It’s been a long time. Neptune was discovered on September 23, 1846 and as it takes 165 years to go around the Sun, it is only recently that it has returned to its discovery position, which was 26 degrees Aquarius. One year after its discovery Neptune entered the sign it was later to have rulership over… Pisces. We have just experienced a Neptune birthday, and on April 4, 2011 this enormous planet will enter Pisces once again. This is going to be quite an event.The discovery of Neptune coincided with worldwide social upheaval, which was mostly peaceful. In 1848 the Communist Manifesto was published, which was a response to the inhuman conditions in expanding cities where new factories were sprouting as a result of steam power and industrialization. This was the period when Charles Dickens wrote his novels of social realism, and social democratic demonstrations shook the capitals of Europe. This was also a time when painters like Renoir, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Monet made their impressionist paintings, expanding the world of fantasy and imagination. On the scientific front Darwin’s theory of evolution completely undermined Christian tradition. The first photographs were taken, ultimately leading to the coming world of the movies. Anesthetics were used for the first time in hospitals. Opium became a socially acceptable drug. The accepted reality of the day was undermined and new spiritual, emotional and political realities took form.

Here in 2010 we can now document the movement of Neptune through each of the twelve signs, and await a new spiral of Neptunian evolution. The function of Neptune is to expand our experience of so-called reality by introducing new dimensions of consciousness. It is a unifying force, making us aware that we are all in the same evolutionary boat. Neptune reveals the illusion of generally accepted truths. What we think of as truth is in the last analysis a relative concept. Whatever personal truth you hang on to as a buffer against reality, Neptune is happy to dissolve it. Awareness of the human condition, which for a large part is suffering, and an identification with fellow sufferers, gives the potential for the awakening of compassion, which is the spiritual enrichment that Neptune offers.

The collective influence of Neptune can especially be traced in the dominant media and myths of the time. Neptune in Libra showed the idealization of Hollywood romance, and the reality of the dissolution of the iconic relationships of celebrities. Neptune in Scorpio was free love (meaning free sex) and the drug scene of the 1960’s. Neptune in Sagittarius was the Star Wars period culminating in film star President Ronald Reagan’s dream of a space-based missile system. Neptune in Capricorn was Wall Street and the idealization of greed. And the recent transit of Neptune through Aquarius from January 1998 to April 2011 has coincided rather nicely with the ban on smoking in public buildings (who would have thought that possible?), the surge of the internet, all those Facebook friends, the democratization of the cinema through YouTube, Dot Com crashes and DreamWorks, aided and abetted of course by Uranus in Pisces, which for much of this period has been in reception with Neptune.

But the tone of the world is about to change, and it will change because of social unrest, which is the inevitable result of the draconic restrictions that must be imposed by governments trying to weather the meltdown of capitalism. For that is what the transit of Pluto through Capricorn represents, and when Pluto finally enters Aquarius in 2024, there will be little that remains of the autocratic structures that are currently being put in place to safeguard the banks and corporations whose survival is currently threatened.

There were 180 million unemployed people around the globe at the time the Great Recession started (which was when Pluto came into Capricorn in 2008); this figure has increased by 30 million in the last two years, the largest increase being in the United States. (Note 1) Youth unemployment in Spain has doubled to almost 40%. Workers in Europe are accepting pay freezes and pay cuts. With the replication of the Uranus/Pluto square from the 1930’s – but this time with Pluto in business-Capricorn, rather than nationalistic-Cancer – this recession is just about to bite. Any recovery will be excruciatingly slow, and it will be largely jobless. The loss of jobs in the US means that people are getting evicted from their homes, some to live in their cars, and when they cannot pay for the cars, then in tent cities springing up all over the country.

That is why Neptune is needed in Pisces. Forget the dreams of billionaire fortunes made by internet startups and social networking sites; what is needed now is universal concern for the millions of economically displaced people who have to resort to state handouts and charity. You could become one of them. The awareness of the suffering of the underprivileged has scarcely begun. What we will see over the next few years is the extreme polarization of right-wing solutions, which is part of the Uranus/Pluto effect in Aries/Capricorn, in contrast with left wing solutions, reflected by the Pluto/Neptune sextile from Capricorn to Pisces.

This process will take place in stages, with initial awareness and concern as Neptune dips its toe in the Piscean ocean on April 4, 2011, retreating to Aquarius again from August 5, 2011 to February 3, 2012, after which time there will be 13 straight years with Neptune in Pisces. Early in this period there will be good governance reflected by Saturn in Libra, which can be characterized as the time of President Obama.

It is when Saturn moves into Scorpio, in reception with Pluto in Capricorn and trining Neptune, that things get interesting. This combination is a strong counterpoint to the survivalist dictates of the Uranus/Pluto square, and shows a serious mobilization of state compassion. Generally this will coincide with left-leaning governments worldwide, though there could just as well be right-wing quasi-dictatorships. It is worth remembering that the year Neptune entered Pisces for the first time – 1847 – the Communist Manifesto was published with the memorable words “Workers of the world, unite!”

