The Jupiter/Neptune Square: “Religion Is The Opiate Of The Masses”

Opium poppies.

As the incoming square between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces continues to tighten up (perfecting for the first of three rounds on January 13, 2019), there certainly is merit in discussing the above quotation because this alignment very much affects spiritual matters…among other things. The sign of Sagittarius and the planet Jupiter are associated with organized religion; Pisces and Neptune spirituality as well as “substances” – you can see, then, how the above quote resonates with the energy of this astrological alignment.

In dissecting the above statement it’s important to state right out of the gate that it’s actually paraphrase of a longer quotation by philosopher Carl Marx; one that has been oversimplified and lacks context.   On its face, this would seem a rather critical statement about religion as a whole in comparing its effect to that of a drug.  Now this perspective can be true from the POV that belief – and specifically when we start getting into the territory of delusional belief – can cause us to suspend judgment and impair our critical thinking.  This may be true of religion, but it may also be true in the political arena as well (which is also and not coincidentally associated with Jupiter and Sagittarius); just look as the vast and apparently endless pitchers of toxic Kool-Aid being swilled in mainstream politics today.  *glares directly at Climate Change Deniers et al*  

In such cases we often surrender our (good) judgement and substitute it for someone else’s (a religious leader, a political pundit, etc.) because hey; that’s what true faith’s all about, right???  But what happens when the person to whom we’ve entrusted our faith has a cockeyed moral compass; isn’t that how cults become *a thing*???  When religion (or for that matter, politics) would dull our senses and have us have us turn a blind eye to things like moral incongruity, it is indeed A Problem; a huge one, much like an opiate addiction.  And this is most definitely something I expect to see a lot of in 2019 while Jupiter in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces dominates the astrological scene.

That said, the full statement by Marx via his “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” is as follows and it’s much richer than the oft-quoted soundbite:

“Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness”.

In reading the full context, one gains the impression that Marx is at least somewhat sympathetic to people’s attachment to religion.  He appears to look at it as a symptom; much in the same way an opiate temporarily relieves suffering but doesn’t make the underlying root cause of the pain suddenly vanish. He appears to view it as medication, but also emphasizes that in his view for people to be truly happy it’s important to ditch the crutch of religion.  Additionally is important to note that religion can also have the capacity become an instrument of oppression when it’s used to induce submission to an external authority; being comatose with dogma certainly makes people much easier to control when one’s intentions aren’t honorable.

Setting Marx aside for a moment, I do believe anything we use as a crutch only hobbles us from achieving our true authentic potential as human beings and there is merit to learning to stand on our feet without the aid of whatever that happens to be. That said, I’m not necessarily comfortable classifying religion as a crutch – this in my view amounts to painting with too broad a brush.  I feel that – with the context of a proper anchor/safe container – faith can play a major role in our soul’s development and do not wish to bash organized religion because there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to spirituality – Different Strokes for Different Folks; Live and Let Live & all of that jazz.   But as this square hits, there is most definitely is merit in looking critically at how our beliefs are or aren’t supporting us and certainly questioning them for the sake of ensuring they’re not doing us more harm than good.  The Neptune/Pisces influence distorts things, and when we apply this to Conservative, religious Jupiter/Sagittarius we have to be particularly careful regarding anything around which we might tend to be evangelical. While this is true more broadly as well, do understand as these two planets square off that religion and politics in particular can indeed be super potent drugs when we go overboard.

01/02/2019

Jupiter In Sagittarius Square Neptune In Pisces, Part 1

There’s a little sumthin’-sumthin’ I see coming on the astro-horizon in the not-too-distant future: Between the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, Jupiter will enter Sagittarius and head toward a square with Neptune in Pisces.  We’ve had the good fortune over the last year+ of having both planets in Water signs and supporting each other, but when Jupiter moves into its fiery home turf of Sagittarius this will put it at odds with aquatic Neptune in Pisces at points; specifically on January 13th 2019, June 16th 2019, and then a final time on September 21st 2019. The degree range affected is 14-19 degrees of the Mutable signs, so if you have planets or points around these areas of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, or Pisces, this is definitely something to pay attention to.  Both planets are very powerful being located in their respective home turfs, so this is something epic; a true large-scale astrological “production”.

