Dane Rudhyar

So much has been written about what the zodiac represents that there is no need to go into a detailed discussion of it here. I have stated in various books the basic reasons why I do not accept the sidereal zodiac which is supposed to refer to constellations of actual stars. I nevertheless realize that in ancient times, when astrology was locality-centered, when the Earth was believed to be flat, and when astrologers watched directly the dome of the sky, the zodiac referred to star groups through which the Sun passed during its annual journey across the firmament.(1) Astrology in India has significantly retained such an approach, because of the Hindu worship of ancient doctrines, and the lives of human beings become attuned to whatever their culture and tradition considers to be unquestionable truths and facts of existence.

1. Cf. The Astrological Houses.

Once the Earth was seen to be one of several planets revolving around an all-powerful Sun, the tropical zodiac became an unavoidable fact of existence, for the changing relationship between the Earth and the Sun had then become the fundamental factor in astrology. This relationship was projected upon the sky, forming the tropical zodiac. The twelve equal zodiacal signs represent in modern astronomy and astrology 30-degree segments of the Earth's orbit, also called the ecliptic.

If we were to speak of a truly sidereal zodiac, referring to actual stars, it would be logical to see it from the Sun's point of view, thus heliocentrically. In a galactic type of astrology it probably would be best to consider the intersection of the plane of the Sun's equator with the galactic plane as establishing an axis — which in turn provides us with a starting point for a solar (heliocentric) "zodiac." Yet as we would then have reached a galactic point of view, it is highly questionable whether the very concept of zodiac would have any meaning. We would be dealing with the immense period of revolution of the Sun around the galactic center some 200 million years — and so far we know nothing about what such a period signifies in the Sun's existence. Today there are still astrologers who profess to believe that the Sun not only circles around the Galaxy, but that it also revolves in a much shorter time around some galactic star, which in turn revolves around the galactic center; yet hardly any contemporary astronomer endorses such a belief.

The zodiac should be considered a strictly terrestrial and geocentric concept. It is a frame of reference for an astrological study of what takes place in the solar system insofar as we are affected by it. At any moment, the overall structure of the heliocosm first affects the Sun and its radiations; and these in turn affect the Earth and all organisms living in the biosphere. But as the Earth moves within the field of this heliocosm, it is also directly affected by the very complex situation produced by all the planets moving in a charged solar and galactic field. These two effects are electromagnetic and gravitational; they probably also operate at the level of energies or mind-processes (whatever these might be) which transcend the modes of energy-release we know at present.

In other words, the total situation is so complex and so filled with unknowns that it would seem unwise even to consider the astrological influence attributed to separate planets as explainable in strictly "scientific" terms. It is for this reason that I cannot think of astrology except as a symbolic language, and, in the original and deepest meaning of the term, as a "myth," or mythos. We need such a mythos in order to have the order of the universe conveyed to our consciousness, and the concept of a galactic dimension is essential for bringing to modern man's attention the existence of transformative and transcendent forces at work.

Myths are necessary to the development of a culture and of the type of consciousness to which they give a specific structure. Just as American democracy has to believe that "all men are created free and equal" — a myth, indeed, if we look at existential facts — in order to maintain at least an ideal orientation toward a transcendent spiritual reality; so the astrologer, if he is consistent and intellectually honest, should accept as a postulate the existence in the universe of a factor X that seeks to impress upon all living organisms a transcendent sense of cosmic order.

Such a sense of order is particularly essential to the specific type of "reflective consciousness" (Teilhard de Chardin) which we call human. At our present stage of evolution it appears logical and valid to speak of this X factor as being "galactic," and possibly implied in the activity of the center of our Galaxy, though, as we shall presently see, such a center does not seem to be what we usually think of as a material mass of substance.

The planets operating between the Sun and Saturn give us definite information as to what this universal order is at the level of the heliocosm — a Saturn-bounded level of consciousness. The planets moving outside the orbit of Saturn indicate to us how the transition between a heliocosmic and a galactic type of consciousness can most significantly be made. They alert us to pitfalls and crises on the way; and, in the charts of individuals, their transits reveal when a general type of change can be expected during the individual's life. However, they do not indicate precisely and inevitably the concrete events that will spark such changes; nor do they tell us how the person will react or respond to them, and there is a great difference between "reacting" to an event — any living organism or even a molecule does this — and "giving a response" to what it makes possible. A response — in the precise sense of the term — can only come from the individualized center of the consciousness, the ego, or the self.

In their transits, the trans-Saturnian planets take several years to move through a zodiacal sign. Uranus takes about seven years; Neptune, twelve to thirteen years; Pluto, a greatly varying period lasting from about twelve to thirty years, because of the unusual elongation of its orbit. It should be evident therefore that the mere fact that a person is born with Neptune or Pluto in a zodiacal sign tells relatively little concerning the person's individual character, vocation, or destiny. It refers only to collective trends; thus, to the character of the generation in which the individual is born. Yet, unfortunately, numerous astrologers and even well known textbooks state that being born with Neptune or Uranus in Leo or Libra gives a person definite characteristics of a personal nature. These characteristics, when at all validly formulated, can only apply to a very large group of persons. They suggest a characteristic life style, and more specifically the way people born within a more or less extended period approach the problem of individual or collective transformation — if they consciously or even half-consciously faced such a problem. The position of the planets in natal House indicates in most cases an individual's response to the collective life style and the type of experiences which are most likely to significantly affect his or her consciousness and behavior.

The trans-Saturnian planets act collectively as agents of the Galaxy seeking to dis-Saturnize, and in a sense, dissolarize, man's consciousness, whenever such a consciousness has reached a level at which this alchemical operation is possible. When it is not at all possible, these distant planets simply do not operate — and they are unknown to man. The fact that they were discovered within the last two hundred years shows that this galactically conditioned liberation and transmutation is now possible in a broad collective sense. Before that time, it was possible only under very special conditions and in secret. This is a basic historical fact that every human mind unavoidably interprets in its own way, or rather according to one of several schools of thought. What is presented here is an astrological interpretation relating the spiritual, psychic, and social pressures under which we are laboring to a broad cosmic picture. On such a picture a new mythos can be built which could inspire human collectivities during what appears to be a critical period of changes ahead of us. The recent growth in the popularity of astrology suggests that mankind is susceptible to the influence of such a great cosmic myth. It is important to emphasize that facts are not opposed to myths, for any valid and consciousness-transforming myth is based on actual facts experienced by at least some human beings. The myth extends these facts to make them not only the common property of mankind, or at least of a whole culture, but a common and fascinating incentive for us to take the next step in human evolution.

