First, a comment from an astrologer, Elizabeth Hansen, agreeing with my argument in my last post against Pluto being 'evolutionary':
I find very little in history to indicate that there is any real advantage (ie. progress made on a great chain of being) bestowed by "expanded consciousness". Many (especially astrological types) seem to find solace in that rationale to obviate the pain of deadly undertows brought about by Pluto transits. It seems to be another neat, pat answer to the age old question, as yet unresolved as far as I can see, why is there pain, loss, suffering in life.
This is the 2nd in a series of posts based around a talk I recently gave on Uranus-Pluto. I began by looking at the nature of the outer planets, in the sense of asking what aspects of our personalities do they correspond to? I've looked at Pluto. On to Neptune and Uranus...
And then there’s Neptune, and like Pluto I’d been wondering which bit of us he is, and I decided that he is like the cinema screen within us that creates an image of a world for the life energy of Pluto to play itself out on.
The world that we experience, even the people around us, are not literally there. It’s a construction of our brains, and you can see that when the brain stops working properly. There’s a book about this, The Man who mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks.
He is a neuroscientist, and he tells the stories of all these different people with brain damage or dysfunctions, so that for example one person can only see the right half of anything. He eats his food with his right hand, and eats the right half of the food on his plate, then pulls his plate round to the right and eats the right half of whatever’s left. Or the person who experiences the general category of something but not the specific, so he can tell you that something is a playing card but not that it is the Jack of Hearts. Or someone who has the opposite problem, he can tell you it’s the Jack of Hearts but not that it’s a playing card.
And so on. It’s probably 25 years since I read this book, but it had the effect of taking the idea that reality is a construct out of the realms of a head game and turned it into something real, it left me kind of a bit stunned.
So I think this is Neptune’s realm, the sort of primordial imagination that creates a coherent world out there from sensory experience. Left and right, up and down, 3 dimensions, self and other, time, colour and so on are all manufactured for us, and in the same way for all of us because we have the same brains, so it appears like objective reality. But really I think it’s this sort of bodge that works well enough for life to be possible.
Like Pluto, Neptune is invisible to the naked eye, and like Pluto his psychological function is beyond our conscious control, we take it as something that is just there: our desire to live, and the world within which we do that living. But they are both outer planet creations.
Neptune’s influence extends beyond creation of the world to the stories and myths which make sense of the world and our place in it, though clearly there’s an overlap with Jupiter the story-teller here. But the basic myths that tell us where we came from seem to come from somewhere else, the ones that work aren’t concocted by the conscious mind. You could say that astrology is ruled by Neptune inasmuch as it is a myth about how the universe works. So I think that’ll do on Neptune, because he’s not central to this talk.
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And then there’s the 3rd outer planet, Uranus, and it took me the longest to work out which bit of us he is, and actually it was my partner Vajramala, whose not an astrologer, who suggested that Uranus is the vital spark. I thought yes, that’s it, it’s obvious. In a car engine, Pluto would be the pistons and the petrol in them, driving the car forward. And Uranus would be the spark from the battery, firing however many times a second, that catalyses the whole process.
In the context of the Big Bang, our modern Creation Myth, the Big Bang itself was Pluto, this enormous power coming from a tiny seed. Neptune was the image of a 3-d universe that sprang into being. But Uranus was what made the Big Bang happen.
It all came from this singularity, this point with no dimensions or time or anything we can comprehend, and Uranus if you like was God saying let there be light. I couldn’t resist this one, you’ve got to have it if you’re taking about Uranus:
In terms of life, Uranus is the planet that says this piece of matter is alive rather than inanimate. Uranus is the lightning that changed the primordial soup of organic molecules into something living, something unthought of that hadn’t been there before.
Uranus is causeless, like Pluto and Neptune he is just there, and he is this catalyst that lights the blue touchpaper. He’s the inspirations that just come, a new idea, the sudden realisation that you want to do something or don’t want to. Uranus seems to indicate that life isn’t just this natural progress from stage to stage that Pluto embodies: he tells us that life is also creative, that in moving on something new is brought into being that you couldn’t have thought of before. Pluto is god of the underworld, he works if you like with earth and water, there isn’t much fire and air underground. So he is that grounded, instinctual solid force, there’s something of Saturn in him, and after he was discovered he did take on some of Saturn’s attributes, such as death.
And Uranus is the opposite of Pluto, he is a sky god, with the expanded, electrical possibilities that provides. Pluto and the sign he rules, Scorpio, tends to be grounded and authentic and true to itself, but that can be narrow and conservative as well. Whereas Uranus and the sign he rules, Aquarius, is full of brilliant progressive new ideas, but it can be ungrounded, divorced from nature and human nature.
If you like Pluto keeps life moving, keeps it pushing on, and within it there’s a mysterious blueprint for unfoldment. But Uranus provides that extra shove, that new possibility at the moment something new needs to emerge, if you like he gets the bud to start unfolding. You can see how Uranus and Pluto can work well together despite being opposites.
And when it’s time for something to change, and there’s maybe resistance, they both as it were attack the old paradigm in different ways: Pluto pulls the energy away, the life force withdraws. And Uranus keeps firing his electricity, keeps opening up new possibilities, and that is experienced as uncomfortable and disruptive.