If you hope to fully understand the information age revolution exploding all around you it’s best to take the long view.
UK astrologer Wendy Stacey says the origin for today’s rapid advances in communications, modes of travel and electronic marvels date to the 1890s, when the slow-moving planets Neptune and Pluto were traveling companions in the astrological sign of Gemini.
Astrology is the only discipline that makes a serious stab at explaining where cycles come from and what, in a broader sense, they mean. Over centuries astrologers have focused on finding meaning in the cyclical patterns that unfold as planets in our solar system orbit the sun at varying speeds and distances.
Between the planets measurable geometric angles are continually forming and separating. In every instance, these cycles end and begin again anew when two planets -or any combination of the sun, moon and a planet – come together in the same degree of an astrological sign. Astrologers call this coming together event a conjunction.
The shortest planetary cycle astrologers ponder is the 29-day lunar cycle. The longest is formed by the two outermost planets in the solar system, Neptune and Pluto, which last came together in 1891 and 1892 at seven and eight degrees of Gemini.
In a 2012 article for the Astrological Journal Stacey says this conjunction marks the start of the current cycle and set the scene for the following 492 years. Currently, we’re about 125 years into a cycle that will not end and begin again for another 367 years.
The Wider Picture
She points out that cycles do not operate in isolation. There’s a need to look at the wider context and consider all of the other planetary cycles that are progressing in the heavens at the same time. But Neptune and Pluto and their cycle “provide the backdrop against which all other cycles will unfold,” she says.
“With conjunctions of the outer planets we try to understand what happened or may happen by exploring the combination of these planets’ characteristics coming together and what this could mean for the social, political and economic landscape. We analyze the point of conjunction as the ‘seed’ point, the end of something and the beginning of something else.
“In this case the characteristics of the planets Neptune and Pluto tell us what we can expect, what will develop and what will become important to us. Both planets have to do with the deep unconscious/superconscious of the collective, to an opening up to higher, transcendent, collective ideas and ideals,” she explained.
According to Stacey, with Neptune comes an element of mysticism, an imaginative period. The planet is about alternative reality and fantasy and has a tendency to romanticize and inflate. It rules things we cannot touch, and is elusive, subtle, manipulative and malleable.
“Neptune does not bring interest in what authority is or what tomorrow may bring but rather shows how we can see or experience things in a different way. It is Pluto that brings our attention to what is real, dangerous, sordid and what needs purging – destroying in order for renewal to spring forth.
“Both planets can be overwhelming, superstitious, dark and frightening – they trigger the deep-rooted ills in the collective unconscious. Neptune wants to hold on but Pluto demands to let go. Together they can both be healing but also indicate a time where illusions can become real and where reality becomes indefinable,” she added.
The Naughty Nineties
Those who understand the archetypal symbolism see the Neptune – Pluto dynamic impacting the culture on many levels. For example, the 1890s have been referred to as the Naughty Nineties or the Gay Nineties, and marked the beginning of the end for the era author Mark Twain called the Gilded Age. Twain described the period as glittering on the surface but corrupt underneath. This, Stacey says, “is a very apt Neptune – Pluto description.”
Here’s another: in 1891, Harry Houdini started practicing magic and risking his life. His work was all about escaping (Neptune) death (Pluto). In so doing he brought inventive gimmicks (Gemini) to the public’s attention. Under the influence of this conjunction, film and the motion picture camera were invented and production companies began to create what has become just about everyone’s favorite way to momentarily escape reality.
As the conjunction formed unseen in the night sky, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes murder mysteries captured the public’s imagination and continue to thrive in several iterations to this day. The same can be said about the life work of another pretty good mystery writer, Agatha Christie, who was born with Neptune-Pluto conjoined in the 10th house of her birth chart, which is where astrologers look for insights on the career choices people make.
Stacey says Neptune and Pluto together can bring paranoia, as it did during a short but severe economic depression – The Panic of 1893. Neptune represents heightened imagination and Pluto fear. Bankruptcy of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad caused the public to panic and started a crippling run on the banks.
“Although stock markets had existed for several centuries beforehand, this period saw the inflation of markets and the beginnings of an inflated cash society, the birth of giant multinational conglomerates, such as Coca Cola and General Electric (both started in 1892), and the booming industries of coal and oil to serve the major developing economies of railroads and automobiles.
“Neptune rules gases and liquids in all forms. Pluto is about digging, excavating and drilling under the ground or under the sea. Although drilling for oil had been going on for some time, the Neptune-Pluto conjunction is a marker for when the economic need for such resources stretched so far that oil became a major industry,” she said.
A Horrific Example
A horrific example of the Neptune-Pluto conjunction on steroids can be observed in the birth chart of Adolph Hitler. The Nazi dictator was born with the conjunction of Neptune and Pluto in the area of the birth chart (eighth house) that astrologers identify with death and transformation. The planetary conjunction was unaspected, which means it was not forming a major astrological aspect with any other planet at the time. So there were no moderating factors.
“Hitler’s influence (along with others) saw the manipulation of the masses, the toxic (Neptune) penetration (Pluto) into the psyche of a collective that resulted in the rise of Nazism. Mussolini was born before the Neptune-Pluto conjunction but did have Saturn at seven degrees and his Moon at 9 degrees of Gemini. Both were triggered by the Neptune- Pluto conjunctions at seven and eight degrees of the sign.
“Neptune and Pluto can be said to represent fascism. Neptune wants to connect, to bring people together. Pluto is tyrannical. So we see two men who led the way through much of the 20th century trying to create an idealistic totalitarian unified state. They attempted to achieve this by eradicating what they thought was societal decay – through mass murder. Neptune-Pluto reminds us of this historically significant mass murder, which was predominately organized as death (Pluto) by gas (Neptune),” Stacey said.
The Neptune-Pluto characteristics give us the flavor of what will follow. But what, in hindsight, will dominate the cycle? Stacey believes the actual sign in which the conjunction occurs – in this case Gemini – helps answer this question.
“In a relatively short period of time – before planets in the conjunction have moved on to form their first major stressful alignment – there have been unprecedented historical developments in all things Gemini,” she said.
“Industries ruled by Gemini provide one of the means through which Neptune-Pluto is lived out. Since the conjunction in 1891 and 1892 we have watched areas attributed to this sign flourish. Developments in transportation, with the expansion of the railroads and the automobile industry, both of which are associated with Gemini, have paved the way for an unprecedented way of life for humanity.
“Gemini is about being mobile and short distance travel is now a way of life. Advancements in roads and public transport have now transformed mobility and travel time to such an extent that flying around the world is often considered by many as a commute,” Stacey said.
In the 120 years since the conjunction there has been substantial growth in other Gemini industries, such as export-import, communications and information. And interaction with each other through electronic means and social networking is growing exponentially, she points out.
“These forms of communication have redefined the boundaries of communities as so many form and grow each day on the internet. In a short period of time we’ve gone from landlines and pagers to mobiles where instant messaging around the globe is accessible to billions. Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites have become a way of life for the next generation. And virtual reality (Neptune-Pluto) sites are one of the fastest growing areas on the internet.
“We are living through an information age, all of which can be attributed to the greatest outer planetary cycle of Neptune and Pluto, which last conjoined in the sign of Gemini. One of the biggest concerns we face with such an information age is how we learn to filter the junk from the relevant, valid and valuable information, something that Gemini is not always equipped to do,” she said.
More information on Stacey is available at www.wendystacey.com.