Thus far we have considered mainly the manner in which an individual, or a particular group of persons, emerges from the Saturnian realm of egocentric existence into the no-man's land through which the Path of Transformation winds its tortuous way. Uranus came first, then Neptune, and last Pluto — and probably the as-yet-unknown Proserpine. But when we deal with collective and historical situations we should realize that the Galaxy acts through Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus in a "descending" order, i.e., from the universal to the particular. Pluto then produces the more basic keynote. Neptune and Uranus develop further, in different ways, what Pluto sounded out. I shall therefore begin with Pluto as I attempt to define in broad terms what seems most characteristically to be aroused by the position of the three trans-Saturnian planets in zodiacal signs. Since the zodiac refers to the relationship of the Earth to the Sun, zodiacal positions are simply the normal astrological way of indicating how planets are related to both the Earth and the Sun. Or we might say that they indicate the geocentric possibility of response to what the planet at that time brings to the entire solar system.


Pluto in Zodiacal Signs

When Pluto was finally identified on February 18, 1930, by C. W. Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, it had reached the 18th degree of Cancer. It was retrograde and near its North Node, then on the 20th degree. I shall begin with that zodiacal sign because, for our present humanity, it marks the focus of the transforming process as it was brought to the conscious collective level. The famous Wall Street crash had occurred only a few months before and the great Depression was beginning. The Sabian Symbol for this 18th degree is significant: "a hen scratching the ground to find nourishment for her progeny: The personal concern with everyday nourishment necessary to sustain one's outreaching activities. . . . A person has to feed (his symbolic children) with social substance gathered from the 'ground' of his community."(2) We may remember what was said some pages back concerning the relation of Pluto to the decaying humus and what it contains, including seeds. And, for millions of people, 1930 and the following years were indeed filled with the problem of feeding themselves and their families.

2. Cf. An Astrological Mandala.


Pluto in CANCER (July 1913 to August 1938)(3)

Cancer is the sign of personality integration at the level of traditional or ego-consciousness — integration for the purpose of survival in any environment in which survival is possible. It is a sign therefore ruled by the Moon which represents the capacity for adjustment to external conditions, an adjustment or adaptation aiming at optimum organic well-being. Cancer is related to the mother and the home life, if such a life is a bulwark against chaos and social pressures, and the mother teaches the child by her example how to develop an effective capacity for adaptation to the condition of life in society and in nature.  

3. Because all distant planets move back and forth in the zodiac, the time at which they can be said to enter a new sign is only approximate. It would actually be better to use the heliocentric ingress in the sign, that is, the time when a planet enters a sign in terms of its heliocentric position.

What Pluto, appearing in the midst of Cancer, was trying to convey to mankind was therefore that the home and family situation had to be radically transformed. The outer circumstances were such that this message was impressed in a relentless and impressive manner; yet how few have understood it! These circumstances were largely the result of the Industrial Revolution which began to produce inescapable results when Pluto was located in the sign Aries from 1822 to 1851; but the entrance of Pluto into Cancer marked the Balkan prelude to World War I, and therefore the definite breakdown of the old social order in Europe and, by reaction, in the United States and all over the world. The Russian Revolution occurred during the transit of Pluto, and the basic patterns of human society were subject to a drastic upheaval whose ultimate consequences we might witness while Pluto passes through Libra, thus 90 degrees further in the zodiac. Pluto is now in Libra and will remain there until 1984, a year given special interest by the famous novel.

One may begin the geocentrically considered cycle of a planet's revolution around the Sun from the North Node of the planet, because the planetary nodes are the two ends of the intersection between the orbit of the planet and the orbit of the Earth. The North Node therefore begins the cycle of relationship between the two orbits; and, from the point of view of the heliocosm considered as a whole, a planet is represented by its orbit far more basically than by its physical mass — the latter indicating at any time the section of the orbital space being activated by the material globe. From such a point of view, and insofar as mankind is concerned, the beginning of an entire Pluto cycle (lasting about 248 years) occurred when Pluto reached for the first time its North Node during the fall 1929, almost exactly at the time of the stock market crash. It was "stationary retrograde" late in October; the crash occurred October 29th.

Pluto had been in Cancer approximately between 1665 and 1690. This was the time when Versailles, the court of the French monarch Louis XIV, was the focal point of European culture. It was also in Cancer during the early part of the fifteenth century, when Joan of Arc fought and was killed — a time which saw the beginning of the modern nation — and during the Crusades in the twelfth century, when the Gothic culture flourished and its great cathedrals were built. Earlier still its transit through Cancer marked the spread of Islam (seventh century), and during the first half of the first century B.C., the triumph of Rome — all important periods of sociocultural consolidation, but, in most instances, as the result of the destruction of governments or cultures whose time had come for disintegration.

When a generation is born with Pluto in Cancer, one can expect that some twenty to thirty years later individuals belonging to it and who are ready for personal transformation will have to deal with the consequences of what happened at the time of their birth. The generation born after 1913 was faced with World War II and the Cold War. It learned very little from the message of Pluto-in-Cancer in spite of all the pressures brought upon the old social system by the Jazz Age, the Boom, and the Depression, and the obvious trend toward technocratic and global patterns of organization.


Pluto in LEO (August 1938 to Spring-Summer 1957)

The entrance of Pluto into Leo brings us to the prelude to World War II, i.e., Nazi Germany's rearmament and invasion of Austria and Czechoslovakia. The collective glorification of the ego and the power-motive manifested in the rise of leaders only too ready to assume the responsibility of vast undertakings in war or peace, in government or in business. Huge organizations blossomed out and made use of the new technology. Atomic power revolutionized the relationship between nations. The Russian miracle transformed uneducated peasants into would-be cosmonauts, and a backward nation into one of two superpowers. New nations arose on the ruins of Europe's colonial hegemony: communist China, India, Israel, and many African nations. Modern psychology took a place of crucial prominence in our culture as the need to deal with the vagaries and crises of the personal ego became increasingly insistent.

