There are several ways that this article could begin. Neptune fosters that type of fluidity. Flow and variations on themes are, in one sense, Neptunian. (They could be also mercurial.) But flow can turn into looseness or non-commitment or lead to difficulty in making decisions, produce inertia or -just as likely- elicit insight, inspiration or creative expression. This example of fluidity illustrates Neptune as one of the most challenging planets to talk about astrologically.
Why? Because Neptune represents water literally, metaphorically, spiritually, intuitively. Neptune’s influence evidences through the manifestations and gradations of water’s activities in the physical dimensions as well as within us on all levels up to the most subtle, sublime, and beyond articulation.
Water flows. This displays in rivers and streams, water running down a windshield, gushing out of a faucet, or poured from a well-bucket. It expresses as the flow of tears for happy or sad, out of devotion, union, loss, or in tenderness. Water can be deep; but deep is relative to the body of water, to the conversation or embodiment of Being. A pond is deep for the swimmer who can’t touch bottom. A lake can be deep enough for Champy to live in (Lake George, NY sea serpent) or for the Loch Ness “monster” in Scotland. The ocean used to be so deep as to be, literally, unfathomable. (A fathom is a seafaring measurement of depth determined by a weighted line thrown from the deck of the ship.) Conversations can be deep; subjects matters as well. And, depth of Being is something poetically sung or mused about by Rumi, Meister Ekhart, St. Francis, numerous adepts of meditation, Nature-lovers, and maybe you in your journal.
Rapids are water, waves are water, snowflakes, icebergs, glaciers, clouds, rain and rainbows are water in some form. Pneumonia is water, edema is water, Covid-19’s innocuous spread across the globe has been water-like and its lethal effect is water on and in the lungs.
Being alone in sickness (no visitors allowed) is Neptunian, as is grief or mourning (in general) but add the current forced isolation and you have the abyss of Neptune. Prayers for humanity and meditations on compassion rendered by people of all traditions are Neptunian as well.
The unknowns of coronavirus erode the little that seems to be understood about it like water dissolves salt. Greed corrodes the strength of ethics, social structures and societies like moisture corrodes metal. Something akin to a landslide is happening with the world economy and in politics. World alliances that have buttressed collective human processes for decades and -in some cases- centuries are evaporating due to heated, ignorant statements by heated, ignorant people. All the while, sea levels continue to rise -albeit slightly slower due to a temporary decrease of CO2 emissions globally due to Covid-19. All these and more are signaled by Neptune.
Water purifies, pacifies, quenches thirsts and extinguishes fires. Water nourishes but can drown the same being who was nourished. Water can cool or scald, emit soothing sounds from a desk-top zen fountain or be used as a type of torture. Water dissolves. Its flow can carry away the unwanted, the clung to, as well as oneself. Water causes rot and mold; stagnant water can turn fetid or brackish thus becoming undrinkable by humans, animals, and most plants. Neptunian environments include the fetid squalor of Nairobi, the molding wastes of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, dismissed Haiti, Yemen, Syria, Puerto Rico. Water is necessary to life and all that lives. We are born from the water of amniotic fluid just as the first single-celled organisms were born from the methane and ammonia-rich primordial seas.
Pure water is beautiful and without agenda; it is like an act of true compassion. The neutrality of water is a sameness. The plethora of water’s manifestations express emptiness/shunyata in its character of infinitude. The cleansing properties of water reveal the essential nature of something and of oneself. As the temporary is washed away, the true and always present is recognizable like a plate when the yoke of breakfast eggs is washed off. Likewise, our emotions, ignorant viewpoints, or attachments and phobias when they are cleansed from our emotion-mind, clarity arises. It was already there.
