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|Uranus, Neptune, Pluto
(Our Contemporary Evolutionary Challenge)
by Gerry Goddard
In terms of individual development, the significance of a person's birth chart is richer and more complex than simply a symbolic description of what is the case, since what actually is the case is but one manifest outcome of a complex totality of possibilities inherent within the archetypes. As Dane Rudhyar described it, the birth chart is a set of 'celestial instructions' to be actively engaged in a participatory fashion so as to best actualize the greater possibilities inherent within any situation and within one's life. By understanding the way that an individual has in fact given concrete expression in his or her life to the archetypes, one can better discern the possibilities for an optimum developmental direction. Since astrology's archetypes inform, not only the individual but also the collective, by gaining a deeper understanding of the actual historical situation in relation to the archetypes we can begin to see how collective evolutionary development is 'called' to best unfold. Rather than an automatic process unfolding on its own -- if it does so, it does so only at 'lower' and even pathological levels of the archetypes -- collective evolution, like individual evolution, involves human consciousness and human choice. Never has this been truer than at the time of the discovery of the trans-Saturnians where human beings can no longer 'choose' to leave things to nature, to fate or to the gods! The 'cosmic imperative' of our time must be heard; the 'cosmic instructions' of our time must be actively engaged by aware individuals in social and cultural intersubjective relationship to one another.
If we are seeking an understanding of the overarching meaning and direction of human growth and development at this point in evolutionary history , we can, I believe, discern the elements of the process through a certain articulation of the archetypal structures corresponding to the trans-Saturnian planets as they have manifested in recent history coinciding with their discovery. There is by now an increasing consensus -- and one receiving strong confirmation through astrology also -- that the individual and the collective are inextricably entwined, there being homologies between individual and collective 'deep structures of consciousness' (see the work of such thinkers as Jurgen Habermas and Ken Wilber). Going beyond the boundaries of psychological astrology, beyond the amplifications and nuances that these 'messengers from the galaxy' make possible in our reading of the individual personality, we can formulate a developmental psychology of the individual in relation to collective developments from modern through postmodern to possible transpersonal stages and levels.
Any view which seeks to map homologies between individual and collective, must be able to define how some individuals are 'behind' and some 'ahead' of the average level. (Being complex, individuals might be 'ahead' in some ways and 'behind' in others). Such a view must also map the developmental dialectic between the prevailing collective and socially institutionalized order or paradigm and those contrary ideas which at certain times in history constitute a rising tide; the gradual emergence of a 'new paradigm'. (see Kuhn, Capra). This very dynamic itself defines the archetypal character of an age which can be seen as a tension between the forces maintaining the status quo and the challenging and progressive forces. Such a struggle tends, for better and/or worse, to lead to a new structure, but one which may not be at all what the progressives had in mind, since the 'new paradigmatic shoots' may actually herald a stage in a more distant future even while helping to move things along one short step to the next stage.
Despite the current cultural drift into relativism and pure pragmatism, there is an indefatigable philosophical spirit within human imagination which forever insists on trying to discern a unifying order, a map that arranges the profusion of detail within certain basic structural features, one that can point to the ultimate telos of our development, the larger meaning and purpose of life unfolding. Astrology has much to offer this process since it grounds its theory precisely in its ability to connect empirical, contingent and historical facts with overarching meanings which are then grounded back in experience and the real world (i.e. in the symbolically appropriate planetary positions) as well as aiding and assisting the practice of certain 'transformational technologies'.
Our contemporary intellectual climate is one which rejects ontological, universal, transcendent, and meta-perspectives through a sophisticated critique of old frames of thought. But this radically deconstructive spirit still embodies a subtly naturalistic paradigm even as it moves beyond mere mechanism. As such it does not constitute an ultimate or foundational challenge to the prevailing paradigm. Broadly speaking, the current post-modern ethos exists alongside a hegemonic techno-economic global system in which the old instrumental, mechanistic, competitive, and exploitative order still stands triumphant as we drift toward biospheric disaster as well as toward an increasingly divided and 'undemocratic' social order. We are helplessly being driven by the global momentum of ever more complex technologies with frightening implications in the hands of an ever more powerful warrior, techno-management, and merchant class.
Yet along with a politically ineffectual and rather self-undermining intellectual/cultural milieu in conjunction with an ever extending reach of dumbifying mass 'culture', there is, more positively, an increasing commitment to human rights and freedoms and a steady ending of patriarchy, at least in its more obvious forms. Furthermore, an irreversible new growth of experiencable transpersonal visions reveals a radically different paradigm pointing to a new evolutionary 'deep structure of consciousness' struggling to be born. But for those of us who are historically embedded in this time, the gap between the most promising and empowering elements of our culture and the concrete modes of political, institutional and economic life sometimes seems insurmountable! As many individuals respond to the new cultural and psycho-spiritual insights and methods, participating in various communities for their self actualization, relational opening, and even mystical transformation, the gap between evolving individuals and the 'mass', participating in a commercially driven media-controlled global society, remains problematic.
The discovery of the trans-Saturnians signifies the full emergence into human consciousness of the archetypally formative forces which from primal beginnings acted on humans from the magical and mythic 'beyond'. Magic, myth and religion, as socially and culturally appropriate as they once were and even as legitimately revelatory of cosmic and spiritual realities as they have sometimes been, were the condition of the still unconsciousness of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto operating 'within', or rather, mediated through the realm of what we might now call, after Jung, the archaic collective unconscious. Since the Eighteenth century, a new level of consciousness has been emerging into the collective mind bringing a new freedom, but a new social, moral, and psycho-spiritual imperative along with a daunting responsibility.
Identifying the Broad Stages of the Development of Consciousness
As a background framework for this essay I would like to articulate four broad developmental structures defined in terms of the two foundational planetary groupings; namely, the changing and developing dialectical relationship of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto to the planetary group known to the ancients; namely, the Sun through Saturn. By way of clarification, this relationship of the 'intra-Saturnians' and the 'trans-Saturnians' should not be confused with the individual's relation to the collective which is a foundational subgrouping within the traditional pantheon; namely, the relation of Jupiter and Saturn to the 'Sun through Mars' group. Unfortunately, Neumann and Jung tend to use the terms 'collective' and 'transpersonal' in an interchangeable way. But it is always the individual cum collective which stands in successive relations to the trans-Saturnian realm of the transpersonal.
Stage 1. The pre-modern cosmology, the primal magical and mythical mind stands in relationship to a completely unknown cosmic realm. This realm of totems, spirits, and the Goddess enfolds and shapes human consciousness beyond human control. In terms of the level of consciousness development in this period of essentially matriarchal tribal and oral traditions and cyclic time, there is an interpenetrating fusion between the conscious and the unconscious, the individual and the collective, psyche and world.
Stage 2. With the rise of the individual self-reflexive 'mental-ego', originating with the Hebrews and developing through Greek culture, the scientific astronomical identification and mathematical description of the Sun through Saturn realm, and the establishment of the great Religions -- e.g. Christianity incorporating elements of Greek and Neoplatonist philosophy -- a clear boundary takes shape between the realms. With the rise of patriarchy and its increasing suppression of the female principle (and women) the powers of the transpersonal dimension are diffused and repressed, gradually and increasingly disenchanting the 'world' and thereby allowing an increasingly autonomous and self-determining individual to develop. This process was awakened and quickened through the Renaissance and the Age of Reason (15th to 18th Centuries) where the power of the numinous cosmic dimension had been sufficiently diffused and consciousness had become centered in the individual self in distinct relation to a scientifically objectified and disenchanted cosmos. The sense of 'Sun to Mars' individuality was gained in relationship to a Jupiter/Saturn social/collective and natural order. Saturn/Jupiter collective authority gradually shifted from a mythic religious mediation with the transpersonal to an increasingly secular mediation with a mechanistic and objective cosmic order disclosed through instrumental and disengaged rational selfhood. At this point, the objective order still exists but has become disenchanted, divested of its elan and its transcendent or spiritual aspects.
Stage 3. (The 18th century onwards). Now, humanity is ready to consciously engage the powers of the transpersonal dimension: but this does not mean to directly enter the transpersonal dimension through a new sort of supra-personal or religious experience! Rather, such an engagement takes place through a disclosure of the complex dimensions of the psyche, of interiority and subjectivity through art, culture, science, philosophy, morality, and political/social action. That is, consciousness seeks a subjectively mediated experience of the cosmic and transpersonal or 'collective unconscious' dimension. This task dawned with the discovery of Uranus. By the end of the twentieth century, we have lived through a Uranian, Neptunian and Plutonian period, and as we move into the twenty first century we face the challenge of achieving a higher level integration of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto which constitutes a transitional movement into what I call (after Coomaraswamy, early Wilber) the 'Return arc' of evolution. It is my central point that this phase, this particular deep structure of consciousness which is concerned with consciously integrating the 'Sun through Saturn' planetary group with the 'Uranus through Pluto' group, does not refer to the transpersonal dimension per se, that domain of concern of the mystical, occult, and Eastern transcendent schools. Rather, this stage constitutes both a higher maturation of the previous stage (2) and a transition to the transpersonal levels.
Stage 4. (Advanced individuals and the collective sometime in the possible future). Collective evolution hopefully begins to enter the 'Return arc' through a deep transformation of individuality, relationship, and society in our stage 3 which is still not mystical or shamanic transcendence. But the transpersonal stage proper implies radically altered states of consciousness up to the highest (causal and ultimate) levels being optimally accessed through Pluto once the stage/levels of Uranus, Neptune and their balanced integration with the Sun through Saturn has occurred in terms of modern and postmodern individuality and culture. This level is defined by a direct and total experiencing in and of the transpersonal dimension itself; experiencing and becoming the Uranus, Neptune and Pluto archetypes, rather than intentionally relating to and incorporating them into the psychological structures through will, intelligence, feeling, culture, relationship, intimacy, and creativity. To attempt this step prematurely believing that the trans-Saturnians are essentially transpersonal is to try to bypass what we might call the psycho-social Stage 3 resulting in the sorts of pathologies which we have witnessed in the West, e.g. fallen gurus with sex and power problems.
A Process of Inevitable and Necessary Disenchantment
The 'disenchantment of the world' (Weber, Berman) has been a necessary stage in the process where we have been required to 'take back our projections', to draw a clear line differentiating 'subjective' psyche and 'objective' world. But before we can realize the greater unity of world and psyche at higher and ultimately transpersonal levels (a unity which does not negate this differentiation as false but rather includes it in a higher synthesis), we must fully explore and articulate the essential distinction between that deep transpersonal structure disclosed by Eastern and Western transcendent methods which is a possible future step for humanity (that is, if the biosphere is saved) and the 'deep structure' we are presently being called to fulfill, which for our present purposes I have articulated as Stage 3.
An increasingly accepted grand historical narrative points to the fifth century BC as birthing a new sort of consciousness -- a 'non-participating,' rational, individual self-conscious ego confronting a natural objective world increasingly cleansed of animistic enchantment. More than two millennia later on the other side of the Middle Ages, the discovery of the trans-Saturnian planets would mark a time when that 'deep structure of consciousness' had profoundly taken root in the collective mind receiving a wider and deeper articulation and expression (Our Stage 2 and 3 may be considered as different stage/structures within a larger self-reflexive deep structure).
Beginning with the discovery of Uranus at the end of the eighteenth century, the radical transformation of the old order, a transformation which had first manifested as the leading edge culture from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century, now became collectively established -- that is, within high culture and its institutions. With the discovery of Uranus and continuing today, we may say that in the West the pre-modern paradigm of traditional societies has been decisively replaced by a scientific and psychological cosmology. The struggle of the scientific world view against all forms of mythic spirituality (in an indiscriminate leveling of its esoterically profound historical manifestations along with its primitive elements) was the necessary condition for the awakening of the psychological dimension, that deep structure of consciousness which we are called to explore and actualize before the next great deep structure can unfold.
Uranus coming out into the light dealt a decisive death blow to the ancient and enchanted cosmos. It was a technology (the telescope) born of empirical science and wedded to instrumental reason, which with male Baconian force pried these planets out of their Olympian seclusion. The alleged misnaming of Uranus, cited by Richard Tarnas (1995), rather than merely a clumsy application of mythic scholarship, is actually synchronistically indicative of the fact that its discovery coincided with the decisive ending of myth! No longer are we engaging the archetypes mythically, but conceptually, psychologically and experientially. Uranus is the formative archetype of the age which at least at first, directly repudiated the archetypes! (Rather than eradicated, the archetype transmuted itself appearing in various forms from the thought of Kant to Jung to Hilmann, Tarnas and Grof.)
The human psyche has ingested all -- even the gods now stand within, along with the beautiful though lifeless dried flowers of the universe that science has gathered. Heavy is the burden of the all-containing psyche which now bears the responsibility of the unfolding Kosmos, yet can only blindly stumble on without maps toward an uncharted future. No longer is the transcendent quest for the sacred and ineffable adequate to the age since it fails to transform the immanently pressing psychological and relational deficiencies that now threaten to put an end to the evolutionary 'experiment' which is humanity. Nor do the endless attempts to integrate and balance complex inner psychological dynamics and outer social and relational exchanges bring any lasting success or deep psycho-spiritual fulfillment. To speak of the 'psycho-spiritual' is to use a word full of integrative promise, yet this is still an unclear ideal -- an ever unfolding process. Yet this word captures the evolutionary direction of our unprecedented period in history where the Western path of self actualization and social engagement meets the Eastern path of self transcendence and world renunciation.
