Date: Fri, 04 Jun 1999 02:44:16 -0600
Subject: Marc E. Jones and Neptune, I
In a small book published shortly before he died, named "How to Live with the Stars. Simple Personal Astrology" (1976), M.E. Jones presents Neptune in the following way:
<<...has been seen to have a basic correspondence to the emergence of the social consciousness of modern humanity in the 1840's. The conception of a sovereignty in the masses, and developing its real genius in an increasingly middle-classed dominance of the industrial society, has suggested the planet's designation as 'Obligation'. This essentially is a sophisticated or truly new age responsibility.>>
He died in 1980. This is how he describes Neptune in Capricorn from 1984 onwards:
<<...a time of special encouragement of more comprehensive international law and more effective rapprochement among interrelated cultural and political groups around the globe. Adjustment to the tendency would mean a growing and worldwide tendency to social and political adroitness in the repair at all points of human group co-operation and economic interchange.>>
later he calls the action of Neptune in progressions and transits "Nascent Responsibility", which he describes as:
<<...the ever being born establishment of new challenge to human life in its worldwide socioeconomic organization. Here 'Obligation' dramatizes modern destiny as bringing men increasingly closely together, sharing mutual concerns for everyday welfare. This, inwardly, is the new social conscience, and outwardly it is uncompromising advancement of group cooperation.>>
This understanding of Neptune was very consistent from his first books, not that he went senile or crazy at the end of his life. It is part of his understanding of Uranus-Neptune-Pluto as <<conditioned capacity for response to community values and group objectives>>.
His most masterful explanation of how this understanding explains the usual "dreams and illusions", etc. associated with Neptune, is in his book on the Sabian Symbols.
I don't want to make this post long. Maybe the best I can do is recommend that astrologers study him. It seems to me that one of the most curious phenomena of American astrological culture is all the recognition this master thinker received, while at the same time not understanding much of what he said, and not integrating it into their astrological thought-process.
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 1999 04:55:22 -0600
This is from "Astrology, How and Why it Works":
"Neptune charts the negative facet of cultural self-realization or the fundamentally impersonal, subjective and conjunctive activity of modern social compulsions. It identifies that point in the horoscope where the individual is under the greatest necessity to do what the group as a whole wishes him to do, or where any extreme of cooperation or allegiance is demanded of him by other people in general.
"These are the native's required relations to the new and interdependent culture, revealing his continuing bondage in varying detail to necessities larger than his comprehension as the price he must pay, whether or no, for any enhancement of his social liberties.
"Thus Neptune, in every chart, describes the situation under which anyone is brought up short most definitely, whenever he fails to respond to the opportunities for this larger mode of being. It indicates the way in which he finds his strength dissipated by the psychological drag of a complicated community organization.
"His social sensibilities may be reassured or confused below the level of consciousness, since Neptune is both negative and subjective, but the whole complex of his personal experience may yet be hampered here by the continual demands of overwhelming realities about him, if he does not make some voluntary contribution to the current community vision.
"The planet disciplines him constantly, to make him creatively aware of group values, and it maps the conditions under which his act-of-self may be given exemption from a necessity to support things which, to him as an individual, may seem inconsequential and unreal simply because of their remoteness.
"Here in consequence is the area of the horoscope where the personality finds itself under its actual obligation to alien ways of action. The self-enslavement, when an individual's general social interest is deficient, may take the form of a substitution which, more often than not, may be a resort to unsocial perversions instead of an enlargement of self-function."
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 1999 05:14:32 -0600
still from "Astrology how and why..."
"Often there will be an employment of artificial compensations in the form of drugs, or other facilities of modern life, as these may be twisted into a false service and final betrayal of self. Psychological escapism, or fantasy as a direct surrender of conscious control over ordinary experience, is shown by the moon on the lower level, since a mere emotional overflow is involved.
"As an adverse effect of the maladjustment indicated here, under Neptune, the conjunctive activity may become a social despair, however, and the person who cannot rise to the full significance of things in a larger society is apt to become anarchist if not mentally unbalanced, with the ultimately destructive tendency to resist rather than utilize the compulsions upon him. Then he tilts against windmills, and becomes a voice of malcontent in every situation.
"An adequate or creative interest in the intricacies of community organization, contrariwise, may awaken an individual to the unfolding potentials of his own equally intricate constitution, especially in the instance of someone who possesses or develops the skills to make an enduring contribution to his day and age.
"Thereupon Neptune charts the higher type of group intuition, the social insight or possibly even prophetic capacity which enables the more competent native to express the race destiny in some measure, and hence to capitalize spectacularly upon his place in the scheme of things."
