Neptune in Pisces and the Rise of the Superhero

There seems to be no escaping it and everywhere we turn we are bombarded by it.  From movies, television toys, clothes and an endless array of pop culture memorabilia it has become increasingly obvious that we are living in the era of the superhero.  The genre’s presence has become so pervasive that it demands our attention.  It’s time to put superheroes under the astrological microscope and examine their roots, continued popularity and, more recently, their explosion onto the United States’ cultural landscape through the inundation of movies and television shows.

But, in order to intimately understand the cultural resonance, it is logical to first focus on the core essence of the superhero genre.

Mythology

There’s something fantastic about the concept of beings of great power providing assistance and protection that touches our deepest yearnings.  It isn’t a stretch when a connection is made between modern day superheroes and the mythological gods of ancient Greece and Rome.  In his exhaustive cultural analysis, Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Superheroes, Christopher Knowles explicitly declares this connection:

Indeed, superheroes now play for us the role once played by the gods in ancient societies.  Fans today don’t pray to Superman or Batman – or at least won’t admit to doing so.  But when you see fans dressed as their favorite heroes at comic conventions, you are seeing the same type of worship that once played out in the ancient pagan world, where celebrants dressed up at the objects of their worship and enacted their dramas in festivals and ceremonies.[1]

Why do these characters and stories generate such veneration?  In his landmark book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell provides this foundational explanation:

…it appears that through the wonder tales – which pretend to describe the lives of the legendary heroes, the powers of the divinities of nature, the spirits of the dead, and the totem ancestors of the group – symbolic expression is given to the unconscious desires, fears, and tensions that underlies the conscious patterns of human behavior.[2]

And this is expanded with Campbell’s famous definition of “myth”:

It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into the human cultural manifestation.[3]

These two ideas from Campbell reflect a heavy influence from Carl Jung due to their similarity with Jung’s theory of archetypes:

The impact of an archetype, whether it takes the form of immediate experience or is expressed through the spoken word, stirs us because it summons up a voice that is stronger than our own.  Whoever speaks in primordial images speaks with a thousand voices; he enthralls and overpowers, while at the same time he lifts the idea he is seeking to express out of the occasional and the transitory into the realm of the ever-enduring…That is the secret of great art, and of its effect upon us.  The creative process, so far as we are able to follow it at all, consists in the unconscious activation of an archetypal image, and in elaborating and shaping this image into the finished work.[4]

Jung’s belief of “archetypal structures” existing within a shared, “collective unconscious” segues nicely into astrology because it aligns closely with the core characteristics of the planet Neptune.  According to Richard Tarnas:

Characteristic metaphors for its (Neptune’s) domain include the infinite sea of the imagination, the ocean of divine consciousness, and the archetypal wellspring of life.  It is in a sense the archetype of the archetypal dimension itself, the anima mundi, the Gnostic pleroma, the Platonic realm of transcendent ideas, the domain of the gods, the Immortals.[5]

Jung and Campbell

Since Jung and Campbell were pioneers in the development of these conceptions, it is not surprising to find that both individuals had Sun-Neptune square aspects in their birth charts.  In astrology, the Sun represents the ego so any aspect with Neptune tends to blur the boundaries, instilling a strong sense of the numinous or mystical or a motivation to lose the ego in pursuit of the otherworldly.

Carl Jungv2

With Jung, this dynamic was amplified by his 1st house Saturn in square aspect to his 3rd house Pluto.  Saturn rules Jung’s 12th house[6] which represents places associated with other states of consciousness or mystical or spiritual experiences.  Placed in Jung’s 1st house, he was concerned with how the structure (Saturn) of the unconscious (12th house) impacts the self (1st house) and how that structure could be transformed (Pluto).

Joseph Campbellv2

Campbell’s Sun-Neptune square differs from Jung in that it includes the presence of Mercury and Jupiter.  Like Jung, Campbell felt the pull of the mystical, but instead focused on how these connections manifested in the epic (Jupiter) stories (Mercury) of conflict (square aspect, Aries sign) in the hero’s (Sun) mythological journey (9th house Neptune)[7].  It is interesting that Jung’s manifestation of the Sun centered on the ego while Campbell’s focused on the hero.  Both are legitimate representations of the Sun archetype brought into prominence due to their relationship with Neptune.

