by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Neptune Station-Retrogrades in Pisces

In this photo taken by Voyager 2, Neptune and one of its moons, Triton, are seen together.
Though it may seem like tritin (the smaller crescent) is beyond Neptune, actually it's
closer - which just shows you how much larger Neptune is than this most curious of planetary moons.
Unlike every other known moon in our solar system, Triton doesn't orbit its parent planet in the
direction if the planet's rotation. Why Triton orbits in the opposite direction is as yet unknown, but
more than a couple of people have voiced a question as to whether this could be connected to
Neptune's massive magnetic resonance, a force so large it controls a substantial swatch of
space beyond the planet's orbit, evidently all the way around the Sun.  
(photo credit: NASA-JPL, August 1989)

For the past couple of years, Neptune’s station has been happening a week or two (sometimes three) after the year’s first set of eclipses. It’s almost like life putting us through the pressure cooker or crucible process of the eclipses so as to break down all the tough personal callus we tend to build up so that Neptune can finish the process by ‘dissolving away’ that which separates us from a more insightful reality so we can see our inner potential.

And yes, sometimes that which is blocking us from being able to fulfill our greater potential.

Life absolutely requires us to have a sense of boundaries and separation. That’s one of the most important functions of ego, that thing which defines the “I/me” of life so we know where we end and the next person begins. And yet, if there’s too much of that ‘ego wall,’ we can’t relate. We’ll have no compassion. Or – worse than that – we’ll totally negate the value of anyone else’s life apart from our own.

Astrologically often most associated with Saturn as the physical ‘structure,’ the psychological ‘limit’ or the emotional ‘wall’ between us and anything else about life, this ‘boundary’ can be seen as being two sided: Saturn provides the structural “wall” of self-identity and Neptune represents the amorphous ‘all’ which at some level we all long to be part of. Or to merge with. Or to be swaddled by.

The relationship between Saturn and Neptune in a person’s chart at some level defines their comfort and relationship with reality. How both planets are presented tells us where (by house) and the medium (by sign) they will experience life. A bit counter-intuitively, Saturn tends to define our ‘comfort’ level with life where Neptune pictures our relationship to and with the world around us.

But it’s never ‘this here’ and ‘that there’; these two precepts are always in continuous interaction, just as we all go through life reflecting on the world around us and having our thoughts on people, life and the world in some sort of mental format which is itself – at some level – ‘imaginary.’ Neptune is that precept which allows us to not focus so hard on life around us that we can’t feel ourselves being (or feel what we feel about being part of this world) even as Saturn represents those precepts which keep us grounded in a reality-oriented realistic pattern of functionality.

When any planet goes retrograde, it’s station (and the days surrounding that station) displays an increasing ‘pressure’ in our lives. So now, as Neptune goes retrograde on June 7th at 8:27 in the morning (UT/+0 time), we are likely to get past our ‘pre-definitions’ to some truth of experience.

That may be in the moment. That may be from the past. That may involve a vision of the future. It could be eternal. It could be neither of this time, space nor realm of reality.

Neptune’s keywords vary between the extremes of emotional experience: idealism and illusion, inspiration and despair, faith and abandonment. Wherever we see Neptune in the chart whether by transit or natally, that’s where we know we will experience all sorts of highs and lows which in the end teach us to not pin our hopes on one thing or the other, but to experience life as it is – to accept life as it unfolds in every moment.

You know…in reality – that Saturn thing.

Eclipse cycles move slowly back through the calendar; a couple of years ago they were happening in June…then it was May and June. Right now it’s April and May. Meanwhile, Neptune’s stations have been moving forward through the calendar: a few years ago, Neptune was going retrograde during May. Last year it was June 4th. This year it’s June 7th.

Where did they “cross”? That would have been in 2011, when there was the solar eclipse on June 1st (at 11 Gemini and conjunct Aldebaran) with Neptune going retrograde on June 3rd (at 0 Pisces).

Considering 19 years is the length of a Metonic (solar eclipse) cycle, this suggest that from 2011 until 2030 we are going through both a Gemini/Pisces learning cycle (dealing with the realities of our mentality, perhaps?) AND a period during which Neptune’s relationship to our yearly eclipses will be important – not to mention the idea that Neptune, it’s transits through our chart and maybe most particularly its stations are going to carry some message about ‘eclipsing’ that which we have been.

Or maybe that’s about being what we can become. Or think we can become. Or think we are. Or don’t believe we are – whether that’s true or not.