To understand the effects of this square, first we must contrast and compare the energies of these celestial bodies: Jupiter in Sagittarius is uber (excessively?) honest; Neptune in Pisces is prone to (self?)deception.  Jupiter in Sagittarius = high-test optimism; Neptune in Pisces = pure idealism. Jupiter in Sagittarius can be super biased; Neptune in Pisces utterly non-judgmental.  Jupiter in Pisces tends toward orthodox religion; Neptune in Pisces has a much looser and free-form concept of spirituality.  Jupiter in Sagittarius inclines toward intemperance (If a little is good, more must be better, RIGHT????); Neptune in Pisces is apt to veer towards addictive tendencies.

When these two planets square off as they are about to in fairly short order, we need to be very, VERY careful of a few things; namely

1) Not to lie to ourselves or others REGARDLESS of whether or not it comes from a place of good intent.

2) Not to be so overly honest/candid that it’s actually self-defeating – perhaps showing all our hand at once demonstrates too much trust that should instead be EARNED, or maybe there’s no real benefit to be had from over-sharing and it causes more problems than anything else.

3) Not to live under some kind of massive delusion – when you take the idealism of Neptune in Pisces and inflate it with the boundless optimism of Jupiter in Sagittarius, there’s a tendency to seek out feel-good “warm & fuzzy” narratives that paint a better picture of Reality than is truly warranted.  We may fantasize excessively, or enjoy such wonderful dreams that we experience difficulty operating on the concrete level of “What Is”; the hazard being the bigger the bubble, the larger the “pop” as the USA found out in the Housing Bubble that peaked/burst circa 2006 and in the Higher Education Bubble that arguably reached critical mass around 2012 in the wake of the Great Recession (AKA the LAST times Jupiter squared Neptune).

4) Not to skew religious or political beliefs towards some kind of cult-like bias.  There can be a heavy inclination to drink vast amounts of moral or political “Kool-aid” under this energy; gulping it all down thirstily instead of using better judgment to see there is in fact something distorted in our perspective.   Be very aware of narratives pitting supposed “Truth” against supposed “Lies”; this is a huge theme of this energy.  And crucially, understand the difference between a personal Truth vs. a Universal Truth, because some will attempt to conflate the two in order to tilt views a certain way or spread mass confusion.

5) Not to overdo it on the “Love all, forgive all, help all” end of the spectrum.  Jupiter and Neptune both like to believe in people’s better natures and there may be an inclination to suspend judgment entirely in a way that creates greater opportunity to be victimized.  For example, letting a broke & newly sober addict-in-recovery crash in your home “just until they can get on their feet” and then wondering why all your jewelry suddenly goes missing.  This can indeed be a “No good deed goes unpunished” kind of vibe, so it’s important to recognize any inclination we may have to be overly forgiving, trusting, or loving before it gets out of hand and use better judgement.

6) Understand there will be moments of uncertainty when it comes to spirituality/matters of faith.  Both these energies have a strong connection to Divinity, but there may be some sort of dogma we’ve absorbed along the way that has actually been doing more harm than good for us.  Or perhaps we’re feeling disillusioned with a particular spiritual path and seeking greater understanding.  There’s the sense of a whole lot of questioning going on where we’re not so sure of the Divine Plan and feeling like the answers from Above are vague/unclear/subject to interpretation.

7) Addictions can get really out of hand under this energy. If it feels good and floods our brain with dopamine, we can have a very difficult time convincing ourselves that we’re doing something to excess. We may con ourselves into believing that it’s not impairing our motivation, functionality at work, or relationships; this square is super permissive and – more often than not – the default may be to give ourselves a “pass” instead of being super honest that sometimes it feels good to check out/“escape” from reality.  But again this energy tends to snowball; this square is intemperate by nature and it’s a slippery slope from something that just “feels good” to a full-blown addiction.

Now having said all of this, there are definitely positive ways to harness the square between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces; it just takes a little more work/awareness to steer ourselves away from the pitfalls, so it’s this angle I wanted to address FIRST!  The trick in working this square to maximum advantage and avoiding the above-mentioned drawbacks lies in the ongoing supportive relationship Neptune in Pisces will have to Saturn in Capricorn.  In a nutshell: GROUND.  Anchor.  Foundation. Reality is our friend; not a buzzkill.  Work within the parameters of What Is, *then* – and only  then! – may we indulge a vision of Things As We’d Wish Them To Be. Think: Augmented Reality; not a replacement for it.

09/08/2018