United States

Neptunian dynamics are also highlighted in the inception chart for the United States where Neptune is receiving a tight square aspect from Mars (below).

USAv2

This aspect reflects the US’ affinity for mythological, fantasy warriors or conflicts[8] and this is why it was fertile ground for the development of the comic book superhero.  If we look back in time, you’ll notice that the US experienced its last Neptune return around 1938.  The “return” of any planet represents its return to the starting position at its time from inception or birth.  As a result, it represents the beginning of a new cycle specific to the archetypal function of the applicable planet.  In 1938, Superman debuted in Action Comics # 1 and represented the beginning of the superhero in American culture.

As of this writing, it is currently approaching opposition with natal Neptune which, again, will simultaneously form a square aspect to natal Mars.  While the conjunction (return) represents the beginning of a cycle, with the opposition we are experiencing the maturity or fruition of what was initiated at the beginning.  While this opposition will not go exact until 2021, we have started experiencing this a bit early because of Neptune’s entrance into the sign of Pisces in 2011.  Of all the signs, Pisces’ characteristics and qualities are recognized by many astrologers to have the most in common with the planet Neptune, so much so that many have suggested assigning Neptune ruler ship of the sign.  Regardless of these opinions, there is little debate that the archetypal functions of Neptune will manifest more clearly and vividly in Pisces than any other sign.

As a result, the Pisces ingress and approaching opposition represent the hero concept coming to fruition through mass dissemination in movies and television.  While this genre is not the only area of manifestation for hero or fantasy mythological archetypes, it is one that can be most easily isolated for examination from inception in comic book format to evolution into mass media entertainment.  Cinema and television are effective formats for analysis because both are experienced at the most mainstream level of visibility with a high degree of participation.[9]

The below table[10] provides an overhead view of the growth of superheroes[11] in entertainment by decade.  This data confirms the explosion of superhero themed entertainment over the last 20 years with the peak coinciding with Neptune’s entrance into Pisces during the current decade[12].

Decade

Live Action

Animated

Television

1970’s[13]

1 0 5

1980’s

8 1

1

1990’s

19 2

4

2000’s

31 25

4

2010’s

(Incomplete)

47 39

21

Additionally, the increase within the 2000 decade should not be ignored.  The improved sophistication in technology, special effects and digital capabilities that occurred in this decade provided a strong foundation for the format’s maturity in the following decade and these dynamics could be connected to the mutual reception between Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius that were occurring around the same time frame.[14]

In summary:

  • Mythology is an inherent trait of the human psyche, reflecting a shared, collective archetype of heroes, warriors and gods.
  • Mythological dynamics have strong similarities to the archetypal functions of the planet Neptune.  This is confirmed by the astrological dynamics within the natal charts of individuals who discovered the connections between mythology and shared, inherent traits.
  • The United States is also uniquely predisposed for a more authentic manifestation of mythological dynamics due to the Neptunian characteristics in its chart.
  • The descendants or modern equivalents to mythology can be found in the stories of comic book superheroes.
  • The recent surge and proliferation of superhero related entertainment in the United States is paralleled by Neptune’s ingress into Pisces and transit to the United States’ chart.

If the United States is “ground zero” for this overall archetypal structure, then a logical next step would be to look at the multitude of specific archetypal functions (not necessarily associated with Neptune[15]) of major comic book creators to see if their dynamics are reflected in the characteristics of their most recognizable creations in the superhero genre.[16]  According to acclaimed comic book writer, Grant Morrison:

Marvel and DC have roots that run seventy years deep.  Could they actually have a kind of elementary awareness, a set of programs that define their rules and maintain their basic shapes while allowing for development, complexity, and, potentially, some kind of rudimentary consciousness?[17]

Morrison, in a round a bout way, is describing archetypes.  Lets explore a few of them.

