Dreaming big: Jupiter and Neptune meet in Pisces
Diving into the history associated with this 13-year cycle
In 2022, the ongoing conflict between the old and the new, order and liberty, the status quo and revolution—writ large in the skies by the square between Saturn and Uranus—will continue. The two planets won’t perfect the aspect again this cycle, but they’ll get very close to doing so in October 2022, and spend the whole year in the same difficult configuration that has been a hallmark of 2021. So get ready for more of all the things that made 2021 so, ahem, special: protests, culture war, and the ongoing conflict between technocracy and its dissenters.
But after the past two years, few of us are in the mood for more of the same. With that in mind, it’s comforting to remember that the heavens never deliver the same sky twice. So while 2022 looks challenging, there will be a more optimistic tendency in the air through parts of the year, a tendency that’s already starting to build following Jupiter’s ingress into its domicile of Pisces. That optimism is likely to culminate in April, when Jupiter conjoins Neptune in the sign of the fishes.
Ideals and internationalism: the Jupiter-Neptune cycle
Jupiter and Neptune conjoin every 13 years. Their cycle has a lot to do with peace, idealism and internationalism. Jupiter is about coherence, expansion, faith, justice and prosperity. Together with Saturn, it works to create structures that allow societies to function: customs, laws and institutions. On the other hand, Neptune “belongs to an altogether different level of reality”, to use Dane Rudhyar’s words. “Neptune is, thus, related to everything that is vast, immeasurable, indefinite, universalistic, but also loose, unfocused, misty, glamorous, unreal, escapist.” It represents the insistence that boundaries between us are mere illusion, that we’re all just drops in the proverbial ocean.
What happens when these two planets interact? In Mundane Astrology, Charles Harvey wrote that the Jupiter-Neptune cycle “has a strongly idealistic, humanitarian and ideological quality about it” that “seems to be related to the unfoldment of idealistic and religious belief systems”. The great mundane astrologer who predicted the 2020 pandemic, André Barbault, said that when Jupiter and Neptune interact harmoniously, “There is a general atmosphere of diplomatic and political detente and collective movements that have liberal democratic tendencies.”
What we tend to see around Jupiter-Neptune conjunctions, then, is the founding of international organisations and alliances and, in the domestic sphere, moves towards universal suffrage and equitable political representation. There is something of the universalism of Neptune in these topics—the idea that rights of various kinds, which are Jupiterian, should be distributed more equally, whether within one state or internationally. We also see the ends of major wars, peace agreements and periods of detente.
The cycle also happens to have a unique property among outer-planet cycles. It takes Jupiter roughly 12 years to return to a given point in the zodiac. By the time it gets there, Neptune has usually moved one sign forward, and it takes Jupiter another year to catch up. Thus, Jupiter-Neptune conjunctions usually move forward one sign every 13 years, (with the occasional repeat), rounding the entire zodiac in 13 conjunctions and 166 years.
Conjunctions mark the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. The themes that constellate around the conjunction tend to characterise the 13-year cycle that follows. So, by looking at what happens around April’s conjunction, we should get some idea of what’s coming between now and 2035—at least as far as the themes associated with this cycle are concerned.
Here’s a chart from Astro-Seek.com showing the zodiacal positions of Jupiter-Neptune conjunctions since the last one in Pisces in 1856:
I’ve taken a look at every conjunction from then till now and noted developments on the themes I’ve mentioned that coincided with them:
1856 (Pisces): Crimean War ends, Paris Declaration Respecting Maritime Law abolishes privateering (privately owned warships for hire)
1869 (Aries): Japanese Civil War ends, first woman testifies before US Congress, National Women’s Suffrage Association founded in New York
1881 (Taurus): Boer War ends, American Red Cross founded, Andrew Watson, world’s first black international football player, makes debut
1894 (Gemini): International Olympic Committee founded, world’s first minimum wage law enacted in New Zealand
1907 (Cancer): Hague Conventions on laws of war, Anglo-Russian Entente ends Great Game, Anarchist International founded, first elections with universal suffrage and female candidates held in Finland
1919-20 (Leo): Treaty of Versailles, League of Nations, International Labour Organisation, Communist International, Save The Children founded, 19th Amendment gives voting rights to women in the US
1932 (Virgo): World Disarmament Conference takes place in Geneva, first woman elected to the US Senate
1945 (Libra): Second World War ends, United Nations founded
1958 (Scorpio): US-Soviet detente leads to suspension of nuclear tests, Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament (CND) founded, European Economic Community formed, Egypt and Syria unite as United Arab Republic, Iraq and Jordan unite as Arab Federation
1971 (Sagittarius): Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Greenpeace founded, Seabed Treaty outlaws nuclear weapons on ocean floor, South Pacific Forum formed
1984 (Capricorn): US-Soviet detente reduces nuclear tensions, UK agrees to return Hong Kong to China, GNU free software project begins
1997 (Capricorn): Kyoto Protocol on climate change, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Madeleine Albright becomes first female Secretary of State in the United States, UK hands Hong Kong back to China
2009 (Aquarius): Treaty of Lisbon, Barack Obama becomes first black President of the United States
Now, I want to make clear that I’m not arguing that all of these developments were necessarily Good For The World. After all, Neptune is associated with delusion, confusion and illusion, while over-promising and excess are well-known shadow sides of Jupiter. So there is a darker side to this cycle: sometimes, what’s presented as an expression of humanity’s highest ideals either falls short, or was never what it seemed in the first place.
Ultimately, the Treaty of Versailles is widely held to have led to the Second World War, which the League of Nations failed to prevent. The United Nations has its detractors, who accuse it of being a bloated and ultimately ineffectual bureaucracy. The Kyoto Protocol was the first international treaty to mandate reductions in CO2 emissions, but it was boycotted by the United States and didn’t prevent developing countries from reducing emissions—so they continued to rise rapidly anyway. I could go on.
Despite all of this, there is contained within these examples a common, optimistic kernel: the idea that cooperation for idealistic goals is possible, that political rights should be equally distributed and that dialogue is better than war. If the United States and the Soviets hadn’t sat down and talked, none of us might be here today. Sometimes we need to dream big, even if our efforts end up falling short—and especially in times like these.
Now, the obvious question is: what can we expect to see happening this year in light of the conjunction in April? In future articles we’ll consider some more interesting correlations with this cycle—and make some predictions.