Neptune in Pisces: A Watershed Event

Dear Friend and Reader:

In 2008, Pluto entered Capricorn and within a matter of months, we saw the collapse of the banking system and a massive heist of public resources by different private entities. It was an event so perfectly described by Pluto in Capricorn (which lasts till 2024) that it was a little eerie. Many astrologers had been discussing the potential for various forms of systemic collapse under Pluto in Capricorn, and one happened immediately after the transit began.

The world’s first underwater presidential cabinet meeting, held by Mohammed Nasheed off Irufushi Island in the Maldives in October 2009. Image is screen shot from “The Island President,” a documentary about Nasheed and his quest to call attention to global warming. As ocean levels rise, the Maldives could become geographically extinct.

Then in April 2010 when slow-moving Chiron ingressed Pisces, within 24 hours, the BP oil platform explosion and spill happened, dumping millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for months (and the well may still be leaking). Once again, an outer planet changed signs and we saw an event that was strikingly similar to the astrology involved — Chiron, which can call attention to issues of wounding and healing, put all eyes on the ocean.

In March 2011 when Uranus made its ingress to Aries, within hours an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, creating one of the top two worst nuclear disasters in history. Uranium, the primary fuel for nuclear reactors, is named after the planet Uranus, which has a volatile, even explosive quality at times. Aries is hot and fiery, and what happens close to the Aries Point (the first degree of Aries) can affect the world — and once again we had an effect that illustrated the astrology in a vivid way.

Astrologers are on notice: when slow-moving outer planets change signs, there may be an immediate effect. Pay attention.

Knowing that Neptune would be entering Pisces, I was on the lookout for a development at the beginning that would give us some clues about what might be up. I suspected that the rising of the oceans, involving global warming, would be an issue. Neptune is the planet of water, named for the god of the sea (and of earthquakes). Pisces is a big ocean. What happens when you put a lot of water in an ocean? The level rises — and that is exactly what’s happening due to the melting of the glaciers. It’s obvious that with Neptune in Pisces, we will be dealing with the reality and not the concept of global warming.

Former Maldives president Mohammed Nasheed after his underwater cabinet meeting in 2009. Image from “The Island President,” an upcoming documentary.

In a late edit to last week’s edition, which summarized the history of the past 14 years of Neptune in Aquarius, I mentioned that the global warming controversy was a kind of poster child for denial (Neptune) of science (Aquarius). An inconvenient truth that is convenient to deny, global warming may turn out to be the biggest scandal in the history of the world. Has anyone noticed that the biggest deniers are those who profit from doing so?

But not everyone has been in denial. At the head of the class has been the president of the Maldives, an island nation located just above sea level in the Indian Ocean. It’s the country with the lowest average elevation — 1.5 meters above sea level. One of the country’s outspoken politicians, Mohammed Nasheed, came home from exile in 2008 to be the first democratically elected leader of his country. Nearly 30 years of dictatorship ended with an authentic triumph for the people, and the inauguration of a progressive, intelligent president.

And Nasheed was breathing fire on the issue of global warming. The Maldives are so close to sea level that when the 2004 Indonesian earthquake and tsunami happened, most of the country (which consists of a group of islands) was submerged. That’s to say, most areas were flooded under one to three meters of water, a stark reminder of what is possible if ocean levels continue to rise.

When Nasheed took office in November 2008, he quickly brought global warming to the top of his agenda and became one of its most articulate spokesmen. He stated his intentions to have the country purchase land in India, Sri Lanka and Australia for its citizens to inhabit, saying, “We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades.” If the rising of the seas wasn’t stopped, his own country would become geographically extinct by 2100. He spoke at the United Nations, and he participated in a recent documentary, The Island President.

Among other methods of getting attention, in 2009 Nasheed held an underwater meeting of his cabinet in scuba gear to illustrate the point that his country was being swallowed by the ocean. (For astrology fans, this happened with many planets in Libra, and during the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune in Aquarius.)

Then on Tuesday, just four days after Neptune entered Pisces, Nasheed was forced to resign the presidency at gunpoint. He was ousted by allies of the old dictator, who apparently wanted some of their power back, or didn’t want to face prosecution. Nasheed had just ordered the arrest of a criminal court judge who was allegedly refusing to allow corruption cases against members of the old administration to proceed. That was used as an excuse for the military and police to force him out of office.

