Planetary influences on culture, 600 BC – 2000 AD.
The cycles of Pluto, Neptune and Uranus and the structure of the historical process.
THE NEPTUNE-PLUTO CYCLES part I
Almost all people living at the present time have in common that most of their lives are passing under a prolonged sextile between Pluto and Neptune.
This aspect, with an acceptable orb existing since ± 1943, lasts until ± 2036, only interrupted in the first decade of the next century when this sextile will shrink to almost a septile. Consequently the post-war period is distinguished by a prolonged harmony between Pluto and Neptune, a harmony that will preside in the background for almost a century.
This phenomenon has, of course, not escaped your attention, all the more since many of you will have this aspect in your birth charts. This gives rise to curiosity. Therefore we will take a closer look at the cycles of these, to the naked eye invisible, “mystery” planets.
Our attention is immediately caught by the strong resonance made together by the orbits of these two planets, in the ratio of 2:3.
In other words two revolutions of Pluto take on average the same time as three of Neptune, whereby their successive conjunctions always occur in the vicinity of the previous one.
This rhythm is unique among the planets of our solar system. This means that Pluto and Neptune together form one “system” which is “fixed” in space in relation to the sun.
The most recent computer calculations of the orbits of Pluto and Neptune confirm this. From these calculations it becomes evident, that Pluto’s aphelion stands more or less still, sidereally at the border between the constellations of Aries and Taurus. The Pluto-Neptune conjunctions all take place close to this, in view of the sidereal constellations, static aphelion. And that in a beautiful undulation, covering a period of about 16000 years.
Throughout the first half of this period (8000 years) the Pluto-Neptune conjunctions occur after Pluto has passed his aphelion: and throughout the second half these conjunctions occur before Pluto’s aphelion. That in time these Pluto-Neptune conjunctions progress through our tropical zodiac is due to the “dynamics” of the precession of the equinox, caused by the known slow nutation of the earth’s axis.
If we look to the sidereal starscape we see an apparently extremely stable Pluto-Neptune system, with for about 8000 years conjunctions in the constellation Taurus (± 4000 B.C. to ± 4000 A.D.) and then for about 8000 years conjunctions in the constellation Aries. This seemingly repeats itself.
Eccentricity leading to harmony
This is, however, not the sole phenomenon of the Pluto-Neptune cycles. As you all know Pluto’s orbit is rather eccentric, resulting in dissimilar velocity. Close to his aphelion (Taurus) his speed is almost three times slower than in the vicinity of his perihelion (Scorpio). Therefore whenever Pluto moves from the (sidereal) constellation of Cancer to the constellation of Capricorn (in our familiar tropical zodiac at the moment from Leo to Aquarius) this planet has the same average speed as Neptune, covering a distance of half the zodiac. This forms the background for the phenomenon that the aspect made by Pluto, on his entrance into Leo, with Neptune lasts for several decades, sometimes for almost a century.
In each Pluto-Neptune cycle of ± 493 years this rhythm occurs twice, because of Pluto’s two revolutions within this cycle.
During the waxing half of this cycle, thus from conjunction to opposition, Pluto and Neptune move synchronically on reaching the waxing sextile. The subsequent waning half, from opposition to conjunction, is dominated by a prolonged waning trine. In both cases whenever Pluto moves from Leo to Aquarius.
These facts may sound rather dry, but when we set the historical events alongside, they all become very meaningful, as I hope to reveal later on.
To cut a long story short, I can tell you that this prolonged harmony of waxing sextile and waning trine in the Pluto-Neptune cycle has come into prominence since the third millennium B.C. (i.e. from the beginning of the Egyptian civilisation). Before that time this cycle was dominated by a prolonged waxing square, followed by a prolonged waning square.
In my book: “Waves, Planetary Influences on Culture, 600 B.C. – 2000 A.D.” I elaborate further on the mutual relations between the cycles of Pluto, Neptune, Uranus and Saturn, and the tidal movements of our civilisation. In that treatise the Pluto-Neptune cycles form the backbone of the cycles with Uranus.
I began with the sixth century B.C. for two reasons. Firstly, it is only possible to chronologically trace the history of diverse civilisations, especially that of Europe, from that period on; secondly in the sixth century B.C. a conjunction took place between the planets Pluto, Neptune and Uranus, an event that only occurs once in the ± 4000 years.
Between two of these “great conjunctions”, respectively in 577 B.C. and 3369 A.D., we find 8 Pluto-Neptune cycles. At the present time we live in the 6th cycle since the great conjunction of -577.
The great conjunction
“It all started” with the great conjunction.
In almost all the known centres of civilisation: China, India, Persia, Palestine and Greece, people were born who displayed great spiritual and intellectual creativity, resulting in profound cultural changes which continue to influence us to the present day.
We think of Pythagoras (-570), Zarathustra (-569), Buddha (-567), Confucius (-555) and without known dates of birth: Lao Tzu. Mahavira and Deutero-Isaiah. All these men were one another’s contemporaries.
The American historian Henri Bamford Parkes writes in his book “Gods and Men, The Origins of Western Culture”, in the chapter describing the “Axial Period”, a term borrowed from Karl Jaspers:
It would be futile to engage in mystical speculation about the problem presented by the coincidence of dates; but it is impossible to avoid the suggestion that, at rare intervals in history, factors in human affairs make for the emergence of novelties that cannot satisfactorily explained by any acceptable theory of causation. The intellectual achievements of the sixth century, considered together, appear to constitute a group of mutations in man’s spiritual development comparable to what happens when a new species emerges in biological evolution.
The above relates to the period following the great conjunction of Pluto, Neptune and Uranus, when their cycles arrive in the creative waxing phase. To emphasize once again, this only occurs once in the ± 4000 Years.
Cycles – Ages
Since this “great conjunction” 5 complete Pluto-Neptune cycles have taken place. When we consider the various historical periods, it is not difficult to endow each of these cycles with their personal character. In other words: history allows itself to be neatly structured by the timespans of the Pluto-Neptune cycles.
Most of the above-named data will not appear very meaningful in their precise form, but for most periods apply wide transitions. From an astrological point of view this is understandable enough, as I hope to explain in a subsequent article, in which I will discuss the cycles of Uranus in relation to Pluto and Neptune.
Waxing phase – cultural expansion
Directly following the great conjunction of -577 we experience the dynamic expansion and flowering of both the Greek and Persian cultural domains. Almost 250 years later, when Pluto and Neptune are in opposition, the Greeks under the leadership of Alexander the Great, conquer Persia as well as nearly all the then known cultural area.
