On September 24, 1958 Jupiter and Neptune reached their conjunction at 3° 18' Scorpio. Such a conjunction occurs every 13 years, each time (or nearly each time) taking place in a different zodiacal sign. The complete cycle of such conjunctions around the zodiac takes about 166 years to occur. As 13 times 13 equals 169, we are confronted with a cycle of 13 conjunctions occurring at almost exactly 13-year intervals.
This emphasis on the number 13 is significant, and I shall presently discuss its significance. But first let us list the dates at which these conjunctions occur during the 18th to 21st centuries, as this is the best way to show at a glance how the cyclic pattern of relationship between the two planets operate. This pattern is quite regular: the three-times-repeated conjunctions occurring when Jupiter is "stationary retrograde" near the place of conjunction.
On looking at this data we can notice at once that the conjunctions preceding the 1958 instance occurred at very important times in terms of social and international developments. The 1945 conjunction followed by a few weeks the atom-bomb explosions over Japan, and it marked the beginning of the post-war period of reconstruction and of vast social-political readjustments all over the world. The 1932 conjunction can be directly related to the rise to power of F. D. Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler, the New Deal and Nazism — two opposite solutions to the socio-economic problems of our age.
The 1919-1920 conjunctions are to be linked with the spread of the so-called Jazz Age, with the start of the period of basic social-spiritual reorientation (which actually failed to find its true "orient," its true dawn!) after the lugubrious Treaty of Versailles and Woodrow Wilson's tragic defeat.
Incidentally, it was during the months covered by the 1919-1920 conjunctions that Palestine and Mesopotamia (Iraq) were made British, and Syria a French, mandates — thus establishing the background of the present Near East troubles. Then, also, the support by the allies of counterrevolutionary movements in Russia (which made the chasm between the Soviet and the West far stronger and more bitter) finally collapsed (Kolchak's defeat in January, 1920).
If, then, we consider the greater Jupiter-Neptune cycle and study the conjunctions which occurred in the same zodiacal signs some 166 years earlier, we realize that the period marked by the conjunctions paralleling the recent ones witnessed the development of the revolutionary spirit which brought the old feudal and classical European culture to an end and impelled the American colonies to seek their independence from England.
The work of the great French thinkers who collaborated on the famous "Encyclopedia" began just before the 1753 Jupiter-Neptune conjunction in Leo; and it was then that the struggle between France and the American colonies for the entire Middle West reached its critical stage. Then, also, George Washington first came into prominence; and in 1754, in Albany, at a conference of colonial delegates with the Six Nations (the great Indian Federation which, in a sense, was a prototype for the American federal impulse!) a plan was drawn, at Franklin's suggestion, for a union of the colonies (under a president appointed by the English Crown). The plan had no success, but it was definitely a "seed" of what was to come.
The following 1766 conjunction in Virgo came a year after the passage of the Stamp Act; from then on, the struggle against taxation grew in intensity. At the 1779 conjunction, the War of Independence was in full swing. Neptune had then entered Libra. When, after a full zodiacal revolution, Neptune once more reached Libra, the "Atomic Age" began (December, 1942), with the first controlled atomic reaction in Chicago. The second degree of Libra constitutes, in my opinion, the midheaven of the most significant "birth-chart" of the American people as a people (Sagittarius-rising chart, July 4, 1776); and the passage of Neptune over this midheaven produced periods that were politically confused war defeats — and who knows exactly what the era that began with this control over the atom's energies will do to our political system and, deeper still, our political consciousness.
When we come to the year 1792 and its three successive conjunctions of Jupiter and Neptune, we see in America the growth of the crucial and basic opposition between Jefferson's party and Hamilton's Federalists which has had deep repercussions in American political life ever since. In France, on September 21, 1792, the monarchy was abolished and France declared a republic, a basic date in Europe's history. The execution of Louis XVI, the revolutionary war, the "Terror" followed promptly.
With the next conjunction in 1804, we find Bonaparte enthroned as "Emperor of the French" (May 18, 1804) — all of which may indeed provide us with significant clues, considering what is occurring in France today, as Neptune definitely settles in Scorpio. We are now beginning a 13 period which parallels, in this sense, the period 1792 to 1804.