Discovering the Outermost Planets
Though first conceived among the Hebrews, further developed in ancient Greece and brought to term through the Renaissance, psychological and individualistic humankind was truly born in the age of the Enlightenment -- the seventeenth, and especially the eighteenth centuries. Individual consciousness, as we know it today, decisively arose out of the sea of the collective mind coinciding with the discovery of Uranus, the first of the great archetypal structures of the 'collective unconscious'. But Uranus marked the development of a new sort of subjectivity beyond the earlier Cartesian and Lockean self, one which disclosed a new dimensionality to interiority. As Charles Taylor (1989, p.390) describes it: "The subject with depth is...a subject with...expressive power. Something fundamentally changes in the late eighteenth century. The modern subject is no longer defined just by the power of disengaged rational control but by this new power of expressive self-articulation as well -- the power which has been ascribed since the Romantic period to the creative imagination." As Richard Tarnas (1995) points out, the discovery of Uranus at the high point of Enlightenment reason corresponds also to the birth of anti-Enlightenment Romanticism embodied in such significant thinkers, poets and dramatists as Goethe, Lessing, and Schiller. Most interestingly, 'Promethean' Uranus points to a fundamental link or underlying context which is shared, each in its own way by these two contraries: on the one hand, by Enlightenment rationalism with its rational and autonomous self, its narrative of emancipation and liberal democracy and, on the other, Romanticism with its narrative of self expression, unity with nature, creative self actualization, and its valuing of intuition and imagination. The dialectical tension of these two fundamental currents has continued to unfold in a variety of ways, still informing the shape of late twentieth and early twenty first century society and its cultural ethos.
Ever since the late eighteenth century, the universe has demanded with all the psychic force of the traditional gods, that each of us become a distinct and unique individual creatively differentiated from our fellows, capable of thinking clearly for ourselves, questioning authority and tradition, capable of an objective perspective toward our emotional and instinctual self, demanding freedom and justice for all. Though grounded in a narrowly hedonic biological level of interest, even the rationalistically and instrumentally based Utilitarian ethic from Jeremy Bentham to John Stewart Mill, was nevertheless concerned with the maximization of happiness for the greatest number rather than for only the fortunate few. Especially illustrative of the remarkable synchronicity of the individualistic Uranian archetype and the late eighteenth century zeitgeist are these words of Taylor: "This idea which grows in the late eighteenth century that each individual is different and original, and that this originality determines how he or she ought to live...goes beyond a fixed set of callings to the notion that each human being has some original and unrepeatable "measure". We are called to live up to our originality"(p.375, my italics).
The degree to which we have failed to meet the cosmic demand for individual responsibility, autonomy, universal freedom and justice at this 'higher' level of evolutionary complexity has resulted in an even more horrendous destruction than could ever have been conceived when humankind still slept in the arms of the gods. Here was the first imperative at the 'individual' or 'psychological stage' of evolution; namely, the commandment to begin to incorporate the gods within the individual's psyche, to accept his or her total freedom and responsibility for the further unfolding of life on the planet! No god could save us now; we had been given the Promethean fire of the gods and we had to learn how to use it or suffer extinction! But becoming such an autonomous individual; unfolding from an objective and 'disengaged' Kantian rationalist capable of dispassionate moral decision and a transcendence of the passionate and instinctual to a more mature and integrated selfhood, would involve many developmental trials. The secure embrace of the old Father God was no more. The Spirit could now be reached only be a Kierkegaardian leap of faith across an unfeeling wasteland. In the late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries, a brief comfort was found by some through an optimistic Romantic promise, an intimation of the new Neptunian soul-depths not yet born; but that vision too was destined to pass through many transmutations.
According to Charles Taylor, we have lost the objective order of the ancients which once constituted the sources of our moral life. We can reconnect with source only through a subjective epiphany, a subjective transfiguration of the 'naturalistic' world -- an expression of interiority which is more than a purely subjective and emotional self expression. Interestingly, since Uranus' discovery, despite variant cosmologies, there is a consensus concerning certain procedural moral principles, principles such as universal benevolence and human rights. But we need to find a deeper substratum of goods as moral sources upon which to base our purely procedural principles, and we can know this ground only in a subjective and perspectival manner. Taylor(1989):"Most of the great Romantic poets saw themselves as articulating something greater than themselves: the world, nature, being, the word of God. They were not concerned primarily with an expression of their own feelings....Where subjectivism enters in...involves the idea that an indispensable route is the impulse of nature or the intimations of the spirit within...This is what makes a clear distinction between writers like Schelling, Novalis, Baudelaire, on the one hand, and the great thinkers of Renaissance neo-Platonism and magical thought, like Bruno, on the other, despite all the debt which the first owed to the second....Bruno and Paracelsus, for instance, though they may have thought of their knowledge as esoteric, saw themselves as grasping the unmediated spiritual order of things...it doesn't have to be revealed through an articulation of what is in us. It is in this sense a public order...It is this kind of public order, a tableau of the spiritual significance of things, which is no longer possible for us....Moderns certainly can conceive of a spiritual order of correspondences....But what we cannot conceive is such an order which we wouldn't have to accede to through an epiphany wrought by the creative imagination.....Whatever is true of our scientific theories, the visions of our poets have to be understood in a post-Kantian fashion. They give us reality in a medium which can't be separated from them. That is the nature of epiphany....The moral or spiritual order of things must come to us indexed to a personal vision....this means that a certain subjectivism is inseparable from modern epiphanies....The "anti-Romantic" move into "classicism" of someone like Hulme or Eliot thus cannot be a move back to the invocation of unmediated orders. It remains epiphanic and in that way in profound continuity with the whole movement"(pp 427-429)
The significance of the discovery of an outer planet, though it may coincide fairly closely with an event or events which somehow express the quintessence of the period, cannot be thought of in the same way as the coincidence of an event and the occurrence of a particular planetary configuration. The discovery has a much larger zone of significance covering at least the century in which it was discovered and presaged by certain relevant events or personages. In one sense, the birth of new ideas within 'high culture' (or in terms of a developmental view, at the 'leading edge' of culture) can be seen as presaging the planet's discovery, after which the planet's significance becomes more concrete and manifests in a more decisive way within the collective. In this sense, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries may be characterized as essentially Uranian and Neptunian. Describing the two centuries as quintessentially Uranian and Neptunian, Dane Rudhyar (1975, pp 45-46) writes:"...the two centuries which witnessed their discovery have also opposite, yet in a sense complementary, historical meanings - the eighteenth century being characterized by its brilliant but abstract intellectuality, the nineteenth by its romantic emotionalism, and the chaotic upheavals resulting from the Industrial Revolution and the release of new and transforming energies, psychic as well as material. Briefly stated, Uranus is the prophet of individualism and of the social togetherness of self determined "free" man. Neptune symbolizes the often compulsive and unrecognized pressure of collective factors and mass-movements upon the individual, a pressure which tends to dissolve the integrity of the personality into the oceanic currents of emotions or imprecise, universalistic utopian feelings aroused by fascinating visions or charismatic personalities."
The eighteenth century -- and even the end of the seventeenth with the publications of John Locke -- can be considered as strongly anticipating the discovery of Uranus. In the same sense the birth of Romanticism, arising as it does from a counter rational mode of being and knowing -- a valuing of imagination, feeling, intuition and inspiration -- anticipates the discovery of Neptune even as it expresses facets of the Uranian-Promethean current. In one sense, Neptune symbolized the antidote to the excesses of Enlightenment reason which spawned the prideful clockwork universe and the blood of the French revolution. From Blake, Herder, Goethe and Schelling to Carlyle, Emerson and Thoreau, and in a diversity of ways from Kierkegaard to Nietzsche, from Hegel to Bradley, the Bahai's to the theosophists and the rise of populist spiritualism; all, in their different ways, emerged as a Neptunian counter current to the excessively rationalistic Uranian force unleashed through the eighteenth century. Similarly, the message of Nietzsche summoned in the cataclysmic twentieth century and along with the development of Freudian depth psychology anticipated the discovery of Pluto. Once discovered, the planetary archetype continues its influence in ever more significant associations with the other trans-Saturnians as well as entering combinations with Jupiter and Saturn.
The Discovery of Uranus: synchronous events
Prior to the late eighteenth century it was a general practice to chain books to the shelves of the libraries where they were stored in a spirit of guarding knowledge exclusively for the elite few. In light of a quintessentially Uranian freeing of the mind, an intellectual emancipation from the structures and strictures of the past, it is interestingly synchronistic that it was shortly after the discovery of Uranus that the last of the books were finally unchained! But beyond such manifestations at the mundane level of social manners and customs, the discovery of Uranus occurring between the American and French Revolutions loudly proclaimed the Promethean spirit of freedom, equality and justice to which these revolutions' gave concrete form, thus marking the fulfillment of the rationalist and egalitarian eighteenth century zeitgeist articulated powerfully by such thinkers as Locke, Rousseau, and Montesquieu.
More specifically, the discovery of Uranus in 1781 coincided with the publication of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason which would mark an important turning point in the history of thought. It was followed shortly by further investigations into the nature of 'practical reason', the domains of morality and the relationship of the world of freedom to the world of necessity. The domain of objective and scientific truth and the domain of human values would be carefully differentiated, yet both were given an equivalent and nonreductive status which aptly expressed both the intellectual Uranian commitment to truth and the moral Uranian commitment to freedom and justice. This first of Kant's three 'critiques' established definite limits to the traditional activities of human reason in its restless quest for metaphysical knowledge, in its perennial search for certainty as to the nature and existence of God and the immortality of the soul. Instead, Kant held that the only valid employment of human reason was a critical investigation into the nature of the fundamental preconditions of all knowledge in the first place. Placing such limits, yet at the same time attributing remarkable epistemologically constitutive capacities to human subjectivity, the Kantian analysis accomplished a simultaneous diminishment and inflation of the powers of the human subject. In its centralization, yet concomitant marginalization of human consciousness, this work is truly Uranianly paradoxical.
More plausible than the simple sense-based empiricism, the 'a priori' based rationalism, and the reductive idealism which preceded it, the Kantian perspective shifted once and for all the nature of 'truth' from an objectively independent truth outside and beyond -- an objective reality to which humans try to conform and which they seek to know -- to a notion of a phenomenal world created and informed by the human subject, thus defining the radical anthropocentricity of our Age. This insight as to the constitutive role of the mind actually establishes the bridge, as Richard Tarnas has pointed out, between the rational/empiricist modern and the post-modern eras. Kant still maintained (this is what makes him a bridge) the existence of an objective order -- the noumenal realm -- while convincingly arguing that we could not know it as it was 'in itself', only as we formed and shaped it into the phenomenal realm through our perceptual structures. Here was a radical Uranian break with the traditional belief that the structure of the human mind was congruent with the structure of the objective order. Congruence was purchased at the cost of a deeper lying schism. Since Kant was convinced of the universality of the Newtonian world and the certainty of its laws, he held the perceptual structures, the 'categories' which shaped perception, to be absolutes describable in terms of Newtonian concepts such as time, space, causality, and substance. But through a 'relativization of Kant', this view would eventually be superseded by a radically perspectival 'constructivist' view which recognized only relative biological, historical, cultural, linguistic, and cognitive interpretational factors as the informing structures of humankind's epistemological constructions -- its many worlds.
Kant sought to find a place for freedom and morality within the Saturnian clockwork Newtonian cosmos. He believed he had reconciled the moral freedom of humankind with the deterministic Newtonian world. In his moral philosophy, he sought to establish the foundation of individual freedom and autonomy; a notion of the rational will which only through a dutiful enactment of the moral law could realize its essential freedom, a freedom beyond a simple politically conceived 'freedom from restraint'. This thoroughgoing individual autonomy expressed by the rational will fulfilling a universal moral imperative -- a transcendent 'ought' validated independent of any purely descriptive 'is' -- superseded moral principles grounded in specific and instrumental human interests which constituted merely 'hypothetical imperatives' concerned with such goals as happiness as articulated by the utilitarians. With his purely formal absolutely unconditional 'categorical imperative' -- 'do only that which you would will to be a universal' -- he established the authority of 'critical reason' over instinct, drive, appetite or social convention. This Uranian challenge to Saturn symbolizes the essence of the Enlightenment separation of authority and reason/freedom; autonomy over against heteronomy. Kant was very concerned with autonomy but was in fact lead to making an overly sharp distinction between autonomy and heteronomy which he defined as the autonomy of reason over against the heteronomy of the societal collective and the urges of nature within. In this, Kant was expressing the schismatic quality of the Uranian archetype. Kant's thought does indeed denote a Uranian schism, an overly distinct separation or 'diremption' between thinking and feeling, between freedom and the necessities of nature, between autonomy and heteronomy. The Romantics loudly protested against any such sharp division of the rational will and nature.
Walter Kaufmann has pointed out the profound inadequacy and consequent psychologically compulsive rigidity of such a notion of the purely rational will, in which one becomes bound (as did Kant himself) in a web of rational maxims blocking any true freedom or spontaneity. Kaufmann has contrasted the overly controlled and rationalistic Kant (much to his detriment) with the more expressive, complex, dynamic and quasi romantic Goethe who in his creative dimensionality exemplifies a more valid notion of freedom and autonomy. According to Kaufmann, Goethe embodied in his life, writings, and actions a more satisfactory view of autonomy, one more consistently individual, holistically and spontaneously expressive, more processive and less fixed. Autonomous freedom as an individualistic liberation from the restraints of the crowd would be later taken up by Kierkegaard. Kaufmann argues that, Kantian autonomy, although presumably a form of individual self reliance is, in contrast, actually bound by the universal: "Kant himself was a loner and did not derive his sense of identity from membership in any group; yet he associated morality with universality, and autonomy with universal laws that are binding for all rational beings, not with individuality. Goethe taught by example that autonomy involves going it alone." (p.17) But in answer to Kaufmann, the 'universal' is not identical with the 'collective'. Kant's universality was not, then, a concession to the collective in contrast to Goethe's independence. Although Kant was wrong in identifying freedom and autonomy strictly with reason (in fact, with Piaget's formal operational thinking which according to Hegel, Gebser, Wilber and many others is not the highest form of reason), he was genuinely attuned to the idea of a universal imperative beyond heteronomy -- the latter operating as society or as nature -- an imperative resoundingly announced by the Uranus archetype emerging into consciousness.