We here observe that the waxing half of the Pluto-Neptune cycle, i.e. the period of about 250 years between “world teacher” and “world conqueror”, between conjunction and opposition, accompanies the most creative phase in world history. Afterwards the pace slackens, at least the Greeks appear to have thrown in their last hand. Not only Alexander died soon after his victories, during the opposition, but also a man like Aristotle, who stood at the end of the amazingly fast development of Greek philosophy, which took almost entirely place within these 250 years between conjunction and opposition. As you are aware, Aristotle was the great authority in philosophy and science, certainly until the Renaissance, i.e. for 1700 years! Alexander also remains the leading example for all later ambitious imperialists.
There are more examples available in history, emphasizing the relevance of the Pluto-Neptune cycle. The whole period of Roman civilisation falls precisely between two of these cycles.
Roma – rise and fall
Archaeological research has established that the city of Rome was founded by the Etruscan king Lucius Tarquinius Priscus. Around -575 he redevelops several villages along the Tiber, drains the swamps (Roma means “mud” in the Etruscan language) and lays out a market square, the later Forum Romanum.
Despite the mythological prehistory that the Romans made up for themselves, which lets Rome be founded in -753 by Remulus, historians agree that the years around -575 should be taken as the foundation period of Rome. That is of course very interesting, since this event coincides with the previously mentioned “great conjunction” of those three planets invisible to the naked eye. Two Pluto-Neptune cycles, so almost 1000 years, later, the Western Roman Empire came to an end with the sacking of Rome by Germanic peoples. Actually this happened twice, namely in 410 and 455.
I am providing the positions of the five outer planets. These two constellations have in common that the three “invisible” planets, plus Saturn, all form tense aspects with one another, so both have direct bearing on a crisis situation.
That during the first plundering almost all aspects are waning, and in comparison, during the second all waxing (via semisquares, squares and a sesquiquadrate), can be read from these events. The first diagram illustrates how during waning tense aspects an era can disintegrate. The second looting was even more thorough then the first, and was caused by the fierce expansion (all the aspects tense and waxing) of the new Vandal Empire in North Africa.
The diagram of the year 410, with the conjunction of Pluto-Neptune can be seen as the birth chart of the Dark Ages, which is not surprising considering the waning tense aspects dominating the whole. However there were also some glimpses of light to be found in that period as I hope to explain in a subsequent article.
The NEPTUNE-PLUTO cycles part II
In my previous article I discussed the special relationship between Pluto and Neptune. Not only do their average orbits relate 2:3, but the eccentricity of Pluto is also geared to the orbit of Neptune. This results in long-lasting harmonies throughout the development of their cycles: on reaching the waxing sextile, as well as during the waning trine. These harmonies last about 40 to 95 years, as compared to a “normal” major aspect of around 12 years. At the same time each Pluto-Neptune cycle of almost 500 years has its own historical characteristics which show many similarities to corresponding periods from official historiography.
Pluto-Neptune: the Cultural Fertility Cycle
In order to present the cultural-historic developments of the past 2600 years in a more or less clear overall picture, I’ve put together the following summary for you, based on the Pluto-Neptune cycles. In the left column you can find the periods which correspond with the previously-mentioned prolonged harmonies. In the right column those events are found which took place during or around the more tense aspects such as squares, oppositions and also the occasional conjunction.
Through the rather striking succession of contrastive periods, a kind of ‘dramatic line of history’ is formed. This line moves in quite perfect rhythm with the wave-like motion of the Pluto-Neptune cycle. It is the line along which the ‘Odyssey’ of European man is taking place.
I suggest that we take a closer look at a few points.
Last time I made a summary of the “Axial Period”, which corresponds to the period directly following the great conjunction of the three ‘Mystery Planets’. One of the personages born in that time was Deutero-Isaiah, of whom we know little more than that he lived in the time that the Jewish people returned from Babylonian Captivity.
He did have quite an influence on later Christianity through his prophecies about a ‘Servant of the Lord’ who would be sacrificed as ‘Universal Scapegoat’ in his vicarious suffering.
When Cyrus the Great of Persia took over Babylon in -539, he was welcomed as liberator (Uranus waning trine Pluto). The direct result of this was that the Jewish people were allowed to return to Jerusalem. The lyrical mood of Deutero-Isaiah at that time led him to see Cyrus as an instrument of God’s hand, destroying Israel’s enemies and soon to come to reverence Jehovah (Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1). Anyway, the temple was restored and in -516 it was initiated.
Pluto had then entered into Leo and the sextile with Neptune had begun. The other outer planets (except for Mars) were also to be found in the first decanates of the positive signs, forming together almost a David-Star, with the emphasis on waxing sextiles and trines. Such a contrast to the time in which Jeremiah lived when Jerusalem was sacked (-587) and the Jews taken away into exile in Babylonia. The three outermost planets were then waning, with tense aspects with Jupiter and Saturn. Jeremiah suffered so much under his prophetic mission, that he cursed the day he was born.
The Golden Age
Continuing our journey, we arrive after a pause (in which the sextile shrinks into a semisquare), at the second part of the prolonged sextile. We have then passed by the Persian Wars from which the Greeks emerged victorious. That meant that the Greeks, strengthened in their ideals of liberty, could give themselves over completely to developing the classical culture which would play an all-important part in forming the foundations for our Western culture. The outcome of this development is well-known to us all as the ‘Golden Age of Pericles’, corresponding completely to the second half of the prolonged sextile and forming a peak during the Greek Classical Period.
Pericles, who came to reign alone in -443, re-elected for fourteen years long as strategist, holds with his charisma and orator’s talent the people spell-bound and the imagination (Neptune) in power (Pluto). Almost all the city-states are then members of the Sea Alliance, although some not entirely out of free will. In Athens the (for that time) enormous Parthenon was built on the Acropolis. The gods and goddesses of the Olympus were included in the state religion.
Pericles, aristocrat and democrat, dedicated himself with heart and soul to Athens, and, in contrast to the usual customs of the age, his wife was hostess to almost all the great spirits of the time: Herodotus, the ‘Father of History’, back from his travels, Hippocrates, the ‘Father of Medicine’, philosophers such as Anaxagoras ( precursor of a sort of molecule theory), Protagoras (“Man is the Measure of all Things”) and Socrates; writers of tragedies such as Sophocles and Euripides, the sculptor Phidias, and so on. Art and science blossomed.
