On February 19, Neptune and Pluto were exactly septile. This is just one in the current series of septiles between the two planets (beginning in 2001 and ending in 2012). The septile is a 7th-harmonic aspect, which is 1/7 of 360°, or 51°26′. This time, transiting Saturn has also been in a 7th-harmonic aspect with each planet – it is biseptile (103°) to Pluto and triseptile (154°) to Neptune.
What to make of all these crazy numbers?
First, let’s consider the number seven: In mathematical terms, it is an irrational number, i.e., a number that cannot be represented as a simple fraction, a number that is “uncountable.” To the mind of the symbolic thinker, the number is associated with all that is strange and unusual.
To quote an anonymous web author: “If we were to examine every class of occult teaching from the Hindu, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew, or modern school, whichever one may choose, in every case – and without a single exception – we will find that the quality of the number 7 stands for the expression of that mysterious God force in Nature.” (1)
We get a glimpse here of why astrologers associate the septile with larger forces of destiny at work, or fated events.
While trying to get a grasp of the septile aspect, I went back to John Addey (1920 – 1982), a key voice in bringing Pythagorean understanding of numbers into modern astrology. He wrote Harmonics in Astrology in 1976; it is now back in print after many years. He writes that the number seven (and the 7th harmonic) ”is a difficult number to pin down” and “somewhat elusive to interpret.”
I tend to trust him in this matter, as the gentleman had two natal septiles: between Saturn in Virgo (6°) and Mercury in Cancer (14°), and between Jupiter in Leo (15°) and the Sun in Gemini (24°). (2)
More recently, Michael Meyer and Edward Gillam have written extensively and thoughtfully on the topic.
Closer to home, TMA publisher Tem Tarriktar wrote in his 2004 article that it was the “dominant planetary aspect of this decade.” Do read it here, as Tem references the aspects’ previous appearances at significant moments in history. I also mentioned this septile in an earlier article, having been taken with Robert Wilkinson’s name for it: the aspect of “grand irrationality.”
And now, here we are with the aspect partile in the sky again. Almost all of the earlier partile aspects in this series (16 out of the 17 aspects that formed between 2001 and 2008) had Pluto in Sagittarius, and now Pluto is solidly in Capricorn.
Whereas barely a few months ago, media outlets hedged around suggesting any similarity between the current situation and the Great Depression, now, with Pluto firmly ensconced in Capricorn and joined by Saturn, there is a media fixation on the worldwide financial meltdown, and words such as “collapse” and “catastrophe” are part of the daily headlines. In an article called “Soros sees no bottom for world financial ‘collapse,’ ” published on the very day the septile was exact, for example, financier George Soros said, “the world financial system has effectively disintegrated,” adding that “there is yet no prospect of a near-term resolution to the crisis. (3)
This is occurring at the same time that others are anticipating widespread euphoria about the Age of Aquarius: “When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars,” etc. Although Jupiter and Mars have been conjunct in Aquarius many times since 1900, now Mercury, Neptune, Chiron, and the North Node are there as well. This is a moment when the Aquarian capacity to unleash heretofore untapped creative potential for the good of the whole is quickened enormously.
Neptune and Pluto, the higher octave planets, have us feeling as if we’re on a precipice. Joined by Saturn, the feeling is tangible. In many sectors, people are deeply anxious; there is a pervasive fear of what’s ahead. Others are tuning in to the great possibilities and mysteries of an unborn magnificence that our time is about to witness.
Many of us are experiencing both, along with other strange permutations as well!
I’d like to include a heartening interpretation of Neptune septile Pluto (as if it appears in your natal chart) from the book Astrology 101: Beginner’s Guide to Reading Your Chart by Gyan Surya. (4)
“You have a destiny to fulfill as a midwife of the spirit, having the need and ability to transform and transmute the deepest reaches of your being. This is felt as a divine imperative in your life, and despite any personal sacrifice, you never waver from the path. It is your mission, and you realize you are meant to share the fruits of your efforts to assist others with their transformation. You have great insight, compassion, understanding, and imagination, as well as a profound acceptance of and reverence for the cycles of life, death, rebirth, and transformation. You gravitate naturally to the role of the spiritual surgeon, supporting and nurturing while also prodding, testing, and tempering. You are deeply committed to penetrate through illusion and uncover the bare, unvarnished truth. Any work in the area of depth psychology would be ideal for you. You may often be aware of the hand of Spirit guiding your decisions and directing your process of unfoldment.”
Many thanks to my sister, Kate, a very fine astrologer, for suggesting this septile as a topic for a blog. And to my esteemed colleagues and good friends, Tem Tarriktar and Robert Blaschke, for taking time for conversations with me as I tried to formulate my thoughts on such a big idea. Thank you all. This blog is truly a group effort. Yeh Aquarius!
(1) the number seven
(2) John Addey, June 15, 1920; 8:15 am BST; Barnsley, England (53N23, 1W28); birth data: “A”
(3) Reuters article
(4) Astrology 101