Many of the inspirers of the youth protest of the sixties, and most of the hippies and their successors were born with Pluto in Leo. They are gradually becoming the leaders of a society in a state of increasing chaos, though the crucial decisions are still in the hands of the generation born with Pluto in Cancer, or even — especially at the level of the mind — in Gemini.

Pluto in Leo demands of us that we transmute our power-motive and our overemotional or over-possessive behavior. The biopsychic energy of life is being challenged, and when it fails to accept the challenge, death takes over. If men cannot unite in love, their blood must unite on the soil of battlefields stretching over the life-field of the Earth. It is not only the instinctive and superficial Martian aggressiveness that has to be sublimated, but a deeper craving for power, exteriorizing itself as pride and as a poignant sense of superiority which often hides under a feeling of inferiority.

Previous passages of Pluto through Leo occurred at the close of the seventeenth century, when the classical period of European culture was most brilliant, and when the modernization of Russia was beginning under Peter the Great. In the fifteenth century, the Catholic Medieval Order was nearing its end, with the slow rise of modern nations and the incipient Humanistic Movement. Constantinople fell to the Turks and the flight of Byzantine scholars to Italy was a catalyst to the eventual Renaissance. Long before this, Caesar came to power and was assassinated (44 B.C.), and some five centuries later, while Pluto was also crossing the sign Leo, Rome was destroyed by the Vandals, after having been saved a few years before by a bishop of Rome — named Leo.


Pluto in VIRGO (Summer 1957 to Autumn 1971)

Virgo is a symbol of the harvesting of karmic results. The emotional intensity, the self-glorification and power-hunger of the Leo type are now challenged, together with all the taken-for-granted traditions of the past. Everything is being criticized, often repudiated. Old relationships are broken up in the name of ideals often as yet imprecise. The high point of the last transit of Pluto through Virgo was the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in 1965-66. The youth protest increased as the Vietnam War grew in importance; but its meaning was not understood, even by most young people.

Virgo is the technological sign par excellence, as it stresses the power of objective analysis and the reorganization of material units into new, yet impermanent combinations. Pluto in Virgo has referred to the computerization of our social processes, but also to retraining and reeducation, and to the search for new truths and new teachers or exemplars — thus the youth's fascination with Asiatic gurus.

The message of Pluto in Virgo is that the mind must be reoriented and repolarized so as to control the emotions and deal with the karma of the past, while visualizing as clearly as possible the outlines of the future. Some of the people born with Pluto in Virgo will mature at the time of the crisis expectable around 1989-90. Those born around 1965-66 should be in the forefront of whatever transformative activity takes place. Modern Freemasonry, which began in 1717 when Pluto was in Virgo, played a most important role in the political upheaval at the end of the century. Several of the Encyclopedists, Diderot, d'Alembert, Cadillac, and even Jean-Jacques Rousseau, apostle of a new type of education, were born with Pluto in Virgo. The Humanist Movement of the fifteenth century can also be identified with the same Pluto transit.


Pluto in LIBRA (Autumn 1971 to Winter 1984)

Pluto's transit in Libra, the zodiacal sign marking the fall equinox, is short because the planet's speed passes that of Neptune, but it may witness a series of important events which are basically related to changes that occurred while it was passing through the vernal equinox sign, Aries (1822-51). Then the Industrial Revolution had revealed its true colors and aroused strong reactions, including the birth in 1848 of World Communism with Marx and Engels' Manifesto. What we are facing today is the end result of the radical social, cultural, and political changes brought about by this Industrial Revolution. It can be related also to the period of World War I when Pluto passed through the summer solstice sign, Cancer.

Libra is the symbol of interrelatedness and of mutuality. Pluto in that sign tells us in no uncertain terms that new concepts of relationship must not only be imagined, but applied — and if need be, ruthlessly applied so that those who resist change may be permanently left out or "atomicized." Human beings who, under the transit through Cancer, could not be transformed as individuals within their home, community, or nation now are likely to experience a forced collective transformation. The present worldwide oil situation is a good example of how the pressure for change can work. The basic power for socioeconomic relationships is being curtailed. Human beings may be compelled to change their modes of association, and this naturally implies business changes and a deep reorganization of international relationships — and possibly wars and/or terrorism.

Libra may mean harmonization; but if obstacles stand in the way, they can be bulldozed efficiently once the Libra character is sufficiently aroused. In any case, in Libra we have the fateful reaction, or the wise response, to what occurred long ago. Both can be subtle, but effective. Theoretically, Pluto in Libra could affect the arts, but it may pulverize and atomicize what remains of old attitudes and traditions after Neptune (and before it Uranus) has passed through the sign. The first atomic reaction occurred soon after the entry of Neptune in Libra; and the Watergate situation is a good instance of Pluto in Libra, especially as the U.S. birth chart (July 4,1776 at 5:12 P.M.) has Libra on its Mid-Heaven. What we are witnessing may be only the start of a process which may last until Pluto returns to Aries around 2070: and that date is very close to what I consider to be the beginning of the Aquarian Age.(4)

4. Cf. Dane Rudhyar Astrological Timing: The Transition to the New Age (New York: Harper and Row, 1970, paperback edition).


Pluto in SCORPIO (1984 to Autumn 1995)

Pluto reaches its nearest point to the Sun (perihelion) in 1989 and all through Scorpio it moves within Neptune's theoretical orbit. Scorpio is a symbol of concentrated power which can have either highly positive healing and psychic vibrations, or negative ones, such as jealousy, vindictiveness, and secrecy — these being the results of a gnawing feeling of insecurity and frustration. Because this sign symbolizes an intense yearning for communion in depth with other human — or superhuman — beings (a yearning which is easily frustrated in view of our moralistic Christian tradition), it has usually been given a bad reputation; and so has Pluto. But what Pluto in Scorpio is likely to demand of us is that we truly and unhesitatingly plumb the depths of our common humanity. We may witness during that period a collective and compulsive kind of depth-psychology at work. This could take a religious form. We might be coerced into being truly "human" by contacts with beings of other planets or realms of existence, for we only come to learn what we are when faced by what definitely and unquestionably we are not — thus also by totally alien, non-earthly entities. This could be a time when human beings experience deeply and convincingly the feeling of "community" in a planet-wide sense. It could also witness the public and global operation of occult powers, both in individuals and in the field of social and political organization — perhaps through the appearance of a powerful personage or avatar. When Pluto was last in Scorpio, men were born who became channels through which the deep transformative urge of Romanticism began to be felt. Others are now known as Fathers of American democracy (Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, etc.).


