Astrologers everywhere are intrigued by the upcoming conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune. No doubt it will dominate the astrological blogosphere for the next several weeks. Keep perspective though – Jupiter’s relatively fast orbit guarantees that these alignments are not really rare events. These two planets are conjunct every twelve or thirteen years. At first glance, this might not seem to be a truly epochal astrological event. But this particular apparition promises to be a doozy. That’s because it is happening in Pisces. Astrologers might argue over which one of these planets actually rules that sign, but they all agree that it’s one of them. I prefer to think of Pisces as being ruled by both planets – and everyone agrees that when a planet is in the sign it rules, it is simply coming at us at a higher volume. Hence the reason this year’s Jupiter-Neptune conjunction promises to be pyrotechnical – we have these two gas giants, both at maximum amperage, and joining forces.
Stand back, in other words.
Pisces represents many possibilities, but among them, it is the sign of the mystic. That means that the doorway to a transcendent dimension of the Jupiter-Neptune alignment will be wide open for anyone who wants to pass through it. That perspective on the conjunction is what I want to explore in this newsletter. First, let’s talk about timing. At one level, it’s very straightforward: Jupiter and Neptune form a single perfect conjunction on April 12, 2022. The next one will not happen until March 2035. This April, the alignment happens at 23 degrees 59' of Pisces, then it quickly fades away as Jupiter pulls ahead, crossing into Aries on May 10. That’s where everything gets a little more interesting. Jupiter makes it a third of the way into Aries, then seemingly changes its mind and heads back to give Neptune a final kiss. It retrogrades into back Pisces on October 27, making a station on November 23 at 28 degrees 48'. On that day, Neptune is at 22 degrees 40' – which means that the two planets are only about 6 degrees apart and in the same sign. By anyone’s standards, that’s a conjunction too, just not a precise one.
Bottom line, not only does this Jupiter-Neptune conjunction promise to be “louder” than most, it is also kind of weird in terms of how it is shaped on the calendar. Basically we get a sharp hit in the (northern) Spring, then from May 10 through the end of October, it’s gone – seemingly over and done. But then during the final two months of the year, it’s back again. The curtain only falls on the show on December 20, when Jupiter enters Aries once more, never to return until 2033.
So that’s the timing. What does it all mean? That’s a big subject, and as I mentioned earlier, I only want to follow one specifically mystical thread of tapestry in this short newsletter. By the way, I’ve created an hour-long video about the conjunction, which is available on our website now. On March 5, I’ll sit with Tony Howard in his studio and take questions and comments about it. The video goes through the meaning of the event in a broader, more integrative way, all its shadows and light – plus exploring what it means to experience the conjunction in each of the twelve houses. If you’d like to sign up for that webinar, click here for more information. Do please watch the video first!
One point we explore deeply in both the video and the webinar is the enormous impact of the particular sign in which the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction is occurring. This time, as we have seen, it is happening in Pisces – and that not only strengthens its impact, but it also lends a specifically Piscean tone to the event.
Cutting to the chase, Neptune is visionary – but also potentially delusional. Meanwhile, Jupiter tends to “think big” – maybe too big sometimes. The combination can lead to bold breakthroughs (Disney World opened) and over-the-top, unbelievable catastrophes (the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki).
Putting all of that in a specifically Piscean framework sharpens our focus, but it still leaves a lot of possibilities – self-appointed gurus making extravagant claims about themselves, drug overdoses, belief-systems arising out of thin air (and based on nothing more than thin air!), epic drunk-a-thons . . . all of that soul-garbage will be in the mix. What about the higher ground? What about the evolutionary purpose of this conjunction? You would not be reading or hearing these words unless you were on some kind of conscious spiritual path. So it is directly to you – the spiritually “gifted and talented” – that I want to speak as we explore a little higher on the food chain.
A basic question with Jupiter is always about how we might have been underestimating ourselves. With it conjunct Neptune and in Pisces, we can focus that question a lot more tightly: how have you been underestimating yourself spiritually? We’ll get back to that charged question in a moment, but first, a quick reality check. The literature of every religion admonishes us all against the wiles of our own egos. An inflated ego is at the root of many sad stories, but perhaps the worst of them involve groundless pride infecting a person’s spiritual life. It stalls the individual's own evolution. Far worse, that person might actually mislead others, misdirecting their journeys with his or her false authority. In the Bible, we read, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Meanwhile, Buddhists have been very inventive in describing the hell-realms that await false teachers.
