Meditation on Neptune

by C.Marguerite Hafeman 2004-08

Between February of 1979 to February of 1999 Neptune was the most distant planet from the Sun, due to the extremely elliptical orbit of Pluto, who has since been demoted to planetoid status. Like Uranus, the planet's color comes from methane in the atmosphere which absorbs red light, in this case scattering out in blue tones. The tipped magnetic field common to both planets might originate in a conducting shell located just below the surface of the cloud cover, rather than from the interior of the rocky core. If so, the shell might be composed of water, methane and ammonia held at just the right pressure to become magnetized. Neptune also sports a couple of large, mysterious dark spots, thought to be long-lived, giant storm systems.1 One of the more esoteric explanations is that the spots are actually time gates, portals to other worlds.

Neptune takes 165 years to cross the zodiac, spending about fourteen years in each sign. The planet covers about 2 out of the 360 ecliptic each year. It is retrograde (in apparent backward motion) for about five months at a time. It is the second in order of the "transpersonal" planets, the others being Uranus and Pluto; classically these outer planets are symbolic of natural and social-collective forces operating seemingly beyond control of the individual. However longer astrological familiarity with studying their affects indicates that outer planet energies also operate at a personal level, especially when one or more of them is in hard aspect with one or more personal planets (Mercury, Mars, Venus) or the luminaries (Moon, Sun).

Astrologically, the Neptunian field of resonance appears wrapped in lavender fog, its true intent hidden behind wafting veils of glamour. Neptune influence is always nebulous and elusive, its mode of action remains obscure and hidden; it can leave great destruction in it wake that becomes apparent only after the damage is done. It governs the deep seas, sleep, poisons, drugs, photography, rubber, the oil industry, the criminal underworld (with Pluto) and all activity that is clandestine and secret in nature. In health issues, it is implicated in foot problems, hard-to-diagnose ailments, hypochondria, catalepsy, drowning and any mishaps associated with ingesting toxic substances or inhaling noxious fumes. Neptune in hard aspect to Mars can be associated with surgical mistakes.

Neptune has dominion over the subconscious and is the planet of mystical religion. Generally, Neptune's place in the natal horoscope is exactly where the person is most likely to be deceived by others, to harbor false illusions, be blind to what is really going on. It rules escapism of all types, from drug addiction, through alcoholism to any sort of delusionary tendency. If Neptune is retrograde in the natal horoscope chart, the urge to escapism and self-delusion may be more pronounced, while artistic talents and psychic ability may be enhanced. Neptune in aspect to Mercury is said to be the mark of the liar; however I have witnessed natal Neptune retrograde in aspect to Mercury denote a gift for overly blunt honesty, reinforced with a rampant urge to preach idealistic dogma.

Neptune is found at seances, is at home with the con or skam artist and delights in lending a steady hand to fine designs of clairvoyance, hypnotism or camouflage. It is the patron saint of tarot card readers, artists, musicians, poets, dancers, movie stars and magicians. Neptune rules the natural twelfth house of the zodiac where places of isolation and confinement are found such as hospitals, prisons, monasteries and nursing homes. The twelfth house is where Cosmic Mind and the collective mind of society seeps through porous boundaries of the unconscious. Here also is where one meets up with karma and self-undoing; paradoxically the same cruel ground can be made to yield up one's greatest feats of worldly mastery.

Esoterically, Neptune represents the higher octave of Venus, therefore resonates to transcendental planes of love, compassion and harmony. Neptune rules the pineal gland and the astral body. Located in the brain, the pineal gland is part of the endocrine system of hormone-producing organs. The pineal gland is most commonly known for producing melatonin, a susceptance associated with sleep induction.2 More importantly, the pineal gland is the seat of the seventh Sahasrara or crown chakra. All chakras are channels for higher energies, however the crown chakra channels energy from the causal plane and when fully active can reverse itself and radiate "like a central sun creating energy and forming above the head of the individual a veritable crown of pure light and divine energy".3

When this center is fully activated, the individual has stopped choosing self unconsciously from moment to moment, and graduates to the place where the entire universe is contained within the self. There is no ultimate understanding of the universe, because to understand is to cease to be at one with all. This aspect of Neptunian endeavor is mentioned precisely because astrologically the planet is often implicated in an incredibly nefarious repertoire of activities. One unifying factor might be that Neptune operates as a dissolving field, melting away both the highest and lowest products of manifestation when their time has come.

Just like the Uranian field, resistance to the siren call of Neptune can cause far greater harm to the individual than consenting to listen with discrimination. When Neptune takes over, surrender becomes a necessary skill, along with exploring the pratfalls of one's own inevitable delusions about life and one's own compulsive habits of escape. True enough, some drink Neptune's brew to the very dregs and do not live to tell about it. Positively, consider the cultivation of a healthy, consciously accessible emotional (auric) body; learn to dance to the music of the spheres, sing out the vibrations of harmony in the universe. It was the generation born with Neptune aligned next to Saturn that was inspired to put heavenly harmonies (Neptune) into the material form (Saturn) of the 20th century rock-n-roll renaissance.

1http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/index.html
2http://arbl.cvmbs.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/otherendo/pineal.html
3 Chakra Therapy, by Keith Sherwood, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, Mn 1996.

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