Water represents all unions, mergings and blendings thus it signals the undivided and ultimate truth of non-distinct in a world of perceived particularity. A raindrop or snowflake falling into the ocean or a pond or puddle is no longer a raindrop. Its distinction has been surrendered. When a mother nurses an infant, just the two of them without distraction, they merge and something akin to suchness is experienced by both in their oneness. When lovers fall asleep still embraced after a climax, a blending is their abiding. In generating deity, when the state of awareness and concentration is unified thus without effort, then the mandala is empty, the practitioner is empty, the deity is empty, and a wealth of the attributes of bodhi pour into the world. This world is realized as the mandala, the emptiness of form, as is the body of the practitioner and of the deity because all are a sameness of non-nature which is one nature. Distinctions of the mind have dissolved into the inexpressible.
In some respects, demonstrations of lowest human depravity are Neptunian. The middling expressions of human kindness, care, nurturance, love, and desire are Neptunian. Higher Neptune? Sublime expressions and experiences of the inexpressible, inconceivable exhibit the ineffable which highest Neptune stands for. The ecstasy of compassion arising and and the agony of the simultaneously revelation of the suffering in existence together with the emptiness of the world and all feelings are all Neptunian. Experiences of boundary-lessness, union, at-one-ment, integration and all manifestations of integrity are Neptunian or Neptune’s influence within us demonstrating as activity or expression. Oh, then there is emptiness (whatever that means to anyone who uses the term). Neptune as a finger pointing, Neptune as the coalescing of all and no-thing, all as every-thing, NON.
The condition of our current human-made world is Neptunian. Examples include:
- Water is and will continue to be a life-threatening issue for hundreds of years for all of humanity and the world’s habitats and ecosystems thus all that lives. Coasts will disappear and inland become the new coastlines. Rain and snow will be unstable in quantity, season, and duration creating repeated floods in some locations, drought in others, and affecting the ground-water table and aquifers around the world. Potable water (fresh, drinkable water) has always been the least in quantity of all types of water on Earth. As glaciers rapidly disappear, the environments (people, animals, and vegetation) that have relied upon them for fresh water since time immemorial will not have that source – and there is no other. Without glaciers, most of the super-rivers of the world have no source also. Without rivers, animals, people, and habitat have no life renewal mechanism.
- Pollution is Neptunian in that its is born from denial and dismissal of lasting and known consequences and is enacted only for material gain. Add to that that material gain is a delusion; Neptune again. Pollution also is a stain upon that which, by itself, is unstained. Pollution is an impurity put into or upon a pure condition or state. Air pollution to the air, water pollution to rivers, ground water, oceans, even noise pollution to the natural sounds of wind and birds are examples of the impure being foisted upon the pure. In all cases, these are human-done and are unnatural.
- Systematized world poverty is Neptunian. It is a type of suffocation and devitalization of billions of people of the world. The nefarious, twisted policies and ideologies, bigotries and prejudices behind these policies and views are also Neptunian (denial, dismissal, fantasies of supremacy and demonizing of the innocent).
- Current modes of western-based education is a type of brainwashing inclusive of selective and fabricated history that excludes the native, indigenous, and conquered people’s history and experience. Current education no longer functions according to “educare” the Latin root of the English word education. Educare means to illumine and inspire, to mentor the positive qualities and capacity of those within one’s care. Brainwashing is low Neptune. Fabricated history is low Neptune. Being uninterested in the interdependence of everything in life is to deny the Neptunian inter-relational wholeness of life.
- The devotion of the Elders and Wisdom Keepers who carry the theistic and nontheistic lineages of the world is also Neptunian. Imbued with the sacredness of life, dedicated to uphold and protect it, to speak for and dance that sacredness into widespread recognition and honor is a higher Neptunian and intuitive calling. Devotion, in its full range, is Neptunian.
- Today and as always, to be a “worthy vessel” is Neptunian. John Muir was a worthy vessel, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Day, Louis Armstrong, as well as the 70,000 children that the Trump administration has separated from their parents and that are languishing in in US tax-payer funded concentration camps are worthy vessels. A worthy vessel can be anyone who is empty enough of self-importance so as to be filled with the truth of the moment and its possibilities. Hitler was a vessel, William Barr is a vessel, those who are deconstructing the protections of Nature and of all beings are vessels. A worthy vessel is a person or group of people whose lives and activities will -in some way and time- benefit beings. Barr and others unnamed are not worthy vessels but are vessels. Beauty, art, intuitive insight, creative inspiration, as well as unthinkable desolation and its heinous, deluded causes are Neptunian and part of our world today.