It was mainly due to these individuals that Athens came to be known as a centre of wisdom. There was more freedom in every aspect of daily life. The more wealthy bore the greater part of public expenditure, more or less voluntarily. A competitive society gradually changed into a welfare state (diaitai), that was mainly financed by the proceeds of contributions from the four hundred allied city states, whom, in exchange, received the protection of the Athenian fleet of warships.
This period was not to last long. In -431 the Spartans attacked Attica (Peloponnesian War), the Pluto-Neptune sextile came to an end and in -429 Pericles died of the pest.
On arriving at the waxing square (about -404, see fig. 3), then joined by Uranus, the Greeks were confronted with a serious crisis. The Peloponnesian War had led to the surrender of Athens. Socrates, as scapegoat, was condemned to drink poison. He was accused of having misled the youth with his ideas.
It was restless everywhere in this period. In Italy the Etruscans fall from power and the Celts are driven from Germany by Germanic tribes. In China the ‘Epoch of Warring States’ begins.
The Pluto-Neptune opposition brings the momentum for Alexander the Great to conquer almost all of the then-known world, after which the Greek culture could freely flow outwards during the Hellenistic Classic Period, which coincides for a great deal with the long-lasting waning trine.
During this third century B.C., regarded by the historian Arnold J. Toynbee as a hey-day, personages lived such as Archimedes and Eratosthenes, the mathematician Euclides, and Aristarchus of Samos (the founder of the heliocentric world view). Stoicism flourished. The influence of this philosophy, which placed ethics once again in a central position, played an important part in relaxing the atmosphere during the waning trine. After all, culture was then modelled by a relatively small group of prosperous free citizens, at the expense of the masses, consisting of women, slaves and craftsmen. It is to the credit of stoicism that the world was seen as the homeland for all humanity, thus also of slaves and ‘barbarians’. That was quite novel in that day and age.
We can find a similar spiritual atmosphere in India during the reign of Asoka, between -272 and -231, that is, from the moment that the trine came into being. Here the teachings of Buddha, the ‘Good Law’, formed the basis for humane politics. This is described as a ‘Happy Period’ for India, for man and beast alike.
That period, which coincided with the incoming trine, was also of great importance to China. Following the unification in -221 into one Empire, lasting for more than 2000 years, the Han dynasty began in -206. It would stay in power for four centuries. Pluto, Neptune and Uranus then formed exclusively harmonious aspects with each other, which had not occurred since the Golden Age of Pericles.
Also the Romans come into the picture during the waning trine or, at least their legions do. The Greeks had by then conquered almost all of the known world, by way of their cultural influence. The Romans would do the same militarily. They wanted to dominate the whole of the Mediterranean region. The Punic Wars, all three starting during a tense aspect between Uranus and Pluto, give the Romans the opportunity to end Carthage’s position of power. In -146 it was totally destroyed. The four outermost planets then formed oppositions and squares with one another. The same fate awaited Corinth that same year.
Due to the inability of the Greeks to preserve internal peace, the Romans felt obliged to interfere. They did that in such a thorough way that they relieved themselves of two of their most important rivals in trade. Don’t forget, this happened during maximal tension between the outer planets.
In this way we see the Greek Culture flourishing after the Great Conjunction, conquering the world during the opposition, and being carried off by the Romans immediately after the waning square.
The Romans were holding the thin edge of the wedge. The Punic Wars had, for various reasons, a demoralizing effect on the Roman Republic. From this waning square until the waxing sextile in the time of Emperor Augustus, Roman society had been dominated by civil wars, corruption, advancing barbarians, pirates and rebellious slaves. An era stumbles to its end, just as it had done 500 years before, and would do 500 years later, during the Great Migration in which Rome subsided.
Expansion and Flowering
It is of course impossible, within the limitations of a short article, to cover all the cycles. Therefore I`m only discussing some of those items which most catch the eye.
Certainly it is surprising how often those periods which coincide with the prolonged Pluto-Neptune cycle receive the predicate “Classic Period” or “Renaissance”. One exception is the period, called by some historians the “Hellenistic Renaissance” in the time of Trajanus and Hadrianus, around 114 A.D. (see fig. 5).
The trine between Pluto and Neptune is here of ‘normal’ duration. Uranus is conjunct with Neptune, which strengthens the trine with Pluto to a large degree. Even a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction accompanies this configuration. In that time a peak is once again attained in the Pax Augusta and the Roman Empire achieves its greatest magnitude.
In contrast to this trine harmony I have included fig.6. It illustrates another Uranus-Neptune conjunction, but now in sesquiquadrate to Pluto.
This configuration, filled with tense aspects, forms the background to Mohammed’s impassioned action as prophet.
The new (Uranus) spiritual orientation (Neptune) is a MUST! (waxing sesquiquadrate from Pluto).
In the period between this sesquiquadrate and the opposition, about 40 years later, his followers, under the motto “The Sword is the Key to Paradise”, conquered an area that in size is comparable to the Empire of Alexander the Great, in the period of the opposition two cycles (± 1000) earlier.
China also reached the peak of its expansion during this opposition (Tang Dynasty). It would take 11 centuries before it could be surpassed.
All this underlines the fact that oppositions strikingly often coincide with maximal expansion, just as in times when an excess in trines between the outermost planets occurs. The contrast in the character of these aspects is remarkably clearly mirrored in the way in which the events take place. The dynamics of the cycles are also repeatedly to be found in the evolution of historical events.
Did the Hellenistic Empire during the waning trine, (left behind by Alexander after the Pluto-Neptune opposition), achieve a hey-day (Hellenistic Classical Period), the Moslem Empire also experiences, after its expansion until the opposition, during the following prolonged waning trine, a period of great flowering, that really deserves to be called the “Classic Islamic Period”.
At the same time that, here in the West, we were attempting to learn the rudiments of civilisation, in the period bequeathed with the rather loose-fitting name “Carolingian Renaissance”, the Arabian peoples were able to build further on a much richer inheritance. Through their conquest of Persia and Syria the Arabs came into contact with remnants of Hellenistic culture which, together with influences from India, and even from China, and with what was left over from the Babylonians, gave sufficient fuel to start an enormous cultural development which took place during the waning trine.
We need only to look at their contribution in the field of mathematics (algebra), alchemy, astronomy, architecture, literature and music, in order to realize what a great advantage they had over the Germanic world.
Towards the end of the prolonged trine both Harun al-Rashid and Charlemagne died and in both empires, under their sons, the process of disintegration began. The inspiration has declined at that point and we have to wait until the following waxing sextile before any stability in the development can be found. The invasions of Vikings, Magyars and Saracens have then left large areas of Europe in a state of total devastation.