Jerry Siegel – Superman

superman

Below represents the noon-based, “untimed” chart for Jerry Siegel, creator of Superman.  Superman was the first superhero created.  As such, the character represents the inception of the genre.  The chart below reflects core dynamics that are fundamental to the overall archetype.

Jerry Siegelv2

Sun conjunct Spica:  There is little disagreement within the astrological community as to the significance of the star, Spica.  It is on a top-five list for many Horary astrologers and widely viewed as one of the most beneficial stars in the sky bringing fame, popularity and honor to the bodies or points it touches.  With the Sun’s general representation of the “hero”, Spica’s involvement adds a level of detail as to the type of hero.  It is a benevolent protector loved by all.[18]

Unaspected Sun:  The Sun is also making no major aspects to any of the major planetary bodies.  Many astrologers have noted that unaspected planetary bodies tend to feel isolated or “on an island” triggering the manifestation of their archetypal function in an exaggerated manner.

Superman is an alien from another planet, a stranger on planet earth, and because his biology is different from ours he is able to draw strength from our Sun.[19]  Basically, the unaspected nature of Siegel’s Sun has exaggerated the concept of the hero into a superhero.

Moon square Saturn-Pluto:  The Moon is a general indicator of the home and Saturn-Pluto contacts represent conditions that are harsh, austere and tortuously difficult.  The square aspect between the three bodies represents conflict so the holistic interpretation could be simply translated as “destruction of the home”.[20]  Superman’s home planet, Krypton, was destroyed shortly after he was shipped off of it.

Lastly, it has been noted that Saturn-Pluto tends to imbue a strength within the individual so incredible that it makes them near invulnerable, being able to withstand a tremendous amount of punishment without yielding.  Superman is historically known as the “man of steel”.[21]

Mars square Jupiter:  The strength associated with Saturn-Pluto is made more explicit with this aspect.  Mars, placed in the sign of its ruler ship, Scorpio, is strong and represents a warrior or fighter who is equally brave and courageous.  The square aspect to Jupiter reflects the conflict this warrior will undergo for truth and justice.  As the tightest aspect in the chart, it underscores the importance and intensity Superman places on his ideals.  He is willing to fight for them and isn’t afraid of anyone.  Mars’ strength in this aspect is a warning to anyone that crosses his ideals.  He can fight.

Bob Kane – The Batman

Batman

Superman and Batman were both created within a fairly close time frame to each other and their respective creators were also only born about a year apart.  Regardless, the two characters couldn’t be more different, and in some ways, appear to be polar opposites of each other.

Bob Kanev2

Sun trine Pluto:  Open any astrology book and go to the page for Scorpio, scratch out the sign and write in Batman in instead.  Intense, dark, brooding, obsessive, focused will, investigator, detective.  Batman is Scorpio incarnate.  There aren’t many superheroes who so closely embody the core essence of its creator’s ego and while there have been campy versions of Batman in the past, the most resonant depictions have been those that emphasized Batman’s Scorpionic traits and environment most honestly.

Regardless, the Sun’s position in Scorpio alone isn’t enough to justify the surreal sign expression.  Scorpio is ruled traditionally by Mars and assigned to Pluto by modern standards.  Here, the Sun is in mutual reception to Mars and in tight trine aspect with Pluto.  By contacting both, the Scorpionic traits are well supported and this underscores the character’s identity as a fighter (Mars) who was transformed (Pluto) in response to trauma (witnessing the murder of his parents).

Transformation is a particularly resonant theme in the Batman universe.  Most of Batman’s enemies were deformed into monsters (Joker, Poison Ivy, Two-face, Mr. Freeze, Clayface, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, etc) as a result to some type of trauma while Bruce Wayne’s response represents the higher expression of transformation and this is represented by the beneficial trine between the two planets.  He figured out how to use the trauma as a force for good.

Venus t-square:  With Venus placed in Scorpio, the focus of Kane’s art (Venus) contained a Gothic (Scorpio) quality to it.  The Mars-Neptune conjunction represents another classic signature of the mythological (Neptune) warrior (Mars) balancing technology (Uranus) with their behavior.