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2000 16:42:40 -0600
Pluto and Neptune are good examples, in my opinion, of how symbolical and mythological thinking can block astrologers' understanding of these planets, by equating them with the underworld and with "the waters of the unconscious", therefore missing all the socio-economical dimensions of how they operate.
I learned this originally from Marc Edmund Jones, who interprets Neptune
and Pluto from a socio-economic point of view, very sadly ignored by most
The socio-economical dimension of Neptune is something I see and confirm
everyday in my practice, and is a very basic dimension of all aspects of
life of my clients.
This usual way of seeing Neptune ignores the involvement of this planet
with abstraction, economy, and political and cultural issues --unconscious
or not-- which are at the heart of its focality. And please note that I
use the word "missing". I never said "wrong". What is usually described
is the consequence of a very low social conscience characteristic of certain
cultural and economic strata. Neptune is the planet that deals with these
differences of social and economic conscience, which varies greatly among
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 12:17:18 -0600
I think that, generally speaking, astrologers tend to be politically naive, and this is dramatized by the way they normally interpret Neptune (deception, confusion, etc) in isolation of the economical, political, and ideological forces that the person is trying to cope with, or escape from. Neptunian "entanglements" based on unrealistic expectations, projections of guilt, messianic feelings, etc., all can be explained from an inadequate or perverse relationship of the individual with the social and cultural compulsions that either overwhelm him or elude his consciousness.
To many astrologers, socio-economics and cultural diversity doesn't even exist in their interpretations. However, that is one of the most consistent manifestations of Neptune in natal charts, where it shows how a person comes into contact with other cultural or economic realities, either by doing some kind of social work, large-scale governmental planning, scientific and academic abstraction (especially of the social sciences type), or simply by getting emotionally involved with people who are not part of the "familiar" world, i.e., they belong to other social classes or cultures.
With this I am not saying that the usual manifestations ("spirituality", "sublimity", "glamour", "dreams come true", etc) are not there. But I say that such a way of seeing Neptune is very inadequate and incomplete, the manifestation of a historically and politically naive perspective of life, particular of a certain ideology.
It is Neptune what traces how we deal with the diversity of views, values, cultures, morality, socio-economic status, meanings, etc., ... or how we refuse or can't deal with it and take refuge in religious, scientific, academic, or "pop" ideologies (like New-Age-ism), pretending that the world must be whet we want it to be, or what we are able to perceive of it.
The following quote (by Jimm Erickson) may be of help to understand this:
<<Neptune is involved with the level of reality --social or otherwise-- at which simplistic black and white notions break down and become increasingly hazy; Neptune is concerned with long-term, abstract, complex ethics. At best, this leads to a profound understanding of how to harmonize with reality in a consistently beneficial way. Life is terribly complicated, though, and it's hard not to short-circuit the brain with Neptune's insights. At that point, Neptune can become "the great deceiver", a vulnerable zone in which an individual or group can be manipulated through patriotism, moral fervor, or messianic illusion; ethics can then be an excuse for imposing one's own highly debatable or ambiguous morality on everyone, and forbidding any deviance from this illusory unity.
<<When Neptune is thus perverted, the main source of its distortion is the compulsion to "force the issue", to grab at the most gratifying or self-serving ethos and hold on to it no matter what the objections to it might be; such stubborn myopia is a defense mechanism used to beat Neptune at its own game, to screen out all the complexity and moral ambiguity Neptune reveals. This is dangerous; Neptune is best understood as a flow, a development, a continuous interaction and negotiation between the self and the world.>> [Jimm Erickson, "Americal Astrology", June 1989, p.59]
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 14:12:57 -0600
... It is clear that there are many astrologers who are conscious of these political dimensions, especially those doing mundane work. What is lacking (it exists, but is not the general tendency) is a view of Neptune in natal charts which is less focused in the idea of "deception" or "blurred" vision, or mysticism, and is able to face the challenges posed by economical injustice, cultural diversity, all types of alienation, and the inescapable and unsolvable paradoxes of life and of knowledge.
In the quote I gave, Jimm Erickson makes an analysis of the Saturn/Neptune conjunction of 1989. Let me quote just a little bit more:
<<Now, with Saturn conjoining Neptune, the social tendency will be toward structuring the most unrefined and simplistic Neptunian impulses, instituting what is as yet unresolved, and forcing a rigid, unyielding, and myopic reification of selective ethical decisions --giving birth, as it were, to conclusions that are not at all developed.>>
He then relates this to 1953, when the last conjunction had occurred at the peak of McCarthysm, and, in 1989, with the abortion / anti-abortionists war.
But, normally, a majority of astrologers would never think along these lines when interpreting Neptune. Sadly, astrologers tend to see in Neptune only dreams, lies, drugs, other-worldly, out-of-the-body, phantasmal, seeing things through rose-colored glasses, etc., mostly derived from Neptune's association with the "sea", waters, the unconscious, etc.
