X-File: Saturn and Neptune

The major astrological event of 2016 may well be the square between Saturn and Neptune, an aspect that can create an air of nebulousness around our reality. Just what is real comes into question, and answers are hard to find. Thus it’s synchronistically fitting that The X-Files have returned to the Fox network for a mini-season this year.

The X-Files ran from 1993 to 2002, with FBI agents Mulder and Scully working on cases that appeared to have a paranormal dimension. Fox Mulder is Neptunian: his two mottos are “the truth is out there” and “I want to believe.” Dana Scully is his devoutly skeptical (to use Gary Schwartz’s term) Saturnian counterpart who hewed to a materialistic perspective despite nine seasons of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The ongoing theme of the show was that a government conspiracy was covering up the existence of UFOs, and The X-Files drew heavily on actual UFO information, from sightings by government officials to alien abduction cases.

With the return of the series, a new twist is apparent, although we aren’t far enough in to know where the show is headed. Early in this mini-season, Mulder becomes convinced that the entire conspiracy to cover up the existence of UFOs is in fact a falsehood generated to distract from a larger conspiracy: to use alien technology recovered at Roswell in 1951 as part of a military-industrial takeover of the United States and then the world. The show has ventured into some surprising territory, talking about government spying on citizens, the maintenance of (currently empty) prison camps by FEMA, the militarization of local police forces, and other issues usually too sensitive for mainstream media, including of course the ongoing dismissal of any reports of UFOs.

Yet the conspiracy behind the conspiracy does not stop at the television show. The troubling evidence of how the government is manipulating our information, and speculation as to what end they are doing so, hits a chord with many people. It does indeed seem surprising that a very popular television show would present these issues so boldly, even if the ultimate purpose were entertainment.

But is it?

Not everyone believes that the new season of The X-Files is for our viewing pleasure. Some folks have suggested that the show is in fact telling us what will happen, and how it will go down, in advance. But rather than a heroic hollering of the truth, the show is actually part of the conspiracy. In this version of things, those who are in control always say what will happen beforehand – it’s part of their strategy for one reason or another. Indeed, if there is any reality at all behind The X-Files, and factually there is, it seems strange that it is being broadcast on one of the most powerful media networks in the world. If the conspiracy-to-take-over-the-world hypothesis is correct (and I, personally, doubt it), then it seems almost certain that Fox, and The X-Files, are in on it – otherwise, it would never be broadcast. A recent special edition of Time devoted to conspiracy theories can be taken in the same vein. Even the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency got in on the game last week by releasing some declassified documents on UFOs from the 1940s and 1950s, either displaying rare candor, or...

To most people, however, the idea of such a massive conspiracy will seem outrageous, and the conspiracy theorists, as they are dismissively known, appear kind of kooky. But perhaps that is also part of the conspiracy – make the people who tell the truth appear to be crazy, and place what they say outside of the realm of possibility. Maybe even create a few conspiracy theorists, armed with insightful truth, but make them seem unstable or otherwise untrustworthy. Maybe that’s what The X-Files is... maybe that’s what the people who think that’s what The X-Files is are.


If so, you’re getting the idea. Saturn helps us to see concrete reality, Neptune incites us to go beyond it. When we can see through concrete, we gain insight but lose certainty, we answer one question with a dozen more. The more we want to know what’s real, the more we discover that nothing is. Conspiracies recede in endless regression through a hall of mirrors. As soon as you think you’ve found the truth, another layer of reality is seen behind it. The media answers to the government, the government to the Illuminati, they to the Pope, the Pope to aliens, aliens to...? God? (And who is He working for?).

It’s not that conspiracy theories are necessarily groundless, but that the ground itself keeps shifting. The more power attributed to the conspirators, the higher up we must go to find the real source. And that, ultimately, is the problem. For who can really be in control? Who really knows enough, or has enough power, to pull all the strings? The ego finds a hopeful message hiding within even the darkest conspiracy theory – that someone or something is in control. That’s just what your ego wants to hear.

