Monday, October 4, 2021

The road to Glasgow amid confusing Neptune-Pluto times


It’s no secret that the global community is severely challenged these days by the dual crises of COVID and climate change—crises that will likely come to define our times once we have the luxury of hindsight.  

Not surprisingly, from the perspective of mundane astrology, these crises are intimately related to each other and to so much else that’s been difficult to navigate in U.S. and international politics lately.  

Yes, the cosmic clout of both Neptune and Pluto have been on full display with this global malaise, and unfortunately, things could get worse before they get better because the outcomes Humanity needs to see right now depend upon how well we mere humans can cooperate and collaborate on Neptune-Pluto's broad collective level. And upon how focused we can remain on the urgent goals agreed to in the 2016 Paris Agreement, especially, "to continue to accelerate immediate action and promote higher ambition to collectively strive for the 1.5 °C temperature goal and a climate-neutral and resilient world.” 

Given that global energy consumption statistics seem to be moving in the wrong direction relative to that goal at the moment, it’s no wonder that the Glasgow COP26 Climate Change Conference convening at the end of this month is so highly anticipated. Thankfully, Biden demonstrated his willingness to get fully behind the ambitious Paris goals that will be in focus at this conference by convening a virtual international meeting in the White House this past September. From the New York Times: 

“President Biden on Friday announced that the United States and Europe have pledged to work to cut global methane emissions by a third in the coming decade and urged other nations to join their effort to curb a potent greenhouse gas that is warming the planet. 

In a virtual meeting hosted by the White House that included nine heads of state, the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and ministers from a handful of other countries, Mr. Biden called the methane target an ‘ambitious but realistic goal’ that the United States will help developing countries meet.” 

Gases (Methane is a particularly destructive one) are ruled by Neptune, which could explain why progress in this area has been so elusive in the past and could remain so, despite Biden’s best intentions. On September 21st when his meeting attendees pledged this action, all the outer planets were retrograde, with Jupiter semi-sextile both Neptune (Aquarius-Pisces) and Pluto (Aquarius-Capricorn), and Saturn square Uranus (Aquarius-Taurus). The probability of “do-overs” and undermined agendas looks pretty high here.  

Outside the Glasgow Conference site.

Notice that the Jupiter-Neptune cycle is in its waning balsamic phase (less than 45° degrees to go before launching anew) and the Jupiter-Pluto cycle is just cranking into forward (waxing) gear (a new cycle launched in April 2020). This may not seem important, considering both aspects are semi-sextiles, but there could be a world of difference in how each aspect manifests down the road. Jupiter-Neptune would be more attuned to employing technology and mass action (Jupiter's in Aquarius and this waning cycle also launched in 2009 in Aquarius) for the sake of climate change goals; Jupiter-Pluto (the new cycle just launched in Capricorn) is likely, as always, to be more focused on making sure corporate moguls and other power players have their say and sacrifice very little, if anything.  

So will the Ford Motor Co.’s ambitious plans for an electric-powered F150 pick-up truck spur on other automakers and produce the clean energy jobs (for the batteries, in traditional coal states Tennessee and Kentucky) Biden hopes for? Will those states finally let go of coal and move on? Or will coal somehow find its way into the production process (say, from all those coal-fired plants that both states rely on). Time will tell—this is a dramatic fossil-fuel “weaning” process playing out across the globe. 

All that retrograde energy on high has certainly undermined forward movement in other areas, especially in any pandemic, and thus labor-sensitive systems. Global supply chains and transportation systems, especially those depending upon sea-faring and airline workers, have been seriously impacted.  From Forbes, Inc.: 

“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so the saying goes. When it comes to the current state of the global supply chain, weakness is everywhere. Massive dislocations are present in the container market, shipping routes, ports, air cargo, trucking lines, railways and even warehouses. The result has created shortages of key manufacturing components, order backlogs, delivery delays and a spike in transportation costs and consumer prices. Unless the situation is resolved soon, the consequences for the global economy may be dire.” 

We’re told to expect a very strange, dragged-out Holiday season for this reason, which we know will rattle the retail industry, but from the perspective of climate change goals, that might be the least of our problems. It’s difficult to promote long-term goals that demand sacrifice from individual nations (some more willing and capable than others) when short-term chaos reigns. Yet, climate change will wait for no one, and the damage being done every day we postpone serious substantive action threatens to push global warming past the point of no return, demanding all the more sacrifice.  So bottom line, yes, we have to be able to walk and chew gum (so-to-speak), at the same time. Sounds about right for Neptune and Pluto—Saturn's a sweetheart compared to these two!  

