The very rare conjunction of Neptune and the Moon’s South Node Ketu in the constellation (sidereal sign) of Aquarius occurs from ~April through December of 2016, with the exact conjunction occurring on November 17. This is using about a 10-degree orb applying to the conjunction, and about a 5-degree orb separating from it.
Neptune transits in one constellation for about 14 years, and around the entire zodiac approximately every 165 years. So Neptune is in Aquarius for approximately 14 years every ~165 years. The current transit of Neptune in Aquarius extends from April 2008 to February 2023. Generally, this ~14-year period of Neptune in Aquarius is a time of cultural and spiritual awakening, especially as Uranus the Awakener has also been in Pisces, thus exchanging signs with Neptune since 2010.
This combination highlights scientific and technological inspiration, innovation and discovery. It also characterizes a period of mass deception, confusion and delusion amid political and social upheaval, all of which are echoed in many other astrological transits and progressions which I and other astrologers have written about before. (This image below is of Uranus on the left and Neptune on the right.)
Along with Neptune, the Moon’s South Node Ketu is also transiting in Aquarius now. It transits all the way around the zodiac every ~18 years, staying in one constellation for about 18 months. So once every ~18 years, Ketu transits in Aquarius for ~18 months. The current transit extends from January 2016 to September 2017. Ketu and Neptune conjoin every ~16-17 years, but in Aquarius they come together only every ~165 years. In general, this transit of Ketu in Aquarius has much of the flavor of Neptune in Aquarius, in that Ketu and Neptune have many similar qualities.
As an example. Ketu and Neptune are significators of spiritual enlightenment. In the sign of the Water Bearer — Aquarius — they can each individually and also together exponentially represent some deep awareness of Oneness; a desire for emotional attunement to higher dimensions; and a dissolution of certain boundaries. They can urge us to escape reality in either a constructive or destructive way, depending on our individualized and collective state of evolution.
Neptune and Ketu are the planets of fantasy, mysticism and the occult. Neptune also rules art and photography, and both Neptune and Ketu relate to film-making. In Aquarius, they tend to manifest in the most unusual visionary creations. In Aquarius, and especially in Shatabisha nakshatra (from 6 deg. 40 min. to 20 deg. Aquarius), Neptune and Ketu also tend to expand our potential for body-mind-spirit healing through metaphysical, ancestral and energetic methods. In the subject of healing, along more traditional medical lines, Neptune and Ketu rule over microorganisms, infections, and vaccines, and as they are transiting in innovative scientific Aquarius, one hopes that many new discoveries will be made for viable medical and pharmaceutical prevention and treatments. At the same time, there are more and more scandals and conspiracy theories emerging related to the consequences of Big Pharma’s deadly greed.
As an example, the present-day epidemic of opioid and prescription drug addiction in America is known to exist in large part as a result of the drug industry as well as unethical medical practitioners. Neptune specifically relates to drugs, alcohol and addicts, and the added effect of Ketu’s involvement can attract very dark energies. At the same time, as Ketu is eclipsing Neptune in 2016-2017, the enormity of this crisis is coming to light. It’s interesting that this conjunction is occurring in Lord Varuna’s Shatabisha nakshatra which relates to soma, the nectar of the gods which is like poison when taken in excess.
Neptune and Ketu are not only the planets of drugs and infections, but also of cover-ups. Someone recently sent me an article titled Superbug’ scourge spreads as U.S. fails to track rising human toll which discusses the current crisis of drug resistant infections and a commonplace practice in which these infections are not accurately reported. Who suffers because of this? The People, who are ruled by Aquarius. The following is a microscopic image of a superbug known as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better-known as MRSA). The individual cocci (bacteria) look a bit like Neptune, don’t you think?
The less evolved nature of Neptune and Ketu in Aquarius portrays a tendency for victimization, serious mental health issues, and unhealthy escapist habits and patterns. This former is revealed in the current era of PC/political correctness in America. PC is a manipulative, fear-based method of controlling people and their speech which feeds into the widespread occurrence of shared victim mentality. This ties into the rise of “progressive social justice” activism on college campuses, which critics have described as an absurd and immature hotbed of totalitarian racists, charlatans and bullies who sow hatred and divisiveness rather than true “justice.” I recently read an article in the Washington Post titled In the safe spaces on campus, no Jews allowed which articulates more about this point of view:
“The recent surge of progressive activism on college campuses across the country has led to many debates on the merits of concepts such as ‘microaggressions’ and ‘safe spaces’ in educational settings that should respect free speech and dialogue. Student uprisings against racial injustice and discrimination at Yale, the University of Missouri and dozens of other universities have shown the power of students who have banded together against institutionalized racism in academia and the student body, but little has been said about how the idea of ‘intersectionality’, the idea that all struggles are connected and must be combated by allies — has created a dubious bond between the progressive movement and pro-Palestinian activists who often engage in the same racist and discriminatory discourse they claim to fight. As a result of this alliance, progressive Jewish students are often subjected to a double standard not applied to their peers — an Israel litmus test to prove their loyalties to social justice.”
