X-File: Saturn and Neptune

The major astrological event of 2016 may well be the square between Saturn and Neptune, an aspect that can create an air of nebulousness around our reality. Just what is real comes into question, and answers are hard to find. Thus it’s synchronistically fitting that The X-Files have returned to the Fox network for a mini-season this year.

The X-Files ran from 1993 to 2002, with FBI agents Mulder and Scully working on cases that appeared to have a paranormal dimension. Fox Mulder is Neptunian: his two mottos are “the truth is out there” and “I want to believe.” Dana Scully is his devoutly skeptical (to use Gary Schwartz’s term) Saturnian counterpart who hewed to a materialistic perspective despite nine seasons of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The ongoing theme of the show was that a government conspiracy was covering up the existence of UFOs, and The X-Files drew heavily on actual UFO information, from sightings by government officials to alien abduction cases.

With the return of the series, a new twist is apparent, although we aren’t far enough in to know where the show is headed. Early in this mini-season, Mulder becomes convinced that the entire conspiracy to cover up the existence of UFOs is in fact a falsehood generated to distract from a larger conspiracy: to use alien technology recovered at Roswell in 1951 as part of a military-industrial takeover of the United States and then the world. The show has ventured into some surprising territory, talking about government spying on citizens, the maintenance of (currently empty) prison camps by FEMA, the militarization of local police forces, and other issues usually too sensitive for mainstream media, including of course the ongoing dismissal of any reports of UFOs.

Yet the conspiracy behind the conspiracy does not stop at the television show. The troubling evidence of how the government is manipulating our information, and speculation as to what end they are doing so, hits a chord with many people. It does indeed seem surprising that a very popular television show would present these issues so boldly, even if the ultimate purpose were entertainment.

But is it?

Not everyone believes that the new season of The X-Files is for our viewing pleasure. Some folks have suggested that the show is in fact telling us what will happen, and how it will go down, in advance. But rather than a heroic hollering of the truth, the show is actually part of the conspiracy. In this version of things, those who are in control always say what will happen beforehand – it’s part of their strategy for one reason or another. Indeed, if there is any reality at all behind The X-Files, and factually there is, it seems strange that it is being broadcast on one of the most powerful media networks in the world. If the conspiracy-to-take-over-the-world hypothesis is correct (and I, personally, doubt it), then it seems almost certain that Fox, and The X-Files, are in on it – otherwise, it would never be broadcast. A recent special edition of Time devoted to conspiracy theories can be taken in the same vein. Even the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency got in on the game last week by releasing some declassified documents on UFOs from the 1940s and 1950s, either displaying rare candor, or...

To most people, however, the idea of such a massive conspiracy will seem outrageous, and the conspiracy theorists, as they are dismissively known, appear kind of kooky. But perhaps that is also part of the conspiracy – make the people who tell the truth appear to be crazy, and place what they say outside of the realm of possibility. Maybe even create a few conspiracy theorists, armed with insightful truth, but make them seem unstable or otherwise untrustworthy. Maybe that’s what The X-Files is... maybe that’s what the people who think that’s what The X-Files is are.


If so, you’re getting the idea. Saturn helps us to see concrete reality, Neptune incites us to go beyond it. When we can see through concrete, we gain insight but lose certainty, we answer one question with a dozen more. The more we want to know what’s real, the more we discover that nothing is. Conspiracies recede in endless regression through a hall of mirrors. As soon as you think you’ve found the truth, another layer of reality is seen behind it. The media answers to the government, the government to the Illuminati, they to the Pope, the Pope to aliens, aliens to...? God? (And who is He working for?).

It’s not that conspiracy theories are necessarily groundless, but that the ground itself keeps shifting. The more power attributed to the conspirators, the higher up we must go to find the real source. And that, ultimately, is the problem. For who can really be in control? Who really knows enough, or has enough power, to pull all the strings? The ego finds a hopeful message hiding within even the darkest conspiracy theory – that someone or something is in control. That’s just what your ego wants to hear.

Saturn leads us on a quest to find that ultimate source of power, Neptune reminds us that it doesn’t really exist. Saturn wants an ego to be in charge – modern conspiracies come from the same impulse that led us to anthropomorphize the divine into a god that looked like us. Neptune reminds us that the ego is a little wavelet existing for a moment on a vast ocean of being. With Saturn square Neptune, we can tilt towards Saturn and generate conspiracies (true or not), or we can tilt towards Neptune and stare into an egoless void. The latter alternative may be spiritually liberating, if you’re ready for it, but it’s terrifying in any event. Or we can watch The X-Files, and convince ourselves that “the truth is out there.”

Is it?