Pluto in SAGITIARIUS (From approximately 1995 to 2010,

and in the preceding cycle from 1750 to 1763-64)

In this zodiacal sign, Pluto is beginning to slow down and to transfer and interpret at a more mental but also more general and public level, the type of experiences which marked its transit through Scorpio. After the great emotional crisis which European man experienced in the year 1000 (the end of the world was then expected), when nothing catastrophic occurred, a deep upsurge of cultural activity and commercial travel took place with Pluto in Sagittarius. We might expect a similar type of development when the twentieth century ends, and about the time seven planets once more congregate in Taurus (2001). During the eighteenth century, the transit of Pluto through Sagittarius coincided with the war between England and France which started in America and spread to Europe. The defeat of France paved the way for the establishment of the U.S., but also for the eventual establishment of the British Empire, which was a foreshadowing of the future world-organization. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's book The Social Contract, published at the close of this period, was also an influential factor in both the American and the French revolutions.


Pluto in CAPRICORN (Approximately from 1764 to 1778)

Capricorn refers to the establishment of large-scale social schemes and political institutions, but also to their crystallization, which Pluto confronts and often radically upsets. The United States of America began its career under such a Pluto transit, which challenged the rights of the English king, particularly in matters of financial policy. Pluto is in the second House of the U.S. chart with mid-Sagittarius rising, a highly significant position as the new nation found in the land of its birth tremendous resources which it ruthlessly and relentlessly tapped and indeed misused because of corporate greed and personal ambition.(5) In France, the monarchy was crumbling under a variety of scandals. Pluto often tends to bring into the open the shadow of political power or personal ambition. It forces any entrenched group to surrender its privilege or else to face revolution or moral-spiritual bankruptcy. It seems probable that Pluto had recently entered Capricorn when Luther challenged the powerfully entrenched Catholic Church.

5. The second House deals with what the incarnating Self is able to use at birth — its body and innate capacities — in order to build its individual personality. Cf. The Astrological Houses.


Pluto in AQUARIUS (1778 to 1797-98)

Pluto's challenge was then directed to those who had upset the traditional order. As ideals had to be made concrete and workable, the revolutionists' triumph could be followed by harsh problems. A conservative U.S. Constitution followed an idealistic Declaration; and in France, Bonaparte dreamed of empire after the chaotic years of the Revolution. The basis of the Industrial Revolution was laid down by various technological inventions, especially the steam engine (Watts). The message of Pluto in Capricorn is that ideals have to be translated into some form of large-scale organization if they are to be effective. As Pluto moved through Aquarius in the sixteenth century, daring Europeans kept on with their exploration and conquest of South and North America (Pissarro in Peru, Cartier in Canada).


Pluto in PISCES (1798 to 1822-23)

This was the Napoleonic period in Europe and a time of stress in the new American nation. The use of steam engines in railroads — the locomotive (1814) — the discovery of electromagnetism and its eventual use in telegraphy marked the spread of the Industrial Revolution which was to completely undermine the old European and American orders. Pisces can be the symbol of an inner war against the ghosts of the past. Napoleon sought to destroy the old national system of Europe, but he became possessed by a still older archetype, that of the Roman Empire. He failed his "star." The time had not come for Pluto to transform the consciousness of mankind as a whole. It only operated — except in rare cases — at the unconscious level of the planetary Mind, exerting pressure steadily wherever there was a receptive individual mind.


Pluto in ARIES (1823 to 1851-52)

Here Pluto was at work conveying to mankind, as much as man could receive, directives for a new world order. At first, unfortunately, the period witnessed a reaction against the Napoleonic dream, but in a more "modern" way the British Empire took its succession and the Victorian Age sanctified the power of the new class, the bourgeoisie — which in turn evoked the unavoidable response outlined in Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto. A new religious movement that for the first time announced the coming of a world order — the movement started by the Bab in Persia (1844) and his thousands of martyred followers, and later transformed into the Baha'i faith — worked toward the union of human beings of all races and creeds. "Mankind" became not only a word, but a potential global reality. Modern science began to dominate the collective mentality of Western man on the basis of the practical application of postulates and universal laws formulated during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. What had started during the Renaissance with Pluto in Aries and Taurus came therefore to fruition a whole Pluto cycle afterward.


Pluto in TAURUS (1852 to 1883-84)

This was the period of scientific materialism symbolized by the Victorian Age and in France the days of the Second Empire which led to Germany's triumph. It was a time when power was worshipped on an unparalleled scale by nations and robber barons. Darwin, Marx, Pasteur, and a host of scientists-engineers set the patterns that provided the material framework for our modern Western society. The Romantic and Humanitarian Movements of the Pluto-in-Aries period became absorbed. Yet the spread of American spiritualism, of the Theosophical Society (started in New York in 1875), of Christian Science, and of various attempts at introducing Oriental philosophy to the West operated at counterpoint to the official trend of modern science.


Pluto in GEMINI (1884 to 1912-13)

What was substantiated and seemingly consolidated during the transit of Pluto through Taurus became not only further intellectualized, but also challenged, and brought to a state of transformative crisis, as Pluto moved through Gemini. This was the period when the spiritual-mental harvest of the European culture was reaped; but the harvest revealed a crucial need for a fundamental mutation, because it proved to be essentially tragic in that it fatefully led to World War I. Pluto in Gemini operated through the minds of men who were made acutely aware of the necessity for a radical transformation of the collective mentality of our Western world, and in non-Western countries of what was left of ancient concepts. The conjunctions of Neptune and Pluto in early Gemini (1891-92) brought to a focus this realization of a crucial need for renewal along trans-Saturnian and transpersonal lines. That twenty-seven-year period should thus be considered the "seed culmination" of the last Pluto cycle which had started in the mid-seventeenth century; yet at the same time it saw the birth of some men who were able to release intuitive visions of a future society.

