The Planetary Nodes of Neptune

Neptune Node cross

astrology glyphs designed by Bradley Naragon

Nodes of Neptune

Those who study and practice astrology are very familiar with the nodes of the Moon, yet across traditions of astrology there are diverse, sometimes conflicting, ways of interpreting and using them. One thing astrologers agree on is that exploring the nodes of the Moon in natal charts and transits unlocks significant information. Not as many people pay attention to the nodes of the other planets, but once you begin contemplating them you will discover there is rich meaning to be found in their placements that also has a mysterious quality difficult to capture in keywords and tidy definitions. It as if the archetypal force of the associated planet ascends and descends like waves from the oceanic world soul or collective unconscious when its planetary nodes are active. This strange, significant influence is especially ineffable when contemplating Neptune and its planetary nodes. There have been a series of astrological transits unveiling Neptune’s collective influence through the activation of its planetary nodes recently, and so it’s worth considering your personal as well as our collective relationship with Neptune in these present times.

Dane Rudhyar published The Planetary and Lunar Nodes in 1971, a short text loaded with insight into the nodes of the Moon as well as all of the other planets. Rudhyar was clearly impressed with the significance of the planetary nodes, writing that having the nodes of Uranus (or any planet) conjoining the ascendant or midheaven is more significant than having Uranus (or the nodal planet) conjoining the ascendant or midheaven because the planetary nodes illuminate an essential “quality of being related to the space of its entire orbit.” Notably, Rudhyar did not root his analysis of planetary nodes in only new age, modern astrology concepts but also in ancient astrological understanding. He wrote:

Indeed, in philosophical traditions concerning the meaning of astrology it was stated that the fundamental reality of what we call a planet is not its material mass but rather the space which its movements define.

— Dane Rudhyar, The Planetary and Lunar Nodes

Moreover, the method utilized by Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes has a strong connection to the same techniques utilized by ancient Mesopotamian astrologers who placed great significance on dynamic points of change in lunar latitude, information found through paying attention to when the Moon conjoins or forms a square to its own nodes. The nodes of the Moon demarcate the places of eclipses whenever a New Moon or Full Moon forms in close proximity to their placement. This is due to the lunar nodes marking the intersection of the ecliptic (the apparent path of our Sun that forms the zodiac) with the arc of the Moon’s orbit. The lunar nodes also mark when the Moon transitions from southern into northern latitude or vice versa.

line-of-nodes-e1500029637840

from Earthsky.org

When the Moon approaches and then moves through a conjunction with its North Node of the Moon, in the northern hemisphere this means the Moon is moving from southern latitude into being on the ecliptic when it forms its union with the North Node. This means essentially the Moon is now on the orbital plane of our planet, and Rudhyar therefore interpreted this as meaning the Moon (or any planet conjoining its North Node) more readily saturating and flooding our earth-based consciousness with its influence. Ancient sky watchers noted this as a point of dynamic change, as the Moon was in transition of moving from southern into northern latitude.

As the Moon moves past the North Node by zodiacal degree it continues to elevate in northern latitude until it forms a square to the lunar nodes, at which point it has reached another dynamic point of change also called the northern bending. At this peak point the Moon is at maximum northern latitude (about five degrees for the Moon) and thus begins to descend in latitude until it forms a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, moving from northern into southern latitude. To Rudhyar, when the Moon is conjoining its own South Node it means it is once again strongly impacting our consciousness by being aligned with our orbital plane around the Sun.  This is a third dynamic point of change in latitude.

When the Moon once again forms a square to the nodes following its conjunction with its South Node it is at its southern bending, its maximum point of southern latitude before beginning to head back toward the ecliptic and the North Node of the Moon. This is the fourth and final dynamic point of change in latitude. Rudhyar stressed the importance of paying attention to when the Moon forms a conjunction with its North Node, then northern bending, then South Node, then southern bending and around again to another union with the North Node, as this taps us into a dynamic process of lunar change. Interestingly, ancient Hellenistic astrologers such as Vettius Valens were aware of the unstable, volatile nature of these points in the Moon’s orbit and advised against electing charts for events whenever the Moon was conjoining or forming a square to one of its own nodes.