Holistically, this fits fairly well, but as stated in previous articles, t-squares are engines of energy, motivated into action by some type of discomfort (or suffering).  With this understanding and some knowledge about Batman’s biography, there may exist a unique possibility in reconciling Kane’s birth time.  For example, if Kane were born just a bit earlier (sometime prior to 8 am), then he would have a Libra Sun, which would contradict some of the Scorpio expression we have observed in Batman.  This infers an exclusion of birth times prior to the early morning.

The Venus t-square offers another piece of evidence further isolating a time frame.  With the noon chart, Venus rules the 4th house of family.  With its placement at the t-square apex, the tragedy of Bruce Wayne’s family is a focal point driving him continuously (t-square friction) and an enduring facet of his reputation (Venus’ placement within the 10th house).[22]  If accurate, this would provide a much more detailed delineation of Kane’s t-square.

Moon sextile Saturn:  So far, we have discussed a fixed Sun, a fixed t-square and here we are addressing a Moon in Taurus, the most fixed sign of the zodiac.  Within the comic universe, Batman’s reputation as an individual with an indomitable will-power is legendary and it is the presence of all the fixed energy that gives him this demeanor, but mixing in the archetypal function of Saturn, which is to limit and restrict, exacerbates the dynamics.  This adds a repressed, no-nonsense demeanor because Moon-Saturn contacts can be delineated as somber, structured emotions.  More specifically, “Moon-Saturn had to grow up rather early and…missed out on the maturation process, so that there is often a delay in the emotional development of the individual.”[23]

Obviously, Bruce Wayne was impacted by his parents’ absence, but notice that the aspect between the two bodies is a sextile, a harmonious aspect.  This means that while Batman may be a bit inhibited emotionally, he manages this positively/constructively.  It is possible that because he accurately understands the demands of his mission and the nature of the conflict, he is able to combine discipline (Saturn) with emotions (Moon) in order to effectively in fighting crime, mentor the various boys who became Robin and lead various superhero teams, like the Justice League.  Ultimately, the overall archetypal picture of an individual with a Sun-Pluto trine and Moon-Saturn sextile is that of a powerful, disciplined and effective leader.[24]

Gardner Fox – The Flash

Flash

For the Flash, we will analyze the chart of the individual who created the initial iteration of the character.  While there have been multiple versions, the later iterations do not appear to represent a radical departure from the original character concept.

Gardner Foxv2

Mercury:  Considering the literal connection to ancient mythological gods, Mercury is the obvious point of emphasis when analyzing the speedster, Flash.  With Fox, this planetary body is significant because it is conjunct his North Node, highlighting a particular destiny (North Node) associated with the ancient Roman god.  To this end, Fox even went so far as to fashion a winged helmet for Flash that mirrored Mercury’s.

The opposition to Jupiter is a classic signature for the multi-tasker and Fox’s biography supports this delineation fairly well.  Saturn’s presence in this conjunction brings some structure and stability and the sextile/trine from Venus to both ends of the polarity show how art (Venus) was a mediating force.  The Flash was Fox’s artistic expression and many comic panels routinely display the superhero doing 10 activities at once.

Mercury is almost exactly conjunct the midpoint of Mars-Pluto.  Mars-Pluto contacts can be quite violent and are historically viewed as an astrological signature for a fighter.[25]  With this square, we are dealing with someone who uses the archetype of Mercury in their battles.  Most prominently, this would manifest as intense arguments, but Fox manifested these dynamics in his creation of a character who was a Mercury warrior.

The conjunction to Saturn in Taurus appears to be the most peculiar because neither the planet nor the sign are known astrologically for speed.  In fact, they’re known for the exact opposite.  Also, a couple days prior to Fox’s birth, Mercury came out of retrograde and stationed direct.  As a result, the planet’s actual speed was only around 14% of its average.  This is so slow that it may almost appear as if it isn’t moving.[26]  When considered with Saturn’s general archetypal function of restriction and limitation and Taurus’ intrinsic quality of inertia this appears to be a pretty damning contradiction to Flash’s superhuman speed.  But, by looking closer into the astrological condition of stationary planets we gain valuable insight.  According to astrologer Kevin Burke,