The Maldives are a nation consisting of about 1,200 islands, close to the equator in the Indian Ocean. They are on average 1.5 meters above sea level — the lowest country in the world. Image from “The Island President,” which comes out in March.

The judge who Nasheed had arrested “was the chief judge of the Criminal Court, which is one of the middle-ranking courts in the Maldives,” according to one of Nasheed’s aides, quoted on Democracy Now! “And the government had accused him of defending the former dictatorship of [Mohammed Abdul] Gayoom. There was a number of cases against former regime members for [inaudible] and corruption, and some involving hundreds of millions of dollars. And the government contended that this judge was essentially preventing those cases from ever reaching fruition.”

Yet the effect is that one of the few people in power speaking up about global warming and rising sea levels was taken out of commission. As of press time, an arrest warrant had been issued for him. Many fear that he will be imprisoned, and his adversaries have stated that’s their goal. Despite this, he led a street rally on Thursday. BBC has reported that there is no sign of the new government trying to carry out the arrest warrant.

Nasheed has more important plans, focused on the fate of the Earth. He used his presidency to cast the Maldives as a canary in the coal mine of global warming. Many areas of Manhattan, he’s pointed out, are only slightly higher above sea-level than his country.

And there are American scientists who agree with him. One of them is Malcolm Bowman, a professor of oceanography at SUNY Stony Brook, who said in an interview, “Looking at the city, with the setting sun behind the Williamsburg Bridge, it’s a sea of tranquility,” he said. “It’s hard to imagine the dangers lying ahead.”

Severe beach erosion in the Maldives has claimed substantial amounts of coastal land. Image from “The Island President.”

He told WNYC Radio in New York that as global warming brings higher temperatures and more violent storms, flooding in parts of the city could become as routine as the heavy snows of this winter. We could even have “flood days,” the way the city now has snow days. Higher sea levels will give severe storms much more water to funnel toward the city.

“We could expect the FDR Drive to be underwater,” he told the station, referring to Manhattan’s East Side Drive. “We could expect the water lapping around Wall Street,” he said. “We could see vital infrastructure, hospitals, sewage treatment plants, communication conduits all paralyzed by flooding with seawater, which is very corrosive.” He said the city could resemble Venice in 200 years.

How would the city deal with this? Possibilities include building enormous storm surge barriers like the kind used in the Netherlands, much of which is below sea-level. The Dutch have managed to hold back the ocean successfully for many years. Or, the city could pull back from vulnerable neighborhoods, moving them to higher ground and using low-lying areas as parks and buffer zones. But given real estate values, that seems unlikely. And with half of the world’s population living within 200 km of the shore, we would have to build a lot of dykes to protect even the areas that could be protected.

All the studies in the world may not convince world leaders to take action. It’s going to take actual events, and even then, many people are too despondent or corrupt to deal with a problem this complex. And even when the proof comes in the form of an event, it can take a generation or more to get the physical infrastructure in place, such as happened after the North Sea flood of 1953. This flood affected the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Scotland.

Official New York City map showing flood zones. This is an actual document, not speculative.

The flooding was caused by a high spring tide and a severe windstorm that caused a storm tide. Existing sea defenses were overwhelmed and many breached. (Appropriately enough, this happened during a Saturn-Neptune conjunction. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita happened during a Saturn-Neptune opposition, which is similar to the conjunction.)

In the Netherlands, where 9% of the country’s farmland was flooded and 1,836 people died, a flood defense system was put into place, but it wasn’t completed until 1998, nearly half a century later.

There is no doubt that Neptune is associated with floods and events involving the sea, and Neptune in Pisces certainly seems to be the image of a lot more seawater. The thing about Neptune is that it’s a slow acting influence, until the drop that spills the cup. The story of floods is always the story of what was not expected, but which was obviously coming.

One thing to keep in mind from an astrological perspective is that Chiron in Pisces is running vanguard of Neptune in Pisces. During its whole time in Pisces, Chiron will be a few years ahead of Neptune’s progress, finally leaving in 2019 (about six years before Neptune leaves Pisces). Chiron will bring sufficient warning-type events that we can have all the foresight we might need. Precaution is another story.

Speaking of Chiron, Nasheed was born in 1969 right at the end of the last run of Chiron through Pisces. His Chiron is placed in the very last degree of that sign, which is also the last degree of the zodiac. It’s theme is the self-created person.

