The Aquarian triple conjunctions of 2009:

Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune

Chiron and Neptune were conjunct in February 2010, just one time, late in the sign of Aquarius. 

Also ....

During 2009 Jupiter, which moves faster, shuttled back and forth six times between their respective zodiac positions, linking

the energies.

The last time these three planets were conjunct was in 1945-46, and so we are at the end of the outgoing cycle, ready for a new beginning. This triple conjunction is actually quite rare, only occurring 6 times between 500AD and 3000AD.

                                                             'Aquarius' by Josephine Wall


The early weeks of 2009, when the faster moving planets moved through Aquarius, saw a large grouping in this sign, emphasizing its characteristics. During late February in particular, six planets plus the North Node of the Moon were all located in Aquarius, making this the biggest line-up of Aquarian planets since the early 1960s. This serves to personalize the Aquarian themes, as described below, and the involvement of the Nodes suggests a time to align ourselves with our most deeply felt aspirations and intentions, for the good of all beings. We are going forward on new paths. Aquarius is a sign with profound humanitarian awareness, social conscience and sense of the potential of all people to activate their highest. At the same time, if we are not to invite disillusionment with ‘the ways of the world’, we need to remain firmly anchored and in touch with our own personal field of experience, and cultivate skilful ways to process what otherwise becomes obstacles in our field of endeavour. These are the weeks when our personal 'plan' gets 'in synch' with the flow of our destiny.

Trio in Aquarius

Chiron is a Minor Planet associated with expansion of consciousness, with healing and insight; its process supports us in times of transition, enabling us to integrate change and to heal. When it is active, connection with our own inner depths is facilitated. Chiron’s placing in Aquarius concerns our vulnerability to ‘group think’ and its potential to mislead and even wound us. As the incoming waves of thought stir within the Group Mind, we need to exercise personal discernment as we hear the voice of tomorrow. We can start by understanding clearly the difference between information, knowledge and wisdom.

Astrologically, Neptune is associated with a subtle inner unfolding which facilitates the opening of the heart of compassion, through states of higher consciousness which are inspirational, devotional and unifying. Just as Neptune was the god of the sea, its planetary process is one of melting, softening and dissolving as our feelings and perceptions are refined. When the waves of this energy connect with the density of life on the earth plane, however, the side-effects include chaos, confusion, and feelings of lack of focus, weakness or helplessness. Knowing this, we do what we can to keep afloat, so to speak, in our practical affairs, while turning within to the healing waters of soul. Remembering that things may not be as they appear, we proceed in our life and work with gentleness and caution, not allowing ourselves to jump confidently to conclusions and then to become righteous in our thinking. These aspects are an opportunity par excellence for inwardly releasing the areas of hardness within the soul which cause suffering to ourselves and others because they dull our sensitivity. We allow compassion to come to the fore. We engage in forgiveness work. We commit to kindness, to ourselves and others.

In traditional astrology, Jupiter was called the ‘Great Benefic’, bringing a time of blessings, inner and/or outer. Whatever happens, we are more able to access feelings of hope, optimism and joy; the sense of inhabiting a world of possibility and magic persists even through difficulties. A benign force makes its presence felt in so many ways, and also helps us understand the meaning of what occurs in our lives.

Grace and blessings

Both Jupiter and Neptune have an expansive, opening quality, and while during 2009 we would do well to stay grounded and not get swept up in false hope, at the same time we are put on notice, as it were, that there is a subtle raining-down of Grace occuring. This is not so much about 'expecting' blessings, but being attuned to the level where this is always possible. Prepare time to receive this, by honouring impulses that make way for prayer, pilgrimage, retreat, or time out in nature. We benefit during 2009 from following this calling to the Way of Spirit, in whatever way it comes.

In 1115AD, this triple conjunction occured in the sign of Virgo. This was a powerfully significant period in both Eastern and Western cultures, when spiritual impulses were being developed, consolidated and anchored. In Europe, the most famous Cathedrals dedicated to the worship of The Virgin were begun a few decades later, and perhaps were 'seeded' during the conjunction. The famous mystic Hildegard of Bingen - a poet, musician, philosopher and wise woman consulted by the highest in the land - was alive during this conjunction. In Tibet the famous yogini Machig Lapdron was in her prime, cultivating and teaching the ChÖd practices which became central to all lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. (1)

We might perhaps wonder what kind of spiritual impulse is now being 'downloaded'? In the sign of Aquarius 'We are the ones we have been waiting for' and every person can be touched.

For these are truly resonant times ..... as structures of different kinds break down,

on all levels there is a loosening, an opening.

There is less resistance, and therefore this is a time to stay focused,

in a gentle and open way ....

Here is a table which details the significant dates, like stepping-stones, which lead up to February 2010. (1a)

and click here for a graphic version of this ....

