Spiritual Transformation in the 1990s:
First let me state for the record, that I am not a professional astrologer, nor have I ever been one. But I've more than dabbled in Vedic Astrology for a number of years and can work my way around a chart to some degree. Thus, the contents of this essay may not represent the deepest of astrological knowledge or insight, and it does not exhaustively cover the astrological events described below. However, in my opinion, certain synchronicities have occurred in the past decade of the past century that warrant at least a few comments, from a spiritual perspective.
Around 1996, while surfing the Spirituality folders of AOL, I came upon a posting that said, " ...said he just became realized. There's a lot of that going around lately". The cynicism in the content of the post made it sound like some awful disease was going around, but it essential message was that there were significant numbers of individuals who were having breakthroughs in the mid 1990s (call them realizations, awakenings, openings, satoris, whatever). And that was only a part of the story.
In the 1990s we saw the emergence of a new class of spiritual teacher: westerners. Certainly this was not new, as there were many western teachers throughout the decades, but it didn't take more than ordinary perception to notice a huge new wave of teachers with first names like Mike, Dave, Toni, Andy, John, Susan, etc., and this occurred in both traditional and non-traditional settings. One positive outcome (in addition to being able to pronounce their name!) was the cultural similarity, which I believe aided their effectiveness.
Thus, in my opinion, the 1990s played as a backdrop to what appears to be a fairly radical breakthrough in consciousness on a personal and collective level, which can be summed up as the following: spiritually speaking, the baby boomers finally got a clue! So what could be some contributing causes for this?
Certainly one attribution is that the forces that led westerners to seek the truth in the late sixties and early seventies (of which I am one of many) resulted in many an individual taking up spiritual practice under the guidance of eastern teachers of Hindu, Buddhist, and Sufi persuasions, etc. And from the basis of that practice and association with realizers and spiritually advanced souls, several decades later, the 1990s saw the fruition of that work in the passing of the "Torch of Certainty" from one generation to the next, one culture to another. To add to the radical change, the 1990s saw the westernization of what was once the exclusive domain of eastern esotericism, a large part due to the graduation of many into the role of western spiritual teacher.
But for the remainder of this essay I would like to address the reasons why there seemed to be a significant number of radical and sudden breakthroughs, as well as the emergence of westernization of spiritual dharma from an astrological perspective.
The last few decades saw two significant conjunctions of the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. In the late 1960s, we saw how the conjunction of Pluto and Uranus cause a worldwide eruption, a dramatic shift and upheaval of large collective forces arriving at the surface of consciousness, and creating dramatic changes in many areas of opinions, structure, endeavors, beliefs, organization, politics, spirituality and so on. Many of the changes have had lasting effects up to the present (despite the ill wishes of many conservatives for the 60s). Though the outer planet are traditionally viewed as planets representing group, generational or mass karma, they do have implications on an individual level, in the deep psyche.
On February 15, 1993, Uranus and Neptune completed their conjunction, meaning that from the perspective of planet Earth, Uranus and Neptune in the sky were sitting right on top of each other (all the planets in our solar system except for Pluto revolve around the sun on a single plane, more or less). The Uranus-Neptune conjunction takes place once every 171 years and the last few conjunctions were in 1136, 1307, 1479, 1650, and 1821. What makes this conjunction different than the rest is that the majority of humankind has knowledge regarding the existence of both planets (Neptune was discovered in 1846).
But let's take a moment to meet our players:
Uranus symbolizes the forces that manifest as sudden shifts in consciousness, revolutionary changes, flashes of insight, bursts of new ideas. Uranus also represents independent, deconstructive, rebellious "tear down the walls" impulses of the psyche. The quality of sudden changes towards instability or destruction of current structures is a classic Uranian feature. It takes what is subliminal and bursts it into conscious awareness, and at its best, it represents a liberating force. Being the next planet after Saturn in our Solar System, it couldn't be any more different than the qualities of Saturn. Uranus is also associated with computers, which will draw obvious conclusions regarding significant advances in computers during the 90s.
