Logo Melanie

If you'd like to be informed of forthcoming events, special offers, new books and MP3s, and receive occasional articles, do sign up below. There is no cost, and your Email address will not be shared. You can unsubscribe at any time.

A Metalogue of Uranus & Neptune

- their current mutual reception


An article written for the Journal of the Astrological Association of Great Britain.

On 21 October 2002 this article was at final edit stage when some 'mini-events' occurred, illustrating the very themes I was writing about. This metalogue is written into the text. Comments in Italics relate to the 'NOP Survey' chart. On that day, my own Uranus and Neptune were receiving exact transits, conjunctions from Saturn and Mercury respectively.

A question

As Uranus and Neptune are both outer planets, I asked myself a question: 'What factors in the personal horoscope reveal the pathways along which this powerful energy might flow from the collective and transpersonal to the individual?' For experiences signalled by the outer planets are potentially destructive, so need careful integrating. Otherwise we may contract in resistance, try to deny the experience and go into defensive reaction instead. Conversely we may be swept away by collective opinion, prejudice and hysterical emotion.

Time spent listening carefully to the radio will illustrate both extremes. A smooth voice reports horrors; half-truths masquerade as 'fact'. But on the positive side, since 9/11 more programmes are giving 'air time' to deeply personal experiences that lie behind the statistics of war and disaster. Perhaps the need for personal stories to be heard is being recognised as a force that can help to heal the suffering that makes history repeat itself. Waves of collective destruction break over our Home Planet, and we are all touched. The ability to process personal experience becomes not a luxury but a necessity. Here we truly have something valuable to offer as astrologers, for our model offers a cosmological context which is 'non-partisan'.

Mostly, however, we see the world 'through a glass darkly', meaning through the veil of our own inner constructs, complexes and perceptual habits. These personal structures too are now threatened, whether or not we are on the 'front line'. It is true that we are more than our personal experience, whether of pain or gain, suffering or joy. However, the undercurrent of collective change can evoke strong reactions as fears and vulnerabilities arise that we never knew we had. I believe the opportunity presented by this mutual reception is one of awakening in awareness to the Clarity and Insight (Uranus) that evoke a sense of Oneness and Peace (Neptune). For these transpersonal realities can assist us even in the midst of darkness and turmoil. There arises in my mind an image of 'lightning over stormy waters'.

I enter a reverie about the elements... water and air, as sea and sky. Watery Neptune as King of the Sea, and airy Uranus as the primordial sky-god. A kaleidoscope of imagery envelops my imagination. To be 'at sea' is to be lost in confusion. Collectively we are virtually drowning in a sea (Pisces) of information, misinformation and technology (Uranus) while fervent illusions (Neptune) of clarity, order and humanitarian concern (Aquarius) reign supreme. Neptune in Aquarius already reflects this. Perhaps Uranus in Pisces signals the awakening of compassion, imagination and a sense of wonder and oneness. Needless to say, this will not be reported in the media. Can we allow it to be real anyway?

The metalogue

As I finish the above paragraph, I hear a knock at my door. It is 12:50 p.m. (see chart). I check the astro-clock and see a void-of-course Moon in Aries on the IC, in the fourth house, about to move into Taurus after crossing the IC. Its last aspect was a sextile to Saturn in Gemini, and yes, I've been working hard writing. Aquarius is intercepted in the second house, so contains Uranus and Neptune, here intercepting my task of writing about them. This house is also ruled by Saturn, placed in the seventh house, and here she is, on my doorstep. I see a rather sombre-looking woman, probably in her mid-50s, dressed in a steel-grey jacket and black trousers. She is doing Market Research. Of course, Saturn in Gemini, ruler of commerce, in the seventh house of 'others'. Intrigued by the symbolism and the timing, I invite her in.

Chart At 12:53 p.m. the Moon crosses the IC into the third house. At 12:56 p.m. it enters Taurus. There follows a 'deluge' of questions (third house) about myself, my spending habits (Moon in Taurus) and my lifestyle. In the range of multiple choice answers available, my 'individual truth' disappears. No 'maybes' , or 'it depends...'.

The freak

I am asked what TV channels I watch. As I don't currently have a TV, her computer programme glitches, beeps and crashes, presumably confounded by such eccentricity. An astonishing list of stores and restaurants I've never even heard of doesn't include my local farm shop. So it can't compute how I buy food, and the programme stalls again. I notice my reactions. I am definitely starting to feel like a freak. I don't seem to live in the world these forms are describing. I must try harder to seem 'normal'. I realise with amusement that this is a distinctly Aquarian metalogue about conformity versus individuality. I let myself really enter it, curious to see what happens.

