“For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it…brave enough to be it.”
Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”
It’s a relatively short cycle at approximately 13 years, but as history shows, when Jupiter and Neptune join forces — especially in water signs — their combined energies can be quite consequential. This will likely be even more true with both of these planets in Pisces, the water sign they co-rule; their combined impact is likely to further destabilize the existing social order and will resonate deeply on multiple levels.
The dynamics of this cycle, even apart from its sign, tend to both light and dark extremes: aspirational, potentially caught up in expansionist and/or charismatic ideologies or religions. Picture a “Big Fish” in a small pond — he’s compelled by his thirst for growth and reproduction to consume the smaller organisms in his path, to explore new horizons and to push his limits to the max. Sometimes he just “lurks” and seizes upon the hapless; passive aggression is a real possibility with both co-rulers in this sign.
In fact, several significant change-producing moments in U.S. history have involved one or both of these planets in Pisces, including: the revolutionary 1766 cycle’s 2Q (1773), with Jupiter-180-Neptune from Pisces-Virgo; the expansionist 1804 cycle’s 1Q (1808), with Jupiter-90-Neptune from Pisces-Sagittarius; the “Gold Rush” 1843 cycle’s 2Q (1849) with Jupiter-180-Neptune from Virgo-Pisces; the pre-Civil War 1856 cycle itself, launching at 18+ Pisces; and the pre-WWII 1932 cycle’s 2Q (1939), with Jupiter-180-Neptune, Pisces-Virgo. (See Footnote #1 for specific dates.)
Each of the periods in history covered by those cycle hits were tumultuous, if not unstable and extreme, in one way or another, but by those parameters, our currently waning 2009 Jupiter-Neptune cycle stands out — because Pisces is co-ruled by Jupiter and Neptune (they will co-habit Pisces for a few months before their actual 2022 cycle launches-see chart below), it naturally wields more influence. All the quarters of this cycle have been deeply impacted by Neptune’s 2011 ingress into Pisces, even though the cycle itself launched conjunct the Sibly Moon at 26+ Aquarius. Most notably, we witnessed the election of our first African-American president, the rise of extremist Tea Party elements in the GOP, built upon by the even more extreme presidency of Donald Trump.
We’re still living with that presidency’s aftermath, of course — the passage of egregious voter suppression laws in response to the “Big Lie” Trump perpetrated about Biden’s 2020 election and the announcement that a new, white-supremacist-leaning “America First Caucus” is forming in Congress only perpetuates radical extremism. (2) All this makes a Jupiter-Neptune cycle launching in pure Pisces during election year 2022 concerning, especially since the challenges before us, to my mind, have so little to do with partisan politics. We’re faced with existential collective imperatives these days, and to respond constructively, transcending or at least setting divisiveness aside will help. Wouldn’t our energies be better spent eradicating Covid, reimagining law enforcement in this nation as the lighter, less destructive force it can be, and turning our attention to the very real challenges of climate change?
The collective reach of Pisces may, indeed, be a saving grace: perhaps under this new cycle, global imperatives will become so intense and compelling that we will finally have no choice but to lay aside petty partisan divisions. “Divide and conquer” has been standard operating procedure during the 2009 cycle; perhaps the Cosmos is telling us that it’s time to unite behind something more worthwhile?
Unfortunately, energies that can be put to such good use on the collective level can find much more troubling uses on other levels. Those who are particularly sensitive to this cycle may lean towards right-brain ways of processing reality, through images, belief and “gut feelings,” avoiding or even denying left-brained provable facts. This isn’t particularly troubling in some realms, like artistic expression, but in fact-dependent concerns, it can be destructive. Under Neptune alone in Pisces, we’ve seen it enable spikes in Opioid addiction, toxic and corrupt distortions of reality and excessively fear-and-panic driven responses to daily life. There’s a tendency, in other words, to see the world through perceptual filters that can undermine us all.