As with the other articles in this series, we cannot – in fact we dare not – misrepresent a planet or its influence. The malicious and predatory, stupid and ignorant self-fixation of self and the results of that misguided premise in business, leadership and life must be spoken of plainly. Otherwise, the higher attributes and potential of a planet’s influence would not be founded upon how human beings can and do express planets’ energies. Neptune costumes as a turning away because it suits us, suits the individual. We turn away from uncomfortable truths or facts (remember “An Inconvenient Truth”?) because we want something for ourself. For these reasons, this article did not begin with Neptune representing compassion, spiritual union, or inspiration or devotion.
Neptune is the premier planet of denial but also of perception on all levels. Within the latter is re-cognition: of seeing clearly and freshly that which we chose not to see before or due to colored glasses could not. Often our blindness is due to preconceptions and preference; the obvious and plain was obscured or veiled to the perceiver but not in fact. Think of racism or sexism, poisoning the land and water by fracking or with pesticides. Much is being denied in each case.
Neptune is the planet of escapism, running away, of avoidance and the scapegoat. Human beings using lesser Neptune create the margins within society thus the marginalized. This denies adults and children access and, thus, growth. The same can be said for animals whose habitat has been destroyed and the animals pushed out sometimes to the point of extinction. But, Neptune is also unanimity, empathy and a contrite mind that fesses up and looks at one’s self. Three fingers are pointing back at me. Neptune is all possibilities, limitless yet undiscovered, unknown, non-intuited, unrevealed but present and waiting.
For the most part, the verbs used in these paragraphs indicate Neptune’s forms of activity. Let’s add overwhelm, embrace, succumb, be born, melt. A few more nouns include: infatuation, samaya, compassion, Perfect Wisdom, and Ah.
In many ways, Neptune -and as if caricatured by it being in Pisces- is humanity’s now even more than all the planets in Capricorn. Why? Because Neptune in its lower human expressions is what is behind human desire, attachment, distraction, entanglement, confusion, and aggression. War, poverty, systematic degradation of human beings due to gender or race or age, degradation of the planetary home that we and all creatures live in, degradation of food, health, and well-being are displays of human beings stagnant in comforts that actually are killing us. By the same token, most types of beneficial/positive mental exploration, contemplation, creative expression, or any number of activities that awaken the inner riches of a human being are Neptune’s flow and nourishment as well. Buddha Shakyamuni, together with the sages of the Indian subcontinent, the Maya, Inca, and many other native traditions looked ahead to our now and saw “a degenerate age.” I agree. However, the glory of humanity is our ability to learn, grow, and benefit others.
Neptune’s type of learning is by doing. Think of water and all its manifestations. Each does what it does and does it perfectly. Neptune-influenced learning is explorative, open-minded, embraces the creative imagination and uses it, leans toward intuition, and is receptive. No answer is wrong in Neptune’s learning style which fosters discovery of what “correct” means. Under Neptune’s influence, guidance is also desired and sought.
Water declares Neptune’s forms of growing. Watch ice form or clouds in the sky. Observe seeds open and become sprouts and then plants or trees. Hang out with an infant of any month-age and you will witness the osmosis learning that propels the daily growth of awareness. Water seeps and expands, nourishes and provides, awakens with a splash. Human beings grow like a cloud seemingly out of nothing. But as an emotion arises, wisdom does too if one is cognizant of each within the other. Like water vapor invisibly in the air, inner presence and essence is within us all. In its purity and gentle power, it is Neptune-like.