However one wishes to interpret the parallelism of these two periods, it is quite clear that we are living through years as significant in the history of man's social, political and religious consciousness as those which stretched between, let us say, 1766 and 1804. Then the Industrial Revolution, based on the use of coal and steam, was gradually being initiated. Now, the Electronic Revolution and the Nuclear Revolution are likewise in their initial stages. This present "revolution" is assuredly no less important than the first; indeed, there are many reasons for believing that it may be far more basic and crucial!
We are passing through a revolutionary era, the magnitude of which is probably unprecedented in its implications for total social, political, cultural and religious changes. It is well that we recognize and face all that such implications mean. The question is no longer whether there shall be a widespread and perhaps total transformation of our way of life and social-political consciousness, but what kind of transformation it shall be.
The Meaning of Jupiter-Neptune Conjunctions
It takes a little less than 12 years for Jupiter to revolve around the Sun, and during these 12 years, Neptune moves nearly one whole zodiacal sign; thus, the conjunction of these two planets occurs in each sign successively at intervals of about 13 years. The situation parallels rather strikingly the case of the lunation cycle — for while the Moon revolves in its orbit in less than 28 days, the Sun moves about one whole zodiacal sign. Thus, the Moon has to move on another two days before it catches up with the Sun at "New Moon" time. In this analogy, Neptune acts as the Sun, Jupiter as the Moon; and just as every sign of the zodiac is vitalized each month by a Sun-Moon conjunction (New Moon), likewise every sign of the zodiac is energized every 13-year period by Jupiter-Neptune conjunction.
The only cycle which gives us a very regular sequence of two planets' conjunction in every successive sign of the zodiac is Jupiter-Neptune cycle of 166 years — thus its importance, if for no other reason. It is one of the most logical small cycles to be used for historical purposes, other ones being the 60-year complete cycle of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions (which includes — three conjunctions spaced at about 120° from each other) and the eclipse cycles.
In other words, the Jupiter-Neptune cycle enables us to state that every 13 years one zodiacal sign after another will be energized by a Jupiter-Neptune conjunction. Each of these 13-year periods carries, thus, as it were, something of the quality of the energized sign. For instance, we are just completing a Libra period (with a Libra president!) and starting a Scorpio period. The First World War began during a Cancer period (with Pluto entering Cancer, significantly enough); and the Second World War was being prepared and fought during a Virgo period, ending as this period was being closed.
What does this actually mean, one will naturally ask. In order to give a consistent answer, we must consider the separate meanings of Jupiter and Neptune, then study the characteristic features and purpose of the relationship between the Jupiterian and Neptunian types of functions or activities.
Jupiter, however, can hardly be understood without bracketing this planet with Saturn. Jupiter and Saturn are the two astrological symbols of the social realm of human experience using the word "social" in its most extended sense and making it include the transcendental aspect of social togetherness and social sharing, which is the core of any kind of organized religion. In contrast to the pair Jupiter and Saturn, Mars and Venus deal essentially with the personal factors in life — that is, with all experiences which normally are immediately and spontaneously referred to the living center of the total human organism (body and psyche), thus with what we actually mean when we say "I," Paul, or Jane.
Jupiter and Saturn refer to all experiences which are primarily dependent upon the fact that human beings live in groups of various kinds and for various types of purposes — i.e., in the state of society and culture. This state of community living produces a sharing of needs, of values, ideals and memories, of goods and of victories over Nature. It produced language, culture, religion, laws, institutions. It gives to every person the sense that he "belongs" in a community (Jupiter); in this community he has a place, function and name (Saturn).
Jupiter deals particularly with social-cultural-religious feelings and the expansion that comes to the individual who operates warmly in terms of these feelings, reciprocated (usually) by others, either emotionally (happiness) or in terms of concrete values (wealth). Saturn, on the other hand, defines the place and the boundaries of the individual's participation in his group. Thus, while Saturn guarantees place, name, property, it also limits by defining and establishing set categories, procedures, rites, techniques, marks of identification, and so on.