The schismatic, differentiating and separating aspect of Uranus is also apparent in the increasingly sophisticated articulations of the rational and romantic streams as they would evolve and further differentiate from the late eighteenth century onward. Arthur O. Lovejoy (p.11) identifies two contraries in the eighteenth century mind; the move toward increasing universalization beyond diverse particulars which he calls, uniformitarianism; and that of the Romantic impulse to celebrate the creative diversity of things. The Uranian archetype informs both the rational universalizing impulse to uncover the samenesses within a sea of fragmenting diversity and the creativity of difference and uniqueness. To integrate these contraries is still our contemporary challenge where through reason as well as through art and morality, we hopefully come to realize a higher unity. In the legitimately differentiating and even diremptive quality of Uranus manifested in the Kantian dualities, in the interplay of critical reason and Romanticism, and in the political struggle of the oppressed against the oppressors, a larger and overarching principle can indeed be discerned. A profound division would shape our contemporary Plutonian age with its challenge to accomplish a synthesis not yet realized; a chasm between the post-Kantian and post-revolutionary stream of political reform and culture on the one hand and the lockstep march of instrumental reason, positivist science, and value-dissociated economics on the other. Kant held that 'man was to be treated only as an end; never as a means'. But just as a philosophically naive and objectifying science and technology would go on unfolding through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries oblivious of the insights of Kantian 'critical philosophy', so the reified 'laws' of the market place aligned with an evolutionary competitive naturalism opposed to Kant's noble principle turned men and women in all strata of society into commodities to be traded in the global market place.
Following the discovery of the intellectually and morally radical Uranus and its initial (and partial) Kantian articulation, a jump to a more complex and ramified interiorization occurred. Uranus marks a division between we of the twentieth and twenty first century and the early moderns which is in some respects deeper than the division between the early moderns (the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Cartesian/Newtonian age of Science) and the ancients.
The Discovery of Neptune: synchronous events
Coincident with the discovery of Neptune in 1846 is a major work by a most important nineteenth century thinker who stood against the might of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment Uranian pretensions to Truth. Kierkegaard's works as a whole, while embodying an extreme Uranian individualism, affirmed a break with objectivating abstractions calling for a trans-intellectual Neptunian 'leap of faith'. His weighty Concluding Unscientific Postcript published in 1846 affirms the gap between the detached stance of the intellect's abstracting and objectifying search for truth and the total commitment of one's being through faith and direct experience which is called for as we move from the merely "ethical" (Uranus/Jupiter) toward the truly religious (Neptune/Jupiter). Truth cannot be grasped in concepts, cannot be found by detaching oneself from lived experience, by trying to possess the object. Truth lies through the unknown, through the paradoxical, through a self transcending purely subjective inner way of knowing, through Neptunian faith. In Kierkegaard's affirmation of individual experience over against rational abstraction and scientific objectification, he is the source of twentieth century existentialism: In his apparent "irrationalism" and embrace of the paradoxical nature of truth, he anticipates the endless contextuality of postmodernism. Yet both these twentieth century forms have lost touch with the spiritual hunger for that experiential encounter with the ineffable -- the eternal Thou, the pure Subjectivity -- that revealed the pure essence of the emergent archetype, Neptune.
The discovery of Neptune preceded by only two years the publication of Marx's Communist Manifesto, a global utopian vision cast in the form of scientific materialist modernism yet inspired by an idealist belief in the meaning of history vis a vis Hegelian Idealism and motivated by a commitment to the Enlightenment narrative of emancipation. We see here a certain coming together of the Uranian and Neptunian archetypes, the beginnings of a truly critical (Uranus) social vision (Neptune) which would play a major role in determining the course of society and culture through the twentieth century. Also, combining ideas from science and Hegelian dialectic were major publications in 1843 and 1846 by Pierre Joseph Proudhon (See Copleston, p. 64) in which he argued against both capitalist (individualist/property-based) and communist (collective/state controlled) systems and for a decentralist and anarchist society. On the very Neptunian grounds that there are no absolutes, there could be no fixed blueprint for society; centralization and bureaucratization were abhorred. Proudhon favoured a more fluid and ever changing though developing process-oriented society of free contractual arrangements replacing industrial companies, governments and armies. Both the communist and anarchist visions have appeared to subsequent generations as utopian in the sense that they are grand visions conceived through an act of faith, one that seeks to universalize freedom from an essentially benevolent ethic. Universal benevolence is called to actualization through the global human community, but the Uranian individual is in danger of being swallowed up by the universal.
Also synchronistic, but seemingly contrary to the notion of Neptune as spiritual and transcendent, was the publication of major and influential works in 1844 and 1848 by the father of scientistic positivism, August Comte. Interestingly, the historian of philosophy, Frederick Copleston writes: "Comte's idea of the religion of humanity made its appearance....the basic reality is humanity rather than the individual. Man as an individual is an abstraction. ....the idea of...serving the interests of humanity will prevail over the concept of society as existing to serve the interests of individuals....the highest form of the moral life consists for Comte in the love and service of humanity. In the positive phase of thought, humanity takes the place occupied by God in theological thought; and the object of positivist worship is the 'Great Being'...humanity with a capital letter." (Copleston, pp94-95). Keeping with the principle of Neptunian universal benevolence and humanitarian trans-individuality, here is a break with Uranian individualism and its primary concern with the freedom of the subject, while transmuting, without rejecting, the overarching archetypal dimension of religion. Both J. S. Mill and T. H. Huxley criticized this paradoxically 'religious' quality of Comte's radical materialist positivism, which from our later and post-Freudian perspective we might see as a sublimation of the lost or repressed religious impulse.
The discovery of Neptune shortly preceded the outbreaks, in several European cities, of the Revolution(s) of 1848 described as a 'revolution of the intellectuals' as well as of poets and romantics inspired by utopian and anarchist ideas. The very pattern of the revolutions of 1848 went beyond the nationally constrained American and French revolutions in that they occurred at once trans-nationally, expressing a Neptunian resonant and universal group mind which transcended specific boundaries uniting the working classes in antagonistic relation to the managerial middle class. Speaking of the period 1815 to 1914, the historical writer Norman Davies (p.763) identifies "three clear stages, those of reaction (1815-48), reform (1848-71), and rivalry (1871-1914)." The second 'stage of reform' following the brief but widespread revolutionary uprisings, is the period which relates most strongly in our account to the discovery of Neptune. "The powers reluctantly conceded that controlled reform was preferable to endless resistance. Important concessions were made on all fronts. Constitutions were granted, the last serfs emancipated...before long 1848 came to be seen as a watershed in Europe's affairs...The basic liberal principle of government by consent steadily gained widespread acceptance." (Davies, p.805). It appears from these developments that Neptune marked a further concrete development of the universalizing idea of Uranus.
But other events around this time embody more clearly the familiar transcendental meanings which we have commonly come to associate with the planet Neptune. In keeping with the rather 'right brain', connective and feminine quality of the Neptunian archetype, Riane Eisler describes modern feminism's 'formal birthday' as a meeting which took place at Seneca Falls, NY, July 19th 1848. (See Wilber p.388) Also, the publications of Ralph Waldo Emerson around this time are expressive of that more purely Neptunian Romantic/spiritual essence. In 1848 the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in London by the Rosetti brothers and other artists. And further, 1848 saw the birth of Spiritualism while the ecumenical Bahai faith began in Persia in 1844. (Rudhyar,1975a, pp.239-240).
In 1844 the first telegraph line was established by Morse which marked a revolution in media communications which would significantly change the nature of society as the linear and analytical form of typography would, according to Neil Postman (p.67), begin to be replaced by a "news from nowhere," a medium transcending distance and characterized by momentary and immediate facts without understanding and divorced from context. In a way, Uranus marks the full flowering of the potentiality of discursive and rational thought that would not have been possible but for the medium of chirography a few millennia earlier and typography but a few centuries before. Neptune, which in its primal nature is pre-discursive, pre-reflexive, pre-conceptual and essentially oral and narrative marks the beginning of a new medium of communication altogether, namely, telegraphy identified by Postman as marking a fundamental shift, along with photography, in our modes of thinking and communicating. The crucial issue becomes the need to retain critical and discursive thought (Uranus) made possible only through the written word as we add other more unmediated, non-conceptual and neo-tribal (Neptune) modes of immediacy ('secondary orality'). While the original tribal Neptunian 'group mind' was informed by magical, mythical, and natural organic structures, psycho-social Neptune cannot operate within such structures; it needs conceptual/social Uranian spaces. But advertising and media images which originated in the mid-Nineteenth century (achieving hegemony by the end of the Twentieth) have been generated by a decadent instrumental reason (uniformitarian Uranus in service to scientific Saturn) in service to premodern emotions and needs. (TV and advertising under corporate control certainly seem, in our time, to be undermining higher Uranus with lower Neptune).
Also relevant, is the fact that 1850 marks the official birth of thermodynamics moving beyond the mechanistic physics of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to a concept of the irreversability of time, a distinctly Neptunian entropic flow of fluids towards homogenization and equilibrium. Also indicative of the Neptunian archetype are the words of Eddington who sought to understand the system as a whole; not just the parts (secondary laws), "From the point of view of philosophy of science the conception associated with entropy must, I think, be ranked as the great contribution of the nineteenth century to scientific thought. It marked a reaction from the view that everything to which science need pay attention is discovered by a microscopic dissection of objects." (See Prigogine, p.8).
The Discovery of Pluto: synchronous events
Where Neptune reflects the nineteenth century's discovery of entropy, Pluto reflects the twentieth's discovery, within the fields of quantum and relativity physics, of the radically dynamic foundations of nature and of the ultimate power locked in the atom as well as reflecting the increasingly accepted cosmological theory of the genesis of the universe in a primeval big-bang. Around the year of Pluto's discovery, 1930, a number of events and influential publications serve as paradigmatic exemplars of different facets of the Plutonian archetype. Pluto broke into human awareness, chillingly announcing the by then inevitable rise of Nazism with the first success of the National Socialist Party in the Reichstag elections of 1930. Its discovery was also more or less coincident with the 1929 Wall Street Crash, the publication of Ortega y Gasset's The Revolt of the Masses and Freud's Civilization and its Discontents. The primordial eruption of irrational and destructive powers amplified by an advanced stage of technological development was indeed a dramatic entrance for the dark face of Pluto. As Pluto is also corporate power and not solely fascism and the underworld, it aptly symbolizes the issues of economic collapse due to inherent instabilities and contradictions in market driven capitalism.
Ortega's work, written in a spirit of crisis and impending doom, bemoaned the formation in his time of 'hyperdemocracy', a hegemony of the masses where the rule of 'mass man', as distinct from individuals and groups of individuals, would lead to a loss of high culture, to chaos and ultimately to totalitarianism. This Plutonian massification and meltdown of all differences stood as the dark endgame of the rational, individualistic and noble aspirations of the Enlightenment following the Neptunian nineteenth century.
Freud's work spoke of the inevitable and necessary psychological suppression upon which civilization was based and without which the instinctual savagery of the id would emerge. Such suppression or repression was the cause of neurosis and misery, and psychoanalysis was concerned with improving the situation of the normal neurotic by walking a razor's edge and assisting him or her to derepress and sublimate the drives of the id. Here is the double-edged meaning of Pluto, signifying both the power of repression and the capacity for catharsis, both the destructive instincts and the power of transmutation as well as the intense and often tragic dialectic of individual will and the necessary restraints of collective interests.
The year 1929 also coincided with the publication of the 'manifesto' of the Logical Positivists of the Vienna Circle; a 'declaration of independence' from traditional philosophical practices. This dogmatic, narrow, dominating and scientistic rejection and marginalization of all alternative views from Hegel to Heidegger, would continue to exert a powerful influence over Anglo-American philosophy well into the latter half of the twentieth century. Here was the triumph of nineteenth century scientism and positivism, the establishment of empiricism and instrumental reason over all human values, which would, partly through the person of one of its most important yet reluctant founders, Ludwig Wittgenstein, subsequently fall to the 'subversive' movements of linguistic and hermeneutic deconstruction. Further sabotaging reason's most noble ambition with a devastating discovery of ultimate concern, in 1931 Kurt Godel systematically proved a theorem in mathematics which would foundationally establish the impossibility of any complete and coherent system of language or logic, thus undermining all totalizing perspectives. He thus demolished the conviction that reality or the ultimate ground of things could be knowable or articulated by Uranian conceptual reason.
Facing the challenges of integrating Uranus and Neptune in relation to the overarching paradigm of a techno-scientific post-religious society, the twentieth century has been called to do so in a Plutonian manner. In one sense, this symbolizes the untenability of the solutions and apparent integrations offered to us by the end of the nineteenth century and the need to expose the shallowness of these solutions rather than trying to further develop, modify, and improve them. Though such exposure and critique in varied forms took place from Nietzsche through Freud, Dostoyevsky through Kafka, Marx through Adorno, mainstream society was driven by a Faustian will through the hegemony of instrumental reason, to continue its most narrow agenda of Uranus/Saturn material progress, refusing and oppressing the counter current of Neptune/Jupiter Romanticism/Idealism and Jupiter/Uranus morality and socio-political democratic consciousness.
The result was the karmic vengeance of Pluto: the hydrogen bomb, the holocaust, environmental devastation and now the horrors of profit-driven anti-ecological genetic manipulations and the antidemocratic thrust of global capitalism supported by a shaping of the 'mass mind' by economic elites rather than a rule by Ortega's 'hyperdemocratic' masses. On the sociopolitical level, the twentieth century can indeed be characterized as the vengeance of Pluto; not specifically to be laid at the feet of the failed nineteenth century, but the failure of the twentieth itself to hear the true call of Pluto (except through leading edge culture which has dared to look beyond mere positivism as well as beyond the purely relativistic drift of post-modern deconstruction). In the Plutonian global crucible, neither a mass meltdown, a totalizing grand narrative (be it science, capitalism, or a new world religion), nor the hegemony of any one part over the whole to which it belongs are creative evolutionary options. Pluto symbolizes an absolute, concrete and foundational crisis; above all, an immanent threat of global environmental devastation requiring nothing less than a total and integrated intelligence in action.
The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: our legacy
It is Uranus in relation to Saturn which reflected the further developments of instrumental thought and science and the techno-instrumentalist developments of the nineteenth and twentieth Centuries. Uranus in relation to Jupiter symbolizes the Enlightenment's moral and universalizing, human rights orientation. Yet Uranus/Jupiter also characterizes the birth of Romanticism responding to the pull of the ineffable and soon-to-emerge Neptune. Romanticism of the earlier period (late 18th and early 19th -- the Schlegels, Wordsworth, Shelly, Keats etc.) was awakened by the Uranian sense of free subjectivity while heralding the still unconscious yet imminent Neptune.
