Category Archives: In The Sky

Accountability to our aspirations: Astrology of Nov. 28 – Dec. 4, 2017

This week’s astrological forecast is written for the plant-wise Anima Mundi Apothecary newsletter!

Once a month, the week’s astrological forecast will go out in Anima Mundi’s newsletter along with their herbal tips, DIY preparations and information.  In the meantime, be sure to check out all that Anima Mundi Apothecary has concocted in conspiracy with the plants’ desire to heal us!

Click here for a look at the astrology of the week of November 28 – December 4, 2017

with much love and blessings on your wholeness, health and well-being under the Gemini Full Moon,
Erica

A change of perspective: Astrology of Nov. 21 – Nov. 27, 2017

We start this week off with the Sun entering Sagittarius—and we do rejoice! Not that we could or should skip over the revelations of this past season of Scorpio (Oct. 22 – Nov. 21), but Sagittarian influences will begin to bring some new perspectives and insights into our situation. A more generous, inclusive and flexible portion of ourselves will be more readily available to get down with the business of living within a changed reality, and using our higher principles to shape the meaning of those changes. There is the possibility of feeling some hope of moving through the heaviness, and noticing that horizons stretch out farther than those which may have previously felt like they were collapsing in on you.

This process of integration could be helped by minding any gap between one’s abstract ideals and the messiness that life can bring us. The Moon’s square with the Sun on Sunday, Nov. 26 suggests that solutions to such gaps may appear if we examine where our needs (Moon) conflict with our desires (Sun). For example, if we need to shelter and protect a previously traumatized part of ourselves, and yet feel called by our principles to put ourselves in situations which challenge the well-being of that unintegrated part of ourselves, we might want to reflect on any patterns of self-sacrifice and martyrdom. Is that what is driving the desire to “make a stand?” Mercury’s movement through Sagittarius, aspecting the roughly year long square between Chiron in Pisces and Saturn in Sagittarius which is completing this week, signals the importance of locating our mature resources in order to identify and enact our responsibilities to others. This never involves getting rid of old survival patterns, but rather being able to notice when they want to arise, thanking them for their desire to protect, and then choosing to do something different.

This week, Neptune is also appearing to stand still in the sky, stationing to move into direct motion at 11° of Pisces on Wednesday, Nov. 22. Although the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) spend a relatively large amount of time stationing, the week or so surrounding their stations can be especially drenched with their significations. Life may become dreamy, almost aquatic, as if moving slowly through another world where mundane notions of time have little relevance. For some, healing will come through surrendering to this dream state and allowing the intuitive mode to propel your efforts—or to simply float motionless. You might channel this into more artistic or spiritually-oriented outlets. For others, relying on routine and set schedules can help you weather any intensification of your already imaginative or free-floating experience of life. This could be healing through improving ways of coping well with an industrial growth society which would rather label you unproductive or unwell—findi the ways that work for you to balance your spiritual being and material needs.

Underworld blessings: Astrology of Nov. 14 – Nov. 20, 2017

This week of the Scorpio New Moon can recall us to our wholeness, if we are willing to accept the unknown into our lives, the mystery of our being. On Tuesday, make an offering to the receptive parts of you, that which chooses to receive and that which cannot help but receive. Come Wednesday, you might inquire into the health and well-being of your assertive parts or that portion of you which protects you. How are these working together, or not? Are we trying to force, where we should relax? Are we trying to allow, where we should be exerting more will? What does it mean to cooperate with the greater stream of life in which we are carried? Above all, how can we honor the becoming that we each are, a process that has its own timing, its own motive, its own messy and wonderfully intact aspects.

It is a good week to make gifts of abundant love to the mythical Underworld: to all the forgotten ones, the hidden ones, the repressed ones, the misunderstood ones, those beings who simply travel as the unknown. Getting comfortable with discomfort goes a long way, as you will find support for blessing the Sacred Wound—a core wound that never heals, but which, when we release our old stories around it, can become a source of our Soul’s story, carrying some of our greatest gifts, insight and wisdom. For those who have already been working with this profound and precious vulnerability, you might welcome in a maturation of this Sacred Wound in terms of how it takes up space in psyche, or how it is held within psyche.

