Fall 2002 (published 9/15/2002)

Jupiter Opposes Neptune 9/02 – 6/03: Will Wisdom Emerge from Experience?

by Karen Steen, Astrologer

     A Cherokee inspirational writer, Joyce Hifler, observes this: “Knowledge is evidence of the past – but wisdom is using it to see the future.”(1)  One of astrology’s most powerful tools is the use of historical correlation to recurring planetary cycles for insight into current events and future opportunities for individuals, businesses, and societies. Such a perspective facilitates living as a creative evolutionary journey, rather than an unwitting repetition of circumstances and events.

     Beginning in September 2002 and through June 2003, the planets Jupiter and Neptune are dancing slowly opposite each other in our distant sky. The orbits of these two planets bring them into opposing positions of celestial longitude every 12 - 13 years. With concurrent stabilizing aspects between Saturn/Uranus and Jupiter/Pluto, this opposition of Jupiter to Neptune indicates an opportunity for inspired, creative, progressive approaches to social issues that can lead to real and lasting progress for the common good. To the extent that self-serving, willful, or arrogant behaviors are pursued instead – in business, politics, and interpersonally - we can expect to be steadily undermined, even humiliated or defeated in the end.

     To glean a working perspective from astrology for the coming months, let’s consider the following:

  1. Basic astrological principles of Jupiter/Leo opposing Neptune/Aquarius (Tropical);
  2. Historic events of prior Jupiter/Neptune opposing Leo/Aquarius in 1836-37;
  3. Historic events of most recent Jupiter/Neptune opposition in Cancer/Capricorn 1989-90;  
  4. Events correlating to current Jupiter/Neptune opposition in Leo/Aquarius 2002-03.

I will also list developments I expect to see this coming year, and offer a quick reminder about our current place in formative astrological cycles. For a personal life perspective, correlate these same astrological processes and dates to your individual history and present circumstances; always, your birth chart shows the specific correlation of these transits for you.

     As we consider the following astrological and historical processes, keep in mind this keyword phrase for the current opposition of Jupiter in Leo and Neptune in Aquarius:

    To be an effective agent for our individual interests and highest goals now,
    we must integrate a compassionate appreciation for the interests of others
    and act upon established facts according to the common good.

If you think this sounds idealistic, it is.  It is also ultimately pragmatic. These are extraordinary times needing creative, inspired responses. The current opposition of Jupiter and Neptune calls for a sage idealism in words and deeds. Given the critical nature of current global issues, efforts short of or contrary to this are likely to be futile at best.

Jupiter in Leo opposing Neptune in Aquarius:
     In astrology, Jupiter correlates to expansion and integration of the larger world into the individual, social, and cultural fabrics through activities and institutions that embody the Jupiter principle – e.g. travel and foreign affairs, organized religion, legal codes and systems, higher education, persons in power, and banking. Leo is the creative social expression of self or individual identity, whether a person, business, society, or nation, and the means for doing so – e.g. one’s children, recreation, speculative investments, and public officials. Jupiter in Leo indicates expanding one’s social influence, recognition, and role specific to the area (‘house’) it is transiting in one’s chart.

     Neptune correlates to dissolving structures of all types to reveal underlying universal truth and source reality. Neptune is mystical and peak experiences, empathy and compassion, artistic inspiration, self-sacrifice for a higher cause, music composition and poetry, the koan, and oceans. Aquarius is the expression of the self or individuality as one of a larger group, society, or collective identity, and its means for doing so – e.g. radio, TV, and the Internet, civic organizations, legislation, humanitarianism. Neptune in Aquarius reveals the underlying source reality of group/collective concepts, progressive visions, and humanitarian endeavors through experiences of intuition, empathy, and understanding specific to the section (‘house’) it is transiting in one’s chart.

     More than correlating to events or material developments, Jupiter/Leo opposing Neptune/Aquarius indicates a quality of experience that allows for a broader working reality and expanded philosophy by individuals and groups. This expanded working reality and philosophy can then provide a new basis for practical decisions and policies. Such is the opportunity indicated by this opposition. To realize this opportunity, we must first endure the inherent ambiguity and avoid the potential excesses associated with a Jupiter/Neptune opposition.

     The nature of Neptune transits is such that we do not possess or have access to relevant facts on affected issues. The nature of Jupiter transits is expansion that is limited, directed, and given meaning primarily by the individual or social structure itself. While the current Jupiter/Neptune opposition indicates a real opportunity for expanded consciousness and social progress, we must take care to not act prematurely in a self-serving fog, or upon misinformation or outright deception, and to avoid excesses of all kinds.

