Mars Square Neptune and the Quest for Relevance

From Be Here Now by Ram Dass.

Dear Friend and Reader:

How is your energy level these days? What about your anxiety? What about your ability to focus? Wen you exert your will in a situation, what are you noticing occurs?

Are past matters coming up for review?

How are you doing with feeling like your life is relevant and that you’re actually someone, in the social and professional realms where you find yourself? Does anyone believe a word you say? If so, you’re fortunate.

Personally, I can’t sleep, so I’m writing this at 2:50 Thursday morning. I’m still adapting to the short days up in this hemisphere, and the Daylight Time/Standard Time psyop.

I’ve been writing a lot of astrology these days, including the Inner Space annual and getting ahead on horoscopes. I spoke to my first client today in months. I have some added thoughts on the chart I used to write the weekly horoscope, which I will share here.

Photograph of the flat Earth taken by the astronauts of the Apollo 19 mission.

Mars Retrograde Square Neptune

Our location in the teacup ride of the planets has some unusual properties these days. We are in the only Mars retrograde that makes a series of squares to Neptune that I remember personally. I just decided to look for any that I missed.

Mars square Neptune, the retrograde pass, which happens just once. This is the special “Flat Earth” edition. Mars and Neptune are exactly 90-degrees apart; note the Rx symbol next to Mars.

Mars is square Neptune about once a year. That is a 90-degree meeting of two planets that make a really weird synthesis when they get together.

But it’s retrograde for a few months every two years (about 9.5% of the time). Combine the two factors and you don’t get many occurrences of both happening together. Right now they are; next week we have the only Mars-Neptune square with Mars retrograde for this particular cycle (it’s exact Saturday, Nov. 19).

In between writing signs of the horoscope column today, I was dialing numbers of geology and physics professors at SUNY-Buffalo (my personal go-to for science-related questions, since I wear the ring).

My errand was asking professors (most of them now younger than me) how, exactly, we know the world is a sphere, without using NASA photos.

You may not be aware of the current Flat Earth controversy, directly from the “it would be funny if not so sad” file. Have a look. This is not your usual bullshit internet controversy. It’s a real one, which involves the missing ground of being under digital conditions.

Why no NASA photos? It is an a priori assumption of the Flat Earth movement that all NASA work product is fraudulent. I think this assumption is itself a fallacy introduced at the beginning of the discussion.

The popularity of this “theory” is revealed in its metaphor: people think the planet itself has gone missing. By people, I don’t just mean the yahoos who refer to me as a “baller” because I think the Earth is shaped like a ball. I mean people I know to be otherwise intelligent.

“The Digital Landscape No. 0022.” Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

Brief Notes on Prior Mars Retrograde + Square Neptune

Mars was most recently retrograde square Neptune in November 2005, with Mars in Taurus and Neptune in mid-Aquarius. I do not see coverage of that in the archive. I was living in Paris and then Brussels at the time.

We had one in April 1999 with Mars in Scorpio and Neptune in early Aquarius. I don’t know where to look for that potential coverage. Planet Waves was not an emailed newsletter at the time and the big story of the day was the Clinton impeachment and the approach of the “Y2K bug”.

Those are the only two during my career as an astrologer, which I count as beginning in March 1994 (when I bought my first ephemeris, so I could figure out the Patric Walker horoscope in the New York Post).

We had one in late 1988 with Neptune in Capricorn and Mars in Aries. Then there is a long gap — all the way back to early 1963 with Mars in Leo and Neptune in Scorpio.

Do those dates mean anything to you? Do they relate to today in any way?

Movable type printing, at the dawn of the age of type. This looks like it’s happening around 1600. First, the phonetic alphabet and then the printed word brought humanity out of tribal state, gradually into individual consciousness. This was rapidly reversed by the advent of mass communication, beginning with radio c.1920.

The Instant Transformation into Tribal Beings

Someone I take solace in reading in these years of digital high tide (and getting higher) is Marshall McLuhan. Speaking of high, he’s like picking up a copy of Be Here Now by Ram Dass and flipping it open when you’re in the middle of an acid trip. You know it will be relevant and reassuring, and if you don’t know, you find out.

