War & Peace 2003: Neptune's Power Revealed

By Mark Lerner

"Are we more vitally conscious than an Egyptian 3000 years B.C. was? Are we? Probably we are less. Our conscious range is wide, but shallow as a sheet of paper. We have no depth to our consciousness." -- D.H. Lawrence in Apocalypse (1931)

Dateline: March 2, 2003, 3:35PM PST, Eugene, Oregon -- I am giving you the exact time for the typing of this article as it is one of the most significant I have ever written. I have been preparing it for several weeks -- studying history books, taking notes, printing out charts, looking over obscure newspaper features. You won't find this journalistic report anywhere else -- so don't bother looking elsewhere on the web. Right now the New Moon at 12+ Pisces is about three hours away. It is highly appropriate that I am sharing this news with you in the so-called "dark of the Moon" cycle.

Many people fear we could all wake up early tomorrow morning and realize that similar to January 16, 1991 (when the Persian Gulf War began with a U.S. aerial assault over Baghdad), we are at war with Iraq. It probably won't happen -- even though President Bush, the Pentagon and armed forces may have chosen this New Moon night over a month ago to begin hostilities. With no Moon visible, it is far easier for our aircraft to do their blitzkrieg lightning raids over Baghdad and Iraq. If the war against Iraq has been delayed, it has been because of the unusual international efforts at the United Nations and its Security Council -- highly confused (a shadow side of Neptune) I might add -- now going on for months. Part XIII of this series offered up the UN chart for analysis -- along with many other pertinent horoscopes like those for Saddam Hussein, President Bush, Iraq and the USA.

This story is about Neptune -- its orbit in the solar system, its discovery, its meanings and archetypal symbols, why it is crucial to our understanding right now as America may launch a war that could turn the Middle East and much of the planet into a terrorist and nuclear nightmare. In order to handle this subject in a focused and comprehensive manner, I am going to link the time-period around 1919-1921 with 2003-2004 for a very specific reason relative to Neptune. Nevertheless, I will begin with the discovery of Neptune itself.



Neptune was discovered in a highly unusual manner. After the discovery of Uranus (via telescope) on March 13, 1781 by Sir William Herschel in Bath, England, many mathematicians and scientists still felt there was at least another big planet out there. The complete story is fascinating, but I will just share it with you in a couple of sentences. Over a number of years, John Couch Adams in England and Urbain Leverrier in France (both mathematicians) worked carefully on pinpointing the celestial position for a mysterious planet beyond Uranus. However, they were not in touch with each other and much of Adams' research went unheralded. Leverrier's work in 1846 provided enough input for astronomer Johann Galle and his assistant at the Berlin observatory in Germany to discover the elusive new planet late in the evening on September 23, 1846. [Note: A fine astrological researcher in the UK -- Nick Kollerstrom -- has offered up a slightly different time of around 12:14AM LMT on September 24, 1846. Both charts are similar except for a change of about 3-4 degrees on the angles. His version is offered above.] In Welcome to Planet Earth astrology journal over the years, I have written more comprehensive features on the amazing discoveries of all the outer planets -- including Chiron.

Why is the discovery horoscope for a planet important? Well, first off, there are only four of them in existence -- if we don't count the discovery of thousands of asteroids. These are the discoveries of Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Chiron. Each is a kind of celestial and divine statement of what human beings on Earth should be doing with their lives, what new direction we need to move in, how we should evolve in the future. Just like the birthchart for a person, each discovery horoscope is a set of cosmic instructions, a spiritual blueprint of profound proportions. Once Neptune was discovered, astrologers began the work of interpreting its myriad meanings.

In the 156+ years since finding Neptune, we have learned a lot about this planet -- although so much remains enshrouded in mystery. Most astrologers connect Neptune with collectivist and community-oriented themes, communism and socialism, mass movements, visions, dreams, spiritual and religious beliefs, mysticism and meditation, the creative imagination and visualization, movies and photography, oil and all sea/oceanic life, drugs, alcohol and behavior in which you are addicted or "hooked" (think of the harpoon, one of Neptune's symbols from ancient times). In addition -- and this is very important -- Neptune appears to be a higher octave of Venus. If Venus rules personal love, Neptune is divine love. If Venus links with the creative arts, then Neptune is inspiration in painting, music, dance, theater, film, poetry and kindred fields. If Venus (through its rulership of earthy Taurus) rules personal money, assets and resources, then Neptune is the international flow of money, goods and trade -- which includes the world-wide flow of oil, a substance that still tends to control the Earth and all our lives. Keep in mind that every planet has a positive and negative dimension. And the shadow side of Neptune connects with confusion, chaos, nebulosity, deception, illusion, fanatical beliefs, religious intolerance and emotional-mental fog when it comes to all the positive meanings articulated above.

