Besides researching and writing about music, I practice astrology as a hobby. I tend to favor watching the trends caused by the outer planets, Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus because these planets stay many years in a sign. Uranus stays around 7 years, Pluto and Neptune around 12-14 years slowly transiting a sign. In fact, since the discovery of Neptune during the Victorian Age (September 23, 1846) the planet has only made one round of the zodiac, starting and ending in Aquarius. On April 4, Neptune transited into its home sign, Pisces. I find this significant because I work in a field that is governed by Neptune and I also have this large and beautiful planet smack on my MC/10th house of my natal chart (career). So it’s no accident that I discovered the healing power of music since Neptune basically rules my chart. Incidentally, I think its fate that I write this article because Neptune was discovered when it was transiting at 26 degrees Aquarius and my second house starts at 26 degrees Aquarius. Here are my discoveries of trends produced by the Neptune in Aquarius transit.
The Aquarian Years (1846 to ? and 1999-2011)
While trend-setting Neptune transited through Aquarius (1999-2011) we saw the rise of the digital age. Computers and digital technology (including synthesizers and drums) ruled supreme in music production and music performance. Folkloric music, jazz, and even classical found them in an uneasy marriage to electronics. Aquarius rules computers and electronics. The younger generations of course embraced this digital-music marriage, but not only the younger music buyers. Older more revolutionary types who remembered the disco era (also fueled by drum machines) and more recently new wave pop also flocked to the electronic music, even if to some it felt somewhat cold and detached (Aquarian traits). We experienced a sense that something revolutionary or even rebellious was occurring with the music industry and we saw the trend moving away from the collective (unusual for Aquarius) and towards the individual with the emergence of personal music listening devices.
On a more Aquarian note we did see a revolution in music distribution and production. While the do-it-yourself music tradition had been around at least since the late-1980s, it flourished with computer technology. Now, musicians could record themselves using Pro Tools and distribute their music via mp3 technology. They could easily burn disks on their computer to give to friends or send out as promos to record labels, if they chose to actually work with a label. Marketing music changed too and actually went in a more collective direction with the arrival of social networks such as MySpace and Face Book. Musicians who couldn’t afford to pay to someone to build a website could blog instead or join any number of sites where musicians could post profiles and sell product. Power to the People seemed to be the motto worn by musical acts during the Neptune transit in Aquarius.
The last time Neptune transited through Aquarius we saw a Leonine (Leo is the opposite of Aquarius) fixation of theatrics and big musical productions such as Richard Wagner’s extravagant opera and also Leonine, the composers larger-than-life ego to match the stage productions. This was the era of romantic classical music and poetry when women fainted at concerts given by Franz Liszt. Decades later, French Impressionist composers such as Maurice Ravel born in 1875 and Claude Debussy born in 1862 would rebel against the big music productions by composing diffused music for smaller ensembles. While they didn’t compose during Neptune’s transit through Pisces, Piscean qualities appeared in the otherworldly music of these composers who orchestrated pieces featuring harps and flutes. The musicians also composed for ballet and compositions such as Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun” which brought the composer fame through controversy. I believe Neptune was transiting through Taurus during this era, but definitely not Pisces. Still with Neptune’s return to Pisces today, I feel that we’ll be hearing more French Impressionist music in the next 13 years because to me these composers embody Neptune in their work.
This leads me to wonder if the ego-bearing pop music of the baby boomer generation (Rollingstones etc) will finally fade from the limelight with Neptune transiting in Pisces. These musicians came to fame when Pluto transited in Leo, thus the theatrics, big stage shows, and big what's-in-it-for-me egos. Piscean energy dissolves egos and prepares the soul for transcendence.
Healing Effects of Neptune in Aquarius
The discovery of the Mozart Effect happened before Neptune transit in Aquarius and Don Campbell’s book “The Mozart Effect” was published in 1997 when Neptune was in Capricorn. However, this book spurred consciousness around music, and especially classical music. We saw sound healing and psychoacoustic research go main stream and more people became aware of tuning forks used for aligning chakras. With new technologies in the medical field, we now had the capacity to study how music affects the various parts of the brain and central nervous system. Even PBS got into the act with its release of a documentary focusing on music and science. (See reviews of the PBS documentary and books by Oliver Sacks and Daniel Levitan on this blog).
This of course wasn’t the first time in history where music was employed for healing purposes, but the sound healing practices of ancient times had long been discarded or so we thought, except for those pesky memories harboring in our collective DNA. We asked ourselves what else we could do with music and healing. And it felt like a silent revolution was unfolding every time a hospital or hospice staff discovered that music heals stress or boosts immune systems. Study after study revealed that some types of music relieve stress and helped with a variety of medical conditions, even boost I-Q’s (not a permanent effect).
However, as Aquarius tends to do, researchers grew too analytical and dissected music in the same way that people researching medicinal herbs and nutrition reduce plants to chemical components. Music like food should be looked at in its entirety, but Aquarius tends to overanalyze and even employ cold detachment towards its subject. On the other hand, with all things equal (Aquarius promotes equality) dogs were allowed the healing effects of classical music. (See reviews and articles on Through a Dog’s Ear project).
