by Boots Hart, CAP

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Neptune’s Coming to Power in a Subsiding Polarization of Grace


Neptune's Rings
photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Discovered on September 23, 1846 when at 25 Aquarius 53, planet Neptune has recently finished its first (human-known) return to its discovery degree and now sits at 29 critically intense degrees of Aquarius, poised to enter Pisces.

In Pisces, Neptune rules the outcome of all things Piscean, which considering says a passel of things. First of all, with Neptune having completed its first known round of the zodiac, we are ‘leaving something behind’ (or letting it go) as we enter a new phase of growth – one which began back in the 1800’s. Back then, humans were still finding their way around Earth. Now we’re figuring out what to do with it – and not to it, because after all, this is where we live.

With Pisces being the sign which follows Aquarius (and Aquarius being the sign before Pisces), what we have between them is a semi-sextile. And semi-sextiles are typified by a grinding, ego bruising sort of struggle. We don’t want to not have things our way…and it may not be the ‘thing’ which is important to us – what we really don’t want to go through is dealing with our own feelings, whether that entails realizing we were wrong, that we created more of a problem instead of fixing it, that others don’t ‘like’ the way we think…etcetera.

If Neptune was discovered when in Aquarius (which it was), that also makes Pisces the ‘2nd harmonic’ to Aquarius. That makes Pisces – and all things Piscean – and our ability to deal with all things Pisces (which includes everything from spirituality to charity to art/inspiration/innocence to mercy to communal/universal acceptance to rejection, abandonment, addiction and fears from A to Z) …those things become the ‘resources’ and source of self worth for Neptune as we think of it as having been discovered in Aquarius. 

From Pisces to Aquarius, we have a whole 12th house vibe (harmonic), what with Aquarius being the sign right behind Pisces. To the Piscean world, that makes Aquarius the sign of universality – which commerce and society has been during the Piscean Age. Society itself has been the unifying factor for the past 2,000 years.

How very (sort of) egalitarian of us, right?

In the Age of Aquarius, which we are moving into, Capricorn holds that 12th sign ‘commonality of emotion’ spot. Leadership, achievement, social status and commerce (the ‘business of business’) becomes a great calling card and glue in the incoming age.

Into all this comes Neptune, a planet which is all about our challenge to know ourselves – and in knowing ourselves come to understand others better from the point of view that we are all so very human.

This requires awareness, compassion and a willingness to feel not just your own feelings, but those of others. Dismissal of others or saying they ‘should’ feel a given way is our desire not to avoid, deny – not feel who someone else is, or what they’re feeling. It may even be our attempt not to feel our own feelings. Or deny everything about reality! 

Neptune is about the illusion. 

It also symbolizes our willingness to be vulnerable when we open ourselves to understanding others.

Often spoken of as spiritual awareness, Neptune represents our awareness of our own spirit – our ability and willingness to see, accept and abide by (and in) reality.

Yes, even though known as a symbol of illusions and fantasy and faith…yes, even though associated with loss and despair and addiction and abandonment, in the end Neptune is mostly about our ability to live with the reality of what is…or whether we will choose to distance ourselves from that, lie to ourselves (or others) about what reality (a reality or the reality) really is…or what we will do to escape, deny, avoid or obliterate some truth, some fact, some reality which may be sad, wonderful or simply what it is.

 Planet Neptune
photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

And whatever that is, we don’t want to face it…why? Because we don’t want to deal with how we will feel about the feelings whatever that is will evoke. Because we are so afraid of risking some loss of emotional equilibrium we believe we have, lack or need.

Neptune is the precept that we are tested, and how well we do with tests of Self.

And seeing that this is a planet all about rejection of ego, these tests often originate in, or with regards to others, asking us to extend our perception beyond ourselves to understand where they are ‘coming from’ and to allow for a different validity.

To allow them to be who they are is, in essence, validating our desire to be allowed to be who we are. Do we care about that? Do we dare not care about that? Can we get past our own feelings, fantasies and yearnings to deal with them and their concerns in light of who they are?

Neptune is dissolution. When we start with a fantastical fantasy, the Neptune effect is to 'dissolve the dream' and thus bring about a return to factual reality. If we start with thinking that hard core reality and facts are all there is, Neptune challenges with the inexplicable or inspirational, if merely to get us to loosen our death grip on reality and experience something beyond our previous imagining. When/where we invest (abandon ourselves) to too much faith, Neptune represents those forces which require that our over-idealization get tempered. If or when we are faithless or lacking in faith, Neptune transits and precepts (i.e., where it is in your chart) teaches that we don't know everything which exists, that some we need to allow ourselves to be taught (extending faith to others) and some we are simply stuck with having faith in.