As Neptune emerges into consciousness it does so in relation to Uranus; that is, in relation to Uranus/Saturn and Uranus/Jupiter. As Neptune relates to Uranus/Jupiter, the nineteenth century is marked by a new level of engaged religious benevolence breaking with both the disengaged rationalist deism of the eighteenth century and traditional religious dogmas and practices. Neptune to Uranus/Jupiter also signifies the movements of Transcendentalism, Theosophy, Spiritualism, and British Idealism (Bradley, Bosanquet). As we have seen, Neptune's relation to Uranus/Saturn can be understood in concrete Marxist and anarchist concerns. Marxism, one expression of the synthesis of these dimensions, embodies a deep sublimation of the religious dimension to become the religion of politically utopian ideology.
It may still seem paradoxical that the discovery of Neptune was more or less coincident with Marx's historical materialism and Comte's positivism. That both Marx and Comte, in their different ways, were emphatically concerned with the concrete level of things to the exclusion of metaphysical and religious factors seems diametrically opposed to the generally accepted meaning of Neptune which is more resonant to Romanticism or Emerson's transcendentalism. I think the answer lies in seeing that Uranus is a universalizing process in abstraction, in concept, in the thinking mind, whereas Neptune is a universalizing process in felt experience, a palpable melting of real divisions, a real experiential blending and flowing together through previous boundaries in fact.
The so called materialist view of Marx does not refer to the traditional materialist ontology in its reduction of everything to atoms, but to Marxism's break with idealism's theoretical and mental dissociation from practice, from what is really going on in society. Rather than evoking transcendent factors, the Marxian perspective cites naturalistic explanations as to how concrete modes of production have lead to the formation of classes and their dialectical and developmental tensions. In its reduction to technology Marxism was incomplete and lopsided, but twentieth century reconstructions by such thinkers as Habermas have sought to overcome such imbalances. But most significant, the approach of Marx marked the beginning of an engaged critical social theory combining Uranus and Neptune; a rational and critical approach to the actual social totality, to the techno-political and economic structures determining the course of collective history. Such an investigation marked a radical break with the Promethean concern of overcoming nature through science and technology; through instrumental reason. Although Uranus confers a universalizing reason and a set of universal principles, it does not signify the actual universal substratum of consciousness/unconsciousness which is humanity, the common oceanic substance comprising the individual (the surface waves). But the individual self can be gobbled up, can become lost in Neptunian collectivism as in the later structuralist/functionalism and systems theory where the self, rather than the originator of meanings, is defined solely by networks of language and shared symbols or, as in Marxism, where the individual is largely a function of concrete social processes.
Ergo, Uranus -- a universality in thought, and Neptune -- a universality in experience: both are universalizing forces, one slanted to the individual, the other to the collective. This very complementarity within the universal concept is a powerful clue to the meaning of the trans-Saturnians at this level. With Kant, Hegel and the Romantic poets, the transformation took place largely at the level of mind and culture. To the degree that Uranus, in association with Saturn, brought 'real' and concrete changes along with the significant developmental mental/cultural shifts, it tended to amplify and reinforce the hegemony of techno-instrumental reason; precisely the growth of industrial capitalism through the nineteenth century.
As the transformative process of the trans-Saturnians continues, it must come to grapple with and transform the essential concrete realities of collective life on earth. From their concern with human freedom and emancipation, Proudhon, Marx and others, in passionately addressing the harsh and immediate realities of society constituted a further development of the concept or idea of the universal (Uranus); namely, as concrete universal equality beyond national boundaries. The anarchic vision of Proudhon, a pure process of ongoing emancipation from imposed orders and structures is, of course, obviously Neptunian. His critique of private property as theft is an example of a melting of all distinctions and boundaries (Rudhyar's Neptunian 'universal solvent') down to the most basic social distinction, that of private property, the ultimate basis upon which capitalist society had built and would continue to build its superstructure. Neptune would continue to actually dissolve traditional class boundaries through the nineteenth century especially through the developments of American capitalism. But the new class distinctions, defined strictly by private property and wealth (i.e. managers/investors and workers -- Marx's analysis of capitalism) would grow deeper -- though even these divisions would gradually be softened by various 'utopian', democratic and Christian socialist, and trade unionist developments. The Uranian archetype has functioned as the process of Marxist and neoMarxist criticism of the prevailing capitalist order, a necessary process which continues to be relevant down to the present day (e.g. the Frankfurt school). The result -- a new level of understanding of the complex power-group arrangement of the postmodern world, cutting across all traditional class, racial and national boundaries. Such a Neptunian dissolution of previous differentiations would expose the Plutonian underbelly of society, the raw power embedded in all institutions and ideas uncovered, for example, by the critical procedures of Michel Foucault.
So rather than ethereal, Neptune is actual; it is Uranus which is abstract! Neptune is a palpable substratum, an underlying connective ether through which mind is conducted and disseminated. On one level, the discovery of Neptune involved a fundamental change of motive from the Promethean drive of previous centuries to something entirely different -- a concern for and benevolence toward humanity even as the Promethean development of techno-industrialism continued unabated. On the romantic side of Uranus, we see a celebration of individual expressivism which anticipated certain aspects of Neptune; but with the advent of Neptune, we see a different sort of concern, motive or direction. In order to realize this motive, Uranian consciousness was still needed in order to bring a critical and astute awareness to the whole picture, but it was a picture that went beyond the story of the individual struggling out of his and her chains in response to oppression. The call to move beyond the self through a new and conscious connectedness, to realize the non-primacy of self, was not simply a romantic ideal of humanity, but an historical opening to a new and concrete reality for humanity, for society.
In one sense, Neptune's relationship to Uranus/Saturn can also be understood as the spread of new technologies. As we have seen, the telegraph, and soon photography, would bring a move away from critical and discursive thought made possible by print toward a more right-brained imagistic mode of cognition marking the beginnings of global communication and nonprint media which is the first revolutionary change in media itself since the written word and later the printing press. Also a relational schism between Neptune and Uranus/Saturn became especially significant during the 19th century. Religious, moral and humanistic ideas and values came to increasingly stand over against a dominant materialist scientistic cosmos legitimated through its technological successes and fueling the Uranian Promethean sense of progress and Eurocentric self inflation. This schism became the deep crisis of the nineteenth century's identity and sense of meaning later constellated around the 'Darwin versus biblical creationism' debate (Huxley and Wilberforce).
After their discovery, the Uranian and Neptunian streams would undergo further developments: Uranus brought a more complex sense of self and an increased power of reason and intuition/creativity for the individual; Neptune, moving deeper into the 'interior' opened up by the self, revealed an absence of concrete foundations, yet also revealed inner sources and a greater sense of connectedness to nature and to others. Romanticism before Neptune's discovery possessed a Promethean/Uranian faith in the goodness of nature and the nobility and strength of the self, a faith in human progress -- material and spiritual. But in terms of the development of our deep structure of consciousness (our Stage 3), the trans-Saturnian imperative meant that this naive optimism would eventually be challenged and undermined. With Marx and Proudhon, and also Comte, the father of Uranus/Saturn positivism, the discovery of Neptune coincided with a purportedly less romanticized and sentimental view of nature, yet a view which claimed (though falsely) to be adequate to the realization of the universal dream of freedom and benevolence, a more mature form of an originally religious ethic.
But the most powerful undermining of Uranian/Neptunian romantic optimism and the whole ethic of benevolence and social reform came from the iconoclastic and acerbic Nietzsche anticipated partly by his predecessor, the misanthropic and irrationalist/romantic Schopenhauer. The Uranian/Promethean 'will', no longer the rational and moral will of Kant, became powerfully conscious of itself as will through the thought and experience of Arthur Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer undermined earlier Romantic confidence and optimism by exposing it in its ultimately irrational and negative aspect, yet an aspect he claimed was answerable through a radical Neptunian renunciation -- a reaching toward the East for salvation -- and a Romantic transfiguration through art. But Nietzsche did not accept Schopenhauer's self negating response and in this he does not, most significantly, 'short circuit' into a premature transcendence but instead provides the linkage to the next stage, our post-modern stage. He stopped short of nihilism with his affirmation in the face of chaos; a rather morally ambiguous affirmation of the transfigurative power of the self, yet one clearly resonant to Charles Taylor's concept of modern subjectivity. Most significantly, the Neptunian archetype ushered in, initially in the person of Nietzsche, the realization of the constructivist and participatory mode of knowing thoroughly relativizing Kant and spelling the end of pre-critical realist epistemology once and for all!
The discovery of Uranus intensified reflexivity -- the perspective of looking at the subject looking at the object. This is the first step in a process of increased disidentification with the subject eventually leading to an indefinite regress and a sense of the bottomlessness of the self -- the Neptune dimension. At first (as in Kant) the object is realized as constituted, in its form, by the self's structure. Then the self is realized as constituted by something other than itself -- history and language, the social world, thus, Neptunian post-modernism. The rational self turns out not to be autonomous, but rather to be shaped by factors outside itself, not just material and natural factors. As Lyotard points out, reason depends on narratives. The autonomous self under Uranus moves into a new level of heteronomy under Neptune, but the increasing understanding of the Neptunian dimension is grounded in Uranian space. But we operate consciously from Neptunian space when we seek to intuitively grasp the greater wholeness and meaning. We experience the shifting dimensionality of complex selfhood in Neptune.
As already stated, Uranus in its typical bifurcated fashion mirrors both the Kantian autonomy/heteronomy dualism and the dualism between rational/empirical philosophy and the Romantic reaction, a counter current which expresses an instinctual recoiling from the cul de sac of pure reason. The self/world dualism was affirmed within a radically anthropocentric view both inflating and deflating the human sense of self while undermining the earlier sense of pride. At the same time, philosophy as theory and high culture became increasingly segregated from the stream of 'real world' development. Science continued, allied with technology and business, as if Kant had never existed, while Hume (in his common sense self protection against his own undermining skepticism) simply led us back into a comfortable Scottish 'this worldly' pragmatism -- a pragmatism which the Germans in their sanctification of higher-level reason could never quite accept. Technological and economic developments came at best to embody the moral and 'practical' pre-critical Enlightenment concerns and followed the Bentham/Mill path of liberal hedonic based democracy. Kant's own division of the scientific domain from the aesthetic and moral domains (contrary to what Ken Wilber implies, this is not a neat threefold differentiation all on the same level) contributed to the increasing division of the concrete and cultural/theoretical streams of modern life where 'high culture' has lost its centrality in the face of techno-economic 'democratization'.
The rational/empiricism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries ended in the Uranian paradoxes of Hume and Kant. The contemporary postmodern pragmatist Richard Rorty (who wants to see a more free flowing and pragmatic culture with a softening of distinctions between philosophy and literature, science and religion) claims that the problem with Descartes is that he presented an overly enthusiastic philosophy of science -- science took over the whole field and became the paradigm case of knowledge. We can add that Kant continued this tradition through his underlying motive to defend Newton's science from Hume's skepticism. In doing so he convincingly argued for an absolute dualism (he didn't call it that) between the subject and the world. He created a world absorbed by and inflating the subject (phenomenon) and a world (noumenon) forever unknowable. This allowed all sorts of possible interpretations and consequent developmental streams: The idealists, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel dropped the objective noumenon and absolutized mind or spirit, while Schopenhauer converted the noumenon into the irrational and titanic force of nature. But such paradoxes were in a sense a reductio ad absurdum pointing back to inadequate assumptions tied to a particular and actual epistemological structure of consciousness; namely, the realist and reflective paradigm going back, in terms of its actual articulation to Descartes especially.
The increasing dialectical tension between the Romantic and the rational scientific was inevitable since a reformulation of both sides needed to take place, neither orientation constituting an adequate position in itself. Neptune had not only to be expunged of its religious elements, but also of its idealist and transcendentalist dimensions -- they were explored (though inadequately) and would be found wanting in the next and Plutonian stage. No synthesis of Uranus and Neptune is possible without Pluto; death, human evil, psychopathology, all had to be integrated into a world view or a way of being. Addressing these ultimate concerns, another major orientation arose in the nineteenth century, existentialism from Kierkegaard onwards. But existentialism too has failed to offer a satisfactory integrative answer or solution being only another stream that would itself bifurcate into rationalistic/material and spiritual/transcendent visions. Appropriately, pre-Neptunian Romanticism was grounded in nature as source. But Neptune clearly transcends nature, being immaterial, intangible and psychic; original animism, pantheism and 'participation mystique' all had to be broken with.
As an ever expanding opening to imaginative dimensions, the Neptunian archetype at this point in history is the weaver of new myths and stories which express and open up interior dimensions. We are all called to become artists of ourselves, but can do so only after we have heard the call of Uranus to become critical, informed and logically thinking individuals. This Neptunian dimension is not icing on the cake. It is not a substitute for transcendent spiritual experience, a consolation prize, nor is it a fall from an original spiritual state. We now realize that we are not seeking to know a transcendent cosmic order in order to align with it; not seeking to know an objective reality, to get it right, to act rightly in conformity to it! We are called to bring forth 'reality' as our expression, as the actualization of our protean possibilities, but not randomly, not separatively, not purely subjectively. We are attuning to an archetypal reality which is calling us to so attune. Originally, inspired artists brought forth mythic expressions of larger archetypal realities filtered through society's Jupiter/Saturn concrete structures. Hence, myths were believed in literally (Saturn). But the myth making activity was Neptunianly significant beyond merely literal and naive stories as Jung and Campbell have maintained. Now we are called to create our own stories and myths before our being can further develop and expand. Literature reveals truth as much as science and philosophy as Richard Rorty, among others, has pointed out.
The Neptunian dimension includes the fundamental consensus meanings which underlie society. The discovery of Neptune means we are challenged to move one step beyond pure reason to an uncovering of these meanings; the myths, meta-narratives, stories, unconscious agreements, ways of perceiving, and collective values which inevitably involve 'everything' -- the dialectical or contradictory totality. We are moving beyond specific facts and information and discovering that 'all facts are theory laden', that purely objective knowledge independent of the context of the knower, the investigator, the observer, is impossible.