McLuhan in his lifetime of writing essentially documents the transition from print to electrical media. He accounts for what happened to people and society as a result of this instantaneous technological turnover. Suddenly, nearly overnight on a historical scale, we were transformed into beings without bodies who could travel across the ocean at the speed of light by making a phone call.

Anyone who does so is without physical form (including gender) and is in effect bi-locating, a feat previously reserved for the likes of Sai Baba.

Night was turned to day. We could suddenly see in the dark, whether with the help of a single lightbulb, Times Square advertisements or night vision goggles.

And the long process of people becoming individuals (under the influence of literacy) was reversed as people were suddenly driven to become tribal beings, mostly by radio, then TV and now the internet.

Opening of the radio chapter in McLuhan’s Understanding Media. McLuhan laments the inability of educated people to even conceive of the effects that media is having on them — not the content, but the device itself. This is a very difficult stretch for many people to make, but an obvious place to look for effects of the media.

The Desperate Quest Not To Be Nobody

To be a tribal being, especially in any of these boundless, faux tribes that exist today (the nursing “community,” the trans “community,” the Substack “community” and all the others) we are reduced to being nobodies.

This is at the root of the society-wide quest to Be Someone that is the essence of full digital, pseudo-tribal conditions. This is the wild, thrashing competition for recognition that you see almost everywhere. People pitch their tent here in New Media and want to be Edward R. Murrow that afternoon.

It’s why I get 335,000,000 returns when I type “astrology” into Google — yes, one third of a billion — but only trust a scant few astrologers I’ve known for 20 years or more.

Regarding the current “Flat Earth” phenomenon, as part of my research project (now pushing 200 comments, I heard from someone whose scientific opinions I previously respected (but have never relied on because after much work, I arrived there on my own previously).

Without being too convincing, he asserted that the geophysics and astrophysics that seems to work without a hitch are all wrong, and this can be proven (no proof was offered). But at the end of his first email, he tipped his hand why he might want to enter such a reality.

“Hope this helps you understand why many of us doubt the globe model which makes us men and women insignificant, just ants on a ball spinning themselves into dizziness and hurling through space in several frames of motion at incredible speeds for eternity without purpose.”

And this is life on the surface of the planet. Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

And that is Life Inside the Internet

Ah well, that is understandable as an existential condition, but I don’t think that can be remedied by changing the shape of the planet in one’s mind. But changing the shape reveals that the ground has fallen out of consciousness. We do not go on the internet; we live inside of it.

Everything in digital is dimensionless — flatter than flat. We are neither men nor women — we are all in drag, because there is neither sex nor gender. There is no smell or touch. There are no cats, dogs, birds or horses — only pictures of them. And I’d welcome raccoons raiding my trash any time over the robots that hack websites.

Nearly every spiritual tradition asserts that physical life is maya — an illusion or secondary reality. Yet life is as real as we make it. One of the mottos of Earth-life is “you can get anywhere from here.”

Love and creativity are possible, but it’s also never been more possible to avoid them. I would still rather meet you at a cafe than communicate by email, though it’s still nice to hear from you.

With love,

1 thought on “Mars Square Neptune and the Quest for Relevance”

  1. Top o’er the spring morning, Eric! This is a little postcard from the country town of Bungendore, New South Wales in Australia where I’m sitting right now in the local cafe, chomping on tea and toast and reading your late night post. This is our 3rd sunny day in as many weeks in this cold, wet spring. Only stopped having frosts last week. The chooks have ruled the veggie patch since April and scratched and pooped the soil to planting-ready perfection. Such a hardworking little bock-talk team of helpers and to top off their generosity, they offer eggs every day. I’m hearing the rumours of our state health authorities that the Rona is a’coming again and to mask up and line up for #5. Summer is coming here but of course, there’s only one script for all 5 Eyes to follow. So few left who didn’t take the juice. Don’t come to town much and this morning as I was preparing for the trip in, for no apparent reason, broke out sobbing. Let it all out and always at the end there’s the laughter. Fed the chooks, blew my nose and jumped in the truck. Burning with love in a world that can’t be fixed. Peace be with you, brother. We are all wanderers now, wearing pain as glory’s mask.

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