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Neptune

"Inconsistencies of opinion, arising from changes of circumstances, are often justifiable."

Daniel Webster, 1846

The discovery of Neptune in 1846 coincided with a time of great suffering and idealism. 1846 was the year of the Irish potato famine, the Mormons’ arrival at the Great Salt Lake and the first use of ether painless surgery. In 1847 Michigan was the first state to abolish capital punishment. Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto, a plea for the poor and hungry, was punished in 1848. These were the years of increased concern for the downtrodden all over the world. The abolitionist John Brown and the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin led to great social changes in the United States. Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield in 1849 to reveal the plight of England's poor. The poets Thoreau, Emerson and Walt Whitman appeared on the scene. The California Gold Rush of 1849 fired imaginations, while the first commercial oil well brought us black gold in 18S9, the same year Charles Darwin brought us his theory of evolution. The Theosophical Society and Christian Science were both founded in 1875 as an age of spiritualism grew in America and Europe. Abdul Baha, founder of the Bahai faith, was born in 1844. Annie Bessant and C. W. Ledbeater were born in 1847 and made their mark through the Theosophical Society. Even Moby Dick, Melville's classic sea story, waited for Neptune’s discovery before appearing in 1851.

The first non-rigid airship appeared in 1852. The first color photo images were invented in 1848, and plastics, yes even plastics, first appeared in 1855 in the form of nitrocellulose. This was a period of time when spirits, ideals, dreams and fakery had a special place in our history. Dissatisfaction in the South led to succession, dissolving the bonds of Union. These were eventually rebound, but not without considerable loss of life and limb. During this period we also saw the emergence of union in Italy and Austria-Hungary.

The discovery of Neptune was filled with confusion compared to the discovery of Uranus which was filled with surprise. Perturbations in the orbit of Uranus led astronomers to look for a planet beyond it that might account for its behavior. By hypothesizing a planet of certain mass and location beyond Uranus, they hoped to discover a new addition to the solar system. Englishman John Couch Adams and French astronomer Urbain Jean Leverrier both began calculations in the search for Neptune. Adams completed his work first and communicated his results to the Astronomer Royal and the director of the Cambridge Observatory. They were reticent to follow up on the work of Adams and were beaten to the punch by J. G. Galle of the Berlin Observatory. Leverrier had sent his calculations to Galle who discovered the new planet onSeptember23, 1846. James Challis of the Cambridge Observatory had found Neptune on August 4, 1846, but failed to recheck his observations, allowing history to pass him by.

The position at which Neptune was discovered was only one degree from the place predicted by Leverrier and only 21/2 degrees from the location predicted by Adams. It was quite lucky, however, as both men used the proportional distances between planets (known as Bode's Law) in their work. While this was accurate for the time of their research, a period 75 years before or after would have changed the picture sufficiently to make their calculations grossly inaccurate. The name Neptune was selected over the French idea of calling it "Leverrier." This, too, continued the practice of naming planets after the characters of western mythology.

Finger of God Pattern

Our chart for Neptune's discovery is calculated for 10 p.m. GMT, September 23, 1846 in Berlin, Germany. This is a most remarkable horoscope in many ways. First, this is the conjunction of Saturn and Neptune! This conjunction clearly shows the manifestation of the new planet through the reality of Saturn. Note that Saturn also strongly aspected the newly discovered planet in the Uranus chart! We also have the Moon again in the mystery sign Scorpio. Neptune is retrograde in the discovery chart, as Pluto will be in its discovery chart. It seems apropos that these two planets (Neptune and Pluto) should be found retrograde in their discovery charts since their levels of manifestation are almost always through unconscious rather than direct sense-experience. The remarkable conjunction of Saturn and Neptune forms a Yod pattern, or Finger of God, along with Pluto and Mars. Mars in Virgo as the focal point describes the process of mathematical calculation that led to deliberate discovery. Perhaps Jupiter in Gemini square Mercury in Virgo describes the two mathematicians whose calculations led to the same conclusion at about the same time. The Sun in Libra might be another indicator of the sharing of credit that the scientific community conferred on Leverrier and Adams. The Moon is parallel in declination to Neptune in this chart. This would bring the public consciousness to this new planet, but might also describe the confusion about its proper discoverer.

