J A N U A R Y 2 0 0 4 F E A T U R E A R T I C L E
by Maya del Mar
[This article will also appear in the February-March issue of the Mountain Astrologer, soon to be on newsstands.Ed.]
Neptune can be all things to all people. It can be whatever we want it to be. Neptune is associated with the imagination, and we can take whatever images draw us from the vast well of images, and fashion them into whatever dream is capturing our fancy. Hollywood is quintessentially Neptunian.
Neptune is idiosyncratic. With Saturn, we are circumscribed by a socially-agreed-upon realitylike the rings of Saturn. With Neptune, we each have our private dreamscapes, inhabited by those images which call to us. Neptune itself is large, gassy, ethereal-looking, mysterious.
Neptune is hard to define in objective terms. Only through the arts, or through personal contemplation, can we get a sense of its ineffable power. It does not act through "normal," everyday, Saturnian channels. In fact, it undermines those channels, to let us know that there is a larger universe beyond Saturn.
Neptune is our peek into that larger universe. It is all-inclusive. Its drive is to let us know that we are all connected. It gives us a restlessness to break our bonds of separation, and to merge with that whole.
Neptune can be very confusing. It includes everything, and is difficult to pin down and define. Only a large and holistic vision can see the unity behind the whole. Neptune gives us access to that extra visionthat unifying vision, in which the sum is always greater than its parts.
The U.S. Neptune has always drawn me, and it is particularly relevant now in the light of our Iraq quagmire, a typically Neptunian situation. We see Neptunes dreams (which are often delusions) caught in Saturns (quite predictable) rings of cause and effect.
The U.S. Neptune is squared very closely by Mars (see chart). Thus U.S. dreams tend to be Martian, heroic, about meeting challenges and coming out on top. Mars is the planet of soldiers, and we often send our military in to fulfill these fantasies. Hollywood and the military are now working very closely together, and this is indeed appropriate for the U.S.
Also, Neptune in square can undermine Mars. Mars is our go-getter energy, and it is direct and physical. Neptune is subtle, works on psychic and spiritual planes, and is non-physical. Mars can be confused by Neptunes grandeur, mystery, and abstractness, and lose its direction.
Neptune is in the ninth house of the U.S. chartthe arena of foreign relations. The worldwide popularity of U.S. movies, music, and popular cultureall Neptunianshow Neptunes power. The U.S. Mars in Gemini also relates to commerce, and commerce spreads U.S. commercial culture throughout the world. Our foreign policy, and our foreign adventures, all smack of Neptune. We delude ourselves that we are going off to "save" a country, while instead we are establishing a power base. This has been much of our history in foreign relations, and now we see it laid out in plain sight in Iraq. Our historic lack of directness and honesty in foreign policy shows Neptunes delusions aggravated by Mars' aggressiveness. This kind of policy leads to confusion, which again is very clear in Iraq.
Neptune as a slow-moving, outer planet, is very powerful. But Pluto moves yet more slowly, and is even more powerful. It gets us down to the absolute nitty-gritty of a being, situation, or circumstance. With Pluto there is no beating around the bush and there are no delusions. It strips us down to the real center, the kernel of life, the atom, the DNA. Pluto rules the seed in the ground, which is a nugget of energy, ready to burst open when conditions are right. Pluto makes us go through the layers of garbage to find the gems buried deeply within it. Parts of us die, as we realize how useless they really are. Eventually, if we are willing to go through the garbage, and accept those deaths, we emerge much stronger, brighter, and purer. We become more authentic.
Pluto is power, and we become aware of our real strengths, independent of the falseand ultimately underminingillusions which may have governed us.
As we can see by the nations behavior, transiting Pluto has been acting strongly in the U.S. chart. It passed over the degree of the U.S. Sagittarius Ascendant during the summer and fall of 2000, when GW Bush was selected as President, as well as during September 2001. Bush himself has Pluto on his Ascendant, and he personifies for us the shadow of the nation, which needs to be dealt with before we can find the jewelswhich are also here. We are all involved in this process. I often think of GW as the scapegoat, the one who is sacrificing for all of us, so that we can see ourselves and our country more clearly.