Nodes on lunar planisphere

Lunar Planisphere by John Russell (1806); Astrology glyphs by Bradley Naragon

“The two nodes are not separate points each with its individual meaning; they are the two polar aspects of one single process. What should be studied and understood is, first of all, the process.

In the case of planetary nodes, I repeat, what is at stake is the fundamental relationship of a planet and of our Earth as two related members of the solar system. More specifically, in terms of individual birth-charts, it is the manner in which the essential quality of a planet affects the very structure and the roots of our individuality as a member of the human species.”

— Dane Rudhyar, The Planetary and Lunar Nodes

The North Node to Rudhyar is a point of intake he associated with a metabolic process of building personality through the absorption of new material. Rudhyar stressed the importance of properly metabolizing, digesting, and integrating the new material assimilated by consciousness, otherwise it will lead to challenging, negative issues when the Moon (or planet) reaches its South Node. The South Node to Rudhyar is not only a release in the manner of decay or disintegration, but also a seed-like re-channeling into mental, creative, and spiritual development. Rudhyar wrote at the South Node there can be both the putrefaction of poisonous, toxic material as well as positive, creative expression.

In particular, Rudhyar connected the South Node points as being about an expansion of personality rather than building, and that it positively involves dedication to an ideal or community focus. Similar to how the South Node can be a place of sacrificial fires of purification in Indian astrology, Rudhyar also described the South Node as a place of sacrifice as in “making sacred” rather than egoic sacrifice in which we expect something in return.  When the Moon (or other planet) comes around in its orbit to descend across the South Node from northern into southern latitude, it is as if the entire arc of material being assimilated since the most recent union with the North Node becomes focused in consciousness and must be processed and released:

“When a planet is at its north node, its essential function and quality in the solar system is focused upon our Earth-space which is then most able to absorb and assimilate it. When the planet is at its south node what is released as ‘substantial’ factors are the results of the relationship between the characteristic nature of the planet and whatever in the Earth-space has absorbed its power.

If the relationship has been positive, then what has been absorbed has also been ‘assimiliated’ and integrated to the Earth-consciousness and has produced a new ‘seed,’ i.e., new experiences and values. If the relationship has proven negative, what is being released or exteriorized are disintegrating materials, or negative existential results.”

–Dane Rudhyar, The Planetary and Lunar Nodes

neptune node vallotton print

Background by Felix Vallotton; astrology glyphs by Bradley Naragon

When the Moon or planet is in square to the nodes, at either the northern or southern bending, Rudhyar stated it  “operates with a minimum degree of focalization in earth-nature… The Moon [or planet] is as far withdrawn from the Earth…yet…is most active in her own sphere. What happens in that sphere during… maximum latitude becomes focused and exteriorized” when the Moon [or planet] conjoins its nodes. These are times in “which all that the Moon [or planet] represents in the fields of… organic psychological and social activity is brought to focus in… consciousness.”

Rudhyar distinguished between the impact of a planet crossing its north node, which he saw as involving a greater degree of cooperation between the archetypal force of the planet and the Earth, with the impact of a planet crossing its own south node, which he saw as being challenging in terms of an outpouring of the archetypal force descending across the ecliptic. He wrote, “At its south node the characteristic quality of a planet is almost forcibly thrown upon the Earth.” Currently we are experiencing Pluto in Capricorn conjoining its own South Node in Capricorn, and so the Plutonic archetype is being forcibly unleashed throughout our collective consciousness. Pluto was last at its North Node in Cancer in 1930, a topic I will return to explore in a future article.

It is important to note that Rudhyar worked with the heliocentric nodes of the planets when analyzing the dynamic process of latitude change, rather than the geocentric nodes of the planets. Since the Moon actually orbits the Earth, the fact we use the geocentric nodes of the Moon is accurate and results in the North Node and South Node of the Moon always being opposite one another in polarity. However, since the other planets do not orbit around the Earth, although their geocentric nodal placements are interesting to consider in astrology (for example, Jeff Green used the geocentric nodal placements in his work), it is only when we consider the heliocentric placements that we find the planetary nodes to be at opposite points of polarity. Rudhyar also felt the heliocentric planetary nodes tap us more strongly into the relationship between our orbit around the Sun and the orbits of the other planets around the Sun.