Now Neptune has an orbital cycle around the Sun that lasts 164.79 years. It spends about 14 years in each sign of the zodiac. Currently, it is focused at 11-12 degrees of Aquarius. Back in the 1919-1921 time-period I will discuss, Neptune was located at 11-12 degrees of Leo. Is there something about these degrees that is unusual. Yes! -- dramatically and crucially for what Planet Earth is about to face. Here’s the secret.

Great astrologers Dane Rudhyar (my main mentor and author of numerous books on astrology) and Grant Lewi (author of Astrology for the Millions and Heaven Knows What) provide the answer. Dane Rudhyar was the key astrologer who discussed the importance of the heliocentric nodes of each planet. Most astrology students and professionals work with the Moon's Nodes all the time -- as vital degree placements in every chart and an axis of great power. The Moon's Nodes have an 18+ year cycle moving retrograde through the zodiac and are geocentric -- because the Moon is the Earth's satellite. The heliocentric nodes are very slow-moving and relate to the orbital positions of all the planets as they orbit around the Sun. In essence, Neptune's heliocentric nodes are the points in our ecliptic or zodiac (Earth's path around the Sun) where the entire orbit of Neptune crosses the entire orbit of the Earth. Approximately, every eight decades, the degrees change by only 1 degree. Thus, they move exceedingly slowly.

Ever since I read the masterworks of Rudhyar and Lewi back around 1972 when I started my astrology practice, I have been working with the heliocentric nodes of the planets. As Rudhyar points out, if a person is born with, say, the entire orbit of Neptune rising and setting, it's almost as if that person becomes a cosmic agent for Neptune itself. In other words, to have the heliocentric nodes of a planet on an angle or conjunct a celestial body at birth is much more powerful than to have a conjunction of the planet itself. Therefore, if one person is born with Neptune rising and another person has the orbit of Neptune rising, it is the latter who is endowed with the most potent energies -- not that the individual with Neptune rising hasn't also chosen a highly potent chart Neptune-wise. Both are super-strong with Neptune vibrations, but having the heliocentric nodes so powerful is an overwhelming key to the person's spiritual destiny.

It was Grant Lewi who revealed that the USA was born in 1776 with Uranus in Gemini close to the North Node of its orbit while the Soviet Union came into existence in 1917 with Neptune in Leo close to the North Node of its orbit. In addition, Adolf Hitler's Third Reich began in January 1933 with Pluto in Cancer close to the North Node of its orbit. The USA is the major nation in the world connected to democracy and capitalism (Uranus). The Soviet Union was the major nation in the world connected to socialism and communism (Neptune). And the Nazi Third Reich was the major nation in the world connected to fascism and totalitarianism (Pluto). What all this establishes in your mind is that the orbits (north and south nodes) of the planets are essential to understand. This article will focus in on the heliocentric nodes for Neptune. [Note: Do not be confused. There are also geocentric nodes of the planets that shift much more quickly than the heliocentric nodes. Rudhyar was very well aware of this. His studies focused on the more universal and significant heliocentric orbits.]

Okay -- so far, so good. This gives you the background, but now we will get into the nitty-gritty of details, data, facts and ideas. The most essential link between 1919-1921 and 2003-2004 is that the planet Neptune is crossing its own heliocentric nodes! Now since its discovery on September 23, 1846, this has only occurred twice -- in the 1919-1921 period in Leo and the current time of 2003-2004 in Aquarius. So there is no mistake, here are the exact heliocentric north and south node placements in the zodiac for Neptune: 1919-1921 (10 degrees and 54-55 minutes of Leo) and 2003-2004 (11 degrees and 50-51 minutes of Aquarius). The premise is that when Neptune united with its own heliocentric north node (1919-1921), major Neptune archetypes, themes and stories were played out in humanity and on Planet Earth. Based on what happened then, we can be reasonably sure that Neptune is about to be astoundingly important again in 2003-2004 as it reaches and conjuncts its heliocentric south node! Rudhyar suggested that when a planet crosses its own node (north or south), it acts as a kind of focalizer or magnifier of the spiritual power of that planet (represented by the orbit itself). However, there may be greater danger now that Neptune is on its southern node rather than when it was on the northern node eight decades ago. [Note: Later on in this feature, I will add another remarkable cycle connecting Jupiter to links between 1920 and 2003.]