For the new 'irrationalism' to be born (the new and potentially higher psycho-social level of Neptune), the old 'irrationalisms' of traditional and organized religion have needed to be cleared away. But this was to be neither rapid nor complete. Nor was the fight any longer between the old and the new irrationalisms, but between traditional mythic religion and the increasing tide of scientific positivism and techno-capitalism. With the advent of Neptune, the old religion and cosmic order passed away in that it was no longer relevant, coherent, or legitimate within the new discourse. The old religious order was largely superseded by the naturalistic stream -- now fully emerged and differentiated -- having reached maturity, having stolen the field. Now the time was ripe for a fully new and higher Neptunian development and Neptune would begin to infiltrate the now hegemonic realms of science and techno-politics. Thus the new fully human and ultimately spiritual stream was set free to develop further, completely differentiated from objectifying science. Just as religion had become once and for all finally differentiated from Science (a distinction rooted in the Kantian Enlightenment differentiation of science, morals and art), now science itself would be decisively differentiated by Dilthey (anticipated by Vico and Herder) into the different languages and methodologies of the physical and the human sciences. The realm of experience -- the human sciences differentiated from objectifying science in their essential language and logic -- would be explored outside of naturalistic science by Freud, Jung et al and later by humanistic/existential and transpersonal psychologists. Also, most importantly, Neptune would more and more reveal the social nature of the individual through the linguistic structuralism of Saussure, the 'generalized other' and 'cooperative association' of G. H. Mead, and in the discovery that individual mind had its roots in group and tribal mind, just as conceptual discourse had its roots in the narrative and oral tradition.
In tension, through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with the human rights and individual freedom orientation of Uranus, Neptune substituted an insidious process of 'massification' for the process of legitimate democratization. Marx's 'dictatorship of the proletariat' and television's undermining of intelligent and informed discourse in a free and unrestrained 'public sphere', are both examples of this 'massification' process. Democracy and the public sphere is seen as bourgeois by the Marxists; as perpetuating class distinctions. Uranian democracy is based on individual freedom and autonomy and depends on the unique differences of both individual and national boundaries. But Neptune tends to dissolve these boundaries, as in our day the loss of national/cultural autonomy occurs through global capitalism and media advertising. The Marxian critique is Neptunian, not only in its universal, liberating, compassionate and utopian visionary sense but in its sense of critiquing and dissolving the very foundational structures which were still present and even affirmed by classical Enlightenment rational 'bourgeois' liberalism. It was romantic in its sense of affirming a sort of Rousseauian 'general will' which is Neptunian in character. In our time, the social philosopher Jurgen Habermas's concept of the aim of discourse as consensus points to a higher form of Neptune since it is thoroughly grounded in a Uranian individualism and belief in the authentic aspects of Enlightenment reason and the concept of the public sphere.
Neptune would bring a direct experience, a gnosis disclosing an order beyond rational construction. Yet Neptune would become empirical, experiential and 'real', not just belief in a hereafter; not just oral, mythic, and narrative, but rational/empirical. While metaphor was not to be believed in literally, it was metaphor that was capable of expressing what could not be satisfactorily expressed in discursive language yet was available for direct experience. Art became an intelligently mediated expression by the individual of ineffable dimensions, but not for the purpose of establishing traditions for social cohesion. Neither was art and its evocation of the unsayable to be seen as inferior to science in its disclosure of certain 'realities'. These 'realities' were not individual or purely subjective inventions, but neither did they exist objectively in some transcendent dimension waiting to be experienced; they were 'experienced/created' realities in the act of inspired attunement. Later on, within the intellectual stream (distinct from art, but no longer so distinct), Neptune would be articulated as the plastic or malleable nature of the world which responded to the logical/linguistic modes of interpretation -- an all-pervading idea of the twentieth century.
The Neptunian nineteenth century coincided with the rise of pure capitalism with its exploitation and objectification of workers and the rise of science/technology and scientism along with post-Darwinian pseudo-scientific justifications of racial prejudice and bigoted nationalisms. All this occurred coincident with powerful movements for universal suffrage, the emancipation of slaves, the reforms of workers conditions and so on -- mostly functions of post-Uranian religious/spiritual forces still existent and unfolding, becoming actualized on a trans-national and universal scale. People conceded more and more of their power of control, their individual freedom, to supra-personal forces. But those supra personal forces, no longer transcendent and spiritual, had become thoroughly material! Increasingly, the nineteenth century world unfolded according to 'universal laws' of markets and exploding technological innovations. Things had gotten totally out of control coincident with the techno-economic capacity for extreme exploitation of the environment leading to its eventual destruction, a situation which individuals were now largely powerless to turn around. This was not a direct development of Uranian critical/objective reason, but of instrumental reason with its roots in the pre-Uranian era. The deeper and wider potentialities of Uranus had not yet concretely unfolded and Neptune would play out in this complex and bifurcated manner.
The Plutonian Age
The Uranian world of the Enlightenment was a vision of a universal order -- the good, the true and the just. It was a vision of the way the world should be for everyone, where an informed and benevolent goodness would prevail. But then Neptune soon opened up a much larger field of reality; the abstract universal had become 'real' but in a way that eluded the power of rational individual control revealing the limitation, naiveté and even the negative shadow of such a 'logocentric' and theoretical world. The Neptunian dimension would reveal the absence of solid ground, of any 'right' or 'true' place to take a stand. The fundamental ideas and values of the Uranian vision -- in both its rational and Romantic dimensions -- turned out to be but relative perspectives. The failure (as inevitable as this was) to satisfactorily navigate this Neptunian realm would lead to the destructive and dark Plutonian dimension of the twentieth century.
The Uranian mental-ego had flowered in its relation to the Saturnian concrete and natural world, but soon would feel cut off from that world, from any certainty it once had, even though it had already realized its limitations to some degree (in terms of, say, Kant's awareness of the limits of metaphysical speculation). Through Neptunian experience, the 'real world' became ever more elusive, ever more a construct of human imagination. Previous legitimizing ethical and metaphysical foundations for the working principles of life became ethereal 'as-ifs'(Kant to Schopenhauer to Vaihinger). That is to say, in the absence of certain knowledge we need to act 'as if' such and such is true or good (e.g. although we can never real know, say, whether God exists or not, we need to invent Him). Reason becomes caught in a web of the irrational, a veil, a maya. But beneath this phenomenal realm of appearance lies a deeper ground of pure energy (Schopenhauer to Nietzsche), a universal drive at the core of things, a noumenal, yet unconscious, amoral and irrational will. From the Schopehauerian insight as to the instrumental nature of reason itself, to the scientific Darwinian confirmation of mind as an instrument of survival and biological competition, to the Nietzschean egoic affirmation of this force, and then to its quasi-scientific twentieth century form in the work of Freud, we see the development of an anti-transcendent and wholly naturalistic stream of thought complementing and supporting the parallel current of rational/empirical thought and the worship of technology. In this way, the Plutonian archetype came to be expressed and embraced in its darkest and most unbalanced form!
The genuine aims of the Enlightenment -- truth, justice, democratic participation -- called for the on-going development of individual critical rational autonomy and inter-subjective dialogue free from institutional restraint. But such an aim, such a value, has been increasingly undermined by industrial capitalism and the increasing hegemony of technological elites as well as increasing intellectual and cultural confusion through the 'Age of Neptune'. A larger and deeper Uranian/Neptunian vision of the world can be realized now only by consciously traversing the Plutonian jungle which is our contemporary world, but without throwing out Uranian critique and Neptunian universalizing connectedness. Such an investigation must expose the very foundations of life, the patterns of dynamic power inherent in humanity's relationship to the biosphere and in peoples' relationship to one another.
Twentieth Century Developments
Most of the Plutonian human disasters of the twentieth century can be seen as symptomatic of our as yet inability to meet the challenge of a deeper Uranian/Neptunian integration resulting on the one hand, in a host of on-going reactions attempting to reestablish old orders of myths and systems of dominance and power, and on the other, the almost absolute hegemony of the global marketplace as it impinges on the social and cultural autonomy of democratic nations. Pluto rules the field while the old structures are collapsing; a collapse with deeper historic roots and wider ramifications than can be expressed through the earlier story of an underclass trying to overthrow the elites. Uranian and Neptunian rational/liberal reforms and compassionate utopian ideals could never satisfactorily establish a free and just order without passing through the portals of Pluto. Any rational, 'considered', planned, and well meaning system or framework will in some sense fail the Plutonian test. In fact, the Uranian/Neptunian optimistic belief in universal emancipation is now increasingly seen, in a cynical age, as naive. Wishing to reestablish the aristocratic idea of 'high culture', conservative classicists like T.S.Eliot bemoaned the 'revolt of the masses' (which never really occurred actually; it was the revolt of the commercial and often culturally 'philistine' middle class, or romantic and idealistic intellectuals as in the Soviet Union).
Yet with sources in the nineteenth century, great moral advances have been made in the twentieth, the increasingly institutionalized recognition and guarantee of the equality of women and all races being the most pronounced and important. In an intensely and irresistibly Plutonian manner, different cultures and societies in a shrinking and increasingly connected world, are being forced together; we are having to learn to live together and tolerate one another in our essential differences whether we like it or not! In some countries, this value has actually taken root as the ideal and practice of multiculturalism. Also, within the Plutonian crucible, there has been an increased 'in-your-face' awareness via the media -- particularly TV -- of human misery and suffering and the stark story of human fanaticism and violence. What effect has this on most of us? Does it lead to a deepening of character or to a further repression and desensitized compartmentalization? Here is another facet of the age of Pluto where we are being forced to face the human shadow; the depths of destruction, death, violence, oppression and life as suffering!
Pluto can teach us that the dilemmas of the twentieth century do not prove that the Uranian and Neptunian ideas and values in their essential forms are exhausted and without justification. Though by no means totally -- considering the gains in human rights and gender rights and the momentum against racism -- the manifest forms of these Uranian/Neptunian ideas and values have been generally ineffective in transforming those structures which work against human emancipation. In order to evolve further as a collective, we must clearly identify the oppressive structures as well as look toward a redefinition of our original aims before we can see a practical way to transform the structures.
Through the unprecedented cataclysms of the twentieth century (to a large extent the result of the nineteenth century growth of ethnic nationalism -- the embodiment of old tribalism in the system of the central state, and technology aligned with an exclusively instrumental thought), Pluto has acted as the awakener -- the 'wake-up call'. But exactly what has it so far awakened us to? For some it has illustrated in Freudian fashion that 'you can't change human nature', you can only repress the darkest forces of the id for awhile, until they again erupt. Hence, we see confirmed an essential scientism in its Schopehauerian/Darwinian/Freudian pessimistic form over against which a vacuously optimistic behaviourist scientistic perspective may still be advanced (more knowledge for reprogramming human minds, genetic engineering etc.)-- all very Plutonian and anti-democratic in its undermining of the aims of democracy.
In terms of sheer killing power, this most violently destructive of all centuries, the twentieth century and its Plutonian disasters, has taught us that we need to keep our terrible destructive power under tight control -- a typically Plutonian self-repressing response. War is no longer a viable 'solution', yet a titanic struggle between rival groups expressing contrary ideologies has continued after WWII in a Plutonian pressure cooker. WWII, the holocaust, the Gulag, all showed us the diabolical results of state totalitarianism which had the effect of strengthening our conviction and belief in the rightness of 'democracy'. But it was a 'democracy' in an almost permanent state of 'war' -- the 'cold war', terrorism etc.
In the final decades of the twentieth century, it has been the combined voices of deep ecology, radical feminism, some postmodern critique, and transpersonal thought and practice that have provided the absolutely foundational natural Plutonian counter to the wholesale destruction of the present global course. This radically transformative Plutonian zeitgeist unfolds within the context of many twentieth century progressive 'new paradigm' developments: new quantum and systems perspectives in Uranus/Saturn science, a firm commitment to Uranus/Jupiter human rights and the emancipation ethic, an intellectual process of critical deconstruction of all destructive orders inherited from pre-critical scientistic and romantic/subjectivist excesses, and a Neptune/Jupiter post-Romantic, Idealist and transcendentalist spiritualizing movement possible only through the deepest experiential facing of the personal and collective shadow.
The Marxist revolutionary potential of the 'proletariat' to change capitalism was largely unintentionally defused, but a new class of social critics, radical reformers, and romantic anarchists arose from the youthful intelligencia of the Uranus/Pluto sixties who questioned the alleged 'democratic' nature of the institutional structures of the industrialized capitalist world. Although this cultural renascence has continued to have profound and widespread affects on global culture and has sowed cultural seeds for the twenty first century, the march of the socio-economic juggernaut has not been fundamentally altered. It now enjoys an unprecedented power which threatens the very essence of democracy; the free exchange of information and dialogue in the public sphere (Habermas). It threatens the power of the individual, not only to pursue inner values but also to make an outer and concrete difference. The majority of the oppressed in industrialized countries seem hardly aware of their oppression; only aware of the failure of liberal democrats, socialists, trade union leaders, and governmental programs to achieve social emancipation. They are successfully persuaded to support their oppressors who are able to posture as their liberators. There is, in true postmodern fashion, no possibility of the socially effective consensus that once united (to some significant degree) the proletariat. The underclass has been divided and somatized by the media which is securely in the hands of the power elites. Now we see a 'democracy' of competing interest groups, a purely Plutonian environment where power, not truth, compassion or justice, is the operative term. The most progressive battles being fought within the general fray of pure self-interest groups, concern issues of gender, race and the environment. Yet at the same time, an ever increasing underclass and obscenely increasing imbalances of power and wealth lacking any rational legitimizing basis remain, shrinking the access for more and more to what is most profound and edifying in the new artistic, intellectual, interpersonal, psychological and spiritual culture.
The sixties -- which as Richard Tarnas points out, significantly occurred under the only conjunction of Pluto and Uranus in the century -- attacked the modern technological and alienating complacent forms of the Uranian enlightenment project as it had manifested during the first half of the twentieth century. With revolutionary fervour, the sixties gave collective expression to the cultural/intellectual critiques of the Enlightenment of the first half of the century, intellectual ideas which had not up to that time taken root in the larger collective. The sixties zeitgeist was a highly complex mix of neo-Marxist political exteriorization and romantic subjective expressivism harking back to Schiller and the American transcendentalists, Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. But most significantly, and this stream would continue to feed the subsequent decades, the sixties gave birth to the human potential movement, and in the deepest interiorizing and transforming sense of Pluto, to transpersonal psychology. The outcome of the sixties, which in its political failure would anticipate the end of the Marxist social revolutionary idea, was a move to a deeper interiorization, a spiritual search which included yet often went beyond romantic, artistic, imaginative, free self expression (on the pop level, the 'me' generation) into deep transformational and experiential Plutonian realms.