With regard to Neptune and its planetary nodes, we last experienced a conjunction of Neptune with its South Node in Aquarius in 2002 through 2004, with the current movement of Neptune across Pisces taking us into deeper Neptunian southern latitude. Since the North Node of Neptune is in Leo between 11 and 12 degrees, and the South Node of Neptune is in Aquarius between 11 and 12 degrees, this means that the northern bending of Neptune when it forms a square to its own nodes at maximum northern latitude is in Scorpio between 11 and 12 degrees. This then means that when Neptune is in Taurus between 11 and 12 degrees that it is at its southern bending, its maximum southern latitude before it begins to ascend back toward the ecliptic. The graphic below has dates for when Neptune has been at each of these points in its orbital cycle:
Neptune Node cycle with datesThere are numerous historical lines of development across time from diverse cultural perspectives that can be correlated with Neptune at each of these four dynamic points of its orbital cycle. It is interesting that Neptune was discovered in 1846 not long after it had descended into southern latitude across the ecliptic. Furthermore, one of the traditional definitions of historical eras in Europe, the Victorian Era, began as Neptune conjoined its South Node in Aquarius in 1838 to 1840. One aspect of the Victorian Era relevant to an activation of the Neptunian archetype was a wave of Spiritualism such as mesmerism and seances. In fact, if we move forward to when Neptune was in Taurus at its southern bending, we can note this is the period of Madame Blavatsky and her Theosophist movement, including the publishing of Isis Unveiled in 1877.

The Victorian era also involved societal repercussions from the Industrial Revolution, and as Neptune moved toward its southern bending there were not only numerous political revolutions across Europe but also the development of socialism and communism.  In the United States of America, Neptune’s movement towards its southern bending in 1877 involved expansion of territory through warfare with indigenous civilizations, as well as the atrocities of slavery that led into underground railroads and abolitionist movements, as well as ultimately the U.S Civil War that freed slaves yet led into a  reconstruction period that continued to enforce institutional racism. Neptune at its southern bending in 1877 saw Crazy Horse fighting his final battles, a railroad strike and riots by railroad workers, and Thomas Edison announcing his discovery of the phonograph which made the recording of sound possible.

Of course, its easy to see that as Neptune drew closer to aligning with its North Node in Leo in 1919 that not only did the first world war erupt, but also monumental political revolutions such as both the Mexican and Russian revolutions. By the time Neptune conjoined its North Node the first world war had ended, and there was an attempt to broker a new peace through the creation of the League of Nations in 1920. Through these eruptions of violent conflict, we can witness the extraordinary power struggles that correlate with Neptune’s orbital cycle- across history we can observe wars erupting that involve conflicts between the religious and idealistic dogma of those pitted against one another.

Jacob Lawrence the migration series

from The Migration Series by Jacob Lawrence, born with Neptune near its North Node in Leo

One element of Neptune having its North Node in Leo is creative actualization of the Neptune archetype, and in Europe during the first world war we can witness this with the development of the avant garde Dada art movement as Neptune approached and crossed over its North Node. In the United States of America, although African Americans continued to face severe racism, they also made an immense cultural impact through the arts with the development of jazz within black communities. In fact, the decade of the 1920s heralded by Neptune conjoining its North Node in Leo became known as the Jazz Age. In addition, there was also an African American artistic and literary movement proclaimed the Harlem Renaissance that developed as Neptune ascended across its North Node in Leo.

