Aspects out of Context – Looking at the Bigger Picture

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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One of the problems with reading astrological charts is that there is a tendency to take some items — aspects in particular — out of context. We focus on the present and the future so diligently that we can miss the tremendous influence of the past on what we are reading. We can do this in an individual chart reading, and we can do this when we are looking at world events or individual country issues. For example, as we go through the current (2009-10) Saturn opposed Uranus aspect that translates to conformity versus change issues, we can easily forget that the issues we are dealing with now in the world were initially seeded at the last Saturn/Uranus conjunction at 28 to 29 degrees of Sagittarius back in 1988. We ignore the fact that when the conjunction (seeding) occurred in 1988, it set in motion a world-wide process and we have been going through all the major and minor aspects involved in the first half of any aspect cycle, the waxing phase. We forget that the current opposition signifies the bringing to full light (Full Moon phase) of the issues that were initiated at the conjunction (New Moon) phase.

When we focus on a current aspect as a stand-alone event, we are not doing justice to the whole of the story and we are handicapping ourselves by not looking at the larger picture. We are not only dealing with what is activating presently – the visible opposition – but we are actually bringing to full light (Full Moon – opposition) that which was initiated at the planting of the seed (New Moon – conjunction) plus all the waxing (growing in light) aspect dynamics that brought it to this point in time. The opposition is not separate from the planting of the seed and the dynamics that follow. You’re not going to get an orange out of an apple seed, and the opposition is the full revelation (visibility) of what was initially planted in the dark (in a phase wheel it represents the dark of the Moon).

This concept is true in individual charts. The events and circumstances of our lives are not neatly separate from one another – life would be way too easy. It is like a domino effect. I’m sure you have lined up dominos close but not too close and touched the outside domino, watching in delight as the line of dominos falls, one after the other, in predictable sequence. Phase wheel aspects work in a similar manner. Plant a seed in the dark. It germinates naturally and sends a tendril of itself into the light, goes through all the growing pains of such growth, good days and not so good days, challenges and rewards, and comes to fruition, fully visible, in all its glory. And then it must be plucked as it reaches and passes full glory or you lose the value of the fruit. In the waning cycle it is disseminated, distributed, let go, learned from, used to educate or to finesse an experience. It passes even that and it is time for it to return to the base to make ready for the planting of the next new seed. We must let go, clear the decks, prepare for the new and the cycle begins again. All those stages are associated with the planting of the initial seed.

This same process occurs on all levels of application from an individual, a corporation, a country, even the world as the cycles enlarge. Personal charting is so familiar that we tend to lose sight of the fact that what is true for such a personal cycle is just as true for the larger, longer cycles. Mankind as a species evolves along cultural, societal, evolutionary and migratory lines and the same cyclic process represents that development. Within our solar system, the two outer planets that affect these long-term evolutionary cycles are Pluto and Neptune (and yes, I still consider Pluto readable as a planet). Pluto represents the collective unconscious, a primordial sea of possibilities and of un-experienced or unresolved issues. Neptune rules the dream, the inspiration, the calling forth into consciousness of the next stage of evolution and growth. Don’t kid yourself that this is always comfortable. It is definitely not, because growing pains are never comfortable and these particular growing pains belong to the community of mankind itself.

This Neptune/Pluto cycle is approximately 496 years long and is comprised of two Pluto cycles of 248 years each and three Neptune cycles of 167 years each, simultaneously. Interestingly, these long but local cycles take place within the 25,858-year Changing of the Ages cycle itself (Precession of the Equinox), which is a much larger cycle. While we can look at the 496-year cycle in terms of mankind, the 25,858-year cycle is a solar system cycle. Circles within circles, and we are affected on some level by each – as a world, as a species and as an individual.

The Neptune/Pluto cycle starts, as all cycles do, with the conjunction. Each successive cycle conjunction takes place a few degrees forward in the zodiac; so there is a series in one sign followed by a series in the succeeding sign, and so forth. The sign occupancy prior to our current cycle was Taurus and started around 1073 B.C. Succeeding Taurus conjunctions took place in 577 and 83 B.C. as well as 444 and 905 A.D. That averages about 2000 years for one sign, a serious period of developmental, evolutionary, cultural and societal impact on a developing humanity. In 1398 A.D. the Neptune/Pluto conjunction moved into Gemini and will reoccur in that sign a few degrees forward in the zodiac each time for approximately 2000 years. This is a long-term lesson for mankind. We currently are experiencing the second of the Gemini conjunctions that took place in 1891 A.D. The next will occur in 2384 A.D., long beyond the life span of any person alive on the globe at present.