But a new sense of social engagement arose out of the sixties critique of society in the form of the public protest, a revisioning of community, and the formation of activist groups dedicated to the same ends as the Uranian/Neptunian reformist spirit of the nineteenth century. The deepest foundation, the earth herself, became of increasing importance and a twentieth century Saturnian/Uranian scientific conception (systems theory and ecology) became integrated with the Neptunian trans-subjective, trans-anthropocentric view of deep ecology -- the Gaia hypothesis, Sheldrake's morphic fields etc. Simultaneously, the arising of deep and radical feminism evoking the Plutonian foundation of sexual politics, went beyond the already established Jupiter/Uranus liberal feminism which had jumped to a new level during the sixties. The earlier Jupiter/Uranus feminism of Betty Friedan coincident with the civil rights movement later became embodied in Germaine Greer expressing a revolutionary Pluto/Uranus dynamic.
From Democratic Ideal to Late Capitalist Hegemony
Democracy would increasingly become a Plutonian fusion of the market place and the institutional embodiment of the idea of freedom. An antidemocratic Machiavellian manipulation of public opinion aligned with the growth of the social sciences, attained increasing power particularly in American society effectively 'engineering' the consent of the people to the idea that government was a form of bureaucratic control which had to be limited in order to preserve freedom rather than being the protector of freedom -- except, that is, in its capacity as defender of free market capitalist ideas. (See Alex Carey, "Reshaping the Truth: Pragmatists and Propagandists in America", in Donald Lazere, ed.).
By the 'Plutonian Age' the commercial middle class had, over the prior two centuries, completely usurped the power of the old aristocratic elites and attained national and global power and wealth before undreamt of. The essential difference between the old hegemony and the new is that, since the individual 'mind' was largely undifferentiated, the old order exerted control over the body, whereas the new exercises power over minds through the technologies of information transfer -- the media. 'Mind control', a subtle, insidious all pervasive Neptunian instrument in the hands of Plutonian elites, operates intentionally beyond the automatic shaping of minds by history, language, and culture. We have yet to sufficiently awaken to the nature and extent of this Plutonian post-democratic phenomenon.
Pluto symbolizes the juxtaposition of the prevailing belief that we live in a world of unprecedented freedom/openness/opportunity (except of course for the third world outposts of obviously anachronistic forms of governmental and religious oppression and orthodoxy) and the actual fact of commercial global control which profoundly undermines the whole project of democratic freedom. The majority in the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century knew that they were oppressed and correctly knew, to some extent, who were their oppressors (awareness of their own nationalist jingoism, sexist repression and general racism had not yet surfaced in the collective mind). Yet post-war developments in liberal democracy bringing a lessening of repression and an increase in the sharing of wealth (notwithstanding the American McCarthy era), lulled the population into thinking that they were truly living in a 'democracy' where the individual mattered and had true rights and participatory power.
Previously, the fact of oppression was concretely evident and easy to identify, and it was relatively easy to convince the people that they were being oppressed by certain persons in control. Nowadays, to identify the oppressors and their more sophisticated modes of control requires more complex modes of abstract thinking and education (Uranus). The ubiquitous, but for that reason almost invisible (unconscious) market place has become a more entrenched and global power than the old aristocracy. The aristocracy could be critiqued and challenged by standing on the moral authority of the progressive ideal and the future promise of democracy. It is difficult to see beyond the power of the market place itself; only to see particular abuses of power by particular corporations (or politicians acting in service to corporate interests) if they happen to be exposed. In fact, such occasional exposures give the illusion of a free and objective media, thus securing acceptance of the overarching system.
Contemporary post-industrial capitalism is information based. But this information is not discourse; rather, it is either technical/functional 'know-how' or a hypnotizing litany, a consensus being formed for people in order to serve the profit motive. A Neptunian weaving of stories and myths is the chief instrument of contemporary capitalism. All knowledge or information is commercialized. But such hypnosis works only to the extent that individuals have not learned Uranian critical discourse or achieved individual autonomy. In fact, even if not deliberately, Neptune in the hands of techno-capitalism keeps people away from the opportunity of Uranian cultural education -- an education free from a shaping by corporate interests and free to be critical of those interests.
While in their essential nature the mass media are Neptunian, the manipulation of the mass media by corporate interests as a way of perpetuating capitalism as the foundational paradigm, is distinctly Plutonian. Mass culture is precisely the barrier that represses or shields the individual from having to face the inner Plutonian angst and alienation. To expose the propaganda behind the media in our age (as well as exposing the nature and effects of the media) exposes individuals to facing their inner pain and depression. The current hegemonic oppression works so well because popular culture as mass culture serves a psychologically repressive function as Ernest van den Haag ("Of Happiness and Despair we Have No Measure" in Alan Casty, ed., p.8) put it, "It may seem paradoxical to describe popular culture in terms of repression. Far from repressed, it strikes one as uninhibited. Yet the seeming paradox disappears if we assume that the uproarious din, the raucous noise and the shouting are attempts to drown the shriek of unused capacities, of repressed individuality, as it is bent into futility." (Actually, the mass media alone are not enough; an arsenal of anti-depressant drugs now offset the creeping anomie, doubt and existential emptiness which arise through the wall of repression.)
The Nature of the Primordial Plutonian Will to Power
A fundamental truth that we are being called to learn in the Age of Pluto is that reality is power! Schopenhauer and Nietzsche (and in a certain way, Adler), were on the right track but offered us unfortunate distortions. But power does not have to mean individual egoic power, war and hegemonic oppression. In fact, in this Plutonian period, if it continues to mean that, we will all be destroyed -- which is precisely the answer of power, that Plutonian power from which we are powerless to escape! Uranian Reason and Neptunian benevolence were offered in large part as alternatives to power; they stood against power. Democracy, including enlightened consensus-formed management, was not meant as an improved form of politics; it was meant as an alternative to politics which is always about power and vested interest (the default mode for human beings in groups). As Nietzsche experienced, the fact of mass democratization undercut some important source of deep life and passion; precisely the dynamic Plutonian unconscious. He was right about this, but the self-involved ego (likewise, the ethnocentric society) could not, without destroying and being destroyed, become the conduit of such power. The transformed 'individual' who was able to act as the conduit would be one whose nature embraced the collective as much as the individual -- which Adler knew, but Nietzsche in his individualistic isolation did not.
The critique of the rationalist/Enlightenment heritage has gone beyond Romanticism's original differences with disengaged Enlightenment reason. In Nietzsche, this critique took on a prophetically Plutonian form with its deification of the self-transcending will and the death of all traditional values, thus seriously questioning the eighteenth and nineteenth century Uranian/Neptunian joining of reason and benevolence in service to social emancipation and progress. Although in no way confirming Nietzsche's claims, it would be the advent of Pluto's discovery which would starkly expose the fragility of this apparently utopian Uranian/Neptunian conception. Fundamentally, Pluto marks the realization of the project's limitations in light of the unleashed destructiveness of the twentieth century striking the death knoll of eighteenth and nineteenth Century Uranian optimistic and Promethean confidence. Although the nazis grossly distorted Nietzsche's philosophy, it is not insignificant, especially in its devastating attack on all that was developmentally healthy in progressive, humanitarian, and democratic Uranian/Neptunian movements, that the thought of Nietzsche embraced the emerging Plutonian archetype (unlike Schopenhauer before him, actually celebrating it in all its raw and amoral power)that would have its most horrifying expression in the years immediately following the planet's discovery.
Pluto denotes the primordial structures of power and the primal dynamic struggle of existence reminiscent in this sense of Schopenhauer's Will. Pluto symbolizes the essential orders of power which constitute any society. Hierarchies have changed from the birth/blood aristocracies to the middle and new upper class economic hierarchies of today. Heroes are no longer kings or outstanding political, religious, intellectual or cultural individuals, but celebrities and entertainers with looks and money. 'Democratization' as the valorization of the lowest common denominator particularly through the mass media, has thus far failed to transform the problem of the distribution of power as the psyche sits atop the volcano of the Plutonian unconscious. This outermost (so far) planet symbolizes the achievement of forms of absolute power that are the inevitable result of the Promethean project of the West realizing its apogee in the last two to three centuries: the absolute knowledge/power of science and technology in the service of primal aggressive/fear/power/hedonic instincts for 'colonization of the life world' and wholesale destruction of the biosphere (at its higher levels) through nuclear and germ warfare, and genetic biotechnological tampering with the building blocks of nature. Here we see a near absolute power to shape and control culture and the minds of individuals. In the Plutonian age and its concern with redressing power abuses and imbalances, Uranus/Jupiter and Neptune/Jupiter are alive in our concern with human rights abuses. But the issue of techno-capitalism versus the environment presents the most fundamental and immanent threat to continued personal and cultural evolution.
The Great Dualism
The Dionysian combination of Neptune and Pluto heralded by Nietzsche is engaged further by the explorers of the shadow -- Bataille, Artaud, Beckett, and Foucault. For Nietzsche and Foucault, the fundamental nature of Plutonian power is seen to permeate everything. Implicit Pluto has now become explicit! Influenced by Nietzsche, Foucault came to identify the origin of what we call 'pathology' in the very act of rational humanistic reform and in the fundamental division between reason and unreason with the consequent interiorization of guilt and shame, which he identified as the responsibility/guilt inheritance of Kant. So Foucault has taught us that knowledge despite its noble pretensions to purity is forever linked with the strategies of power. The fundamental question becomes then, 'Where does power reside?' I think the answer is that it resides less and less in the arena of culture, ideas and liberal democratic politics and more and more in the infrastructures of technology and capitalism. This is the foundational and actual division beyond the divisions within consciousness and culture. The great dualism demanding reconciliation in the formation of a genuine new paradigm (a change more radical than that of the change from the Middle Ages to the Age of Science) is the dualism between the concrete techno-economic engine which now largely drives the quasi-democratic national governmental sphere and the area of evolving culture. The economic engine both drives and is driven by old agentic, instrumental, positivistic, and mechanistic elements which seriously marginalize new paradigmatic ideas and research and increasingly prevent the free flow of any information which is critical of the economic agenda. The airways of the public sphere -- parliament/congress, media, educational institutions -- are, through the hegemony of funding, increasingly jammed with the prevailing ideology which if gone unchallenged will surely lead to global destruction. From the universal perspective of astrology, developments in both spheres reflect a certain underlying universal archetypal character shared by both the concrete capitalist economic structures and social science, art, spirituality, literature and philosophy.
This 'world engine' is the result, not simply of post-Renaissance reason, science and technology but of the archetypal trajectory of the Promethean/Agentic principle from the original establishment of patriarchy by the Hebrews and the Greeks. This engine cannot be turned around simply by Uranian and Neptunian cultural or spiritual efforts but only by an increasing number of individually and culturally 'enlightened' Uranus/Neptune people in authentic relation to the emerging Plutonian 'shadow', a shadow resulting from the exclusively agentic/Promethean trajectory of the last few millennia.
Repression and De-repression
On one level, the Plutonian period is a period of de-repression -- bringing what lies in the darkness into the light. The eruption of nazism out of the darkest elements of the collective unconscious led to this darkness being faced to an unprecedented, though still inadequate degree. More recently, we have experienced revelations concerning widespread child abuse occurring through the previous sovereign autonomy of 'man' and family and previous systemic racial abuse even in 'democratic' nations. Similarly, the image of the United States as a world leader in humanitarian democracy has been greatly tarnished, especially since Vietnam and America's shenanigans in South America. Everywhere, previously respected authorities and leaders have fallen from grace as their corruptions of power have been exposed, undermining for better and for worse peoples' faith in democratic institutions. It has all been coming out, and facing this shadow is a central aspect of the reconstitutive process of the contemporary mind. In Plutonian fashion, rather than projecting the shadow 'out there' as Uranus was apt to do, we must delve deeply down to the very foundations of life, otherwise it is these foundations which will come back to haunt us, threatening us with ever greater destructions.
Of course, this delving down is what has been happening in the intellectual and psycho-spiritual culture of the twentieth century even as new forms of hegemonic power have been growing. Continuous with the opening up of the subjective interior from the late eighteenth century, the twentieth century may be characterized in one sense as an irresistible need to uncover interiors, to penetrate to the depths and foundations of both nature and psyche. The depth psychologies are paradigmatic for the twentieth century in revealing the buried motivations beneath the surface rationalizations. Such relentless Plutonian explorations and excavations have revealed, in contrast to the Saturn/Uranus and Jupiter/Uranus rational and humanistic order of the Enlightenment, a Neptunian indeterminate, elusive, insubstantial void or chaos in both nature and psyche. Interestingly, this Neptunian insight is an answer to the Cartesian split which still dogs our mainstream culture: the foundations turn out to be both interior and exterior at the same time! Hence, the practice of seeking to attain 'inner' psycho-spiritual freedom or self development while the world goes to hell, (i.e. where the world remains a samsaric wheel, the point of which is get off it!) is now increasingly seen to be imbalanced. It is the incarnational fact and essential motivational paradox and struggle of existence that we are both extremely small and extremely large, both individual and collective at the same time. We are both oppressor and oppressed. One of our deepest current insights is that the 'individual' is both self and world, both autonomy seeking (Uranus) and collectively participating (Neptune) in a way which must be realized and actively expressed in a balanced and non dual fashion.
When the social psychologist Erich Fromm spoke of the various mechanisms of the "escape from freedom" and articulated the interpersonal dynamics of domination and submission, he was, in his understanding of a dialectical interplay of society and psyche ("the discrepancy between the aims of the smooth functioning of society and of the full development of the individual" [pp159,160]), giving central importance to the Plutonian dimension. Fromm spoke of the challenge to move developmentally from a condition of "freedom from" (initial Uranus) to a "freedom to" (fulfillment of the personal levels of the trans-Saturnians); from the loss of original connection through the formation of the individual self to a condition of "positive freedom" consisting "in the spontaneous activity of the total integrated personality", (p284) a loving union between individuals which is not symbiosis and through "work as creation in which man becomes one with nature in the act of creation." (p287) Failing this, and seeking to overcome the feeling of powerlessness, separateness, and aloneness, one may seek to "fuse oneself with somebody or something outside of oneself in order to acquire the strength one's own self is lacking"; (p.162, see also, p.177) a strategy which sustains undemocratic and even totalitarian social orders. Instead of spontaneity we find repression. Fromm is clearly evoking the Plutonian archetype when he states that the healthy alternative to the behaviour of dominance/submission is that of solidarity, a profoundly connective condition which recognizes the simultaneous equality and uniqueness of individuals.