The midpoint picture Mars-Node equals Uranus is called "active cooperation" by Ebertin. Rather than the isolated good fortune that brought Uranus to the fore, we have a case of several scientists working together to bring Neptune to our attention. The midpoint of Uranus-Neptune is joined by Mercury. Ebertin calls this, "A peculiar imagination, occupation with the metaphysical sciences and with super- natural problems, the investigation or exploration of the unconscious. A longing for far-distant places, plans without the possibility of realization, journeys." There is much in this description that fits our astrological concept of Neptune.

Neptune was found in the Libra decanate of Aquarius and in either the Sagittarian or Aquarian dwad (depending upon system used). By counting the dwads beginning with the sign of Aquarius we find Neptune in the Sagittarian dwad. In the light of Neptune's displacement of Jupiter as ruler of Pisces, we can expect an affinity for it in Sagittarius as well. Certainly the combinations of Libra (pairs), Sagittarius (search for knowledge) and Aquarius (scientific inquiry) are all applicable to the story of Neptune's discovery.

The La Volasfera picture of the 26th degree of Aquarius is particularly apt. It is, "A man walking blindfold towards the opening of a deep pit." The author goes on to explain that, "this indicates one whose thoughts and projects are liable to become chaotic and confused . . . it may be from ignorance or from want of alertness and responsiveness to his surroundings that he will come by hurt to himself, but save by the helping and directing hand of some wise friend or overarching love of Heaven, he cannot escape downfall and ruin." He calls it a degree of "Blinding."

Charubel says that there is no symbol for this degree, that it is a degree of mystery! Kozminsky says the degree, "denotes one of mystic and reformative learnings who may be impressed by the invisible forces for certain work on earth, but who may not be conscious of the part he is called upon to play. He should never permit himself to be hypnotized or entranced, nor yield his will to the power of another in the body or out of it. It is a symbol of Service." Jeryl Keane describes the degree as, "dramatic, not always emotionally stable, but certainly with a good deal of charm." The Sabian Symbol is, "A garageman testing a car's battery with a hydrometer." The degree symbols given here for Neptune seem to work extremely well in expressing the characteristics of the planet.

Poets and Mystics

Neptune's discovery degree should have some impact on those born with planets in close aspect to it. The first category is the religious-spiritual group. Thomas More, a saint, was born with Sun at 28 Aquarius. Meher Baba, a Pisces, silent much of his life, had Venus at 23 Aquarius. Evangelist Billy Graham shows Uranus at 24 Aquarius. Ayn Rand, somewhat anti-spiritual, shows Saturn at 22 Aquarius. The births of Abdul Baha, Annie Bessant and C. W. Ledbeater were mentioned earlier with respect to the year of Neptune's discovery.

Two flyers, Howard Hughes and Charles Lindbergh have Mars in close conjunction with the discovery degree at 27 and 26 degrees respectively. While many consider Uranus the planet of aviation, l have found Neptune to work well in that area. We are, I believe, describing two different phenomena. Uranus is certainly the technical achievement of aviation, while Neptune is the principle of aero-dynamics, floating through space.

Poets fare well with regard to the discovery degree of Neptune as one would expect. Shelley had Pluto at 22 Aquarius and Keats had it at 26. Byron had his Venus at 25 Aquarius. Carl Sandburg had the Moon's North Node at 24. Jules Verne, author of fantasy, had his Mercury at 23 Aquarius. Manet, the father of Impressionist painting, had his Jupiter at 27 Aquarius. Most of the Impressionists, as a matter of fact, were born about the time of Neptune's discovery.

Two great men of history born on the same day had the Neptune discovery degree emphasized in their charts: Lincoln and Darwin both had the Sun at 23 degrees of Aquarius and Mars at 25 Libra conjunct the Uranus-Neptune discovery midpoints! John Kennedy, another individual credited with feelings for the underprivileged, had his Uranus at 24 Aquarius.

As with Uranus, we would expect that the discovery point of Neptune should respond to transits. In 1642 in China rebels destroyed a seawall that led to the deaths of approximately 300,000 people by drowning. Neptune was between 26 and 28 degrees Scorpio that year, square the discovery point. Perhaps the most interesting case occurred in May 1968 when the nuclear submarine "Scorpion" sank killing 99 men. Neptune was at 25 degrade Scorpio, again squaring the discovery point. Neptune in the sign that was the same as the name of the submarine makes this a most interesting fact.

 


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