The more you struggle with ideas, the more Neptunian non-force is brought to and enforced in your life. The Neptune ethos tends to prove that what we vest ourselves in by choosing to base our life or thinking on that particular reality…at some point that is tested because and to the degree that we vest ourselves - our ego - in the belief and not what may be a difficult or merely humdrum reality.

Like I said – Neptune is all about ego dissolution. And sure, that goes by many names. Some think of it as disappointment. Others call it dismay. Disillusionment. Loss of faith. We humans like clinging to our ideas of the good and workable – that’s the airy Aquarius concept of ‘systemic functionality.’ And that Neptune was discovered in Aquarius says that as it returns, a lot of ‘systems’ will be tested and some will dissolve away…right before Neptune enters the watery, globally emotionally sign of Pisces.

Pisces is the universality of emotionality. It's all we long for, all we fear. It's our yearning to surrender, the desire to be protected, the desire to be released into the abandonment of whatever it is we don’t want to have to deal with. Thus we get to the idea that Pisces is denial: reality as the ‘non-truth’ – another form of Neptune.

Those who deny are making a bet (vesting their ego) in their ability to get away with not having to deal with something.

It simply never works. Why? Because reality asks that we define our Self in realistic terms of simply who we are. We are not the ‘fantasy other.’ We are simply ourselves. We have good and bad, strengths and weaknesses, and whether we know it or not, so does everybody else.

But getting to that point? That takes acceptance – the great cornerstone of Neptune which we only arrive at once we relinquish our demand to live in and self-define ourselves by the mirror image of ego.

Ultimately, the lesson with Neptune is to let go. And why is that so hard? Because we would like to control things. We love fantasies and ideals because they’re in our imaginations – and we control that. But to live day to day life with all its perilous grunginess, imperfection and stubbed toes? That’s not nirvana and we have no control.

And yet, inspiration is a good and precious thing. Inspiration tells us what reality could be.

But it’s only ever going to be that if we accept the reality which is and work to do something to change or improve it. And given that, it is to be guessed that sometimes we define things sometimes in order to explore our understanding, and sometimes because the idea of not knowing and not understanding terrifies us…but then again, it is by understanding the difference between the reality and the ideal which allows us to think about what it would take to make a better world.

And what may make that hard.

Being the symbol of super-anti-ego, Neptune is all time, and no time. Neptune is everything and nothing. Neptune symbolizes infinity, inclusiveness, acceptance and ultimate unity and a melding which defines the loss of identity.

With Neptune, we allow...or we are denied. And we deny at dire peril to our sense of ultimate fulfillment.

Neptune is the fantasy and the illusion. It's the symbol of all which can inspire the delight of anticipation but which will disappoint us if we try to turn that undefined joy of anticipation into a defined and locked-in expectation.

Allowing ourselves not to know…that is the ultimate Neptune lesson. Emotionally, we call that acceptance. Practically, we need only to know the difference between reality and fantasy to deal with Neptune well. We can long for that nirvana in our head, we can use our ideas and ideals as inspiration – but to expect any fantasy to be in reality what it is in our heads…? That’s asking for trouble. That’s asking for disappointment and often, a loss of faith.

Yes, we yearn. Yes we long. But reality is what it is (Saturn) and fantasy is what it is (Neptune). And never the twain shall meet.

(And if they do, our solar system is in a lot of trouble!)

As Neptune came back to its return point in 2008/2009, our sense of involvement in our world and our world being ‘connected’ to our conception(s) of what is and should be came under heavy challenge. That was about the time the world came down with a serious case of economic flu, if you remember…and that’s apt. Money, per se, isn’t real. We assign value to money – but the paper money is written on is not actually “worth” any more than paper and ink.

The ‘worth’ is what we ascribe to money as a ‘placeholder’ for a standard we all agree to as a medium of exchange. In fact, more and more – as money overwhelmingly becomes a series of debits and credits in an electronic data bank – paper money and coinage is itself is slowly edging towards becoming obsolete.

Once it’s gone we’ll talk about ‘credits’ and that too will be highly Neptunian by nature.

Neptune is the outcome ruler of Pisces. And Pisces is our confrontation with and struggle with our own emotions in the whole of the life we inhabit. Do we do ourselves credit? Do we give ourselves credit?

And ultimately, what is real ‘worth’? Is it money? As has been proven a zillion times, money can’t buy happiness.