The climax comes at 13:34 BST when she shows me a list of banks. I am asked to do the following (sic): 'Next I'd like you to think about these brands as people, not as someone you know, but as a person you create in your imagination based on your impression of the brand or company. Please look at each of these values and call off the numbers of the ones you think apply to NatWest'.2 I am by now totally perplexed, unsure how to relate to this at all. Here is a bizarre travesty of the kind of 'guided imagery' one might use in order to access deeper realms of the psyche. Murky Pisces posing as airy Aquarius. In the chart, note that Jupiter, ruler of the ASC, is in Leo in the eighth house, opposite Uranus and Neptune in the second. Here in the place of 'other people's money' the bank takes on individual identity (Leo)!

'But these are banks, not brands or people', I bleat helplessly, rendered almost mute by the pressure to take seriously something which seems quite mad to me. I get worried. A bank is not a 'brand'... or am I missing something? A bank is somewhere you put money. It is not a product...or is it? Now I really feel like a lost Neanderthal. I read on. Here is an extract from the list which, no kidding, extended to 25 such items! 1 Wealth, 2 Status, 3 Ambition, 4 Open-mindedness, 5 Excitement, 6 Honesty. So far, sort of expectable. Going down the list, my discomfort and feeling of unreality increase: 7 Being in tune with Nature. What? I skip to further down... 18 Pleasure 19 Having fun 20 Adventure 23 Faith 24 Learning, 25 Don't Know.

Is this a corporate Aquarian attempt to personalise a de-personalised world? To convince the public into believing that 'someone out there' cares? My confusion turns to hilarity and mirth overtakes me. My tentative cover of 'normality' is blown.

'You can't be serious.... see a bank as a person? Does this mean a person could just as easily be a bank? Are we all figments of imagination?'
The woman tries to keep a straight face. She cannot. We laugh together, conspiratorially, like voyeurs in a lunatic asylum run by the inmates. Truly, the Emperor is stark naked.
'I know what you mean', she says.
'Have other people questioned this question?', I ask.
'No', is her astonishing reply. She adds awkwardly, 'And what's worse is that these companies have paid big money for this survey'.

I imagine the sums involved. Probably more than our combined yearly incomes. I feel genuinely indignant, as I imagine an Aquarian might. I think of the medical care, ecological projects, and famine relief that this could fund.
'It's obscene!' I roar.
I mean it.
I meekly choose the 'Don't know' option.
But I am crestfallen, imagining my passionate response now being 'number-crunched' into some vast anonymous survey that will 'tell the nation' what is normal and what isn't. I feel 'eaten up' by a monster of an unmistakably Aquarian nature. I wonder if I'm getting too heavy about it. After all, it's only a form. But by now this exchange between the 'real' and the 'unreal' has become so fascinating that I'm really having fun. We continue.

What do you do?

Next comes 'The Dreaded Question'. I brace myself for her response as I tell her I'm an astrologer. Oh. This 'option' isn't on the list. I will have to go down as an 'Other'. 'Never mind', I say, somewhat patronisingly. 'We're used to that sort of thing'.
'I've never met a live one.' She looks amazed.
(I resist the impulse to ask her if she's met a dead one.)
Now the entire tone of the conversation changes, along with the atmosphere in the room. Suddenly, things aren't funny. Jupiter in the eighth house of trauma and loss, rules Pluto in the twelfth house of hidden influences. I wonder what will be revealed next?

Chiron rises

She says earnestly that she 'believes in' astrology, and her daughter 'must have something terrible'. She had slashed her wrists recently. I check the astro-clock. Chiron is now exactly rising. I decide to follow the metalogue, go quiet, and listen to the woman's distress. I override my usually strict taboo about 'third party' work, and offer to look at the daughter's chart.

I will call her daughter Judy. Uranus and Neptune are in Sagittarius; Pluto has already touched Uranus by transit, and is heading for Neptune. Judy has 25° 42´ Aquarius rising, and I mention to her mother the recent retrograde transit of Uranus across this point. This was indeed when Judy slashed her wrists.

'What happened back in late February 2002?', I ask, mindful of the first pass of Uranus over the Ascendant.
'She suddenly got very depressed', was her reply.
'Were 1995 and 1998 also significant? I venture, thinking of transiting Uranus and Neptune in conjunction to Judy's twelfth house Sun and Venus retrograde, which are closely conjunct in the first degree of Aquarius. Chiron is her only earth placement in Taurus, so ruled by this Venus. I wonder about the father.
'Oh yes', she says, 'that's when...' And she tells the whole tragedy. The NOP chart tells the story, and the curious reader is invited to deduce it from there.

