Neptune Enters Pisces
written by Radko Vacek
Neptune entered Pisces on April 5th 2011. Whatever issues any heavenly body represents are brought into focus when it enters its sign of rulership.
Pisces is the sign of Neptune. Neptune represents the reward of experiencing serenity, inspiration, and transcendence, receptivity to a guiding vision. The reward is earned by facing the challenge of letting ourselves be open to what we might call God or our higher selves. It also has the potential bad side of the temptation to hurt ourselves with infatuating falsehoods and easy, self-destructive forms of escape. The danger often is that of twisting the truth into a convincing, dangerous lie, and getting enthusiastic enough to act on it. Both these good and bad potentials are highlighted especially now and in the next few years, as Neptune hovers near the cusp of Pisces, since the effects associated with a planet tend to be more pronounced upon entry into the new sign and just before exit.
Aldous Huxley, in Collected Essays, 'Case of Voluntary Ignorance', wrote, "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach."
We astrologers in particular believe that, in spite of all the changes, history does seem to repeat its underlying themes. So, to gain clearer insight into what the transit of Neptune through Pisces might tell us about roughly the next fourteen years, it is worthwhile to consider what happened roughly from 1846 to 1860, the last time Neptune was in the neighbourhood of Pisces. Let us break the rule of the most important lesson of history!
The history of the world between those years of course had it greatest effect on Europe during that time. Nonetheless, Europe, as the centre of power in that era, had a pivotal impact on the rest of the world, particularly through imperialism. It makes sense to understand that last Neptunian era in a European context.
The industrial revolution was well advanced by 1846. Significant numbers of people in Europe and the northeast USA were working in big-scale, mechanized production. By 1850, the railway was a proven system. If we could have interviewed the people of these industrialized nations in 1846, we probably would have found that for every score of people quite enthusiastic about industrialism, or at least ready to face its consequences, just one person was dismayed. Yet, in those years near the neighborhood of 1846 to 1850, it was these few people who stood out. Theirs was an era when Neptune was in its sign of rulership, Neptune rules poetic inspiration, and some of them were noteworthy writers and poets.
In Sweetness and Light, from Culture and Anarchy, Matthew Arnold wrote, "Faith in machinery is our besetting danger; often in machinery most absurdly disproportioned to the end which this machinery is to serve;" "what are, even, religious organizations but machinery?" Wordsworth hated the noisy, smoky intrusion of the railroad into the Lake District he loved. In 1839, Alfred de Vigny was appalled by the grime of Birmingham. His poem La Maison du Berger, against the coal-black towns, gave a consolatory vision of pastoral calm. Poets were reaching for the visions that astrologers associate with Neptune, to transcend the noise, the grime, and the stresses to a higher serenity. That serenity was embodied in the scenes of the lilies of the field of the traditional religion, in contrast to the new faith in the machine.
In spite of all the changes, history does seem to repeat its underlying themes. As Neptune again balances on the threshold of its sign, we face similar issues of religious values. These issues are coming to the fore through computerization.
Just as the industrial revolution was well underway in 1846, so also is the computer revolution in 2011. The computer is revolutionary in being a radical departure from previous technology. The purpose of the computer is manipulating data, stored in terms of numbers. That it manipulates data makes it unique in the history of technology. Yet, in its unique way, the computer also brings into focus a crisis in values just as the machine did in the nineteenth century.
Just as Europe was of pivotal importance then, the USA is now. The computer is an epitome of the new American culture. It is based on a philosophy of pragmatism, which stipulates that the significance of an idea is its practical consequences. In this way of thinking, little value is given to an idea not readily usable to get something done. The emerging American culture does not feel comfortable with abstractions such as beauty and truth, because they do not as readily translate into getting something done. But in losing touch with such essential abstractions, we risk losing sight of values, and the ability to judge what is most valuable. Without a sound system of values, it is hard to judge how important what we are doing is. We may be getting things done without a firm conviction that what we are doing is worth doing!
The computer is great in getting its task, manipulating data, done. It does so, however, by reducing everything it can to numbers, at the expense of leaving out all that which cannot be so reduced. Those excluded things include the abstractions which are nebulous and value-laden, but nevertheless let us transcend the harshness of mundane reality, the transcendence often enabling us to hold on to our sanity. The greatest danger of the computer is that its apparent power in doing its tasks makes it very seductive. One aspect of the dangers associated with Neptune is escaping from reality, rather than transcending its lower level to a higher, divine level. The computer has become a means for such escapism, but more dangerous than the rest in that, unlike drugs, it is socially acceptable. Astrology is not fatalistic. The choice is ours. If we avoid the challenge of letting ourselves be open to what we might call God or our higher selves, we may well miss the rewards of serenity, inspiration, and transcendence, and lose the vision guiding us through the labyrinth of our personal worlds.
The challenges of roughly the next fourteen years concern us not only on the personal, but also the international level. Among the most powerful lies is a twisted truth. Propaganda uses twisted truths extensively. Considering that many people spend more time mesmerized in front of computers than TVs now, the former has become a fine tool for propaganda. The ultimate danger of propaganda always has been arousing people to an irrational enthusiasm to act without adequate weighing of consequences. This is especially dangerously true in our current, Neptunian years. Long tradition backs the idea that, when Neptune is prominent, extensive action is not advisable. Rather, these are times when contemplation of the essential values and their implications for action in the more distant future is advised.
This is quite the opposite of the American approach to foreign policy. Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the USA is the only superpower. Being a giant without any truly threatening challengers, as far as national survival is concerned, the USA can afford to act in risky ways that weaker nations consider reckless. There is grave danger associated with the USA giving in to this temptation in the 21st century, especially during these Neptunian years between 2011 and 2025, and perhaps most of all in 2011 and 2012, and again 2024 and 2025. These are the years when Neptune crosses the entry and exit thresholds of its sign. Experts in international affairs forecast that American aggressive policies will arouse ambivalence in the other nations of the world: fear generating policies to cooperate, and anger generating counter aggression, some of it not officially sanctioned by governments but enacted as terrorist attacks. The danger probably is least to the national security of the USA, more to the security of non-cooperative nations, and most of all on the personal level to the victims of these power struggles.
Astrology is not fatalistic. Will we go with the potential benefits of the coming years, reflected by Neptune, or with the potential risks? Both on the international level and on the personal level of our own, day to day lives, the choice is ours.
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