Exuberance in astrology: When you err, and when you apologize

There is an exuberance in astrology, when you think you’ve discovered a pattern. You talk about this pattern with everyone you meet, you are excited by it, and your initial claims become more and more wild as you find more evidence to back up your ideas.

Then you wake up from a sound sleep, your eyes get huge and you stare into the abyss of the morning, “sh*t, I f*caked up. Neptune’s orbital period is 165 years, not 135 years.” And you were talking about it on a live podcast last night, to an actual audience.

In the last year and a half, I came to the conclusion that Neptune in the third decan of Pisces was a strong indicator of medical misinformation. Ruled by Jupiter and administered by Mars, and associated with medicine, Pisces III with Neptune in it felt like a repository of delusions about how disease would interact with the human body. I felt that this was a pretty easy claim to make. Then I got it into my head… not sure how, but it did… that Neptune’s orbital period was 135 years… so it would be in Pisces III every 135 years. Take 2022 and subtract 135 from it, you get … AD 1887, and then 1752, and then 1617, and then 1482, and then 1347. These are all years in which substantial and dangerous epidemics broke out and became worldwide dangers or transformed history in some fashion. There was further evidence too. Take 2022 and subtract 1348, you get 674. Divide 674 by 135 and you get 4.99259259… Obviously, from this one mistake, the pandemic hasn’t peaked yet… but we are approaching the fifth wave of horrific disease.

But duh — Neptune in Pisces is sort of a general indicator of misinformation, not just medical misinformation. When considering its effects, we have to remember that we ourselves are subject to those effects. And I cut 30 years from Neptune’s orbital period in a live broadcast, because I let my excitement get the better of me, rather than treating it as a research project that was still in process.

My mistake & apology

Last night, I appeared on the RainbowSoul.show, a vodcast for discussing spirituality. You can watch the episode here, or find it on their archive.

Here’s what happens when you assume that Neptune has a 135-year orbital period. You take the covid plague of 2020 and go back 135 years, and it’s 1885: a year in which cholera and tuberculosis’s causes were known — and the general population largely ignore the medical establishment’s guidance on prevention. Go back another 135 years, and it’s the 1753 outbreaks of smallpox and yellow fever, when the inoculation, a primitive form of vaccination, was known to work but largely rejected as too dangerous. Another 135 years, and it’s 1619… the outbreak of smallpox and other diseases amongst Native American populations that made English colonization of New England both possible and relatively easy. Another 135 years brings us to the 1482 outbreaks of the Black Plague. And another 135 years brings us to the magic year of 1348 and the worst, first appearance of the Black Death which killed somewhere between 1 in 3 and 1 in 2 people — casualties of 30% to 50%.

Too easy…

Too obvious….

Too dumb.

Getting the orbital period wrong is just the first screw-up.

You see, everything is in motion in the sky. Just because “Neptune returns to the same part of the sky” after a century and two-thirds (and NOT a century and a third) doesn’t mean us astrologers on Earth will see it against the background stars from the same angle.

And even if Neptune were in the same sign after 165 years (or 135 years, as I said in error on the Rainbow Soul show last night) — it’s not going to return to the same decan every 165 years exactly. .

I let exuberance get ahead of me, and I contributed to the very misinformation that characterizes Neptune in Pisces. I am sorry, and I retract that portion of last night’s broadcast.

The real deal

So… Do I stand by the opinion that Neptune in Pisces Decan III does have something to do with medical misinformation. Should I? When Neptune is in Pisces Decan III, is the medical profession guilty of particularly egregious mistakes in disease theory?

For that, we have to go to the ephemeris — the list of planets and their locations in the sky. When we look at the dates, we see that the retrograde cycle usually places Neptune in a short burst of dates lasting about five to fifteen months, then a longer period of several years, then a shorter period of several months. Here are the last five cycles, and a few brief notes on how we might see this expressed as “medical misinformation” or as a misunderstanding about medicine in this era.

