Neptune and the Ocean of Dreams

Neptune, bringer of creative dreams and the nightmare of addiction. How can we accept that which we cannot see?

This week I’ve been suffering from flu. Fever, cough, chills – all the things we associate with the flu virus. On the bright side however, illness is a great time to have some ‘me’ time – though not from choice – and as I lay there musing and having crazy feverish dreams, I wondered about the nature of viruses. We cannot see them yet they are all around us and have the ability to pass through our boundaries to make us incredibly weak. I decided they were the most Neptunian of organisms – completely invisible, they swarm our defences and make us feel completely unlike our normal selves.

That, in essence, is Neptune, ruler of Pisces and the Twelfth House, the planet that takes us away from normality and allows us to construct an alternative reality – without being aware of what is really happening. Neptune is a generational planet – none of us will live long enough to see a Neptune return – so, by sign, we share the ways in which Neptune‘s energies are expressed with our peers. However, at the individual level, Neptune affects us all too.

By house position in every persons chart, Neptune shows where you may be blind to the things you really should be paying more attention to. To give you some examples, in the Fourth House, you may neglect your home or family, in the Sixth House it’s possible to ignore signs of ill health or maybe have a disordered lifestyle or with Neptune in the Tenth House you may feel you need to drop out of society in some way. Neptune makes you want to escape from all that is mundane, ordered, responsible and routine by taking your mind to a different place entirely. You simply don’t notice the things you need to do.

It’s not for nothing that Neptune is associated with altering the mind. From being easily distracted from rather dull daily tasks, to drug and alcohol abuse induced abdication of responsibilities to yourself and others, Neptune has all bases covered and provides you with a wealth of excuses as to why you behave a you do. ‘I couldn’t help it’, says the Neptune in you, if indeed, you say anything at all. Neptune ghosts, evading the tough call every time.

It’s this aspect of Neptune that lies at the root of it’s more negative manifestations. Your mind wants to take you to a different world, a world of dreams and you feel helpless and ensnared, after all who doesn’t want to live the dream? The problem is this – Neptune‘s dreams can come at a price and when the only way you can feed those dreams is through addiction, whether it’s some form of substance abuse, gambling or even sexual addiction, that’s a high price to pay for that brief moment of touching the stars.

So there you have it. Neptune can be an infection in your soul, making you drift aimlessly across it’s ocean of dreams until one day you wake up to find you’re lost. No bearings, no horizon and no comprehension of how you got there. How could this have happened to you? Neptune habitually takes us to it’s own realm – the place where we find it most difficult to understand what is happening in our lives so instead we often surrender ourselves to the Neptunian mist and remain in limbo.

One thing you have to realise about Neptune is the very thing I alluded to in my opening paragraph. It’s invisibility. This quality of Neptune‘s is the thing that makes it so hard for us to own our Neptune side. Now for those who don’t have a particularly strong Neptune in their chart that’s maybe less of a problem, however for those of you who have, for example, Neptune in an Angular House, Neptune in the Twelfth House, Neptune conjunct Sun or Moon, even many of you with the Sun or Moon in Pisces – I have a favourite phrase for this and it’s this – ‘a bad case of Neptune‘. A life filled with Neptunian issues can be problematic, largely because there is such a reluctance to face reality and admit there is a problem in the first place.

Facing up to Neptunian issues can be a struggle – yet paradoxically – Neptune is a planet of healing. The key to overcoming Neptune‘s negative manifestations lies in acceptance – the ultimate expression of Neptunian energy. Acceptance means, at heart, accepting yourself for who you are. it’s only then you can learn to accept the world as it is and other people as they are too.

That’s not to say that acceptance equates with putting up with your current state of oblivion. Neptune asks you to look into your soul – all the outer planets require soul work and Neptune is no exception – and ask yourself to accept who you are at the deepest level. We use our addictions to hide away from ourselves, it’s only by confronting them we make peace with our soul.