Let's be even more precise. Here are the exact dates in the past when Neptune crossed its north heliocentric node and became super-strong: September 27-28, 1919; January 2-4, 1920; July 24-26, 1920; April 11 - May 3, 1921. Here are the exact dates coming up when Neptune crosses its south heliocentric node and will become super-strong: March 3-6, 2003; August 1-3, 2003; January 4-7, 2004; October 2004. Now before proceeding, you may want to review the paragraph above in which I mention the meanings of Neptune. To some extent, we have a situation where history is repeating itself -- not exactly, but in accordance with Neptune currents, themes and symbols. By looking back 80+ years ago, we can understand what's going on now. And because the world is facing the possibility of World War III -- through an out-of-control debacle in the Middle East -- the stakes are enormously high.

I like to base my astrology research on exact dates and times. This gives you the best and most amazing results. However, with this situation, it is clear that Neptunian forces and energies start building up even before the planet crosses its own heliocentric node. Thus, in the years before 1919-1921 (the exact hits), Neptune was approaching its own heliocentric north node at 11 Leo and therefore gaining momentum in its influence of humanity and our planet. So what happened? World War I for starters! The key date for the beginning of World War I (often coined, in highly idealistic Neptunian terms, "the war to end all wars") was June 28, 1914 when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated in Serbia (Yugoslavia) by a young Serbian anarchist Gavrilo Princip. The war actually began a month later on July 31 and August 1, but the first shot was this assassination. I have written about it extensively in Welcome to Planet Earth astrology journal back in the early 1990s. Amazingly, at this killing that ignited WW I, transiting Neptune (mass confusion and chaos) reached 27+ Cancer (conjunct the rising degree at the discovery of Neptune itself) while transiting Uranus (explosive events; sudden and shocking happening) reached 10+ Aquarius -- exactly crossing Neptune's heliocentric south node. Now during WWI, Woodrow Wilson (born December 28, 1856) was President of the USA. A former teacher and president of Princeton University, Wilson (a democrat) was very idealistic (his natal Neptune was in Pisces) and wanted to keep America out of war. Nevertheless, due to the militaristic power of Germany and its fight against England and France, the USA entered the war on April 6, 1917. During that same year, Russia went through its communist revolution (November 1917) leading to its suing for peace against Germany (March 1918) and the execution of the Czar and his family (July 1918). On November 11, 1919, WWI ended -- with the defeat of Germany and the victory of the allies, due -- in large part -- to the intervention of the USA and the noble ideals brought forth by President Wilson.

President Wilson wanted to make the world "safe for democracy." Even before the war ended, he announced his famous 14 Points -- a series of steps leading to the end of the war and how the world would be changed -- politically and geographically -- after the war. But his most famous idea/vision -- extremely Neptunian in essence and tone -- was the creation of a LEAGUE OF NATIONS. In his mind, this would be a large group of nations whose mission was to prevent new wars from beginning. Basically, the league would be a world organization of countries that would make war obsolete!

His idea caught on with exuberance and fire across the Atlantic. After all, the allies (England and France) were so excited to have beaten back the aggressive and militaristic onslaught of Germany and its belligerent partners. They were willing, able and enthusiastic to work with President Wilson to create his dream organization (Neptune). On February 14, 1919 (Valentine's Day) -- with President Wilson in France -- the Versailles delegates working on the future peace of Europe and the world agreed to form Wilson's League of Nations. Here's what the President said that day: "A living thing is born, and we must see to it what clothes we put on it." In the entire formation of the League, this is clearly the most important day. The New Moon (prior to this event) happened on January 31, 1919 with the Sun and Moon meeting at 11+ Aquarius -- right on the south heliocentric node of Neptune. On the day itself (Feb. 14, 1919), there was a Full Moon at 25+ Aquarius and Leo -- with the Sun precisely illuminating the discovery placement of Neptune (and Saturn!) on September 23, 1846. [Note: One of the most remarkable features of the discovery of Neptune chart is that the planet was sighted while conjunct Saturn!]

The problem was that America (a Sun-sign Cancer country) wanted to retreat back into its Crab shell after being so wounded and hurt in saving Europe from itself during WWI. The forces of protection and withdrawal were on the march here at home. President Wilson -- in his own Neptunian, idealistic vision -- felt supremely confident that America would go along and certainly be a vital part of the League of Nations. After all, it was his idea in the first place. On July 10, 1919 -- with Neptune so close to its own heliocentric north node -- the Treaty of Versailles and League of Nations covenant was sent to the U.S. Senate for ratification. President Wilson then went on a major tour of America -- rallying our citizens to influence their senators to pass the treaty and covenant that would insure America's involvement with the League -- making sure that the world would be safe for democracy and that war, as we had known it, would be banished from the Earth (Neptune). But in late-September 1919 -- with transiting Neptune precisely on its north heliocentric node at 11 Leo -- President Wilson collapsed from exhaustion and had a stroke. On November 19, 1919, the Senate defeated the resolutions -- preventing America from joining the League! This defeat occurred again (on changed resolutions) two more times (February 19 and March 15, 1920). By now, President Wilson was a ghostly figure and in November 1920, Republican Warren Harding became President while Wilson himself -- just three weeks later -- was given the Noble Peace Prize for his efforts to create the League of Nations.

