5. Planetary Cycles and Relationships - Historical Ephemeris

The Historical Ephemeris

600 BCE - CE 2200

Astrological Cycles in History

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5. Planetary Cycles and Relationships



Historical Ephemeris
Astrological groundrules 5:
Planetary Relationships

No planet, nor its vibrational frequency, exists and works in isolation. Planetary energies have a multiplicity of ways of interconnecting, creating completenesses of time-quality and energy-atmosphere which are ever-changing, never exactly repeated. This creates an onwardly-modulating subtle environment of energy-weather which underlies any historical situation or period.

In this ephemeris we are primarily focusing on the historical influences of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto because their cycles of orbit and interrelationship are sufficiently long to be of great relevance in understanding longterm cycles. We keep an eye on Chiron, Saturn and Jupiter as qualifiers, since each of these, if acting in consort with the three outermost planets, bring out energy-bursts and modifications which are worthy of note. They can throw light on ways in which deeper energies work themselves through into manifest social, political and cultural situations.

Yet, in a wide-sweep view of world history spanning millennia, it is the slowest cycles which are most important. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto take care of the centuries, and Chiron, Saturn and Jupiter take care of the decades – while the inner planets take care of the years, months and weeks, and the Moon handles the days and hours. There are no doubt much longer cycles too, spanning millennia, which the compiler of this work has not studied sufficiently to pronounce on!

The planets each have a cycle of relationship with each other, with different durations and qualities. The timespan between successive conjunctions of the outer planets – their synodic cycles are shown in the following table.






















Each of the planets except for Chiron and Pluto orbit the Sun on reasonably regular paths. Chiron and Pluto have eccentric orbits, moving significantly closer, then further away from the Sun, and therefore accelerating and decelerating in apparent motion at different stages of their orbits and journeys round the zodiac. This leads to peculiar orbital and cyclic patterns, reflected in the figures above for these two planets. An added complication to this is that Chiron's longterm orbital data are still not fully and definitely known.

Orbital patterns

Worthy of note are the following patterns:

* Successive Uranus-Neptune conjunctions occur approximately two per sign – that is, they creep forwards in the zodiac by just half of a sign each conjunction. Thus, for example, the Uranus-Neptune conjunctions of 1821 and 1993 took place in early and later Capricorn, while the next in 2165 will take place in early Aquarius.

The oppositions of these two planets follow a similar pattern: when opposing Neptune, Uranus will stand in the sign where the conjunction had been, while Neptune will have travelled to the opposite sign – that is, in one cycle, Neptune goes through one cycle of the zodiac while Neptune passes through two.

* Uranus-Pluto conjunctions have an interesting pattern, in that they alternatingly take place 111, then 143 years apart. Uranus' cycle is one third that of Pluto's, though Pluto's eccentric and Uranus' consistent orbit create a regularly-irregular pattern of cycles. During the shorter 111-year cycle, Pluto is moving slowly, while during the longer it is moving quickly (that is, it takes longer for Uranus to catch it up).

Additionally, successive conjunctions take place in signs of the same element (for example, in Aquarius, then Gemini, then Aquarius again). These conjunction points creep gradually through the zodiac, leading to longer periods where conjunction-patterns shift element. Currently they are in the earth element.

* Neptune-Pluto cycles are also synchonised, a Neptune cycle being about two-thirds of a Pluto cycle (and about twice the length of a Uranus cycle – that these cycles, and those of the inner planets too, have an organic cyclic relationship is one of the beauties of our solar system).

Successive Neptune-Pluto conjunctions take place in the same sign, with a small creep of a few degrees each cycle, over the millennia. The conjunctions last changed sign in the 1380s, when they moved from Taurus to Gemini. Oppositions occur when Pluto is in roughly the same position as it was at the conjunction, while Neptune is opposite.

In a cycle of aspects between them, Neptune goes three times around the zodiac and Pluto twice. Pluto's eccentricity also creates protracted periods where there is either a waxing sextile or a waning trine aspect which can last for many decades.

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto

The three outermost planets have cycles of relationship which each have their own context, flavour and implications for the world:

Neptune-Pluto cycles (495ish years) seem to provide an underlying driving force behind history, bringing together the change-inducing ram-force of Pluto with the imaginal, belief-oriented influence of Neptune. This affects not only the rolling of events and trends but also the way the humans perceive their reality and position in history – and the combination of these two major factors has a large conditioning power on the reality-changes humanity creates and evolves through – by both conscious and unconscious process. This affects humanity's unconscious sense of historic purpose, as it shows itself at different times – as always, a combination of manifest reality and ways of seeing things. These cycles delineate history into approximately 500-year cycles, which can be regarded as basic chapters of human culture and civilisation, in which different themes and progressions are explored in different historical contexts.

