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Skyscript Astrology Forum

Neptune's rulership of Pisces: the early historical record

 
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Philip Graves



Joined: 07 Jan 2005
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Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:54 pm    Post subject: Neptune's rulership of Pisces: the early historical record Reply with quote

Previously at Skyscript there was extensive research and discussion posted by Deb, Kim, Tom and others into the early sources for the according of Uranus its domicile in Aquarius. But when I looked through the relevant thread in the archives, I could not find satisfactory documentation of the equivalent history for Neptune.

Within the past 24 hours, I have investigated this from late 19th century sources. The vast majority had nothing to say about Neptune in connection with dignities, but of those that did, a clear pattern had emerged by 1894.

I have posted my article to this external website and hope no-one objects to the link. If anyone can add to this documentation with further relevant sources not later than 1894, I'd be most grateful.

http://www.astrolearn.com/astrology/articles/neptune

Thsnks for your interest,

Philip
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waybread



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Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really interesting, Phillip!

Since so much early modern astrology came from the theosophists, they seem like the place to look. I didn't find an earlier Neptune-Pisces connection, but the following might be of interest:

http://www.katinkahesselink.net/blavatsky/articles/v12/y1890_032.htm

Alan Leo, How to Judge a Nativity (1903) is past your cut-off date, but he asserts that no signs have been assigned to either Uranus or Neptune (pp. 26-27.)

These suggest that the definite assignment of Neptune to Pisces took some time to solidify. Leo, however, uses some similar language to describe Neptune and Pisces, so the relationship was probably bubbling around before the question was settled. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn assigned the 12th tarot card (The Hanged Man) to Neptune, probably around this time; so there might have been some association with the 12th sign; although the moon card still symbolized Pisces.

Sorry this won't be of more help to you.

Please post your further findings!
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Philip Graves



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Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Waybread, thank you for doing your own research. Theosophical publications outside the dedicated astrology world are exactly the kind of place that I was thinking it might be worth looking for other early references. I basically only have astrological publications plus a very small number of more general occult journals, but nothing specifically theosophical other than late printings of Blavatsky's main books, which doesn't get one far.

I found another reference since posting my article, within the pages of The Astrologer's Magazine, to the effect that 'Several of Our Friends think Neptune rules Pisces'. This was obviously after the correspondence published in 'The Astrologer', which predated the foundation of 'The Astrologer's Magazine', but ties in neatly with Nemo's comments in 'The Future' that Neptune has been suggested as ruler of Pisces. It seems that in the background to these printed magazines there was a somewhat thriving circle of correspondence and meetings between astrologers and that the idea that Neptune ruled Pisces was current among multiple astrologers before it was formally acknowledged as fact by the editors of the astrological journals. The idea existed as a seed, as a buzz, in other words, but was not yet regarded as confirmed by the more cautious astrological journal editors.
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Ben



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Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Great article and sourcing, Philip!

I wanted to make a little correction to something that Waybread said: the Golden Dawn did not attribute the Hanged Man to Neptune, but to the element of Water, as did Crowley in The Book of Thoth. I don't have the Crowley-Adams book on astrology, but it is possible that he might have entertained this idea there (if he made much mention of Tarot there at all, I can't remember). Nor did the GD make a correspondence between the numbering of the Major Arcana and the number of the signs.

But the early membership of the GD and the Theosophical Society overlapped, and so I can imagine that someone magically inclined, who was also a Theosophist, might have entertained an association between the Hanged Man and Neptune. But the GD did not do so in their teachings.

Ben
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Ben



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Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, if memory serves, Kenneth Miller (who specializes in Jyotish) was doing his master's paper at Kepler on how the outer planets got their rulerships--it might be worth checking with him on this to see what he uncovered.
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben wrote:
Quote:
I wanted to make a little correction to something that Waybread said: the Golden Dawn did not attribute the Hanged Man to Neptune, but to the element of Water, as did Crowley in The Book of Thoth. I don't have the Crowley-Adams book on astrology, but it is possible that he might have entertained this idea there (if he made much mention of Tarot there at all, I can't remember). Nor did the GD make a correspondence between the numbering of the Major Arcana and the number of the signs.