2013 is the year when the Saturn>Pluto>Neptune pattern really kicks in. Saturn enters Scorpio immediately trining Neptune, goes on to sextile Pluto then retrogrades to make a long trine to Neptune in June, July and August 2013.

The intersections in the above graph show the aspects between Pluto/Neptune/Saturn

The Saturn/Pluto sextile is tough love. The need for a transformation of existing state, business and banking structures will be strong, but nobody is going to use democratic methods to ask anybody for their point of view. This is emergency surgery, performed by powerful rulers through secretive and autocratic methods. Taxes will be ruthlessly imposed with a view to alleviate the social disasters of the time. There will be corruption and the rooting out of corruption. Industry barons will do all within their power to maintain their advantages at this time through strong links to government. But they will also be moved to reach out to the disadvantaged to alleviate their suffering, if only to burnish their image.

It is difficult for us to imagine at this stage the plight that society will find itself in. To give an example: On the exact day when Chiron, which is after all a very minor planetary body, moved into Pisces, the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded, leading to the biggest pollution disaster in American history. The oil poured out of an open wound in the ocean floor for many months and – in true Chiron fashion – could not be healed. There is a strong likelihood that the entry of Neptune into Pisces will have even more far-reaching consequences. No doubt this will bring a very strong focus on nature and the environment in the coming decade, but it will be the social conditions of the human family that will take precedence. Neptune’s arrival in Pisces can also bring fears of epidemics (note 2) but in the long run this influence is sure to bring wonderful advances in medicine, just as the last transit through Pisces brought chloroform and the wonders of anesthetics, as well as the first collective health schemes.

The transit of Neptune through Pisces will see the beginning of the ascendancy of Africa. In fact it was when Neptune entered Pisces in 1847 that the first African colony gained independence, when slaves freed in America returned to Africa and declared Liberia an independent country. Slaves liberated an enslaved land. It is likely that the growing worldwide food shortages can be alleviated by more effective farming in Africa, which currently is very inefficiently cultivated, and the riches found in agricultural, mineral and oil reserves will finally bring prosperity.

The sensitivity of nations to food shortages will probable be one of the major sources of unrest in the developing world in the coming period. Here in 2010 drought and fires in Russia have led to a ban on wheat exports and prices worldwide have risen over 60% leading in turn to the danger of food riots in countries that traditionally import a lot of wheat, like Egypt. Back in 1847 there was famine in Europe, and over the next 13 years two million immigrants arrived in New York… over a million being Irish. (Note 3)

In response to shortages, harvesting the sea will also be undertaken on a vast scale in this period, and with mass production of factory fish, a much greater awareness of the ecological downsides of the process will dawn, leading to more humane standards for fish. Extraction of oil from the ocean will play an even greater role, and as a shortage of oil begins to threaten the smooth functioning of industry, vast undersea reserves will be exploited in previously pristine environments around Greenland and in the Arctic.

Neptune in Pisces will bring a global focus on the suffering of humanity and a corresponding urge to alleviate this suffering through social change. The social upheaval that shook Europe from 1848 – 1850, as the Communist Manifesto was translated into every European language, resulted in a revolution in Czechoslovakia (successfully suppressed), in Austria (suppressed but serfdom abolished and emperor abdicates), Budapest, Berlin, Milan and Rome, Ireland and Britain (the Chartist movement). In France students and workers seized Paris, and a new French Republic was proclaimed. Thousands of workers died as the French military put down the revolt. France was the European country most marked by the entry of Neptune into Pisces, and the 1848 revolution led to the abandonment of the monarchy and the establishment of the Second Republic, founded with a Sun/Neptune conjunction in Pisces. (It did not last long).

Neptune’s influence in a sign is not necessarily as drastic as that of Uranus or Pluto, but it reaches deep and subtly alters everything. For example it was after Neptune entered Capricorn that the Iron Curtain was torn down and the Berlin Wall fell. This was the beginning of a new political order in Russia (and the world) which initially caused immense hardship for the people. But there was euphoria too for those who felt liberated from decades of repression. When Neptune entered Aquarius in January 1998 (which it did simultaneously with Bill Clinton saying those famous words: “I never had sexual relations with that woman” – the biggest and funniest media lie ever) it was the time when the world was bewitched by the virtual world, and dot com millionaires made their fortune. We all relocated to cyberspace and people dematerialized to reappear as ghostly presences on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the rest. A global unification was created, but digital revolution also created the web of financial structures that brought financial chaos and dissolution.

Neptune in Pisces will bring a need for spiritual content. Not the digital psychics and clairvoyants who have thrived with Uranus in Pisces, but for compassion-centered altruism. People will withdraw from the small comfort of a Facebook universe – sell your shares now (it’s a bubble) – and seek privacy and seclusion. Suffering will be too real for dabblers in spirituality, and true solidarity will be found in helping people who are in situations where – but for the grace of God – you could find yourself.

Adrian Ross Duncan September 17, 2010.

1. The Guardian Weekly September 10th, 2010. (Larry Elliot – “When austerity is not enough”)

2. When Neptune entered Pisces in 1847 15,000 people died in a flu epidemic in London. There was also a serious economic depression in England at the time.

3. “The People’s Chronology” pp 446. James Trager 1979.