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Source: the mean streets of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, via Wikipedia.

Jupiter went direct in Leo on Thursday, and this seems like as good a time as any to address the role that planet plays in astrology: specifically, sorting out the differences between the roles of Jupiter and Neptune. I get the feeling those waters have become a little muddied in the past few years. Also: I admit it. It’s an excuse to talk about Daredevil, which everyone is doing and for good reason.

Astrology is not a religion, but you probably won’t be surprised to learn that most astrologers are fairly heavily into “spiritual” matters one way or another. It’s pretty hard not to be when every day you see how the entire Universe appears to conspire to influence the tiny daily details of your individual life. In theory, one could be both an astrologer and a hard-core atheist, but that’s not something I’ve ever seen. Any astrologer I’ve ever spoken to, regardless of how they react when you use the word “God,” has some sort of spiritual belief system they ascribe to.

Spirituality in the birth chart isn’t limited to one factor, but if you ask astrologers where “spirituality” comes from in the birth chart, many will answer “Neptune” first. That’s not a bad answer: Neptune brings with it the ability to see beyond the immediate facts and material reality, as all the Outer Planets do in their own way.

However, that answer is both incomplete and, if that’s where you stop, essentially wrong. Astrologers love Neptune because it’s so big and powerful and fuzzy, and it’s capable of embracing many contradictions. If life was a high school exam, the answers Neptune would give on its test would technically be correct, but they would be written in the wrong language and it would lose marks for not showing it work.

If what you are looking for is a much more practical and grounded sense of spirituality, one with easy-to-delineate rules, that’s where Jupiter comes in. Neptune’s very nature makes it difficult to pin down and codify in practical terms, but that’s where Jupiter does its best work. Jupiter is not afraid to get its spiritual hands dirty as it expresses its beliefs down here on The Material Plane. Furthermore, I have a sneaking suspicion that many astrologers prefer Neptune’s variety of spirituality to Jupiter’s, because the answers that Neptune gives us are inherently fuzzy and difficult to understand sometimes, so you can be forgiven for getting them wrong. With Jupiter though? As so many judges have said in one form or another over the ages, “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Neptune certainly understands that there are spiritual rules – it just can’t tell you how to really play by them. Jupiter is all about moral systems: traditional religion and law and order and codexes and rituals and such.

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This brings me to the new Netflix series Daredevil, based on the Marvel comic series of the same name. And no, it’s not just because like many of you I am binge-watching it all weekend when I can. That’s another thing Jupiter enjoys: a good binge.

Like most superheroes, Daredevil is a guy on a moral crusade. He’s doing what he can to make the world a more just place. That’s nothing new for superheroes. In fact much the same can be said for a lot of super-villains as well. Magneto is mostly interested in fighting for the survival of his people. Dr. Doom wants to usher in a Golden Era for the world — by his taking control of it. The Joker knows that life is a joke and death is the punchline, and he wants else everyone to know that too. And so on.

What makes Daredevil different from most depictions of superheroes is his undeniable Catholicism. He’s not a devout three times a week Catholic: like many people, he isn’t involved with the church on a daily basis, but it has certainly shaped his character and informs his actions.

In the last decade superhero movies and TV series have become gigantic mass media hits. But it wasn’t until I started watching Daredevil that I realized that their approach is perhaps little Neptunian for my tastes. Sure, Neptune has plenty to do with fantasy, but what really grabs your attention with Daredevil is its more Jupiterian aspects. Sure, it’s great that you’re using your superpowers to make the world a better place, but even a fictional world follows rules. Neptune is the planet that makes you want to have superpowers and dress up in a costume and go beat the bad guys. But on a more practical (and at the same time, a more operatic scale) Jupiter is the planet that addresses the practical concerns that arise from being “spiritual” in a world that often, frankly, doesn’t give a hoot about such things.

By day, Daredevil is Matt Murdock, a lawyer. By definition, he understands the rules regarding what’s legal/right and what isn’t. But at night he puts on the mask and administers justice in a more direct and physical way.

Traditional religion has served as the bridge between the spiritual/higher-minded ideals we all want to believe in, and the practical nuts-and-bolts of existing in an imperfect world with imperfect people. In my experience, many Catholics (current, lapsed, or in between) have a real understanding of how those two can come into conflict. That religion certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on that sort of thing, but if you do a quick Google search, the words “Catholic” and “conflicted” show up together on an awful lot of webpages.

Yes, Daredevil is legally blind but has his other senses enhanced to compensate. But he can’t fly or lift a truck over his head. He has an athletic body, but a cracked rib hurts him as much as it would you or me.

Like any other planet, Jupiter will be “on your side” if you learn how to work with it. Dream all the dreams you want of a perfect world and Neptune will thank you for that. That’s Neptune’s job. But what do you do to make the world a better place, either in general or one person at a time, when the rubber meets the road? That’s Jupiter’s job, and don’t you forget it. If you do, eventually Jupiter will find a way to remind you – whether it’s through the loss of your friends, your income, or your freedom.

And yes: next time I will get back to part two of my blog entry on Venus in Gemini like I promised. Just cut me some slack, okay? Just like with you or with Daredevil, sometimes it’s hard to sort out what is the right and best thing to do first.

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