Living With Neptune is a section of Real Imaginal magazine, which seeks to offer some helpful perspectives those who struggle with the influence of Neptune or Pisces in their natal chart. It may also be helpful for those who are undergoing a major transit from Neptune to their natal chart, as well as for astrologers who for example, have not personally experienced much of Neptune’s influence, or who would like to better understand Pisces’ influence. The water signs in general (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces) will also resonate with some of this discussion, but we will focus on Neptune and Pisces.
Cultivating Boundaries, Part 2
Repetition is Key to Recognition
If I have said it once, I will likely say it a thousand times: repetition is key to recognition. This means that yes, sadly, we’re likely to repeat the same mistake an incredible number of times. But fortunately, we can also use the power of repetition to locate the actions, motives and intentions of the one constant ingredient in each scenario: ourselves. Let’s cue the compassion up now, because I’ve seen that observation used to shame a person, rather than to express the golden truth that they actually have the ability to change the pattern. It’s useless to belittle ourselves, and it is as unkind as it is hypocritical to belittle others. Who is exempt from karma, which we could simply think of as “actions?”
To begin to notice and then recognize our patterns of behavior requires us to keep track of our own thoughts and actions, which can be referred to as “tracking.” Tracking is a fabulous, if sometimes difficult skill for the Neptunian or Piscean to develop. There can be a strong tendency to think that “tracking” means tracking other people!  And that’s understandable for those who so easily merge their own identities with others’. Yet let’s consider a way of turning that troublesome tendency towards improving our relationship with Neptune and Pisces. As mentioned in Part 1, starting with love and compassion for ourselves and our flaws is the only way to start noticing our own less skillful behaviors and strategies for achieving our goals. Bullying ourselves, just like bullying others, will not lead us to explore our vulnerabilities, nor will it lead to the development of alternatives to our present challenges.
One tell-tale sign which can help the Neptunian or Piscean person notice when they are squandering Neptune’s powers: Are they making the focus of their life exclusively about others? Especially spending a lot of time creating narratives about others’ experiences and internal worlds? 
Neptune tempts us to believe that we know what is happening inside others’ hearts and minds, but there can be many distortions in even the most genuine information we may receive via intuition or other nonrational means. For example, for those who are able to readily feel others’ feelings, don’t forget: you don’t know why a person feels the way they do. Sometimes the other person doesn’t even know why they feel the way they do! It can be tempting to believe that others’ feelings are our fault or responsibility when they often have nothing to do with us, or at least not in the way we imagine. It’s a huge trap, and a way that permeable boundaries can become so draining, rather than helping us feel connected. What a gift to be able to experience something of how another feels! It brings the existence of the other into intimate awareness. What a curse it becomes, however, when we spend all our time processing other people’s emotions. What is simply a way of experiencing the connectedness of all life becomes a burden that can even feed the worst of our fears.
However, we truly can take what would be simply a weakness and turn it into a path of self-discovery—the literally never-ending task of the Neptunian and Piscean person—by realizing that unless we are well-trained or disciplined psychics, the capacity to make meaning out of something necessarily implicates us, and our story. In other words, if the Neptunian looks closely at their stories “about others” they may find that they are the actual main character! We may have to look really hard, but repetition, repetition, repetition—and opening our heart to ourselves, making it safe to see our own actions, then taking a big step back from the storyline can result in a revelation of personhood, and our own capacity to act. To return to our example from Part 1, Jan could begin to ask himself who is the one insisting that he must do everything possible to please his supervisor? Who is the one who wants the organization to succeed? Probing our storylines with questions and a sacred curiosity can open the way to finding the storyteller.
For I would suggest that once a Neptunian person can identify himself or herself as “the storyteller” in the narrative, they are making progress towards identifying how they actually see themselves. (Not how others see them, but their own self-regard.) Maintaining a clear self-image is one of the great challenges of a prominent placement of Neptune, especially in major aspect to the Sun and Moon. And while seeking the storyteller of our narratives “about others” will initiate a complex process of self-discovery, as a basic means of beginning to dis-identify with the environment and to start recognizing our own actions, it can be a great catalyst of change.
 Tracking events in the lives of our friends and loved ones is very healthy to a certain extent, and a wonderful nutrient to offer to the relational field. It becomes problematic when a person loses track of herself or himself, so to speak.
 We could distinguish this from the very healthy empathic imagination, which attempts to understand what is happening for other people, by noticing if the central focus is on oneself, rather than the other.