiter is square Uranus in January.  At the date in question — center line of the graphical ephemeris — as you can see Mars is exactly square Pluto.

So I see October as the month when Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto are set up for action by Mars crisscrossing those planets in late summer and early fall of 2020, just in time for the US election that many people are looking forward to with hope or trepidation or both.



Election Day


And for future reference, here is the chart for election day.  There is still the conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto opposite the US Mercury.  There are four retrograde planets: Neptune, Uranus, Mars, and Mercury.  Having a national election when Mercury is retrograde (stationary turning direct) suggests that the early elections reports shouldn’t be trusted.  Mars — the least often retrograde planet — retrograde as well as opposite the natal Saturn suggests that the outcome will be delayed or that questions will arise (quelle surprise!!).  And of course that triple conjunction that has been featured above suggests problems in communication.  An election to remember!

Road Trip!

A perfect synecdoche — the part that symbolizes the greater whole — for the crisis of overshoot that is currently bedeviling the world is the popularity of that personal transportation device known as the automobile.  That popularity formed at the beginning of the Twentieth Century because of two developments.  This timing also corespondents with an outer planet midpoint as mentioned previously

The (internal combustion) automobile was invented — using the date of the patent — on January 29, 1886 by Carl Benz, whose name is still present in the brand Mercedes Benz.  This was after the internal combustion engine, so important to the automobile — even though the early ones were powered by other means, such as electric batteries or external combustion engines more commonly known as steam power, eg the Stanley Steamer — was invented over the previous decades.





Looking for the chart of this event, we see it is near the conjunction of the two outer planets Neptune and Pluto which was exact in 1890 and so colored the end of the Nineteenth Century and set the stage of the great change that would happen 100 years later with the conjunctions of Uranus and Pluto and Uranus and Neptune, which would complete the three conjunction of those three outer planets, indicating a 500 year cycle, which has been discussed in this blog many years ago.  The most notable aspect at the time of this invention was the tight Jupiter-Uranus conjunction.  Richard Tarnas calls this aspect one of creativity and expansion, and shows how many inventions have been developed under aspects of these two planets.

The automobile started out as a rich man plaything, because the first automobiles were quite expensive but later were later greatly reduced in price.  This is similar to the development of cell phones, which once were quite expensive (and large) but soon became so inexpensive that almost everyone had one.  But there were two events that changed that all and made automobiles and driving a common phenomena.

The first was the discovery of oil in Texas.  On January 10, 1901 oil was discovered on Spindletop Hill in southeastern Texas.  Oil had been known for centuries, and oil ls considered to have been discovered in Pennsylvania in 1859, but the discovery at Spindletop was different, it was the first gusher.  The gusher at Spindletop was producing 100,000 barrels a day at the beginning.  Suddenly there was plenty of oil for whatever was needed.  And this led to the discoveries of other gushers also in East Texas and the Permian Basin.





In the chart for this discovery, one aspect stands out: the opposition between Jupiter and Neptune.  One of the many items that Neptune rules is oil, the very substance that so controls the present world and is an important subject of this essay.  When we combine Jupiter with Neptune, we have a lot of oil, which is exactly what this discovery represents.  The orb is less than one degree.  There is also a Uranus opposition to Pluto, which was one of the astrological highlights of the first decade of the Twentieth Century, and has been discussed before in the Birth of Modernism.

The second development was the Model T Ford.  The first model T was produced on October 1, 1908.  This was the first car for the masses; it was a relatively inexpensive car that real people could afford, and not just the wealthy.  And Henry Ford, who was to become the third most wealthy individual in America in the early Twentieth Century, realized that he needed to pay his employees enough so they could afford the automobiles that they were making.



Model T


The first Model-T’s were in the first decade of the Twentieth Century, a period which I have previously called the birth of Modernism when many things changed, such as the popularity of movies and the first airplane flight.  In this chart we have Pluto square Mars — transformative energy — and Saturn opposite the Sun — on this day there is some limitation, but of course we would not realize what the limitation was until many decades later.

Automobiles change their environment in so many ways.  There is obvious pollution from first the construction of the vehicle from metals, plastics, and with the increasing addition of electronics to automobiles, certain rare elements such as lithium.  Then there is pollution from car exhaust and wheel dust.  Next consider the number of people and animals killed by these high speed devices, not only people outside the vehicles but also often drivers and passengers are killed or severely injured.  Automobiles extend the range for humans greatly since they travel at high speeds, allowing the colonization of areas previously unavailable to human exploitation.  This has caused the limitation of habitat for wild animals; also, the increasing spread of roadways necessary to deliver the humans to their new dwellings make travel for animals increasingly precarious.  The term ” road-kill” is now a common one and that term came in to existence only because of the deaths caused automobile and the highways on which they travel.

There are several events that can be considered the first death due to an automobile: the death of a diver, the death of a passenger, the death of a pedestrian.



First Car Death – Mary Ward


The first death from an automobile happened long before the first internal combustion automobile was patented.  Mary Ward was a Irish woman — astronomer, artist, author — who was killed when she was tossed from a home-made steam car built by her cousins and trapped under its wheels.  She is considered the first traffic fatality.  Steam (external combustion) was at the time considered suitable for cars, but it was not until the development of the internal combustion engines that the idea of the automobile took off.

In the chart for this event, the most obvious aspect is the conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto at the Descendant (but note this is a chart set for noon).  Jupiter Pluto aspects are fairly common, and I haven’t gotten a handle on them.  From the symbolism, one would expect a plenitude of transformation.