When a planet is slow in motion, or stationary, the planet’s energy becomes much more focused and concentrated in its expression.  It’s not so much that these planets have difficulty expressing themselves, but more that these planets have a tendency to become obsessed with understanding certain situations and concepts with a level of thoroughness and intensity that is quite unusual for them.[27]

It is a mistake to affiliate the concept of “speed” with Mercury because Fox’s obsession was with a more literal and fundamental concept of the god and this is intensified by Saturn’ involvement because Saturn also happens to represent the functions of focus, thoroughness and concentration.[28]  The placement within the sign of Taurus further amplifies the overall relationship with a fixed quality that is sustaining, persistent and enduring.  These compelling dynamics emphatically confirm Mercury as the most important body in the chart and a singular, driving point of focus.  All other astrological dynamics will only occur through the lens or filter of Mercury’s overwhelming dominance.

But, if we’re looking for something that might represent Flash’s lightning fast speed then the next aspect might be more appropriate.

Uranus trine Sun:  This trine aspect is not only tight, it is applying in both directions, electrifying its strength.  Uranus tends to speed up whatever it touches and also represents electricity.  When combined with the Sun’s hero archetype we gain a picture of a lightning fast hero.  It is equally fitting that the Flash’s costume contains a symbol of lightning as lightning bolts are discharged from Flash as he runs.

Neptune trine Mars:  Again, we see another example of Neptune’s mythology archetype blending into the overall dynamics.  Here, it is echoing the US’ contact with Mars (although the US’ was a square aspect).

John Broome – Green Lantern

Green Lantern

John Broome is credited with creating the 2nd Green Lantern, Hal Jordan and while he did “reinvent” the character, reinvention underestimates what Broome accomplished.  By creating the intergalactic police force, the Green Lantern Corps, Broome offered a completely new direction for the mythology of this character.  In many ways, this direction was such a radical departure from the original created by Martin Nodell that it felt like a completely new character and was so compelling that it has persisted as the main, true biography and origin of the Green Lantern character.[29]  As a result, I defaulted to Broome’s chart in analyzing the characteristics of the character, as it is widely perceived today.[30]

John Broomev2

Sun trine Jupiter:  The signs for each of these bodies, Sun in Taurus and Jupiter in Capricorn, paint an interesting picture.  They highlight characteristics or dynamics involving willpower (Taurus is the most fixed sign of the zodiac) and authority figures (Capricorn).

A key attribute to anyone wielding the Green Lantern ring is a healthy, strong willpower because the ring will create just about anything its wearer can “will” into existence.  Therefore, the Sun’s representation of the hero archetype reflects a hero of great will.

Also, as authority figures assigned to different sectors of the universe, the Green Lanterns are essentially police officers monitoring their “beat”.  Jupiter’s archetypal function is to expand so its placement in Capricorn manifests as an expansion of the concept of authority figures across the universe.  The trine between these two bodies reflects the harmonious relationship across all their associated dynamics.

Finally, like Gardner Fox, Broome also has a Mars-Pluto square, but while Mercury was conjunct the midpoint under Fox, here it is Broome’s Sun.[31] The “fighter” archetype represented by the violent relationship between these two bodies is directly intertwined into Broome’s hero concept.

Saturn trine Uranus:  Since Capricorn was detailed in the primary aspect, it is only logical to look at its ruler, Saturn.  Since Saturn represents the archetypal functions of restriction and limitation, a natural extension of this would be rules or laws.  This echoes the Capricornian dynamics a bit more specifically and the trine to Uranus shows how technology, such as a ring, is effectively used to aid this function.

Venus opposite Pallas:  Venus is the general symbol of jewelry which would include rings as well.  Its placement in Aries reflects how it will be used in battle.  The asteroid, Pallas Athena, represents the archetypal functions of tactical, creative, problem solving so its opposition challenges its wearer to achieve balance with these functions.  With Pluto mediating both sides, we gain a picture of tremendous power at the disposal of the Green Lantern to help with creating items with the ring to be used in battle.

Neptune trine Mars:  Like most of the creators analyzed, we have another example of a significant aspect to Neptune, representative of mythology.