Neptune, god of the deep sea, is most associated with the 'hidden', which translates into a connection to mysticism, mystery, oneness, spiritual development, inspiration. It also has associations with the urge to lose oneself in another state of consciousness, and at its worst, it can represent escapism, dreaminess, ungrounded and imbalanced idealism, unrealistic fantasies, being confused or 'spaced out'. Alternatively, Neptune represents deeper sensitivity to hidden energies and forces.
The Sign of Capricorn
The Uranus-Neptune conjunction occurred in the sign of Capricorn (Latin for 'horned goat') an earth sign, ruled by both Uranus and Saturn. Capricorn is associated with hard work, grounded practicality, seriousness, traditionalism, stability, responsibility, self-discipline, cautious, perseverance, etc. – many of these qualities also associated with its ruler, Saturn. On the dark side, it represents impatience, egotism, stubbornness, status-seeking, an appetite for power, unsympathetic and dictatorial tendencies, etc. It is also associated with the 'sea goat', a mythical figure of dual nature that represents the evolution of consciousness from the sea to embodiment on earth.
Analysis of the Conjunction
The Uranus-Neptune combination is associated,
both in history and in personal biographies, with periods in which the
archetypal--the mythic, the spiritual, the transcendent, the imaginal,
the numinous--is suddenly awakened and liberated in new ways into
human consciousness. We see this all around us now: the tremendous
upswelling of interest today in an astonishing multiplicity of spiritual
paths and traditions, in esoteric disciplines, in the transpersonal
movement, in meditation and mystical religious traditions, in Jungian
and archetypal psychology, in mythology and ancient religions, in
shamanism and indigenous traditions, in the recovery of Goddess s
pirituality and the feminine dimension of the divine, in ecofeminist
spirituality, in psychedelic self-exploration and new forms of experiential
psychotherapy that effect profound changes of consciousness, in the
emergence of holistic and participatory paradigms in virtually every
field, in the unprecedented convergence of science and
A quick overview of the characters in question, above, indicates the potential for powerful changes in the area of spirituality. In contrast to a Uranus-Pluto conjunction, characterized by Uranian suddenness and rebellious with Plutonian need to act upon transformations (and thus creating worldwide political eruptions and chaos in the late 60s), the Uranus-Neptune conjunction is more ethereal than a 60s student rebellion. However many astrologers ascribe the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the late 80s, the end of the Cold War and the Promethian ideal of democracy (i.e. Tiananmen Square) as a having astrological roots in the early stages of the conjunction. And historically, the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune has been a time of the transformation of religions (1136, 1307, 1479, 1650, and 1821 A.D.).
One obvious synchronicity with the Uranus-Neptune conjunction is the explosion of the internet and World Wide Web. In my research for information on the Web, I found numerous articles that tried to predict the real-world results of the conjunction, and only a few were in the ballpark (Uranian connection with computers), but no one hit it dead on (though in all fairness, astrology is not about the capacity to foresee the exact content of new formations in the future). It is quite obvious how much the World Wide Web has impacted the lives of those in the industrialized nations, and as we go forward, it is making great inroads into third world countries.
By the nature of all of the three above characters (plus the ruler of Capricorn, Saturn), the Uranus-Neptune conjunction would indicate that spiritual breakthroughs would occur on both an individual and collective basis that would have real-world and not idealistic implications. The mysticism of Neptune is balanced by the stability and practicality of Capricorn and the grounded, balanced quality of its ruler, Saturn. What this means is that walls have been broken down, but it did not lead to crippling chaos, rather accelerated growth. Another important aspect is that there was the dissolving and deconstruction of rigid structures in the spiritual arena on individual, collective and organizational levels. For instance, the late 80s and the 90s saw the introduction of both male and female lamas in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, as well as a large group of teachers that have been part of the Ramana Maharsji-Poonjaji 'diaspora', Andrew Cohen and Gangaji being the most famous. With a surge of western born individuals assuming teaching roles in what was once primarily the domain of middle and far eastern religions, it can be safely said that many spiritual schools and religions of various levels of esotericism have not only spread but established themselves globally.
And underscoring the fruition of what was sent into motion decades ago, many individuals have reported significant breakthroughs in the mid 90s, which may be categorized as satoris, realizations, awakenings, etc. The deep forces set into motion by the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune has strong associations with this new paradigm, and certainly provide cause to speak of a certain 'synchronicity'.