Benefitting others is exemplified by a woman’s body which knows how to supply a fetus in the womb all that it needs to grow. After the baby is born, nourishment is provided by the mother’s body also. Development of the baby’s brain and body requires loving interaction through touch, tone of voice, smiling with the baby, and joyous, accepting patience. “Love one another as I have loved you,” Jesus said. The inference is unconditionally. Water is unconditional. The vast expanse of the sky or of “the wish to free all beings” is unconditional. Benefitting others is to be demonstrated and lived without conditions. Neptune again.
Pluto will complete its cycle in Capricorn in November of 2024; Jupiter and Saturn move into Aquarius in December of this year (2020). I wonder about another full-stop for the world in December, especially Dec. 12-18 due to Jupiter and Saturn conjunct at 28/29° ♑︎ and then both at 29° for a few days. When both planets are void of course (0°♒︎), there’s no telling how their forces will play out (Dec. 20-24).
Neptune completes its journey through Pisces in the end of January 2026. It is like the second shoe that will assuredly drop. The shoe analogy articulates that when we take off our shoes we are undoing a bondage, a constraint. Will humanity have thrown off the various limitations it puts upon itself and the world before Neptune completes in Pisces or will the planet and sign provide unmistakable events of change? What if, like the shoe taken off and the relaxation of freed feet, Neptune’s presence in Pisces until 2026 is in support of a kind of freedom based in beingness rather than common thoughts of freedom such as freedom from, freedom with, or f*%# everyone else; I’ll do what I want?
I think that the planets will give humanity little wiggle room. Shape up or shape up. Implicit in the awakening of humanity is the understanding that we are the cause of the vast majority of the suffering in the world and that it doesn’t have to be this way. We could live according to the principles of care, justice, equality, and sacredness. In the early 1900’s, Nicolai Tesla invented a technology that he thought could give free electricity to the world. J.P. Morgan was one of his financial sponsors. When Morgan understood that Tesla would not compromise on free energy for all, Morgan pulled the plug. With that decision, the foreseeable future of humanity was decided for the century (1900’s) and is still playing in this one (2000’s). In addition to free energy for everyone, Tesla was sure that the fairly new combustion engine could be replaced by a non-polluting, quiet engine using electro-magnetism. If Tesla’s ideas and visions had been implemented, fossil fuel use would have slowed to a crawl within 20 years. Coal mines, men dying in them and from them, and whole communities living and dying by coal would have become obsolete. Petroleum and combustion as the method of fueling movement in the world, causing wars, protectionism, refugees, and pollution on a scale unprecedented on Earth would not have happened. Planes? Yes. Ships, yes; but with a different and cleaner technology. There are several planetary qualities illustrated in this example; included is low, selfish and deluded Neptune (Morgan’s choice and its role in human affairs for decades) and Teslas’ higher Neptunian vision, intuitive understanding, and desire for the well-being of all.
Is there good news to write about? Well, to want good news is a type of distraction from what’s been laid out in these paragraphs. Having paused for that acknowledgement, yes. There is good news, and it is within human beings. But, we have to feel it, cultivate it, live from it, and want it above all else. For all the heart that Jupiter is about (rules it astrologically), Neptune alone provides the full spectrum of sensitivity, pathos, psychic and intuitive oneness, relatedness, and emptiness/fullness of Being that are the very reason for the heart’s existence. We have a heart because, at essence, we are beings of boundless wisdom-compassion.
Those words are overused these days, and I’m a person who overuses them. Compassion indicates complete and true universality, utter sameness born of the erasure of distinctions and agendas in one’s mind-emotions, and selflessness birthed from knowing that there factually is no individual, inherent self anywhere in anything or anyone. Wisdom points at everything and says “no, you’re only perceiving what you want to or what you are currently capable of.” What if wisdom is not sagacity or cleverness but is an understanding that always recognizes the root of things, the causes of them, along with the scenarios of possibility that would address all needs simultaneously and well? These attributes of compassion and wisdom are within each and every person. Happiness for self and other, for the world, all that it is and contains, would result as everyone lived more from them.
A short article on Neptune’s transits and its sextile to the planets in Capricorn is in the works.