First Pedestrian Death – Henry Bliss


The first death of a pedestrian occurred when Henry Bliss was hit by an automobile on September 14, 1899.  Henry Bliss was killed by an electric taxicab, proving that both electric cars and taxicabs existed early on in the development of the automobile, and in fact this happened in the Nineteenth Century.  In this chart the most notable aspect is the opposition between Saturn and Pluto, an aspect that was also prominent in the Spanish-American War chart.  Those two planets — whose conjunction will highlight January 2020 — are always ominous.

One result of our increasing fascination with the automobiles is increased death and destruction.  The more obvious deaths and maiming are of automobile drivers and passengers rather than of pedestrian and cyclists.  There were about 36000 people killed by cars in the last year, which is a slight decrease from the year before, but this was accompanied by an increase in the number of deaths of pedestrians and cyclists.  A recent case in Germany that inflamed the public was a SUV that jumped the curb and killed four people on the sidewalk, prompting demands that SUVs be banned in that country.  SUVs are now among the most popular of vehicles (other than large pickup trucks, which often are built on the same chassis as that of SUVs), driving to extinction the venerable station wagon, even though SUVs are not only more deadly to people outside the vehicle, but also, contrary to popular opinion, more dangerous to drivers because of increased probability of rollover.  But people do like to feel that they are safe in their armoured vehicles high above the common driver.

But usually not taken account of, cars are deadly to wildlife and domestic animals.  Think of the number of dead cats and dogs in any urban environment.  And, if you live in a rural area, you are aware of all the roadkill populating the side of highways where the dead deer end up.  Roadkill provides meat to those of rural areas too impoverished to afford a decent supply of store bought meat, so that can be counted as a plus for the increasing use of cars and the increasing inequality.

But besides all the death from automobiles, think of all the accidents that do not result in death but result in injuries ranging from minor to severe that may change one’s life forever.  Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and auto repair shops are provided with business by all these accidents, thus helping the economy.  All these events that harm individuals increase the GDP of a country.

Before the popularity of cars, cross-country walking was a thing.  Nowadays, people who walk are called “pedestrians”, a term that also means mundane or commonplace, dull.  With the rise of the automobile, the increasingly few who depend on their feet for travel are considered plebeian or commonplace when compared to those who travel with cars.

The first road trip, that is across the country from one coast of the United States to the other, was a trip from San Francisco, California to New York City.  It started in San Francisco in the afternoon of May 23, 1903 and finished in Manhattan on July 26 at 4:30 in the morning.  Horatio Nelson Jackson, a retired doctor, was bet $50 in an upscale San Francisco bar that a car could not cross the country in less than 90 days (shades of Jules Verne).  He got bicycle mechanic Sewall Crocker to accompany him in a 20 horsepower Winton touring car (certainly appropriate) which they named Vermont.  Since there were no motels, gas stations, or roadside diners along the way, they packed sleeping bags.  Automobiles were considered by many at the time as a fad that would not last and certainly too unreliable to make it across the country.  At times they needed horses to pull the stranded car and blacksmith shops to perform the repairs.  For most of the trip the were accompanied by a dog names Bud who wore motoring goggles to protect his eyes.  The story soon proved popular to the general public, and after they finally reached Chicago they had put the hardest part of the trip behind them, and arrived in Manhattan early in the morning.


Road Trip Start


Road Trip End


Looking at the two charts representing the start and end of this first road trip shows nothing very spectacular.  The Descendant represents (for charts in the Northern hemisphere) the West, where the trip started, and the Ascendant represents the East, where the trip ended.  In the first chart, the Moon is setting in the West, where the trip began.  In the second chart, the Sun is rising in the East, where the trip ends.  So symbolically these two charts capture that start and end of the first road trip.

The mass usage of automobiles, having enough gasoline because of the discovery at Spindletop, started in the first decade of the Twentieth Century and has grown with each passing year.  This has allowed humankind to expand, covering more and more of the land needed for mammals, insects, birds.  Houses and buildings have been built on more and more land, reducing the area for wild animals.  This expansion has allowed people to live in remote areas previously unavailable to all except the most intrepid explorers.

Automobiles have increasingly polluted the environment.  First because of burning of a petroleum product has added carbon dioxide and aerosols to the atmosphere.  But another major pollutant has been tire dust.  It was recently discovered (recent article in the Los Angeles Times) that one of the major sources of micro-plastic pollution in the San Francisco Bay was particle from the tires of all the automobiles driven in the Bay Area.  The amount produced by tire dust was many orders of magnitude greater that which came from other sources, such as the laundering of synthetic fabrics.

If one were an outside observer of the planet — the prototype is a typical Martian — the dominant life form of the planet Earth would be the automobile.  These creatures would be seen to have a symbiotic relation with small creatures that feed them, clean them, and buy them fuzzy dice as decorations.  In turn the automobiles take their symbiotes to places.  Notice that much of the world is taken up with areas for this dominant life forms: Highways, parking lots, and personal parking lots called driveways with attached small homes called garages that are filled with possessions of their owners and not with the cars that they were originally designed for, have increasingly covered the surface of the planet, changing the climate, breaking up areas of land so that creatures can no longer move as widely as before, and allowing people to occupy more and more land.

The introduction of the automobile, as a recent book (Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom — Sarah A. Seo) has shown, has allowed the police to intervene in our lives much more often that was previously imaginable.  The idea of police stopping people of a certain race was unusual but now “driving while black” is still a common occurrence.  Being stopped for such a thing as having an outdated sticker on your license plate is an almost normal occurrence.  People think that when police stop them they are allowed to search the vehicle (not true) which causes many to be arrested for something other than a traffic  violation.

With the population increase expected in the upcoming years, and the increasing demand for a car by the impoverished masses who are increasing their wealth, one can expect that the automobile and the trends outlined above will become increasingly dominant in the world, resulting in more and more death and destruction.  That is the future we can look forward to if nothing changes!