The dynamics of Neptune and Ketu conjoining in Aquarius can be seen in large democratic or humanitarian societal movements which seek to alleviate social injustice, like what is mentioned above and also in the Black Lives Matter movement. Yet, without a firm peaceful foundation aligned with higher principles, movements like this tend to backfire and become ineffective and dangerous. These planetary energies can be quite unconscious, eliciting violent, confusing, incoherent, and disintegrating shadow forces. They can also represent sudden transformational events; whatever is unsustainable will be dissipated under their watch.
Aquarius is the sign that presides over elections. The shadow of this transit explains the fact that we are in the least transparent Presidential election in modern history. For example, medical information has up to now been withheld by the two candidates, and Donald Trump is repeatedly criticized for not releasing his tax returns. Both candidates have so far declined to travel with the customary protective pool of reporters. The current election cycle has been very baffling on a lot of levels; for instance, during the primaries, many of the various state rules seemed to get muddled.
The election has also been fraught with deceit and scandal, as we saw with the recent WikiLeaks DNC exposé and later firing of various higher-ups for favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. This is in addition to the allegations circulating about Donald Trump in major conflict with the Republican Party, and allegations that Hillary Clinton is in poor health but hiding the fact; and there is the scandal of her emails-emails-emails, and of course the Clinton Foundation has also come under suspicion of fraud.
Shatabisha nakshatra is known for secrecy, and it governs media in all its forms, including the Internet. The dynamics of this Shatabisha transit reflect in the growing power of Wikileaks, an organization created by journalist Julian Assange in 2006, which releases secret information, classified media from anonymous sources as well as news leaks exposing government and corporate corruption.
Given the confusion of this transit, it is hard to know what it true most of the time, as the mainstream media has become more unreliable than ever, and conspiracy theories abound and are fed even further by Wikileaks and other hackers. We have lost some significant ability to trust what the mainstream media is feeding us in the way of information.
Even astrologers are muddled in this election, because there is no valid birth time for Hillary Clinton; many various times have been suggested but all are basically guesswork at this point. Yet many astrologers continue to conjecture, argue and make predictions about her and the election based on what they feel might be her correct birth time, and quite often I have noticed that many astrologers allow their personal opinions and desires to sway their birth-time rectifications. Confusion reigns!
Neptune and Ketu both rule oil and gas, and Aquarius indicates those who aspire to preserve our land, water, natural resources and sacred Native American sites against the ostensible progress of oil and gas development. These environmentalists across America have been speaking up against the massive technological expansion of oil and gas production and pipeline infrastructure. The big demonstration happening now is against the North Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, North Dakota.
The Standing Rock demonstrations represent the largest convergence of Native peoples in more than a century, and because of independent news and social media coverage, the mainstream media has also started to bring some awareness to it, as well. Fracking has also been blamed for creating earthquakes in the Midwest, and is clearly destroying water and roads throughout various locales in America.
Protests could escalate in the next few months, and all the various struggles against gas and oil development, including that at Standing Rock and many other sites, are by no means over. They will continue for many years during the Neptune in Aquarius transit, whereas In the near future (now through December 2016), around the closest period of the Neptune-Ketu conjunction, there is a strong possibility for a pipeline environmental disaster and perhaps some fluctuations in oil and gas prices.
Labor issues are also heating up in this transit, since Neptune and Ketu relate to rallies, rebels, and socio-political movements, whereas Aquarius is the sign of the People and can also refer to exaggerated hopes and ideals and mass demonstrations. As one example, the largest general strike in India’s history involving a walkout of 180 million workers just happened in September. Typical of Neptune cover-ups and mysteries, this story was hardly covered by mainstream media around the world.
