The image above from Andrzej Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds centers around a moment of epiphany, an opening of consciousness resonant with the dissolving of personal structures that can occur when Neptune stations direct as it has now at five degrees of Pisces. People love to write about the Age of Aquarius, but Neptune stationing direct is a reminder that we remain in the Age of Pisces, an age dominated by harrowing experiences of war rooted in conflict between idealistic ideologies. Ashes and Diamonds is set in Poland on the last day of World War II, a war in which Poland passed through unspeakable terror during its time of Nazi occupation and concentration camps that haunt collective memories with agonies incapable of description. On the day of events in Ashes and Diamonds, modest celebrations over the end to the war occur in air saturated with the heavy fog of lingering trauma and the encroachment of the Soviet state on Polish independence. Immediately prior to the image above inside a bombed church, the Lovers shown here discover an engraved fragment of a poem by the legendary Polish poet Cyprian Norwid:
From you, as from burning chips of resin,
Fiery fragments circle far and near:
Ablaze, you don’t know if you are to be free,
Or if all that is yours will disappear.
Will only ashes and confusion remain,
Leading like storm into the abyss? Or will there be
In the depths of the ash a star-like diamond,
The dawning of eternal victory!
The phoenix of transformation found within these words fits our current astrological climate. When pondering the nature of an archetypal force such as Neptune stationing, it is important to consider the surrounding astrological context: new cycle of Mars and Pluto in Capricorn, Mars triggering the approaching square between Pluto and Uranus in Aries, new cycle between Venus and Saturn in Scorpio, a Leo Jupiter in square to the Sun, Saturn, and Venus in Scorpio, and Uranus conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries. Moreover, making the exact timing of this Neptune stationing more palpable on a personal level was that the Moon was in Virgo opposite Neptune and then Chiron in Pisces as the planetary symbol of oceanic consciousness stood still from our Earth-bound perspective. Easing our ability to integrate meaning from all of this, Mercury has regained full strength as a Morning Star, re-emerging from it’s retrograde shadow zone to form a harmonious trine with both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.
Images are a realm of Neptune, and cinema in particular resonates with the myriad meanings of Neptune’s archetype. Looking at the image from Ashes and Diamonds above, those who grew up immersed within the United State’s Hollywood will recognize the archetypal rebel stance drawing perplexed interest from a lover (and indeed, the actor Zbigniew Cybulski playing the lead was known as the “James Dean of Polish Cinema” and experienced an early traumatic death). This scene unveils a Neptunian dissolution of interior structures and complexes, as each character had previously experienced an unlocking of inner vaults in the union of their embrace. The heart-centered words of a poet are another entry point into Neptune, and after hearing this poem recited from the lips of his desired lover, the lead character opens to the awareness that he could be leading a different life from a different form of consciousness. In the same scene, surrounded by ruins of wars and relics of dominant religion, he expresses that as he had never before realized he could fall in love he also had never thought that his life could be arranged around something different than his own pure survival.
Neptune’s symbolic association with water relates to the dissolution of former structures of our self and reality we experience under a Neptunian wave. It can feel like we are opening to a message outside our known reality, as Neptune is a far-out planet bridging our solar system to what revolves beyond, or it can feel like a current rising from deep within our depths. We can experience moments of realization within a flood of former boundaries dissolving, yet the tendency is to fall back again into the security of the old reality instead of following the seemingly mystical call we fear is merely an illusion. Confusion and disorientation can engulf us when we look to our former self image to provide stability, as under these waves we feel the superficial structure of its facade.
The tragedy of Ashes and Diamonds and the tragedy of many lives is that we label the epiphany the illusion, call the realization a magical fantasy as if magic can not truly happen. Yet while attempting to re-adapt to our former perspective that was not so discontinuous with the surrounding consensus reality, the yearning of Neptune can take root instead in escapist pursuits like drug use or absorption into fictional or non-fictional stories about other people instead of living our own dream. Addictive relationships can fall into this category as well, the type of attachment we form for a relationship that does not nourish our deep self but instead brings us a sense of security within our consensus surroundings no matter how unfulfilling. Ironically from this space we are likely to view a truly fulfilling opportunity for relationship as a romantic fantasy we are imagining from our childhood fairy tales.