The NEPTUNE-PLUTO cycles part III
The Middle Ages
To illustrate how fruitful and sometimes how destructive the inner power of the imagination can become and hold a whole era under its spell, the 4th cycle, that of the Middle Ages, is extraordinarily informative.
Just as the Dark Ages (3rd cycle) began with Uranus waning square to the Pluto-Neptune conjunction, the Middle Ages of the 4th cycle commenced during a waning trine from Uranus (in Aquarius) to this conjunction. Generally speaking you can say that, in the European community, during the best moments of this 4th cycle, increased unity and compatibility are to be found, especially with regard to religion, than ever before or ever since. Medieval man knew his place and felt that he had been adopted into the “Universitas Christiana”.
Also during this cycle a clear stabilisation takes place when Pluto arrives in Leo and the prolonged waxing sextile with Neptune begins.
Once the last Viking king, Eric “Bloody Axe”, has been driven out of York, Edgar reigns over the whole of England. In Germany Otto I comes to the front as ‘strong man’, after having defeated the Hungarians. In 962 he is crowned by the Pope in Rome as Emperor (see fig. 8), setting forth a process begun by Charlemagne during the previous waning trine (fig. 7).
It is here that the Holy Roman Empire officially begins and the heyday of Romanesque Art.
Nevertheless an abrupt end comes to the cooperation between the Pope and the Emperor at the commencement of the waxing square between Pluto and Neptune. Then the Investiture Controversy breaks out (1075), in which the Pope (Gregorius VII) factually brings the Imperial power to an end.
Approaching closer to the opposition the expansion takes off again, this time in the form of the Crusades. Whilst it is always interesting when East and West meet one another, these military adventures really did not have the awaited success. If the first Crusade was a shameless initiative, then the second, during the Pluto-Neptune opposition (fig. 9), was a downright catastrophe. Even so the Papal power found a way to successfully maintain itself until right to the end of the prolonged waning trine. In 1303 the Pope had to give up to the French King and in 1309 the papal residence moved to Avignon.
During this prolonged harmony between Neptune and Pluto in the 13th century, which coincided with the period of Classic Gothic Art (“Style Rayonnant”) there was seemingly sufficient stability in society to hold the imagination at a peak for generations, while constructing gigantic cathedrals. In every respect this 13th century was a fruitful period. We see here the making of the universities (Paris, Cambridge etc.) and the attempt was made to reconcile reason (Uranus) with religion (Neptune) in the scholasticism, a philosophical system with such diverse representatives as Roger Bacon (±1212-1293) and Thomas of Aquino (1224-1274). It was a time of development and expansion in almost every kind of field. The population increased rapidly, commerce between the Hanzeatic towns and the Baltic Sea countries thrived. The same applied to the Flemish cities and the Italian city-states. In the 13th century there arose a gigantic consumer’s market through the growth of the towns, in which artisans came together in guilds.
Having arrived at the end of this prolonged waning trine the first signs of international crisis begin to make their appearance.
In 1302 the chivalric army of the French king Philippe was defeated by ordinary Flemish citizens. Trade and industry stagnated. Through the English claim to the French throne the Hundred Year War broke out in 1337, resulting in infamous devastation. The successful growth of the population of the previous century comes under pressure through constant crop failure, and famine undermines the resistance of the population dramatically. From 1348 onwards one half of the population lays the other half in their graves, once the Black Death has broken out. The burning of lepers, the persecution of the Jews and processions of flagellants bring to mind images of the end of the world, in any case this is the end of the 4th cycle.
It is also customary in the historiography to divide history very globally into sections as follows:
The distinction made is striking, although I personally would have preferred everything to have been put back 100 years, since then the plane of fracture would have coincided with the Pluto-Neptune conjunctions. Naturally, this difference of a century consists mainly in the fact that rounding off halfway to a millennium is very compelling and easy to remember. On the other hand the “new” influence that is present after the conjunction only comes to the surface when the sextile begins 50 years later; and even more so whenever conjunctions with Uranus occur during that prolonged sextile, as we shall see during the Renaissance and as we experience in our own time.
The above divisions into periods of a 1000 years is therefore so remarkable, because every 1000 years Uranus makes a hard aspect with the Pluto-Neptune conjunction, thus coinciding with a clear fracture in the historic evolution:
The period of these first two cycles is therefore dominated by the Greek-Roman culture. The third and fourth cycles, of the Christian Middle Ages, also form a separate cultural period. The fifth cycle, in which “modern” history begins, takes a distance from the Middle Ages and orientates itself once again towards Classic Antiquity. The interrelated cycles of all these three planets are clearly important when taking the whole into consideration. Really something to stand still by!
The prolonged waxing sextile – the Renaissance.
In 1453 the Hundred Years War comes to an end. In that same year Constantinople was conquered by the Turks, whereby the Byzantine Empire comes to its end. One of the consequences of this defeat is that many Greek scholars and artists flee, as well as to Moscow, to Italy. Classic antiquity is in the centre of interest there, during the development of a new attitude of mind that would come to be known under the name “Renaissance”. This rebirth reached its climax during the prolonged waxing sextile, in Italy. Uranus made twice, in that same period, a conjunction: around 1456 with Pluto in Leo, and around 1480 with Neptune in Sagittarius. Both of these conjunctions seem to have had great influence on the spirit of this age. The conjunction with Pluto in Leo clears the path for an extraordinary number of versatile, virtuoso artists, who cut a dash for the royalty (Leo) whose efforts to achieve absolute power (Pluto conjunct Uranus in Leo) were adorned with the magnificence and splendour of their colourful, bright and lively works. In Italy that occurred in Florence (the Medici) and in Venice, and in France at the court of Burgundy, where it was also unlimited.
The conjunction in Sagittarius (see fig. 10), about 1480, stands at the start of the voyages of discovery and religious reforms. Magalhaes, who was the first to sail around the world, was very probably born during this conjunction. Luther (1483), carrying through a new (Uranus) religious (Neptune) vision (in Sagittarius), was also born during this conjunction in Sagittarius.
The most important, epoch-making, action takes place when Uranus, Neptune and Pluto make waxing aspects with one another, between 1480 and 1540. This is then also the most revolutionary phase.
Around 1507 Copernicus rediscovered the Heliocentric solar system.
