Jupiter/Neptune: Engulfed by Hope… and Its Shadow


You'd think, in just these few short months, hope had gone hopelessly out of style.

With all the populist rage seething through society's many cracks, who's had time to idealistically visualize what could be?

I will submit to you, dear readers, that hope is closer than you think. I propose we are soon likely to glimpse reassuring signs of a recovery (and read that word however you'd like, not just in a strictly macroeconomic sense). I predict an apparent lifting of the general 'alienation' vibe permeating our individual lives when we're wondering how we'll muddle through all these recent challenges on our own.

Soon, if not already in burgeoning unfolding, we'll find greatly uplifting solace in the acknowledgement that we are not alone. This zeitgeist of nervous anticipation is something most of us share. From embracing togetherness, we may begin to find collective solutions for addressing this angst. As long as we've got each other, we can take anything that comes our way. (Sound familiar?)

At least, this is what a conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in Aquarius—now in effect, lasting through the end of the year—might tell us.

Jupiter is the grand optimist, unwilling to fix his gaze on too short-sighted a goal… not when there are so many other vaster possibilities, reasons to remain upbeat, inspiring lessons to be learned from even the most harrowing tests. When we see only drudgery ahead, Jupiter opens our eyes to the overriding contextual meaning behind the drudging. And in Aquarius, he is particularly attuned to a systemic view on life, enthused by the logic of each individual playing his/her unique part in the cosmic symphony that is humanity, eager to promote idealism that suits the needs of the social whole.

Neptune, meanwhile, has been in Aquarius for more than 10 years now (since 1998, and staying through 2012), further opening our realization of human interconnectedness through the application of social and scientific technology. Over this decade, the explosion of the Internet—now, essentially, the center of so many people's lives, my career, Obama's successful election campaign, and hundreds of other grass-roots movements still picking up steam—has proven just how small this world is, how problems thousands of miles away affect our well-being, and how individuals strewn across the globe can work together toward common goals. Sounds pretty damn inspiring, right?

The presently conjoined mix of Jupiter and Neptune merely expands upon this upswing of group communality and collaborative thinking, inviting us to take deep faith in our ability to move mountains through sheer unity. Under its hopeful umbrella, we can envision ourselves joining forces, serving our individual duties and, together, bolstering this saggy balloon back to its inflated heights. As long as we believe, anything is possible…

Only reality really isn't that simple, sorry to say. Though hope is a welcome guest, helping us to float when we feel about to sink, it isn't always solidly grounded in the here-and-now truth. By its very definition, hope invites us to trust that everything will work out 'for the best'… which often gets mangled, in self-serving translation, to mean everything will out just like we wanted it to. It is, of course, helpful to hold out hope when we are actively working our buns off toward particular ends, since such positive thinking contributes a supportive tail-wind to boost our push in that direction we're already headed. But positive thinking in itself is not—has never been—enough, despite what certain 'new age lite' thinkers would have one believe. Too blindly following such na´ve beliefs, with no earthly actions to back 'em up, instead leads to profound disappointment. (It also gives those of us who blend intention and magic with our real-world efforts a bad name.)

All that said, I expect to see plenty more news stories and word-of-mouth strains of optimistic future scenarios. I can barely count how many times I've read, for instance, the economy looks poised for some salvation by the second half of '09. (Here's a slideshow of hope.) Just this week, the US stock market has begun to show increases for the year. It will be hard to resist these reports reporting everything will turn out just like we wanted it to… and the corresponding temptation to return to our pre-2008 conception of how economics work. Maybe, on this hopeful news alone, we might even cram another imprudent expense onto our credit card or refinance the house again, presuming we'll be back in the high life again by 2010 or '11.

This is precisely the sort of dangerous shadow-side not immediately obvious when we speak of hope—its evil stepsister, delusion. Neptune may at times reveal glimpses into the miraculous mystical power of faith, but it also sometimes fools us. Jupiter, typically thought of as 'good luck', also has a knack for exaggeration; when it's shown a promising potential, it reads it back to us as 'an amazing opportunity! a virtual sure thing!' Furthermore, with the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction networked and computerized by its placement in Aquarius, this hopeful (or delusional) news travels fast, far and wide, decentralized from any reliable source of authority, swept up upon the collective wish.

Along with delusion, Jupiter and Neptune can bring overstated fear... such as that which we've all witnessed with swine-flu paranoia blanketing the globe as quickly as any much-hyped-but-ultimately-innocuous computer virus. Do we really need a government official to tell us what we already know, that swine flu is no worse than the regular ol' kitchen-sink-variety flu? Fear does affect our immune system, however, as well as our ability to handle the actual difficult situations that warrant our attention. More people perish in traffic accidents each year than will ever die from swine flu. Does that mean we stay at home, seat-belted into our dining-room chairs, until the threat of auto transport passes?

What personally worries me the most about this Jupiter-Neptune injection of hope/delusion is its ability to distract us from the other astrological forces—like Saturn's opposition to Uranus, which also persists throughout '09—that bespeak of continuing social struggle to integrate structure with revolution. Though there are apparent symptoms of recovery starting to shoot up from the ground, they may also be a fleeting cover for deeper, more long-term challenges still afoot (such as falling wages and rising unemployment).

As I previously indicated, what we recently saw during Venus's retrograde through late-Pisces and early-Aries were 'prophetic whiffs' of some major heavy-duty astrology working its way to us by mid-2010. (Noteworthy detail: During that prophetic-whiff time, we saw a rush of populist protests against governmental authority under the guise of a new 'Tea Party movement', culminating on Apr 15, the exact day of a Mars-Uranus conjunction. To me, this augurs a growing dissatisfaction with centralized economics not to be mistakenly marginalized. This revolutionary spirit is not going away quietly.)

A pressure-cooking T-square between Jupiter and Uranus in Aries, Saturn in Libra, and Pluto in Capricorn is on the horizon, essentially guaranteeing that life will not be returning to its prior 'smooth sailing' anytime soon. (More likely, it will never be the same again.) While I don't want to come off melodramatic or apocalyptic, I also don't want any of us to lapse into a Jupiter-Neptune-anesthetized cloud of hope—and fool ourselves into thinking the storm has already passed. From this astrologer's perspective, my friends, the big storm is still approaching…

Yes, please bind together with those folks near and far who share your vision for a transformed tomorrow, and please be hopeful. But also, please be realistic and aware.