And while the eclipses have been moving backwards through the calendar and Neptune’s mid-year station/retrograde date has been moving forward (i.e., getting later and later in the year). In fact…

The above diagram is color-coded light-to-dark to show which event comes
first (lightest blue) and which comes last (teal)
…if we look at the dates, 2010 was the last year when Saturn (hard reality and facts) shifted into worldly gear prior to the power of inspiration versus dissolution (Neptune) being internalized – which sounds like hard lessons being learned from events which then bring about shifts of personal consciousness or awareness.

Up until 2010, the mid-year solar eclipse also fell after all this, which would seem to say that life events brought about internal realizations which set the stage for letting go of the old and getting on with evolving ourselves and our world.

As of 2011, the order has become solar eclipse – Neptune going retrograde – Saturn going direct. That differs from the former pattern in that it is through the vanishing or alternation of something which has outlived its function in our lives (the solar eclipse) causing us to understand something about ourselves (Neptune going retrograde) which then frees us to capitalize on our efforts – or begin to make efforts with which we build our way into the future (Saturn doing direct).

Just as a concept, some of us are probably more adept with dealing with one format or the other. Plus let’s remember: this was also when Uranus started back into the wildly wooly if wonderful world of getting us to change ourselves as people by entering Aries.

And yes, Neptune entered its home sign of Pisces, deepened the emotional waters (can you spell a-b-y-s-s?) while churning up a bunch of storms.

(You know, just to see how sea sick we could get in our own lives.) 

All and all, those particular years (2010-2011) probably manifested as a period when slowly but surely, ‘tables began to turn.’ For us, against us, under us, over our heads…it all depends on who we are and how we cope with the changing times.

Speaking of change, now we come to the 2013 edition of Neptune’s retrograde station. In going retrograde, that quintessentially Neptunian ‘could it be…’ moves from the outside to the inside. So instead of looking at the world for possibilities, we will tend to look for inner inspiration and to our inner potentials for our answers.

There are worse things, certainly.

Against this there will be a clearer view of all ‘Things External’…which given Neptune’s habit for making things look prettier than they are mans that over the next few months we’re liking to find things differ some from whatever we had been thinking they were.

Some people experience Neptune’s yearly retrograde periods as a time of heightened inner confidence, as if the ‘internalization’ of Neptunian energy is like some sort of spiritual anesthetic. (Neptune-Pisces do rule drugs, you know.) And that can be good if you have something really tough to go through. It’s just that…well, all the things they tell you not to do when you’re high on anything sort of apply under Neptune retrograde.

Though it does depend (she said, imagining apace) on whether Neptune is natal in your natal chart. It does seem that those who are born with any planet in retrograde seem a bit more “immune” to it’s transiting retrograde periods. People with any of the personal planets (Mercury, Venus and Mars) retrograde in their natal charts nearly always report that though mildly annoying, retrogrades of those planets don’t throw those sectors of life into a complete tizzy. (Exceptions seem to occur when the planet in question goes retrograde in the birth sign.)

So why not with major planets, say I…! (Yes, I so say.) It’s a new postulation. (Feel free to comment yea or nay according to your experience of same.)

Getting to the brass tacks here, Neptune is going retrograde on June 7th at 5 Pisces, a degree known for situations which test our sense of balance and which no matter how difficult, ultimately prove useful.

The glyph for Pisces represents the two fish swimming in opposite
directions connected by an immutable, golden cord 

But that’s not all. 5 Pisces is also the current position of a star known astronomically as Alpha Cygnus (and astrologically as Deneb). Known for its strong will and a clarity of insight which comes from afar (references to channeling and shamanism are often seen with Deneb), this heightens the effects of this Neptune station, making them inordinately powerful, if not on a mundane level.

Oh – and lest we forget, this is a first decanate degree of Pisces, a sign all about facing ‘our fears of being frightened’ specifically as that pertains to our Self and how we think we may not live up to our own greatest hopes for ourselves.

And yes, others. Pisces tends to be highly problematic when we project our longings on others; the tendency to want to be ‘saved’ is very high with Pisces because it is the sign of ‘universal compassion.’ But that’s not how the sign of the fish tends to work. Pisces works best when we extend compassion and accept others and thus allow ourselves to be accepted, cared about and cherished in return. The fantasy that someone or something can ‘fulfill’ you is particularly problematic in the Piscean realm unless you understand that your fulfillment comes from who you are and the standards to which you hold yourself in all you do and are.