President Harding championed an America that would not get involved in European wars again. In a memorable address to a joint session of Congress on April 12, 1921 (with Neptune once again exactly on its north heliocentric node), President Harding said the US "will have no part" in the League of Nations. His fellow Republicans in Congress cheered him wildly. President Wilson's dream was finally dead -- as far as America was concerned. Meanwhile, the League itself had begun! On January 16, 1920 (with Neptune again right on its north heliocentric node), the League of Nations held its first meeting in Paris. Almost a month later on February 11, 1920, the League's council met for the first time in London. Many nations joined the League, but with America never a part of it, it could never stop a militant Japan from taking over Manchuria in 1931, a resurgent Italy (under socialist-turned-fascist Benito Mussolini) from invading Ethiopia in 1935, and a failed artist named Adolf Hitler from resurrecting the might of Germany during the 1930s, eventually leading to WWII on September 1, 1939.

Now -- as we will see in a moment -- the importance of all this is crystal clear. Every day now, Americans and people around the world in 2002-2003 are glued to the TV, radio, web and newspapers concerning events at the United Nations and its Security Council. The UN is the world organization descendant of the League of Nations. One world entity died and, out of the ashes of an even more destructive war, Wilson's dream was reborn in the League's "child," the United Nations. This time, the world organization is fundamentally based in America -- having been actually founded in Washington, D.C. and having its main headquarters in New York City (near the site of the WTC disaster of September 11, 2001). So the stakes are incredibly high for this United Nations to try and keep world peace and either coherently force Saddam Hussein and Iraq to disarm its weapons of mass destruction or, by weakness and dissension (the shadow side of Neptune), allow America and its allies to begin a virulent air war against Iraq that could bring about a new round of war with nuclear blackmail, terrorism and holocaust. And Neptune is once again activating its own orbit by transiting the south heliocentric node, on and off, during 2003 and into 2004.

But before going forward, let's return again to some of the significant events of the 1917-1921 period so that we can understand how powerful Neptune was in that era. You have already noted the many meanings of Neptune in this article. Here are some additional major events back at the end of WWI and its aftermath. In addition, to the first truly world war (chaos on a mass scale is always related to Neptune), this war brought about the birth of Communism (Neptune) in Russia. It was Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels whose pamphlet The Communist Manifesto first appeared at the end of 1847 -- just one year after the discovery of Neptune. This led to a powerful student-worker revolt in Paris in 1848 -- leading to similar uprisings in Berlin, Budapest and Vienna. Europe was aflame with socialist and communist movements and Neptune had just been sighted in the past two years. Well, with Neptune now approaching its own north heliocentric node in Leo (1917), the first successful communist revolution took hold in Russia. Many people today don't realize that more people died from the world-wide Spanish influenza outbreak at the close of WWI than from the warfare itself. This is another example of Neptune at work in a shadowy way -- a massive illness affecting the world, wiping out millions of people who have no cure for the disease. On January 2, 1920 -- one of the exact dates when transiting Neptune crossed its north heliocentric node -- Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer in America began a series of raids across the country -- arresting nearly 3,000 radicals suspected of supporting Communism. It was a "red scare" (extremely Neptunian in tone) some 30 years before the post-World War II epoch of McCarthyism and anti-red fervor in the USA.

Let's not forget other major Neptune themes of this era. During WWI, mustard gas (Neptune personified in the chemical realm) was used in battle. [Note: This is similar to the same mustard gas that Saddam Hussein has used before on the Kurds in the north of Iraq and which most people believe he still has in stockpiles hidden around the country.] In January 1919, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified -- indicating that by January 16, 1920 (a year later) America would experience Prohibition of the public sale and use of beer, wine and liquor. Talk about Neptune! This occurred in the exact month of Neptune on its north heliocentric node. [When Prohibition was repealed -- December 1933 -- it was almost exactly 14 years later (a typical Neptune cycle through 30 degrees of the zodiac) and transiting Saturn hit 11 Aquarius -- right on the south heliocentric node of Neptune.] On August 26, 1920 -- with Neptune still on its node -- American women finally won the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Here was another Neptune event -- women, on a mass scale, being recognized as American citizens with a right of universal suffrage. Keep in mind that Neptune at 22+ Virgo is directly above when the USA was born on July 4, 1776 at 4:47:09 PM EST in Philadelphia, PA -- the chart and time we have used at Welcome to Planet Earth astrology journal for over 20 years (based on Barry Lynes' extensive and meticulous research).