Neptune, together with Uranus and Pluto, belongs to an altogether different level of reality. They are hardly to be considered as integral parts of the solar system if the latter is understood as a closely defined and limited cosmic entity. They represent the stage of transition between the solar system unit and the vaster cosmic whole, the galaxy; more precisely, they refer to certain basic modes of activity by which this galactic whole constantly impresses its powers upon our tiny solar system, "feeds" (in a sense) this solar system and works toward its closer integration into the galactic field.
Uranus challenges, disturbs, breaks down at times and illumines with flashes of realization the Saturnian "place" and name an individual has in society. Uranus says to the person who has identified himself with a definite tradition, culture, social class, job and ego (for the ego is mostly molded by social factors), "You are more than that! Break away from your jail of narrow selfhood! Experience your future, your 'galactic' being!" After Uranus has done this job, Neptune moves on, dissolving the substance of the walls or shells Uranus has shattered loose, releasing the stunned or enthralled consciousness.
Such dissolving power is the aspect of Neptune most familiar to students of astrology; Neptune is, thus, related to everything that is vast, immeasurable, indefinite, universalistic, but also loose, unfocused, misty, glamorous, unreal, escapist. Neptune, however, also has a positive aspect. After all, it is an "agent" of the vast galactic field of cosmic existence! It is an emissary of the greater to the lesser. If it dissolves the obsolete narrowness of the Saturnian focus, it is because of deep, vast "compassion." God becomes man so that man may soon grow into the likeness of the divine form within the "galactic" being.
This "divine form" is the shape of things to come for the individual, and especially for collective humanity as a participant in the "new" society always in the making because humanity is always moving on collectively — evolving, reaching closer to an ever-fuller actualization of the all-human potential. The future repeatedly comes to meet the present at every turn of the evolutionary road so as to save this present from automatically repeating the past. Neptune is the future in relation to Jupiter, which represents the traditional way of meeting, of feeling and sharing with other people, whether at the economic or the religious-cultural level.
Astrologers are haunted with the idea that Jupiter is "the greater fortune" and a symbol of all that is "good." But good and fortunate for what-for the easy way of complacent and nearly automatic repetition of the past! Jupiter gives good fortune to those who conform, who follow the rules of the social game, the political game, the religious ritual, the way of the "classical" great masters in the arts. Truly, there is nothing wrong in conforming; and there are vast practical benefits in doing so. But conforming is not taking the new evolutionary step. This step — this new transformation or "mutation" — requires, like the taking of any walking step, an initial loss of balance, a "fall," immediately followed by a "recovery." To walk is constantly to lose one's balance, then recover it as the foot again touches the ground a yard or so ahead.
The Jupiter-Neptune cycle is very much like a walking process. Every 13 years-and, even more, every 166 years — mankind should take a step forward, even if only a tiny one. It should be a step ahead of our past traditional social, cultural and religious sense of human relationship. Unfortunately, such a step tends to lead at first to confusion, disarray, dismay, perhaps temporary blindness and panicky escape "back to the womb" of what may be thought to be a secure and familiar institution or religious organization. However, progress is only through the confusion and the glowing mist over the hills, yonder. There is no way ever of going ahead, except through!
Through Neptune the great moment for this transcendence (literally, this "stepping through") is when Neptune meets Jupiter, for it is, theoretically at least, the moment when the "form" of our future becomes visible, however dimly, to our consciousness. Alas, the great majority of people refuse to see; or, if they see, to understand; or, if they understand with their mind, to act according to their understanding (which refers, then, to Pluto); or, if they act, to have the dynamic faith and perseverance to sustain the action.
The cycles of Jupiter and Neptune constitute the essential small steps we should take in the transformation of our traditional social sense; but they do not necessarily refer to startling events, for what is implied is a change of attitude or "feeling-with" — a new awareness of what human relationship can mean. But it is the accumulation of these small changes which at last allows the great revolutionary events to happen; and these are basically timed by the about
500-year cycle of Neptune and Pluto
and spurred on by the various kinds of Uranus cycles — particularly, it seems, the 171-year cycle of Uranus and Saturn (the two great antagonists in the solar system!).