I mention the forthcoming direct station of Uranus on the fourth of November 2002 as a potentially positive turning point, prior to the final crossing of Uranus over the Ascendant in mid-December. She is eager for suggestions, so I mention the Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary3, hoping this might tide Judy over while she waits to start therapy. This seems suitably Uranus-Neptune: spiritual healing at a distance. Judy 'doesn't believe in God, but she does read her stars'. Perhaps with natal ninth house Uranus in Sagittarius, this could be extended to include 'something' healing. Perhaps, too, I represent this—the astrologer. I also mention the work of Stephen Levine4. Judy's eighth and twelfth natal houses are very full, with multiple Chiron transits forthcoming. She's not too young to learn about resources to assist her own healing. Moreover, she has already demonstrated her need, and has been put on Prozac as a result. Neptune ahoy. Her mother leaves just as the transiting Ascendant reaches the first degree of Aquarius, Judy's Sun-Venus conjunction. I hope this is a good omen.

Whew. I write up the metalogue, finishing at 4:00 p.m. just as Uranus slips into the twelfth house of the astro-clock, joining Neptune there, the house of 'hidden influences'. I take a break, then return to edit the rest of the article.

Uranus calls ….

The 'phone rings. I am too curious not to answer. Someone I know, born in Baghdad. We talk about Saddam Hussein suddenly freeing (Uranus) prisoners (twelfth house) yesterday. We discuss hidden influences, including the big Peace Concert in Baghdad held on 12 October by James Twyman (Neptune in the twelfth). She'd been to a beauty clinic and was confronted with five pages of questions to answer before they would give her a simple facial. She refused. We laugh. Here it is again. Attempts at pseudo-order produce confusion. Neptune in Aquarius rules OK!

Neptune calls …..

The 'phone rings again. According to the metalogue, it should be Uranus in Pisces on the line. A client from Manchester wants an appointment. 'How were the earthquakes this morning? I ask blandly, thinking 'Uranus'.
'I was in the bath' she says, 'It felt like being at sea!'

I relish this moment when the extraordinary reveals itself within the ordinary, but say nothing lest I sound like a raving lunatic. These events may be trivial, but when astrology demonstrates itself, it is always awesome. At 4:58 p.m., Saturn is conjunct the transiting IC. The metalogue subsides as I quietly finish editing the rest of the article, which follows.

Global mind dreaming

The global mind, activated by Uranus and Neptune in Aquarius, has brought forth the digital revolution and with it the virus epidemics, hackers, and system breakdowns. Although fewer than 8% of the world's population own a computer, Uranian technology and its Neptunian consequences have become integral to 'the system', the very fabric of global society. But has the great dream (Neptune) of technological prowess (Uranus) become a nightmare (Pisces) of denial, stereotyping and depersonalisation (Aquarius)? Shall we discover that we have chased the elusive image (Pisces) of perfection (Aquarius) into the wastelands of soullessness? Aquarius is the Water-Bearer, and I see in my mind's eye a figure like St. Christopher emerging from the ocean, carrying the Christ-Child in the form of a precious urn of water.

Mercury and Venus

Aquarius and Pisces are the final air and water signs, respectively. In the last stages of the 'Hero's Journey' of the zodiac, we are returning to the Source, to re-member and reconnect with the spiritual roots which nourish our individuality. Loss of connection transforms into surrender. Venus is exalted in Pisces, and Mercury is exalted in Aquarius. Thinking, feeling, head and heart. Much suffering, alienation and confusion result from our inability to tell the difference between thinking and feeling. Most of our thinking, on examination, can be seen to be imported opinions, learned attitudes, or negative judgements based on our emotions. 'Feeling' may be simply a reaction to what already happened in the past, or what we fear will happen in the future. We are rarely present in simplicity and openness.

The houses through which Uranus and Neptune transit will be prone to uncertainty, innovation, disruption, creative change as new energy enters in. But the condition of Mercury and Venus, by sign, house and aspect, will very likely describe the alembic within which a deeply challenging but very personal inner alchemy will take place. This may prompt a clarifying of our self-worth and personal value (Venus) and work on communication skills (Mercury). What are our beliefs about ourselves in relation to others? What roles do we habitually occupy, or indeed put others in?

Jupiter and Saturn

The traditional rulers of Aquarius and Pisces are Saturn and Jupiter respectively, sometimes called the 'social planets'. Perhaps they too indicate a likely pathway for the current of the mutual reception to flow. As with Mercury and Venus, the aspects, signs, and rulerships of Jupiter and Saturn can be considered. As social structures mutate and even crumble, we are thrown back on ourselves and to the inner meaning of Jupiter and Saturn. Being able to ride chaos and live empty for a while may be necessary. 'Giving up hope is encouragement to stick with yourself, make friends with yourself, not to run away from yourself, to return to the bare bones, no matter what's going on.'5 Pema Chodron describes the inner qualities of Jupiter and Saturn—persistence, dignity, realism, acceptance of how things are. This can yield an inner expansion of consciousness, which in turn elevates our social ethics and the orientation of our lives. The very foundations of our 'tribal' allegiances are questioned, as well as our relationship with various social, professional and religious groups and organisations. Do we align with the past or the future, the known or the possible? With truth or expediency?

