In a letter written by Jung to Freud a hundred years ago he explains his views on ‘astro-mythology’ as he termed it then. He sees that the Zodiac is an imaginal projection of the human psyche on to the heavens. You can see what he means. There is clearly an analogy between the process of human birth, maturity and death, and the rising, culmination and setting of celestial bodies. And, incidentally, since these bodies rise again it seems quite legitimate to infer that we too are reborn.
Those of us who speak the words of projection claim, by doing so, a position as spokesperson for a small part of the collective unconscious. For thousands of years a small number of people in their community took it upon themselves to keep alive the ongoing evolutionary interpretations of what the Zodiac means. It is happening still and embracing larger numbers of people than ever, and expanding in depth too. There is great subtlety brought to bear on planetary meanings, signs, houses, aspects, Sabians, and so very much more.
It is our task as part of this powerful tide of opinion to do two things: First and foremost to keep it alive, secondly to express through these symbols our best hope for the future. Astrologers carry exceptional weight especially when it is considered quite how ill-defined, ambiguous and unproven the concepts that we juggle with are. Yet, by the million, clients come and change their perceptions, and sometimes decisions, as a direct result of a consultation.
There is not one placement or aspect that is inherently bad news – each one can be interpreted in a helpful way. Life includes struggle and without it would lack meaning and be devoid of purpose. So challenging aspects are exactly what is wanted at certain times because without them we could not struggle. Deep emotions, troubles and even grief can be seen as important, helpful parts of the larger life-journey that we are all on.
I once witnessed a mature woman astrologer interpreting the chart of a young single woman and she actually said this: “You will not ever settle in a relationship with x planet in y house”. I was so angry with her that I actually interrupted the reading and told the young client how better to see that aspect in an entirely positive light. I also explained to the older woman what the phrase ‘black magic’ means. Of course we all must face our demons at some point – and we can guess what kind of demons they might be by looking at the horoscope – so the astrologer has a duty to help the client come to terms with the darker side of their character – but this can be done with humour and empathy, and above all else with a positive approach. It is our job to help people not curse them.
When we study aspects we use a degree of inexactitude. For example, we might say Moon is square Venus when the first is at 13 Pisces and the second at 15 Gemini. Orbs address the question of how wide is an allowable level of difference between the numbers; the orb is the size of the gap between actual and exact. There is no agreed definition of what is permissible, and we have to make up our own minds about how wide we choose them to be.
This applies as much to transits as it does to birth charts, so the exact conjunction of say Saturn and Pluto, which occurs on 12 January 2020 may not be the moment when its influence shows - it almost certainly will not be. In fact it could be months earlier or later, and will very likely be obscure until astrological historians look back from a future date.
In a birth chart reading we all have our own methods and principles, so each of us decides how big an orb to have, which affects the lines printed on the chart, and how much importance to give each of them.
Personally, I use tight orbs...something like this:
Conjunction 10 degrees; Opposition 8; Square 5; Trine 4; Sextile 3; Semi-square 2; Quincunx 1.5 and yet other astrologers, even the big names, vary up to quite large ones. It depends on several factors I would say:
5/11/2018 04:27:45 am
What does Neptune transiting my descendant mean?
In 2019, transit Neptune are going through my descendant, so I want to know about it.
Neptune transit Descendent
The four angles are primary in chart interpretations and when one of the slower planets transits an angle then we may expect major life reorientations, which have permanent impact. These angles are the two major axes: IC|MC and Asc|Desc. The first has a lot to do with home and career, the second usually refers to our sense of who we are, how we relate generally to the world, and specifically to a partner. Any transit to the Descendant is also a transit to the Ascendant, so we cannot separate the two aspects of this one transit. Neptune is conjuncting the Desc, in opposition to the Asc – the exact hit is in 2019, so already in 2018 the forward-echo will have been experienced, and even in 2020 the after-shock will be reverberating. It is not always easy to have any real sense of what is occurring during a transit because we are too involved subjectively, and this is truer for Neptune and Pluto than for say Saturn, Uranus and Chiron.
Neptune’s role in astrology is all to do with illusion and delusion. It creates illusion by the use of glamour. We all have an image that we believe describes who we are and what the world is like. In Hinduism it is called Maya, in Sufism, Ishq. It is the illusion of desire, what we project onto the facts of outer life to give it personal meaning. Because we have or have not certain qualities or experiences some of us believe ourselves to be important, some believe the opposite that we are not important. This can be physical strength or beauty, emotional drama, executive ability, teacher, leader, healer, wise man, fool…these are all examples of glamour; they are stories we make up about ourselves and the life we live. Just stories. As Neptune moves through its 176 year cycle it glamourises different aspects of life – fashions in music, clothes, sexual attractiveness, political ideals, religious teachings and so on. None of it lasts forever and some of it passes very quickly.
On a personal level, because it is so slow, Neptune is likely to cross and angle only twice in a lifetime so we cannot refer back to earlier experiences to gain better insights, we must use theory and intuition more.
We can see the Ascendant as a map of reality, a false personalised projection of our fears and desires crystallised into a set of behaviours and opinions that together make up the vehicle we are using to navigate our way forward; this is the personality. We create the circumstances of our lives by what we expect to happen, and that expectation is a powerful attractive force. The Descendant is the shadow of the Ascendant – all that we pretend does not exist – but in fact it does, as aspects of our hidden self. And we attract that too, typically through one-to-one relationship, either a lover or an enemy; and of course lovers can turn into enemies when they show us what we really don’t like about ourselves and try to deny. Relationship is always not so much about making us happy as making us honest.
During a Neptune transit to the Descendant we are very likely to be offered a relationship which seems wonderful at first and yet is not what it seems. The partner might be a victim, an addict or other type of needy person wanting to be saved. And we have the glamour of being a rescuer, a healer or whatever. It is so hard to resist because we can get caught into the false belief that we can be rescued or that we can rescue another person. We feel saintly and humble in our self-sacrifice, and that feels so very spiritual!
Yet Neptune also has the ability to expose illusion, to dis-illusion us, and reveal the deeper mysteries beneath all the lies and false promises that life offers. So this transit is also likely to be the time for a seed to be planted of true spiritual liberation. When we know we are living in a dream, we can relax and enjoy the movie we have created for ourselves, without accepting the story as anything more than entertainment and symbolic guidance.
However, what is false is dissolved. We may therefore lose things we love and, even though they are unreal and temporary, that can be rather upsetting for the self-love of the ego. We must refocus to see that what has replaced the false is deeper, more precious and more real.
I am aware that Ruby’s Ascendant is at Virgo 19, “A swimming race”. There is the sense of wanting to be in control (mastering the emotions of the water element), getting things perfect and competing for excellence. Neptune’s transit is across Pisces 19, “Master instructing his pupil” giving a sense of spiritual knowledge being passed to the next generation through the surrender of the student to the gentle state of having faith in the teachings.
So, in summary…
A period of some confusion is to be expected during which there will be disillusionment and loss of control, yet clear vision and faith will begin to replace them. The two main temptations that need to be carefully examined are the promise of a perfect romantic relationship and the promise of an unrealistic spiritual truth. No major commitments are safe for a year or two until the fog has lifted, so give things time and wait for challenges to arise in relationship and spiritual guidance so they can prove themselves true.
Be careful about people who promise you a dream world; if it seems ‘too good to be true’ then probably it is not true. Also be careful about fantasy things – alcohol, drugs, self-sacrifice and rescuing others – all fantasy is riskier for a while.