These archetypal perceptions in many instances became temporarily submerged during the period between the two world wars (Pluto in Cancer), yet the ineluctable pressure of new worldwide developments led to the second and tragic phase of the Pluto cycle (Pluto in Leo) with its emphasis on personal power and imaginative technological inventions, particularly the use of atomic power. The third phase (Pluto in Virgo) revealed the triumph of Euro-American technology with its computers and flights to outer space; and we are now in the fourth phase (Pluto in Libra) which is bringing to mankind the imperative need for world-organization and for a radical transformation of all forms of interpersonal, intergroup, and international relationship. What we shall be able to achieve in meeting such a need will determine the kind of events with which mankind will be confronted during the fifth phase (Pluto in Scorpio) — the crucial, all-human period of testing. The individuals, groups, and nations which will have proved successful (i.e., galactically oriented in consciousness) shall progress further on the Path of service and discipleship during the sixth phase (Pluto in Sagittarius); the rest will disintegrate further or be absorbed as humus in a future rebirth of civilization.


Neptune in Zodiacal Signs

At this time of mankind's evolution, the cycle of Pluto provides the basic rhythm of the process of human transformation. One may speak in this case of deep oceanic currents, or better still perhaps of the tidal effect of gravitational forces external to our globe. When we consider Neptune's cycle of revolution through the tropical zodiac, we have to think of how this vast tidal motion manifests according to the specific shape of the shoreline of the continental regions. In some places the tides are hardly noticeable; in others, they are very strong and the water may move quite fast over the very gradually sloping ground. In such an illustration, Uranus' action would refer to the power of the wind which produces storms and high waves.

Neptune's North Node is now located at 11°32' of the sign Leo, but it has moved about half a degree since 1920, so that Neptune reached its North Node around October 1, 1919. It was stationary at 11°37' in mid-November, one year after the armistice concluding World War I was signed, and one year before the first meeting of the League of Nations in Geneva (November 15, 1920) — the first characteristically Neptunian type of global institution. The League of Nations was part of the peace treaty signed on June 28, 1919; but the U.S. Senate refused to ratify it — an action which made World War II inevitable and involved a heavy anti-galactic karma for our country for having opposed the eventually inescapable Neptunian tide.


Neptune in LEO (From 1915 to 1928-29)

As Neptune's revolution around the tropical zodiac lasts about 164 years, this planet entered the sign Leo in 1751 and in 1587. It will reach that sign once more in 2079. It remains about thirteen and a half years in each sign. It is now, since 1970-71, in Sagittarius having accomplished one third of its zodiacal journey since it reached its North Node in 1919.

The period 1915-29 saw not only the end of the war and the peace that brought no peace, but the so-called Jazz Age whose ebullience and protests were partially sparked by the tragic blunder of prohibition, leading to the rise of organized crime. If Neptune is the Universal Solvent of Alchemy, this solvent became then bootleg and homemade alcohol. Above all, national leaders — except Woodrow Wilson — proved incapable of grasping the Neptunian spirit of internationalism and worldwide brotherhood. As a result, Neptune's power made "international Communism" the most effectual force, while the League of Nations floundered in uncertainty and confusion. It was also during that period that the great flu epidemic of 1918-19 killed millions of people.

Individuals born while Neptune passed through Leo came of age between 1936 and 1950. They were active during the great Depression and many died during World War II. Neptune sought to convey to them the message that their sense of self — their ego had to lose its traditional rigidity and to become open to the archetype of what became popularly known between the two world wars as the Unconscious. Depth-psychology became fashionable; so did progressive education. Roosevelt's New Deal found in many youths an enthusiastic response, because it offered to them a new field for ego-expansion at the social level.


Neptune in VIRGO (1929 to 1942)

This was the depression period after the deceiving boom of the postwar years — and the start of World War II. Mankind had to pay for its refusal to listen to the message of Neptune in Leo. In Virgo, Neptune seeks to spiritualize the critical and analytical character of our modern intellect, but what could be an urge to the expansion of the mind along universalistic lines often turns out to be a fascination for big, yet unsound, dreams. The repressed forces of the collective Unconscious can irrupt into the unsteady and acquisitive ego-consciousness and spread destructively, as they did in a defeated Germany. Such a Neptunian transit occurred between 1765 and 1779; and at the constructive level we have the idealism of the Declaration of Independence. A previous transit began in 1601 at the close of Elizabeth's reign and as Galileo sought to publicize the heliocentric system.

Individuals born with Neptune in Virgo reached maturity in the fifties and sixties of this century, beginning the youth's protest against our rationalistic and technological society. They were the beatniks and the first of the psychedelic generation. They listened, entranced, to Neptune's voice, but often were not ready to translate what they heard into the language of constructive action (nor were they allowed to do so by the "silent majority" and its revered Establishment).


Neptune in LIBRA (1942 to 1956-57)

These were the war years for America, and the first and very brief contact of Neptune with the 1st degree of Libra in December 1941 coincided with the first demonstration of a controlled atomic chain reaction in Chicago. The United Nations organization was formed, carrying a bit further the Neptunian ideal of a world-society which the League of Nations had failed to actualize. The idea of the "group" gradually spread among seekers after spiritual realizations, and group psychology became increasingly accepted. Many new nations were born. World trade and world finance increasingly linked the continents, while television made it possible for human beings almost everywhere to experience and sympathize with people of all races and cultures. Music also enjoyed a great boom thanks to radio, tape recorders, and electronic amplifiers. Earlier transits of Neptune in Libra occurred from 1779 to 1793 (the struggle to create an American Federal State and the breakdown of the French monarchy) and from 1616 to 1629-30 (Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, crystallizing the Neptune-in-Virgo influence).

Individuals born with Neptune in Libra are now reaching or have reached maturity. They constitute the postwar generation faced by the task of developing new forms of interpersonal, social, and political relationships under the influence of Neptune. Most of them have had experiences with drugs in a society dominated by chemicals and psychological problems. Will they be able to respond constructively and fearlessly to the universalistic, nonpossessive, and nonaggressive power which the Galaxy has been focusing through Neptune during their youth, or will they merely react confusedly to the Neptunian acid that always seeks to dissolve what had refused to accept change, and positively work at a wholesome transition to a new age?


Neptune in SCORPIO (1957 to 1970)

This was a very disturbed period because Scorpio refers to the urge within individuals to experience total fusion or blending with another individual, or a very intimate participation in a cohesive and more or less ritualistic group — big business being the modern way of ritualistic living in a profit-mad society. When Neptunian energies act upon such an urge, they tend to over glorify the experiences of communion by giving them cosmic or mystical overtones — even if it is only the mystique of power and money. Few people can bear the transcendent and totally unfamiliar character of these experiences and therefore either become psychically lost in their results, or else they materialize and degrade the experiences, which leads to lust, sadism, black magic, and all forms of violence.