The answer lies in understanding the fixed house process. That begins with the ‘what we start out with’ as human beings – our self worth and talents, abilities and aptitudes.

That’s the horoscope’s 2nd house. Typically thought of as Taurean, in the incoming Age this will be where Pisces resides.

Through the fixed house process we take those 2nd house attributes and develop them (5th house). Then we put them through a test-and-revamp process with others to see how our ideas, products or offerings ‘fly’ (8th house). From that they go out into the world and produce results – be that income, success, a ‘brand name’ …all the things which are natively 11th house and thus Aquarian. 

Note to Self: The incoming Age supports branding. 

Oh! We already know that? Fine!

My point here is that when this cycle concludes, like all good cycles it comes back to where it started – in this case, the 2nd house. And when we ‘do’ the fixed house cycle well, what results?

Answer: security and personal satisfaction… the ‘matriculated’ (validated) forms of self worth and abilities.

So let’s hope we figure out that the credit we extend to ourselves or invest in ourselves (2nd house) is what we build with. And how in the Aquarian Age, this means the biggest bestest satisfactions (and securities, which surely will amount to “money” however we come to see that)…involves doing something which is of worth to others. 

But to get there, we have to be able to understand that others exist. And that other people have values and needs which while sort of like ours, differ. 

Those differences, far from being the thing which divides (which goodness knows they can be!) will do best when they are that which unites. Computers work (and the inventors of their operating systems have become wildly wealthy) because the product (the computer) offers uses to everyone.

 In the Age of Aquarius, Pisces appears on the 2nd house
of values, self worth and resources for the whole of the
Age (look for the house color-coded to the frame)

To put this one more time in a form I rather love, the common ‘old style’ definition of the 2nd house is ‘money in the bank.’ But the 2nd house ‘my money’ only happens when we successfully tap into and/or manage the polarity house to the 2nd – the 8th house.

And this brings us to something Donald Trump said which I think is rather brilliant. Said The Donald: money is just a scorecard. It measures how well we’re doing whatever it is we do in this life. 

That’s the 2nd/8th house polarity in a nutshell. We all want the gold but the process of acquiring gold – which in the end is not the coin by the security and satisfaction is more like ‘turning straw into gold’ (to borrow from an old folk tale!).

As the Pisces Age promoted one ‘up’ fish and one ‘down’ fish – the producer and the consumer, the boss and the employee, the leader and the follower, the provider and the cared for – the Aquarian Age asks that we all play on the same playing field. We can provide for ourselves by pooling our interests, and if you look at social networking as a ‘power force’ of late you’ll get a good idea of what lies ahead. Social networks are not the end of any process – heck no! They’re barely a teething ring for the incoming Age.

But they do teach us a valuable lesson which is going forward: connectivity counts. You don’t have to know everybody, but you can’t ignore anybody either. The greater the mainstream, the more stable the mainstream and the less radicalized the extremes of good and bad get. 

The pendulum now seems a bit radical – there are proselytizers of every ilk on every side. (I try hard not to fall into this group, though if I do for thinking we should all think about what things mean, I guess I can go with that...!) With Sagittarius on the social/societal/systemic 11th house of the Aquarian Age, that’s to be expected though. Sagittarius is the realm of the proselytizer, as we’re seeing that in action in pretty much every quadrant.

Sagittarius will be on the 11th house of the incoming Aquarian
Age (look for the house which matches the color of the frame).
This speaks to internationalization of society(societies) and the
necessity to preserve the whole by integrating the whole. The
solution is not 'having them think like me' (or look like me or sound
like me, etc.) but in recognizing not just the validity of differences
but the powerful potentials to spark innovation and grow the
whole which only comes from differences.

Ah, baby Ages! They’re so demanding!

Another Sagittarius on the 11th to contemplate: international commerce. Anyone who thinks the old days of total national self-sufficiency and ‘retreat’ from the global market/world is kidding themselves. 

But they’re out there. And when you hear them, I suggest you ask yourself when was that person born? The younger they are, the more ‘Aquarian Age’ by nature they are. That a good many people still ‘in power’ were born in the first half of the 1900’s is why we still hear so much resistance – to a whole lot of things!

Having Pisces on the 2nd house of the Age is certainly helpful for those who want to foster a ‘I can have it all!’ mentality. But in doing that, they may be doing us all a huge disservice. After all, what happens if you’ve been told you can ‘have it all’ and then you’re not so good at doing so? Or maybe you don’t even want ‘it all’? There is a level of shame and dis-affectation being bred throughout the world not by consumerism per se but by this concept that discretionary emphasis is either a bad thing or unnecessary.