There are many events that can be connected with Neptune reaching its northern bending in Scorpio (1961 – 1964), one of the biggest being the powerful drive of the Civil Rights activism in the United States of America. These years witnessed the rallying of action by  Malcolm X, the grandeur of the “I Have a Dream” speech and the profound resistance of the Birmingham campaign that led to a flooding of local jails by protesters, including Martin Luther King, Jr. who composed his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” with Neptune at 14°47 Scorpio, only a couple of degrees past the northern bending of Scorpio. The utopian idealism and psychedelic waves in culture that erupted across the 1960s can also be connected with Neptune in Scorpio being at the peak of northern latitude and bending into descent.

As Neptune descended toward the ecliptic both personal computers and the Internet were created that led to an economic bubble of immense Internet profit as Neptune in Aquarius approached a conjunction with the South Node of Neptune in 2002 – 2004. The Internet bubble had burst by the time Neptune conjoined its own South Node in these years, but during the same period Neptune was crossing the ecliptic from northern into southern latitude, Facebook was created and Google went public. Facebook, Google, and other Internet giants have gained massive influence over the imaginal space of multitudes of people as Neptune has continued to deepen into southern latitude in the years since.

The years of Neptune conjoining its South Node in Aquarius also coincided with the United States of America going to war with Afghanistan and Iraq. The War with Iraq will always be remembered for being initiated by an illusion of weapons of mass destruction. As these wars involved a strongly Christian civilization going to war with dominant Islamic civilizations, it has a link to the crusades of the Middle Ages involving Christian armies invading Islamic lands. The period of the crusades in the Middle Ages is the same time that the Nodes of Neptune moved from being in Cancer and Capricorn into Leo and Aquarius.

It’s also possible to find patterns of development within literature and the arts, such as The Lord of the Rings stories by J.R.R. Tolkien.  In 2004 as Neptune was crossing its South Node in Aquarius into southern latitude, the final story in the series, The Return of the King won an Oscar for Best Picture. Reportedly, J.R.R. Tollkien began writing the story that would eventually develop into the final narrative of The Lord of the Rings in 1917 when Neptune was beginning to cross its North Node from southern into northern latitude. It makes sense to me that some of the themes of The Lord of the Rings could be applied to the meaning of Neptune’s South Node being in Aquarius and it’s North Node in Leo. It’s possible to find links with many other diverse stories and art that align with Neptune’s nodal axis.

Thus if you have a natal chart placement close to 11 degrees of Aquarius, you have it aligned with the South Node of Neptune. If you have it at 11 degrees of Leo, you have it aligned with the North Node of Neptune. If you have it at 11 degrees of Scorpio, you have it at the northern bending of Neptune. If you have it at 11 degrees of Taurus, you have it at the southern bending of Neptune. We can also work in the transit of other planets into this. For example, Mars stationed retrograde a couple degrees away from the South Node of Neptune on 26 June 2018, and Mercury stationed direct on the North Node of Neptune on 19 August 2018. Both of these transits therefore activated the orbital arc of Neptune, essentially stirring up Neptunian material from the collective unconscious into our interconnected collective field.

jung red book 131

Image 131 from Liber Novus by C.G. Jung, born with Neptune in Taurus approaching southern bending of Neptune

The tension of the future is unbearable in us. It must break through narrow cracks, it must force new ways. You want to cast off the burden, you want to escape the inescapable. Running away is deception and detour. Shut your eyes so that you do not see the manifold, the outwardly plural, the tearing away and the tempting. There is only one way and that is your way; there is only one salvation and that is your salvation. Why are you looking around for help? Do you believe that help will come from outside? What is to come is created in you and from you. Hence look into yourself. Do not compare, do not measure. No other way is like yours. All other ways deceive and tempt you. You must fulfill the way that is in you.

