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by Gary Brand - written June 11, 2009,
published in the July 2009 edition of Echo* newspaper

Photos of Jupiter and Neptune superimposed to simulate
a conjunction between them. Photos of Neptune and Jupiter superimposed to simulate a conjunction between them.  Neptune is above Jupiter because it has greater celestial latitude so it appeared above Jupiter each time they were conjunct in 2009.  For readers who know some observational astrology, is this a portrayal of the May 27 conjunction just before it was exact or just after?  This depiction is not to scale, except for the relative sizes of the planets (they didn't appear this close together at the time of their conjunction).  Images are courtesy of NASA.

Strangely shaped mountains near the terminator on Jupiter's moon Io These are some strangely shaped mountains near the terminator, the transition between day and night (at sunset), on Jupiter's moon Io.  The long, jagged mountains on the left rise 23,000 feet above the planes of Io, higher than any North American mountain.  These mountain ridges are thought to be much younger than lower, smoother features like the mountain at top center.  This image was taken by the Galileo spacecraft in February 2000.  Courtesy of NASA/JPL/UA/ASU.

A beautiful color image of Neptune as a crescent A beautiful color image of Neptune as a crescent taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft after its closest approach to the planet on August 24, 1989.  Neptune's south pole is at the bottom of this view.  Courtesy of NASA/JPL.

Io and its shadow in front of Jupiter This fantastic photo captured the moon Io in front of Jupiter and its shadow cast upon the planet's cloud tops.  Io is about the same size as our Moon and is the most geologically active body in the solar system, with over 100 active volcanoes.  Although it appears very close to Jupiter in this photo, it is actually about 260,000 miles from the planet.  Jupiter's Great Red Spot (a hurricane larger than Earth) is left of center.  This true-color photo is a composite of images taken by the Cassini spacecraft on December 12, 2000.  Courtesy of NASA/JPL/UA.
Even in a downward trending economy, there are periods when the severity of the crisis lessens and the situation appears to temporarily improve.  We are in one of those periods now, when many people think that the current economic downturn is ending.  As of the writing of this article in early June, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up about 2,800 points (43%) since its low in March, the consumer confidence index is up, and the media as well as the people I encounter are talking about the economy improving.  What accounts for this hopefulness, despite continuing, dismal economic news – like California on the verge of bankruptcy, Chrysler and General Motors in the bankruptcy process, the official unemployment rate exceeding 9%, the price of gasoline climbing steadily, and the revelation that Federal revenue declined by 34% in 2008 – the largest annual decline EVER (this is an effect of Saturn opposite Uranus)?  The astrological evidence of a rebirth of optimism is the current transit of Jupiter conjunct Neptune.  This conjunction (during which they appear very close together in the sky) heralds the birth of a new Jupiter-Neptune cycle, which lasts an average of 13 years.

What does Jupiter conjunct Neptune at the beginning of the cycle mean?  It symbolizes optimism, dreams fulfilled or dashed, naivety, inflated expectations, societal idealism, mysticism and seeking the Divine, speculation and gambling, compassion, inspiration, the tendency to paint a rosy picture, and the wish or dream of getting something for nothing (the dream of winning the lottery or finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow).  It also portends positive thinking and expectations, generosity, consumerism, opportunism, synchronicity, imagination and visualization, enticement, delusions, false happiness, empathy, sympathy, spiritualism, self-serving egotism, insight, misrepresentation, disappointment, foolish confidence, disillusionment, charity, cheerfulness in the face of adversity, unwarranted risk taking, self-undoing, universalism, and higher interest rates (remember that this cycle lasts from 2008-2021).

Typically, each successive conjunction of Jupiter with Neptune progresses one sign at a time through the zodiac and each cycle takes on the nature of the sign in which they were conjunct.  At the end of the 20th century an aberration occurred:  the Jupiter conjunction with Neptune in 1984 and in November 1996 – January 1997 were both in Capricorn, the former in the first degree and the latter in late degrees of the sign.  Therefore, the period of 1984-2008 was dominated by the traits of Capricorn.  Speculation and delusional hopes that there was no limit to the ever-increasing, often astronomical values of hedge funds, derivatives, stocks, real estate, collectables, multi-national corporations, and unbridled consumerism fueled by unlimited credit prevailed.  Greed (Capricorn) had taken hold of our culture in the form of giddy dreams (Neptune) of wealth and endless prosperity (Jupiter).  However, the inspiration (Jupiter and Neptune) of these cycles that began in Capricorn also brought a boom in practical electronics used in business (Capricorn) and an exponential proliferation (Jupiter and Neptune) of personal computing, cell phones, nanotechnology (which provides more for less), the Internet (also spurred by the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in Aquarius in 1997), etc.

Usually the exact Jupiter-Neptune conjunction (their closest approach in the sky) occurs once, as Jupiter speeds by slower-orbiting Neptune.  The 2009 conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune is unusual in that Jupiter retrogrades (appears to move backwards) after its initial conjunction with Neptune.  Therefore, the exact conjunction occurs not once but three times this year and they are in close proximity (as viewed from Earth) much longer than the typical conjunction between these planets.  The conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune began in March 2009 (when the stock markets began a temporary up trend) and continues through mid-January 2010, with two peaks:  May – July and December.  Keep in mind that the Saturn-Uranus opposition, which is also ongoing this year, offsets some of the benefits of the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction, especially August – October when Jupiter moves away from Neptune and the Saturn-Uranus opposition is particularly strong.  As a result of the final conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in December, retail sales this Christmas season will be better than 2008.

The 2009 conjunctions of Jupiter and Neptune are very close to the position of the Moon in the U.S. birth chart.  Therefore, it is having a strong, positive impact on the American public but it could lull many of us into a false sense of security about the future and into thinking that the economy is improving.  For example, new unemployment claims have been on the decline for several weeks so naive media and economic pundits point to this and say the economy is recovering.  Although this is certainly a good trend, these pundits seem oblivious to the fact that the number of ongoing unemployment claims continues to set new records - for the past 16 weeks in a row, according to an AP report on May 21.  Even though the economy is losing jobs more slowly, it shows no signs of beginning to re-employ the millions of people already out of work or under-employed.  So once someone is laid off, they're likely to remain that way or in a “survival job” for a long time.  If the rate of new job losses continues to trend downward, eventually the number of people drawing unemployment compensation will also begin to decline because people who have exhausted their benefits aren’t counted in the government’s unemployment rate.  That's not good news either.

With this conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in the progressive sign of Aquarius, interconnections, innovations, and humanitarianism are themes.  Maybe the ingenuity of humanity during the 13 years of this Jupiter-Neptune cycle (2009 - early 2022) will create a more humane world where resources are more equally shared and renewable energy sources are harnessed for the benefit of all.  A beneficial outcome of this cycle could be universal health care coverage for all Americans so that we catch up with the rest of the highly-developed world in this regard.

Finally, a reminder – in the October 2008 edition of Echo newspaper*, I recommended that my readers get out of the stock markets and buy Gold and/or Silver.  From the first of this year to June 10 [when this article was written], the price of Silver rose 31% - compared to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) composite average, which rose only 5%!  [By mid-July 2009, the price of Silver and the NYSE composite average had both declined from their early June highs.]

*Echo is a monthly newspaper about community, the environment, health, cuisine, and spirituality that is distributed in central Virginia.

Printable version (without images)

Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida

© copyright 2009-2013 Gary Brand.  All rights reserved.