When the individuals born under such a Neptune transit will be confronted by the presence of Pluto in Scorpio — they may be then in their late twenties or in their teens — the results of their early experiences are likely to take a definite and ineluctable form, for better or for worse. They and the Neptune-in-Libra generation may well then decide which turn our society will take, or their own personal fate.

Neptune entered Scorpio in November 1792 (the Terror during the French Revolution) and left the sign in 1806 after Napoleon had proclaimed himself "Emperor of the French." The previous transit had lasted from 1629 to 1643, and can be related to the growing conflict between Catholics and Protestants.


Neptune in SAGITTARIUS (1970 to 1984)

Babies are now born with Neptune in this sign referring to all kinds of expansive activities, physical or metaphysical. Mental processes which seek to understand the principles and patterns of organization structuring whatever the mind contemplates can be referred to Sagittarius. What began while Neptune was transiting Leo, especially since 1919, might reach a higher level of effectiveness; and this new generation may be able to actualize some of the ideals which seeped through the World War I ruins of the old European culture. The boys and girls now being born will reach their youthful maturity at the beginning of the next century. Those who will have significantly survived the last two decades of this century may have a real chance of proving themselves architects of a new society: the actual building processes may have to wait until Neptune reaches Capricorn. Neptune's message now is that mankind should not remain at the Jupiterian level of political and managerial ambition and greed for power. The children now coming to this world should be shown that only all-encompassing principles — social, ethical, cultural, or political — can be worth fighting for. While Jupiter excludes the alien, Neptune accepts, evaluates, and finds a place for each of the most disparate elements.

Neptune was in Sagittarius from 1806-07 to 1820-21. The Napoleonic dream was shattered and in the process England and the U.S. fought an inconclusive war. At the same time South American nations were born, which may have a great future at the close of this century. Mexico and Brazil gained their independence as Neptune entered Capricorn in conjunction with Uranus. A cycle before, Neptune entered Sagittarius in 1643, leaving the sign in 1656-57. This was the Cromwellian period and the triumph of the Puritans. The rationalistic spirit of the classical period was triumphing, yet counter-cultural forces were also at work. However, man was not yet aware of Neptune's existence and the time had not come for a public realization of the nature of the planet's galactic message to mankind.


Neptune in CAPRICORN (1984 to 1998)

During such a transit Neptune participates in a massing of many planets in this zodiacal sign. After 1988 Saturn and Uranus will join Neptune, with Mars part of the time in Capricorn (1988 and 1990). In 1990 Jupiter opposes the group, and Venus and Mercury add their weight to the Capricorn group during January-February. This could be a highly disturbing period, perhaps involving telluric changes, as well as heavy political pressures. It might also see a forceful attempt at building a global state or the spread of an authoritarian world-religion. Pluto's transit through Scorpio, in sextile to the Capricorn stellium of planets, may turn out to be the dominant factor during that period.

Neptune was in Capricorn as Louis XIV autocratically ruled France and during the triumph of the classical spirit. In England the great London fire occurred and the restoration of the monarchy took place after Oliver Cromwell's death (1658). Neptune reached Capricorn in conjunction with Uranus in 1820-21 and left the sign in 1834. Reactionary forces dominated Europe. The first railroads were built. But in 1830 an emergent revolutionary spirit placed the bourgeois king Louis Philippe I on the throne of France and other political revolutions followed, eventually leading to more radical changes in 1848.


Neptune in AQUARIUS (1834 to 1848; and after 1998)

Neptune in Aquarius reached its South Node at the time it was discovered in 1846. From then on, its ability to focus upon the human masses the aspect of galactic power to which it is attuned becomes more obvious. Its discovery corresponds to the early beginning of several movements already mentioned, all of which aim at uniting large collectivities all over the world and — ideally, at least — the whole of mankind. Thus, what occurred in the nineteenth century evokes the strong possibility that a similar kind of global activity may transform mankind from 1998 to about 2011-12 when the planet once more reaches Aquarius. In May 2000 all the heliocosmic planets, plus the Sun and the Moon — seven planets altogether — are focusing their power in Taurus, squared by Uranus and Neptune in Aquarius; an interesting beginning for the twenty-first century!


Neptune in PISCES (1848 to 1862)

In Pisces, Neptune is in the zodiacal sign in which it is most effective, and we see Neptunian forces at work dissolving the structures of the past. This is the Romantic Age, and that of the triumph of the bourgeoisie of wealth and the higher middle class. The long-ruling Austrian emperor, Francis-Joseph I, came to the throne in 1848 and his reign, ending in 1916, marked the progressive disintegration of Central Europe and of the old imperial concept inherited from the Rome of the Caesars. This was the Victorian era in England and the ill-fated Second Empire in France; while in America, the U.S. increased enormously in size after the war with Mexico, and the Gold Rush led men westward. Japan was forced to open her harbor to foreign commerce; the rise of this new Asiatic power had great consequences, ending with Pearl Harbor a century later.


Neptune in ARIES (1861 to 1875)

This was the period of Germany's rise, with Bismarck as its architect. Italy also became unified and the Papacy was shorn of its power. The American Civil War began in April 1861 just as Neptune entered Aries for a few months, then regressed to Pisces until February 1862. A new nation actually took form under the pressure of industrial expansion and the destruction of the culture of the South. While Saturn refers to relatively narrow and local principles of organization, Neptune symbolizes more encompassing — thus "Federal" rather than "State" — structures. The stage was set for the growth of large nations with worldwide interests and ambitions, and colonialism. But among men born with Neptune in Aries, we find Lenin, Sri Aurobindo (one of the first Indians to fight for his country's independence), and Gandhi.


Neptune in TAURUS (1874-75 to 1888)

Colonialism now dominated the world-stage, Africa being almost totally divided between European nations. Neptune participated in a massive constellation of six and even seven planets in this zodiacal sign of productivity and materialism (1881-82). President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a number of statesmen and philosophers who became famous some fifty years later were born during that period. So were the psychologist Carl Jung and Pope John XXIII.