Yes I thought the original attribution of the Hanged Man was to the element of water. More generally, I have been wondering exactly when the astrological associations of the Tarot were first set down by the GD? You see this referenced in book after about about the Tarot but I never see the actual source for these ideas. I had a look at The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A. E. Waite (1911) but I couldn't find any specific astrological associations:

http://www.hermetics.org/pdf/Waite_Tarot.pdf

I am aware of later writings by Crowley and Paul Foster-Case but were there any other publications by the GD that set out the astrological associations of both the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana? The obvious candidate is MacGregor Mathers but I haven't read any of his works. Does anyone know if he was the first source to put these attributions in writing?

Regarding the decans and Tarot this topic is currently being discussed on another thread.

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?p=93081#93081

Getting back to the focus of Philip's excellent thread I am not convinced the consensus was reached that Neptune ruled Pisces for many decades.
The ambiguous views of Leo and Sepharial have already been cited.

Moreover, many astrologers sought to include these planets as domicile and new exaltation rulers.

The early 20th century Scottish astrologer Maurice Weymss espoused his theory attributing dignities to the outer planets. He set his ideas out in a series of booklets entitled Wheel of Life over several decades. A summary of Weymss proposed dignity system for the outer planets is found below in a work by Alan Leo:

Quote:
'
Quote:
'The researches of Maurice Weymss indicate that there is little doubt that it (ie Pluto) is part ruler of Virgo and reflects the ''influence'' of that sign ( though some writers regard it as ruler of Scorpio and others as ruler of Aries). The view is also now gaining ground that Uranus is exalted in Aquarius, but ruler of Scorpio; and that Neptune is exalted in Pisces, but ruler of Libra in accordance with the sign rulership system of Maurice Weymss''. Editors note to Alan Leo’s Key to Your Own Nativity (6th edition 1947)


Regarding Aleister Crowley his ideas on outer planet rulerships can be found in a publication entitled The General Principles of Astrology by Aleister Crowley and Evangeline Adams, edited by Hymenaeus Beta, published 2002.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/General-Principles-Astrology-Liber-DXXXVI/dp/0877289085

A later court ruling determined that Aleister Crowley was the ghost writer for much of Evangeline Adams' popular texts Astrology Your Place in The Sun (1927) and Astrology, Your Place among the Stars (1930). He didn't write either one in its entirety, but a substantial amount of what he did write found its way into those books.

The book contains a new dignity system which was almost certainly devised by Crowley.

In Crowley's, scheme the traditional domicile rulerships are retained. However, there are changes to the exaltation rulers. In his scheme the outer planets assume the status of what he calls 'Superior Governor' for each quadriplicity (mode). Hence Uranus is Superior Governor of the fixed signs. Leo is made the exaltation ruler for Uranus.

Neptune is the ''Superior Governor'' for the mutable signs. Neptune is the exaltation ruler of Aquarius.

Pluto is the ''Superior Governor'' of the Cardinal signs. It is also the exaltation ruler of Scorpio.

Crowleys logic for this new ''Superior Governor'' dignity seems to be the idea that since the elements have triplicity rulers the qualities (cardinal, fixed, mutable) should have rulers, too and he gave those to the outer planets.

Its interesting that even into the late 1920's there was clearly no uniformity in how people viewed the outer planets place in a rulership scheme.

Mark
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margherita



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Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
The obvious candidate is MacGregor Mathers but I haven't read any of his works. Does anyone know if he was the first source to put these attributions in writing?


No idea Sad
Not in MacGregor Mathers I guess

http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot/mathers/index.htm

margherita
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Margherita wrote:

Quote:
No idea Sad
Not in MacGregor Mathers I guess

http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot/mathers/index.htm

margherita


Thanks. I think that was his only work exclusively devoted to Tarot. Quite a mystery then. I am really intrigued by this issue but its not fair to take up more space on Philip's thread on this so I have opened a new thread to explore this topic:

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8589

Thanks

Mark
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waybread



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Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The frequent association of the Hanged Man today with Neptune is pretty clear from a simple google search, such as http://www.tarotwikipedia.com/tarot-card-meanings/major-arcana/hanged-man-tarot-card-meanings/ ; but obviously the tarot cards were in use before the discovery of Neptune, so it would have had other, earlier associations.

Re: XII and the Golden Dawn: http://www.tarotpassages.com/old_moonstruck/oneill/12.htm seems helpful. And this may be the source of the Neptune association-- the planet's supposed capacity for self-sacrifice in its efforts to merge with the divine. If not the date or the originator!