It is the business of Neptune and Pluto to lend a cosmic, border-transcending perspective to humanity’s worldview. They remind us that life does not begin or end with our pitifully small physical existence on this planet, much less the small bit of political turf we occupy on it, and that we are enmeshed in a tapestry of cosmic energies that challenges the imagination. The world doesn’t always look too friendly from this transcendent perspective, however: systems that ensure justice and human rights and fulfill many basic human needs are driven by the more social planets, Jupiter and Saturn (and to some extent, Uranus).  

Pluto is more about the perpetuation of the genetic stuff of Life than about the well-being of individual lives; it rules not just those basic building blocks of Life, but the transformative processes of both birth and death as well, and it’s remarkably unconcerned about which happens when and to whom. Pair that with Neptune’s tendency to erode, inundate and overwhelm structures, including those between Self and non-Self, and we can see just how impersonal and even a-moral (in Jupiter-Saturn terms) this duo can be.  

Other outer planets cover disasters and social change; Neptune and Pluto operate on the level of catastrophe, as seen in Humanity’s 4.8 million  COVID death toll to date and the devastation that climate change is wreaking on vulnerable regions worldwide.  

Certainly related (a bit too opportunistically), too many of the world’s democracies, which rely heavily on Saturnian systems of checks and balances, are faced today with assaults from multiple directions that have Neptune’s and Pluto’s fingerprints all over them. Such as deliberately produced structural and institutional erosion that basically allows toxic players with deep pockets and plutocratic ambitions to throw power dynamics out of balance. We’ve seen this in the U.S. and we see it even more troublingly in regions where outside corporate control over natural resources has, in the face of destructive climate change, become a matter of life and death, often forcing desperate and destabilizing mass migrations (Neptune).  

The players who are most invested in that Neptune-Pluto level of control of resources—resources such as oil, natural gas and water, gifted to us by the Earth’s long-term geological processes and ruled by these planets--have been actively working through trade agreements and global organizations to disable and subvert any restrictive government regulations. Such players include those engaged in toxic levels of resource extraction and those who want to privatize the world’s water as a commodity, rather than respecting it as a human right that must be managed for the sake of people, not profits.  

Corporations may give lip service to mitigating climate change (some few have actually put their money where their mouths are, thankfully), but how much cooperation and restraint can we really expect from a bottom line-driven, transnational corporate culture that often basically answers to no one? 

Pluto’s tour through Capricorn has been especially focused on such control of the planet’s resources and the corporatization of governments as a means of avoiding taxation and/or regulations. During this same 2009-ongoing-to-2023 Capricorn period, Neptune spent a couple years finishing out its eventful tour of Aquarius (seven years of it in mutual reception with a Pisces Uranus) and then moving on into its ruling sign Pisces, where it has strongly enabled the plutocratic ambitions described above—a situation that will hopefully not get worse when Jupiter and Neptune begin their new cycle in late Pisces next year.  

Neptune has been especially adept at stimulating and perpetrating vitriolic divisiveness, especially on “viral” social media platforms, platforms where the public can be distracted by a blend of toxic misinformation and conspiracy-laced intimidation from noticing the power dynamics playing out on less visible, collective levels; unless it can be tempered through actions on the more social level (vaccination campaigns, for instance), Pluto tends to play along, burying the bodies, ignoring, if not trampling human rights and consolidating wealth and power in ever-fewer hands. Clearly, the unleashed energies of Neptune and Pluto have been busy transforming our lives and geopolitics on all levels, and it’s difficult to see from today’s perspective whether we’re slouching toward Neptunian Utopia or Plutonian Dystopia—my guess is, we're headed toward some blend of both.       


Yep, folks...budgies named "Neptune" & "Pluto!"
How Neptune-Pluto dynamics unfold in society                

Societies are clearly faced with a long list of challenges these days, and IMHO, we should probably wonder whose interests are being served by keeping us in chaos. For instance, why did Facebook make the calculated decision to cover-up its own research into the real harm its platform does to young people, to those seeking truthful information about COVID vaccines, and so on? Maybe it’s enough to know that Facebook was launched on February 4, 2004, with Uranus and Neptune in mutual reception (Pisces-Aquarius) and bracketing the Aquarius Sun that day (Chart 1 below).  


Chart 1. Facebook launch. February 4, 2004, 12:00 p.m. ST (no time known), Cambridge, MA. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software. 