However, there is also a dark side to the story – as highlighted by the Waco tragedy, the mid 90s saw an significant increase in fundamentalist religious cults, white supremacy and patriot movement groups in America. However, it has been reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which follows and investigates the activities of these groups, the late 90s have seen significant decreases in number of these organizations.
Primarily, taken alone, the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune
signifies sweeping political, religious and sociological reform
through individual applications (Uranus) to collective mores (Neptune).
In Capricorn it reflects that the primary area of reform will be in
governmental structures and science. Physics will become
metaphysics and governmental structures will begin to dissolve
because the belief in hierarchies and Saturnine perspectives is dissolving.
Uranus's New Home: Aquarius
When Uranus is in Aquarius, people are interested in radical departures
from traditions and patterns, and their capacity for experimentation and
innovation is fiercely insistent and adventurous. This is perhaps one of
the most highly charged energy combinations available when it comes
to innovation, inspiration, and ingenuity. Bizarre and extremely "unexpected"
changes come into being with an abruptness and intensity that is literally startling.
Equally as important as the Uranus-Neptune conjunction, if not more so, in late 1995, Uranus moved into the Sign of Aquarius, and this, in my opinion, unleash a spiritual dynamic that called for rapid and radical shifts in consciousness, resulting in transformation and realization on a global level. Any hemming in that occurred with Uranus being in the sign of Capricorn, ruled by Saturn, was unleashed when it moved into Aquarius. Capricorn is an earth sign, whereas Aquarius is an air sign, and one can say that any structures that were earthbound were unleashed into the sky with the Uranian movement into Aquarius. Certainly from events in my own life, 1995-1996 period was a time of significant and surprising shifts in consciousness, and this has been reported by many others.
Additionally, the movement to Aquarius by Uranus signifies a release from whatever confines that spiritual traditions may have held on individuals. With the movements of Uranus and Neptune, collectively people were fed by the spiritual traditions, but the movement into Aquarius completes the transcendence of any limitations that the traditions may have held. On a personal level, the movement into Aquarius represents a breakdown of limiting concepts based upon old paradigms - people suddenly realized that they were free, as conceptual fetters were snapped. This would be especially true for individuals with a well-placed Uranus in their birth charts. Additionally in the 90s we see a large number of non-sectarian teachers delivering dharma that once the exclusive domain of eastern spiritual schools - just go to your local spiritual bookstore or center, and you will find someone coming through on a book or seminar tour!
However, the last time Uranus was in Aquarius was in 1912-1920, in which the world stage was dominated by World War I. On the other hand, during this period, our understanding of the universe deepened with breakthroughs in the realm of physics with the likes of Neils Bohr and Albert Einstein. Though exclusively in the realm of science, the theories expounded by these individuals were so startlingly advanced that they began to spill over into the realm of metaphysics, and have certain correlations with non-dual Hindu, Buddhist and Sufi teachings.
I'm a firm believer in the Hundredth Monkey Theory, and believe that that extraordinary transformative events of the 1990s (which includes the expanded capacity for electronically based communication which makes this page possible) offer a groundbreaking initiation into a new and expanded consciousness that can only serve to benefit mankind on its evolutionary journey. I wouldn't go so far as to say that a Golden Age has been ushered in by any stretch of the imagination, but that as larger numbers of individuals grow into spiritual maturity through quantum leaps in consciousness (and eventually stabilize in that awareness), it will serve as an empowered sphere in order to aid others in their process, to provide a quickening that feeds upon itself in greater numbers. And since our mind streams are so tightly interwoven, spiritual transformation of any number of individuals will help ease the burden of those not so fortunate or spiritually aware.
The enhanced capacity of individuals to make connections via the World Wide Web is a macrocosmic metaphor of greater connection made by neurons in the brain. This can only serve to expand our views in many ways, to promote healthy exchange and create new forms of physical and virtual community that is so desperately needed in this often brutal, isolating and difficult world.
The following sites explore the Uranus-Neptune conjunction or Uranus in Aquarius in detail.