Even in major league baseball (America's national pastime), Neptune made its presence known. In January 1920 -- with Neptune at 11 Leo right on its own north heliocentric node -- the Boston Red Sox sold pitcher and home-run slugger George Herman "Babe" Ruth to the New York Yankees. This happened right at the start of the Roaring Twenties and Babe Ruth would go on to become literally a legend in his own time. People who have this rare, mythic and almost mystical aura surrounding them -- the Babe Ruths, Marilyn Monroes, John F. Kennedys, Princess Dianas of the world -- are often ambassadors from Neptune and have this planetary energy prominent at their births. Nevertheless, Babe Ruth became the greatest ballplayer of his era -- plus a kind of national folk hero. From the Boston end of the spectrum, the so-called "Curse of the Bambino" (negative side of Neptune) started in 1920. The Red Sox had last won the World Series in 1918 and have never won a series since their trading away Babe Ruth. On the global political front, by December 1920 the British partitioned Ireland into a Northern and Southern zone. This still has reverberations today as the battle between Catholics and Protestants (a religious war is always connected to Neptune) in Northern Ireland has never been resolved.

By the way, remember that I mentioned Saturn was conjunct Neptune at the latter's discovery. In fact, they are at the same degree (25+ Aquarius). Saturn-Neptune conjunctions occur every 35-36 years and happened three times in Aquarius in 1846 (when Neptune was discovered). Saturn joined Neptune in Taurus in 1882 (when John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil was made a trust -- having vast repercussions concerning monopolies in business and industry for the future), in Leo in 1917 (the formation of the Soviet Union under Communism), in Libra in 1952-1953 (during the heights and depths of the red scare in America and also the start of the Korean War), and in Capricorn in 1989 (when Neptune was actually visited and photographed for the first time ever by the Voyager II spacecraft in August 1989 and the Berlin Wall fell, signifying the main defeat of Communism in East Germany and eventually the Soviet Union, in November 1989). Saturn and Neptune will next meet on February 20, 2026 at 0+ Aries -- the Vernal Equinox degree that is itself a key power/sacred point in the zodiac! And when that happens, the Saturn-Neptune union in 2026 will exactly oppose the Sun placement (0+ Libra) at the time of the discovery of Neptune.

Along the way in this article, I have shared many ideas about the importance of Neptune's discovery, its orbit and heliocentric nodes, its many meanings, and now the unusual fact that Saturn and Neptune were actually together as Neptune became a reality in our world. There's something weird, practical, but also depressing about this occurrence. At no other discovery of an outer planet has the planet itself been conjunct another planet -- only at Neptune's discovery. And Saturn is probably the key opposite to Neptune -- theme-wise. Saturn is the ancient lord and ruler of the material world, physical existence and the body, time, structure, form, reality. Neptune links with the invisible realms of consciousness, spiritual life, being "out of time" ("spaced-out" is definitely a Neptunian phrase), lack of structure and form, non-real, imagined or visionary episodes, "out of the body" experiences. Both President George Bush (the elder) and President Carter were born in 1924 with Mars at 25 Aquarius -- conjunct the Neptune-Saturn union at Neptune's discovery. Both Presidents -- in different ways -- revealed their Neptunian idealism in going against tyrants and dictatorial behavior. The former President Bush in the Persian Gulf War against Saddam Hussein and his capture of Manuel Noriega of Panama in a daring raid. President Carter in his refusal to send Americans to the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow after the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan and his failed attempt to rescue the Americans held hostage in Tehran, Iran from late 1979 until early 1981. [Like President Wilson, President Carter has now won the Noble Peace Prize. Their awards are remarkable in the fact that Neptune was on its north heliocentric node when Wilson won while Neptune was on its south heliocentric node when Carter won. Both were honored for their Neptunian vision of world peace, harmony and understanding.] Nevertheless, both President Bush and Carter -- with their natal Mars placements (war; strife; anger) exactly on the unusual Neptune-Saturn conjunction from Neptune's discovery -- were one-term presidents, losing in landslides by Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

Even now we find that while "old Europe" -- ruled by France and Germany -- appears to be backing away from supporting America at the Security Council of the UN, America has a staunch ally in Prime Minister Tony Blair of the UK. Tony Blair was born on May 6, 1953 during a Saturn-Neptune conjunction (22 Libra)! He is a vital part of this "Neptunian power play" I have been discussing. As someone who believes that war against Iraq may be necessary, it is not surprising to note that he has Mars rising in early Gemini. In addition, his wisdom, intelligence and genius are shown by a Sun-Pallas conjunction in Taurus (within 6 minutes of exactitude). As I reported in Part XIII of this series, President George W. Bush (the current President) is born at a potent First Quarter Sun-Moon Phase -- a phase that symbolizes crisis, particularly crisis in action. Prime Minister Tony Blair is born at a potent Last Quarter Sun-Moon Phase -- a phase that symbolizes crisis, particularly crisis in consciousness.

