The Piscean Teenager Who Invented Purple

Check Out What Happened During The Last Jupiter-Neptune Conjunction In Pisces!

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.


40 thoughts on “The Piscean Teenager Who Invented Purple”

  1. Purple is Jupiter’s color, Purple Hazian teen is a wonderful story. Cur the Purple fog machines starting December 29 2022 but Jupiter will also swing into Aries and back to Pisces in 2022. It will be a somnambulist then a slap across the head wake up and be raging mad show and then back to sleep. CRAY CRAY

  2. Fascinating. Mystic, you are!
    Recently I have been rejecting everything chemical. Vegan again and in a whole new way. 11 years strict vegan. Back to Veg for 8, back to vegan. No more nail polish. Dumped the fake cosmetics. Organic ayurvedic kajal. Coconut oil. Cotton. Natural indigo dye. Beach. Walks in the sand. Earthing down in a new way and loving it. An unexplored portal has opened, recently. Natural attars for years now.

  3. Wow!

    Interestingly, I’ve heard talk of moving from chemical based beauty products to something that isn’t potentially poisoning from people who generally don’t consider petrochemical issues.

  4. My FinL was a dyer for the textile industry and years ago I bought him a copy of Mauve by Simon Garfield, the fascinating account of Perkins’ discovery. Here in Bradford UK we have a colour museum – Colour Experience – at Perkin House, which is also home to the Society of Dyers and Colourists.

  5. i cant remember where Mystic said pluto quincunx mars-as it is at the moment-was good toming for my job interview…but anyway…I GOT THE JOB!!!!!
    correctomondo Mystic!!!!
    i love your work 💕

      1. thankyou mille!
        i spent 3 hrs on the application-and have waited patiently since winter solstice when my interview was originally due, so you’re totally right on! xxx

  6. Whoa…the universe wanted everyone to be able to enjoy purple and made it happen through this kid. How beautiful, wonderful, magical…we love purple.

  7. When I was a young girl my favourite colours were pink and purple. I was told in my 30s that I was protected by a purple guardian, and have always loved violets and lavender and their colour and scent. Recently I had a Dao healing and spiritual session with a friend and she passed on I was protected by St Germaine, the keeper of the violet flame. I loooove this history!

  8. I wish someone would fix it up, my favourite perfumes are all purple, which now sound toxic. I know “fragrance” and other hidden evils are in everything. Trying to be selective though

    1. I have a friend who has ruined this colour to me forever. So emblazoned is her love of it, every purple flower in my garden, is offset with pink/orange and red, simply to neutralise its potentially dominant hue. I have often been intrigued by the nature of obsessives created via purple; does the colour come to the person or, the person find the colour?

      I have wanted to energetically poke about into this phenomenon many times (but resist – *rude) the irony being, in terms of crystal language, amethyst holds a platform for change and therefore potentially, addiction however, my dear friend will do anything to avoid letting go of her colour comfort blanket. I am certain gifts pertaining to her are unique and special however, musical funk midget she is not. I cannot forgive the colour damage that has been done. RIP purple.

      FYI, j’adore Prince

      1. ‘my dear friend will do anything to avoid letting go of her colour comfort blanket. I am certain gifts pertaining to her are unique and special however, musical funk midget she is not.’ Very funny!

      2. And well then, RIP purple for you. And most definitely this connection to your friend. Friendships last a lifetime, even when the personal connection has to go. There may always be a flash of memory sometime down the track that does not irritate and frown but when it does, so be it. It’s your truth.

        Other crystals hold a platform for change. Perhaps you held one unaccepted by (former) friend. I hate when friends turn. I really miss them even if I have to also get blindsided by dismissive and fuq it energies to help them/me leave their/our time. But i love how you offset every purple flower in your garden, that you have an amazing flower garden (ma’am my evolving pot garden is an homage to the cycles including the death for no reason), and that you are considering contrasts. Learning from you, thanks xoxo

        1. No no, I’m still friends with her. She has many redeeming qualities, despite her washing line looking like a quality street factory exploded one particular wrapper along it. I wouldn’t be that callouse 😶

  9. I most definitely think society needs this shift currently, everything feels passive but almost stagnant. That intoxicating allure like Jimi Hendrix definitely needs to blow through. Let’s call it ‘digital allure’ lol

  10. Strangely in parts of Italy Purple is considered an unlucky colour. The colour purple was and still worn by young women at funerals, black being the colour for older people. It is considered unlucky to wear purple when starting an event. When the perfume Poison ( remember that for purple from violet eyes herslef) was released it was considered a scandal in Italy, because to use that colour was so unlucky.

    1. it is so because it’s the colour worn by the clergy for good friday services, so being associated to the death of jesus it has become connected to/symbolic of death and catastrophe in general.

  11. Wish Upon a Star

    I love purple with touches of yellow.

    So auspicious.

    It brings up deep feelings of peace. Like maybe a sari I wore as an Indian girl in a previous life.

  12. What a fantastic story- purple has been my favourite colour since I was a kid. So pleased to hear its kooky history.

    1. Wish Upon a Star

      Yes it seems so right that a smart Pisces stumbled across it.

      You can’t make this stuff up.

      And I love how his Gemini friend helped him.

  13. I love purple. As a child, I thought the condy’s crystals (potssium permanganate) we bathed in for cuts and bites were magic crystals. This story reminds me of the awe I felt watching the alchemy in our simple bathtub !

  14. what a wonderful story! thank you mystic! and he looks so handsome! (to me at least) and this makeup is spot-on! I remember going through a purple eye make-up phase myself, and after starting to study astrology it turned out I had neptune trine my sun at the time. now that I think of it, I tend to wear purple during pisces season, even though to me the neptune colour par excellence is peacock blue/petrol.

  15. I just want to add that this story resonates with me in an amazing way. Must be because I am now heavily under the influence of Neptune myself. Neptune in Pisces is moving into an exact square to my natal Sun in Sagittarius this month. I was worried about this. But apparently there is potential magic in it too… :-). Thank you Mystic!

    1. I would love Mystic’s or anyone’s take on the Nep Sq Nep transit. I have all mystics reports and no mention.

      All the stuff I have read is do nothing major but having all these major transits in your early 40’s, I don’t want to waste time waiting them out!

      I do feel like I am trapped in Neptune’s Mauveine mists however.

  16. Oh, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this story! If this doesn’t ‘prove’ astrology, nothing will.
    I have always associated purple with the Victorian era.The Victorians loved violets and violet candy, as do I. They were also into séances with ghosts and into hypnosis. The ‘Neptune-ness’ of it all! Also, in my opinion, some of the loveliest vintage jewelry is from the Victorian era. It must have been a magical time. It is too bad that there had to be such a dark side to the magic, with the poison that the discovery of chemicals brought into our world.

  17. I love all the history that you provide here! Especially since it’s events/people that I would never have found out myself

      1. Agree. This is fascinating piece of research in Mystic’s beautifully crafted, subliminally enthralling words. Is purple still the colour symbol for female emancipation?

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