There's a Pisces loop in here somewhere, with the inverted crucifixion symbolism and cross-forming legs. Jesus: the god of the Age of Pisces, who walked on water, multiplied loaves and fishes, and befriended fishermen. (Then got re-absorbed into Aries symbolism as the lamb triumphant, with the adoption of the tropical zodiac.)
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Waybread wrote:
Quote:
The frequent association of the Hanged Man today with Neptune is pretty clear from a simple google search, such as http://www.tarotwikipedia.com/tarot-card-meanings/major-arcana/hanged-man-tarot-card-meanings/ ;

but obviously the tarot cards were in use before the discovery of Neptune, so it would have had other, earlier associations.


I suspect this Neptune association to the Hanged Man is rather a red herring regarding this thread. The astrology seems likely to have preceded this later tarot association, not vice versa.

On the thread I recently opened Michael Sternbach has clarified the original Golden Dawn associations ie Hanged Man (water), Fool (Air), Judgement (Fire) seem to be first published by Aleister Crowley under the title "A Description of the Cards of the Tarot" in The Equinox vol. 1, no. 8, Autumn 1912.

This was followed by other publications setting out the traditional Golden Dawn associations by both Aleister Crowley and Israel Regardie in the 1930s. So it seems the attribution of the Hanged Man to Neptune came later.

Rather than either of us taking up any further space on Philip's thread on this issue I urge you join in the ongoing thread discussing the astrological associations of the tarot:

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8589

Mark
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waybread



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Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark, I am not particularly interested in the history of the tarot except insofar as it influenced the history of astrology.

I am fascinated by Phillip's interest in the earliest mention of the Pisces-Neptune connection. But historically I think it is equally important to consider when this connection took hold in the wider astrological community, which seems to have occurred later. I wish I had more late 19th/early 20th century astrology texts to consult, but I think Alan Leo (1903) is really important because he was the great, early popularizer of the new western astrology (for better or worse.) Leo's interests in the occult and spiritualism appear throughout his book.

I just took a second look at him.

I haven't found that Leo was a member of the Golden Dawn, but he was at least heavily involved in similar organizations and knew some of its members.

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/Alan_Leo.html

I think that when you find several parallels (re: planet, sign, tarot) co-existing around the same time and pointing in the same direction, you can assume either that this is mere coincidence, or else that there were mutual influences and cross-currents. I think the latter is more likely, given the small community of occultists in Britain at the time; and that therefore the tarot question has some bearing on Neptune as the modern ruler of Pisces.

In taking another look at Leo (1903) I found he was within a hair's breadth of making the sign-rulership connection. Even though he denies that Neptune rules any sign (p. 37,) his descriptions of Neptune (p. 37) and Pisces (p. 20) are close to the point of using some of the same words. Then in his discussion of the 12th house (ch. 19,) we find:

"This is not altogether a bad position for Neptune, being related to the sign Pisces, with which this planet has much sympathy."


This is pretty darn close, especially given modern astrology's weaker affection for actually working with sign rulers (for example, in dispositor and house cusps) and increasing tendency to conflate signs and houses.

Then if we look at the tarot, one of the early expounders and a Golden Dawn member, Arthur E. Waite, spent a great deal of his Pictorial Key (1911, but based on much earlier work,) disavowing earlier publications purporting to explain the cards' esoteric significance. But he himself held those tarot cards and their meaning very close to his chest. If you read his description of The Hanged Man card, however, especially in light of the Golden Dawn link I posted yesterday, we can trace further parallels with the Neptune and Pisces descriptions in Alan Leo.

Waite points out "the tree of sacrifice," "life in suspension... but not death, "higher nature," "great awakening," and "the mystery of resurrection." All of which sounds sounds rather Christ-like.

To Leo, the succedent houses were part of a "psychic trinity" related to "intellectual conceptions apart from worldly knowledge or practice," and the 12th, in specifically related to misfortunes such as prisoners and self-undoing (cf. the head-down position of The Hanged Man himself was initially used for criminals), also relates to "mental sensitiveness to unseen worlds is awakened." (pp. 226-7.) Misfortune is turned to universal love, which not lonely echoes Pisces, but the Christ-figure of The Hanged Man.

Anyway, I am not here to stretch a point. Any actual connections would need to be demonstrated. But I find these parallels highly suggestive; and think that in the theosophical movement, if not precisely in the Golden Dawn itself, the Neptune rulership of Pisces had its origin-- but not necessarily its acceptance in the early 20th century astrology community.
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