The Age of Pluto seemingly demonstrates to us that despite all the finest ideas and movements of liberal democracy over the last couple of centuries, despite the gains in terms of human rights and freedoms and the lessening of suffering for a greater number than before, the hard fact of human power -- the dominators and the dominated -- is always with us; 'power-over' always re-entrenches itself in new ways. Uranus and Neptune are powerless against Pluto; liberal culture seems powerless against the institutionally entrenched powerful. This relative ineffectuality is partly due to a not insignificant division between theory and practice; between ideas and concrete societal institutions; between visions of 'higher' possibilities (which of course have effected some significant concrete changes) and concrete realities. The Plutonian interplay of the urge to 'power over' and the propensity to be 'powered over' sometimes appears irrevocable.
After the discovery of Uranus, perhaps it is naive to expect anything other than the overwhelming complexity and chaos that we are now caught up in; not collapse, but a rich chaos providing opportunities as well as downward spirals. But gone, it seems, is the hope of the intelligently architectured society; the planned economy with a redistribution of the wealth through an overarching collective moral authority. Uranus it seems, must live in a permanent state of revolution or 'paralogy' as Lyotard puts it. On the other hand, a lack of planning leads either to chaos and collapse or to totalitarianism (capitalist or fascist) -- all lesser Plutonian results. Original Uranian democracy was naive in its belief that the freedom of the individual was largely a matter of developing critical reason and being schooled in high culture together with the belief that freedom meant freedom from restraint translated into the political philosophy of bourgeois liberalism and its questioning of traditions. But not only has the Uranian overthrow of traditions loosened the hold of the old aristocracies, it has also undermined the cultural roots of the common people. Through nineteenth century industrialization and urbanization, a growth of mass culture was imposed by the new mechanisms of power -- the merchant class who originally, with the aid of idealistic intellectuals fully immersed in high culture, rested power from the aristocracy. Just as reason and critical thinking are gateways to the freeing of the individual who, in order to discover true freedom, must encounter the depths, the irrational, it seems that for society to become truly democratic it must pass through these same portals.
The 'New Age' idea that a change of consciousness is the only way genuine change can occur and that any change in consciousness must start with the individual thus rendering political action secondary, is an idea valid up to a point; but the notion is still essentially naive and quietistic in the face of collective realities. The transpersonal view must become much more than a theory and much more than a practice of emancipation or deep transformation that occurs for some individuals within a vast world that is neither open to the theory nor able to find the time and money to practice or incorporate the results of practice into the concrete social and economic structures in which most must live. The intellectual developments of new science, of depth psychology, of systems views, of transpersonal psychology, of eastern mystical practices, of neo-perennialist philosophy; all still fall short by viewing the concrete world as but one factor in relation to the all-important consciousness developments, developments which are still a reality for only a minority.
As I have argued, the largest scale Plutonian development archetypally prescribed at present is not transpersonal experience which points toward the collective step after (except as an increasing option and importantly influential cultural mode for increasing numbers), but a collective awakening to the complex nuances of who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed, and to find the answer simultaneously in the inner and the outer domains, the individual and the collective. Further, such an awakening can occur, not by throwing out the old meta-narratives of emancipation, truth, justice, and 'progress', but by developing, transforming and deepening the meanings and applications of these universals.
Transcending the Mass Mind
The obstacle and the challenge to further individual and social development is the encounter with the Neptunian/Plutonian 'mass mind'and the imperative to move beyond it. This 'mass mind' cannot be simplistically equated with low culture as distinct from high culture, or with proletarians as distinct from money and power elites. The imposition of the homogenized clichés and stereotypes imposed by the new commercial elites not only threatens intellectual and high culture (e,g, quality doesn't pay, especially after the 'dumbing down' process has taken hold) but also undermines and uproots the traditional community. Such control co-opts, commercializes and cheapens local folk cultures, tearing them out of their organic context. The core spiritual essence reaching toward 'freedom', toward spiritual fulfillment, is being eroded leaving a hungry void. As a Plutonian reaction, this spiritual hunger within the mass mind may seek satisfaction through a neo-conservative embrace of an unregulated global market place or through a 'born-again' or fundamentalist worship of literalistic scripture and reactionary social values.
This situation is aptly symbolized by Pluto because it is not simply the establishment of a new hegemony, a new order which is sadly post-nation state democracy; it is the establishment of an order which seems quickly headed toward, not a new and freeing Uranian revolution which will happily overthrow it, but to its own destruction through the destruction of the biosphere (i.e. of the capacity of the biosphere to support higher mammalian life). Pluto refers to the ultimate foundations -- the 'bottom line'. Today, there appear to be two 'bottom lines' in a face-off with one another; a situation which will end either in global disaster or in a deep transformative 'turning around' of history in an upward spiral of evolution. I am speaking of the clash of two 'ultimate concerns' which cannot go on existing in the same space; namely, the 'bottom line' of big corporate profit versus the biospheric 'bottom line' of all higher life forms! Where primal Neptune manifesting unconsciously symbolizes the shaping of consciousness by the mythic narratives of the group (this still happens as an intentional manipulation of a Neptunianly vulnerable mass through advertising and consumerist propaganda -- Madison Avenue, Hollywood), higher Neptune calls us first to discover and understand the nature of primal Neptune through Uranian critique, and then to go beyond this insight as we have gone beyond Uranian rationalism and authoritarian science. This is to discover the relativity of all views and cultures; to enlarge and include a shifting world without clear foundations, to achieve a perspicacity that is a state free from lower Neptunian confusion.
The Postmodern Situation
Neptunian postmodernists argue that the concept of individual freedom and autonomy is spurious, without foundation, except as one random language game among the heterogeneity of language games. But 'individual autonomy' is not a fixed value and by no means presupposes a simple unitary self or will; the meaning of autonomy is ever-changing and potentially developing. The subject, simply because it turns out not to be an irreducible basic entity is not thereby rendered meaningless or insignificant. On the contrary, the subject is ever expanding deepening, changing, maturing, developing! In fact, the very chaotic unstructured nature of postmodern culture is precisely that which allows and even encourages the further development of Uranian critical autonomy and self reliance, as we are challenged to make our way through the uncharted territory of multitudinous possibilities.
Yet at the same time, postmodern culture, in preaching relativism and linguistic structuralism along with an objectifying even though holistic systems theory -- all good ideas up to a point -- actually has the effect of strengthening lower Neptunian media/information-based techno-capitalist power. The postmodern analysis, insofar as it is not combined with a politically engaged practice (or does not address such issues), plays into the hands of the global hegemonic powers (responsible for the absolute technocratization and commercialization of all levels and departments of life) by undermining the concept and value of autonomy both in the sense of the individual and of the nation state in its ability to determine domestic policy. Transnationalization is a higher level development only insofar as it evolves according to certain grand narratives rooted in the Enlightenment, narratives that are being discredited by the postmoderns.
In the postmodern zeitgeist, totalizing theories are 'bad'. Actually, this means that such views are impossible to articulate coherently; the whole cannot even be understood, least of all -- in the political sphere -- concretely realized through social planning. But this idea is as dangerous as the totalizing beliefs it replaces. It leaves a vacuum and we know, or should know, who or what flows into this vacuum of power -- the global market system minus a global public sphere/democracy to balance it. Technology leads us rather than we leading technology. Pragmatism -- a lower level material and hedonic pragmatism -- replaces ethics. Consequently, our refraining from trying to comprehend, to 'grasp' the larger whole leads to our being controlled by totalizing power -- after all, this is the Age of Pluto! The lowest level material values, greed and self interest take over when there is a failure to establish higher level values! Timidity around the issue of 'totalization'; suspicion of absolutistic systems of ethics or metaphysics, should not blind us to the absolute necessity -- more so in our time than ever before -- that each individual try his or her best to get a purchase on the greater whole, and to do so in dialogue. If trying to get a purchase on the greater whole is seen as totalizing, or seen as rejecting what is valid in the anti-totalizing idea, then this undercuts the very thing that is most needed at this point in history.
It is an important insight that thought, knowledge, discourse, truth claims are never value neutral -- they can pretend to be neutral but their meaning always presupposes some implicit value stand or psycho-social agenda. In one sense, this is what is meant by the fallacy of the bird's eye view (or Laplace's demon) which pretends a truly accurate and objective view of things, a view we now know to be spurious. Such a necessary value-situatedness implies that knowledge, opinion, and expression are inherently actional commitments. We may think of Sartre's affirmation of commitment in the face of Neptunian nothingness and Plutonian existential absurdist angst, but his affirmation of choice always had an arbitrary and contrived feeling which tended to undercut its own power. More forcefully, we may say that it is fundamentally so that we cannot get out of the framework of commitment. This truth, I believe, expresses an important facet of the Pluto archetype.
All this undercuts the fundamental authority of the statement, of the truth claim. And this is precisely what opens up the pathway to actional and dialogical commitment and progressive living -- a higher level space (or deep structure) than the modernist structure combining elements previously differentiated and often dissociated from one another. Dialogue goes beyond any final statement opening up the field for creativity and innovation unfolding into the unknown, possibly bringing forth a higher level of order. As to the aim or goal of dialogue, the postmodern thinker Lyotard, and the neoEnlightenment defender Habermas, have offered diametrically opposed accounts. Habermas, perhaps in accordance with the more common view, has claimed the goal of dialogue to be consensus which Lyotard claims to be only the establishment of another tyrannizing authority. Instead, Lyotard has argued that the goal of dialogue is paralogy, an ongoing process of 'difference'. Both I believe are partially correct, but when taken together point to the possibility of a higher Uranian/Neptunian synthesis. The Uranian archetype points to the creative process of originality, the new, the different, bringing different viewpoints together to spark the creative imagination rather than to arrive at an agreement. Neptune becomes the possibility of a unifying yet organic and processive consensus -- not getting locked up in new Saturnian hegemonic structures.
But Neptune can signify a uniting medium of resonant sympathies, sympatico ideas and values, or a postmodern soup in which even science and instrumental reason have lost their primary status, while techno-economic factors continue to define the real shape of things, the power grid which determines who has access to 'high culture' and who remains shaped by homogenized lower commercialized culture or even relegated to the social dustbin. Oddly, it is precisely such a loss of science/reason's central and foundational place that the technological thrust (Bacon) in service to a hedonic concern (Bentham) has now come to occupy automatically, without any rational legitimation, the central stage of power. Such economic power serves both the legitimate basic needs and the narrowly hedonic ends of a population not yet awakened to higher meanings of the Uranus/Neptune integration.
Characteristic of the 'Plutonian Age' is a rampant naturalism which has lost its objectively material foundation, a radically anthropocentric objectification of human subjectivity! It is this all-pervasive objectifying naturalism (in the human as much as in the physical sciences as well as in mainstream Anglo-American and Continental philosophy) which undercuts that which is most profound and important for planetary life; the living values which are the substance of the new deep structure of consciousness struggling to be born. Even as the material world dissolves into energy and indeterminate quasi 'particles', it still remains logically impossible to derive the 'ought' from the 'is'. The 'objectively true', what is so, whether it pertains to nature or to psyche is given the central place by Reason; is given the mantle of Truth, relegating values and the immediacy of experience and being to secondary status. Whether from the perspective of the positivists, the linguistic structuralists, the cultural relativists or the postmodern deconstructionists, living being, presence, experience and values take second place. In its hyper-rational yet paradoxically, in its irrationally dogmatic resistance to any suggestion of transcendental principles, our age condemns itself to an endless insanity of tightening inward spirals of self reference, a solipsism of the collective. Having tied itself up in such a Gordian knot, Reason becomes subject to the enantiodromic response of Unreason, a sick and perverted form of marginalized Romanticism and Idealism. Here indeed is the Plutonian crisis of values, a crisis produced by the unbalanced hegemony of objectifying reason! The primary problem is no longer how to legitimate mind in a mechanistic and material universe or, conversely, whether nature is a product of mind. The most pressing issue becomes that of birthing a new engaged ethics in a terrifyingly Darwinian noosphere where the overriding value is an amoral pragmatism.
The Current Challenge and the New Paradigm
Through Pluto we are called to penetrate the depths and levels even deeper than unearthing the myths, the 'narratives and meta-narratives' which have shaped collective consciousness at the Neptunian level over the last centuries. Where Neptune is the subconscious substratum of collective preconceptual linkages, Pluto is a more primordial dimension of the universal unconscious. Beyond the mature psycho-social expressions of Uranus and Neptune, Pluto stands as the transition, demanding a synthesis, a fusion of the intellectual, artistic, experiential, moral, actional, individual, and connective. Holism at the Pluto level is more than the Saturn/Neptune system (or environment) containing the Uranus/Saturn individual. Rather, it is the 'complex whole' (see Kelly) which consists of both group connectedness and individual autonomy where the individual is not absorbed by the group but where the group is more than a set of agreements among individuals.