— C.G. Jung, Liber Novus, 130

C.G. Jung is an example of someone born with Neptune approaching its southern bending in Taurus, as he was born in 1875 with Neptune at 3°02′ Taurus (about eight degrees away). This means that as Jung grew up, Neptune was moving from its deepest point of southern latitude up toward the ecliptic and its own North Node. As Neptune became closer to its North Node and the first world war erupted, Jung went into his theurgic descent of Red Book visions and creative, spiritual explorations. Interestingly, Dr. Liz Greene in Jung’s Studies in Astrology (Volume 1) included two passages related to Jung’s writing that link well with meanings we can find for the North Node of Neptune being Leo, and the South Node of Neptune being Aquarius:

  • In 1920, Jung wrote the word “prayer” derives from Hindu barh, meaning “to swell” and therefore “the upward-striving will of man towards the holy, the divine . . . Hence, in common speech, one frequently uses images like ‘overflowing with emotion,’ ‘unable to restrain onself,’ ‘bursting’ when referring to such a state . . . This accounts for all those sun, fire, flame, wind, breath similes from time immemorial have been symbols of the procreative and creative power that moves the world.”
  • In 1936 Jung wrote about “the differences between the often ‘heretical’ visions that contain the raw archetypal dominants behind religious ideas, and the more conventional visions which ‘agree with the dogma’ and are ‘visualizations of conscious contents, evoked through prayer, autosuggestion’… Prayer, in this latter context, is merely a form of autosuggestion that follows collectively acceptable formulae and produces collectively acceptable religious ‘experiences’ . . . “ 

These two passages curated by Dr. Greene in her exploration of Jung’s work with the personal daimon display some of the meaning of the polarity at play between Neptune’s nodes of Leo and Aquarius. In addition to the bursting, upswelling spiritual experiences, the North Node of Leo can also be associated with the spiritual glamor that occurs within spiritual communities. Though there are noble qualities of Leo to embody with the North Node of Neptune in Leo, its shadow is clearly when power becomes abused by those placed into the roles of guru or spiritual authority. With regard to Aquarius, we can find both the conformity of modifying behavior and appearances to a spiritual community’s standard as well as the revelations and direct spiritual transmissions received by hermits, heretics, wanderers, and others who are set apart from consensus culture and religion.

ace of cups by pamela colman smith

Ace of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

The South Node of Neptune moved from Capricorn into Aquarius, with the North Node of Neptune moving from Cancer into Leo by the 10th Century, but took until the 12th Century for the nodes to have stabilized in only Leo and Aquarius for good. The time of the nodal transition into Leo and Aquarius occurred during a golden age of Islamic civilization, while in Europe it was the era of the troubadour. Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth described the monumental shift during the age of the troubadour as creating a human ideal for pursuing an authentic life rather than one dictated by the dogmatic authority of church, family, and culture. With the troubadours came the ideal of person to person love that continues into the modern era; there’s also a resonance here with the North Node of Neptune moving into Leo. Instead of conforming to the dictates of arranged marriage, the sway of the troubadours inspired the ideal of being seized by the soul’s counterpart in a romantic other. People became willing to risk burning in the fires of hell, as they were told they would do by religious authorities, in order to be with their beloved.

In 1095 the Pope called for the first crusade with the nodes of Neptune in the beginning of Aquarius and Leo. The crusades link to how Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology connects trauma with the South Node of Neptune being Aquarius. Green wrote that the religions and cosmologies created from humans projecting meaning onto the cosmos has been a main cause of wars in which one religion attempts to dominate any group it feels threatened by. Green wrote that genocide and terrorism becomes rationalized because each religion believes it has the right to control and eliminate due to being the right religion acting in the name of God. Green wrote that the North Node of Leo not only involves using religion for justification of one being right and others being wrong, but also connects with the desire of human souls for inner gnosis.

I recently gave a talk for EA Zoom Meetings! on the planetary nodes of Neptune you can watch below. Jeff Green deserves a lot of credit for being one of the few astrologers to continue to promote the significance of the planetary nodes and to actively utilize them in his interpretations. When I was younger I was drawn to learn evolutionary astrology from Jeff Green in large part because of the significance he gave to the planetary nodes, as they were an aspect of astrology I was eager to learn. More recently astrologers such as Mark Jones and Gary Caton have brought additional attention to the planetary nodes, with Jones giving numerous talks on the subject at astrology conferences such as UAC and NORWAC.