This Scorpio New Moon also seems to call for a dance party—move the muscles, feel the way gravity shapes your movement, cut the air with your body. This new moon is for dancing with the dead, dancing with the previously hidden and newly revealed, dancing with the wilds both inner and outer. Don’t just sit and contemplate. Let your body teach you about the unknown, let your body move you towards wholeness. Trust its tempo, and know that the rhythms may sound strange, but so it is with intimacy. We can be intimate with another because we do not know them, and in some sense, can never completely know them…do not focus only on those external to you – tend to the sacred Other within as well!

Beware of being pulled into manipulation by deceit or outward aggression or too forceful action—whether by the unintegrated parts of your own psyche or by those external to you. The damage could run deep. It’s better to find out how to expose yourself to yourself, while being very kind and very gentle in the doing. In this way, you could liberate your assertive nature from old, hampering patterns which do not support the kinds and measures of distance which true intimacy requires. Spending enough time with your patterns of assertion and receptivity, as well as with your Sacred Wound, will allow them to transform and take up a truer shape, or a more fitting-for-this-moment shape but oohhh it needs muscular involvement, not mere cogitation. Performance. Enactment. Making things body-real.

Prickly truths: Astrology of Nov. 7 – Nov. 13, 2017

While some of us may still be trying to recover from the emotional tides of last week’s full moon, Mercury saunters into happy-go-lucky Sagittarius on November 5, bringing an optimistic outlook. And instead of the usual three-week stay in Sagittarius, Mercury will camp out there for over two months, due to the upcoming December retrograde through Sagittarius. If we take care now to tether this optimistic Mercury to our more sobering realities, we are in a better position to get the most out of the Sagittarian tendency to expand our views, possibilities and horizons.

Sagittarius is future-oriented, philosophical and adventurous but both the Sun and the traditional ruler of Sagittarius, Jupiter, remain in broody and sometimes swampy Scorpio. Scorpio will be asking us about the ways in which we are compromised and where we should be more cautious than carefree in the ways that we portray ourselves, as we grow into and reach for the future. Venus’s entry into the mysterious and spicy realms of Scorpio (Nov. 5 – Dec. 1) suggests we also tread carefully where others’ hearts and wallets are concerned. Venus governs reciprocity, and all areas of giving and receiving and when she’s in Scorpio, she can be rather guarded and quick to anger. Boundaries are more permeable, and vulnerabilities are closer to the surface. Old resentments, insecurities and relational patterns that need to be tested or released rise up.

Under these influences, thinking, strategizing or communication which is too superficial or grandiose is likely to be called out. The details and nuance which we are missing and the areas or actors we are neglecting will be pointed out by others. It’s worth taking some extra time to be thoughtful, and to choose carefully when and how you communicate. If something you put out into the world is flung back at you in ferocious rejection or accusation, experiment with choosing curiosity, compassion and careful engagement—who knows what deeply liberating relational shift could be occurring. Also try to notice if you are taking the “high road” to avoid the discomfort of seeing more of the whole picture. Mercury in Sagittarius can be filled with so many principles and lofty ideals and yet lacking in basic empathy—not out of spite or ill will, but just out of assuming the best about oneself and the world. The other person really understands that you mean well, right? Venus in Scorpio gives a resounding NO and wants solid reassurance of intentions, or where there is simply a disagreement, she asks for a little more gentleness and compassion than blunt and direct Mercury in Sagittarius may naturally provide.

In longer-term influences, the final of three exact trines between the planet of stability and responsibility, Saturn, and the planet of change and freedom, Uranus, occurs in a near exact grand fire trine with the Moon in Leo on November 11. The Saturn-Uranus trine (Dec. 2016 – Dec. 2017) has lent ease to transitions, or has perhaps appeared more as a shape-shifting or elusive transition that may now be taking more shape as Saturn begins to speed towards ambitious Capricorn. The chart for this final exact trine speaks to our responsibilities to our philosophy or worldview, and enacting or performing it not only for personal benefit but for the welfare of the whole. Any double standards are likely to be exposed this week, so careful with any swagger as Mystery may step in to take you down a few notches.