William Moulton Marston – Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is the last DC superhero to analyze.  William Marston’s chart is fairly straightforward and matches the character (and his unique bio) well.

William Marstonv2

Taurean stellium at t-square apex:  This is a t-square of feminine archetypes.  With the Moon and Juno at the base, the stellium of planetary bodies involving Venus, Sun, Pallas and Jupiter at the apex are an overwhelming focus.  Their placement in Taurus is a strong reinforcement of the female dynamic as Taurus is one of the six feminine signs.  With Venus as the ubiquitous symbol of the female archetype and the Sun as the hero, we have convincing evidence of a female hero, but Pallas Athena and Jupiter add a coloring making this four-body conjunction unique.

Pallas Athena’s mythology is quite striking.  She was a warrior goddess created, quite literally, from the head of her father, Zeus.  Zeus, in Roman mythology, became Jupiter.  This relationship has played out in the comic as Zeus has maintained varying degrees of involvement with the Amazonian people even to the point of being re-imagined as Wonder Woman’s father in the recent relaunch of the title.

The Sun is conjunct the midpoint of Venus and Pallas, so we have a picture of a female hero who is a warrior goddess.  Also, Venus is dignified in Taurus, placed in the sign that it rules.  This gives one more essential detail: she is royalty.  All of these dynamics fit the characterization of the Amazonian warrior, Princess Diana.

Neptune trine Saturn:  Yet another significant Neptune aspect.  The aspect to Saturn is most commonly associated with artists as we will observe in greater detail with Jack Kirby below.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby – The Marvel Revolution

Marvel Revolution Alex Ross

A book could be filled with the multitude of iconic Marvel characters created in the 1960’s and while all of the creators analyzed so far can be matched to one major character, most of the Marvel universe’s core mythology can be traced back to two individuals: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

As many comic historians have noted, Lee and Kirby were very much the Lennon and McCartney of their field…Stan and Jack were two completely different men who came together with a shared vision, and completely rewrote the rules of their chosen art form…[32]

It would be difficult to isolate and match all of the specific nuances of Marvel’s characters to each individual, but there is one major theme that made the Marvel revolution possible and it can be directly traced back to Lee’s chart.

stan leev2

Capricorn Sun at kite apex:  The kite-shaped configuration in Lee’s chart is basically a grand trine configuration (Mars, Uranus, Jupiter, Pluto) interacting or blending with an opposition (Sun, Pluto).  The hypothesis is that the self-contained, but harmonious dynamics of the grand trine will help to balance the “standoff” that can occur between two planetary bodies in opposition to each other.  Because of the interplay between “soft” and “hard” aspects, the kite configuration is often seen as one of the more productive configurations in astrology.

For Lee, the “spine” or “backbone” of this kite is the Sun-Pluto opposition.  Of all the zodiac signs, Capricorn is the sign most often viewed as responsible while Pluto is the archetype of raw power.  Therefore, there opposition represents the need to balance responsible heroes (Capricorn Sun) with power (Pluto).  Or as Lee has famously stated:

“With great power, comes great responsibility.”

This motto or mission statement is the hallmark of what Marvel represented.  Lee wanted to create characters that were “real” by making them struggle with “real problems” or experience hardships.  As an example, imagine if you thought you were responsible for the death of one of your family members?  How do you get in the morning with that on your conscience?  How does it shape your demeanor and personality, your life?  By infusing this heaviness into the character of Peter Parker he created a Shakespearean tragedy that continues to resonate to this day.  By making them responsible or feeling responsible for specific issues he gave Marvel’s characters depth and this made them relatable.  These “hard earned” lessons of responsibility taught his heroes to only use their powers in manners that were honorable and ethical.  This is the essence of his opposition and Lee expressed it beautifully.

In addition, Lee also created heroes that gained their powers through more plausible or scientific manners such as Peter Parker (Spider-man) getting bit by a radioactive spider, Bruce Banner (Hulk) caught in the middle of a gamma explosion, Matt Murdock (Daredevil) involved in a radioactive spill, or a spaceship of individuals (Fantastic Four) bombarded by cosmic rays.  The list goes on and on and is represented astrologically by the conjunction of Mars (warriors) and Uranus (technology).