I suspect that under this cycle, individuals and societies alike will continue seeing dark phobias, biases and hatreds surface that have been repressed over history, but never completely healed. Pluto also chimes in on this process, which could be troubling with our Sibly Pluto return in progress (exact in February, 2022) at roughly the same time this new Jupiter-Neptune cycle is launching in Pisces, tightly opposite our Sibly Neptune (Virgo). Clearly, with nearly 200 mass shootings to date in this year alone (as of 4/30), and over 953 Americans killed by police over the past year, the toxic contents of America’s collective unconscious need to be addressed. (3) Our national “Wild West” and “American Dream” mythologies (which many are trying to conflate with “America First”) have been coming back to haunt us, demanding our attention. At its lightest, these dynamics will help heal the karma produced by our early historical ruthlessness (the Sibly Chiron return in 2024 will likely help); at its darkest, we will experience mounting turmoil.
Related to this, transforming law enforcement into the agent for social peace and wellbeing that we need it to be isn’t going to happen without a broad Pisces consensus and collective commitment — no one among us should need to dread every time their children or grandchildren leave home.
Often tracking with increased incidents of natural disasters, the Jupiter-Neptune cycle can also perpetuate what environmental scientists label “overshoot:” “…to increase in [population] numbers so much that the habitat’s carrying capacity is exceeded by the ecological load, which must in time decrease accordingly… the condition of having exceeded for the time being the permanent carrying capacity of the habitat.”
“Exceeding the carrying capacity of a habitat” is a scientific way of saying that we’ve put an unsustainable strain on the Earth with our misuse and abuse of its resources, and that — plainly put — the jig is up: it’s time to grow up and take responsibility for our resource needs in more earth-friendly ways. Even the Supreme Court is getting involved these days, hearing cases involving disputes over increasingly scarce water resources between states. (4) These issues only become more troubling every fire season: like all cycles, Jupiter-Neptune offers both light and dark possibilities for this, and the choice is ours.
Here’s where I’d like to don an unapologetic pair of rose-colored glasses and to err on the side of wonder, awe and perhaps even a bit of euphoric hope that Nature will win out over our intransigence and neglect, and that Humanity will pioneer brilliant new ways for living within Nature’s limitations. This Pisces Jupiter-Neptune cycle is capable of compassionate, ideals-driven “magic,” if only we can avoid the delusionary pitfalls.
I’m convinced, in fact, that embracing radical optimism is a practical way of tapping into the power of “natural grace” — Nature and Spirit at play like dolphins in the Pisces waves. Why not choose to “see” Jupiter and Neptune at their joyful best, instead of at their worst, thundering like crazed-eye horses into the Apocalypse?
Neptune evokes our “oceanic Source,” and with Jupiter’s impulse for growth and brilliant exploration, new revelations, ideas and creations gestate in that Womb and crawl up on the shores of our dilemmas, prepared to sprout legs and wings. At its best, this cycle will support Nature’s impulses and desires: to regenerate, to proliferate, to delight with abundance — to welcome us into a perspective biologist Andreas Weber calls “enlivenment.” We must think of humans and Nature, in his words,
“…in a way that dissolves the separation between the two categories….as participants in a common household of matter, desire, and imagination — an economy of metabolic and poetic transformations.”
Pisces specializes in “dissolving the separation” between any two divided or separated entities, in fact, and as scary as this may sound at times, we should benefit from the spiritual Unity that this idea implies, as long as we unite for constructive reasons. Perhaps like those dolphins at play, we can work on celebrating the Others leaping around with us in this life, letting go of toxic divisions in personal, social and collective realms alike. We can shift our focus to higher purposes under this cycle, and working to protect Life as we know it on this planet certainly fits that description.
Through their sheer intellectual, aspirational and archetypal force, Jupiter and Neptune in this border-overwhelming sign will replicate our persistent patterns of thought and behavior with extreme virality. In other words, we need to watch out what we wish for or what we model to others through the media, our use of weighted symbolism and otherwise: aspiring to things that really matter and that won’t further divide us will be key.