I mentioned earlier that I have something important to share about Jupiter and its cycles that make the links between now and the time around 1920 extra important. Back in 1995 and 1997, I ran articles in Welcome to Planet Earth astrology journal about a discovery of my own. By working extensively with the ephemeris -- that has all the planetary positions for 100 years at a time, day by day, month by month -- I noticed something I had never seen before and that no one (that I know of) had ever commented on. Every 83 years, Jupiter retraces its steps in the zodiac precisely. In other words, years separated by 83 years, have Jupiter at the same degree, day by day. All you have to do to verify this is to look at an ephemeris for 1920 and one for 2003. Even the station of Jupiter -- this year at 8+ Leo on April 3 -- happened at the same degree, and the same date, 83 years ago. Because of this strange phenomenon, Jupiter -- which links to society in general, economics, religion, education, and a whole host of other realities in humanity and on Earth -- is a major force in having aspects of history "repeat themselves."

Now here is what's really uncanny. We now know that every two years -- separated by 83 years -- has this bizarre "Jupiter repeat" in the zodiac. But 1920 and 2003 are already connected because of Neptune transiting its north and south heliocentric nodes in these years! Thus, Jupiter -- the largest planet in the solar system and, in many ways, the key planet that keeps our social life in order and working soundly -- is MAGNIFYING the Neptune heliocentric orbit effect -- that is itself an extreme amplification of Neptunian force influencing humanity and Earth.

Now Neptune certainly rules OIL. And so many people around the world know that oil is the key to the Middle East. We have numerous conspiracy theorists who believe that because our current President Bush and Vice President Cheney (former CEO of Halliburton, a company strongly linked to oil and industry) are both linked to oil in their past work that this new battle against Saddam Hussein and Iraq relates to America trying to establish itself as a primary player in the heart of the Middle East. Now that the war against terrorism has already begun and America is entrenched within Afghanistan, control of Iraq (with the second largest oil deposits in the world, following Saudi Arabia) will allow America even greater power in the region -- and perhaps for years and decades to come. Since I am writing this exactly as transiting Neptune is making its first crossing of its south heliocentric node, it is noteworthy that the lead story in this weekend's USA Today business section is the following: "Oil Prices Could Break Through $40 Barrier." It is filled with alarms -- not only about the skyrocketing price of crude oil, but the rapidly rising costs for natural gas, gasoline and home heating oil. Extremely rising oil prices are a key -- according The New York Times online edition also this weekend -- to major recessions. The stock market has been on edge for months because of the uncertainty/confusion (shadow side of Neptune) regarding a new war over Iraq. And part of this chaos is related to what will happen relative to oil prices -- as well as an increase in terrorism here in America.

We need to remember that Neptune is strongly affiliated with Pisces and that we are living near the close of the 2,160-year Piscean Age. According to the Tibetan Master D.K. -- in Esoteric Astrology by Alice A. Bailey -- Jupiter is still the regular ruler of Pisces and that actually Pluto rules Pisces on more soul-spiritual or esoteric levels. Neptune is more like a general ruler of Piscean qualities -- plus it is strongly connected to Cancer (America's Sun-sign and that for the current President George W. Bush) because Cancer rules "mass emotions" -- a theme dynamically connected to Neptune on spiritual levels. Thus, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto -- the three brothers in ancient Greek mythology who divided up rulership of the skies (Jupiter), seas (Neptune) and underworld (Pluto) -- are all associated with the greater epoch in which we are living. The reason Saddam Hussein is so connected to the end of the Piscean Age is that he is born with an exact Jupiter-Pluto polarity (from Capricorn to Cancer) -- with Neptune in Virgo, forming a cosmic triangle with Jupiter and Pluto. While we don't know when the Piscean Age ends and the Aquarian Age begins, we do know that Neptune will return -- for the first time ever -- to its discovery placement at 25+ Aquarius on the following dates: April 10-12, 2009; July 16-18, 2009; February 6-8, 2010. Therefore, we are nearing the conclusion of Neptune's first 164+ year cycle around the zodiac since it was discovered back in September 1846. And being in the "dark Moon phase" of that cycle doesn't allow for too much illumination and comprehension of what's happening on Spaceship Earth.