Also key is that Venus-opposite-Jupiter Rx (Pisces-Virgo) t-squared regulations-averse Sagittarius Pluto, suggesting that this entrepreneurial effort became the corporate golden child it has been by avoiding regulations and oversight at all cost and just “going with the flow,” no matter who got hurt in the process (a dynamic reinforced by a weak Cancer Saturn-Pisces Uranus trine). They should get some credit for banning Trump and others perpetrating his Big Lie about Election 2020 and perhaps even inciting the kind of violence we saw on January 6th, but isn’t that the least that should be expected from such an influential platform? 

According to today’s Brookings Brief, Facebook has its eyes on recreating itself as a “metaverse” that will effectively transcend accountability well into the future:  

“Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told listeners to his July 2021 quarterly earnings call that ‘I expect people will transition from seeing us as a social-media company to seeing us as a metaverse company.’ A few weeks later, the business plan had morphed into a political plan and the Washington Post headlined, ‘How Facebook’s ‘metaverse’ became a political strategy in Washington.’ ‘[T]he metaverse is already a full-on political push,’ the article explained, with the goal to position the company “far from the controversies of social media”, such as privacy, antitrust, content moderation, and political extremism. 

But Zuckerberg is wrong. Far from pushing today’s online problems off the front page, the metaverse heightens our challenges. Issues such as personal privacy, marketplace competition, and misinformation only become greater challenges in the metaverse due to the interconnectedness of that phenomenon. Rather than being distracted by the shiny new bauble, policymakers need to focus on the underlying problems of the digital revolution, which won’t go away with new technological developments.” 

This came into even sharper focus today, when Facebook’s network (which includes Instagram and WhatsApp and other products) was brought down by a DNS failure at the same time its lack of accountability was blowing up as an issue, thanks to a whistleblower’s actions. Thankfully for those who rely heavily on these apps and network, the shutdown was fixed within the day, but the outage left a deep impression and caused concern on the stock market.

The digital revolution, of course, developed over a long stretch of time, going back to post-WWII technology advances like the transistor, but this so-called revolution was given a strong boost into the postmodern age by the 2003-2010 Uranus-Neptune mutual reception (Pisces-Aquarius) that powerfully amplified the new phase of the 1993 Capricorn Uranus-Neptune cycle. Importantly, this cycle remains in its opening quarter today; the opening square of any outer planetary cycle is focused on aggressively pursuing the seed agenda of that cycle, and the broad collective cycles are no exception.  

That impactful 1993 Uranus-Neptune cycle is unfolding within the embrace of the even longer Neptune-Pluto cycle, of course, and certainly with its input. Even with Neptune-Pluto's glacial pace, however (the current cycle won’t reach its waxing 1Q square point till 2067, with Neptune fairly new in Cancer and Pluto likewise in Aries), we underestimate its all-consuming influence at our peril.  

The Facebook (Chart 1) example above illustrates an important point about that cycle, in fact, that Neptune and Pluto need not form any major aspects to each other to operate as impactfully as they do in our societies—quite the contrary, through their interactions with the remaining outer planets and with other sensitive points they transit, their dynamics are effectively “downloaded” and put to work influencing our everyday lives. Neptune is now transiting near Facebook’s radix Venus (Pisces), so triggering that potentially chaotic mutable t-square and undermining the company’s prosperity and growth. This, combined with Uranus’s transit of Facebook’s radix No. Node, with Saturn transiting near its radix Neptune, t-square that nodal axis, probably explains the  network failure--shocking, even if it didn't last too long. Saturn transiting radix Neptune could signal malevolent actors, however that possibility has been dismissed by the company at this point.  

As all-consuming as it is, Facebook’s current malaise can probably be understood as a sign of our slippery Neptune-Pluto times, although IMHO, its ubiquity shouldn't blind us to the damage it can do, or convince us to accept that damage as merely the price we pay for its convenience. Even this relatively un-critical issue, however, signals how impenetrable the Neptune-Pluto cycle can seem as we try to move forward effectively with key global priorities like climate change mitigation. 

Happily, the energies and influence of Neptune and Pluto can be grasped more clearly by adopting a historical perspective, and for that reason, the next post here will examine their influence in modern times (especially in the U.S.), as seen through the lens of their 1891 cycle launch at 8°+Gemini. We’ll consider that chart and a number of other charts that are related and woven into the 20th century narrative that flowed from that cycle launch. It’s a more intriguing story than you might guess.  

Meanwhile, take care and be safe and well! 



Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. For information about individual chart readings, contact: 

© Raye Robertson 2021. All rights reserved.