by Katharina Wehrli
This article was published in Spirit of Change Magazine Jan/Feb 2003
Neptune symbolizes life in its totality, if one understands Neptune, one understands life better. Neptune is also known as the spiritual planet. We will see what this means in the context of evolutionary astrology. There are many astrological combinations that accentuate this archetype. Even if you are no Pisces, Neptune and the sign of Pisces are located somewhere in your birth chart, and each chart has a twelfth house as well, all generating that Piscean energy in your consciousness. Carrying the characteristics of this archetype in our chart dynamic in one way or another means that we all have our lessons to learn regarding this universal paradigm. Furthermore, there are clearly demarcated stages in the process of developing this Neptune/Pisces archetype within our life experience.
Have you ever looked back on a time or sphere in your life, and contemplating a certain aspect of this, thought you had been too innocent, trusting or gullibly fearless? Did you then see in this context how you had not been prepared for the specific danger and harm that came your way? The result was a painful experience, trauma, grievance, loss or injustice. You learnt your lesson, but in hindsight you concluded that the price you paid was unnecessarily high. However, this dire consequence was unnecessary only in retrospect, because at the time you were not prepared to meet the specific danger. Since you did not heed the signs that could have alerted you to a response of fear within your system, you failed to recognize the lurking peril. You might have felt victimized in your pain, but the truth is that you contributed to or caused the damage by a lack of alertness and realism. Having been innocent and unaware, your personal defense system was not ready to cope with life’s requirements, and you ended up preyed upon. People with a pronounced Neptune, Pisces or twelfth house emphasis in their birth chart experience this situation quite often. However, when these symbols are highlighted through progressions or transits, this phenomenon can befall virtually anyone. Yet in this latter case, rather than being a characteristic experience and lesson pertaining to an entire life span, it is only active and relevant for a period of a few years.
There is the optimistic Pisces investor making plenty of money in the thriving stock market. Then a sudden downswing in the market might alert some or many, but not our Pisces afflicted character. He is still unrealistically optimistic, failing to recognize the warning signs. All of a sudden the market hits a ditch deep low, due to some bad news or some other unexpected factor in the economy. His money is gone, vanished into thin air…. The thing is though, that our Piscean hero can’t wait to sell some of his solid assets now. As soon as he gets his hands on that hard earned cash, he heads right back to see his broker. Little does he know that the market will continue to slide for another three years…..
There is also the young Neptune conjunct Venus interior designer accepting flowers and an invitation from a suave and nice looking gentleman. He has just opened a new location of his furniture stores, and invites the lady to spend a weekend with him on a Caribbean Island to celebrate. Flattered by such an exciting offer, she blissfully accepts. Unfortunately, under the slick surface this man happens to be rather savage when left unchecked. I am sure you can imagine that the Neptune woman expected a much gentler and more loving treatment, instead of a suffocating embrace in the hot and sticky arms of this self interested, emotionally deaf brute. Even if she meant ‘no’ when she said so, there is plenty to distract her from this fact. Life is too short and back home she moves on without Mr. Suave. She has fallen in love with love and here is another nice looking and very engaging fellow coming her way. This one is able to intrigue the lady with his interesting stories of European travel adventures, and they also discover a passion they share for the same authors. What our lady does not know is that this charming character has a taste for sadistic sexual practices he picked up in Europe. And there she finds herself again, this time the experience is not only bothersome and irritatingly hot and sticky, but truly painful. As a matter of fact, this time she fears for her life.