Neptune in GEMINI (1888-89 to 1901-02)

The most important astrological event of that period was the conjunction of Neptune and Pluto in 1891-92. This marked the beginning of a five-hundred year cycle and of the great revolution in science which was soon to upset most of the basic concepts taken for granted by the nineteenth-century mentality. Backed by the as-yet undiscovered Pluto, Neptune conveyed to mankind new cosmic information that made the old intellectual categories obsolete. As the twentieth century began, Neptune and Pluto in Gemini were opposing all other planets — seven of them (including Sun and Moon) being gathered in Sagittarius at the New Moon (solar eclipse) preceding January 1, 1900, when the new century (characterized by the digits 19) began. Quantum physics and Freudian depth-psychology opened wide the doors to the mental upheaval. At the same time, the U.S. was embarking on an expansionistic international policy, which Theodore Roosevelt was to implement with typical vigor when he became President — thus laying the foundations for the display of world-power soon to be demonstrated by our country.


Neptune in CANCER (1902 to 1913-15)

This period, which has been referred to as La Grande Epoque, saw the swan song of the old European culture and the harsh sounds of political conflicts and ultimately of the German army's advance into Belgium and France, ushering World War I. In 1914 Neptune was entering Leo just after Pluto had settled in Cancer together with Saturn. The preceding challenge in Gemini to the collective mentality of Western Man was now directed toward his proud ego (Leo) and its foundation, the patriarchal home, and its traditional way of life (Cancer).

Many of today's leaders were born with Neptune in Cancer, a few with Neptune in Gemini. As we already saw, Neptune reached its North Node in 1919-20 on the 12th degree of Leo, where Jupiter joined it at the time of President Wilson's unsuccessful attempt to have the Senate ratify the peace treaty and thus allow the United States to participate in the League of Nations. This Wilsonian failure led to the tragic tensions and passionate protests connected with the transit of Neptune through Scorpio, forty years later and 90 zodiacal degrees further — especially the Vietnam quagmire, a long-delayed karmic result of the American isolationism, and of the fear of Soviet Russia which has marked America's policy since the Twenties.


Uranus in Zodiacal Signs

Uranus takes on an average 83.75 years to circle the tropical zodiac and remains seven years in each sign. Its North Node was at 13°51' Gemini in 1973, progressing apparently at the rate of 18 seconds per year. It should therefore now be located on the fifteenth degree of Gemini. The heliocentric passage of the planet Uranus over its (also heliocentric) North Node occurred on July 20th, 1945, four days after the first atomic explosion in Alamagordo, New Mexico. The previous passage had occurred in June 1861, just after Lincoln's inauguration and the start of the Civil War. Other crossings occurred in 1777 during the War of Independence, and in 1693, 1609, and 1526.

It seems difficult to pin down in general terms the messages of Uranus to mankind and especially to individuals, because they are conditioned by particular needs, depending on the way Saturn has been operating. Uranus' purpose is to break down the continuity of Saturnian patterns, so that at the place and time of the break some kind of galactically oriented vision, or intuitive flash of thought, may be experienced.

Generally speaking, during the passage of Uranus through a zodiacal sign, the non-normal and transcendental aspects of the mode of activity which the sign usually represents are allowed to operate wherever the Saturnian sociocultural ways of life and personal habits have lost some of their prestige and unquestioned validity. But it is not easy to formulate what these "non-normal and transcendental aspects" are. What is essential is that the normal, traditional, and matter-of-fact patterns of behaving, feeling, and thinking should have led to suffering, frustration, defeat, and tragedy, or even acute boredom and a sense of total futility. When this occurs, Uranus is always ready to act, and it acts more specifically in terms of the possibilities inherent in the type of energy characterizing the zodiacal sign in which Uranus is then located. The Uranian process is also polarized by what planetary aspects at the time allow to happen; and it usually deals with experiences related to the House of the natal chart which the planet is crossing by transit.

If one seeks to understand the position of Uranus in a birth chart —that of a collective as well as an individual person — it is logical to expect that this zodiacal position is in some manner related to the person's karma, or to some inertial tendency karmically inherent in the person's nature. Uranus acts where, in some ancient past, there had been bondage and compulsive behavior. When Saturn and Uranus are in the same sign a particularly strong karmic pressure is likely to be felt by the individuals born at that time. The mean period between the conjunctions of these two planets is about forty-five years. They were conjunct in Libra in 1805 (the Napoleonic challenge to old aristocratic ways in Europe), in Taurus in 1852, in Scorpio (three times) in 1897, and in Taurus in 1942. They will be conjunct three times in Sagittarius during 1988, a time which may see some outstanding religious and social upheaval, and may particularly affect the United States, whose birth chart has a Sagittarian Ascendant (July 4, 1776, 5:12 P.M., Philadelphia).(6) These last mentioned conjunctions occur in the last degrees of Sagittarius close to the point at which the center of the Galaxy is reflected upon our tropical zodiac. Following this, Saturn and Uranus will join Neptune in Capricorn, with Jupiter opposing them from Cancer, a sign also strongly emphasized in the U.S. chart by the presence of the Sun, Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury in Cancer.

6. Cf. The Astrology of Amerca's Destiny (New York: Random House, 1974).

In the twentieth-century chart (midnight January 1, 1900) and in that for the preceding New Moon, which is important in a study of the vital forces at work throughout the century, Uranus and Saturn are both in Sagittarius, surrounded by many planets and broadly opposed by Neptune and Pluto in Gemini — a remarkable symbol of the basic ideological and sociopolitical conflicts characterizing our century. The Uranian challenge is focused on all that Sagittarius represents in the religious, social, and philosophical spheres. It was the time when Planck's quantum theory upset the foundations of physics, and Freud did the same in the field of psychology. The Victorian era ended in 1901. The Dreyfus affair disrupted the unity of the French people, challenging the integrity of the judicial and military systems and opening a period of conflict between the State and the Church. Germany began to build a powerful Navy, thus challenging the foundations of England's power. The Spanish-American War started, at least partially stirred up by William Randolph Hearst and his newspapers catering to sensationalism, as Uranus (with Saturn close by) was entering Sagittarius. Uranus was at Sagittarius 13°6' on the degree of the Ascendant of the U.S. chart when President McKinley was shot on September 14, 1901 — one of many justifications for this rising degree. Theodore Roosevelt's powerful and aggressive administration began a new phase in the development of the collective consciousness of the American people.