Another chart to factor into the entire equation is that for the Great Mutation -- when Jupiter and Saturn first started uniting every 20 years in earth signs. This occurred on January 26, 1842 (1:11AM EST in Washington, D.C.) with Jupiter and Saturn at 8+ Capricorn. The entire subject of mutation cycles is too involved for this article. Suffice it to say for now that from January 26, 1842 until December 21, 2020 (when Jupiter and Saturn converge at 0+ Aquarius, starting a new great mutation cycle in air signs), our lives are strongly connected to earthy elemental themes because of the largest two planets (Jupiter and Saturn) conjuncting in earth signs approximately every 20 years. Thus, the entire mechanistic and materialistic approach to life since 1842. We just had a Jupiter-Saturn union in Taurus on May 28, 2000, so the next 20 years are under a Taurean dispensation. Now these Great Mutation charts are used to understand international economic forces in particular -- where horoscopes can be created for the capital of each nation. However, Great Mutation charts also affect our lives politically, socially, educationally and on many other levels. Neptune was located at 16+ Aquarius when the earth Great Mutation occurred on January 26, 1842. Mercury (ruling trade, business, communications) in that chart was placed at 12 Aquarius -- exactly on Neptune's south heliocentric node. And that is where transiting Neptune is now -- in 2003-2004! Thus, we find Neptune now is also galvanizing the Great Mutation chart from 1842 -- as well as its own heliocentric nodal axis.

President Wilson had a very strong link to the Great Mutation chart because his natal Sun at 7+ Capricorn was within 1 degree of the Jupiter-Saturn union at 8+ Capricorn in that horoscope. He tapped into the Great Mutation earth power and idealistically was trying to reshape the Earth itself, into a more democratic and harmonious world. His natal Neptune at 17+ Pisces was also right between the explosive combination of Mars and Uranus -- both in Pisces -- in the Great Mutation chart. On the other hand, Adolf Hitler was born with a Moon-Jupiter conjunction (7-8+ Capricorn) -- exactly conjunct the Jupiter-Saturn union at the Great Mutation. He wound up literally trying to control the Earth energies from a perverted will and power base -- rather than democratically. Saddam Hussein does share some very scary astrological ties with Adolf Hitler. Both are Sun-sign Taureans with Jupiter in Capricorn. Hussein was primarily raised by an uncle (his father died while his mother was pregnant with him) and the uncle had strong ties to nazism and fascist beliefs. Many people think that Saddam Hussein will choose exile -- for himself and his immediate family -- at the last moment rather than die in Iraq. I think there is almost no chance of this. Just like Hitler, Hussein hired expert German engineers in the 1980s to build an elaborate underground bunker for his survival. Hitler was almost an incarnation of Germany itself, of the race spirit of the German people -- and I have studied a variety of mundane astrology charts to prove that. I believe Hussein is very similar in nature and imagines himself to be a kind of personification or deification of the spirit of Iraq. Reports indicate that he believes himself to be a reincarnation of Saladin who defeated the Christian Crusaders in 1187 and seized hold of Jerusalem. He will not only go down in Iraq, but, like Hitler, may want to destroy his own nation in the process by blowing up oil wells, creating havoc in Baghdad, unleashing his hidden arsenal of banned biological and chemical weapons.

All of this brings us to the present. My main reason for writing this article is that just as in the period of WWI, its aftermath and the quest for world peace via the League of Nations, we are in a similar Neptune-dominated cycle (and this doesn't deny the power of Uranus, Pluto, Chiron and other crucial celestial bodies). And our modern version of the League of Nations -- the U.N. and its Security Council -- seems to be failing us. Even President Bush has threatened to bypass the Security Council if it doesn't wind up taking responsibility and disarming Saddam Hussein forcefully. Nevertheless, just as the League of Nations was formed primarily as a forum for open discussion among nations and not primarily as a militaristic, international police force, we have a peculiar situation where much of the world is demonstrating for peace (a positive side of Neptune) while America and some of its allies are clamoring for war because of the belief that Saddam Hussein cannot be trusted (negative side of Neptune) and that he has been proven to be a skilled liar and deceiver (negative Neptune).