24 April 2020 to August 27, 2020 (and February 23, 2021 to March 31, 2025 and October 25, 2025 to January 27, 2027): COVID pandemic… worldwide lockdowns, quarantine procedures. Controversies about the mRNA-based vaccines vs. other kinds of treatment involving ivermectin, chloroquine, and other treatments. Donald Trump made his speech from the White House balcony on October 10, 2020, just after returning from Walter Reed Hospital and his own bout with COVID. We’re not out of the woods on this one yet, with the current stretch lasting another two and a quarter years, and then another year and a half stretch past that. Sorta proves the theory, sorta doesn’t.

March 8, 1857 to November 12, 1857 (and December 20, 1857 to April 14, 1861, and October 2, 1861 to February 15, 1862): the approximate end of the Cholera epidemic, 1850-1860. By this period, it’s widely known among medical professionals that contaminated water caused cholera… Dr. John Snow had proved this during the outbreak in 1854 in London, UK… but the information was not widely known, nor accepted outside of the medical profession. Fits the theory pretty well.

March 22, 1693 to October 9, 1693 (and January 19, 1694 to May 1, 1697; and September 9, 1697 to March 2, 1698): speedier sailing ships bring Yellow Fever from regions where it was an endemic disease like the Caribbean, to winter-bound cities like Boston and London for the first time. Improper quarantine procedures bring infected passengers into close contact with city-dwellers. Earlier outbreaks may have occurred in English colonies, but a British Navy fleet sailed from Barbados to Boston, and doctors with tropical-disease experience were able to diagnose yellow fever in Boston residents in 1693 for the first time. Treatment plans varied between bleeding-and-doses-of-mercury, and wine-and-rest, but neither was particularly effective… both treatment modes became political cause celebres during outbreaks a century later Regular outbreaks in temperate climates become a common occurrence until the early 1900s. Fits the theory pretty well.

March 30, 1529 to March 14, 1533 (and August 5, 1533 to March 8, 1534, and November 11, 1534 to December 24, 1534 during the next two retrogrades). The so-called Sweating Disease affects Tudor England, striking primarily the rich, the young, and the healthy, and leaves the old and infirm alone. Named for a nasty smell and a horrific sweat that accompanied the disease, there are five outbreaks in England over seventy years. We still don’t know what the disease was. NONE of major outbreaks of Sweating Sickness intersect with Neptune in Pisces III — one occurs the year before, in 1528. Doctor Keys, latinized as Dr. Caius (and the founder of Caius College, Cambridge UK) does publish his account of the Sweating Sickness during Neptune in Pisces III, but given that we don’t know what the disease was, all we know is that most of Doctor Keys’s patrons paid him a lot of money to cure them — and they died anyway. Doctor Keys’ description hasn’t helped anyone understand what the disease was. Kind of a blow to my theory.

April 20, 1365 to August 14, 1365 (and February 18, 1366 to March 27, 1370; and October 9, 1370 to January 24, 1371). Periodic outbreaks of the Black Plague or Bubonic Plague across Europe, but not widespread casualties as in the 1347-1350 outbreak. Again, kind of a blow to my theory.

A caution against exuberance

So…

I begin with the apology. I let my excitement (and a misremembered number, 135 vs. 165) get the better of me, and I rushed into to tell a story that turns out not to be true. For that, I should and must apologize to listeners, and to my hosts at RainbowSoul — and I do.

But I also invite newer astrologers to learn from the mistake. Astrology is very much about memory and imagination working together… but it’s also about research. If two-fifths of my examples work, but three-fifths don’t… I don’t have evidence. I have exuberance and coincidence, and I’ve let exuberance overwhelm caution.

We must remember that we have to back up our sky-stories with evidence from the ground, from fields of study and research other than our own. And, frankly, we…. — I — have to get the sky-data correct. When a pronouncement in astrology seems obvious and easy… it’s a good idea to go back to the ephemeris. Trust, but verify, turns out to be prescient advice.

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