In 1846 a new gas was all the rage amongst doctors and dentists in Europe and America. Oddly enough this gas had been synthesized as long ago as 1275 and later by Paracelsus in the 16th century, but it was in the late 1840’s that its anesthetic properties were discovered and used in medical procedures. On December 19th 1846 the first recorded use of ether in an operation in Britain took place, just three months after the discovery of Neptune. (Note 1) The meaning of ether is “heavenly”.

The discovery of Neptune was synchronistic with revolutionary changes in care in a newly industrialized Europe, and anesthetics were a part of a revolution in drug use which has saved millions of lives in subsequent years. Just as the discovery of Uranus on March 13th 1781 saw the first man-made flight (in a balloon) and the consequent expansion of human consciousness into new territory, not least through the telescope and the microscope, Neptune seemed to awaken qualities of empathy and compassion, which expressed itself in a new socialism and sense of responsibility for the masses. Neptune gave rise to a new sense of emotional connection which was a unifying force for a humanity whose population had started to exponentially increase.

This sense of emotional connection is what touches our hearts today when we see examples of human suffering… a kind of involuntary tug at the heart which makes us want to help. With the arrival of Neptune in Pisces back in April 2011 – the first time since April 1847 – this trend has been awakened once again, magnified a hundred fold by worldwide media coverage. Once again humanity will be moved to take action to help those in need. This is a trend that will be pronounced until 2025, when Neptune leaves Pisces.

Where Neptune is in the horoscope, there is always sorrow. The spiritual rewards of Neptune come with the acceptance of universal forces beyond our control, with personal surrender, with a sense of identification with all other human beings who have been suffering since time immemorial. Behind sorrow lies compassion, the unifying force that unites humanity.

The motivation behind socialists like Marx and Engels – the Communist Manifesto was written two years after the discovery of Neptune – was to create equality for an exploding population that was being cruelly exploited by a hereditary elite. Welfare, trade unions and hospitals sprang up during the course of the 19th century to help the underprivileged. Today, with the financial crisis and the extraordinary disparity between the incomes of the rich and the poor, not least in the USA, there will be similar moves to redistribute income in a more humane way. (Note 4)

But the arrival of Neptune in Pisces also once again puts the focus on gas – but currently it is not the heavenly benefits of ether, but the hellish suffering of sarin gas, which has hit the headlines as a feature of the Syrian civil war. On the night of August 21st sarin-filled rockets were fired, almost certainly from the hilltop military base within Damascus, killing up to 1500 men, women and children in rebel-held areas of the city.

Gas attack Syria: 21st August 2013 2.00 Damascus AS 6.40 CN

The first shells and rockets were fired just after 2.00 a.m. just prior to the full moon, as the Descendant fell on Pluto and square Uranus. Here we can see that Neptune is of course in Pisces, and conjoining Chiron, which can only increase the wounding effect. As dawn arose the Moon entered Pisces. With videos and pictures of dying children massively uploaded onto the net shortly afterwards, the Moon went on to merge with Neptune and the West awoke to the horror of a gas-attack carried out in a major city by Bashir Assad on his own population.

This was not the first use of gas in war. Most famously, it was used in World War 1, first by German forces at Ypres in 1915. (Note 2) In this chart Chiron is also in Pisces along with both Venus and Jupiter, and the moon has just passed the conjunction with Neptune at 27 Cancer. 1000 men were killed in this first use and 5000 injured out of a force of 10,000 in that particular part of the front. The Germans were completely unprepared for the success of the attack and failed to follow up.

Saddam Hussein is responsible for the worst attack in living memory, when fighter jets dropped chemical bombs containing a variety of poison gasses on Halabja killing between 3000 and 5000 civilian Kurds. (Note 3) The United States at the time expressed concern but said it had been some kind of accident, or that Iran may have been responsible, not Iraq. This is interestingly reminiscent of the obviously false Russian claim that Syrian rebels were responsible for the Damascus attack. At that time the US was supplying arms to Iraq and was a sworn enemy of Iran. The horoscope for this attack shows both the sun and moon in Pisces, and Mercury had also just entered Pisces a couple of hours before the attack took place. The moon in Pisces goes on to totally eclipse the sun, and the Moon’s Node is exactly square Chiron.