GW Bush is very closely tied to this U.S. Mars-Neptune square (see chart). Bushs North Node conjoins the U.S. Mars, and his Uranus is close. His progressed Uranus, in fact, exactly conjoins the U.S. Mars. His progressed midheaven conjoins his natal Uranus, and is moving to square the U.S. Neptune (exact in about three years). Bushs progressed Ascendant now squares the U.S. Mars, and is close to a conjunction with the U.S. Neptune.
This whole configurationU.S. Mars-Neptune plus Bushs Uranus-Node-progressed midheaven and progressed ascendantis reeling about now from Plutos transit.
As Pluto is transiting through Sagittarius across the U.S. first house, it has now come to an opposition to the U.S. Mars in Gemini. This opposition will last until September 2005, when Pluto turns direct opposed to Mars. It stations, opposed to Mars, for the months of August and September 2005.
Oppositions indicate confrontations. Here we have the ultimate power of Pluto facing Mars drive to win. This can be a very creative confrontation, IF the ego is held in abeyance, IF the goal is the good of all. If, instead, the drive to power is simply unleashed in its raw state, it can run roughshod over all, and be cruel and brutal. Tremendous opposition can be aroused. We see this happening all the time in war situations.
In March, when Pluto turns retrograde, it has almost reached a square with Neptune, and we will begin to feel that square. Pluto works well with Mars to accomplish, to heal, to kill, and to destroy. It does not work as easily, or as obviously, with mysterious Neptune. Pluto and Neptune can be super-creative, and futuristic, but all the while Neptune is undermining raw power, slowly but surely. At the same time Pluto is adding power and determination to Neptunes visionary qualities.
Plutos square of Neptune lasts from next March 2004 through December 2005. In 2006 and 2007, Pluto squares U.S. progressed Neptune to finish the plutonizing of the U.S. Neptune-Mars square. This means that the basic nature of that square is exposed. We can, then, go on and develop the positive qualities of it. And we can change the negative expressions so that our actions stop backfiring on us.
Pluto conjoined U.S. Neptune and squared Mars from the end of 1966 through July 1969. The creative output of the nation during that time was tremendous, but underlying everything was the big issuethe Vietnam War. It was obvious that we should never have fought it, and that we were losing, and public protest escalated enormously during those years. At the same time, a graph of military mobilization shows that we increased our military strength greatly during these very same years. President Johnson was defeated by that struggle, and retired a broken man. Many Vietnam vets are still broken.
There was also much civil unrest during that time. The summer of 1967 is known as "the long hot summer" because of it. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated in 1968, while transiting Pluto was squaring U.S. Mars. During those years, the population was restless and frustrated, and distrust of the government, seeded by Kennedys assassination in 1963, blossomed.
Its appropriate that we hear comparisons to Vietnam now.
That 1967-1969 transit, and this 2004-007 transit as well, are historic transits to the U.S. chart. Pluto moves slowly. It started in 1776 in Capricorn, and has never before made an opposition to U.S. Mars. This indicates powerful opposition, indeed. This is also Plutos first square as it leaves that Neptune conjunction of the 60s, which was also a first for Pluto. This is a first quarter, like a first quarter moon, and indicates new growth breaking through to some new ground which was prepared at the conjunction.
Vietnam was the first time that the U.S. people questioned a war, and doubted their leadership. The ground was prepared then, seeds of activism have been growing, and it may well be that a huge groundswell of protest can now change our direction in Iraq. Many transits show that protest and resistance will continue to rise in the U.S. through the coming years. As has been said, there are two powers in the world, the U.S. and The People. The People throughout the world, including in the United States, are speaking out more loudly every day.