Saturday, January 28, 2012

Neptune, Uranus, and the rise of the Internet

Photo by Callum Black.

Last April, we toasted the return of Neptune to its home sign of Pisces with a few glasses of absinthe, the drink of choice for Neptune's previous swim through Piscean waters in the 1800's. Artists, intellectuals, dreamers, and drunken folk chased the green fairy of inspiration in surprising and unexplored directions; with Neptune in Pisces, the limitations to our creativity seem to melt away. You certainly don't hear the word "inhibition" quite as often. Boundaries dissolve, for good or ill, and our conception of reality changes. (Check out my article from last march about Neptune in Pisces)

Before Neptune's current plunge into Pisces, it was making its way through Aquarius (from 1998 to 2011). In Aquarius, Neptune dissolves boundaries between individuals and groups, connecting our society. Unique technology combines with a mixture of logic and intuition. Anything new, unique, and preferably group-oriented that questions the status quo begins to take on a gossamer finish.

This begins to ring a bell if you think back to 1998, 1999...

"hmm... '' is SURELY my ticket to fame and fortune!"

The burst of the "dot com bubble" was a prime example of the difficulties Neptune can bring during a transit. During a short period of techno-economic intoxication, the novelty of new technology and individual initiative (Aquarius) in the exciting new internet realm led to speculation (Neptune) in the marketplace. Many were so enchanted by the internet that success seemed guaranteed for any business start-up with a ".com" at the end. Neptune always challenges us by dissolving the boundaries between fantasy and reality. When the .com fantasy met the economic reality, the speculative bubble burst, causing great financial issues, unemployment, and many furrowed brows. Lessons learned, the internet continued to develop and grow.

During the dot com bubble, Uranus, like Neptune, was in Aquarius. Busy adding innovation and an electrical jolt of new and unique ideas, Uranus in Aquarius did not do much to foster an emotional connection to the internet. In 2003, however, Uranus moved into Pisces. Pisces is ruled by Neptune, and Aquarius is ruled by Uranus. With Neptune in the sign ruled by Uranus, and Uranus in the sign ruled by Neptune, these two planets were in an astrological configuration called mutual reception. The connection between the two planets is strengthened, and they work together with enhanced effects.

A year after this configuration began, Facebook was founded, in 2004. Neptune in Aquarius fueled the dissolution of boundaries in technology, groups and individuality; Uranus in Pisces brought technology and individuality into a more sensitive, intuitive realm with mass appeal. This was the beginning of social networking, as well as an unprecedented period of developing something never before seen in history- an internet-based identity. With Uranus and Neptune working together, our social lives, our interests, to a great extent our consciousness were all drawn to the internet like never before.

Wikimedia commons

The last time this mutual reception between Uranus and Neptune occurred was the late 1830's into the early 1840's. Nothing back then could compare to the internet, but sure enough, the world was changing. This period of time saw the first of the Opium Wars in China, a time of dissolving boundaries and an increasing global awareness. Transcendentalism, a pioneering new intellectual movement in the U.S. spearheaded by writers such as Henry David Thoreau, challenged the structure of organized religion in favor of a spirituality based on each individual's connection to nature and spirit. Most importantly, perhaps, was the development of the telegraph by Samuel Morse. First used in 1938, the telegraph brought electricity and code into use for communication. This would, in a few short decades, create the beginning of a global information network that has only continued to develop since.

Now, with Uranus moving into pioneering Aries, the technology and internet identities that we've cultivated are helping to spur revolutionary change in countries around the world. At the same time, Neptune is completing its final pass through Aquarius, after dipping into Pisces last year before returning for a short retrograde period. Neptune will leave Aquarius for the last time this century on February 3rd, and the mysterious and deeply emotional period of Neptune in Pisces will last until 2024. There may be great uncertainty ahead, but you can be sure of one thing- the internet has changed our world unlike anything in history. As Uranus hightails it through Aries, let's give a nod to Neptune finishing its run in Aquarius over the next few days- if not for Neptune in Aquarius, you probably wouldn't even be reading this...

Readers: how do you feel about the internet? Are there big changes ahead for our online world? Leave a comment!

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