Finally, it’s important to consider that a failure to live up to one’s own ideals doesn’t mean that others’ failures should be overlooked—and vice versa. Co-dependency will be especially painful in this season. Pristine perfection isn’t required, but rather recognizing what needs to change. Make Mercury in Sagittarius your ally in this, by being generous with your own faults and incredibly perceptive of others’. What really needs to change here? Let me say it again: Co-dependency will be especially painful at this time. Do not confuse real responsibility with uninspired duty or a sense of obligation driven by guilt.

Announcing new monthly astrological forecast

Announcing a new monthly astrological forecast written for the plant-wise Anima Mundi Apothecary newsletter!

It is an honor to team up with Anima Mundi to share the medicines of cosmos, plants and alchemy with you – and to launch it on the week of Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead!  Once a month, the week’s astrological forecast will go out in Anima Mundi’s newsletter along with their herbal tips, DIY preparations and information.  In the meantime, be sure to check out all that Anima Mundi Apothecary has concocted in conspiracy with the plants’ desire to heal us!

with much love and blessings for your wholeness, health and well-being during this week of remembrance of ancestors beneath the Taurus Full Moon,
Erica

Click here for a look at the astrology of the week of October 30 – November 5, 2017

 

Moon-Mars-Neptune: Fighting a house of mirrors

In The Sky: Mars in Virgo is opposite Neptune in Pisces from Sept. 18  to Sept. 29, 2017.  The Moon joins Mars in Virgo on Sept. 18, and forms a T-square with Mars and Neptune on Sept. 25, 2017, when the Moon passes through Sagittarius.  NOTE: In world transits, the Moon may act more as a trigger of the potential embodied in the slower moving planets, and this article is most relevant to those with these three planets combined in their natal charts.

When the Moon forms a dynamic aspect to Neptune, clarity can be a bit challenging. Someone with this aspect once lamented to me that it can be like navigating a house of mirrors. With Mars added to the brew, locating the source of one’s motivation, anger, vitality or sense of direction can be frustrating.

The Moon is what we’re unconscious of, and it can take a long-term effort to notice its role in our behaviors and circumstances. The Moon represents those things which simply are, whether inherited or which by their nature operate outside of our awareness—such as our life support systems. We don’t have to be aware of the daily toil of literally countless beings that allows us to eat, to breathe, to exist. That reality falls into the realm of the Moon. In a similar way, so too does the personal unconscious belong to the Moon.

Moon-Mars-Neptune can symbolize free floating (Neptune) aggression or anger (Mars) in the emotional atmosphere (Moon). Those with this combination in hard aspect will sometimes report a childhood home filled with outward aggression and a pervasive atmosphere of fear. Such an early childhood could generate a profound compassion for others who suffer, or a deeply wounded, victim-identified fragment of the psyche, among other possibilities.

Another common experience is a good deal of passive (Neptune) aggressive (Mars) behavior in nurturing parental figures (Moon). But what is “passive aggression?” Perhaps if we look beyond the label to the activity itself, we can begin to recognize more expressions of Moon-Mars-Neptune archetypal themes.

Essentially, passive aggression is rooted in outwardly expressing one’s feelings, desires and needs in one way, but inwardly feeling very different, often in contradiction to what is verbalized. People will have different storylines driving why they feel they must betray their own experience—and while surviving the constant threat of violence is a very good reason, why else might we see this behavior particularly with Moon-Mars-Neptune?

Sam's River bank cut

It is easy for Moon-Mars-Neptune to feel invaded by others and by their own empathy. Moon-Neptune symbolizes the capacity to feel the emotional experience, the suffering and the illness of others – literally and in one’s own body. With Mars involved, such sensitivity could then be experienced as an attack or invasion.  Moon-Mars by itself can indicate an instinctive (Moon) reactivity or combativeness (Mars), since the Moon represents what we habitually do without thinking.

But when Neptune begins to saturate Moon-Mars, the resulting combination is incredibly sensitive, resulting in a lot of defense mechanisms to protect all that tenderness. Avoidance seems to be a common approach, and that can be avoidance of one’s own feelings, not necessarily avoiding other people’s feelings. Perhaps by denying their own feelings, Moon-Mars-Neptune would feel attacked (Mars) by their own empathy for others (Moon-Neptune).

