Conjunctions As Singletons
Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage; you can’t have one without the other.
The conjunction is perhaps the most difficult aspect to interpret. The two planets involved are harnessed together. One does not function without the other.
The energies of the planets may be complementary, like Sun and Jupiter or Mercury and Uranus, or very disparate, like Moon and Uranus or Sun and Neptune.
As you can see the Sun/Jupiter and Mercury/Uranus conjunctions combine Yang planets, while Moon/Uranus and Sun/Neptune combine Yin with Yang planets. Some combinations of Yin and Yang, such as Mercury/Venus, are neutral. They “cancel each other out” and generally are expressed as a “balanced mind” or a “refined mind.” It is often reflected in a fondness for literature, writing, and the arts.
Another inner planet conjunction, Venus/Mars, tends to activate the emotions, the passions, as well as the sense of aesthetics. If this conjunction is in a Venus ruled sign, Taurus or Libra, Venus will dominate, and if it falls Aries or Scorpio, Mars tends to be more influential.
When a conjunction is found as a singleton, such as the only planets in Earth or Universal signs, or social houses it may tend to dominate the life, or to be repressed, projected, or subject to any number of psychological defense mechanisms, just as a solitary singleton planet is. It is quite rare to find the inner planet conjunctions as singletons. More often we find outer planet conjunctions or an inner/outer planetary conjunction.
An example of an inner/outer, Yang/Yin singleton conjunction is found in Jon’s chart. The Mars/Neptune in Virgo in the 6th is the only mutable energy. Mars rules the Ascendant and Neptune rules the 12th house. There is a hint here of identify confusion as well as an unconscious drive to escape from the past or into it. Only through the area of work and service can he find a sense of himself. We might expect to discover he has some peculiar sexual issues or attitudes as well. Of course, in this chart there are two other things that point toward identity issues, not the least of which is a Sun singleton, the only Air sign and only Cardinal sign planet. The Sun is weakened in Libra, the sign of its Fall, and as it is located on the Western half of the chart, indicating that he would tend to be vulnerable to the opinions of others in order to define himself through a sense of belonging.
Having a Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in the first house of self-image is not helpful. It tends to give an inferiority/superiority complex. There is a great deal about his life that has required him to do “balancing acts.” His relationships and work have been very problematic. There is a long string of marriages and innumerable job efforts behind him.
He is very brilliant, but even a series of advanced degrees have not helped to overcome the inferiority/superiority complex. He has given up trying to compete (Mars) in the real world, preferring to rely on his imagination (Neptune). He writes romance novels under a very feminine nom de plume. In this way, by using an active (Mars) imagination (Neptune), he allowed the singleton conjunction to dominate his life, a case of over-compensation. As often happens with over-compensation, Jon has been rewarded with success in the way of royalty checks and a degree of renown within romance writers circle.
More interesting on a mundane and societal level are outer planet conjunctions when they occur as a singleton in a natal chart. Generally speaking, an outer planet singleton conjunction implies that the person carries the tenor of his or her times, l’air du temps, and may channel many elements of the collective unconscious or conscious into his life and work, for better or for worse.
Every few generations there is a conjunction, or New Moon Phase, of two outer planets. When these outer, or transpersonal, planets conjoin, it correlates with a shift in the collective consciousness. These conjunctions mark the beginning in a next, new, step in evolutionary development on the planet. They present opportunities for masses of people, for civilization, to move forward (though often while the process is going on, it appears to move backwards!). Outer planet conjunctions mark global initiations. We know that as a whole, people tend to resist change, and these conjunctions impel change. The choice is often clearer and more conscious for an individual, but there is a fated quality for the masses of humanity.
The most recent conjunction was the Uranus/Neptune in Capricorn in the 1990′s. We will have several decades to wait to see how individuals with this as a singleton turn out. In the 1960′s (1963 to 1968) there was a Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo. This is another Yang/Yin combination like the 1990′s conjunction.
So, there is a built-in tension and stress. Uranus with Pluto in Virgo corresponded to the era of the first manned space exploration, the first Moonwalk by the U.S.A. astronaughts. The first cosmonaught, Uri Gagarin, circled the earth in Sputnik, which was launched within days of Pluto’s going into Virgo (the power of technical expertise). While they were in their teens, the Uranus/Pluto generation had a large number of suicides among its members. Perhaps as young people they felt they could not live up to the Virgo ideal of perfection. Drug use rose, particularly the stimulant cocaine.
Uranus/Pluto loves the power of “hyper-mind.” Computer technology was developed. The people of this generation are just now entering the prime period of their influence and power. I suspect many of the recent terrorists have this conjunction, whether as a singleton or part of a stellium (four or more planets in one sign or one house), prominent in their charts. Virgo, in terms of religion, can be very literal in its interpretation, and it easily falls into fundamentalist doctrines (a fundamentalist is demented because he has no fun). Leo is the sign of fun, pleasure and self-expression; the sign following it, Virgo, tries to “clean up its act;” insisting on “purity” it may deny itself fun. Only in Libra do we find a balance between enjoyment and duty.