In America, on September 9, when Neptune squared Saturn for the last time, the biggest prison strike in history occurred in America, as prisoners from over 25 nationwide prisons waged a protest calling for the end of inhumane conditions including their alleged enslavement by prison authorities. Neptune and Ketu rule slavery, prisons and prisoners, and together in Aquarius they can bring compassionate transformation and greater public awareness about the complex issues of mass incarceration. This movement could really intensify in the months ahead. Meanwhile, President Obama has been commuting prison sentences for inmates at an unprecedented rate.
The chart above shows the conjunction of Ketu and Neptune in Aquarius in 1849, which was the last time they conjoined in the Water Bearer sign. Aquarius is the sign of both literal and metaphoric groundbreaking, and Ketu and Neptune here reveal certain progressive cultural changes. This was the second year of the California Gold Rush in America in 1849.
Issues related to Temperance and Women’s Rights really began to emerge during this period, as well. This was the year that the female physician graduated from medical school in the US. Her name was Elizabeth Blackwell. The Lily, a Temperance and Abolitionist newspaper specifically for women, and the first newspaper published by a woman (Amelia Bloomer), first came out this year.
As I write this article, we are nearing a Pisces Full Moon Lunar Eclipse (on September 16). Neptune is the modern ruler of Pisces. The BBC has just reported that “violence has broken out in India’s technology hub Bangalore in Karnataka state over a long-running dispute about water. Protesters are angry at a Supreme Court ruling ordering Karnataka to share water from the Cauvery river with neighbouring Tamil Nadu.”: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-37346570 Neptune is planet of water, and Ketu rules war, and of course Aquarius is the sign of the “Water Bearer.” Sometimes astrology is really this literal!
In a 2015 National Geographic article about “Water Wars,” it was stated that the “world’s largest underground water reserves in Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas are under stress. Many of them are being drawn down at unsustainable rates. Nearly two billion people rely on groundwater that is considered under threat.” I imagine we will see this matter in Bangalore and even more of these water rights disputes and issues over clean and available water coming to a head around various parts of the world in the coming months
Slavery and human rights issues are also big ones for Neptune and Ketu in Aquarius. In 1849, Harriet Tubman, dubbed the “Moses of Her People,” escaped from slavery in the South in 1849, and made it to Pennsylvania with the help of the Underground Railroad. She went on to free many more slaves through her own network of safe houses and transportation.
President Zachary Taylor was inaugurated in 1849 as the 12th US President. He died in office the next year, and some theories have suggested that he was assassinated. I have read articles that attempt to draw parallels between President Taylor and Donald Trump, both being categorized as rough-cut Washington outsiders with unclear ideologies and political inexperience. They have both been accused of “killing” their respective parties, the Whigs for Taylor, and Republicans in the case of Trump.
The last time before 1849 that Neptune and Ketu came together in Aquarius was in 1682. Halley’s Comet appeared this year, an omen of great change at the time. This year was the beginning of the reign of Russia’s Peter the Great which brought sweeping reforms; social modernization; and a bigger and better navy, all of which established Russia as a significant world power. Neptune rules navies, and Aquarius is the sign of technology. Ketu’s conjunction enhanced Neptune’s capacity to build up the Russian navy.
In America, Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love,” was founded in 1682, reflecting the higher principles of this transit. The opposite less-enlightened principles were certainly demonstrated the same year as King Louis XIV’s Court moved to Versailles, a most decadent and extravagant enchanted island of pleasures. This was the same year that Robert La Salle claimed Louisiana for France, establishing the French Territory in North America and thus defining commercial and diplomatic policies that remained in place for the next century or so.
For individuals, the conjunction of Ketu and Neptune in Aquarius will have an influence if it closely connects to (aspects) a planet or point in the natal chart. In terms of life events, it can represent a significant loss of someone or something, or a completion, or an important new beginning, depending on its placement and the rest of the natal chart.
An interest in not only mysticism but also fantasy and science fiction may be activated. In its lower principle, this combination can bring about a serious mental disorder in one who falls prey to isolation, victimization, delusion and addiction. This would be shown by malefics involved in the natal chart with the transit, and the overall thrust of the natal chart and the native’s own state of mind to begin with.
The general essence of this transit, when acting through its more rarefied vibrations, is to dissolve the ego; awaken consciousness; strengthen prophetic abilities and past life knowledge; inspire the imaginative process; and magnify emotional attunement to higher planes so that powerful dreams, visions and creative gifts come forth. Ultimately, this transit wants to wake us up to the reality of our Oneness.
(Thank you for this beautiful art image by Bill Frymire (2007).)