During the first waxing square of Uranus (1492) America was discovered (just as ± 500 years earlier by the Vikings). About 1520 the first voyage around the world takes place by Magalhaes and it is proved that the world is round. At the same time the Reformation breaks through in Germany. During the waxing square of Uranus to Neptune, in 1525, the German farmers, who derive new hope from the reformation, revolt against their exploiters. The anticipated support for their cause from Luther failed to arrive, and they were crushed in an annihilating defeat. Two years later the Renaissance in Italy comes more or less to its end with the “Sacco di Roma” by the mercenary army of Charles V.
Until the Uranus-Pluto opposition of 1540 the reformation has the upper hand and spreads out over Northern Europe. After this opposition came the reply of the contra-reformation.
In spite of the new spirit of humanism and thanks to reforms etc., it is certain that times were turbulent during this waxing sextile, in which two Uranus conjunctions took place. The French Mundane Astrologer André Barbault, who I very much admire, has already indicated in his book “L’Astrologie Mondiale” how unstable periods are in which the conjunctions between the three outermost planets follow closely up on one another. But how much worse it would become after this prolonged sextile! What remained over from the humanistic state of mind, and from the mind-expanding influence brought by the invention of the art of printing, and the discovery of new horizons?
Once having arrived at the waxing square (fig. 11), where both Saturn and Uranus in 1568 provide additional hard aspects (opposition and square), the “New Age” lands in a complete crisis. In the Netherlands an uprising breaks out against Spanish rule and in France the Huguenot War is in full swing. In 1572, still during the waxing square, 20.000 Huguenots were murdered during the Massacre of St.Bartholomew.
The turning-point comes in 1588, when the Spanish Armada, through miscalculation, the English, and the elements, comes so dramatically on its end. As on the night of St.Bartholomew, almost all the aspects between the outer planets here consist of squares, semi-squares and sesquiquadrates, in the face of a single sextile.
Waxing trine – cooperation
This Spanish defeat cleared the path for the formation of the “Republiek der Verenigde Nederlanden”, which, in 1596, was recognized by England and France as sovereign partner in the Triple Alliance. This coincided with an active (Uranus conjunct Pluto in Aries) decrease in tension between the three outermost planets, illustrated in fig.12. From now on England begins to develope herself as a colonial power, with the Netherlands and France closely on her heels. Two years later, the Edict of Nantes at long last provides the Huguenots with religious freedom (Uranus trine Neptune).
Whilst Uranus enters the sign Taurus, still trine Neptune, both England and the Netherlands respectively set up their East Indies Companies. We wouldn’t be the worse for it.
Opposition – polarisation and revolution
During a Saturn-Pluto conjunction, in 1618, the Thirty Years War breaks out in Germany. Words fail in attempting to describe this disaster. Millions of people die, if not through plundering troops, then through the Black Death. We are then also approaching the Neptune-Pluto opposition, which Uranus has joined, as is represented in fig.14. This extreme constellation coincides with extreme events during a tidal wave of revolutions, which are not limited to Europe. An end comes to the Ming Dynasty in China. In Japan, Mexico, Moscow, the Ukraine, in Sicily and in Naples and so on, scores of uprisings occur. More well-known is the “Fronde” in France, an uprising in which the nobility and the parliament in Paris speak out their dissatisfaction about the absolutist government of Cardinal Mazarin. In England the Civil War breaks out in 1642, between the Crown and Parliament, the latter under the leadership of Cromwell. In 1648 he gained victory and the following year Charles 1 was beheaded on 30 January 1649. If you are aware of the fact that Charles 1 had his Sun at 8 degrees Sagittarius, then you will see in fig.14 how scary the transits of the outer planets looked for him. Mars joined in as well, from 13 degrees Virgo. Only Jupiter was transiting sextile to his radix-Sun.
As we have already seen in previous cycles, in approaching the opposition, expansion is achieved, in this case that of European civilisation. By the time the opposition is full, Europeans have swarmed out over the whole globe, causing history to become world history!
I have a special reason for placing fig.13 and fig.14 next to each other. These heavy oppositions between the three outmost planets actually coincide with two demographic low points, that is, on route towards these oppositions, the population figures decrease drastically, only to increase again after these oppositions. This is about millions of people. The first and most severe cause was the Black Death and the second came through the Thirty Years War and the disintegration of the Mediterranean region. It is therefore so striking, because these two most serious low points in population growth coincide precisely with the only two times that these three planets stood distinctly facing one another.
With fig. 13, as you have probably already gathered, we have arrived exactly in the middle of the 4000 year period which lies between two consecutive conjunctions of these three planets. With fig.14 we find ourselves exactly in the middle of the 4th cycle.
Fig.13 coincides with the religious awakening in the movement “The New Devotion”. By fig.14 the wars in which religion played such a dominant role, have come to an end. As with fig.10 we see a strong emphasis on Sagittarius and on the axis Gemini-Sagittarius (information – spiritual horizon e.g. printing press – Voyages of Discovery). It stands to reason that in an age, governed by tensions between the three outmost planets, which encompasses a period of e.g. revolution, religious wars and witch-trials, European man definitely developed a fear of the supernatural and arrives at a reasonably controllable mechanistic world-view in which he attempts to assimilate the forces of Nature into laws. It seems as if only the more rationally-geared Uranus received attention.
In order to illustrate this triumph of rationalism, the positions of the outer planets are shown at the time of birth of Kepler and Newton, in fig.15 and fig.16. Besides the fact that both have their Sun in Capricorn, we can see a comparable constellation, formed by Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. Both are draughtsmen of Laws of Nature (Saturn and Uranus from and to Capricorn). At the same time we see in both horoscopes hard aspects between Neptune and Pluto in the mutable signs and that is also very revealing as well: both of these men were intensely occupied with metaphysical affairs, Newton for most of his life. That failed to attract a percentage of the attention that their laws of nature received.
I hope that you will excuse me for taking leave of the 17th century, in which only four calendar years passed without war.
Waning trine – The Enlightenment
What the Enlightenment was all about can best be expressed in the words of Kant:
The departure of man from his subservient position for which he has only himself to blame.
Such a statement causes us to think first about Uranus. After all, the belief in authority (Saturn) gives way to Reason (Uranus). Following the Renaissance there was a need for authority again (Absolutism) and the creative artists and thinkers became alienated from the mass of the population. Afterwards, during the Enlightenment, they begin again to play a role in society. We can therefore look upon the Enlightenment as a continuation of the spirit which for a while came free during the Renaissance.
The physical, as well as the spiritual climate became milder and even witches were but seldom burnt.