Two close acquaintances of the author have the Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo as the only Earth sign energy. They are employed in the TV news media; so they have the opportunity to be of influence on public opinion, or at least, they are laying the groundwork for that later, as recognized “authorities.” They seem progressive in their outlook (Uranus) within the bounds of social conformity (Virgo is a social sign), and they are powerfully (Pluto) efficient in their work (Virgo). What is most noticeable in them is the tendency toward efficiency, expertise, and neatness (almost compulsive – Pluto, neatness -Virgo) along with great attention to detail. Right now, Pluto transiting through Sagittarius is triggering this conjunction for their whole generation by squaring it.
It is important to be aware that the idea of a conjunction being a singleton has not been researched very much. Richard Idemon, who presented a great deal of material on singletons, did not consider that a conjunction could be regarded as a singleton. He did make an interesting observation about outer planets as they function in psychology.
Ideally, the three outer planets should work as a team, a troika. One energy pulls to the left, the other to the right and the central pulls straight ahead. The whole of the three working together gives great strength and balance. Uranus represents the universal, higher or “Hyper-Mind;” Neptune symbolizes universal, or “Hyper-Love,” and Pluto correlates to universal Will, or “Hyper-Power.” This is what we would call the “soul” or our “Higher Power.”
When Uranus is with Pluto but lacks the energy of Neptune, there is a tendency to get the despot, or the mad scientist, who might say, “Let’s drop the bomb, spread the anthrax, etc., and see what happens, how many die, how long does it take, etc.” With Neptune unintegrated, there is a lack of compassion.
Uranus with Neptune and minus Pluto tends to give the starry-eyed dreamer, the “New Ager,” or the “bliss ninny” who has not the power (Pluto) to put his or her utopian (Uranus/Neptune) ideas into action. The early 1990′s saw Uranus conjunct Neptune in Capricorn. It correlated with the financial (Capricorn) boom based on the dream of ever expanding (Neptune) technology (Uranus). The Neptune bubble burst recently, as Neptune bubbles are wont to do. There was too little power to stabilize the glamour of technological and financial fantasies. This conjunction saw a rise in fundamentalism all over the world. The past (Capricorn) was romanticized, and many rebelled against progressive (Uranus) ideas and directions. Where Pluto in Sagittarius was unintegrated in the personal and collective psyche, xenophobia (fear of foreigners of those who are different) began to grow.
The combination of Neptune plus Pluto minus Uranus tends to produce the fanatic, the “true believer” who does not want to be confused with the facts (Uranus is the mind, recall). “Pie in the sky” ideals or ideologies combined with a desire for power that is devoid of higher reason, is a seductive, and dangerous thing!
The last conjunction of Neptune and Pluto occurred in the 1890′s in Gemini. [For many decades since the mid-1940’s we have been living under the opening sextile of that conjunction.] The Gemini archetype likes to experiment. It is the first Air sign, and it is the archetypal mental individual, devoid of feeling, at least about other people. Gemini is a Personal sign; it may have a sense of its own feelings, but it cannot relate that to others. That function does not occur until we reach Libra. Neptune and Pluto are both Yin energies, capable of great seductiveness. Neptune is infinitely charming and glamorous, while Pluto is overpoweringly hypnotic. Some glamorous and compelling new ideas took over in the collective. The Nazi movement, one manifestation of those energies, was triggered in the mid-1930′s by the square from transiting Neptune in Virgo and another square from transiting Saturn in Pisces.
THE TRUE BIZZAROS
There is a tape available through the History Channel entitled, Hitler‘s Henchmen. It includes photographic biographies of Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, and Paul Joseph Goebbels and other top ranking Nazis. These three men are examples of the monstrous misuse that can be made of spiritual (Neptune) power (Pluto). They tried to use transpersonal energies for personal gain, toward personal goals and ambitions. To do that inevitably results in disaster for the person himself, and sometimes, as in this case, for the entire world. Two of these men, Hitler and Goebbels have the Neptune/Pluto conjunction as a singleton. Göring had the closest conjunction, placed in his 7th house. The only other Mutable energy in his chart was an unaccepted Venus in Sagittarius.
Countless astrologers have analyzed Adolf Hitler’s chart for the past sixty years or so. The late Barbara H. Watters has an excellent chapter on it in Sex and the Outer Planets. The conjunction is placed in Hitler’s 8th house of death, transformation and collective resources. It is the only Mutable energy in a chart that is otherwise dominated by Fixed and Cardinal energies, the “steam roller” combination. Hitler had a huge and effective propaganda machine. Both Neptune and Pluto can be associated with propaganda and advertising. Neptune uses it to deceive and hide the truth while Pluto uses it to distort reality in order to manipulate others. Hitler was a formidably grotesque orator (Gemini). Yet his many ranting and shouting speeches had a deeply moving and erotically hypnotizing effect on the majority of the German people in the 1930′s. People have offered the thought that Hitler was overcome or overshadowed at some point by some sort of superhuman entity or energy. He was certainly overtaken by the transpersonal energies of his own unconscious and that of the collective. With Neptune’s urge to surrender and ability to enter mediumistic or “channel” states, and Pluto’s association with possession and paranoia, that might indeed have happened. With this conjunction in the 8th house of sex, his horrendous politics were motivated by a monstrously perverted, albeit sublimated, sex drive.