For example, I had a friend with this combo who absolutely refused to let me apologize to them.  They thought they were taking the high road, being compassionate and understanding of my suffering. But really? They were avoiding their own feelings of anger and trespass, because they would later (totally unconsciously!) punish me in various ways, which was very confusing at first. By not allowing other people to actually be imperfect, to make mistakes, to be messy…they martyred themself in a strange way. I couldn’t apologize because I was already forgiven—but then their own suffering was excluded and not mutually acknowledged, and out came their unconscious resentment.

A well-integrated Moon-Mars-Neptune has an admirable capacity to advocate for compassion, to bring energy and vitality to the receptive and caring parts of the human being, and to actively provide care. Once its deep sensitivity is integrated into the psyche, that sensitivity is no longer a liability or vulnerability.  Moon-Mars-Neptune can be quite the spiritual (Neptune) warrior (Mars), after the native has established a deeper, loving relationship with the Victim archetype—an archetype in everyone’s psyche, but perhaps especially poignant for this combination.

Because the activity of advocating on behalf of others (Mars-Neptune) HAS to start first at home (Moon), for oneself. The Moon-Mars-Neptune native must first establish their own safety and choices for themselves, and not seek to merely create it for others or by living through others, e.g., codependent relationships.  This is Neptune’s challenge: how to not so identify with others’ hardships, that one’s own self is lost.

Mind Meets Body: New Moon in Gemini

“We are not lacking in the dynamic forces needed to create the future.  We live immersed in a sea of energy beyond all comprehension.  But this energy, in an ultimate sense, is ours not by domination but by invocation.” -Thomas Berry

On Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 12:44pm Pacific time, the Moon will conjoin the Sun at 4°47” of Gemini. The New Moon is traditionally conceived of as a time to set intentions for a new cycle of growth, with the following Full Moon (June 9) as a good time to reflect on your intentions and how they have manifested or not.

This Gemini New Moon can offer us a potent window into reconciling the apparent opposites in our lives. Are multiple aims and goals which you feel drawn toward actually in opposition to each other, or perhaps in opposition to the expression of your Soul? Perhaps if you look closely, you will see that what feel like conflicting goals aren’t so much in conflict as requiring patience, endurance, sustained attention and the measured expense of energy. Or a closer look might show that you are living on the surface of life and wearing yourself thin by refusing Soul’s demands to focus attention and energy in particular areas.

Going one level deeper into this lunation, we might consider how the Mars-Saturn opposition of this New Moon relates to “mechanical breakdown” via a split between self-concept and who we truly are. Our self-concept may be colliding with the true nature of reality.  If we regard nature and the physical world in mechanical terms, living through that metaphor can indeed lead to a breakdown. The body as machine results in the alienation of feeling, emotion and Soul, creating inner conflict and confusion, cutting us off from the source of our values and ethics, severing one of the most basic connections to a sense of having our own choices. In this way, our thoughts and ideas become divorced from our daily acts.

Are there ways that you could more fully embody your values and principles? Mars-Saturn can be devoted action and a mature passion, being so humble as to truly belong to the whole and to know how to foster life. Examine your actions not from a place of value judgment (is this good or bad?) but more with an objective eye. What is happening, first of all? Desires and repulsions—all based on our ideas of what should be or how it is supposed to be—will interfere with being present to what you are actually doing in your life.

Looking to Chiron’s T-square aspect with the Mars-Saturn opposition, we might consider ways of healing the mind-body split in our lives. For industrialized societies, this is a deep, deep wound which shows itself in things such as the poisoning of air and waters, since our ideas about the body (Earth) have been given primacy over presence to the needs of that body. Small daily acts towards honoring the body, even as simple as saying “thank you,” could accumulate through the Full Moon of June 9. Don’t burden yourself with too much too soon, as Mars-Saturn asks for a long-term commitment, small steps which build up over time and pay off as you play a long game with a greater return. An intensive focus may look noble, but tends not to endure because such intensity cannot be sustained in the day-to-day. When changes aren’t incremental and slowly integrated, they can’t get to the roots of daily habits.