The journey disclosing the depths which promises an 'upward' transformation, must of course reach beyond the Freudian id. Even Jung remains almost exclusively Uranus/Neptune despite his Plutonian transpersonal experiences. Humanistic psychology, in part influenced by the existential perspective, is concerned with an integration of Uranus and Neptune within the individual, but not adequately within the social/collective sphere. Humanistic psychology in turn led, through Pluto, to the birth of transpersonal psychology, particularly to the work of Stanislav Grof who moved consciousness beyond the Uranus/Neptune psycho-cultural 'mind' levels to the transpersonal/experiential dimensions. The deeper Plutonian explorations of the psyche point back to a more adequate Uranus/Neptune integration at the noospheric level, but also onward to deeper or higher levels of the transpersonal. As such, Pluto marks the possible turning point to the next deep structure, the first levels of the transpersonal. Washburn theoretically and Grof experientially articulate and engage the transpersonal Plutonian dimension pointing beyond to a stage not yet realizable on a significant collective and institutionally concrete level. They are, nevertheless, highly important seed forces of things to come -- provided we are able, over the next period, to navigate through these dangerous waters. Though it is also sometimes concerned with the accessing of 'primal powers', deep feminism seems mostly operative within the domain of Neptune; more accurately, pointing to a higher level integration (Neptune and Uranus) of the male and female principles, something which can take place only within the Plutonian context. As said, the new articulations of Uranus and Neptune are all a part of an evolving process since we are striving toward a more workable integration, individually and collectively, of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto -- but we are doing it in an archetypally Plutonian Age. It is the Uranianly fragmented and Neptunianly vague and shifting character of this postmodern era which is the all pervasive symptom of the Plutonian dynamic -- the underlying dynamic we are concerned with unearthing. But the often surface perspectives of much postmodern thought express a mind which is averse to deeper uncoverings -- the 'hermeneutics of suspicion' (Ricoeur) -- a mind which consequently, readily plays into the hands of corporatist powers.
Beyond the popular connection of the new physics and systems theory with mysticism, what has often been referred to as the 'new paradigm' is actually the Uranus/Neptune paradigm, shaped over the last three centuries, becoming conscious of itself. The 'new paradigm is this, along with articulations inspired by individual Plutonian transformations, namely, the experiencing of transpersonal and occult dimensions. If a paradigm is truly a fundamental paradigm which shapes not only certain mental ideas, values and attitudes within a given society and time, but also the entire culture in its dynamic and dialectical complexity, then it is an archetypal all-pervading presence which remains largely unconscious! Uranus and Neptune are no longer so unconscious and the articulations of them -- depth psychology, social liberalism, existentialism, postmodern science, the fuzzing of the boundaries between narrative and rational discourse, humanistic psychology and relational therapy -- express the most advanced consciousness of the present time. But as we look beyond, we need to look deeper into our actual but still unconscious paradigm to attain a more adequate view of that which still informs and shapes our culture and the concrete infrastructures of our society. This is to truly begin to move into the 'new paradigm'.
Our present global existential situation is different from that of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; a different subterranean paradigm informs it. It is to a large extent a paradigm of crisis and despair; stubborn denial and repression, fanatical reaction in the face of threatened chaos, Neptunian/Plutonian mythic regression in the face of Uranian liberal secularism. As said, what is often touted as the new paradigm is either the becoming conscious of and a maturation of the Uranus/Neptune archetypes which we are now expressing in a more sophisticated manner, or a looking forward on the basis of individual transpersonal experiences. But it remains unclear how the obviously higher levels of individual consciousness, both the developmental/humanistic and the transpersonal vision, allow and assist the further process of collective evolution beyond the present crises.
In Conclusion: the psycho-spiritual Challenge
The work of the counselor or therapist, a person's ongoing inner work of self knowledge and personal growth, the work of society -- ideally, all should accord with the telos and the archetypal dimensions of the deep consciousness structure that is needing to unfold and come to maturity. At this point in history, from the late Enlightenment to the postmodern, we are called to build a strong psychological structure and participate in creating a healthy culture in terms of the Mind (intellect, feeling, intuition, and will) rather than seeking immediate transcendence and higher spiritual fulfillment. In the most meaningful sense of 'spiritual' this is the path; yet understanding and interpreting the transpersonal or spiritual is indeed an integral part of this 'psychological dimension'. Nevertheless, once this psychological maturity is reached, the pure transpersonal begins to emerge into consciousness, drawing one beyond the mind/body perspective.
At our time in history, we are given, not only a set of possibilities, potentials and opportunities to play with, but a set of imperatives, which if not met, results in such individual and social/global pathologies as we are witnessing today. The failure to incorporate the Uranus, Neptune and Pluto archetypal forces into a developing and maturing individual psyche and a self-enlightening culture is ultimately catastrophic. The imperative to mature as an autonomous, self-determining, responsible individual in relationship to others (which is the fundamental context defined by Uranus and developed through Neptune) requires an understanding of these principles at the psychological or psycho-social level, a level distinct from both the original cosmic and numinous 'religious level' and the higher transpersonal level just now beginning to emerge into collective consciousness. The age of the discovery of these outer planets is the age that is called on to fulfill the interior structure of consciousness. Like never before, the autonomous and responsible individual is the agent of further evolution. Individuals and the collective must evolve this resonant interiority before transpersonal levels can be reached in a natural way. To fail to do this results in a regressive devolution.
With the modern developments of reason and ego, the trans-Saturnian archetypes can no longer be placed 'outside' the conscious self. The self is becoming infused with the trans-Saturnian archetypes. But rather than being magically transported (primal level) or mystically illumined (transpersonal level), the self becomes a vast amplified 'interior' which has opened up and requires intentional, volitional, conscious, and self responsible engagement of these cosmic powers and principles. This is the challenge and the potential, the very telos of the mature-egoic level prior to the transpersonal. It is not that reason, in articulating these cosmic principles conceptually, is out of touch with the archetypal dimension and therefore inferior to the mythic; rather, the archetypes are manifesting in this way at this level. The original mythic engagement of the archetypes is itself the early development of the sense of self, and the stories reflect this development (e.g. Erich Neumann). The metaphor of increasing disconnection from the archetypal realm is somewhat misleading. All realms; immanent and transcendent, explicate and implicate, intra-Saturnian and trans-Saturnian are archetypally structured. The trans-Saturnians are directly implicated at all levels including the rational/empirical level, but in different ways.
The awakening to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto within the individual's 'psyche' does not then constitute a transpersonal realization or transformation. In fact the transpersonal quest, if reinforced by an interpretation of these planets which conflates their psycho-social and transpersonal meanings, can obscure and deflect the primary purpose and business of today's society and its individuals. The development of the Western mind down to Freud, Jung, and the current 'New Age' and 'human potential' culture has become interfused with radically different Eastern cosmologies that have interpenetrated the Romantic and Idealist Western stream, particularly since the discovery of Neptune. Eastern paths bi-pass the psychological because Eastern society never took a decisive step beyond individual/collective fusion (partly because they were sustained by more adequate and sophisticated transpersonal cosmologies despite the esoteric/exoteric distinction), with the result that the further collective evolution toward a truly mature 'psycho-social' deep structure is carried by the Western Promethean spirit now fertilized by the East.
In terms of the overarching trajectory of individual and collective evolution, the 'psycho-social' stage cannot, then, be bypassed. The psychological must be experientially and intellectually differentiated -- though not dualistically and separatively -- from the maturely transcendent spiritual or transpersonal path. 'New Thought,' influenced by certain Romantic, Eastern and transcendental idealist currents, tends to see the ego, interiority, individuality, as dualistic, alienated and self isolating. But this is only the form of the immature self, an as-yet undeveloped interiority. Alienation means we have not yet learned to be 'at home' in mind space. It is a common error of overly Neptunianized romantics to think of the egoic self as an undesirable feature because of its self-isolation in subjective interiority. But only when we tap more deeply into the interior can we find that it is neither small nor isolated. This interior opens out into ever larger spaces (Neptune) which resonate and connect with other mind spaces without fundamentally challenging the individual's deep mind/body structure (as occurs in transpersonal experience). This potential condition of interconnective resonant interiority possesses a significance beyond the obvious ecological fact that the mind is connected with the body which is one with other bodies connected through organic nature.
Some may be avoiding the challenges of the psycho-social level by trying to be 'spiritual', 'selfless', 'detached', or by trying to transcend the ego. Worse, some will find reassurance in New Age belief systems, as valid as they may be (reincarnation, karma, spirit guides and higher selves), rather than facing the arduous task of self development which often seems to move one in a direction opposite to that which one believes to be a spiritual direction. Better that they put aside their 'spiritual beliefs' and move into a state of aloneness and self reliance at their centre. When there is such self reliance (Uranus) independent of comforting New Age beliefs, then individual maturation is possible with the Neptunian archetype awakening a sense of connection without the necessity of extraordinary or ego transcendent experiences. It is better to be courageously 'authentic' (Pluto) in the existential sense than prematurely selfless. A self-consciously practiced service and renunciation prior to individual psychological maturity, subtly supports unconscious psychological needs and avoidances. Psychological level Neptune is possible when one is able to let go of one's transcendent hopes and dreams, beliefs in higher powers, guides, angels, or trying to 'get rid of the ego'.
As Uranus brings critical analysis, astute judgment, a discriminating awareness toward self, society and its paradigms, Neptune brings a direct attunement to and perception of gestalts of meaning. As Uranus touches individual critical mind, Neptune touches the level of intersubjective resonance of cultural mind -- 'mind mirrors' reflecting 'mind mirrors'. This is not a relapse into mass consciousness, primitive instinctual/tribal/group mind, the unconscious Neptunian ether that is the medium for collective brainwashing, advertising and fashion. It represents, at the psychological level, a full intersubjective cultural transparency which, rather than a homogenization, is a celebration of individual differences, a web of connection where interiority does not imply separateness. But the complex heart/mind resonance takes place among souls at the same general level of development. Neptunian compassion for all beings grows out of this, but it is a compassion which does not dissolve the mind/body structure as in the cosmic transpersonal level of experience.
Uranus and Neptune at the psycho-social (noospheric) level are not transformers of the self, hence they are not spiritual/mystical. They refer to a process of actualization of creative potentialities within the broad parameters of selfhood, the interior space of mind. They require transformative vision and growth -- science evolves, scientific and human values blend together, truth and imagination dance together, the rich fabric of culture and creatively living individuals unfolds. But most significantly, the mind/body is still in and of this world, in and of this physical/mental dimension. Mind, insofar as it differentiates from nature/body/instinct and biospheric ecosystems, does so as individual mind (Uranus) and connected mind (Neptune). Mind, not just as reflector of direct sensed experience, but as interpreter (Uranian intelligence and Neptunian intuition) resonates and communicates with other minds through the Neptunian mind-field. When the resonance is powerful, largely unobstructed and fully transparent, then telepathy and clairvoyance can occur.
It is a part of the challenge of the mental-ego to differentiate Neptune as original fusion, as womb consciousness, from Neptune as the 'right relationship' of the self in service to the human community through a lessening of boundaries and a faith in the process of personal growth. Equally, it is necessary to differentiate Neptune as fusion from Neptune as transpersonal, transcendent bliss/ananda, cosmic mind/heart, transcendent compassion/agape. Under Neptune, primitive body-based emotions and feelings become more refined and developed at the individual and intersubjective levels. No longer can Uranus, Neptune and Pluto be left unconscious -- they demand to be integrated into consciousness, but without a loss of self. Such constitutes a transformational enrichment of selfhood, one which is culturally connected.
The full dimensionality of interiority opens up through engaging Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto on this particular level (our Stage 3). The fulfillment of interiority is not solely the journey into the 'inner' depths of the past ontogenetically or phylogenetically (though it may involve this), nor the ascension to trans-social and trans-individual levels. It involves actualizing the principles and forces needed to fulfill the deep structure, making possible a more workable global society (noosphere) in a more balanced relation to the biosphere. Resonant/connective interiority engages the trans-Saturnians, not as transpersonal and numinous forces -- at best to be touched but not identified with out of fear of their powers -- but to be owned by the individual's will so as to come to constitute the fundamental framework or deep structure of the psyche before the transpersonal levels of these archetypes can be constructively accessed.
The meaning of originality and individual genius prior to conscious Uranus pertained to outstanding achievement or excellence in terms of collective standards, while new ideas, inventions and discoveries, as they opened larger horizons, would often threaten the defenders of the prevailing order. Individuality after Uranus means to be able, more deeply, to tap inner resources, to go beyond the standards in some way that directly questions them and opens larger vistas conceiving more satisfactory value standards and principles of interpretation. It is the capacity to effect deep transformation of the standards. At this level, Uranus reveals the fact that all standards are human created and projected 'out there' and hence, can be changed by humans -- but not randomly or from more primitive levels of instinctuality; only be tapping the Uranian intelligence within. Where this power is creatively exercised, there is no falling into Neptunian 'escape' or reaction to Saturnian scientific/positivistic hegemony. This is why the treatment for Neptunian ailments is more individuality and critical thinking. For example, alcoholism may be understood as a closed and vicious cycle of Saturn and Neptune (duty/will and escape/indulgence). In these terms, the highly successful AA response can be understood as a breaking of the cycle by transforming Neptune upward from purely self destructive regressive behaviour to a state of reconnection with the human community of like-minded others and to a belief in a higher Self of some sort. But a stronger Uranian critical autonomy is the missing factor here, which is needed to break the new and transferred dependency on the community and other substitute habits. Neptune to function healthily, needs Uranian spaces.
From a relatively mature left/right brained Uranian/Neptunian selfhood -- intellectually informed and critically aware; intuitively and heartfully open -- the depths of the Plutonian shadow can be accessed and faced, ultimately leading toward deep transformation. We must 'take back' the projections of darkness and attune to the subtleties of interpersonal power dynamics -- control, defensiveness, attachment to hurts, obsessive repetition of self-destructive patterns, fears of death etc. -- the whole gamut of entrenched emotional complexes, the transformation of which is the concern of the deeper approaches of humanistic psychology. From the humanistic level we may then move on to some of the approaches growing out of Reichian body work, such as rolfing or rebirthing. Grof's holotropic breathing opens to the realms of the perinatal; the release of the powers of the 'dynamic ground' (Washburn). Beyond the personal emotional complexes formed from early family life dynamics, lie the human existential conditions, the ontological states such as primal anxiety identified by such existential therapists as Rollo May. Through accepting, moving into and becoming one with these states without the interference of the willing and judging self, we open into the realms of the transpersonal.
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This paper is a revised version of a text that has been already published here (C.U.R.A.'s 13th edition, August 2001).
Gerry Goddard, lives in British Columbia, Canada. A graduate in philosophy and a former librarian, his special interest is the bridge between foundational astrology and the field of post-Jungian transpersonal studies. He's presently completing a book entitled "In Search of the Philosopher's Stone", which presents an evolutionary astro-transpersonal model of consciousness. Gerry's other essays in astrology and transpersonal theory can be found at his website, Gerry's writings.
--- revised version: March 2003 ---
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