Around 1711 another Uranus-Pluto conjunction makes its appearance, just as in the time of the birth of Descartes (fig.12), but now on the verge between Leo and Virgo. In such a doubtful case I take the sign in which the conjunction is waxing, entering the creative phase; in this case Virgo. Once again Neptune joins in via a trine, now from Taurus. At this planetary junction with new impulses, we find e.g. David Hume (1711), Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Frederick the Great of Prussia (1712), and Diderot (1713), figures that have played an important part in the Enlightenment. The Earth signs give us an indication of a realistic, pragmatic inset, and that does apply to these figures. This century is not called the “Age of Reason” without reason.
The following planetary intersection, around 1770 (see fig. 17), reveals a closed trine of the three outmost planets in earth signs. This coincides with the so-called “Sturm und Drang” period. This was a romantic movement of several inspired artists centred around the young Goethe, who reacted against the rationalistic mechanistic world-view of their contemporaries. Here pre-romanticism begins, and the lives of two contemporary “romantic heroes”: Beethoven and Napoleon, and several other inspired personages.
The 18th century is so appealing to us because man then developed a humane and therefore viable vision of himself, that created new perspectives. The topics discussed in the cafés, lodges and salons, had an increasingly great influence on public opinion. Homage was paid to the often overlooked point of view that all peoples, even though lacking an equal standing, were anyway of equal importance. This humane attitude of mind, that mainly arises during the long-lasting harmonic aspects between Neptune and Pluto (as, for example, in the Renaissance), gave enormous inspiration for change and reform, for instance, with regard to jurisdiction, education and politics (popular representation).
In 1781, the year in which Kant’s “Criticism of Pure Reason” was published, Uranus was discovered, at the very time that the Enlightenment arrives in its most active and involved phase. The American War of Independence is in full swing. With Neptune in Libra, trine Pluto in Aquarius, the American Constitution comes to completion in 1787. In France, two years later, the “Declaration des Droits de l`Homme et du Citoyen” follows. Also, in 1791, Thomas Paine’s “The Rights of Man” makes its appearance. It is for this reason that I put the emphasis on the position of Neptune in Libra, since the previous time this planet passed through this sign the Dutch lawyer Hugo de Groot (Grotius) published about the law of nations, (1625: “De iure belli ac pacis”). And the next time was in 1948: “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.
The French Revolution – Napoleon
Through the success of the War of Independence (supported by many French), the American ideals of freedom and democracy present a sharp contrast to the reality of life under the Ancien Régime in France. In 1789, during a sudden economic slump, the people of Paris revolt and storm the Bastille. The National Committee meets and the decision is made not to leave until a new constitution has been set up for France. Until thus far everything happens in the spirit of the Enlightenment.
However, as we then look at fig.18, when the prolonged waning Pluto-Neptune trine is more or less at its end, and Jupiter has arrived in Scorpio square to the now full opposition of Uranus-Pluto, Louis XV1 was brought to justice. Remember the fate of Charles 1 of England during the last Uranus-Pluto conjunction (fig.14), in comparable circumstances. It was only a question of time, until Saturn in Taurus formed a square to the opposition, before the revolution would devour many of her children, during the Reign of Terror.
Napoleon comes into the picture, as you are well aware, in the vacuum which follows. That story, like so many others, I’m having to skip over now and I’m ending with the end, the Battle of Waterloo.
That bloody encounter, the suffering and the victims, are easy to read from the tensions in fig.19. There comes an end (waning square to Pisces) to all ideals and dreams (Neptune). Anyway, for the time being to the ideals of the Enlightenment.
Once again an era reaches its end and repercussions begin.
The NEPTUNE-PLUTO cycles part IV
To understand why the Pluto-Neptune cycle sometimes appears to be dominated by the cycles of Uranus, I propose considering the significance and character of the two cycles made by Uranus with Pluto and Neptune respectively, in so far as comparative research with historic data has given me any decisive answer about this.
The Pluto-Neptune cycle, as has already been illustrated at some length, (see Pt.I, II & III) determines to a large degree cultural fertility. Pluto and Neptune, found in the ‘outer darkness’ of our solar system, are seemingly significant to those forces and emotions within us of which we are mostly not directly conscious but that form the drive and inspiration in our lives. They stir us from within, from the depths of the subconscious.
The cycles of Uranus, together with these two ‘underworld characters’, bring to light the forces and inspirations within our consciousness.
In this way Pluto controls our ‘inner strength’ and creative potential. On the exterior, in our culture, this is expressed in terms of power, as mastery over destiny.
The cycles of Uranus with Pluto reveal which answers we find to the challenges of life, above all when this is seen as a ‘struggle for survival’. The industrial revolution comes, for instance, to mind.
In contrast, Neptune represents the world of the ‘inner feelings’, inspiration, imagination, the Muses, that which is universal and infinite.
The cycles of Uranus with Neptune reveal the degree of development in our spiritual orientation, in the link between us on our journey through the cosmos. The traces are to be found in the arts, in philosophy, religion and ideology.
These three cycles work to a large extent together and are subsequently not easy to separate, making their analysis more complicated. But this is where the facts of history are of help, because due to the marked contrast between fig.20 and fig.21, which together cover most of the 19th and 20th centuries, it is possible to distinguish between these cycles to a certain extent. Therefore our journey through time continues.
The Most Critical Phase
Having considered all the Pluto-Neptune cycles since the 6th century B.C., I have been able to ascertain that in the phase occurring between the prolonged waning trine and prolonged waxing sextile (the last time was between the Reign of Terror in 1793 and the turning-point in the Second World War, towards the end of 1942), the culture as such finds itself in a continuous process of disintegration. There are sometimes local exceptions and the cycles of Uranus can have a strengthening or weakening influence on this process, but the general picture remains: the culture is in a permanent state of decomposition. And, as far as any signs of cultural flowering do arise, these tend to be of the more superficial kind (‘The Gay Nineties’ and ‘The Roaring Twenties’). So in this, for the culture least-fruitful period, two Uranus conjunctions occurred, one around 1820 with Neptune (fig.20) and the other around 1850 with Pluto (fig.21).
On the way to the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of around 1820 the three cycles of the outmost planets are to be found in concert in the waning, disintegrating phase. They’ve been there since the Reign of Terror (fig.18, Part III). This period therefore provides little elevating sight. The ideas of liberty (of the individual) and equality (in respect to the law) within some form of fraternity, an inheritance from the Enlightenment, appear increasingly an illusion.