Another striking feature of this New Moon in Gemini is the exact square between Venus and Pluto, both of which make an exact semisquare (45°) and sesquisquare (135°) to the New Moon, respectively. It calls to mind some words attributed to the Buddha: “If you love, you will know that everything begins and everything ends, and there is a time for beginning and there is a time for ending…one is not in despair, one simply understands, and thanks the other: ‘You gave me so many beautiful gifts….'”  Endings are bound with beginnings. We might consider that we can honor what is passing away through our grief. Whether that is an ideal, a way of being in community, an image we had of ourselves or an intimate relationship, we might allow ourselves to experience the power of love to transform us through its cycles of beginnings and endings.

As we integrate the experiences of the Venus retrograde period which just wrapped up, the Gemini New Moon presents an opportunity to plant our intentions to move into a deeper relationship with our beloved communities of life, our partners and lovers, our colleagues—and our own bodies. How can we allow things to change? How can we cooperate with those changes? Not just in words, but in our deeds.

May your mind celebrate a blessed reunion with your body under this New Moon.

Emotional Truths : Full Moon in Scorpio : May 10

The Scorpio Full Moon is now upon us, drawing into exactitude on May 10 at 2:42pm in the Pacific time zone.  She offers a fantastic opportunity to dive into our unwanted, discarded or so-called negative emotions, whether in an internal process or in working out interpersonal or community difficulties. Scorpio’s depths can be known for “drama,” but it only becomes drama when we refuse to surrender to the problematic and untidy aspects of relationships.

Scorpio Full Moon in the Pacific time zone

In reality, the Scorpio Moon is searching for emotional truth, but it can be a little guarded because it’s so vulnerable, exposed, and a little raw in expecting betrayal…particularly in emotion-phobic societies, a Scorpionic Moon cannot always trust that it will be met in that place of vulnerability by others.

Occupying the other side of this lunation, the Sun in Taurus is comfort-seeking, especially creaturely and bodily comforts/habits (“what makes me feel good”) which can serve to avoid changes which require presence to discomfort and messiness. On the one hand, a reaction to the discomfort can be to want to go unconscious, and all kinds of escape routines pop up (food, sex, drink, TV, etc). On the other hand, using the tension between Taurus and Scorpio can provide a fantastic catapult to move into a new relationship with old escape patterns which undermine the strength and quality of our relationships.

Here it should be said that some of our escape routines are there because we actually do need them to psychospiritually survive. There is no shame in being where you are, and there is great honor in knowing you are there. The Scorpio Moon can bring you into closer intimacy with your truth, whether this moment provides a pivot point for change to occur, or it is another step of awareness along a path towards greater wholeness. The path itself is the destination.

Bringing awareness to one’s thoughts and feelings may reveal some familiar old patterns of escape. “Oh yeah, I’ve seen this before.” It could even be a rather undramatic display. But the special opportunity of the next couple of days is to FEEL the feelings. Not think about them or form some concept or story about them, particularly if you are familiar with the behaviors that correspond to the feelings. But FEELING the feelings without labeling or censoring them. Then you might ask yourself in compassionate self-appraisal, what your feelings say about you and your values? (Not what they say about other people!) Might you then need to reach out to others to share your emotional realities, hopefully in a nonviolent way, to try to repair or otherwise address imbalances in your social world – and/or to celebrate and reinforce what is working well?

Lovingkindness and compassion provide a great antidote to reacting against unwanted or even taboo thoughts, feelings and behaviors that could pop up these next few days. This would be a way of bringing in Taurus at its best—being slow, methodical, accepting of human realities. Lean into what it feels like to be a mostly unconscious, instinctually driven and highly vulnerable human, animal body. Imagine that everyone is subject to such vulnerability (and struggle with it). A gentle and kind approach to this with yourself and others can bring better results.

In addition, be willing to reconsider old stories about feelings, become re-acquainted with that which has been pushed down deep and out of (your) sight. This could harness the fading Mercury retrograde to more positive purposes and mitigate its tendency to produce miscommunications which could fuel drama rather than serve transformation. The accompanying Mercury-Uranus conjunction could correlate to a fresh burst of insight—even if it may have its unpleasant edges.

A Prayer For Venus Retrograde 2017

“Love is not the same thing as analysis.”

This approach to personal development came to me through Bill Plotkin of Animas Valley Institute, though I don’t know the origins of the sentiment. But the difference in orientation is profound. When we consider our approach to natal charts, whether our own or others’, analysis brings flesh to an entirely different animal than the one animated by love.