     The range of possible behaviors and developments during Jupiter/Leo opposing Neptune/Aquarius include these:

Regressive correlations to Jupiter/Leo opposite Neptune/Aquarius:

  • Personal identification with expanded experience > arrogant/grandiose behaviors
  • Self-appointed spokesperson/representative/authority of group or ideology
  • Relinquish individual identity and responsibility to belong to group
  • Stubborn, willful, righteous in pursuing self-interests
  • Rush to quick, inadequate solutions
  • Foolhardy generosity that is exploited by others
  • Ill founded speculation, foolish idealism, unrealistic schemes
  • Blind hypocrisy or optimism
  • Inordinate risks with others’ resources/bankruptcy
  • Gross or mass misrepresentation of facts
  • Autocratic oppression/social reform that serves only limited self-interests
  • Poisoning of groups/masses with propaganda or chemicals.

Progressive correlations to Jupiter/Leo opposite Neptune/Aquarius:

  • Faith in a meaningful universe incorporates diverse people and cultures
  • Compassion felt for plight of individuals/groups
  • Insight into socioeconomic structures that perpetuate human oppression
  • Advocating for the welfare of the many
  • Creative problem solving in the interests of the common good
  • Long range goals, objectives, and programs established for the common good
  • Legal proceedings/government actions against those who exploit/deceive others
  • Religious, educational, political, legal institutions infused with higher order of spiritual/humanitarian principles
  • Sincere wish to protect humanity
  • Charitable/philanthropic/youth enterprises with a global mission
  • Social reforms for the distribution of justice and wealth
  • Humanitarian values become more central to governments and foreign policy.

Jupiter/Leo opposing Neptune/Aquarius 1836-37:
     Whereas Jupiter moves into position opposite Neptune every 12 – 13 years, their opposition in a specific sign polarity (Leo/Aquarius) recurs only every 166 – 168 years. To appreciate correlations to the current Jupiter/Neptune opposition, consider historic developments during their prior opposition in Leo/Aquarius during 1836–37.

     At that time, Great Britain was in the midst of a progressive period in both domestic and foreign policies.  In fact, the decade from 1830–40 is considered an Age of Reform in Britain’s history. During these years, basic workers rights were recognized for the first time, child labor laws were enacted, progressive social reforms were implemented domestically, and British diplomats advocated for these same reforms throughout Europe. Specifically during 1836-37, Britain moved to abolish slavery in its colonial possessions, recognized and protected newly independent South American countries, and granted Canada a representative government.

     Elsewhere throughout Europe, autocratic rulers responded with repressive policies to popular demands for civil reform. In subsequent decades, chronic civil unrest and revolts characterized most European societies other than Great Britain.

     Significant developments in America during 1836-37clearly indicated both regressive and progressive correlations to the Jupiter/Neptune opposition.  The issue of Black slavery dominated American politics, continuing to tear at the fabric of the country even beyond the American Civil War 30 years later. At that same time, the American Transcendentalist school of mystical/social doctrine took root when Ralph Waldo Emerson published his first essays in 1836.

Jupiter/Cancer opposing Neptune/Capricorn 1989-90:
In 1989-90, Saturn conjoined Neptune in mid-Capricorn, and Jupiter in Cancer came to oppose them together.  With the Jupiter/Neptune opposition qualified by Cancer/Capricorn and Saturn, our working perspective and philosophical base grew through expanded experiences of home, family, personal security and rights, and the worldwide dissolution of oppressive social structures and national governments. Momentous developments worldwide during 1989-90, both regressive and progressive correlations to Jupiter in Cancer opposing Neptune and Saturn in Capricorn, included these:

    Regressive correlations 1989-90 -

    • Massive pro-democracy demonstrations in China were crushed by the Chinese military (Beijing’s Tiananmen Square ’89), and martial law was implemented
    • Iraq, led by Sadam Hussein, invaded and formally declared annexation of Kuwait, sparking the Gulf War of 1991

    Progressive correlations 1989-90 -

    • Communist Party in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe peaceably  relinquished monopolies on power, leading to open elections and social reforms
    • Berlin Wall fell, and Germany was reunified after 30 years of enforced division
    • Antiapartheid leader Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years of imprisonment, and apartheid rule in South Africa was gradually dismantled
    • The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989; Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev received it in 1990
    • The first UN World Summit for Children was held
    • Earth Day was internationally established to draw awareness to global ecological issues
    • Jim Bakker, the American televangelist, was convicted of fraud and conspiracy and sent to prison.

What were the events and circumstances of your life in 1989-90? How did you express more of yourself, and integrate more of the world into yourself then? What lessons can you glean from that time to be a more effective agent for your highest goals now? Reflection on your approaches, behaviors, and resulting progress toward your life goals then, can provide you insight into how the Jupiter/Neptune opposition works in your life.