Instead of focusing on describing the meaning of the sign placements of the planetary nodes, Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes focuses more on interpreting the dynamic points of the planet forming conjunctions and squares to its nodes. This is the main point I focused on explaining in this talk:

 

This talk primarily draws from the work of Dane Rudhyar, while also mentioning some of the interpretive meaning brought by Jeff Green to Neptune having its south node in Aquarius and north node in Leo. I also talk briefly about the current significance of Neptune being in Pisces and the fact that recently the transiting lunar nodes have been aligned with Neptune’s nodes, eclipses have been conjoining the nodes of Neptune, and both the recent Mars and Mercury retrograde phases have been connected to Neptune’s nodes. Mars stationed retrograde in Aquarius close to the South Node of Neptune on 26 June 2018, and Mercury stationed direct in Leo directly on the North Node of Neptune on 19 August 2018.

References

Greene, Liz. (2018). Jung’s Studies in Astrology: Prophecy, Magic, and the Qualities of Time (Volume 1).

Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.

The Radical Moisture of Neptune

jung red book 131

Image 131 from Liber Novus by Carl Jung

The tension of the future is unbearable in us. It must break through narrow cracks, it must force new ways. You want to cast off the burden, you want to escape the inescapable. Running away is deception and detour. Shut your eyes so that you do not see the manifold, the outwardly plural, the tearing away and the tempting. There is only one way and that is your way; there is only one salvation and that is your salvation. Why are you looking around for help? Do you believe that help will come from outside? What is to come is created in you and from you. Hence look into yourself. Do not compare, do not measure. No other way is like yours. All other ways deceive and tempt you. You must fulfill the way that is in you.

— Carl Jung, Liber Novus, 130

Neptune stationed retrograde at 12º2′ of Pisces on 13 June 2016, with Saturn retrograde closely applying to a last quarter square at 12º20′ of Sagittarius.  Saturn will perfect its square with Neptune on June 17 or 18, depending upon your time zone.  There is an astrological construct that Saturn has the upper hand in this tension as it is in a “superior” square to Neptune, meaning that Sagittarius is the tenth place from Pisces.  When a planet stations, however, it takes on far vaster significance than normal.  In the case of Neptune stationing retrograde, its numinous significations corresponding to everything Saturn blocks with its stalwart boundaries possess an inexorable tide of salty seawater disintegrating the structures that have been defining one’s identity.  Many are undergoing personal crises in which an identity, relationship, or path they had been attached to has been dissolving.  In the wake of the familiar gone, the once ideal awash in bitter disillusionment, one’s ability to act with integrity can be corrupted by fear, anger, confusion, and insecurity.  Neptune can be difficult to work with because its emanations do not fit neatly into consensus reality like those of Saturn.  Yet when an exact square forms, we need to open to Neptune and begin to integrate what it is asking of us if we wish to be avoid becoming overwhelmed by the dynamic.

In the final paragraph recorded by Carl Jung in Memories, Dreams, Reflections he quoted Lao-tzu:  “All things are clear, I alone am clouded.”  It is the illusions we carry, picked up from outside sources, that cause us to become disoriented by a Neptune transit. When we realize that a beloved hope we had trusted to bring happiness or meaning is in fact illusory, a sense of drowning and disassociation can envelope our being.  Carl Jung’s work illuminated the sense that both good and evil come from the divine, that the “world into which we are born is brutal and cruel, and at the same time of divine beauty” (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 358).  This is the realm of Neptune, a planet that signifies both the most wretched states of existence found in suicidal addictions, as well as the most fulfilled feelings of bliss and joy found in true love.  At today’s juncture of the square between Saturn and Neptune, humanity is facing the terror of its own mass destruction, as numerous collective illusions have coalesced into an era filled with mass murder and environmental devastation.

While Neptune is not truly analogous to the prima materia of alchemy, when Jung in “The Visions of Zosimos” wrote of the radical, root moisture that connects the prima materia with the soul, there is a link to the numinous nature of Neptune we sense whenever we tap into the soul of the world.  Contact with Neptune opens us to the collective unconscious, the wisdom found in the images of our dreams, and wherever we feel the presence of the interconnected, underlying field and fabric of reality.  In the dewy mist coloring the earth as we awake from dream, as the solar rays prepare to emerge once again from the fertile night, we are given another opportunity to release ourselves from the illusions of our past and engage with the arising inspiration that brings life to our imagination and being.  While Neptune transits can feel so disillusioning that we lose sense of meaning in life, they can also revivify our connection with the animating spirit of our universal matrix.

