NEPTUNE/PLUTO 1398 – 1891

The Previous Cycle (493 years)

The previous Neptune/Pluto cycle started in 1398, reached its outgoing square in 1568 and its opposition in 1644. It reached its incoming square in 1816 and the next cycle started in August 1891

Possible cycle meanings for the major idealistic objective that dominated humanity’s attention between 1398 and 1891

– a move to a much larger regional culture – especially in Europe

– the erosion of Christianity in the face of Rationalism and Science

– the growth of Humanism and the Arts

The last 2 appear to match the key events during the 16 year conjunction period and did unfold over the huge length of this previous cycle. The Renaissance matches this 16 year period very closely.

The meanings ascribed apply to the West (Europe and consequently the Americas) – different but parallel meanings can be found for Asia and Africa.

CONJUNCTION 1390 – 1406 (exact in 1398)

Reason, Science and Humanism erode the dominant Christian world view

We focus on recorded historical developments which occurred while the planets Neptune and Pluto were within 10 degrees of each other – the period 1390 to 1406 (a period of 16 years).

What transformation of collective idealism did this cycle signify ? In what way do developments in collective idealism between 1390 and 1406 suggest the emergence of a new collective idealism, a new worldview?


Can we find in these sixteen years developments that are the genesis of a consolidation of regional cultures or a move to a larger regional culture – a sort of predecessor to the move to ‘a global culture’ . These years see several crusades to Jerusalem, plague breaking out again in Europe, violent anti-Semitism in Spain and the expulsion by Charles VI of the Jews from France but the only specific sign of regional consolidation is the temporary union of Denmark, Sweden and Norway under one monarch in 1397.

It is true we can see this 493 year period as one in which European culture and power grew to global dominance before in the next cycle ceding place to larger geopolitical entities such as the USA and Russia. We can also see that nationalism in Europe replaced the feudal and tribal social orders which had been in place for centuries. Finally we can also see the replacement in many key areas of the world of an agrarian countryside based society by an industrial urban society. And yet, are any of these changes truly the focus of changes in ‘collective idealism’ ? Do any of these developments tie in specifically with this 16 year Conjunction period ? Not convincingly.


Seeing this sixteen year period as the beginnings of a revision of the way Man and Society are perceived seems to fit better. In 1398 there is a complete absence of any objective psychological perspective of Man and it goes without saying that at that point in time the notions of equality and social justice, the key elements of what would in the next cycle become social democracy, are entirely alien in society. What then could have been the new world view of Man and Society that emerges and rises to dominance between 1398 and 1891 ? It is surely the start of a gradual erosion of Christianity as the dominant world view in the West – we can see that this erosion of religion’s status is in the face of an increasingly massive growth in Rationalism and Science. We can also see how the Renaissance, which starts near exactly in these 16 years yields a new Humanism.



1378 The Great Schism between rival popes till 1417
1386 First University independent of the Church – Heidelberg
1388 Second University independent of the Church – Cologne
1390 Heretical Wycliffe doctrines achieve peak influence
1410 Excommunication of Wycliffe
1410 Excommunication & execution of one of the first religious reformers – Jan Hus


1396 Revival of Greek literature, rediscovery of Greek and Roman classics in Italy
1396 The first Chair of Greek established in Florence
1396 in Korea the first moveable printing type is produced – printing will be key
1401 Renaissance starts in Florence under the patronage of the Medici rulers

OUT SQUARE 1560 to 1574 (exact in 1568)

Dramatic surge in religious and ideological dissension, Renaissance triumph of Humanism

We focus on recorded historical developments which occurred while the planets Neptune and Pluto were within 10 degrees of squaring each other – the period 1560 to 1574 (a period of 14 years).

In what way do developments in collective idealism between 1560 to 1574 suggest a challenge to or extension of the religious and intellectual/aesthetic changes we saw at the cycle conjunction.