These examples may seem cliche or exaggerated, but they do illustrate how the characters in these scenarios failed to assess their situation accurately. Such episodes repeat themselves in similar or different contexts of life, until the person begins to take responsibility for his/her own situation and actions instead of remaining a victim. Because it serves as a means of self defense, the individual realizes that fear now has become a commanding element in life, and acknowledges that he/she is vulnerable. At this point, there is an awareness of risk, and a attempt to avoid it. With all foolishness vanished, the carefree splendor of life is no longer taken for granted. Once this occurs he/she learns to embrace the immanent danger in life well equipped. The weak ego has grown stronger, strategies to defend oneself have been found, and the immune system is vitalized. Eventually such individuals grow powerful, sometimes even to the point where danger is purposely sought out. Now the pendulum is swinging in the other direction, they seem to have reached a state of invincibility. In this stage some people act in truly dangerous ways or adopt excessively violent doctrines that are harmful. This stance is created by the hunger for power fueled by their own fear. They try to control life and their fear by becoming the source of fear themselves. Here you have the serial killer, the terrorist or the abusive spouse. Luckily, most people do not gravitate toward such drastic measures. Just to name one example, the infamous Osama Ben Laden is a Pisces. It is quite easy to see how these concepts work in his case. We have now reached the opposite polarity of the original condition where there was no conscious concept of danger at all. In this polarity the ego is engaged in predicting any possible danger to the extreme. Every aspect of life is analyzed and calculated, there is no more imprudent spontaneity, and things are just very proficient. Astrologically, this is the Virgo opposition to Pisces.
Three years later our Piscean investor is bankrupt. He has lost his 5 bedroom house in upper middle class suburbia, invested away as collateral in one desperate last attempt to regain some of his unlucky funds. Needless to say, this last and rather large investment did not earn any income either. He now lives down town, renting a gloomy one room apartment in a noisy complex. Next to his day time office job he also tills the receptionist’s night shift in a nearby motel. On top of this he has begun to practice karate, swiftly rising up through the rainbow colored belts with unusually talented ease. Before long he has a black belt wrapped around his muscular waist. In summary, his life now consists of work and practice exclusively. He has decided never to be in debt again, and to grow invincible as a karate master. He is putting every penny into his savings account and every free minute into his martial arts practice. His life is as efficient as the conveyer belt at Ford motor company.
The Neptune lady too has survived her torturous romantic adventures. She is now married to a kind man who allows her much freedom and has no agenda other than being free to do what he pleases to do himself. She thrives in her safe haven, acquiring considerable skills in self maintenance through yoga classes, psycho therapy, holistic courses and nutritional counseling. She grows strong and healthy in body, mind and spirit. Her life now is a very successful journey. Eventually she too becomes so proficient that she thinks nothing harmful or unhealthy could ever happen to her again.
Nevertheless, life’s innate fears and dangers prevail in their own fashion despite acquired skills and efficient strategies. This is where we need to let go of the hard earned control, and realize that we will always be vulnerable and limited. It is simply impossible to become truly invincible the way life appears in this polarity. Fear is an inseparable aspect of life itself. Although the original predicament is remedied by embracing this Virgo polarity in the ways described above, this extreme now needs to be re-balanced and referred back again to the archetype of Pisces we started out from. With the realization that ultimately we will never have absolute control over life, that life happens with or without our cooperation, we are back to the concept of innocence. It is an entirely different kind of innocence from the opening stage. Initially life was taken for granted with unencumbered foolishness. Now innocence means accepting life and its unexpected turns with fear as an ally that helps to signal inherent danger. Moreover, it means letting go into the unknown with the insight that absolute control is an illusion.
The former investor and current karate master is traveling around the world participating and winning most tournaments. One day in Japan he is fighting against a local champion who happens to also be a Zen master. Lo and behold, this guy beats our karate kid, not only once, but three times within a short time. He is bewildered, disarmed and unequipped to deal with this defeating experience. Finally he asks the winning Zen master for the secret of his wielding success. The Japanese sage answers him with the following words: ‘At this point the secret for you lies in the relaxation and love for the moment. Just breathe and embrace the fear, the insecurity and the predicament of your existence.’ This impressive statement blows our Western proponent’s mind. Despite defeat he arrives back home from his trip totally exhilarated.
