Sunday, October 5, 2014

Thrival Kits for the PUNC Planets: Neptune



Article © 2014 by Joyce Mason






“I am a part of all that I have met.”

~ Lord Alfred Tennyson

Author’s Note: See the introductory post, Thrival Kits for the PUNC Planets, for background on this four-part series.


If ever a planet was the poster orb for the expression the agony and the ecstasy, Neptune is it. What other celestial body is associated with Oneness, bliss, inspiration, ideals, spirituality and artistry of all kinds … but also addiction, deception, confusion and substance abuse?

This duality is our first hint that we’re in tricky territory on Neptune. The goal of this thrival kit is to keep you living as much as possible on the upside of Neptune without denying that its dark side must also be acknowledged, even honored. It’s not surprising, speaking of other expressions, that the devil and the deep blue sea somehow go together—Neptune’s oceanic realm.

The sea covers the vast majority of our planet, a metaphor to remind us that our feelings (water) are the most of us. Feelings are what makes us human and what also has the potential to overwhelm, even conquer us, if we’re not mindful. Our bodies are over half water, 60 percent according to most sources. These metaphors make Neptune important beyond words, because Neptune is the heaven for which we risk hell. The risks are worth taking.


What Neptune Asks of You

Neptune invites you to have a love affair with cosmic consciousness—indeed with the love and creative force that joins us all. This is the end result of practicing compassion. Compassion is all about walking in the other person’s shoes. Considering Neptune’s Rulership of the sign Pisces, this oft-quoted bit of Native American wisdom is a catchphrase for the Pisces/Virgo polarity:


Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins.



Walking in another’s shoes requires un-becoming You and becoming Him or Her for the duration of the hike. The ability to put ourselves in the place of someone else, to learn how he or she thinks and feels, is the crux of understanding. Some of us, however, go on marathons in others’ Adidas or Nikes. We aren’t made to fit into another’s skin or shoes for very long. They may pinch, flop off—or worse, cause us to fall flat on our asses when a test drive turns into a long journey with footwear in the wrong size.

Here we touch on one of the most important aspects of Neptune—its fluidity. It’s not just ruler of a mutable sign, Pisces. Neptune comes from the sea, the body that represents Water to the Max. Water takes the form of whatever holds it. Moving water never stays in one place very long—a good goal during Neptune transits or ongoing natal influences. Neptune’s fluidity enables us to grab what we need from the entire cosmic ocean, and then to move onto the next thing.

Neptune’s more blissful manifestations are so ecstatic; we want to stay in its altered states of consciousness, whether from creativity, meditation, drugs—you name it. But Neptune is not about permanency. It’s about changeability. It’s about going to the ocean of bliss, taking a cup of what you need, and moving back to shore to revitalize yourself and others with this drink of the waters of life. The longer we stay without touching shore, the more we risk drowning.


Neptune takes you to heaven but asks you to understand that it’s a near- death experience. You have to go back—and share the bliss with others. You can come back for booster shots as needed, but let’s be clear. You can’t stay—yet.


An example of the reluctance to return from Neptune happens any morning you have to drag yourself awake out of a delicious sleep. If you’re like me and set a snooze alarm to stay in Dreamland just a few minutes longer, the subsequent struggle to get vertical is a taste of the pull Neptune has on us to stay in its gauzy bliss. If you’ve got a strong Neptune (square Moon for me), you may have a hard time “coming to” and take a long time to crank yourself up for waking reality. During a Neptune transit, you might feel like this most of any day. (Nothing to be alarmed about, no pun intended. It’s transitory. Isn’t language fun when it’s so literal?)


What You May Be Resisting

Relinquishing your Self, even for the nicest people among us, is a scary proposition. We work hard to become ourselves and feel comfortable in our own skin, just to toss our individuality into the ocean. Also, many of us have experienced how hard it is to return from Bliss, what Neptunian Oneness feels like. Too much Neptune can be like an undertow that sucks you to the bottom of the sea. Caution is indeed wise to pack in your overnight bag.

All the outer planets help us increase our ability to trust the universe or divine wisdom. Neptune is no exception. We need to remember that the sea has a shore, complementary Earth nearby to keep us grounded. Pack a flotation device. Do whatever works to get you to put in your toes and then bob in the waters of Oneness. Have friends nearby to throw you a life preserver or a pole to pull you in, in case you drift out too far. As long as you pack protection and have an emergency response plan, you can plunge the depths, even if you have been known to swim like a sinking stone. We associate Pluto with letting go, but I think Neptune requires just as much “letting”—the surrender of self.