In the chapter on Saturn as a Singleton, we looked at the chart of Paul Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels was a fanatical Nazi who was instrumental in bringing Hitler and the Nazi Party to power in 1933. Once the Party was in power and Hitler was the Fürher, Goebbels became the official propagandist for Germany. He was in total control of all public communications media. The singleton conjunction is the only energy in the upper, or southern, hemisphere of the chart, and it straddles the 11th house cusp. Neptune and Pluto rule his 4th and 8th houses; so there was something both nurturing and erotic and ultimately deadly for him in being a important member of his peer group (the Nazi Party). With the exception of the conjunction, the chart is very tight, confined within a square from Moon in Capricorn and Jupiter in Libra. All those planets fall between the South and North Nodes of the Moon. In Vedic astrology, the outer planets are not considered. When all the planets fall within the confines of the Nodes, it is called “Kala Sarpa Yoga” – the Serpent of Time Yoga. This is called a dreaded combination because there is a sort of retributive justice that follows the person through the undulations of time, and hidden forces creep stealthily through the life. Of course as Goebbels had tied his whole life and identity to Hitler and the Nazi party, he had no choice but to commit suicide at the end of World War II. He killed his wife and six children along with himself in Hitler’s bunker in Berlin.
Hitler’s second in command was the vainglorious, egotistical megalomaniac, Hermann Göring. As a young man, he was handsome and adventurous, a rather swashbuckling character. As time went on, he became a morphine addict in addition to being a compulsive eater of sweets. He grew portly, puffy-faced and glassy-eyed from the drugs and sugar. His Neptune/Pluto conjunction is almost exact in his 7th house of relationships. While it is not technically a singleton (because the unaspected Venus is also in a Mutable sign), it combines the rulers of his first house and his 4th. He had an obsessive admiration for Hitler and wanted to be near him as much as possible. And yet, there were numerous occasions in which Göring made great efforts, or went to extreme lengths, to undermine or betray Hitler’s plans. His behavior in that relationship was remarkably schizoid, quite in keeping with an angular and exact Neptune/Pluto conjunction. The conjunction forms part of a Yod comprised of a sextile for the conjunction and Mars, both quincunx Uranus in the 12th house of addiction, imprisonment, madness and suicide. The Allies at the end of the War captured him. While in prison he committed suicide by biting into a cyanide capsule.
A HOLY MAN
Lest we start to think that all Neptune/Pluto in Gemini people were murderous, insane monsters, let’s look at another chart from the same era, that of Paramahansa Yogananda. Yogananda brought yoga and kriyayoga practices from India to the West, particularly the United States in the 1920′s and established his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship, in the 1930′s. His conjunction singleton is the only energy in a universal house, the 10th house of “calling” or vocation. Although the Moon is slightly to the 12th house side of the ASC, it can be considered as conjunct the ASC. I had the opportunity to see Yogananda in person when I was a child. That Moon in Leo shone on all and everyone, all the time!
Yogananda expressed his spiritual power through his teachings, lectures and many writings. His Autobiography of a Yogi is a beloved classic. Now, nearly 50 years since his passing, Yogananda’s influence on the spiritual development of others is still powerful. He was only one week older than Hermann Göring was; so many planetary placements are the same. He shares the Yod with the conjunction of Neptune/Pluto, Mars and Uranus. Uranus is a singleton as the only Water sign planet, in the third house of communication. In this chart, the three outer planets worked together as, ideally, they should. Yogananda stressed the importance of the will or will power in spiritual growth. The Nazis stressed the will to power for personal agrandizement and domination of others. Yogananda found revolutionary ways to teach spiritual truths to the world. He also shares with Göring a Sun in Capricorn square Jupiter in Aries. While Göring fell into megalomania, Yogananda chose to give his ego, or personal will (Sun) to the Greater Purpose and the Divine Guru (Jupiter). Yogananda’s chart was graced by a grand trine in Fire (the spiritual and spirited element) comprised of the Moon, Mercury and Jupiter. This gives stability and good fortune. That configuration was what allowed him to use the Yod, along with other challenging aspects in the chart, for the highest purposes.
When we look at the charts of two men, Göring and Yogananda, we are faced with the fact that the chart does not tell everything. First, it does not reflect the person’s level of consciousness. And, second, it does not give the person’s family and cultural background. These two men were raised in very different cultures with different values. Their early family lives were quite different as well. One man led an exemplary life while the other man chose the path of infamy.
Example Charts Used in the Article
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.