Saturn sextile Neptune:  I didn’t detail or identify these planetary bodies in Lee’s chart as Neptunian dynamics are starting to become redundant with these creators.  Regardless, this sextile echoes the kite’s theme of mythology (Neptune) inspired or stimulated (sextile) by realism (Saturn).[33]

But, Lee’s “realistic”, “responsible” heroes needed some sense of otherworldliness in order to make them “gods” and it was Jack Kirby’s grandiose vision and ideas that were the driving inspiration that Lee could flesh out.

Jack “King” Kirby was the most influential superhero artist of them all, with an imagination and range that sat comfortably inside a visionary tradition running all the way from Hebrew scripture and epic mythology through William Blake and Allen Ginsberg.[34]

Or, more emphatically stated:

No other writer…has infused into superheroes even a fraction of the mythological resonance that Kirby did.  Kirby is far and away the most influential creator within the superhero comic-book world, and nearly every important artist and writer in the field in the past forty years cites him as a major inspiration for their work.  Ultimately, it is Kirby who is most responsible for turning superheroes into gods.[35]

Jack Kirbyv2

Saturn conjunct Neptune:  It is fitting that we end this analysis with a creator who contains the most significant Neptune aspect of them all.  According to astrologer Liz Greene:

…Saturn-Neptune is also known as the “artist’s aspect” because the apparently mutually exclusive worlds of physical form and boundless imagination can meet, albeit imperfectly, in the artist’s creation.  It is the only sphere of human endeavor where fantasy and reality can speak to each other without amputating vital elements of both.[36]

The earlier comparison to William Blake is fitting because Blake had the opposition between these two planets in his natal chart.[37]  With Kirby, the conjunction is arguably more powerful as it fuses the natures and dynamics of the two into one.

What makes this conjunction particularly powerful is that it sits at the midpoint of Kirby’s Venus-Jupiter trine, sextiling each side.  In astrology, this is known as a talent triangle and offered Kirby the ease of ability and inspiration to artistically express (Venus) a grand vision (Jupiter) of other realities and mythological dramas (Saturn-Neptune).  With this conjunction in the sign of Leo, Kirby expressed all of this through the format of heroes.

He brought the gods down to earth.

Do Superheroes Exist?

When I was a child, I thought it was strange that superheroes didn’t actually exist.  I learned of countless mythological stories of fantastic beings existing within the Bible and I thought, “Why don’t these types of beings exist today?”

Later, as I buried myself in astrological study, I realized the answers had been staring me in the face.  With the charts of these superhero creators it can be concluded that these individuals can’t be separated from their creations because those creations are a reflection of the self.  The successful expression and realization of their archetypal forms have allowed them a degree of immortality.

Neptune’s transit through the sign of Pisces represents a critical juncture because it yields opportunities to experience a more vivid expression of mythology with the hope that this zeitgeist may also translate into a realization that each of us are more than human.  We are connected to timeless archetypal principles blended into rare combinations instilling abilities and motivations that are unique, exceptional and Promethean.  Astrology provides one of the more accessible methods in appreciating this ancient and divine heritage.  With this knowledge we can explore these forms in an attempt to achieve perfection and become archetypally symbolic.  Ultimately, the more we evolve towards this embodiment, the more we become immortal and super human.

Excelsior.

[1] Christopher Knowles, Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes, Weiser Books, 2007, p.16

[2] Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, New World Library, 2008, p.219

[3] IBID, p.1

[4] C.G. Jung, “On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry,” Collected Works, Vol.15, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton University Press, 1966), ¶ 129-130.

[5] Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, Plume, 2007, p.96-97.

[6] According to the astrological alphabet, the 12th house and the sign of Pisces are viewed to have a strong resonance or “affinity” with the planet Neptune.

[7] It should also be noted that Campbell was equally focused on how these mythologies influenced our religious and philosophical ideas.  Another 9th house manifestation.

[8] This aspect is also responsible for US’ tendency to idolize or glamorize (Neptune) its athletes.

