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How Neptune Created the Modern World

In my last article I discussed the revolutionary events that accompanied the discovery of Uranus. The changes that came with the discovery of Neptune in 1846 were not quite so dramatic, but they were no less indelible.

The first major shift in consciousness that we see with the advent of Neptune is the rise of Romanticism. Romanticism was a reaction against the Uranian intellectualism of the Enlightenment. It had been evident in art, literature and music for sometime before 1846, but after this date Romanticism (in various forms) became dominant.

Along with the rise of Romanticism, we also see resurgence in religion during this period. This resurgence not only impacted the established Christian religions, it also brought about several new religions and new ways of expressing spirituality. Theosophy,Spiritualism, Mormonism, Christian Science and a menagerie of cults and utopian communities all came out this Neptunian influence. There was also renewed interest in occult and mystical studies such as the Kabbalah, tarot and, of course, astrology.

However, Neptune’s most pervasive influence on our world was in the development of popular culture. Around the same time that the planet was discovered, we see the development of lithography, photography and photogravure. These processes allowed for the mass distribution of both text and images. Suddenly, the whole world had accesses to images of famous people and notable happenings. Culture was no longer the province of the wealthy; it was now in the hands of the masses.

These advances in the publication industry had positive and negative influences, both of which tell us much about Neptune. On the one hand, people, who might never have a chance to see them in person, could be inspired by images of great works of art from around the world. They could also know the faces of their leaders and be connected visually with events in far off places.

On the other hand, among the earliest uses for all these processes were for advertisements and pornography, neither of which have much concern for the truth. Mass publication allowed rogues of every description to pitch their wares to the public. It also made it easy for the purveyors of hate and prejudice to incite millions. But perhaps the most common downfall of this manifestation of Neptune is the spread of gossip. After Neptune, it wasn’t just the foibles of our neighbors that gave us something to talk about; it was the private lives of people we knew only through a picture in a magazine.

As happened with Uranus, Neptune described itself to astrology through the changes it brought to the history of mankind. So we associated this planet with spirituality and religious fait, but it also the planet of deception, false hopes and illusionary goals. Through Neptune we can transcend the traps of intellectualism and experience divine, or we can lose ourselves in a fog of pointless diversions and escapism.

How has Neptune influenced your modern world? Do you see more of the negative or the positive side of this planet's symbolism?

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