Venus stations direct April 15, 2017

To analyze something means to pull it apart, to try to separate a phenomenon into different parts in order to understand how it functions. Analysis starts off with value judgments and assumes that the one who is analyzing has an answer to a designated “problem,” or the correct view on matters. It tends to discount the native intelligence of the psyche or soul itself, the intelligence in its functioning just as it is, the inherent value of its activity and existence apart from whether the observer may appreciate it or not.

Love offers quite a different approach. Rather than pulling things apart to answer “how” (and therefore bring under control), love tends to draw parts together, making a space between the observer and the observed in which reflection can happen. Awareness can emerge under the application of love. No scrutiny need cause a behavior, an attitude, a memory to scuttle back into hiding, because it is welcome to be itself. Love thus promotes self-disclosure, and allows for a greater wholeness to weave itself.

Orienting by love, various parts of the natal chart and their associated activities can themselves disclose what is problematic, which promotes an infinitely more stable and cohesive solution. Our solutions are defined by the way a question is asked, by the way a problem is posed.

An orientation of loving is rooted in a fundamental trust in the intelligence of the soul or psyche, that it knows what it needs for healing and wholeness to come in its own time. Outgrown behaviors or stances did serve their purpose for a time and should be honored for their roles in our lives. Good or bad, they bring us to this present moment which is curiously the only time in which things seem to happen. When we’re able to be exactly where we are and how we are, and in the present with that reality, things can change, move and flow in time.

What happens if we offer this attitude to the entire world around us? Our partners, our children, our neighbors, our politicians? What sort of space for new possibilities could open up?  This may be a repugnant idea to many, and such is love, not the soft, cuddly, cloying thing it has been made out to be. If nothing else, though, we could try this when working through interpersonal conflicts with those whom we already care about. What if, rather than analyzing them as if we know what the problem/solution is, we offer our curiosity and presence so that both (or all) parties can witness a disclosure of the nature of the conflict.

It can be difficult to let the other person(s) have their own feelings and perspective and not try to make it better, change it or “fix” things. But that is one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other, to allow the intelligence of the other being to try to express itself. Whether that is an inner figure of our own psyche, or a fellow being on this planet, cultivating an attitude of love can generate awareness which makes visible more choices, and offers a chance for real understanding.

In The Sky: Shadows Cast by Saturn square Neptune

Welcome to In The Sky, a recurring feature of  Real Imaginal online magazine, dedicated to the re-enchantment of Neptune.

In The Sky presents reflections on current world transits.

Using the methodology of archetypal astrology which, based on empirical research, allows a 10-degree orb of influence for this particular world transit, the planets Saturn and Neptune began having a difficult conversation in November 1, 2014 which will run through September 2017.

 Saturn square Neptune

When SATURN is at 24° 48” Scorpio — 22° 11” Sagittarius
While NEPTUNE is at 4° 48” Pisces — 11° 15” Pisces
Beginning November 2014
First exact square:
Nov. 26, 2015 at 7° Sagittarius-Pisces.
Second exact square:
June 6, 2016 at 12° Sagittarius-Pisces.
Third exact square:
September 10, 2016 at 10° Sagittarius-Pisces.
Ending September 2017

Generally speaking, the closer the aspect is to exact, the greater the intensity of the associated archetypal qualities, whether positive or negative.

Of all the many seemingly contradictory significations of the Saturn-Neptune combination—such as the onset of mental illness as well as psychological healing; clarified perception as well as perception distorted by fear; the negation of one’s ideals as well as the realization of one’s ideals; skepticism of the literal dimensions of existence as well as skepticism of the metaphorical dimensions of existence—one of the more problematic contours of this archetypal combination is its capacity to see through surface appearances to what has been hidden, unspoken, or perhaps covered over by naïve assumptions.

Hidden dimensions of consciousness are frequently referred to in psychological terms as “the shadow.” The concept of the shadow points towards that which is true about oneself, but which is utterly severed from conscious awareness. Not only do individuals possess a “shadow” or harbor unconscious truths, but so do institutions, traditions, worldviews, entire societies and civilizations.[1] It might seem like a simple matter to unveil the hidden, point a finger at what was previously unmentionable and start the process of integrating these new dimensions of oneself or of the collective. But the archetype of Saturn brings the experience of “problems” or the problematic. And as straightforward as the reality Saturn presents seems to be, Saturn carries its own forms of deception.