The Current Jupiter/Leo Opposing Neptune/Aquarius 2002-03:
     Recent developments evidencing both regressive and progressive correlations to the current Jupiter/Neptune opposition include the following:

    Regressive correlations 2002-03 –

    • President Bush’s (Leo rising) policies and proposed legislation as follows;
      • unilateral campaign for military invasion and forced regime change in Iraq
      • suspension of fundamental citizen rights in antiterrorism activities
      • creation of Homeland Security Department combining 22 federal departments, 170,000 federal employees, and wielding unprecedented personnel and budgetary powers
      • absence from the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

    Progressive correlations 2002-03 -

    • Recent World Summit on Sustainable Development focused world’s attention on global poverty and ecology
    • Increasing authority of the United Nations in global issues and relations, including World Summit on Sustainable Development, the UN Security Council, and regional ‘Human Development Reports’
    • Significant shifts in policies and political pressure against death-penalties in the US, Turkey, and Muslim nations
    • Internal reform of Palestinian Liberation Organization/high ranking PLO officials calling for end to all terrorist attacks on civilians
    • Newfound political commitment in Columbia to end drug wars and economic inequities of past 40 years
    • President Bush’s creation of Office of Global Communications for international public relations management of US foreign policies
    • Criminal proceedings against former US corporate executives for mismanagement, fraud, and insider trading, and against Catholic priests for child sexual abuse
    • Canonization of the first Indian Saint by Catholic Church/ceremony mixed Indian and European traditions
    • Development of the ‘Amber Alert’ system in response to child abductions in the US
    • First commercial moon mission approved by US Government
    • Increased presence of organized local citizen groups with global coordination for world peace and healing activities.

Forecast of Developments 2002-
     Developments consistent with this Jupiter/Neptune opposition that I expect to see in the coming year include these:

  • Increased public awareness and discussion of global water resources and rights, and civil rights/liberties in the US
  • Innovative policies and technologies regarding marine life, oceans, and seafaring industries
  • Reform of pharmaceutical industry regarding proprietary drug rights
  • Youth volunteer groups in developing countries that recognize humanitarian/ecological issues as key to global peace and welfare
  • New art forms and entertainment that integrate technological, humanitarian, and metaphysical concepts/themes
  • Advances in regulation of biotechnology, particularly cloning
  • Paradigm shift for social and group problem solving from independent to collaborative approaches
  • Iceland recognized for its innovative national transportation system based on hydrogen fuel cells
  • Political and economic support from developed nations for democratizing Arab countries
  • Increased demonstrations by people in developing nations for distributive justice and wealth
  • New emphasis in primary education on tolerance of diversity, humanitarian principles, and global issues
  • Prison reform in US that creates programs for community contribution and service.


     From 9/2002 – 6/2003, Jupiter’s orbital position in Leo opposes Neptune’s in Aquarius (Tropical).  Historically, this recurring opposition correlates to decidedly progressive and regressive sociopolitical developments worldwide. Astrologically, the Jupiter/Neptune opposition is an opportunity to expand our personal and social paradigms to provide a broader philosophy and behavioral repertoire for problem solving and social policies. From such an expanded paradigm, we can generate a coherent, realistic vision for our individual and collective future and effective approaches to current critical issues.

     This is the opportunity indicated by this Jupiter/Neptune opposition. To realize the opportunity, we must slow down, appreciate the full range of our feelings, stick with the facts as are available to us, and acknowledge our shared destiny with others. And we must call upon our community and national leaders to do the same. Only from an expanded paradigm can we effectively address current local and global issues that will otherwise accelerate in destructive consequences. 

     As we proceed inevitably toward the Cardinal Climax of 2008-15 (2), our responses and decisions now as individuals and societies are our collective future in the making.

Copyright 2002, Karen Steen. All rights reserved.

1) Hifler, Joyce Sequichie. A Cherokee Feast of Days - Volume II. Council Oak Books, Tulsa OK 1996, p.234.

2)   Cardinal Climax describes the critical T-square pattern that will occur from 2008-15 between Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto. The nature of this planetary pattern, coinciding with Pluto’s travel through Capricorn (2008-24), is that of a fundamental shift in world socioeconomic and political order. The last time this planetary pattern occurred was in 1930-33, the years of the Great Depression and sociopolitical antecedents to WW II. My Summer 2003 Astro Info article will address the global significance of this developing pattern.

About the Astrologer…
Karen Steen is a full-time consulting and teaching astrologer at Water Bearer Astrology & Consulting, Bellingham, WA.  She has practiced astrology since 1984, professionally since 1999.
Karen is NCGR Level II Certified (Astrology), and holds a Master of Nursing in Primary Care from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Louisiana State University. Information about Karen's astrology practice and services is available at her web site

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