Charisma can be faked. Anyone with twenty dollars can go to a bookstore and buy the wisdom of the ages. There are those who would fool others spiritually for profit. There are those who would even fool themselves. They are often the same people. I’m sure everyone reading or hearing these words has met a few of them. We can see them as the embodiment of the dark synthesis of the worst of Neptune and worst of Jupiter. I suspect there will be a bumper crop of them in the news, not to mention opening yoga studios, churches, and meditation classes in 2022.
There is one charge of which such people are innocent. It is “underestimating themselves spiritually.” Obviously they are doing exactly the opposite.
All of those cautions needed to be said in order to clear the way to understanding the higher possibilities of the Jupiter-Neptune alignment this year. Just as overestimating ourselves spiritually separates us from the truth, so does underestimating ourselves. Humility is a lot more pleasant company than arrogance, of course, but both are distortions.
- What about seeing yourself spiritually as you actually are? What about understanding accurately and truthfully where you are on your evolutionary path?
- Now, the pivotal point and the true crux of the matter. What if the work you have already done on yourself has “worked?” What if you are further along than you imagine? Maybe it is time to notice that.
Somebody sits in a conventional conservative church in the backwoods of Mississippi singing hymns on a Sunday morning. That’s a spiritual practice and it should be respected as such. Someone else is fasting and meditating in a cave in the Himalayas. Again, that too is a spiritual practice. Take the yogi from the cave and sit her in that church, and she will be respectful – but she probably will not benefit very much from the sermon. Take the person from the church and put him in that Himalayan cave and probably you will only succeed in frightening him. Like the yogi in the church, he does not benefit.
At each level of spiritual evolution, there are effective practices that can help us advance. As we move to a new level, the old practices cease to be effective.
The Jupiter-Neptune conjunction signals the possibility that you are ready to move to a new level of practice. It is a call to spiritual graduation. Not everyone on the planet will have qualified. Evolution does not happen automatically. But once again, I strongly suspect that most of you reading and hearing all of this do qualify. You would not be drawn to this kind of astrology unless you were actively engaged in your own journey. And that is really all it takes.
We can’t talk long about Pisces or Neptune without bumping into the word compassion. We cannot explore Jupiter very deeply without encountering the idea of generosity. Pisces and Neptune sense the suffering of the world and they care about it. There is no barrier between Neptune and the rest of life. Jupiter is the “good king” – he genuinely wants his people to thrive and to be happy. Making a difference in other people’s lives gives Jupiter joy. These delightful qualities, as we will see, are a critical link in the logical chain of our understanding of the energies that define the higher possibilities of this year.
Compassionate engagement with others is the remedy for any ego-inflations that the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction might threaten. If we are momentarily more concerned with them than with ourselves, there’s no room in the mix for any of the exaggerated “me, me, me” that is always the fingerprint of egoism. When you are feeding a hungry child, you are probably not glancing in the mirror to make sure your hair is perfect. This year you will need a dose or two of that powerful medicine. That’s because the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction runs the risk of putting your poor ego on steroids. Just think about it – what we are saying is simply that you’ve moved to a higher level of consciousness. You’ve graduated. Your work has worked. That’s all true – but the statement is also powerful ego-adrenaline. Compassion is the only medicine strong enough to keep it in balance.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Rather than describing it didactically, let me just give you a few prophetic images. Think about what underlies them and you’ll see what happens when “not underestimating ourselves spiritually” makes a happy marriage with engaged compassion in the world.
- Someone who has always felt genuinely and sincerely sorry for refugees makes her first actual contribution to a relief fund.
- A student of yoga becomes a yoga teacher.
- A church-on-Sunday Christian begins a meditation practice and begins to radiate on that peaceful, accepting wavelength.
- A young man who has been reading astrology for years does his first reading for a friend. Which one of them benefits more?
- The monk in the Himalayan cave comes down to the village to teach.
- A New Yorker looks directly into the familiar beggar’s eyes for the first time.
One more simple, almost rhetorical point: couldn’t this beleaguered world use some of that kind of healing ju-ju at the moment? As ever with all things astrological, the celestial timing is perfect. We all need a fresh dose of faith and hope. And rather than looking to angels in heaven to provide it, let’s look for the angels inside ourselves. Many of us are more advanced than we think we are – and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we’ll have the confidence to be able to help heal this battered world.
Where do these two pulses of Jupiter-Neptune energy fall in your own chart? What do you have near the end of Pisces or in aspect to it? That’s where you can find the key to turn in the lock of the treasure house. For each one of us this year, certain bold and auspicious moves of spiritual self-affirmation are what trigger the breakthroughs.
In my upcoming webinar, we’ll look at the whole spectrum of possibilities this conjunction presents, including an investigation of its impact in each astrological house. If these words have resonated with you, perhaps you’ll join us.
Listen to the podcast version