In other words, ‘having it all’…or maybe more precisely, wanting it all may be a blessing or a curse. Even a blessing and a curse!

It’s all about how well we deal with the moderation of our own emotions.

And that’s Pisces, the outcome of which is symbolically ruled by Neptune. 

This all really interests me (hence this blog – duh!) because Neptune is coming into its sign of power (Pisces) just as its going ‘out of style’ as ruler of an astrological age.

What should we expect? Well, not that Pisces is the easiest sign for anyone to handle (all you fish…let’s hear a big splashy ‘amen!’)…and seeing that Pisces is all about emotional confrontation and trials…

…I mean, who wouldn’t expect a lot of trouble and turmoil at this time? 

And we’re getting it in all the very Piscean areas: oil, health care, pensions, support of the needy, pharmaceuticals, problems with toxicity, not wanting to face truths….

And the financial emphasis on everything which is going on? That would be Pisces shifting to the 2nd house of the incoming Age.

I’d like to give with a big ‘ta-dah!’ here, but this isn’t really anything to ‘ta-dah’ about. History suggests that the periodic changing of the astrological ages is never a peaceful time, and Neptune’s moving into Pisces tells us the emotional and financial factors are going to be tested on every side. Insecurity versus compassion versus indignation versus selfishness versus rejection versus delusion versus preference versus intimidation versus idealism versus…

…We’re going to get it all. Expect every side of every argument to sound selfish and ‘in denial.’ That’s a symptom of the time. And we can expect this split to be exacerbated in the weeks, months - and years ahead.

A wonderful photograph of a magnetic storm
as seen from Denali, Alaska
photo credit: Daryl Pederson (April 2010)

And let’s not forget – as the Age of Pisces ends, so does the ‘nobility of service’ vibe which goes with Pisces. We’re seeing that everywhere – particularly in the corporate world (corporations being ruled by Aquarius, herald-sign of the incoming Age) and to a great extent in leadership.

Are these problems really any worse than they’ve ever been? Well, with politics and leaders, probably not. Look at history and you’ll see that leadership, rulers, politicians have all had a problem with that old slogan absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

But corporations? First of all, the idea of ‘corporate entities’ is pretty new – and entirely Aquarian! Next, modern technology has empowered corporations and global transacting in ways and at a level which a hundred years ago (never mind a thousand years ago!) would simply not have been possible.

Technology is also Aquarian. So both of these ideas: the corporate entity and the technology which has empowered those entities so (and the rest of us, yes) are signs of the incoming Age.

Those thinking about how to survive and thrive should take note of this. The corporate ‘shield’ is probably on its way out – by definition that would be rather Age of Pisces. But the corporate entity? That’s so coming into fashion!

In time, that too will probably get scaled back, but seeing that Ages last over 2,000 years, I wouldn’t be holding my breath about it. Astrological Ages seem to have ‘pendulum-like’ swings. In the Age of Pisces, nothing was bigger than spirituality (for some, religion, for some ‘their beliefs’ whatever those may be). And here at the end of the Piscean Age we are seeing yet another big upsurge of this oh-so Piscean test.

At it’s base, spirituality (or beliefs, however you care to frame that) are all about whether we are able to deal with our existence…and our mortality.

And for those who have no 'belief system,' you’re not off the hook. Not questioning or confronting the feelings which are natural to experience when the subject of mortality comes up is no better than being immersed in same.

But to have these issues so polarized? That’s Pisces.

With Pisces moving to the 2nd house of the Aquarian Age one would expect that philanthropy of various types will actually become a resource and tool: those who feel it or participate in it or understand why helping others ends up helping everyone (and therefore yourself) will have something to work with.

But as for the sheer ‘money aspect’ of things, what we are seeing now is merely the tip of an iceberg which is going to rear up as Neptune moving into Pisces. The ‘I’m entitled to be rich’ (or – shockingly, poor) is going to be very much more evident going forward. Both (read: BOTH) are going to be a cause - count on it! Pisces on the 2nd house of the incoming Age is a ‘radicalization of self’ which will – moving forward, cause us to question ourselves. Relative values and valuations are going to get more questionable.

Hopefully it will become a discussion. Like as not, knowing people, it will become another reason to disconnect, which is not the high side of either Aquarius (the Age) or Pisces, as home sign to Neptune.

We would all like to think these fractious times are going to soon be over.

Truth is, they’re probably just beginning.

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