Carl Jung in relation to Neptune has been on my mind a great deal recently as I was fortunate to hear two talks given by Richard Tarnas at the Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) of 2016.  In both talks Tarnas spoke of the important influence the modern emphasis on individualism and the solar heroic self has had in terms of supporting the capacity of people to liberate themselves from oppressive authority and prevailing worldviews in order to discover their own authentic nature and beliefs to live from.  Yet this emphasis on the individual also led to the disenchantment of the universe, a dissociative illusion of separateness from the interconnected streams of the Anima Mundi in which humanity has brought itself to the brink of extinction.  Vitally, Tarnas emphasized that the Sun not only ascends, but descends, and that it is the descent into the many of the pregnant night where we experience alchemical transformation in our night sea journey, where the solar hero sacrifices itself to the whole, embraces and loves the whole, succumbs to the multitudinous of the moonlit night.  This is not unlike opening the rigid, dogmatic confines of Saturn to the numinous realm of Neptune.

jung red book 55

Image 55 by Carl Jung from Liber Novus

One word that was never spoken.

One light that was never lit up.

An unparalleled confusion.

And a road without end.

— Carl Jung, translation of text from image 55, Liber Novus

Carl Jung is exemplary as an individual willing to descend into his depths in order to bring back knowledge to share with the collective, not only because of the testament of his work such as the Red Book/Liber Novus, but also within the symbolism of his birth chart.  Jung was born with a setting Sun in Leo, the very image of the solar self’s descent.  Furthermore, Jung was born with an exact square between Neptune in Taurus and his Leo Sun.  When Jung famously had his vision of the coming world war while riding the train to Schaffhausen, Switzerland in October 1913 (overcome by a vision of blood flooding the European landscape, with the Alps protecting his homeland), Uranus was directly on his ascendant in opposition to his Sun while Neptune was coming into range of a conjunction with his Sun and a square to his Neptune.

During Jung’s years of his descent into his depths of fantasies and communication with his unconscious from 1912 through 1917, Neptune approached and formed an exact conjunction to his natal Sun and square to his natal Neptune (this period also saw Uranus conjoin his ascendant, oppose his Sun, and then oppose his own natal Uranus).  In Memories, Dreams, Reflections Jung called this time of exploring his inner images the most important period of his life, “the prima materia for a lifetime’s work” he compared to a “stream of lava” in which “the heat of its fires reshaped my life,” calling his later works “a more or less successful endeavor to incorporate this incandescent matter into the contemporary picture of the world.”

Richard Tarnas gave a lecture at NORWAC 2016 entitled “The Natal Sun: The Solar Journey & the Forging of the Self” in which he used Carl Jung as a primary example for aspects between Neptune and the Sun. Tarnas illuminated the significance of Jung’s natal square between the Sun and Neptune, and how he serves as an example of how a square can be so well integrated in the course of one’s life that something is brought forth that had not existed previously, in Jung’s case the understanding of the Self with a capital “S” and “his sense that we are always moving toward wholeness and we need to have a coniunctio, a sacred marriage between the conscious and the unconscious, and in this case what he meant by the unconscious was the archetypal psyche and the whole Neptunian dimension.” Tarnas brilliantly made the point that the very word Self with a capital “S” is a great example of the Sun and Neptune together, it being a transpersonal level of the self and “a higher self that guides us to becoming ourselves in our own individuated flowering.”  Tarnas also made the point that Jung’s concept of active imagination is a perfect description of the square between the Sun and Neptune in Jung’s birth chart.