If that sounds trite I apologise, however, Neptune offers solutions to help us heal, regardless of the scale of the problems we may face. Once you have made the effort to make unconscious Neptune a positive and conscious force for good in your life, you can start to overcome your own issues – after all they’re your issues not Neptune‘s. Owning your Neptunian side actually means coming clean with yourself.

So is the solution to a Neptune influenced crisis in your life even more Neptune? Well, we all carry the potential to express our planetary energies in both positive and negative ways – and they’re not mutually exclusive. Neptune grants you spiritual qualities. Some may find religious faith helps them overcome adversity, others may practice yoga, meditation or mindfulness techniques. Again, the key is taking your mind to another plane – only this time the goal is self awareness not self destruction. Neptune can be your spiritual guide, making you receptive to the world rather than blotting it out and in that way, the things you found so difficult – your daily life and it’s responsibilities – become a form of spiritual practice.

Neptune is therefore asking you to love and worship the life you have on this earth but certainly not to abandon your dreams. In a positive way, this can mean you find joy in artistic expression. Music, poetry, drama, art – whether you simply enjoy looking, listening or watching or whether you take things further and find an outlet for your own creative expression, Neptune guides the way and Neptune‘s ‘infection’ becomes inspiration.

Equally, many people with strong Neptune influences find their lives have meaning working in the healing professions – not just conventional medicine but often as practitioners of alternative medicine and therapies. This drive to help and heal comes from Neptune‘s quality of universal love in all it’s forms and it is one which carries the promise of redemption.

As I conclude this article, I’m glad that the flu virus gave me the ‘time out’ to share my thoughts on Neptune with you. Being ill at home and thus detached from my usual daily routine was, perhaps, what I needed to get this done – then again, maybe it was the meds…

© Sara Shipman

Astrology – 10 Steps to Self Awareness

If you want to get to know yourself, Astrology can be your new best friend. Meet the planets and learn what they can tell you about you…

There are I guess, several reasons why people get into astrology. Most of you have read a horoscope and some of you will have taken the interest further and read astrology books and blog articles. However, almost all of you will have engaged with astrology with one fundamental objective – to discover more about what makes you, well, essentially YOU.

With this in mind, I started to think about how astrology works to reveal our inner self. Most of you will be familiar with your ‘Star Sign‘ – the sign occupied by your natal Sun – and some of you will also be familiar with your Moon Sign and Rising Sign too. However, for me, the best way of getting to know yourself is to become familiar with all of the planets. Why? Because each one represents part of your essential nature as a human being so when you look at them all together you get a very good blueprint of the person you were born to be.

It’s often very easy for us to focus on the parts of ourselves we like and ignore the bits we don’t like quite so much. However, unless we are prepared to acknowledge all of the qualities that make us who we are and accept the parts of ourselves we find the most troublesome, we will never fulfil our true potential. By looking closely at what each planet signifies, what sign it occupies and where it’s located in your natal chart, we can come to better understand how complex we are as human beings and how each part of us represented by the planetary energies contributes to the whole person.

So, without further delay, lets remind ourselves of what each of the ten astrological planets represents in astrology. Learning how each one works in your life – and using your knowledge to ensure their energies are expressed as well as possible – is your own 10 step program to better self awareness and understanding.

Sun

Regardless of sign, the Sun represents the basic essence of your character – your personality. It’s the energy you radiate out into the world, your own personal star at the core of your unique solar system. The Sun is your ego – it lights up your self esteem and if you’re that way inclined, your self importance. It governs your pride – and we all know the difference between being proud of our achievements and well, just being proud.

Understanding how your Sun‘s energy works according to it’s Sign and house position is the key to you becoming aware of how you express your Sun. Solar traits can be acted out in both positive and negative ways. The more conscious you are of your own character, the easier it is to combat the expression of negative traits by bringing them to light and accepting yourself as you are. After all, the Sun is your consciousness – it is the energy that makes you aware if yourself as a unique person. It gives you the strength to carry on in life and it prompts you to follow your instincts to move your life forward. It is your source of confidence, courage and creative expression. Use it well.