PLANETS IN ASPECT                   DATE                             DEGREE + ZODIAC SIGN

Jupiter    Conjunct Chiron              23 May 2009                   26°Aq12' D       26°Aq12' D

Jupiter    Conjunct Neptune           28 May 2009                   26°Aq28' D       26°Aq28' R

Neptune R                                     29 May 2009                   26°Aq28' R       

Chiron    R                                     30 May 2009                   26°Aq13' R       

Jupiter    R                                      15 Jun 2009                   26°Aq59' R       

Jupiter    Conjunct Neptune            10 Jul 2009                     26°Aq01' R        26°Aq01' R

Jupiter    Conjunct Chiron               22 Jul 2009                     24°Aq54' R        24°Aq54' R

Jupiter     D                                    13 Oct 2009                    17°Aq11' D      

Chiron    D                                     31 Oct 2009                      21°Aq13' D      

Neptune D                                      4 Nov 2009                     23°Aq41' D      

Jupiter    Conjunct Chiron                7 Dec 2009                    21°Aq57' D       21°Aq57' D

Jupiter    Conjunct Neptune           21 Dec 2009                    24°Aq17' D       24°Aq17' D

Neptune Conjunct Chiron              17 Feb 2010                    26°Aq14' D       26°Aq14' D

Neptune  R                                    31 May 2010                   28°Aq41' R       

Chiron    R                                        4 Jun 2010                    00°Pi59' R        


Three of the six conjunctions, plus three planetary ‘stations’, all occur in the 27th degree of Aquarius.

Interestingly, this is the exact point where the Chiron/Neptune conjunction occurs in February 2010!


An ancient pottery bowl ….

The Sabian Symbol for the degree of the forthcoming Chiron-Neptune conjunction is very evocative: ‘An ancient pottery bowl, filled with fresh violets.’  (2) Violets have long been considered in folk-lore as representing humility and simplicity, and this image provides a poignant contrast with the speed, brashness and intellectual complexity of modern life. Rudhyar offers the phrase ‘Delicacy of Feeling’ to describe the keynote of this symbol.

The last set of conjunctions between Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune occurred in 1945, as World War II was ending. Although recent events have not been ‘officially’ named as ‘World War III’, there has again been so much suffering world-wide that a condition of numbness has perhaps developed, sometimes called ‘Compassion Burnout’. There is only so much ‘bad news’ that we can hear before shutting off feeling responses and going into ‘escape’ mode. Indeed, we have been living in a field of socially sanctioned addiction to various kinds of distractions, so we need to 'go against the prevailing view' if we begin to cultivate the capacity to ‘stay with’ our experience. (3) The first stage may simply be to notice, with kindness, how distracted we actualy are.

In 1945 the United Nations was founded (4), and we are already seeing a reassessment of its function and role, and the degree to which it has succeeded or failed. Reading the original Charter of the United Nations, one cannot fail to be inspired by the noble ideals codified therein. Its preamble famously begins ‘We the Peoples’ ….. During the 2009 conjunctions, 'people power' may be very important in influencing future outcomes, and we are put on notice to respond creatively to our aspirations, and act on them as we are called.... while recognising that peace, dignity and freedom cannot be ‘implemented’. The ‘pottery bowl’ offers a poignant counterpart to theoretical idealism and political ambition in the direction of ‘One World’. It is human-scale, domestic, personal, earthy, and provides a container in which plants can grow .......

… filled with fresh violets



This powerful series of conjunctions offers the

re-kindling of faith and hope;

the challenge may be to direct this energy in ways fruitful and effective,

which do not sow the seeds

of future disillusion.


Photo:M.Reinhart 'Turkish Violets' 2008

Poignantly, in the horoscope of Zimbabwe, the South Node of the Moon is at 27.11 Aquarius, and at the time of writing, it seems that at last the plight of the people there, suffering under the mad despot Robert Mugabe, is reaching beyond the media lock-down that has been in place for years. Zimbabwe was founded on the wish to make right the wrongs of the past (South Node in Aquarius), and the collective impact of the people’s broken dreams stretches beyond its immediate borders. For a country which once aspired to be the very model of a modern, multiracial state, reached through peaceful transition from its old colonial institutions …is perilously close to being labelled a ‘failed state’. This reversal occurred in just over 20 years. With so much activity around its South Node throughout 2009, building up from December 2008, the situation in Zimbabwe looks poised between the Scylla of despair and the Charybdis of hope, with the ever-present risk of further escalation of financial collapse, cholera, and political extremism.



Today our world abounds with reminders of impermanence.

In the midst of shock, grief, fear and a sense of loss over personal or collective situations, we can perhaps remember this teaching, so central

to the spiritual path.

This can help clear the way for whatever action we are called to.

For everything in the world of form has a beginning, a middle and an end, flowering and fading

like the violets....


In the horoscope of the USA, the Moon is placed in 27.10 Aquarius, very close to all the action of 2009. Interestingly, this is exactly conjunct the Zimbabwe South Node referred to above. It may be that these two nations share a ‘soul theme’ – the breaking of a dream. The notion of the demise of the ‘American Dream’ has been widely debated in the media over recent months, and the people of Zimbabwe have endured betrayal of their dreams, in addition to terrible physical hardship. The leaders of these two countries are also ‘framed’ in a polarity: Barak Obama is seen as a Saviour, and represents a figure of hope, a positive role model for people of African, Asian or mixed ethnic origin. In counterpart to this, Robert Mugabe has truly come to personify the very stuff collective nightmare.  Racial stereotypes are being revealed and also challenged and transcended on a grand scale in these two people. This beautifully expresses the Aquarian themes of revolution, social change, and opportunities for liberating the mind from prejudice.