There are those who don’t resist jumping in. They resist getting out of the water. They’re only too eager to go to bliss but won’t come back to shore, even if they’re starving, their teeth are chattering, and they’re beginning to develop dish pan body. Being the foggy, self-deceptive planet Neptune can be, sometimes we’re too far gone to know it. That’s why it’s crucial to build in the safety factors mentioned above. An ounce of prevention is better than forcing your friends to call the Coast Guard or other less pleasant interventions. Worst of all, there’s the risk of drowning. Some bad endings to this metaphor include creativity pushed to madness, spirituality to cults and surrendered control of your own life, or substances abused to the point of destroying health and happiness—or the ultimate refusal to come back out of the Neptune waters via overdose, accidental or otherwise.


The Shift Needed to Thrive

I have long felt that two symbols hold the hint for handling Neptune: the yin/yang and the Pisces fish. Neptune is the yin symbol, the ultimate feminine water. But to create the balance of chi or life force that the symbol calls for, it contains a drop of yang. Conversely, the yang symbol contains a drop of yin. This complementary energy is your inner lifeguard for the Neptunian waters. One hundred percent water does not work in the world, including in the human body, which is made up of a combination of elements. [1]




The lifeguard or complementary yang polarity can be assigned to a friend, relative, therapist or other helper. Speaking of organizations, let’s learn something from the ultimate ones that deal with the downside of Neptune: the Anonymous or 12-step programs. They always assign their Neptunian members a sponsor. During an intense Neptune transit, it’s important to have someone act in that role. If you’re not normally very addictive, you probably don’t need a formal program for healing addictions. A friend or therapist may do. If, on the other hand, you have addictive tendencies, a literal program of some sort may provide you maximum healing and growth opportunities during especially Trident Times. (Back to the devil and the deep blue sea, it’s no coincidence that Neptune’s trident and the devil’s pitchfork look identical.)


The second symbol, the Pisces Fish, offers similar counsel and indeed the two resemble each other. I have covered in other articles my naming of the Pisces Fish: Bliss and Grounding. Everything I’ve said so far about needing to come back to shore to share ecstasy is encompassed in this symbol. Also within it is the mutability and constant motion of water. It’s an illusion that the fish are not moving. Indeed, it takes thousands of micro-movements to achieve a momentary state where the fluid fish appears to stand still.


The thing to remember during a Neptune transit: You are not yourself. You are everyone. But you can’t stay in the All. You have to come back home to You, enriched by the experience—and paradoxically, more You because of it.


How to Dance with Neptune

Now that you’ve got your “sponsor” in place to be sure you don’t go overboard, feel free to be inspired, spacy, dreamy, blissed out and all the other delicious manifestations of Neptune. You might want to sleep more, dream more (the waking and sleeping variety) and to experiment with meditation, music and other mood shifters.

Some of the suggestions below also include ways of “touching shore.”


  • Astrology readings – As mentioned earlier in this series, any outerplanetary transit is a great time for a reading. A Neptune transit is ideal for psychological astrology, the kind that’s oriented to inner growth and helps you to identify things in your subconscious that may be tripping you up in everyday life. There’s a reason why the famous psychiatrist Carl Jung practiced astrology. It is one of the most accurate diagnostic tools in the world. A skilled astrologer can often go straight to the heart of issues that normally take years of “talk therapy” to uncover and address. (They are visible at a glance in the natal chart.) Let your astrologer wake you up from dreaming long enough to find out what needs your attention, so your life works better.

  •  Therapy – There’s no better time for it. Neptune rules the psyche and subconscious, and during a Neptune transit—or if you’re very Neptunian by birth—the inner door is open for those with the skills to help you navigate your interior. It’s no accident that the symbol for Neptune is nearly identical to the Greek letter psi which symbolizes psychology. Therapy is enhanced during any Neptune transit, but especially when it aspects the Moon. If you have a natal Neptune/Moon aspect, you’re likely to be more open to the healing psychological therapy offers, too.

  • Bodywork – Bodywork of all kinds will do wonders to help you return from Bliss to Grounding, at least periodically.  You are often “out of body” during Neptune transits. Life demands your presence for a lot of important things like driving, parenting, and walking around without tripping and falling. Kitchens and cooking are full of sharp knives, fire and other dangers. (My Neptunian husband recently got conked on the head and nearly knocked out by a flying pot lid from an overhead rack.) Though I’m saying this with humor, it’s no joke. Be careful out there. The neat thing about bodywork is that it is both Neptunian (blissful, relaxing, mood altering) while also bringing that bliss into the physical structures of your body, especially the musculature, to help you be willing to come back to earth for having brought a little heaven with you.