The Scorpio Cycle
Neptune already crossed the Scorpio threshold very briefly on Christmas 1955, and from October 1956, to June 1957, then from August 5, 1957 on it became definitely settled in Scorpio. All this constituted the prelude to the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction at 3°19' Scorpio on September 24, 1958, just after the fall equinox — a time of particularly strong planetary aspects this year. This conjunction begins a period which will end in early February 1971, when the first of three conjunctions occurs. This first conjunction will be in the first degree of Sagittarius very close to Mars.
In Libra, we see group activity operating. But in Scorpio, mere activity is not enough; it has to become transformed and transfigured by a total sense of identification of the doer and the deed. Only such a sense of identification makes mature action possible that is, an action in which the actor pours himself unreservedly or (as French philosophers would now say) "engages" himself totally — as one gear is engaged with another gear. Thus, for instance, Scorpio is not really referring to sex as a merely natural, instinctive function; this function, as such, belongs to Taurus' animal fruitfulness. Scorpio is sex at the level of a conscious, personal, all-inclusive human sharing of vital and psychic energies — a sharing not too frequent today, alas, or not carried to a point of psychic transformation which makes the participants in its ritual.
Nevertheless, wherever there is ritual and conscious activity, there can be, back of it, a constructive or a destructive purpose. Human beings can share in terms of evil as well as of good. Power is, of itself, neither good nor bad. It is the use of it which determines its moral or spiritual quality. Thus, people can be identified in disintegration and death, as well as in rebirth and joint transfiguration. Yet there is great hope for mankind at this time in the fact that Neptune and Pluto are, for several decades still, in constructive sextile aspect.
The relationship between the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction and Pluto is, indeed, a very important factor — as is also their relationship with Uranus. While Uranus has been squaring (mercilessly, it seems!) Neptune during the last few years, this square is now past — the last effective approximation to this old square having occurred at the last spring equinox (1958). Theoretically, thus, the tension between Uranian shatterings and Neptunian dissolutions has done its work; now the transfiguration by Neptune of the Jupiterian function in humanity can truly proceed, though assuredly with occasional periods of stress and strain. In 1932 (the depression and the Roosevelt-Hitler polar ascendancy), the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction was, in semi-square to Pluto, an aspect of mobilization of energies; and see what happened! But since the 1945 conjunction, and until the Aries conjunction of the year 2035, the conjunction will remain in more or less close sextile to Pluto. The process of social, cultural and religious transformation may not be easy; but it should unfold gradually. [However, the Neptune-Pluto "long-sextile" oscillated in and out of exact Septile aspect annually from 2001 to 2011, see The Call to Transformation for details].
In the last 166-year cycle of Jupiter and Neptune, the conjunction occurred trine Pluto, from 1702 to 1792; and we had the slow emergence of Western humanity from centuries of confining dogmatism and brutal feudalism through what has been called "The Age of Enlightenment." It was the time when the seer Swedenborg saw "the descent of the New Jerusalem" upon the earth. But around 1817, Neptune was square Pluto in late Pisces; and the Napoleonic Empire, which had perverted the revolutionary impact of France upon Europe (yet spread its concepts), had collapsed. The trine aspect refers to the ideal stage of any evolutionary process. Under the Neptune-Pluto trine abstract concepts and formulas are produced; and the patterns of our 18th-century democracy, the Rights of Man and the slogan "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" were formulated. But the sextile refers to practical and concrete action and technical changes, which we have begun to witness, especially since 1942. They now must be deepened, made more "human" by the impact of a Scorpio type of sharing in the depths, by the realization that at the root of all cultures and all societies is to be found our "common humanity."
It is this realization alone that can eradicate the horrors of "man's inhumanity to man." Now is our chance to begin anew on this path of global understanding and communion and for each of us to participate in the great celebration of a resurgent and mature humanity, whose manifold racial and cultural variations can and must be integrated in one vast and harmonic theme.