When America was born, Neptune was overhead at 22+ Virgo. Neptune represents our grand vision of a world safe for democracy and a world at peace. But we also have Mars at 21+ Gemini -- squaring that Neptune. This has been part of the reason for our own bloody Civil War in the 1860s and our confusion about joining international bodies (like the League of Nations and the United Nations). America seems more connected -- in its actions -- to Jupiter, the ancient "King of the Gods" (the planet that rules our rising sign of Sagittarius), Mars in Gemini in the 7th house of open warfare (indicating that we will take action if words don't help us accomplish our goals), and Uranus (ruler of aviation, missiles, satellites and high technology) in Gemini close to its own north heliocentric node on July 4, 1776. Neptune above for America is also a symbol of the power of Hollywood -- and transporting our film-star realm to the rest of the planet. Thus, it is not surprising right now -- with Neptune on its own south heliocentric node at 12 Aquarius -- that a major subject on television (Neptune invention) concerns movie stars coming out against the war, against the President, and for continued inspections within Iraq, and for a peaceful conclusion to this highly confusing situation. [Note: As I indicated in Part XIII, transiting Saturn is currently igniting America's natal Mars by conjunction -- in our 7th house of allies and open enemies -- while it also squares the USA Neptune. This is making our nation very anxious about terrorism, nuclear blackmail (as in the Korean peninsula), and the need to take action to remove the threat that Saddam Hussein poses -- whether he has bonafide ties with al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden or not. At the same time, Saturn in this current position is rupturing the important alliance we have had with France and Germany -- allies for decades.]

When Neptune is super-strong -- as it is in 2003 and will be into 2004 on its own heliocentric nodal axis -- we are likely to see the movements of world peace (idealistic Neptune) clashing against the forces that want to control world oil and depose deceptive tyrants (shadow and negative side of Neptune). I will have a lot more to say about how President Bush and Saddam Hussein connect with each other in a future article. For the moment, we can understand that President Bush is strongly connected to Neptune. We know that a major part of his life changed when he abandoned alcohol (at his wife's insistence) and became a born-again Christian! This is definitely an extreme focus on Neptune in a person's life. Add to this the fact that the President is born with the Sun in Cancer (a sign strongly linked to Neptune by the Tibetan Master D.K., on mass, planetary levels particularly related to the emotional-astral plane) -- exactly conjunct America's Sun! It is no wonder that President Bush has been a catalyst awakening the global peace movement against his policies and pending war in Iraq. [Could this be a hidden purpose in his life mission?] He is also born with the Sun in watery Cancer in the 12th house (the Piscean house in a chart). Since he is born with Leo rising, it is this Sun that rules his chart. He feels he must be America's protector at all costs -- since his Sun is exactly with the USA Sun. And the sign Cancer dynamically links with homeland security, family values and preservation of our way of life. Like President Wilson, he is attempting to remold the world and make it safe for democracy. But can a region of the world like the Middle East -- which has had so many dictators and autocratic rulers -- ever be recast as a democratic stronghold? Here is the clincher regarding our President and Neptune's power. He is born with an extremely close Mercury-Pluto union rising at 10-11 Leo with the largest asteroid Ceres (Earth Mother and protecting others) setting at 11 Aquarius. These three vital celestial bodies are anchored right across the north and south heliocentric nodes of Neptune and probably the most significant alignment at his birth! Above, through and within President Bush's personality, heart, mind and soul, the vital energy of Neptune is present.

The next few weeks -- and certainly months-- are likely to see a great conflagration in the Middle East either played out or avoided. If avoided, it can only happen -- it seems to me at this juncture -- through the intervention of higher powers, i.e., the spiritual hierarchy of advanced souls, teachers, masters and angels who guard over humanity and this planet. The usual process is to so inspire human wisdom that we avoid creating our own material disasters. However, the situation is so extreme -- both regarding Iraq (and what a battle there will mean for renewed terrorism) and North Korea (over the issue of nuclear weapons) -- that something may need to happen directly from spiritual realms to prevent a new catastrophe from taking place. Keep tuned to this web channel for more astrological ideas and inspiration!

[Closing Note: There is a potent, exact, dangerous and mysterious Finger of God (Yod) formation during the Discovery of Neptune. We find Neptune conjunct Saturn at 25+ Aquarius sextile Pluto at 25+ Aries, but Mars is at 25+ Virgo (the fulcrum of this triangle) -- 150 degrees to Pluto and also Saturn/Neptune. What this means may never be known. It's undoubtedly linked to the difficulty of establishing world peace, and the constant wars (Mars), tyrannical behavior (Pluto) and forces of restriction/limitation (Saturn) that are attempting to prevent humanity from reaching a loftier level of universal love and wisdom (higher meaning of Neptune). It's probably the most significant alignment that exists in any of the four maps for discovery of outer planetary bodies. These degrees of the zodiac always need to be watched -- relative to New and Full Moons, Eclipses and unusual planetary alignments -- when considering the empowerment or disempowerment of Neptune energies on Planet Earth.]

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[Mark Lerner is the publisher of Welcome to Planet Earth. Please reach him at PO Box 12007, Eugene OR 97440 or via e-mail at Markgobear@aol.com You can also utilize the following link http://www.mcn.org/greatbear/tofc.html in order to visit the Index Page of our astrology web site.]