  •  Medical and mental health issues – Neptune transits can bring simmering psychological issues to the point of eruption. This is a time to be aware of your emotional health and to take measures to get professional help, if needed. Ask your sponsor’s help to identify when you might be self-deceptive and avoiding an appointment you really need to make with a doctor, psychiatrist or therapist.

  • Addictions – While I’ve already said a lot on the subject, it is such an issue for Neptune times; it bears repeating. Look at your relationship to alcohol, sex and drugs, including the prescription kind. Neptune transits have the potential to exacerbate addictive behavior. This peak is often the crisis that shouts you need help. Heed the call. Alternatively, sometimes the soberest of men and women find themselves drinking or “doing” too much during these transits. Ask your sponsor or sponsor team of terrific friends to elbow you, if you’re getting out of hand or too out of character.

    A note on sexual addiction: The urge to merge is very powerful during these transits. You don’t have to sleep with the whole football team or all the cheerleaders to have a sexual addiction. An inability to break the spell and break away from someone who is not good for you is as powerful, and in some ways worse, than the multiple partners, sleeping-around stereotype. The Anonymous programs cover all the main addictions: alcohol, drugs and sex. This is just one form of help. Have your sponsors(s) help you sort out what’s best for you.

  •  Gentler forms of healing – With the heightened sensitivity Neptune offers by transit or large natal dosage, you may be more open to subtler types of healing: herbs, essential oils, acupressure, acupuncture (which, when done by a skilled practitioner, is rarely felt), hands-on healing,  energy work—and so on. Healing practices such as t’ai chi, chi gong, yoga and others that move energy may bring exceptional effects because they are so Neptunian by nature.

  • Matters of trust - The potential for deception and boundary crossing—the kind you don’t even realize until the person is smack inside your psyche without permission—is another reason for you to have a sponsor or sponsor committee during these transits. Ongoing if you have a natal Neptune emphasis. What an excellent time to tune up your BS Meter. Many people will feel these subtle invasions in their chakras. (You’re more sensitive to them during Neptune transits.)

    My own experiences have been primarily in the third/solar plexus and second/sexual chakras. The latter can be deceptive, because you think you’re turned onto the person—and you well might be. But instead of the other party’s being upfront about the attraction, he or she will send psychic or other subtle chemistry signals, often not fessing up to the magnetism. It’s a manipulation to get you to make the first move or take the risks of crossing the line into something sexual or to keep you hanging on for whatever reason. Worse yet, presuming the other person is very Neptunian, he or she may be completely unconscious of his or her actions. (You may never figure out the motives or payoff, but some possibilities are using sexual attraction to get something they want from you or to be able to claim you started or pushed it, if they’re married or otherwise partnered).

    The solar plexus “hits” tend to be tension or a churning discomfort, a gut-reaction to something that doesn’t “feel right.” Because manipulation is an underground communication, you can’t point to clear evidence, but you can always point to how you feel, even if it’s as subtle as your bodily reaction because you “smell a fish.” (Learn to say I’m not comfortable or This doesn’t feel right to me.) Lots of times, on the relationship front, there may be some self-deception involved. You may have to admit to yourself; you like the sexual tension and don’t want it to end by busting the game and giving the other person the choice of getting on with it or going away.
  • Grounding Neptune aspects often leave us spacy and in altered states of consciousness. As with Uranus transits, grounding is an issue but for different reasons. (With Uranus, it’s because you’re running such high-voltage energy it’s hard to handle it in physical form; with Neptune, you want to leave your body for more transcendent states. What works is the same. See Thrival Kit: Uranus for some grounding tips. While coffee is usually too much for the already amped-up individual during Uranus transits, you might find it helps during Neptune. Try to keep it short of a fix. (My Pisces ex-husband thought he was having a heart attack only to discover, thanks to his doctor’s good interviewing skills, that numerous espressos a day were causing arrhythmias.)
  • Art and creative “therapy” – This is a time to let loose with your creative energy. If you write, paint, dance, make music or any other artistic endeavor, a Neptune cycle may be the best muse you’ve ever met. Even if the aspect is one of the ones we consider more stressful like a square, opposition or quincunx; the urge to resolve the energetic imbalance often makes creative breakthrough feel urgent. You may become obsessed with resolving it. This is a wonderful time to do your best work, even if you encounter some dams to the flow of creativity. They are just rerouting it to where it needs to go for now. You are likely to be prolific or do a few, great works during this period. If you find yourself getting too manic in the process, your sponsor is on speed dial by now, right?