After the Napoleonic drama, which took place as a whole within this period, Europe’s ruling class was shaken to the core. During the Congress of Vienna they attempted to restore pre-revolutionary order. All without effect. The Industrial Revolution, pioneered by England, drove people out of their independent occupations. Made redundant by the steam engine, a new class of paupers evolved, thoroughly destabilising social life.
I shall attempt to make a brief sketch of the line along which, in my opinion, the Industrial Revolution developed. The Uranus-Pluto cycle is clearly relevant to, for instance, the generation (Ur.) of energy (Pl.).
During the previously-mentioned planetary junction of around 1650 (fig.14, Part III) the air pump was invented by the German physicist (and Major of Maagdenburg) Otto von Guericke (1602-1686) who demonstrated in this way the power of vacuum. Such a pump consists of a piston in a cylinder and these two objects still ‘keep the world turning’. Also, in 1690 (Ur. waning sextile Pl.), the French physicist Denis Papin (1647-1714) proposed using the expansion and condensation of steam to move a piston up and down in a cylinder. Newcomen (1663-1729) subsequently built the first steam engine using this system, even though not very efficient as yet. It is then 1712 and Uranus is outgoing conjunct Pluto in Virgo. In 1736, during the waxing sextile, James Watt was born. Around 1770, during the trines between the outermost planets in earth signs (fig.17, part III), he would perfect, with a few adjustments, the steam engine. At the same time improvements were made on the spinning- and weaving machines, arousing the wrath of those who were forced to work with them. A really critical phase in this occurred at the same time as the incoming square of Ur.-Pl. In these years we see strikes in England in which labourers destroy the new machines (1812 and 1815-20: Luddite Movement).
That earth signs apparently play an essential role in the development of a materialistic phenomenon such as the Industrial Revolution, is not surprising. The Uranus-Pluto conjunction of around 1711 demands our attention in particular. This conjunction is outgoing in the ‘industrious’ sign of Virgo and coincides with the introduction to the mechanization of labour. With regard to this I would – in anticipation – direct your attention to the second time this conjunction occurs in Virgo, around 1965. We stand then on the threshold of what is sometimes called the `second industrial revolution’ with, besides further mechanization, also the automation of labour. Both conjunctions came into being during a harmonious aspect with Neptune, which gives once more an indication of the mass-effect of this phenomenon.
A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own.
Percy B.Shelley wrote this, in his ‘Defence of Poetry’, during the Uranus-Neptune conjunction as shown in fig.20. Here begins the cycle which now, ±170 years later, is in the last phase of the waning conjunction. The waning square to Pluto gives an indication of the force majeure which poses a constant threat of drowning to the human soul, throughout the development of this cycle. Romanticism is therefore associated with poverty, loneliness and an early, tragic death. “Absolute solitude leads to the greatest productivity.” found Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829). And Goethe in his old age also complained about the soullessness of his time (in 1824) to Eckerman: “…. but in this way it will be a question of swinging back and forth for ever, one part will suffer while the other part prospers.”
The Romantics sought the divine in man, in love and in nature. Firstly through self-realization, a term first used by the English poet Coleridge (1772-1834), and secondly through the passionate love between men and women, which raised human love to the heights of religious experience. All this against a background of Nature which, judging by the work of the many landscape painters of the period, reflected the mood of the era, as did the music.
This Uranus-Neptune conjunction also marked the beginning of an ‘ideological cycle’. In 1818 and 1820 Marx and Engels were born. The conjunction was, at Marx’ birth, still in Sagittarius, which he had in common with Luther. The significant difference is in the fact that whereas Luther had the conjunction outgoing, by Marx it was incoming. Even so, Marxism would achieve religious dimensions. It is certain that the work of Marx and Engels inspired the proletariat to emancipate during the waxing phase of this cycle. During the waxing trine, towards 1880, socialist parties began to emerge, as well as trade unions. Socialism came into a revolutionary phase around 1910, during the opposition and Marxism became the dominant current. Now, during the incoming conjunction, Marxism has become history. Some modern critics refer to the present age as the end of all ideology (and even of history)…
Without even making an attempt to be exhaustive, I would like to mention in respect to this conjunction, the Sciences, especially physics which took a great step forwards in the 19th century. The actual conjunction took place in Capricorn, and classical physics was largely created in this period up to the oppositions following the turn of the century.
Materialism and Progress
Until ±1850 generations had still been inspired by the concepts of philosophical idealism and visionary Romanticism. But then the spirit of the times changed drastically.
“Man is what he eats”, asserted Feuerbach tastefully. In 1855 Büchner’s “Kraft und Stoff” made its appearance and became a bestseller.
Partly under the influence of the materialistic and pragmatic perception, breaking through after 1850, Marx published his “Das Kapital” (1867). It is clear that culture `came down to earth’ after the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in Taurus (fig.21).
History, in Marx’ opinion, is decided by economic, not by idealistic factors, and the whole of the second half of the 19th century showed him to be right. To the rising middleclass of bankers, factory owners, merchants, entrepreneurs and government officials of the period, money was indeed all-important. With it one could buy that which the nobility had possessed for centuries as a matter of course: power and prestige. The new (Uranus) rich (conjunct Pluto in Taurus) were the living evidence that all was good which was useful and produced money. This resulted in an enormous lack in style in all areas of art and social life. At the same time philosophical and metaphysical issues were consciously ignored as being unscientific. But what a success! Everyone was impressed by the new progress. Historians say that Malthus’ prophecy of mass-mortality from overpopulation (like 500 years before) was ideally warded off by the blessing of the industrial revolution. Indeed it was.
We can now see very clearly how, during the second half of the 19th century, the disintegrating incoming phase of the Pluto-Neptune cycle is dominated by the outgoing phases of the cycles of Uranus with these two planets. While Neptune and Pluto move incoming to the conjunction, in the course of which those unconscious creative powers nurturing culture seem to decrease, as indicated above, quite radical changes were taking place in society. It is true that since the Renaissance Uranus had not been outgoing for so long so simultaneously with Neptune and Pluto. It is often said that during the Victorian Era more changed than in the preceding centuries combined.
The path of progress was particularly spectacular around the waxing square of 1877 and the waxing trine of 1885, both with Pluto. Partly due to the practical application of new scientific insight, inventions were made that would conquer the world during the incoming aspects of Uranus. Between 1875-1880 we see the invention of the telephone (Bell), the phonograph , the light bulb, the carbon microphone, (Edison), and the four-stroke engine (Otto). Between ’85 and ’88: the safety bicycle (Rover), the automobile (Benz and Daimler), the pneumatic tyre (Dunlop), electromotor (Tesla), radio waves (Hertz), and the box camera (Eastman). Nowhere else have I come across such a concentration of popular inventions.
