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The Aliens Within

(Reprinted with permission from the League of Western Fortean Intermediatists)

Why do humans create the aliens we create? A look at the evolution of aliens in popular culture, from an astrological standpoint.

by Anthony Douglas Perkins

This article is an introduction to a theory that I started researching and developing in 1997. It is about the presentation of aliens in popular film and television and how they appear to correspond to the astrological phenomenon of the movement of the planet Neptune through a particular astrological sign in the Western zodiac.

The aliens are “archetypes,” the kind that have been famously presented by people like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, in that they are products of a “mass unconscious” that expresses itself through art. The difference in this case is that my perspective adds the element of time, that is, that these particular things are not only created universally, but that these creations change, and that they vary, according to certain cycles of (what humans at least perceive as) time. In this case the cycles represented are the archetypes that are represented by the astrological signs in the Western zodiac.

I hope it will appeal to anyone interested in archetypal “phenomenon” and/or astrology, as well as fans of science fiction/fantasy. I welcome input from anyone with something to add or correct, in terms of specific elements that I mention. And as I will discuss the plot lines of a number of different films and television shows, be warned that there is a certain “spoiler alert” in effect.

In the Western system of astrology the different planets are supposed to represent different behavioral aspects in individuals, populations, and the world at large. The “inner” planets--the ones that are visible to the naked eye--are thought of as specific because they move relatively quickly in the sky and, for that reason, are used for the purpose of making determinations about the individual characteristics of a person. The “outer” planets are thought to represent generalities because they move slowly, and are thought of as “generational influences.” The most pronounced of these is Neptune. Neptune is the planet that is supposed to represent (among other things) the “mass unconscious,” the way everyone (at least in Western civilization), on a certain level, is thinking and acting (whether or not they are aware of it).

Neptune changes signs approximately every 14 years. During that time, society in general is thought to be under the influence of the sign Neptune is moving through. Everything that human society (at least in the West) does during those years will generally correspond to the characteristics of that particular sign. For example, from 1956 to 1970, Neptune was in Scorpio, and so those years had a “Scorpio” aspect to them. From 1970 to 1984, Neptune was in Sagittarius, so the times had a “Sagittarius” feel. Between 1984 and 1998, the influence of Capricorn was felt as Neptune moved through that sign. From 1998 to the present, Neptune has been in Aquarius, and thus an Aquarian influence has been felt. In 2111 Neptune will begin to move into Pisces.

One would need to write a book to explain this in a completely satisfying way, but if you start observing history, and in particular art, within the context of those periods of time, and are aware of the generally accepted characteristics of each sign, the Neptunian influence should become clear. As a musician, I first noticed it in trends in popular music.

Look at the periods when Neptune was transiting closest to the center of a particular sign; those being (respective to what I mentioned above) the years 1963-64 (Scorpio), 1977-78 (Sagittarius), 1991-92 (Capricorn), and 2005-06 (Aquarius). Notice the nature of the trends in music, fashion, art, comedy, culture, sexuality--and you will see the extent to which they correspond to the sign involved.

And as Neptune moves through one particular sign and into another, activity manifests as a blend of the “energies” of the two planets involved, so instead of times being, say, Scorpion or Sagittarian, they become a combination of the sign Neptune is exiting and the one it is entering, to the point where humans see the times they are living in seem to just “change.” Eras end and new ones begin.

The times to observe in this case would be the years 1956 (the Neptune transit from Libra to Scorpio), 1970 (the Neptune transit from Scorpio to Sagittarius), 1983 (the Neptune transit from Sagittarius to Capricorn), 1998 (the Neptune transit from Capricorn to Aquarius), and soon, 2111 (when Neptune transits from Aquarius to Pisces). Again, this is something else that is fairly is easy to observe when you start looking for it, and once again, something beyond the scope of this article.

By my observation, one of the many areas that this progression of “energies” manifests itself is in the way that fictional aliens are presented in film and television. Of these manifestations there are basically two types, which I refer to respectively as “aliens attack” and “aliens among us.” The former occurs when Neptune begins to go through the process of transiting from one sign into another, as mentioned above. It is during this time when one astrologically represented mindset begins to have its influence over the mass unconscious and human behavior in general, and the old astrologically represented mindset begins to fade. This new mode, being fundamentally different than the previous one, is perceived by the current unconscious mindset as “alien” and, sensing that the new mindset is becoming the more dominant one, the old mindset is threatened.

This conflict is subsequently represented in films and television programs in which “aliens attack.” For example, the first time that the “alien invasion” film was introduced into Western culture (i.e., War of the Worlds, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Attack of the Flying Saucers) was during the years 1953 to 1956, the time just before the transit was beginning to be made between Libra and Scorpio. In the year 1967, as Neptune began to get closer to entering from Scorpio into Sagittarius there was the television show The Invaders, which was about a secret alien attack on earth. The years running up to 1983, the year that Neptune transited from Sagittarius to Capricorn, gave us the infamous miniseries V, which told the story of aliens who come to earth posing as benevolent saviors, but really plan to exploit and ultimately destroy the planet. In the years before the transit from Capricorn to Aquarius (1996 to 1998) began, there were the films Independence Day, Starship Troopers and Mars Attacks! There are different reasons and strategies involved as to how, but in this case, the aliens are always out to destroy or enslave the earth for their own ends. These films usually come in a “wave” during these particular times and then stop and there are generally no more popular ones until the next time that this Neptune transition occurs.

This month's guest editorial is continued at LOWFI!  Read on, brother!