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