These 16 years see a dramatic surge in religious and ideological dissension – especially in England, Scotland, France and the Netherlands – while the Counter-Reformation primed by the Council of Trent is trailblazed by the Jesuits. As Michelangelo dies the Renaissance, especially in Northern Europe, starts fading out.



1559 Works of Erasmus, theological reformer, placed on new Prohibited books index
1560 Huguenot religious conspiracy in France fires the promise of religious liberty
1560 the beginnings of Puritanism in England
1560 The Church of Scotland is founded by John Knox
1561 The Toulouse riots between French Huguenots and Catholics cause 3,000 deaths
1561 The influential translation of Calvin’s ‘Institution of the Christian religion’ is published
1562 The Massacre of Vassy sees 60 Huguenots murdered by the Duke of Guise’s troops
1562 The French Wars of Religion begin – they will last till 1598
1563 Canterbury Convocation‘s 39 Articles establish the Church of England.
1563 The Council of Trent ends by ordering major ecclesiastical and spiritual reforms
1563 The Counter Reformation begins in several European countries led by the Jesuits
1564 John Calvin, one of the dominant Protestant figures dies in Geneva.
1566 Calvinist riots in the Netherlands while Calvinism is united with Zwinglianism
1567 The Catholic Church outlaws the outright sale of Indulgences
1568 Ferdinand, the Duke of Alba, crushes the Calvinist insurrection in Ghent
1570 Pope Pius V issues a bull excommunicating Queen Elizabeth the First of England
1572 The Massacre of St Bartholomew sees 2,000 Huguenots murdered in Paris
1572 Pope Gregory XIII (Gregorian Calendar) implements Council of Trent reforms


1560 Giorgio Vasari’s commission for the Uffizi Palace takes shape in Florence.
1560 Palladio publishes influential Quattro Libri dell’ Architettura
1561 Simon Bening, Flemish painter and greatest illuminator of his era dies
1564 Desth of Michelangelo
1565 Tintoretto’s “Crucifixion,” single best example of Italian Renaissance religious art.
1565 Palladio finishes the outstanding S. Giorgio Maggiore Church in Venice.
1568 The Northern Renaissance ends
1569 Death of Flemish painter Pieter Breughel
1570 The year the High Renaissance is generally accepted to have finished
1571 Benvenuto Cellini, Florentine goldsmith and sculptor, dies
1574 Giorgio Vasari completes Florence’s Uffizi Palace after 14 years of building.

OPPOSITION 1636 to 1652 (exact in 1644)

A Maximisation of ideological and political conflict between religious groups

We now come to the opposition stage – half way through this 493 year cycle – where we would expect to find that the religious and rationalist developments which we have charted emerging at the conjunction, being challenged or extended at the Out square now approach the point of greatest fruition or maximisation, though also reaching a point where inherent contradictions or limitations start to appear.

We focus on recorded historical developments which occurred while the planets Neptune and Pluto were within 10 degrees of each other – the period 1636 to 1652 (a period of 16 years).

These years are certainly marked by a maximisation of ideological and political conflict between religious groups.



1639-40 In Scotland new religious group, the Covenanters hold off Charles the First of England
1642 In England Civil War begins as Roundheads (Puritans) fight Cavaliers (the Royalists)
1646 The Civil War ends with the Royalists’ surrender, Charles forced into religious reforms
1647 Calvinists are acknowledged as co-religionists by the Lutherans
1648 the Quakers founded by George Fox believe all persons are equal before God
1648 In France the religious revolt, the Fronde, breaks out
1648 the Peace of Westphalia ends the ideologically based Thirty Years War
1649 King Charles 1 is beheaded and England is declared a commonwealth


