The Jupiter Neptune Conjunction In Pisces? Check Out What Happened During The Last One
Easter 1856, London: A Pisces teenager invents the first synthetic purple dye by mistake. He becomes fabulously wealthy and the industrial chemical complex is born. It changes everything. Jupiter transits always go over the top and this one was amped by Neptune.
William Perkin was a quintuple Pisces, with the Sun conjunct Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Uranus, the epitome of audacious ingenuity. So it’s not surprising that he was a gifted chemistry student and by the age of 18, spending weekends holed up in a makeshift home laboratory experimenting.
It was a wild era: Neptune moved into Pisces shortly after its controversial-at-the-time discovery in 1846. The over-the-counter pharmaceuticals are today’s illegal narcotics and Spirit Photography postcards were best-sellers.
But how’s this for a stunner of an astrological transit? Jupiter and Neptune were conjunct in Pisces, a phenom that has not occurred since. (They’ll meet again in April 2022, though!)
It’s significant because both planets are considered to rule Pisces. At the time, however, Jupiter was the undisputed King of Pisceans, as Neptune was not declared the ‘modern’ ruler until the 1880s, at the earliest.
Yet this conjunction was exact and conjunct Perkin’s Sun/Mars/Uranus that day. A super-junior apprentice, he was at home trying to synthesize quinine from coal for an assignment. Chemical science of the time was called “primitive” but a more apt term could be “things exploding all the time.”
Somehow, William Perkin ended up with a beaker of bright purple, a color barely seen in normal life at that point. Every color in existence was organic and difficult to obtain, but purple was practically impossible.
Ancient Roman emperors and empresses didn’t swish around in gigantic purple cloaks because they liked the color: it signaled insane wealth and influence. To obtain even a quarter of a cup of it involved ‘milking’ the glands of 12,000 predatory sea snails – a specific breed of them that could only be found in Phoenicia.
Even Queen Victoria didn’t wear purple then. The teen scientist perceived the possibilities immediately. He kept his discovery secret from everyone apart from a Gemini friend, and the pair developed the purple in a garden shed. Sixteen obsessive weeks later, they patented it.
It didn’t do brilliantly as “Aniline Purple,” but when they changed the name to the more French-sounding Mauveine, it became a global craze. The invention laid the foundation for chemical fragrance, mass fashion, hair dye, food coloring, and the whole petrochemicals-in-everything paradigm we live with today.
In the early 21st Century, it’s become clear that the barely regulated synthetics that have seeped into everything are an existential threat.
Still, the astrological resonance of this is fascinating. If you think Neptune is purely a transcendental groove or a penchant for addiction, read on.
The chemical industry is madly Neptunian. It is opaque by design and the formulas are all trade secrets, whether they’re going into the ocean, your bloodstream, jellybeans, or above your eyes as eye-shadow.
Highly eloquent operatives enact Byzantine campaigns to win over politicians, generate glamor spells and inspire desire or yearning. It’s mirror magic; they’re not selling you coal tar or palm oil with not-on–the label “fragrance” – you’re buying the dream.
Twelve years after he synthesized purple, with Jupiter back in Pisces and again on his Pisces stellium, William Perkin conjured up another vast fortune.
Via a new process, he created coumarin from tonka beans. – probably one of the most profitable human-formulated substances in history: it’s banned in some countries as a potential meta-hazard and is apparently in 90% of perfumes, as well as rat poison.
But it smells amazing – like freshly mown hay, almonds, coconut, frangipani, vanilla – whatever the creator wants it to smell like.
The more candy-like the scent, the darker the Neptunian waters.
Jupiter into Pisces in May 2021, ahead of April 2022’s Jupiter-Neptune conjunction in Pisces is an early indicator of significant scenarios in the chemicals industry.
What would the 18-year-old Piscean who was vegetarian and said things like “the salts of mauveine are beautifully crystalline” make of the contemporary big chemical culture?
If he was a ghost, I’d like to think he’d dart around in an Aniline Purple haze, exhorting contemporary scientists to fix it all up.