When Uranus entered Capricorn in 1905 the Panama Canal was purchased and the Russo-Japanese War had just begun, which drew America's attention toward the Pacific and led to President Roosevelt's mediation role at the peace table, a role which deeply angered the Japanese. The great San Francisco earthquake and fire occurred in 1906. New forces began to play in the artistic world bringing a challenge to traditional styles and institutions (Cubism with Picasso, the orientalistic influence of Diaghilev's Russian Ballets, etc.). A considerable ferment operated throughout Europe underneath a glowing facade of prestigious culture. Germany was increasing her challenges to England and France. The abortive 1905 revolution in Russia heralded the future upheaval.

The entrance of Uranus into Aquarius during the winter of 1912 marked the beginning of the process which led to World War I. The first Balkan War began in the fall of 1912, having been preceded by a war between Italy and Turkey. The summer of 1914 saw the beginning of World War I, as Saturn was moving through the seventh House (the Allies) of the U.S. chart. If Aquarius is the sign of "reforms," the passage of Uranus through it during the entire war suggests how a Uranus transit may operate. The war represented a special type of approach to the reform of mankind, especially in the Western world. The Bolshevik Revolution occurred in November 1917. Individuals born during the war carry therefore the astrological signature of Uranus in Aquarius. After coming of age they had to face the challenge of World War II.

Uranus was in Pisces between 1919-20 and the spring of 1927; this period saw the Jazz Age, the Prohibition era, the financial boom. In Germany and Central Europe these were tragic years. Soviet Russia struggled in the midst of radical social reforms and famine, and suffered the hostility of the capitalistic "Allies." Many American intellectuals emigrated to Western Europe, where Dadism, Surrealism, and German Expressionism captivated an intelligentsia tragically aware of cultural disintegration and of the end of a cycle (Pisces).

The coming of Uranus to Aries in 1927 did not improve matters, at least outwardly. It led, first in Europe, then in the U.S., to the great Depression. But Uranus was still in Aries when Franklin D. Roosevelt came to power and stemmed the debacle of capitalism, for which the wealthy (strangely enough) came to hate him. Nevertheless he transformed the U.S. government and, through a strong income tax, many of the ways of American life. The power of American universities and of educational or religious foundations, most often managed by professors or powerful business men, brought a deep-seated change in the cultural life of America — a change whose character and scope is not sufficiently appreciated, and its value assessed. Technology and the transformation of all concepts related to management made rapid progress.

The period outlined by the passage of Uranus through Taurus (1935-1942) constituted the prelude to World War II and the rise of Mussolini, Hitler, and the Japanese military. The Western world struggled to emerge from the Depresssion and unemployment, and Taurean problems of productivity occupied much of humanity's attention. The war actually began with Italy's aggression against Ethiopia, the Spanish Civil War, and Japan's invasion of China in 1936. The uranium atom was split in 1939, and the first controlled atomic reaction occurred on December 2, 1942 after Uranus had reached Gemini in June of that year. Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941) occurred as Uranus, still in Taurus, had reached the star Alcyone in the Pleiades, a star which ancient star-lore believed to be the center around which our solar system revolves — perhaps now an obsolete center for a humanity having reached a global awareness of all its component parts through the crucible of global tragedy!

The Gemini transit lasted until the summer of 1949. We have already seen that Uranus reached its North Node at the time of the first atomic bomb explosion. After that date the possibility of using atomic power dominates the world-stage, together with the remarkable rise of Soviet Russia as a great world power able to challenge the United States. The protesting youth of the sixties, not only in America but all over the world, was born with Uranus in Taurus and Gemini; some of their older inspirers having responded to the transforming challenge of Uranus in Aries (1927-35). Uranus in spring zodiacal signs tends to generate a restlessness eager for action.

As a new generation, born with Uranus in Cancer (from 1949 to 1955-56), comes to maturity, the urge to transform the deepest patterns of ego-consciousness and to develop an awareness beyond the range of the ego-controlled mind is gaining more and more momentum; thus the fascination exerted by Asiatic techniques like yoga, Zen, and Tibetan meditation — and also by all forms of parapsychology, psychic healing, clairvoyance, and astral travel.

Uranus was in Leo until 1962, and present-day teenagers had such a configuration at birth. Many of them will presumably be important leaders at the time of the worldwide crisis anticipated just before and after 1990, when they will begin their dynamic twenties. The children born with the massive conjunctions of planets in Aquarius during February 1962 still had Uranus retrograde in Leo, conjunct the regal star, Regulus. They may play a particularly significant role. So also the younger ones born at the time of the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in Virgo in 1965-66 — a very intense period in which to be born! They will be twenty-five in 1990, thirty-five when the new century begins. Yet the basic impulse may be given by individuals born as Uranus crossed Taurus and Gemini.

As we deal with the slow-moving, trans-Saturnian planets in individuals' charts, we should most specifically pay attention to their positions in the natal Houses, then to the time when they cross the four Angles and the Sun and the Moon of the natal chart. The transit of Uranus over the natal Sun of a person, in nearly all cases, indicates quite a basic change in his or her life pattern and/or consciousness, though such a change evidently can take an immense variety of forms. Some of these are clearly positive and inspiring; others at first will seem negative if they bring challenges which at least appear premature and too difficult for the individual to meet. In other instances it is the transit over the Ascendant or the Moon which focuses the most basic opportunity for life transformation.

The Houses in which Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are located indicate the category of experiences which are most susceptible to become channels for the transformation of the Saturn-controlled and Sun-fascinated personality into an open vase able to absorb galactic values and inspiration. Everything in a birth chart tells us what is best for us. It reveals what are the optimal conditions for using the functions symbolized by the planets (always including the Sun and the Moon) in the performance of our dharma our "truth-of-being" and our destiny. Such a performance might result in what we normally consider as tensions, harsh confrontations, illnesses, or the loss of what we had emotionally valued; but the human way, when illumined however faintly by the spiritual light of galactic consciousness, is one that requires of those who consciously tread it the courage and the readiness to learn how to absorb and assimilate, then transmute and transfigure, suffering and tragedy. It is the way of incarnation of the divine Idea in the resistant and dark materials, the remains of the unfinished business of past cycles.(7)

7. For a study of the general meaning of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto in natal Houses, see The Astrological Houses.


The Sun is Also a Star