Spiritualism, Plague and Astrology
As you know, astrology works through metaphor and imagery. You arrive at an understanding of a sign or a planet elliptically, and a story unfolds through the multiple elements weaving together. But all combinations have the potential to tell different stories.
So for example, consider Neptune in Pisces. Neptune is the lord of the sea and Pisces, the Fishes, is his own sign. One of the qualities of this is boundlessness, the dissolving of boundaries. Pisces is the final sign of the Zodiac where everything is dispersed into the numinous. This could easily be a decade of much greater spirituality, or simply an interest in communicating with the dead. Neptune in Pisces is also a combination that promises illusion, deception, wonder.
|Cora Hatch was the most popular|
American”trance lecturer” during the 185Os.
So it’s not surprise to find that the Spiritualist Movement became wildly popular in 185Os as Neptune last went into Pisces. Huge crowds would go to see seances and “trance lectures”. The Fox Sisters, the “Rochester Rappers”, who started it off in 1848 just as Neptune was changing signs, were later revealed as frauds, but undoubtedly some practitioners were genuine. This seems to be rather a Neptune in Pisces story then: although it starts as smoke and mirrors, a real truth is revealed by spiritualists, and indeed many of the ideas that developed then have become orthodoxies of the New Age. The problem, as always, is when you mix the spiritual with money.
But here’s a completely different story told by Neptune in Pisces. It a tale of contagion, which is about the dissolution of proper boundaries, and particularly through water, the domain of Pisces. In the 185Os, while Neptune was last in Pisces, millions of people died, particularly in Russia in the cholera pandemic. Cholera spreads when human faeces adulterates the drinking water – in other words when the proper boundaries are not maintained between sewage and sippage.
On the upside, in 1854, when Dr John Snow correctly traced the cause of a cholera outbreak in London to a street pump, Neptune was still in Pisces. Scientific, structured Saturn was in detail-oriented, information-gathering Gemini, squaring that Neptune. Snow was a pioneer of epidemiology and he reached his conclusion by painstakingly mapping outbreaks in Soho, a perfect expression of Saturn in Gemini. Previously, cholera had been attributed to bad air, not bad water.
Another pandemic that took place under Neptune in Pisces was the Plague of Justinian which started in 541. Historians believe as many as 1OO million people died worldwide during this pandemic. About a quarter of the population of the Eastern Mediterranean was wiped out. At its height five to ten thousand people were said to be dying every day in Constantinople, the city that straddles the boundary between Europe and Asia. (In an spooky parallel with today, Pluto was in Capricorn, Saturn in Scorpio, and by 543, Jupiter was in Cancer and the nodes were in Scorpio-Taurus.)
The Black Death (1348-5O), during which as much as half the population of Europe died, was not under Neptune in Pisces, you will be glad to read. Neptune was in Aquarius at the time, another sign associated with universality. The disease spread through fleas jumping from one person to the next, not through drinking water. However, Saturn, the Grim Reaper, was in Pisces. In fact, Saturn was sweeping from Neptune in Aquarius to Pluto and Uranus in Aries during those plague years, connecting disease to death.
Here are some jollier posts on Neptune in Pisces.