NEPTUNE/PLUTO 1891- 2385

Possible cycle meanings for the major idealistic objective that will dominate humanity’s attention for 493 years

– a move to a global culture

– the ideal to communicate globally

– the growth of ‘individualistic humanitarianism’

Only the third, INDIVIDUALISTIC HUMANITARIANISM, matches the key events during the 16 year conjunction period and looks convincingly as if it could unfold over the huge length of this cycle

We define Individualistic Humanitarianism as the twin ideals of Self Fulfillment and Social Justice

CONJUNCTION 1883 – 1899 (exact in 1891)

The Birth of Individualistic Humanitarianism

We focus on recorded historical developments which occurred while the planets Neptune and Pluto were within 10 degrees of each other – the period 1883 to 1899 (a period of 16 years).

First, we see Individualistic Humanism in the emergence of the study of the Self, in the beginnings of psychoanalysis and therapeutic psychology, in the publication of Freud’s ‘Interpretation of Dreams’ and in Von Krafft-Ebing and Havelock Ellis’s writings on the Psychology of Sex. Here is the genesis of the concept that by understanding ourselves we can become more fulfilled.

Second, we see the emergence of social democracy, socialism and social science especially influenced through the publication in English of Marx’s Das Kapital , its initial influence in Russia and Europe and in the writings of Max Weber.



1886 Sigmund Freud in Vienna opens the first psychoanalytical private practice

1886 John Dewey publishes the first textbook on psychology.

1890 William James publishes the benchmark ‘Principles of Psychology’

1886-90 The first ten experimental psychology laboratories in the USA are founded


1883 Germany introduces the world’s first legislation on social insurance

1884 In the UK the Fabian Society , the forerunner of the Labour Party, is established

1886 In the USA the American Federation of Labor is established

These twin developments, Psychology and Social Democracy, are surely part of a transformation around 1900 in the collective world view of so called advanced nations. While writers from the Greeks and Romans on had always sought to understand man’s psychological make-up and while there had always been drives for equality (the French Revolution being the obvious example) the research and ideas which came to be called psychology and social science were revolutionary because they were attempting to bring scientific evaluation to topics previously seen purely as issues to be rationally argued about. The full force of research, attitudes and practice stemming from these subjects’ development should only start to be clearly apparent by 2032 when the sextile (60 degree) phase which started in 1950 ends.

OUT SQUARE  (exact in 2061)

A challenge Individualistic Humanitarianism will have to overcome


One can only speculate in the most general terms as to what the fulfillment of this 493 year cycle will bring humanity to in the year 2137 when this cycle reaches its half way point – its point of maximum development – but if the meaning we have ascribed to the cycle is correct we might expect to see self fulfillment and equality of opportunity almost completely integrated into society’s world view though inevitably this will have been achieved with a price tag – perhaps in some kind of loss of individual privacy or freedom of action.

By the end of the cycle in 2385 we might reasonably expect that collective ideals would have ‘moved up’ beyond addressing psychological and sociological ills to ideals of a ‘higher’ dimension – whatever they may prove to be. It is even possible that the 2385 Conjunction might involve the fundamental ideals of the human race becoming concerned with migrating to other planets or even communicating with other beings in the Universe or perhaps more likely a new level of communicating between ourselves.


What is more open to discussion is what the outgoing square of 2061 might involve. For here we might expect to see a fundamental challenge to the idea that understanding and improving the Self and Society is an achievable ideal. What could challenge the growth and application of the ideal that a human being should move to living a truly physically, mentally and spiritually balanced and fulfilling life ? What could counter the humanitarian ideal that societies should be moved out of poverty, malnutrition, exploitation and inequality ?


One fundamental challenge the post 1891 collective idealism might face is a clash between growing anti-materialistic even spiritual forces in the world and prevailing ideals relating to communications or knowledge. Could it be that the hugely extrapolated power of computers and telecoms by then has begun to seriously clash with individual and humanitarian ideals. This might manifest as powerful pressures relating to the individual’s imaginative, escapist and unworldly needs, his demands for sensitivity and empathy, his demands for silence, withdrawal and privacy. By 2061 it is likely there will simply be no escape from the pervasive domination of the computer


An initial guess therefore as to the meaning of the Out Square might be a cumulative fundamental disillusion with the notion that communications technology can improve the self and society stemming partially from the inherent limitations of computing and telecommunications in increasing self-fulfillment or social justice. If this interpretation were anywhere near correct, perhaps to many of us the only surprise is that such a crisis is going to take nearly 50 years to manifest.


However remember that it is the fundamental disillusion with the ideals of self-fulfillment and humanitarianism that the cycle’s square involves not the disillusion with communications technology, which is more likely to be reflected in the outgoing Uranus/Neptune square (a challenge to the idealization of technology) which takes place over twenty years earlier in 2039 (see URA/NEP page) It does seem likely that around 2061 humanity will look back 170 years to the end of the 19th century and ask whether there is any point in further pursuing this long fought quest for self-fulfillment and societal humanitarianism – when for every advance there seems a corresponding drawback or loss. What developments or events could precipitate this disillusion ? And exactly how will humanity overcome this challenge ?.


From that cycle half way point advances in self-fulfillment and social justice should start to wane – though what has been achieved in the first half of the cycle will now be being consolidated. For inexorably and unconsciously humanity will now over time be setting itself higher goals and between the incoming square and the end of the cycle in 2385 the achievements won will come to seem wholly inadequate and by the next cycle a radically new longterm idealism will emerge to take the place of self fulfillment and humanitarianism – whatever it will be, it may be less about improving what is damaged or inequitable and more about extending ourselves in ways we can only guess at now.