During the Sixties, we learned that martyrdom makes the movement stronger. It was an era of assassinations: JFK, RFK, MLK, names so common we don’t even need to say them, representing people who set an indelible example of leadership. I trust that this time around, Nasheed can make his point without becoming a martyr. In less than a month, he’s about to become a movie star, as The Island President, the documentary about him, is released to select theaters.

Let’s not forget that mythic Neptune can be as placid as the ocean can be, he can be equally violent and wrathful if wronged. The tyrants who seized power might recall just a few years ago when their whole country was under water. Don’t dis Neptune, ’cause paybacks are hell.

Eric Francis

Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. Weekly Horoscope #890. | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You may feel challenged by a situation that feels beyond your control — particularly one involving the opinion that others hold about you. Obviously what matters more is the opinion you have of yourself, but you’re especially vulnerable to outside influences right now. It’s the kind of setup where one thing could lead to another, therefore, when any one thing points in a direction that you don’t want to go, quickly make a decision to go another way. You seem to have a particular vulnerability where the opinions of coworkers are concerned, when you’re doing your best to mind your business and do your job. I would say do one better — make a point of doing your work in the most competent and creative way possible — and really shine despite what vibes you may feel are in the air or what anyone may think or say. Very simply, that whole head-trip is meaningless. The good part is that right now, many other elements of your life are beautifully meaningful.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — There may be some vivid contrasts in what you’re feeling and what others are perceiving about you. They’re not incompatible, but they are different enough that you need to account for any potential contrast. While on the one hand you may be creatively lit up, and have an abundance of good ideas, other factors suggest you want to be extraordinarily careful where communications are concerned, particularly where anyone in a position of authority is involved. What you say matters, and you cannot take it back. Along a similar line, the quality of any idea is only as good as your ability to express it or put it into action in a useful way. This could be a genuinely fortunate time in your life, when actual opportunities are abundant. But you can take no chances on anything other than careful, honest effort, and sincere gestures to cooperate within any group environment.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — As you’ve figured out by now, most spirituality has nothing to do with spirit and most religion has nothing to do with anything Divine. The substitute or the excuse is not the reality, though there are many who would — and do — confuse the matters. You cannot afford to be confused, though at the moment it could happen easily. The most likely entry point for misunderstanding is going to be false belief, so I suggest you subject what you hear and what others try to persuade you to an extra high level of verification. This would count for anything that you find is emotionally disturbing or where you get the sensation that you’re shutting down because you’ve encountered some information. That shutdown sensation may be precisely the clue you need to know that something is simply wrong. But doing nothing about it is not a useful option. At the very least, a clear decision is called for.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — This week’s Full Moon may still have you feeling like you just got off an entire afternoon on the teacup ride. Clearly, you’ve taken a few steps to renegotiate some of the more sensitive situations in your life, yet you likely figured out how much more you have to change. One particular situation where push came to shove contains a lot of good information for you, and I suggest you do some data mining and make the most of what you learn. There is something fundamental you can discern about your own nature and that of someone close to you. We may be talking about your relationship to a group. The truly important thing to focus on is how to make sure that your values, opinions and sense of presence do not take second place, or get swallowed by, some entity seemingly larger than yourself. Yet the way to distinguish yourself is not with how ‘different’ you are, but with the power and beauty of your gradually awakening sense of self-worth.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Your relationships are in a delicate spot, and you can help yourself immensely by being the person who defuses any tension and lets any seeming insult roll off your back. This may not be easy, because you’re almost as edgy as certain people around you — almost but not exactly. This is all going to come down to communication, which means being a specialist in understanding everyone’s motives: certain individuals around you, certain dynamics as they manifest in a group, and of course keeping a pulse on your own inner currents. Here is the thing to remember — life is more flexible than you remember it being any time in the recent past. Opinions are subject to change, facts are subject to reinterpretation and any situation you may encounter has many negotiable points. What will make that flexibility available is creativity: that is, imagination, seeing the possibilities, and knowing that any problem has a solution waiting to be discovered or invented.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You would be wise to pull your punches over the next few days — that is to say, meet aggression with something other than aggression. This won’t be easy but it’s definitely possible. If something makes you angry, start by shifting perspectives and figure out where someone is coming from. Merely empathizing with them will have a healing effect from the outset of the discussion or encounter. You will then be less inclined to think or act in a way that is self-judgmental — which is one of the best ways to defuse tense situations. You are the one who is dealing with the inner-violence dynamic. The person you’re connecting with is working through a mix of an identity crisis and self-deception. Therefore, be honest with yourself, listen with care, and set the example that there’s another way of looking at the world. Once you actually observe and acknowledge that, the whole relationship will shift.