[9] It is also astrologically significant as Neptune also happens to represent movies and television.

[10] This table was compiled based on the data from the following Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_superhero_films

[11] The count for each category only included movies or television shows that were based solely on characters that were initially created through the comic book format.

[12] To which, it should be noted, is only current through year end 2017.

[13] The first Superman movie released in 1978 is widely considered to be the beginning of the modern superhero movie era.  While superhero movies and television shows existed prior to this time frame, it is significant to evaluate the growth of the genre from the point where it appeared to have broken through to the mainstream.

[14] I would caution against assuming technology as the primary driving factor of the genre’s growth.  The Batman franchise is a good example.  The final movie in the initial Batman trilogy, Batman & Robin, has been widely panned by critics and viewed as responsible for the “death” of the franchise while the following trilogy, directed by Christopher Nolan, has been equally hailed as its resurrection.  Interestingly enough, the reasons for its eventual success had more to do with story, plot and character development than special effects.

[15] While Neptune represents mythology from a high level, it is significant to emphasize that all of the planetary bodies in an astrological chart represent some type of specific archetype.

[16] For this piece of the analysis, I focused on characters commonly viewed as icons or legends.  The chart for the individual most responsible for the conception of the character as it commonly perceived was used.

[17]  Grant Morrison, Supergods, Spiegel & Grau, 2012, p.119.

[18] Christopher Reeve’s Venus-Neptune conjunction was also conjunct Seigel’s Sun.  Venus ruled Reeve’s midheaven (10th house of career and reputation) and as a result, Reeve embodied the role of Superman.  No actor has yet to leave such large footprint in the role.

[19] Considering that Superman is powered by the Sun, it is eloquent that the body representing him in Siegel’s chart would, in fact, be the Sun.

[20] Saturn-Pluto’s position in Cancer, the sign ruled by the Moon, underscores the theme of the home being destroyed.

[21] Robert Downey Jr.’s Saturn-Pluto contact helped him to embody, quite literally, with the career-defining/resurrecting role of Iron Man.

[22] This general birth timeframe would also make the Sun the ruler of the 8th house, the house of death and transformation.  This would be another collaborative piece of evidence supportive our overall delineation.

[23] Sue Thompkins, Aspects in Astrology, Destiny Books, 2002, p.145.

[24] It can’t be understated that Batman has no real super powers and yet he leads a team of super powered individuals.  That fascinating dichotomy is an expression of the power of the archetypes that powered his creation

[25] Both Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson had the square aspect between these two planetary bodies.

[26] Planets don’t actually “stop” in the sky, but they appear to as the earth is passing them.  Regardless, this perspective is significant astrologically.

[27] Kevin Burke, Astrology: Understanding the Birth Chart, Llewellyn Publications, 2006, p.228.

[28] Robert Kanigher, creator of the 2nd iteration of Flash, Barry Allen, also had a Mercury-Saturn conjunction.

[29] Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, was eventually injected into the history created by Broome.

[30] This may invite some debate, but Broome’s creation of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern corps feels more original and comprehensive than Kanigher’s creation of Barry Allen, the 2nd Flash.  Since originality will be reflected with stronger astrological dynamics, I deferred to Broome.

[31] This partially explains why Fox’s Taurean Sun wasn’t a primary point of focus.

[32] Christopher Knowles, Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes, Weiser Books, 2007, p.174.

[33] If we loosen the orb of contact, Neptune is also at the apex of another major configuration (with Mars and Mercury), the YOD.  This would make Lee’s Neptune is particularly resonant point of emphasis within the chart.

[34] Grant Morrison, Supergods, Spiegel & Grau, 2012, p.38

[35] Christopher Knowles, Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes, Weiser Books, 2007, p.190.

[36] Liz Greene, Neptune and the Quest for Redemption, Weiser Books, 2000, p.327.

[37] The opposition was the driving motivation with his legendary exploration of polarities in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

One thought on “Neptune in Pisces and the Rise of the Superhero

  1. Pingback: Born to Play the Role: Heath Ledger/Joker | Electric Storm Astrology

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