Going deeper

If we contemplate the Hermetic axiom 'As above, so below', and its counterpart 'As without, so within', then the further out a planet is located, the more deeply inward is its transpersonal domain. The outer planet energies do not only show 'out there' in terms of representing collective and historical processes; they also relate to the topography of profound inner states of consciousness that may arise, and which can deeply nourish the soul if they are embraced appropriately.

In the subtle anatomy of the human body, there are several vortices of energy called 'chakras'. In addition, two currents of energy criss-cross a central channel that runs along the spine, forming an image of the caduceus with its snakes winding around. These are the Sun and Moon channels, called Ida and Pingala in the Yogic tradition, and they meet at the brow chakra, or third eye. In the esoteric astrology of Alice Bailey, one reads of the Sun 'veiling' Uranus, and the Moon 'veiling' Neptune. One way of understanding this enigmatic statement is to consider Uranus and Neptune as governing the Sun and Moon channels respectively, as their transpersonal masculine and feminine counterparts.

So the personal meets the transpersonal in the brow chakra, and the energy is moved along by Uranus and Neptune. As this chakra opens, it changes our 'seeing'. We think with the heart, not in confusion but in clarity of feeling. We feel with the mind, meaning that we uncover our 'positionalities', our narrow definitions of what is Right and True, and Who We Think We Are, or for that matter Who We Think Others Are. And we move beyond them. Of course, we may resist this and fall back into old parent/child patterns that undermine ourselves or others. So the waters of Pisces symbolise the healing of ways in which we misuse thought (Uranus), as does the airy domain of Aquarius reflects clarity about the underlying emotional states (Neptune).

The Mystic and the Magician

In terms of the Astrological Great Year, we are in transition from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. The essence of the devotional, Piscean, Neptunian energy, is the out-going modality, but everyone worships something, whether or not it is life enhancing or transcendent. The awesome scale of addiction to drugs, both 'recreational' and prescription, is I believe a symptom of a Neptunian spiritual problem. 'God is dead', according to Nietzsche, but we worship frantically at the shrine of fundamentalism, secularism, materialism or addiction. Neptunian energy without a transpersonal context can be profoundly disintegrative. Devotional paths direct the personal emotional currents of longing, reverence and ecstasy towards a guru, deity or icon depicting a transcendent Being. Feeling is rendered transpersonal.

Uranian paths which primarily engage the mind and its capacity for insight awaken impersonal clarity and spaciousness as the nature of mind itself is evoked, which encompasses and transcends ordinary thought. This orientation is non-theistic, while the Neptunian approaches to the spiritual life are mainly theistic. Their blending produces compassion, while exclusive focus on one or the other results in imbalance. Too much Neptune can mean oceanic feeling concealing a lack of mental clarity accompanied by rigidity and arrogance of thought, while too much Uranus can mean a dissociation and coldness which invites a flood of sentimentality or induces emotional fixation. Each invokes the opposite, and one without the other becomes blind to the shadow side.

As Uranian energies enter, Neptunian states will be evoked and need to be positively anchored by prayer, meditation, artistic and creative work, or service to humanity. The positive side of the Magician energy is the 'how-to' process. It is about technique and procedure. Ideas are given form and creativity is realised. But its dark counterpart has no moral sense, no respect for the rights of others, and can serve only ego or ideology. The Magician becomes like the broom in Walt Disney's rendition of 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice'; activity for activity's sake, control out of control, devoid of meaning or feeling.

Uranus is the Magician, while Neptune is the Mystic. The Mystic seeks transcendence of this world through Being, while the Magician seeks knowledge that enables him or her through Doing to manifest things in the world. The former retreats from form while the latter engages with it. During these seven years, we are challenged to find a way of encompassing BOTH. To be 'in the world but not of it' rather than 'of the world and not in it'. Being and Doing are balanced, and Right Action becomes possible. ++

  1. I first came across this term in the seminal work by Gregory Bateson, The Nature of Mind.

  2. This text was copied verbatim from the computer screen, as created by a company called NOP World 'Unlimited Business Media'.

  3. Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, Burrows Lea, Shere, Guildford, Surrey GU5 9QG. Tel: 01483 202 054. www.harryedwards.org. An absent healing service which is free or donation-based; they will ask you to write them of your needs, and stay in touch by letter as the healing progresses.

  4. See Healing Into Life and Death by Stephen Levine, Gateway Books, Bath, UK edition 1989.

  5. Pema Chodron,: When Things Fall Apart - Heart Advice for Difficult Times, Shamballa, Boston, USA, 1997, p.45.

All website contents copyright © Melanie Reinhart 1989-2021 [except where alternative attribution is noted]. All rights reserved.

Home Books Articles Consultations Upcoming Events Resources