Opposition- turning tide
The oppositions of Uranus, first to Pluto and then to Neptune, took place in the 1st decade of the 20th century. Uranus then came into the incoming phase. Therefore the change occurred shortly after the turn of the century. In 1901 Queen Victoria died, which was seen as the end of an era. In the preceding decades we see the building-up of the British Empire, followed in the 20th century by a gradual process of demolition. And, in fact, that applies to the whole of Europe. Around 1800 more than 50% of the world is directly, or indirectly, in European hands; around 1910, after the colonial race for Africa and the breaking open of Asia, it rose to 84%.
During the Uranus oppositions after 1900 many developments came to a kind of climax, already bearing within them the turning of the tide.
The solid construction of physics, which seemed to have reached completion in the 19th century, appears in an entirely new light after Max Planck’s Quantum Theory (1900) and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (1905), with far-reaching consequences for our world view.
In the world of art a notable development took place as well. At the time of the outgoing conjunction in Taurus (1850) realism was the dominant style in painting. This went through a process of renewal into impressionism, during Uranus’ outgoing squares and trines. This intensified after the outgoing sesquiquadrate into expressionism (van Gogh). During the Uranus-Neptune opposition of 1910 the 1st abstract painting was made (Kandinsky), moving far away from the materialistic world view of the 19th century, as science also did.
Incoming – Collapse
History seems to teach us that what has been sown in the outgoing phase of a cycle, will be harvested in the incoming phase.
The general lack of humanity and spirit, typical for 19th century culture, bequeathed the 20th century a society full of false security. Under pressure of the enormous social, political and cultural tensions Europe went to its knees during the World Crisis and World Wars. As in the time of the Napoleonic wars both Uranus cycles are then in the incoming phase. This brief commentary will have to suffice, in order to go back to the Pluto-Neptune cycle.
New cycles – New Age, the Prelude
Before Europe hastened to her almost-apocalyptic end, a new cultural fertility cycle began in 1892, with the Neptune-Pluto conjunction in Gemini. Arriving at the outgoing semisquare, at the beginning of the Thirties, with Uranus adding at the same time incoming tense aspects (fig.22), we are in the middle of the Great Depression. Then all the cycles are in a tense phase and all the frustrations of the preceding era seem to have accumulated in Nazism. This “Revolt of the Masses” of spiritually-deformed petty bourgeoisie and adventurers set fire to the world when Saturn and Jupiter added incoming tension to the outermost cycles.
The turning-point occurred towards the end of 1942 (fig 23), when the outermost 4 planets made harmonious aspects with one another.
General Rommel is then in full retreat in North Africa, and the German army is surrounded at Stalingrad.
Here begins the prolonged outgoing sextile between Neptune and Pluto. As is clearly shown by my research on their 5 preceding cycles, cultural and social developments then move into a more stable and fertile stage, often after quite a struggle; even though history also teaches us that we have to wait until the quicker planets make outgoing aspects before it becomes noticeable. Despite the appalling drama of the Second World War, the post-war culture would largely become a continuation of the pre-war one. Even after all those wars the international military-industrial complex, initiated in the 19th century and satiated in the last decades by the atmosphere of the Cold War, would still continue to grow. It was not until the middle of the 60’s that the longing for an entirely different culture caused the youth to rise in revolt.
This coincided with the Pluto-Uranus conjunction (fig.24) which gave force (Pluto) to a newly awakened consciousness (conjunct Uranus).
A new generation opened the ‘doors of perception’ (sextile Neptune) and it seemed as if the culture had to be invented anew, so many experiments were made in every fundamental field of life, such as in consciousness (psychedelic revolution), and in love, sex, mysticism and forms of cohabitation. An almost world-wide revolution spread enthusiastically around and brought the imagination (Neptune) briefly to power (Pluto), as in California, Paris, Berlin, London and the `magic centre’ Amsterdam. All those issues which still have not been solved, were already being discussed at that time, such as population expansion, consumerism, environmental pollution, nuclear threat, Ist and 3rd World discrepancies.
Anyway it was soon obvious that the New Age as yet hadn’t arrived. Towards the end of the 70’s and during the 80’s doom-thinking and cynicism wasted time. I realized then that, if a new epoch was to dawn, it would be necessary for each of the 5 outermost planets to be in the waxing phase (the quickest first, the slowest last), which is in fact the case as from 1997. The Uranus-Neptune conjunction of 1993 plays the most important part in this. Then the three cycles of these recently-discovered planets will be in concert with one another in the waxing phase. The Renaissance was the last period in which this occurred.
Although it is early days as yet, we can already make a simple comparison between our time and that of the Renaissance. A few similarities are striking, such as in the field of individualisation. During the Renaissance people turned their backs on the authoritarian medieval Christian society; from the Sixties onwards people rejected the authoritarian structure of society. Both periods were ushered in by a Neptune-Pluto conjunction in Gemini and both were subsequently followed by an information explosion. During the Renaissance due to the invention of the printing-press, and in our time due to the mass media and informatics (computer). Also the discovery of America and the first voyage around the world opened up as many horizons then as the first voyage to the moon and satellite traffic has done now. But if I think about the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of 1993 (fig.25), my thoughts take a very different path.
Contemporary philosophers of culture unanimously complain that, in contrast to the spectacular technological assets, our (Western) culture is in a very poor condition spiritually. The European Unity, projected for us into the year 1992, is mainly an economical, and as yet not a spiritual or even a social one, since it seems we have a lot of lost ground to recover there. The last two Uranus-Neptune conjunctions, in 1650 and in 1820, were respectively opposite and waning square Pluto. In contrast, the Uranus-Pluto conjunctions (1597, 1710, 1850, and 1965) took place during a sextile or trine aspect to Neptune. Therefore it is clear that the Uranus-Pluto cycles are advantageous to the Uranus-Neptune cycles. Since the mid-17th century we can therefore see the increase in the strive to master the world, to be in control, while the will and ability to understand the world (Uranus-Neptune) has reduced dramatically. The permanent alienation of our times, resulting in the present environmental crisis, speaks for itself.
Therefore the approaching Uranus-Neptune conjunction, supported by a waxing sextile to Pluto, will have, in my opinion, the effect of a wet monsoon over the desert. The inhabitants will look back with surprise at so many centuries of apparent madness!
© Robert D. Doolaard, Amsterdam, December 1990