Moon

As the Sun gives out, the Moon takes in. According to it’s sign, the Moon governs your emotional responses, your sense of security, the things that make your comfortable – and otherwise. It’s pretty clear from this that getting to know your Moon is a great way of upping your levels of emotional intelligence. However, the Moon is unconscious and instinctive and it’s not always easy to bring your deepest emotions and needs to light – especially as the Moon has a dark side – those emotions and feelings we are happy to repress as they’re sometimes to hard to deal with.

So, a great way to learn to use your Moon wisely is to understand that it’s sign and house position gives you the clue how to best process your responses to the world around you. Being comfortable with life and emotionally balanced is always preferable to hiding your more difficult feelings away on the ‘dark side’.

Mercury

Mercury, ruler of Gemini and Virgo, is where and how you make contact with the world. How you communicate in all ways – speech, movement, transportation – even your choice of car and phone will owe a great deal to the sign that rules your natal Mercury and it’s house position in your natal chart. Mercury by sign governs how you use and enjoy language, the books you read – or not.

Mercury is the planet of curiosity and by sign and house position it tells you a great deal about how you take in and process information, organise your thoughts – and organise yourself. You need Mercury to make decisions, to evaluate between one course of action or another, to understand those handy instruction booklets that come with every appliance – and to process and understand everyday life itself. Without Mercury your life would be a lonely place – hey, we all need someone to talk to.

Venus

And we all need someone to love. There is a tendency in astrology to think of Venus purely in terms of relationships as Venus is the goddess of love. It is true, Venus according to sign does indeed tell you a great deal about your approach to relationships – and love relationships in particular. Venus shows who and what you find attractive but to focus on this to the exclusion of all else is selling Venus short.

Your Venus house placement is a pointer to your basic values in life – the things that are truly important to you at a fundamental level, as well as the things that give you pleasure. By sign, Venus governs your personal tastes, is an indicator of your artistic and aesthetic inclinations as Venus loves to create beauty and order – some of which may simply be in the eye of the beholder. And Venus is, of course, happy to splash cash to do so – your Venus by sign is a good indicator of your attitudes to material things – especially money – and her house position shows where you may be spending it.

Mars

Every Venus needs a Mars we are told – and yes, it’s true. Venus may rule romance but Mars represents your most basic go getting drive – the force that propels you after the things you want, whether it’s a person, an object, a personal goal – whatever is, Mars wants to ‘win’ – and I use that word in the broadest sense as in ‘to go after and get’. Mars is your most basic survival instinct and your Mars sign shows how your Martian side behaves. Your sex drive, your competitiveness, how well you control your temper (or not), the ways and force with which you assert yourself will be determined by the nature of your natal Mars sign. Natal Mars by house will show the part of your life where those Mars energies are most likely to act out.

At this point, I’m going to add a brief note about Mars and Venus. Traditionally they are associated with male and female archetypes, and it was thought men found it hard to express their Venus and vice versa. I don’t hold with that view – regardless of gender or sexual orientation for that matter, we are all capable of expressing Venus and Mars energies is a positive manner and should strive to do so. Remember, as I said earlier, those energies are part of you and should be honoured.

Jupiter

Jupiter is a social animal – and your Jupiter sign shows how you seek to take more of the world into your life. At an everyday level, your Jupiter sign tells you how you may go about acquiring knowledge or any activity that expands your boundaries. So, your attitudes to long distance travel, higher education, anything foreign or alien to you – by which I mean anything that takes you out of your habitual or fallback position – are governed by your Jupiter sign. Jupiter is the force that moves you onward and upward in life. If you feel stuck in a rut? Check out your natal Jupiter and discover how, by sign, you express your Jupiter energies and by house, where they may be best deployed.

If you’ve been frustrated with your life to date, or lacked optimism, you may have been overlooking your Jupiter potentials. You may need to trust not only your own abilities, but also how other people will respond to your efforts. You may need to approach life in a more optimistic frame of mind and make an effort to improve your life. Getting to know Jupiter can be great way of opening your mind to the possibilities that are out there and developing the wisdom you need to be truly happy in life – and have a sense of humour too.