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Mars retrograde (now through April 13) is about you turning a corner in your relationship to fear. The thing about fear is that it seems so real, yet it so rarely works out to be true. Have you ever noticed that? Here is the thing about fear that is true, in my experience: it points to an energy source. What could be creative potential is converted into something, heavily tinged by the negative elements of the imagination, and something ‘unreal’ is created. The objective your charts seem to be describing is learning how to convert fear back into something creative. This would start first with feeling the fear or inner tension, acknowledging the inherently neutral nature of energy. Then notice how you color it one way or the other; how you make it into whatever it is. Though it’s emotionally difficult, stay with the feeling a little longer than you might otherwise, so you can get to the good stuff.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — One theme of this season is discerning what you think from what is true. Thoughts are powerful in that they have the power to subsume the mind. Whether you believe in ‘manifestation’, thoughts are creative, and they can also be destructive. It’s not a coincidence that the most destructive ones are those that are not true, by which I mean, the ones that are based on fear, attack or have no basis in verifiable reality. Yet one challenge you face is discerning those thoughts from what is real for you. The easiest way to tell the difference is going to be by the results. What leads to a creative outcome was a creative thought; what leads to conflict was a destructive or deceptive thought. To use this method of discernment you’ll need to track your mental process, through the actions it leads to, and then observe what happens. Think of this as observing yourself, which is a vital skill any time, but especially with Mars traveling retrograde for the next few months.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You need to apply effort, but a certain kind that to you might feel passive. The idea is to slip into the flow, and know when you’re there. You’re in one of the richest and most abundant creative moments for many moons — though this also has a potentially disruptive quality if you don’t ride the tiger just right. This is why I am suggesting a move-with-the-energy, no-resistance approach to what you have to do, and for engaging with the thoughts and ideas that pass through you. Definitely keep a notebook, and remember that not everything is worth acting on — but nearly everything will be worth considering, and some will be worth developing. Ideas for career development may have to wait, but it’s never too early to prepare with knowledge, strategies and most meaningfully, with a vision for what you want to do. Remember, visions develop in layers, and are combined of adding what you want and removing what you don’t want.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — I suggest you be cautious of any ideas that equate money to power. They are likely to be turned against you. You can think of money as creative potential or energy, but that is different than this thing we call power, as in the power to get people to do things, or to motivate you to action. If you’re looking for motives or inspiration, find more imaginative ones. You might think in terms of what inspires people to cooperate toward a creative goal, or any goal, for that matter. These days it seems that ideas have more energy than cash when it comes to focusing the energy of groups, and there’s certainly no shortage of those right now. I would note that there is a bold, new quality to what is coming through, which may seem to challenge your preference for what is tried and true. Yet it’s a fact that time marches on, and you’ve been trying to light the fires of progress for a long time.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — One of the defining characteristics of our moment is the refusal to think in terms of consequences. Notably, this is happening at a time when a lot of consequences of the past are emerging for everyone to notice. An aspect between the Sun in your birth sign and a small, potent object called Nessus, are a reminder to think your plans and desires through. Consciously consider a diversity of what-ifs. This is not for the sake of ‘worry’ but rather for the sake of considering your options based on the potential of what they might create. At the same time you’re doing this, you may be experiencing a boomerang effect of things that you initiated in the past and to which you did not devote this consideration. Now is the time to make the necessary corrections, one at a time, as you become aware of what needs to be done. Note that some will require going through layers to get to the core of the matter.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — There seem to be many hidden factors at work in your life, though the most significant, useful and creatively rich are the ones you can see, feel and hear. Certain factors in the astrology suggest that you have a line into the unseen aspects of your life, which you can navigate intuitively. Therefore, use your senses. Look and listen for opportunities, both to express yourself and to exchange with others. Most of all, feel what you’ve got: notice your resources, your potential and how much freedom you actually have to make choices. The truth is that many options are open, and your freedom is available to the extent that you can mix potential with focusing power. To get that equation right, it’s necessary to work both sides, and I suggest you experiment with one and then the other till you can put them both together. If you keep your eyes open and your mind on your priorities, that ability will come sooner rather than later.

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