The holistic Neptune wife’s strife takes hold just as unannounced. Her freedom loving husband has discovered his taste for homosexual relationships, and has fallen in love with another man. It goes without saying that she is dumbfounded by the outbreak of her spouse’s startling fondness. He assures her that he cares to stay married nevertheless. In her painful disillusionment she agrees to try the half baked deal. Within a few months she has lost 30 pounds, can’t seem to digest her food right and has no energy to go to her classes and gatherings. Soon it becomes clear that she is suffering from an eating disorder as well as serious depression. Our Neptune woman is strong and courageous. Finding herself in miserable condition and quite alone, she decides to divorce her husband. Another disillusioning fact to face is that with her broken marriage her soft spoken and sparkling New Age friends seem to have evaporated. With nothing else to lose but her own life, she realizes that good health is not entirely within her control, nor will she ever find emotional security outside of herself.
Ultimately, wherever the planet Neptune is found in our birth chart we are meant to submit with unrestricted devotion to our destiny. Beyond innocence, fear, self preservation, and limiting control, Neptune is calling for the attainment of our true purpose. It is asking us to become bigger than life, to give back with true humility that which has been gathered during our highly individual experience of life. The promise of fulfillment comes through surrendering to what life wants to create through us. As soon as we take success or power for granted, thinking the source of this lies within our control, we are falling prey to that famous Neptunian illusion. It means that the true power is outside of egocentric control. If it is claimed as personal power, Neptune will generate a fall from grace where all that power will vanish in some mysterious way.
Once familiar ground under his feet again, the karate man decides to open his own school. Now all that hard earned money in his savings account comes in real handy. He opens the door to his karate school just as soon as he has found a suitable location. Within a year’s span he has three locations plus a volunteer program in the inner city, teaching minority kids to channel their aggressive energies in self defense and Zen meditation. All of a sudden he is the man everyone wants to talk to, take classes with and get advice from. Although his own practice is cut rather short, he does not mind, because now life itself is the training field. He has learnt to love the moment in its unpredictability, and is in it for the ride rather than the results.
Over time the Neptune lady wins ground as well. Her body slowly recovers and the depression eases. She has learnt to be self sufficient, and also has a couple of new friends and co-workers with whom she likes to spend time. One of them invites her along to a karate class for beginners. This is when she discovers her passion for this discipline. Her teacher is quite pleased with her talent and enthusiasm. After class they chat for a while and she finds out that he needs someone to help him decorate his new place. She offers her expertise with this, and also signs up for a series of karate classes. Over time they find that they have more in common than what meets the eye. They both have overcome the hardship, disillusionment and uncompromising attitude in their dramatic past. The also share the resolution to be fully in the present, whatever this may mean or bring. This turns out to be the beginning of a truthful, loving and compassionate relationship between two Neptune/Pisces people who have gone beyond over-efficiency, illusions, and blind hope in their own lives.
True validation is realized through humility of service to others and society, through seeing oneself as a creative vehicle of life’s intentions only. It is in this light that Pisces and Neptune not only become spiritual symbols, but the end of hope and the beginning of truth. Hope implies a personal agenda to be accomplished, truth is what is. There is no longer a place one needs to move towards, because one is already there. Hope as a presupposed egocentric act of the individual’s will becomes now obsolete. There is no way to know what lies ahead, nor is there a method of controlling it. The important thing is to keep an open mind, and to have a willingness to do the best we can, step by step. Knowing that the value lies in the effort, evolution can proceed naturally according to its intrinsic laws. Self realization is achieved through concerned forethought, the seasoned skills of self preservation, and finally the spiritual wisdom of letting go into the uncertainties of life. Thus life is the beginning, the teacher and the ultimate source of all. Neptune and the archetype of Pisces contain the seed, the growth and the culmination of this process. It is spiritual in the sense that it teaches letting go of or transcending the personal will. This is not denying any natural process nor desire. Rather it is humbly accepting the divine will, a complete collaboration of the finite with the infinite. What is being transcended is the illusion that true creativity originates from and is owned by the ego. It is the ego’s shift in focus from identifying with only itself to identifying with the undying soul within. By listening and trying to understand what life wants to create through us we contribute to our evolution in a unique way. Edgar Cayce was a Pisces and his life illustrates this principle here quite accurately.
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