Let’s take a look at part of the problematic side of noticing shadow or seeing through illusions, from the point of view of the Neptunian or Piscean person—although many different people may resonate with this experience and take something useful from this exploration.

One variation of the Neptunian thrives in a world of idealistic perfection, where people and institutions are supposed to be all-nourishing and infallible. This particular expression of Neptune will frequently emerge in the patterning of personal archetypes recognizable as the Escapist, and the Eternal Boy (Puer) or Eternal Girl (Puella), among others.

The Escapist will go to great lengths to distract us from anything which contradicts a story that everything is fine and dandy; its main technique is avoidance. The Puella/Puer functions similarly, by flying so high over life that details become indistinct or blurry. The Puer/Puella endlessly engages in one amazing adventure after another, pursuing every shiny, new thing with little sense of direction, and is unable to sit and focus on problems or tasks for any length of time.[2] These archetypal patterns are very familiar to many in industrialized societies, and are well-fed by a steady diet of advertising, cultural beliefs that “you can be anything you want to be” and a mental health culture which is largely focused on making “happy people” rather than “human people” with access to a full range of emotional experience.

Saturn-Neptune periods correlate to challenging times for the Escapists and Puellas/Puers in and amongst us. Since it is a world transit, it is true for everyone that the current Saturn-Neptune alignment can show up as the very bitter taste of having one’s illusions popped. Reality intrudes into The Good Fantasy, and suddenly the political game is recognized as corrupt. One’s life partner is not only no longer the perfect match you thought them to be, they are suddenly felt to be downright poisonous to your well-being! Your allegiance to a set of ideals and moral principles comes into question, as you wonder about their validity and usefulness in such a corrupt and imperfect world. The sense of safety provided by the apparent illusion of a stable, placid and generally benevolent world dissolves.

And for the Neptunian or Piscean (or anyone) who prefers to perceive the world as all-nourishing and without flaw, the bitter taste of a destroyed illusion can be overwhelming. The plunge into the pit of disappointment can seem like a never-ending freefall, a pit without a bottom. And indeed, that can be the case! For true to the archetype of the Escapist, or the Puer/Puella, becoming attached to that bitter taste and then taking THAT to be “reality” is a very clever strategy of the Escapist. It is yet another form of avoidance which can prevent a person from growing and moving into an enlarged understanding of life and its complexity. Because the bitter taste of seeing through an illusion is not reality at all, but in fact just the experience of what isn’t real. Saturn correlates to the “bitterness” of the experience, but if that were held as the ultimate reality, it would represent the negation or the total destruction of one’s ideals, rather than a maturation of them.

Distinct from clinging to the bitter taste of disillusionment as “the new reality to adjust to,” actually remaining present to that bitterness long enough for it to transform your understanding or your stance is the critical move. It is how to make meaning out of what could otherwise become an irreconcilable despair. It can be obvious that what you thought about your reality or your situation cannot contain this new information. But it takes time and effort and sustained reflection to generate a new context for that information. This is how Saturn—time, effort, critical distance—can enter into the process in a helpful way, rather than showing up as a punishing ordeal of hanging onto what is no longer real, be that in an Escapist form of bitterness or denial.

Schedule a consultation with Erica Jones and learn more about her practice here.

ENDNOTES

[1] The depth ecopsychologist Bill Plotkin makes a helpful distinction when he says that “the Shadow is not what we know about ourselves and don’t like (or like to keep hidden) but rather what we don’t know about ourselves and, if accused of it, would adamantly and sincerely deny” (pp. 19-20, Wild Mind).

[2] These defense mechanisms are actually important to psychic integrity in the sense that they helped us to psychologically and sometimes physically survive very difficult situations. It is important to recognize that such strategies developed in childhood, when we were completely dependent upon others for our physical survival and safety, and so were necessary and helpful in their way. The Escapist or the Puer/Puella begin to show up (to us) as problematic—just as the planet of aging, Saturn, would have it—as we are called to mature.