Being one of Pisces’ first ten degrees (degrees 0 through 9), 5 Pisces is also a personal degree: it’s about us – our feelings, our physicality, what we do and accept as ours to do. And since royal star Fomalhaut is right next door to 5 Pisces (at 4 Pisces) this Neptune station will also put a lot of energy into the concept that our dreams only come true when those dreams are neither corrupt, corrupting nor corrupted.

But wait – there’s more!

Dare I say…GRAND TRINE ?

Yes, this station has Neptune as part of a grand trine. And while any grand trine in water is going to put an emphasis on feelings, this one has all three prime objects at 5 degrees of their respective signs.

You just don’t see that very often!

Simply line up Venus-Saturn-Neptune and you get a question about the ‘stabilities of values’ or ‘long term worth’ (or values) which may or may not be accurate, or be being questioned (that last being the Neptune part). This could even be the moment when something you had thought of value, or some sort of financial (Venus-Saturn) status quo shifts.

And no, this doesn’t have to be for the worse. But it could be, let’s be honest.

Saturn retrograde in Scorpio lends a distinctly interactive quality to this energetic. So whether the issue is money, sex, inheritances, loans, partnerships personal or business, buying or selling, signing financial agreements of whatever sort, the prime instruction given by Saturn is to know what you’re doing and to not over-extend yourself, whether that’s financially, emotionally, sexually, or any other which-way.

Venus in Cancer is often a matter having to do with family, your place of residence, real estate or housing or national/cultural traditions. Atropos here speaks to a ‘cut-off,’ which means this could be something you are currently cut off from, or which you are moving towards cutting yourself off from.

Neptune (and Deneb) are within sextile’s reach of Facies, which suggests that there are many ways to see the situation and many factors which need to be taken into account.

Pluto is conjunct Facies, so the ‘Facies factors’ may be difficult to wrangle with. Beyond that, Pluto is also in opposition to Venus and Atropos, speaking to a change of circumstance which – according to the grand trine – is in progress.

Then we come to fixed star Alhena. Alhena is the star and signature of our Purpose. Positioned in Cancer (an emotional water sign), Alhena speaks very eloquently to that so many people refer to as our passion. Finding what fits you not because you were told to like it, not because it’s traditional but rather because it’s integral to your nature and true to your innermost interests is Alhena’s drive. With this star conjunct Mercury, there’s a lot of deep feeling and thought going into what’s important to us now, whether we’re on track with ourselves or not.

Although…with Alhena in trine to Neptune and Saturn, we would hope that you are living a life which fits you well and truly. Otherwise this grand trine may signal a time of trial.

With Pluto in opposition to Venus, Atropos, Alhena and Mercury as a conglomerate, there are many challenges to be met now, many of which will ask that we weigh out our (Saturn/Neptune) priorities.

You know, those priorities which have become obvious over the past couple of years?

The cloud tops of Planet Neptune as photographed by Voyager 2. Rather amazingly,
this huge planet - which is around 3.8 times the size of Earth - makes a full rotation
in just over 16 hours.  (photo credit: NASA/JPL, August 1989)

Like all celestial stations, Neptune’s turn to retrograde is given a couple of days ‘allowance’ to either side. So we should figure that this station begins on June 7th (maybe even on the 6th) and ends on June 9th…or maybe the 10th. During this time, sensitivity of many types can be expected to be heightened. It’s a fine time for get togethers provided nothing too, too serious is on the line. If you’ve been having some sort of problem with someone – or if there’s something you need to tell them, this might be a good time to arrange a space for a talk. Just remember, Neptune/Mercury contacts can signify deception or falsifying – which would be one of the reasons to be careful about contracts or business dealings over these days. But if there has been a problem, or if there is something touchy or problematic to talk about, the natural openness which comes with Neptune’s station may be just the time to have a heart-to-heart. Providing you can say what you have to say with some degree of compassion, you should be received with all due humanity.

This doesn’t mean there may not be disappointment. Even a few tears. But tears are part of being human too. Knowing you matter to someone else is hugely important to us.

It’s part of our Neptune lesson…because it helps us deepen our experience of being being touched.

Emotions, whatever they are, however they manifest are forms of vulnerability. And when someone shows you their vulnerabilities and you choose to treat them with compassion instead of rejecting them for their weakness or destroying them with the knowledge of their vulnerabilities, your acceptance of them heals and strengthens the resilience of your soul, ultimately liberating you at a uniquely Neptunian level from those ego fears of judgment which are the weakest side of Saturn’s structural limitations.

May you station yourself in peace.

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