The current stage in the cycle – The 1950-2032 SEXTILE

Society begins to integrate the new worldview

So what can we say about the sextile (60 degree) phase between 1950 and 2032 which we are still in? A suggested interpretation of the Sextile aspect in this cycle is ‘Society integrating a new worldview based on a search for self fulfillment and social justice’.


One could certainly argue that with the publication of popular psychology books starting from around 1950, this subject’s influence began to spread well beyond the academic/intellectual world into the comprehension, conversation and motivation of ordinary people, initially in advanced western countries.

Since the 1980s the development and dissemination of ‘New Age’ ideas has made major inroads into subjects like health, education, nutrition, religion and psychology. By the first decade of the 21st century it is accepted that society should expose what is damaged or negative in the individual and the family and to look to solve these with approaches like therapy and counselling and societal adjustment programmes which would have been completely alien to people living before 1900.

Historical timelines do sketch out the integration of psychology into society’s thinking. However, unlike humanitarian based social ideals like democracy, such developments do not easily match published events. While the dates of publication of books by Freud, Jung or Adler may be adduced in the earlier part of the cycle, the gradual but massive spread of ‘New Age’ ideas and DIY psychology textbooks and their creeping adoption into attitudes and motivation is much harder to chart.

And yet just as writer Robert Holub has pointed out “in ordinary conversation today almost every educated person in the USA would not express astonishment when hearing the terms Oedipus conflict, repression, ego, id, superego, unconscious, catharsis, or Freudian slip” so we can assert that today the notion that self-understanding can make a person’s life more fulfilling and the idea that therapy can heal damaged personalities are equally well understood, even if not wholly accepted, and not only by people with a higher education or by people in advanced societies alone


Discussion of, and support for, humanitarian ideas to improve society has became significantly more widespread since 1950 – witness the emergence of the ‘Welfare State’ in the UK, the abolition of segregation initially in America but later in South Africa, the drive especially through the UN to assist peoples in the regions of the world where poverty, malnutrition and starvation and disease are endemic. However the way these ideals are implemented frequently falls so far short of the ideals that it would be difficult to point to critical regions in the world and say that things are now any better than they were in 1950 – of course in some areas it is clear they are much worse. But it is the acceptance and integration of ideals this cycle is concerned with not how they are put into practice. So what specific developments demonstrating the spread of these ideals are there between 1943 and 2001 when the two planets were within about 6 degrees of each other (the widest orb given the sextile aspect by astrologers)?

1943 – 1945

Neptune and Pluto move within 6 degrees of the sextile angle around 1943. In that year the first World Summit takes place when Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt meet at Teheran – the first meeting of global power leaders in history. A further meeting of the three leaders in Yalta in 1945 leads on to the signing of the charter for the United Nations, an organisation with much clearer idealistic and practical objectives than the League of Nations which it replaced.

These events at the beginning of the 90 year sextile clearly appear to be of longterm political importance and the first evidence that broad humanitarian ideals are beginning to gain common acceptance worldwide. Ask yourself will the United Nations be around in 50 or 100 years time – and surely the answer is Yes – even though its name or scope may have changed.


The first exact sextile contact was in January 1950 , a year in which the Cold War began but also the year the UN authorises its first armed intervention and more crucially when the battle against apartheid and later desegregation makes its first appearance. This sextile connection between the two planets repeats itself twice each year until late 1956 when the connection is broken till late 1976.


In late 1976 one major development occurred, which could just be described as of greater global idealistic significance than anything since 1956 – the signing of two nuclear arms treaties. It is difficult to remember just how great a danger an inter-continental nuclear exchange had been in the 1950s and 1960s – the arms treaties in 1976 were the first clear sign that the ‘mutually assured destruction’ threat of the USSR and the USA as the logical defence guarantee of the nuclear arms race made no sense. Communism and Capitalism remained at loggerheads for another 13 years but this was the end of the ‘nuclear nightmare’.


The sextile connection repeated itself twice each year until parting in mid 1986 at the exact time Perestroika and Glasnost emerge in the Soviet Union and around when, in a growing momentum for disarmament, Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev hold two historical summits. The earliest beginning of the end of the Cold War led onto the collapse of Soviet Communism and certainly inspired widespread idealism at the time that a world based on humanitarian democracy was now more possible – though subsequent global developments have very severely dented and continue to dent this optimism. Finally between 1990 when the Soviet Communist party relinquished power and 2021, the two planets slip in and out of orb each year.

2021 – 2032

While the events cited between 1943 and today do appear to tally with society slowly integrating a new worldview based on social justice, who can doubt that the achievement of some modus vivendi between (Western based) Global Capitalism and the (currently Islamic fired) Third World aggrievements will constitute one field of action for much of the remaining part of this sextile.The other field will surely be the application of psychology for people to help themselves become physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.


So even without detailed dates, there is a tenable argument that starting in the 1960s and gathering pace in the 1980s and 1990s such developments in how people see their life potential capable of improvement have had as fundamental an impact on the average Western person’s idealism as any socio-political change has had on those who may have suffered from inequality or exploitation. Of course it is a truism that the two are linked. If a society is unbalanced some of its members are going to display corrupt, violent, self-destructive behaviour. If people are brought up in inadequate families or communities, they are unlikely to make up a strong positive society.