Saturn

Saturn is the complement to Jupiter. Often viewed as the depressing polar opposite to the bringer of joy, Saturn is actually like green vegetables – essential for your wellbeing though you’d rather be eating something else. By sign, Saturn shows you how you approach responsibility, dedication and hard work and tells you a great deal about your attitudes to authority. Saturn in some signs may find it more difficult to deal with rules and regulations than others and if that applies to you look closely at how Saturn can help you develop self control and self discipline. Regardless of sign, that potential is always there with Saturn.

Saturn by sign governs your attitude to commitment, the ways in which you are reminded of your limits and how you approach being part of society. Saturn by house is also however, an indicator of the things you like to avoid doing, where you procrastinate in life, what you fear and try to ignore. Facing up to those things and simply getting on with them is perhaps the greatest lesson you learn – often our limitations are self imposed and using Saturn’s energies well helps you to simply get over yourself. It hurts to hear that but sometimes it needs to be said.

Uranus

Uranus is the first of the ‘generational’ planets – so called as the outer planets move slowly in the heavens. That, however, doesn’t prevent Uranus from having some personal input in your chart as it’s influence will be felt, according to it’s sign but more specifically in the house it occupies in your natal chart – and often it will be felt in a very disconcerting way. Uranian energy is disruptive and where Uranus falls in your birth chart indicates the area of your life where you experience change – often unexpectedly – and potentially significant stress. However for some people they welcome the excitement that Uranus can bring – and in this approach perhaps lies the solution to dealing with the disruption Uranus brings to our lives.

Learning to embrace Uranian energy is perhaps the best way to deal with it however, that’s not always easy as it involves having to accept changes that are often uncomfortable. Uranus can eject you out of your comfort zone with astonishing speed but the purpose of this – as it is with all of our difficulties – is to get us to discard the outworn in our lives, accept new situations and discover they’re not so bad after all.

Neptune

It’s difficult to describe Neptune‘s energy as well, energy. In fact it’s difficult to describe Neptune at all. Another generational planet, Neptune will, of course, express it’s energies according to it’s sign but by it’s house placement it shows the area of your life where you find it hard to stay in the present. The planet of escapism and dreams, Neptune can be inspirational, creative or plain addictive and delusional and it can be the most difficult planetary energy to deal with as it feels so elusive. The house where Neptune is situated can feel like a soap opera – but even that tells you one glaringly obvious thing: unless you let go of the people and emotions that keep turning your drama into a crisis you will never find the inner peace you need and that’s really the place Neptunian energy wants you to flow towards. And sometimes you really do need to get real and enforce a few boundaries. It’s not always as dull as you imagine.

Pluto

Finally, the darkest energy of all. The outermost planet (in astrological terms), is associated with raw primeval energy – the dark side of our existence – and as such, Plutonian energy is very difficult for many people to own up to. Again, Pluto‘s energy is influenced by it’s sign but at an individual level it’s most noticeable in the house it occupied at the time of your birth. Depending on it’s house placement, Pluto‘s energy can erupt as almost any form of obsession. Pluto in your natal chart shows where you need to be in control – largely because underneath it all you feel powerless or out of control. From this you can see it can be incredibly self destructive – both to yourself and others – erupting as jealousy, manipulation, bullying, coercion and a host of things, all of which you would not want to experience being on the receiving end.

A great way – in fact the only way – of dealing with your Pluto energy is to meet it head on. Pluto wants you to look deep inside yourself and root out the fears, phobias and obsessions that have taken over your life – and which you so often project onto others – and transform your life by accepting yourself as you are – warts and all. This is the legacy of Pluto – the ability to heal using unrelenting honesty as your medicine.

So, in this article , I hope I’ve given you some insight into how astrology works at a very personal level to enlighten you to your own character. Of course the subject of astrology as a whole is rich complex and diverse – in a blog post I can only scratch the surface. However, If you feel like exploring further, keep following this blog – I’ll be adding further posts and pages for you to read and, hopefully, enjoy.

© Sara Shipman