We will also want to proceed cautiously as we navigate the personal/collective divide that could be seriously blurred and confused by this Pisces cycle. Societies require sound institutional structures to function and to protect individual rights against the undertow of neurotic collective movements such as nationalism, xenophobia and racism. Of course, individual psyches need structural integrity to function well, too: Jung saw this individual/collective dilemma at work in our evolutionary history, saying, “The further we go back into history, the more we see personality disappearing beneath the wrappings of collectivity. And if we go right back to primitive psychology, we find absolutely no trace of the concept of an individual. Instead of individuality we find only collective relationship or what Lévy-Bruhl calls “participation mystique.”(5)
Extreme times tend to feed off this “mystical participation,” a phenomenon that can transpire when either Jupiter and Neptune are transiting water signs. Mob hysteria and other panic-driven responses to our everyday world are potential pitfalls, dynamics the world witnessed in the ravages of 20th century nationalist Fascism across Europe (the 1932 Jupiter-Neptune cycle’s 2Q from Pisces-Virgo was especially troublesome), in the WWI era’s carnage, including the Armenian genocide (during the 1907 cycle’s 2Q from Capricorn-Cancer). More recently, both international and domestic terrorism (indiscriminate gun violence seems definitely related), have become almost “normal” with Neptune in Pisces.
Such extremes can emerge when those “rose-colored glasses” I’ve tried to adopt here are replaced with the cynical lens of mistrust, paranoia and zero-sum thinking, so easily exploited by the power-hungry. Sound social structures protect people from tyranny (Saturn counters Neptune here), so it will be important that we contain this Pisces cycle’s ability to sow panic, misinformation, confusion and further cynicism.
Jupiter-Neptune cycle’s tendency to heighten our sensitivity to mythic archetypes like the scapegoat, the revolutionary and the savior can exacerbate these pitfalls — it’s all too easy to demonize a people (or a system) under this energy, which makes fixing our deeply flawed U.S. immigration system all the more urgent. We’ve known for decades that the twin crises of climate change and heightened immigration are related — all the more reason to strengthen international agreements like the Paris Accord.
As for the Covid pandemic — by definition, a global Neptunian affair — we can probably expect it to carry over into this coming Jupiter-Neptune cycle in some form. Helping to vaccinate the rest of the world is key here: until that happens, we’re all in danger of falling back. This will be one of the most critical collective efforts — a sort of 21st century “Marshall Plan,” if you will. Perhaps with Jupiter ingresses into Pisces last month, we’ll see a bit more cooperation from the resistant in our midst, however this cooperation could unfold in fits and starts: Jupiter ingresses into Pisces in May, turns Rx in June, making its way back into rebellious Aquarius, until turning direct in October and returning to Pisces in late December, 2021, just a few months before it surges ahead to meet up with Neptune at 23°59’ Pisces on April 12, 2022.
Let’s hope we won’t be back to pandemic “square one” at that time. I’m hopeful and in absolute awe of those who are working so hard to help us all in this effort: as I write this, fully 50% of the nation is now at least partially vaccinated, but there’s obviously a lot more to go. And then there’s the rest of the world to help along — both Jupiter “smarts” and Pisces compassion say that this isn’t over ‘til it’s over, folks!
(1) Jupiter and Neptune were conjunct at 2°40’ Virgo on August 24, 1766; the opposition was at 16°52’ Pisces/Virgo in March 1773.
Jupiter and Neptune were conjunct at 27°09’ Scorpio on Dec. 29, 1804; the square was in March 1808, with Jupiter at 4°33’ Pisces, Neptune at 4°33’ Sagittarius.
Jupiter and Neptune were conjunct at 20°57 Aquarius on April 9, 1843; the opposition was in August 1849 with Jupiter at 3°24’ Virgo, Neptune at 3°24’ Pisces.
Jupiter and Neptune were conjunct at 18°13 Pisces on March 17, 1856.
Jupiter and Neptune were conjunct at 8°24’ Virgo on Sept. 18, 1932; the opposition was on April 1, 1939 at 21°25’ Pisces/Virgo.
(2) The Hill
(4) The Conversation
(5) Wikipedia: Participation mystique
Bio: Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. For articles on all these topics, see her blog, at Diary of a Mundane Astrologer. See the Publications tab there for a list of Raye’s recent E-books on current topics.
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