1637 Philosopher Thomas Hobbes writes about Rationalist philosophy based on Aristotle
1639 The Academie Francaise compiles the first dictionary – of the French language
1639 In England John Milton is writing about the Church’s reformation
1644 Rene Descartes, the French philosopher is writing the words “I think therefore I am”
1647 Anglican professors dismissed at Oxford University for humanist views
1647 The New Model Army debates Leveller John Lilburne’s ‘An agreement for the people..’
1649 In Britain English becomes the language of all legal documents in place of Latin
1650 Thomas Hobbes writes ‘The Elements of Law, Moral and Political’.
This is a period of religious libertarianism – where new forms of religion have yet to become institutionalised, where the sect has not been replaced by the denomination, where the individual’s world-view is synonymous with the world view of the sect itself. Some forms of Puritanism are arguably the ultimate in religious libertarianism. Following this period it is possible to discern that religion becomes increasingly institutionalised and there is an emerging potential lack of connection between what an individual Christian’s world view might be and what is the official world view of his religion. Herein may lie the contradiction which will kill off the marriage between the new religion and rationalism to the point where at the end of the cycle in the late 19th century the two have become terminally divorced.

Nevertheless what is key is that man’s conception of what is ideal, what is possible is utterly transformed so that the world outlook of a person from the beginning of the 17th century would be inconceivable to a man at the end of that century.

IN SQUARE 1805 to 1826 (exact in 1816)

Replacement of Religion as the central conflict zone of ideology by Politics, focused on economics

We now come to the In Square stage – three-quarters through this 493 year cycle – where we would expect to find that the religious and rationalist developments, which we have charted emerging at the conjunction, being challenged at the Out square, maximised at the Opposition now reach a terminal stage of relevance or validity to society.

We focus on recorded historical developments which occurred while the planets Neptune and Pluto were within 10 degrees of each other – the period 1805 to 1826 (an unusually long period of 21 years).

These years clearly mark a terminal stage in ideological and political conflict between religious groups?  They coincide with the wholesale replacement of religion as the central conflict zone of ideology by politics, especially industrial related politics.

And do key questions and challenges confront the survival of the individualistic rationalist movement ? Yes the increasing significance of economics and industry in any philosophical discussion or debate.



1807 Britain’s Slave Trade Act abolishes the Slave trade ( though not slavery itself till 1833)  throughout its Empire
1808 US federal law passed prohibiting the importation of new slaves from Africa
1807 Hegel’s ‘Phenomenology of Mind’ published – will form philosophical basis for Marxism
1811 Luddites smash machinery in Northern England in this first protest at industrial exploitation
1819 In Manchester the Peterloo massacre sees 15 protestors killed, 700 injured by English cavalry


1813 Robert Owen, philanthropist mill owner writes ‘A New View of Society’ on social democracy
1817 Robert Owen embraces Socialism in a report to he House of Commons on the Poor Law
1820 Thomas Malthus’s critical & influential book ‘The Principles of Political Economy’ is published
1821 James Mill’s ‘Elements of the Political Economy’ presents a similar attack on old attitudes
1824 Limited Trade Union activity permitted in Britain, points to new Labour movement of 1891

The original forces that had powered the Reformation and rationalism are becoming out of kilter with the way economics is changing the world and now face a terminal decline.

OUTGOING SEXTILE (1461–1480 and 1536 – 1540)

The High Renaissance

Because we have examined the Sextile (60 degree) angle in the present 1891 Neptune/Pluto cycle – the sextile we are living through now – and because this cycle is such an exceptionally long one we shall also extremely briefly examine the outgoing sextile angle in the 1398 cycle. This extended sextile came in two phases, from 1461 to 1480 and from 1536 to 1540.

There are two key events in these years which the cycle phase correlates with. The first phase co-incides with the High Renaissance and the second with the Reformation being adopted by a state (Henry VIII of England setting up its own church), the multiplication of Protestant sects especially Calvinism and the foundation of the Jesuit order, later to lead the Counter Reformation. The whole sextile period correlates with relentless change and development in ideas and beliefs – just as the 1950 to 2032 sextile period is proving to do in our time.