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  • Writer's pictureKarey Pohn

Depth Psychological Associations

LSD came into use as a therapeutic tool in the 1950s, and was originally used to simulate for a few hours the world of psychiatric patients.  Tarnas (2006) explains:


Recalling that the discoverer of LSD, Albert Hofmann, was born during the preceding Uranus-Neptune opposition, we can also recognize the characteristic themes of the Uranus-Neptune complex during this period in the introduction of psychedelic experimentation as a path of psychological change and spiritual epiphany, as reflected in Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception of 1954, Humphrey Osmond’s coining of the word psychedelic (“mind-manifesting”) in a letter to Huxley in 1956, Gordon Wasson’s meeting of the Mexican curandera Maria Sabina and publishing his influential Life magazine article on the sacred psilocybin mushroom in 1957, and the beginning of Stanislav Grof’s LSD research in Prague in the same years, developing an approach to psychotherapy that integrated psychoanalysis with an openness to transformative mystical experience.  It was also at this time that Huxley began writing his utopian novel Island, depicting a society of social compassion and individual freedom whose religious foundation was shaped by the communal ritual ingestion of a psychedelic medicine.  Like Huxley and Grof, Alan Watts, Allen Ginsberg, and Ken Kesey all began their psychedelic experiments during this Uranus-Neptune alignment in the 1950s.  These pioneering explorations would become major influences contributing to the more massive countercultural movement of social rebellion and emancipation during the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the 1960s. (pp. 395- 396)

This “technology of the sacred” opened up new worlds, and provided many with mystical experiences, not unlike the mystical experience William James had at the turn of the century.  And again, these themes reflect the archetypal aspects that were present in the heavens above, Uranus and Neptune in opposition at the beginning of the century and in a square at mid-century.  James (1985) in part said of his experience at the turn of the Twentieth Century:


No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded.  How to regard them is the question—for they are so discontinuous with ordinary consciousness.  Yet they may determine attitudes though they cannot furnish formulas, and open a region though they fail to give a map.  At any rate, they forbid a premature closing of our accounts with reality.  (p. 388)

Through Grof’s LSD research, begun during the Uranus-Neptune suware of the 1950s, we have indeed been given a map, a new cartography of the psyche that takes into account many different regions: Freud’s personal unconscious; the Rankian perinatal level; the collective unconscious described by Jung, and the transpersonal domain.  Grof’s cartography of the Neptunian realm of the unconscious, derived from his work in these nonordinary states of consciousness.  Grof's cartography is also Neptunian in that includes and synthesizes the different work of his depth psychological predecessors, interconnecting and unifying, instead of differentiating and separating.


During the 1950s Jung’s major works had a very Uranus-Neptune quality to them as well.  At this time he wrote, Aion (1951/1979), “Synchronicity” (1951-1952/1973), the “Forward to the I Ching” (1950/1989), The Answer to Job (1952/1989), Mysterium Coniunctionis (1955-1956/1977), the “Psychology of the Trickster Figure” (1954/1990), Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth (1958/1970), and The Undiscovered Self (1957/1978).  In both “Synchronicity” and Aion, Jung discusses astrology.  For example in Aion Jung writes about the Christian myth and the sign of Pisces: “the appearance of Christ coincided with the beginning of a new aeon, the age of the Fishes.  A synchronicity exists between the life of Christ and the objective astronomical event, the entrance of the spring equinox into the sign of Pisces." (Jung, 1961/1989, p. 221). During this time, Jung (1961/1989) was working on his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.  Tarnas (2006) mentions that Jung’s descriptions of the divine shows a combination of Uranus-Neptune qualities, and that the notion of synchronicity reflects this archetypal complex as well:


Similarly, Jung repeatedly described the appearance of the numinous as the abrupt intrusion of another reality into the ordinary conscious state—as something that suddenly crosses one’s path, that stops one up short, that is imbued with an uncanny, challenging, often destabilizing quality.  It overwhelms one with its alterity.  It is autonomous, trickster-like, beyond anticipation or control. 

Such an understanding and experience can be seen as underlying Jung’s entire psychology, with its distinctive emphasis on the unpredictable, autonomous, and ultimately spiritual nature of the unconscious in its interaction with the conscious ego.  Through this lens Jung understood the nature and function of dreams, of psychological symptoms, of slips and errors, of synchronicities, of suddenly intrusive events whether inner or outer, of “fate”—of the entire modus operandi of the archetypal dimension as it unpredictably impresses itself upon human experience.  The very phenomenon of synchronicity can be recognized as a vivid expression of precisely these two archetypal principles in close interplay: the metaphysical trickster, the unexpected correspondence of inner and outer events revealing a deeper coherence of meaning in life than had previously been assumed possible, the inexplicable coincidence carrying a numinous charge, the sudden revelation of a spiritual purpose working within and subverting the apparent randomness of existence.  Here we can recall that Jung’s seminal paper on synchronicity—itself something of a cultural awakening to a transcendent dimension, disruptive of established assumptions and conventional logic, and not without its own confusing ambiguities—was published during the Uranus-Neptune square of the 1950s. 
Jung’s enduring testament to this conception of the numinous that informed his psychology and his own life experience, so consistently expressive of the Uranus-Neptune complex and the trickster-like unpredictable spontaneity of the divine, was the ancient Latin motto he inscribed above the door of his house on the shore of Lake Zürich, where it can still be read today: Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.  ("Called or not called, [the] God will come”). p. 403

Tarnas (2005) relates that synchronicity itself is characteristic of the Uranus-Neptune archetypal complex:


And equally suggestive of this motif is of course Jung’s concept of synchronicity itself, with its focus on spontaneous coincidental patterns of events that suddenly reveal unexpected meanings and an underlying unity of the inner and outer worlds.  In all these, a common archetypal theme is evident: the revelation of a long-hidden pattern of intelligibility, an intangible but encompassing principle of order—visible only with a certain kind of vision, often with numinous overtones, even in the most scientific contexts—unifying that which had been separate and unintelligible, and evoking a sense of sudden liberation, awakening, and unexpected illumination. (prepublication manuscript)

Now that we have seen at the turn of the century, and in the 1950s, how the archetypal combination of Uranus-Neptune plays out, I need to pause and give honorable mention to Saturn as the best supporting actor, since Saturn in Disneyland’s natal chart plays a prominent role. Saturn is in Scorpio in Disneyland’s chart, which Lisa Dale Miller (personal communication, March 5, 2005) notes is all about control behind the scenes.  Saturn is also situated in the first house, signifying how you are seen, your disposition and approach.  The first house also represents beginnings.  Scorpio is ruled by Pluto and is concerned with hidden things and the truth, as well as transformation and secrets.  Scorpio is also concerned with power, manipulation and control.


And indeed, as we shall see, all of the wonder and illusion of Disneyland is made possible through lots of structure, control, and planning—all behind the scenes.  Since Scorpio rules the shadowy side power, sex and control, we will definitely come across some of Saturn’s shadows here, too.


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