  • Spirituality.  Along with Jupiter cycles, Neptune transits are one of the best times to dip deeper into your relationship with God/Goddess/All That Is. What is your relationship with the cosmic? What’s missing in your spiritual life that needs “watering?” You are open to being more connected with the All and finding your spiritual bliss. But before you join a convent, friary or shave your head and don saffron robes, sponsor check. Let someone in on what’s turning you on spiritually, someone you trust who’s more grounded than you are currently. They’ll make sure your spiritual path is not turning You off all together.


Music and Entertainment Tips

Music, TV and film are all Neptune-ruled. I won’t get into many specifics here because part of the fun and natural energy of Neptune is to let the spirit move you, to find what you need by going with the flow.

  • Music.  Neptune is associated with music, in general, but I think New Age, ambient and anything you’d listen to for yoga, t’ai chi, etc. are especially Neptunian. Check out Holst’s The Planets to see how you feel about his interpretation of Neptune. In the Thrival Kit: Uranus, I mentioned The HealingEnergies of Music by Hal A. Lingerman. Among the classical composers he associates with Pisces/Water and Neptune are Vivaldi, Telemann and Chopin.

  • TV/Movies.  You might especially enjoy movies on Neptunian topics during its transits: psychology, imagination, spirituality, self-sacrifice, creativity, fantasy, films with a lot of dream sequences or flashbacks, illusion/magic, and biographies of artists. On the side of healing Neptune’s shadow, try themes of deception, escape artists, the underground, drugs and addiction. Psychological thrillers might really suit your fancy at this time, especially if you’re also Plutonian.


Invoking Neptune

From my Blessing for an Astrology meeting:


Neptune,

source of inspiration, compassion and unity:
Help us share our visions

and emotions
to listen with sensitivity
to join our creativity

to see ourselves in each other.


More Reading







Comments

Thanks for sharing in the Comments any tools that have made your transits and natal experiences with Neptune more fulfilling.


Parting Quote Plus

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” 

~ Joseph Campbell

And in the other side of Bliss/Grounding continuum, here’s a great article from the Huffington post on what grounding really means: Staying Grounded: Not Just Another Yoga Cliché



~~~


Photo Credits:

Surreal Sea - © Rolffimages | Dreamstime.com

Yin-yang - © | Dreamstime.com





NOTE

[1] 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of just six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. See http://chemistry.about.com/cs/howthingswork/f/blbodyelements.htm.

 
Disclaimer: This article does not mean to imply any recommendation or certification of any healing methods, individuals or companies mentioned. It is provided purely for informational purposes. Please make your own determination about the quality of the services and products discussed. This article and the others referenced are not meant to constitute advice, nor are they meant to replace medical or psychological treatment.  


Coming later in October: The final Thrival Kit on the PUNCs,  Pluto.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Autumn: Meditation on Wild Gratitude




Meditation © 2014 by Joyce Mason 

 
"Gratitude is heaven itself. " ~ William Blake


 As regular readers of the Radical Virgo know, I do ceremonies with a group of women called the Solsisters each Solstice and Equinox. Along with my partner in facilitating these events, we draw from a variety of sources from multiple traditions. In doing my research for this Autumn Equinox, I stumbled upon Wild Gratitude, the website of Shamanic Practitioner Stacey Couch. What a wonderful site—and concept. The idea of “wild gratitude” inspired me to create the following meditation for autumn. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


~~~

This meditation is in three parts. To give you the most quiet during your contemplation, I’ll explain in advance the idea and steps—then give you minimal cues to use during your meditation itself.
 
   We’re going to look at three kinds of gratitude. First, what are you wildly grateful for? These are often the things you hold most near and dear, like family and health—or avoiding a disaster.

   Next, we’re going to think about the everyday things we take for granted, those things that are so easy to forget to say thanks for—the sunrise and sunset, someone’s smile that makes our day.
 
   Lastly, we’re going to open to one of my favorite Native American practices: giving thanks, also, for blessings yet to come. 



   Get comfortable and take three deep, cleansing breaths. Drink in the feeling of autumn and all its gifts of harvest and plenty.   

1.    What are you wildly grateful for …

2.   
What everyday, smaller things are you grateful for?
    3.    How will you open to blessings yet to come?



I also shared three affirmations I heard that fit both the theme of wild gratitude and abundance, hallmarks of fall:

  • I am safe
  • I am loved.
  • I am a magnet for miracles.
Do this meditation as often as it feels right during autumn--or anytime. 

A blessed Autumn from The Radical Virgo …

~~~

Photo Credit:  © Шпорт Олександр @Fotolia.com