Gas attack in Iraq. March 16th 1988. 17.00 Halabjah (AS 14 VI)

Seven years later there was a domestic terror attack in the Tokyo subway perpetrated by followers of the religious fanatic Shoko Asahara, the founder of Aum Shinrikyo – a man who declared himself to be an incarnation of Christ and Japan’s only fully enlightened master. In this case Sarin gas was used. Miraculously only thirteen people were killed, although thousands were seriously affected. (Note 4) The chart for this attack also shows the Sun and Mercury in Pisces. Mercury is square Pluto. Saturn is also in Pisces and in square to Jupiter in Sagittarius, perhaps accounting for the religious connection. Note also the Moon in Scorpion conjoining the North Node and exactly trine Mercury in Pisces. The horoscope for this tragedy is extremely powerful with the Neptune/Uranus conjunction of the time exactly on the MC.

The Tokyo subway incident: 20th March 1995. 8.00 a.m. (AS 16.49 TA)

In retrospect, perhaps the most significant consequence of the Damascus atrocity will be the universal international condemnation of the use of gas in warfare. As a result of American and Russian initiatives and the apparent acquiescence of Bashar Assad, it seems that Syria will voluntarily surrender their arsenal of poison gas so that it can be destroyed under UN supervision. The fact that this is a possibility is attested to by the extraordinary grand trine between Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces, which makes a kite form aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. It is a completely unique astrological combination of outer planets, showing a window of opportunity for the control and destruction of weapons of mass destruction. The mutual reception of the Saturn/Pluto sextile and its connection with Neptune in Pisces shows a powerful intent to eliminate gas warfare.

Before considering the success of this effort it is worth looking at the horoscope for Bashar Assad, because of its extraordinary symbolism connected with this particular weapon of mass destruction.

Bashar Assad. September 11th 1965. Time Unknown.

This is a full moon horoscope with the moon in Pisces constellating with Saturn in Pisces opposition the Uranus/Pluto conjunction. As if to emphasize the deadly nature of this constellation, Assad has Mars conjoining Neptune in Scorpio. His Venus in Libra trine Jupiter in Gemini may show him as a well-educated man, who knows how to say what people want to hear, but if a horoscope could ever be used in the International Court of Justice, this reveals a man who believes in the deadly efficacy of poison gas…

Knowing that Syria is motivated to drag out any negotiation process, the international community and the United States in particular want to see action by Assad fast. However the astrological configurations over the next two months show crippling delays. The graph below shows how Mercury enters Scorpio as October begins and goes retrograde at 18 Scorpio conjoining Saturn three times. It nearly reaches the trine to Jupiter, but falls back before perfecting it. This suggests that an agreement is within grasp but fails. Negotiations get bogged down in secret machinations that at first glance seem to go nowhere. Mercury goes direct at two degrees Scorpio, in sextile to Pluto and trine to Neptune three times.

The extraordinary concentration of planets in aspect to the Saturn/Pluto sextile at the time of the November 3rd eclipse however, seems to indicate that the threat of force is extremely powerful. Syria may try every means possible to obscure proceedings, but it really does not look like anybody is giving up. A Mercury/Saturn conjunction in Scorpio may be secretive, but when it takes place three times, something has to be dug up, and something has to happen… it just goes very slowly indeed. Note how Mars in the eclipse chart is in mutual reception with Mercury and in the same degree as the sun and moon. What a powerful eclipse! Considering all the sextiles and trines, good results should ultimately arise, perhaps when Mercury finally trines Jupiter on November 28th.

Eclipse chart: November 3rd 2013. 14.47 Damascus (AS 1.30 AR)

The idea that Obama is weak in not launching a cruise missile attack on Syria for crossing the red line of using gas munitions, will prove to be wrong. Amazing perspectives are unfolding on the international scene, and we may even see a rapprochement of Iran with the US and agreement about a cessation of nuclear weapons there. These are not ordinary times and this is not an ordinary year. Neptune may draw the attention of the world to the horrendous use of gas, but more importantly it awakens universal humanitarian instincts which will become enshrined in new agreements that protect human beings.

Adrian Ross Duncan 20.09.2013

1. Neptune was discovered on 23rd September 1846.
2. The attack took place at 5 p.m. on April 22nd, with Mars in Aries on the Descendant, square Pluto.
3. Here is an eye-witness account of the attack:
“When you hear people shouting the words ‘gas’ or ‘chemicals’ — and you hear those shouts spreading among the people — that is when terror begins to take hold, especially among the children and the women. Your loved ones, your friends, you see them walking and then falling like leaves to the ground. It is a situation that cannot be described — birds began falling from their nests; then other animals, then humans. It was total annihilation. Whoever was able to walk out of the town, left on foot. Whoever had a car, left by car. But whoever had too many children to carry on their shoulders, they stayed in the town and succumbed to the gas.”
4. According to the Economic Policy Institute in the USA top executive pay is – wait for it – 277 times the average workers’ pay. In 1965 it was “only” 20 times.