Also bearing a detached quality, we listened to sacred music out of context. I found myself sitting in cathedrals listening to sacred renaissance music with people who over intellectualized it to the point of dry academia. I think as Neptune moves into the spiritual sign of Pisces that also rules Christianity and other religions, we will see the return of sacred music for the sake of connecting with The Divine Source. Unlike Aquarius, Pisces can’t detach from its feelings. This is a sign that wants to merge with music and not separate itself even from the musicians performing the music. Even singing divine kirtan chants will take on a whole new spiritual dimension during this next Neptune trend. Some listeners won’t be able to handle this wave of spiritual energy and will escape into various addictions. Addiction especially to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes falls under Pisces. So I hope the ban on smoking in public places especially concert venues isn’t lifted. On the downside we will see addiction to music increase as well as, emotional and mental problems directly related to music. Music will prove healing for some people and not for a minority with specific brain problems. In either case, music for healing purposes will appear often in news sources. Mass consciousness will develop around the healing potential of music.
I have covered some general areas. If you are a musician or sound healer and you want to explore this topic further I suggest you meet with a qualified mundane astrology focused on the outer trend-setting planets. I also left out Uranus transit into Aries (which began on March 11, 2011) and Pluto’s transit in Capricorn which does affect the business side of music as far as the current structure goes. When Pluto transits into Aquarius around 2024 (?) the music industry might have already dissolved which Aquarius will replace with creative commons.
|Maurice Ravel, Wikipedia|
In all types of music I predict a greater focus on a musician or composer’s ability to create music that transcends boundaries. More diffused music with rich emotional tones will replace the robotic pop music that ruled the airwaves for the last 13 years. Less emphasis will be placed on the posturing and theatrics of the Pluto in Leo generation (baby boomer) bands and we will focus more on a musician’s spiritual or lack of spiritual awareness. The music will be seen as both the vehicle and the end-product dissolving boundaries between the musicians and the music. The audience will experience more transcendental moments and seek out sacred music for the sake of experiencing the sacred.
In the realm of classical music, Mozart’s light will dim somewhat and we’ll see an increased interests in Piscean musicians such as Nino Rota, Maurice Ravel and Frederic Chopin. Bach will still stay in vogue, but mostly with the academic crowd and even then the music will be listened to at face value as opposed to listening for architectural genius moments. We will emphasize music for dance both in the classical and popular realms. Tangos and waltzes will take precedence over the more sizzling dance styles, but those will return when Neptune transit into fiery Aries in 2024. We will also see a dance craze with more young people choosing to study some kind of dance or another. Collective and trance dancing will increase in popularity to the point of main stream, even grandmothers will try trance dancing at least once. We'll see a bond between music, musicians, and animals with a greater emphasis on interspecies musical communication.
In the realm of pop music, computers will play a lesser role and the music will soften around the edges. We’ll see an increase in love songs sung by modern troubadours with a greater emphasis on poetry. Musicians of all stripes will spout spiritual messages and instead of singing about brotherhood (an Aquarius theme), they will sing about unity (that’s when we all merge into one giant being). The music of Mali will decrease in popularity and possibly Asian, Celtic, Hawaiian and indigenous music will increase in popularity.
The humanitarian music projects that started in Neptune in Aquarius will continue, but the emphasis will focus on creating unity in communities as opposed to building community. While music of other nations will still captivate music lovers, a greater emphasis on merging one tradition with another will increase, but this time with more effectiveness than previous attempts. Music festivals will return as more people will choose to listen to music as a collective than alone on their computers or I-Pods. We’ll see less not more social networking of musicians online and more musicians meeting to jam such as an increase in drum circles where participants can also dance.
As far as the healing arts, sound healing will continue but will display a greater arrange of emotions and spiritual components. We will see less of an analytical approach to how music affects the mind-body, and more emphasis on the soul’s connection to music. A greater emphasis will be placed on the intangibles of music, or the invisible music realm. We’ll also see an increase on work such as Dr. Masaru Emoto’s research on music’s effect on water. Not only will we hear more whale songs, but more musicians will take up David Rothenberg’s lead and perform music with sea mammals. It will be interesting to see what direction Rothenberg goes now that the Aquarian electronic element has been replaced with Piscean trends.
Finally, look for a music evolutionary event to occur early this month when Venus transits through the remainder of Pisces (Venus moves into Aries on April 21, 2011). And with several planets moving into Taurus in May, watch for music events that coincide with sextiles between Neptune in Pisces and faster moving planets in early degrees of Pisces. Taurus/Venus provides that pleasure effect and also puts a greater emphasis on healing the planet. Taurus rules the throat so keep your eye out for something in the realm of vocalists and singing. This is a time to find your unique song, whether a spiritual chant or an operatic aria and sing it forth.
Photographs: Neptune, Neptune's Clouds, Maurice Ravel (Piscean musician) and Astor Piazzolla (Piscean musician) and dolphin from Wikipedia.