Uranus-Neptune cycles (170ish years) represent a contextual-shifting force, in which the underlying attitudinal feeling and perspective with which people experience their lives shifts surreptitiously and, at times, in sudden jumps or slides. This cycle affects the illusions and truths of any time and generation – and thus how they impact on history through their beliefs and the externalisation of the deeper human psyche in public and cultural affairs. The way people understand themselves and reality (Neptune), and the jiggling, sparking, shaking influence of Uranus combine here to lead people on an adventure – or if we so choose, a nightmare – of consciousness, culture, creativity and vision-led initiative.

Uranus-Pluto cycles (111ish or 142ish years, alternating) act in an action-stimulating, pushing-and-pulling way, which causes course-swings, spontaneous innovations and mutations to occur as the centuries roll on. Uranus introduces new elements into the unfolding equation, and Pluto rolls them out – or, alternatively, the relentless power of change bears down on humanity to shift its direction and the bundles of issues it works through. Critical aspects in this cycle can bring breakthroughs, outbursts and tidal-waves of change. Phases of resistance to change, or of going against what is most deeply called for, is also seen in this cycle.

Uranus-Neptune-Pluto metacycles (lasting approximately 3,940 years) represent an overlying patterning of collective human experience on a very longterm basis. The last mutual conjunction of these three planets was in 578-575 BCE – in a very close succession of just a few years. Around this time the world reached a crucial junction point – some of history's greatest teachers were alive around then.

Other Interplanetary Cycles

Chiron-Pluto (56-70 years): power-conflicts, background forces influencing history, revelations of cover-ups or collapse of collective untruths, leadership changes, exceptionally compromising crises and conflicts of interest, knotty and wrought situations, blood on hands, eruptions of truth, tough and nightmarish situations as a potential point of major resolution.

Chiron-Neptune (57-80 years): at times enlightenment, relief and vision, at other times collective commission, befuddlement or unclarity. Wisdom teachers, shifts in values, emergent perennial truths, inspiring situations, r alternatively, outbreaks of chaos and uncertainty, reshuffling, reality-inversions, deflation, disempowerment. Times of thaws, healing and reconciliation after polarisation and deadlock.

Chiron-Uranus (103-145 years): outbreaks of genius and inspired initiative, miraculous or unforeseen solutions or turns of events. Shock events or acute, knife-edge situations, piercing insights; radical innovations, reversals or bombshells, usually leading out of times in which situations have become locked up and immovable.

Saturn-Pluto (31-38 years): hard, cold truths emerging, eruption of social poisons, wringing out of fundamentals. Final-analysis situations, crunches or unavoidable failures. Showdowns, seizures, stalling, clashes, war, wrenches. Hard-heartedness and misunderstanding – yet leading to bottom-line truths which are necessary.

Saturn-Neptune (35-37 years): leakages, breakdowns, betrayals, wool pulled away from the public's eyes, clearing of the way. Clean slate, unclarities, derailment, slippage. Can also accentuate ideals as pragmatic solutions. Erosion of knowns, normalities and boundaries, forgetting of traditions.

Saturn-Uranus (44-46 years): cutting away from the past, the big divide. Acutely pointed situations, or thresholds crossed. Future-shock, rules changing or broken, changing tracks, new ballgames. Requires rising to the situation and appropriate responses – otherwise heads roll.

Saturn-Chiron (64-165 years): spanners in the works, immediate problems necessitating fundamental, longterm commitments, checkmate, getting to grips, facing paradoxes, overcoming deadlocks. Can be victims of circumstance who embody the lesson for humanity. The catalysing of future change.

Jupiter-Pluto (12-14 years): forward rushes and steps taken, over the top, thrust, overcoming resistance or inertia, rampant progress, breakout, invasion, overwhelm, breaching taboos.

Jupiter-Neptune (12-13 years): leaps of faith, pilgrimage and quest, pursuance of beliefs. Idealistic phases, times of forgiveness, healing and release. Religiosity, paranormal occurrences, high-mindedness. Confusion leading to changes of awareness.

Jupiter-Uranus (13-14 years): taking risky chances, changes of strategy, forward leaps. Mutation, emigration, innovation, youthful expression or agitation. Activation, kick-starts, acceleration, breaking rules.

Jupiter-Chiron (13-20 years): acts of service or sacrifice, resolution and reconciliation, taking counsel, facilitation of change, maverick personalities, miracles, bridging gulfs, aid, medicine.

Jupiter-Saturn (20 years): business, institutions, treaties, constitutions. Executive decisions, management and administration of society, building, investment, social norms. The creation and maintenance of systems.

By studying the information given in the Historical Ephemeris, and by pondering the meaning and context of any historical events you give attention to, a much clearer picture emerges of the interrelationships of planets and the qualities of energy they seem to embody – qualities which, in the end, are beyond words, yet distinct. In the next section, we shall look at configurations – the times when three or more planets form into a series of interlocking aspects, forming triangles and various shapes.

NEXT: Configurations and Phenomena
BACK: The Cycle of Aspects

The Historical Ephemeris
by Palden Jenkins
Astro-historical tables for 2,500 years
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