Saturn leads us on a quest to find that ultimate source of power, Neptune reminds us that it doesn’t really exist. Saturn wants an ego to be in charge – modern conspiracies come from the same impulse that led us to anthropomorphize the divine into a god that looked like us. Neptune reminds us that the ego is a little wavelet existing for a moment on a vast ocean of being. With Saturn square Neptune, we can tilt towards Saturn and generate conspiracies (true or not), or we can tilt towards Neptune and stare into an egoless void. The latter alternative may be spiritually liberating, if you’re ready for it, but it’s terrifying in any event. Or we can watch The X-Files, and convince ourselves that “the truth is out there.”

Is it?

And the winner isn't... Black

Spike Lee announced on Martin Luther King’s birthday anniversary last week that he wouldn’t be attending this year’s Academy Awards ceremonies on February 28th, in protest of the sad fact that none of the nominees for a major award were black. An outpouring of encouragement for Lee’s position, including Jada Pinkett Smith also not attending and George Clooney offering support, has put the spirit of the event in jeopardy.

This isn’t the first year that the monochromatic hue of the Oscars has been called into question - it was also an issue last year - but things seem to be getting more serious as criticism mounts about the lack of African-American presence in Hollywood generally, not only at its most overtly dramatic event.

Saturn is in Sagittarius, where he is likely to bring up issues of ethnicity (or, to be more astrologically precise and semantically nebulous, foreigners). He has been doing so on a global scale, with immigration a hot topic in both the United States and Europe. With Neptune in Pisces sending refugees to the Western world, the response has been polarized between compassion and anxieties.

While Saturn in Sagittarius brings up the topic of ethnicity everywhere, it is especially salient in the U.S., and particularly at this time, as Saturn sails over the ascendant of the country (Sibley chart). Polarization is becoming more extreme, and on matters far more important than the Oscars - the ongoing cascade of police shootings of black people and the lack of prosecution for them, and the question of accepting Syrian refugees into the country are just two prominent themes. And of course, Donald Trump wants to build a wall to keep Mexicans south of the border.

Yet we shouldn’t dismiss the significance of the Academy Awards. Besides media being one of our most highly developed economic products and chief exports to the world (Neptune is the most elevated planet, in the 9th house), it is an American cultural institution, a centerpiece on the table of our diverse society. The Oscars are a celebration of that institution, and they have become a tradition, a rite - almost a holiday. They stand back-to-back with the Superbowl, another annual celebration of American culture. Yes, they are commercial and over-hyped, always trying to go beyond themselves, but we shouldn’t hesitate to consider them American cultural ceremonies on that account - on the contrary, with a Sagittarius ascendant we would expect the U.S. to have spectacular sacraments.

This year’s Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled for February 28th at 5:30 p.m., in Hollywood, California. The sun is setting in partile conjunction with Neptune, just three degrees off of the descendant, in Pisces. Chiron conjuncts the south node, opposed by Jupiter in Virgo. With Jupiter as co-ruler of the 7th house, this Oscar ceremony seems to be very much about the other, and with a Pisces/Neptune theme, the other may not be visible.

It is significant that transiting Jupiter and the north node of the moon are less than one degree away from the Pluto’s position at the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King - there is a strong resonance with this point in the American psyche. The ascendant is also in Virgo, the sign that Pluto transited throughout the bulk of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. The moon is in Scorpio, a placement that can dig for truth and act from raw emotions, not necessarily the easiest placement for a celebration.

The chart of this year’s Oscars has the north node/Jupiter combination less than a degree from the U.S. Neptune, in Virgo. However, it may be that Saturn has crossed the U.S. ascendant that is most significant. The Oscars aren’t the only thing in America squeezed by Saturn (with Pluto entering the 2nd house at the same time, the economy is certainly at risk), but we can learn a lot by watching how the Academy Awards react to Saturnian pressures. The themes of inclusion and exclusion, who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’, has always been contentious in a nation of immigrants. They will certainly be at the Oscars - in part because Spike Lee won’t be there.