Furthermore, Tarnas focused on the transit of Neptune conjoining Jung’s Sun and forming a square to his natal Neptune in which Jung had to hold on to his solar identity “against this tremendous influx of the Neptunian realm, of the archetypal psyche.”  Tarnas spoke of Jung’s firsthand knowledge that we all need to encounter the Neptunian dimension in order to recover our sense of soul and meaning in life, as “the archetypal domain is where all our sense of meaning and purpose ultimately exists.”  Yet, Jung also taught caution around descent into the archetypal realm, as Neptune also brings the danger of drowning with the influx of the deep psyche.  Tarnas made the point that while the Sun is our center and sense of clarity, Neptune dissolves and disorients it.  Tarnas said the influx of the numinous dimension ruled by Neptune into the solar principle can lead to not only divine inspiration but also inflation, a delusional messianic state.  Tarnas said Jung believed that in most cases of westerners entering the archetypal realm of Neptune that they are likely to enter a state of inflation that must be guarded against, as Jung himself had to face.  Tarnas explained that the western psychological emphasis on forging a sense of individual selfhood and egotism can more often than not lead to Neptunian inflation, instead of an ability to transmit the realm of Neptune with a self that has become “transparent to the divine that is coming through.”

As Jung stated in Memories, Dreams, Reflections:

Numinous experience elevates and humiliates simultaneously . . . Wherever the psyche is set violently oscillating by a numinous experience, there is a danger that the thread by which one hangs may be torn.  Should that happen, one man tumbles into an absolute affirmation, another into an equally absolute negation.  Nirdvandva (freedom from opposites) is the Orient’s remedy for this.  I have not forgotten that.  The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.  The numinosum is dangerous because it lures men to extremes, so that a modest truth is regarded as the truth and a minor mistake is equated with fatal error.  Tout passe–  yesterday’s truth is today’s deception, and yesterday’s false inference may be tomorrow’s revelation.  This is particularly so in psychological matters, of which, if truth were told, we still know very little.  We are still a long way from understanding what it signifies that nothing has any existence unless some small- and oh, so transitory- consciousness has become aware of it.

— Carl Jung

The generation born with Neptune in Sagittarius will experience a square from Neptune as it transits through Pisces, and for those born in the same time period as myself we have Neptune exactly squaring our natal Neptune today while Saturn simultaneously is conjoining our natal Neptune.  Others may have the current Neptune square with Saturn making other catalytic aspects in their natal chart in one way or another.  Carl Jung serves as an example of someone who went into the realm of Neptune and came back with knowledge to share with and heal the greater collective.  He did this through active imagination and making the effort to understand the inner images he experienced, writing in Memories, Dreams, Reflections that he tried “to plant the results of my experience in the soil of reality; otherwise they would have remained subjective assumptions without validity.”

As we head into the time of the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day in which the Sun reaches the zenith of its ascent and begins its descent that will lead us into the regeneration of Fall and the darkness of Winter, a Mutable Grand Cross will form involving Mercury in Gemini in opposition to Saturn in Sagittarius, both in square to an opposition between Neptune in Pisces with Jupiter in Virgo.  This could lead to a breakdown or a breakthrough, and to experience the latter Jung’s emphasis on centering within is sage advice.  In Memories, Dreams, Reflections Jung declared, “There is no linear evolution; there is only circumambulation of the self.” Circumambulating, circling around our sacred center instead of becoming spun out in disparate directions through forces within our outer environment, can facilitate the grounding needed to gather insight rather than delusional, disillusioning experiences.

jung red book 107

Image 107 by Carl Jung from Liber Novus

I accepted the chaos, and in the following night, my soul approached me.

— Carl Jung from Liber Novus, 106

References

Jung, Carl. (2009). The Red Book: Liber Novus. Edited by Sonu Shamdasani. Norton.

Jung, Carl. (1967). Alchemical Studies. Bollingen.

Jung, Carl. (1965). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffe. Vintage.

 

 

Neptune stations in Pisces

ashesanddiamonds1

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.

Ewa reading poem in Ashes and Diamonds

Ewa Krzyżewska reading Norwid’s poem in Ashes and Diamonds

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.

Beatrice_Addressing_Dante_(by_William_Blake)

Beatrice Addressing Dante by William Blake

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