Take a look at how M.E.Jones see the transit of Neptune over natal Saturn, for example:
<<The native's increasing responsibility for man's welfare channeled in sensitiveness. This means the necessity for common sense or wisdom in furthering the effort for social betterment... If he is able to get acceptance for an intelligence really encompassing some difficulty in crisis, he gains an authority that should have lasting recognition.>> [from "How to Live With the Stars", 1976]
In my personal practice, I see Neptune prominent in the charts of economists and social workers, and especially in cases where the person must deal either with other cultures or with people living in marginality, where social and economic injustice and exploitation tends disintegrate people's personal lives. You can deal with it professionally, or be the victim. There is absolutely nothing having to do with blurred thinking or mystical tendencies. What you see is the result of economics, culture, and history, both at the personal and the social level.
It is said that not only astrologers but everybody lacks political conscience. I'd say it is true, but much more among certain classes within a particular society. Most of us hide behind a self-justificating ideology, of which the usual way of seeing Neptune as "illusions" is an example.
Individual examples of prominent Neptune among serious scientists and deep thinkers abound.
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 15:49:40 -0600
I thought some examples were necessary. Here is a bunch of "fuzzy" and other-worldly Neptunian thinkers. I assume noon GMT. Sketch in quotation marks is from the Britannica:
John Stuart Mill (b.May 20, 1806):
Charles Lyell (b.Nov 14, 1797):
Georg W.F. Hegel (b.Aug.27 1770)
Neil Arsmstrong (b.Aug.5 1930):
Probably most of you haven't heard of Miguel de Unamuno, "educator,
philosopher, and author who had great influence in 20th-century Spain".
He was born Sept. 29, 1864:
<<Unamuno was an early Existentialist
who concerned himself largely with the tension between intellect and emotion,
faith and reason. Man's "hunger for immortality" is, he held, constantly
denied by reason and can only be satisfied by faith, and the resulting
tension results in unceasing agony>>
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 20:22:12 -0600
I remember reading how one astrologer described Neptune by comparing it to the experience of listening to Debussy's "Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune". In Marc Edmund Jones understanding, this is wrong. This is the Moon. His view of Neptune does not seem to cover music or the arts. But this is probably because we are not seeing or understanding the socio-economic perspective of art.
The discovery of Neptune coincided with the rise (=coming to a peak) of romanticism in 19th-century music... As opposed to the classical composers of a previous era, the romantics wanted to express the infinite and the spiritual, and had the freedom to express individual or private feelings, especially of the dramatic, morbid, or tragic type, that composers of an earlier period were not allowed to express. This was because composers were <<free from the obligation to perform and compose for church, city or prince, looking to wide audiences from the increasingly enfranchised middle classes (many capital cities quadrupled their population between 1800 and 1860), gifted musicians were welcome in literary and artistic circles.>> [A.J.B. Hutchings,The Pelican History of Music, Vol. 3, 1968]
How do you think this came about? There was an enormous material expansion, the development of "Empire" economies" that were taking everything they could from their colonies thousands of miles away, by means a very sordid ideology of European or "white" superiority. All this is ruled by Neptune. Musicians were individuals of much wider culture than those of previous ages, but their (romantic) production was not independent of these social and economic factors. It required them, as is the case today.
This said, I think the qualities usually ascribed to Neptune are those of musical romanticism: they are very difficult to name or describe, they are enchanting, they "possess" you, take you out of your everyday reality, touch you with what is inexpressible, etc. The common theme may be that you cease to be you alone and become the music. You are not limited by your body anymore, you become liquid and start to flow, capable of resonating through your environment, through the other, and the other (the music in this case) resonates inside of you.
But it could be that I am not describing Neptune with this. I am describing how Neptune affects me (my Sun, my Venus, my Moon) , Neptune being not the music but the compulsion or urge to go beyond my own limitations and embrace that big "other" through which my universe expands and I am able to fulfill myself, by expanding into the infinite, bathing in the life, the grace, or the faith. I may be doing this through music, or through my voluntary work for those who are in need, or through the highly subtle weavings of my abstract mind. But nothing of this happens in a vacuum. It happens within a very complex social, economic and historical context that makes it possible or impossible.
In other words, there are many, many social/economical/cultural contexts where music and the arts cannot exist or have never been part of the person's experience, and you can still have a very active and creative Neptune producing not rapture or art --which is a luxury for most inhabitants of this planet-- but extremely complicated, unjust, painful, and unsolvable but also sublimely beautiful situations all dealing directly with economics and the value systems of your community.
Date: Sun, 04 May 2003 21:46:45 -0600
NOTE: further material on the social meaning of Neptune can be read in my compilation "Astrology and Politics".