The Sabian Symbol for this degree is ‘A tree felled and sawed to ensure a supply of wood for the winter’. The USA is under the spotlight, and Barack Obama will be riding on the tide of these aspects during his first year in office, when we will no doubt see a dramatization of the very themes we are discussing. Almost incredibly, he has the South Node positioned at 27.53 Aquarius, exactly conjunct the Moon in the horoscope of the USA, and the South Node of Zimbabwe. One wonders just how this symbolism of felling trees might play itself out given that the 'financial winter' is upon us.

Perhaps this earthen bowl of violets is showing us the ‘way of the ancients’ ……


The Water Bearer

This conjunction occurs when the Sun is in Aquarius, and also physically placed within the constellation of the Water Bearer. As mentioned, Aquarius is preoccupied with the cosmological, and the large-scale collective ideas. We are challenged to personalise our sense of the ‘big picture’ through our individual beliefs and actions. Today a virtual flood of new ideas issues forth from sources familiar and new, which therefore require considerable discernment on our part.

There is within Aquarius a horror of being ‘selfish’, as well as a vulnerability to the influence of the group. Hence the reputation of Aquarians being ‘The Rebel’. Underneath this is a deep need to belong, to identify with a group, to be accepted and feel one’s place within it. Staying close to this sensitivity and honouring it is important, as our ‘still small voice’ will guide us through the times when we risk simply importing the prevailing views of ‘what is true’, to the detriment of our own inner knowing.

The Water Bearer is a very large constellation, usually depicted as a figure carrying a jar of water which is being poured down from above. The desire to ‘pour out’ ones best, for the benefit of all concerned, is deep and sincere in this sign. During 2009, in ways big and small, we will be encouraged to honour this impulse. Interestingly, many existing images of the constellations show the Aquarian figure as depicting supreme effort, or stress, or a sense of being out of balance. Sometimes, the Heavenly River which pours down through the jar of the Water Bearer looks like a huge snake, or a yoke.


This poignantly reflects how in this sign we may meet many obstacles, evoked by our depth of commitment and dedication to the Greater Good. Aquarius is one of the ‘fixed’ signs, and as such its field concentrates energy, holds it and focuses on preservation, purpose and gathering in. The capacity to stay true to one’s vision is an Aquarian gift, and during 2009 this will be nourished by the prevailing energies. We are offered the opportunity to move beyond what is not working, and to be inspired with new possibilities, inner and/or outer. During January and February in particular, we have celestial support for re-setting our visions and perspectives, allowing a higher understanding to generate.

Picture above: NGC 7252 The 'Atoms for Peace' galaxy

Credit: NASA


Picture left: Well-head at Chalice Well, Glastonbury.

Credit: Sophia Smith


Leo and Aquarius

The sign of Leo is ruled by the Sun,

and is associated with the Lion, the heart,

the King, the Solar individuality.

Leo is the sign opposite Aquarius,

and serves as a reminder

of the importance of individual gnosis

in these times.

It is our unique individual actions

and creative responses which allow

the stream of Aquarian waters

to flow to those in need,

including ourselves.


New ideas bring may forth new social and cultural forms, but the spiritual path, the ‘perennial philosophy’ is ageless, guided as it is by the Wisdom of the Heart-mind. Located on the border of the constellation of Aquarius, under the foot of the Waterbearer, we find the 'Atoms for Peace’ galaxy, named after the famous speech in 1953 by Eisenhower. May we use our capacity for technological innovation to benefit humanity, and may the Uranian energies within the sign of Aquarius bring about awakening. May it be so.




(1) See also 'Women of Wisdom' by Tsultrim Allione, or 'Machig Labron and the Foundations of Chod' by Jerome Edou.

(1a) Dates marked either ‘R’ or ‘D’ are turning points in the planet’s movement:

  • R means the planet is appearing to turn to reverse motion
  • D means it is resuming forward motion.

The period of R (Retrograde) motion favours the inner dimensions of work, when it is wise to prepare, watch and wait. The consequences of past actions come to either help or hinder one’s progress, internally and externally. By contrast, periods of Direct motion (D) are usually auspicious for forging ahead, making decision and initiating action.

(2) There are several sets of symbols, each one relating to one degree of the 360 degrees of the zodiac. The ‘Sabian Symbols’ were masterfully interpreted by Dane Rudhyar in his book ‘An Astrological Mandala’, Vintage Books (Random House), 1974.

(3) See the works of Pema Chodron and Tsultrim Allione for help with cultivating the skilful means to do this.

(4) Founding of the United Nations: 24th October 1945; 16.45 EST; Washington DC. (Data source: 'Book of World Horoscopes', Nick Campion.

(5) Zimbabwe: 18th April 1980 00hr EET; Harare. (Data source: ibid.)