These conjunctions offer a global impact affecting our evolution as a species and a culture, as well as migration patterns (which tend to be westward in travel). Of course, migration patterns could take us off-world and into the cosmos if we manage to survive our growing pains and not fall backward into devolution. When we were culturally developing the very physical and earthly Taurus seedings for approximately 2000 years, we were practical, earthy and primarily focused on physical survival, with tenacious development of the domination of our planet and circumstance. One notable period occurred at the end of the Taurus seedings just prior to the first Gemini seeding – the Crusades, which forcibly enlarged our cultural understanding through the intractability (another Taurus keyword) of the wars for physical security.

When that cultural seeding mechanism (Neptune/Pluto conjunction) moved into the air sign of Gemini, our mental, communication and intellectual functions were stimulated, and travel broadened our world with both overland and seafaring journeys to other continents and cultures. With 2000 years of Taurus embedded in our genes and consciousness, we were very physical, pugnacious and relentless as conquerors. Just read the real history of the Europeans and their descendants’ conquests of the new frontiers. Indigenous peoples, with their less technically- developed lifestyles, didn’t stand a chance. But Gemini would start to change us as a species. Near this time, the printing press was invented and books and other educational material became available to the masses and learning was no longer limited to the ruling elite. This seeding was part of the Renaissance period. Slowly but surely, the Gemini skills of literacy, education, communication, intelligence and travel have been engaging humanity in an amazing acceleration of knowledge and information, so much so that it is difficult to keep up.

In the 618 years since we started the Gemini cultural seeding process, the evolution of humanity has taken a far different path from the previous Taurus 2000-year process. We are only about a third of the way into the Gemini lesson and have about 1400 more years to develop these issues before we move into the next seeding cycle of Cancer, so there really is no hurry. Now if we could just tell the cosmic acceleration process that there is no hurry, it might help. It seems as though we are running pell-mell towards an unspecified goal as if our very lives depended upon it. Does it? Will we accomplish our current paradigm shift successfully or start to devolve if our species cannot keep up with the pace of evolution? The next Gemini Neptune/Pluto seeding (conjunction) takes place in 2384.

There reaches a point when the seeding process comes to fruition, where the effort to initiate becomes fully visible as accomplishment and the process changes from building up to dispersal and dissemination. That is the opposition point for the Neptune/Pluto pairing. For us, that point midway between seedings (conjunctions) last occurred in 1648 and will not happen again in our current lifetime as the next opposition will take place in 2137. So what is our part in the existing cultural cycle?  We are still in the initiation (waxing) phase of the 1891 Gemini cycle – we are still learning how and proving that we really do want to learn, to grow an intellectual concept, just as agriculture, animal husbandry and commerce dominated us through our Taurus seedings. We have moved from agriculture and physical survival through the industrial age and into the communication and technology age, but we’re not that far along in the Gemini process, and there is nothing easy about humanity making these changes. Someone must still grow the food, commerce must still continue, industrialization continues as part of an existing infrastructure. But our focus is on emerging technology and communication development, exploration of inner and outer space and our eyes are on travel to the stars.

It is a world stage on which these cycles play out their energies. What happens for the bulk of society affects and infects all of society. We are becoming a one-world people, whether or not we are comfortable with that, and we are too far along in the process to seriously derail the outcome. Oh, we can tilt at windmills and row upstream, but the process will continue and the stream will flow in its natural direction. We can choose to be battered by life or we can choose to cope with it and allow the stream of consciousness to take us into our future.

Remember that experiences do not usually happen as isolated events, but they are a process that stems from the initiation of new lessons. They develop naturally and sequentially – test, reward, bring to fruition, disseminate and distribute, and then clear the decks for new activity. To read aspects as isolated in experience is to lose most of the value of that experience. Not to worry, life is only too willing to teach us as many times as we need to learn life’s lessons.

Published by EZine online December, 2009, republished with slight editing.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.