The remedy is to swim with the current and be a creative agent, an active magician in your daily life manifesting your internal world into your external environment. Think of the great magician of recent fiction, Harry Potter, consulting his magical mentor Albus Dumbledore in a Neptunian King’s Cross Station:
Harry Potter: Professor, is this all real? Or is it just happening inside my head?
Albus Dumbledore: Of course its happening inside your head, Harry. Why should that mean that its not real?
Whatever signs and symbols you have been drawn to, whatever movies you have felt compelled to watch, books you suddenly knew you had to start reading recently, take note for most likely there is a significant message for you here. Neptune works through mysterious ways that are more musical, imaginal, and intuitive than anything logical. There are many intense astrological signs pointing to a new cycle, new life, and new reality coming into form and while we may be in mid-process and there may be many tumultuous surrounding events, be courageous enough to follow the vision emerging from your depths in your waking life.
Following Neptune stationing direct in Pisces, Venus has now entered Sagittarius and will soon send sparks through a square to Neptune. The image above by Sagittarian artist William Blake unveils the Muse in the form of Beatrice, the inspiring force behind the work of Dante Alighieri. We can find the shifting archetype of Neptune in this work of passion, in the spinning vortex of chariot wheels carrying the beaming and erotic Beatrice. Dante serves as an example of an artist able to channel the imaginal visions lit by love for a woman he was never able to be with physically, into works of art that centuries later continue to leave a mark in modern minds. I was curious to see how this image was interpreted in Symbol and Truth in Blake’s Myth by Leopold Damrosch, and was surprised to find the language describing Beatrice and the other women as dominating a “meek” Dante. To me this connects with Venus emerging from its new cycles with the Sun and Saturn while in Scorpio, into Sagittarius and a square with Neptune: are we being overpowered and confused by our vision or being uplifted into creative inspiration. If we are able to look underneath at the substantive structures sourcing our perception and instinctual reactions we can gain greater awareness of how to ride a wave of Neptune into greater abundance instead of being pulled into an undertow of disintegration. For example, if we come from a sense that creation comes out of conflict we may find ourselves forever stirring up drama around us, sometimes needlessly so- with reflection we may find opportunities to be harmoniously collaborative with others while also being creative.
Venus entering a square from Sagittarius to Neptune in Pisces is a gateway into a couple of months of Neptune experiencing squares from planets in Sagittarius. Within a week on November 22, there will be a New Moon at zero degrees of Sagittarius that will herald our Sun’s entrance into the sign of the centaur. At the end of November, Mercury will enter Sagittarius, and then at the end of December on December 24, 2014 Saturn will also enter Sagittarius. With this time of Saturn at the end of the depth of Scorpio, with Venus, then the Moon, Sun, and Mercury coming into Sagittarius to square Neptune, it is time to make our dreams and visions real. What is illusory will be revealed, and what is authentic and genuine will be deeply felt. If there is unrequited love or romantic projection, it can be channeled into works of creativity and art. If we can enter into a new nourishing relationship, or go into greater depth and intimacy within a continuing one, we will be called to do so. If we are studying a subject or exploring the meaning behind a philosophy we have become drawn to, our experiences will reveal to us what about the teaching and knowledge brings us deeper into ultimate understanding of our reality, and what elements ring false from our experience. The end of November in particular will feature a Grand Fire Trine between Venus in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Leo, and Uranus in Aries that can coincide with liberation, expansion, deepening, and the birth of something vibrant and passionate in our life.
As a final thought in connection with Neptune stationing, many in the spiritual collective community have been concerned over the health of Thích Nhất Hạnh who experienced a brain hemorrhage on November 11, 2014. His words have been shared to a greater extent as a result, including this beautiful writing resonant with Neptune:
“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Death, No Fear