Neptune conjoins Chiron to the degree on the 16th -17th of this month. Neptune is the planet of dissolution; that is, what sugar does in hot tea, and what our self-control does when we have an emotional melt-down. Neptune dissolves, erases and effaces things.
On a personal level, Neptune is associated with the little ego-effacements we endure in the course of living: those moments when our sense of competence disappears. It can throw us off-message; make us feel sloppy, ungrounded and confused. Such experiences weaken our focus on the external world, and humble our pride. This we do not like at all.
Part of the reason we don’t like it is that we’ve been conditioned not to like it. Modern societies define strength in terms of robust activity and competitive accomplishment. Humbling is for 15th-Century nuns; not for us. We equate humbling with humiliation.
But we will miss the point of Neptune transits entirely if we measure ourselves in terms of Type-A activity. These transits have nothing to do with worldly success per se (though they don’t preclude them; they’re just not about them). Neptune is about spiritual awareness. If it has to, it will weaken whatever stands in the way of soul wisdom.
The conjunction this month1 is happening in Aquarius, the sign of collective intelligence. The most obvious place to look for this blurring and effacement right now is in the human collective. False separations are melting. illusions of superiority that make one group think it is different from other groups are gradually being erased. Neptune is trying to get humanity to see its inter-connectedness.
This planet, named for the god of the sea, makes its statements in watery terms: it floods, erodes and wipes out. It isn’t just the deltas and habitats of Earth that are threatened right now. Also being wiped out are the boundaries that separate countries. It’s bringing to the surface the fundamental arbitrariness of apartheid of every type.
It’s showing us the madness of the USA’s attempts to keep Mexicans from crossing its border with a literal wall. It’s making us look again at Israel, whose blockades and checkpoints have kept the people of Gaza trapped in their bombed-out peninsula, and whose leaders are now building a wall to keep out African migrants.
Such efforts are not only cruel but stupid. They are doomed to fail. While Chiron makes the wound of class and race divisions more and more obvious, Neptune is making our efforts to divide ourselves from each other as futile as building sand castles at high tide.
Cap and Trade
The world has been taking a crash course in Neptune symbolism since it opposed Saturn (consensual reality) in 2004-07. This was the transit that saw climate change cross the threshold from theory to common knowledge. Last year, Jupiter (dissemination of knowledge) added its promotional skills to the campaign, and the balance was tipped: for more and more people, global warming suddenly got very real. At the tail end of the year, in Copenhagen, the great powers of global officialdom admitted en masse that climate change posed a unique threat to life on Earth.
So people are listening up in a new way. The acceptance of climate change has opened the door to the acceptance of other aspects of our poor stewardship of the Earth, such as species extinction and the increasing shortage of clean water. To admit to the truth of these issues is a huge leap of consciousness. Sometimes the truth hurts, as we know; and letting all these things sink in has, over the past couple of years, has left many of us shocked and numb (negative Neptune).
We have been thrown off our bearings, and this makes us vulnerable. In this state we need to be particularly selective about what information we plug into. Should we listen to the big-power G12 delegates who convened in December — the guys who were driven to Copenhagen in specially commissioned stretch limos? Should we listen to the talking heads on TV, who portrayed the protestors there as irresponsible criminals?
To avoid being overwhelmed by the magnitude of what is happening — and to be of any use to our world — we need to cultivate an eyes-wide-open realism. This starts by disabusing ourselves of the illusion that America’s elected officials and pundits – funded, as they are, by deep-pocket interests — can give us a workable way forward.
The powerful interests of the world have their stories ready about our various global crises, and it is these stories that fill the airwaves. But in order to make use of this information, we need to decode it. The “Cap and Trade” schemes being cooked up by Western powers and Wall Street bankers would allow mega-corporations to profit from the pollution they cause. While the conscience-driven activists who poured into Copenhagen from all over the world were gassed with chemical weapons and thrown in jail, the delegates inside the polished halls busied themselves with setting up an international speculative market that would buy and sell carbon emissions. It really is something out of a Stanley Kubrick parody, when you think about it.
If what we want is an understanding that is as vast as possible, once we establish a clear-eyed geopolitical perspective we must put what we know into cosmic perspective. These two levels of understanding do not conflict with each other. They are both true, and they are both more necessary than ever.
Cleaning Up Our Act
With denial out of the way, we face the knotty problem of facing the emotions that tend to arise when information this daunting begins to sink in. Fear, despair and helplessness are no fun, and we don’t like feeling them; but if we have made the spiritual decision to say No to denial, it is our responsibility to negotiate these feelings if and when they come up. By allowing ourselves to feel them, I don’t mean to say that we should stay stuck in them. That doesn’t help. It doesn’t help the Earth, and it doesn’t help us.
But the sense of catastrophe we are feeling does have a meaning. We are feeling this urgency for a reason; in the same way that the warning light on the dashboard of your car is there for a reason. Its raison-d’être is to point to something else. The various systems collapses of the 2012 years are pointers to show us how ignorant we have been, so that we can clean up our act.
If we could anthropomorphize for a minute and consider the situation from Neptune and Chiron’s point of view, we would see that worldwide calamities were the only way the recalcitrant human race was going to get hip to the fact that we are all in this together. The cosmos realizes that humanity missed the memo on this one; and as a corrective, it is stepping in. If it takes global warming and the breakdown of world financial markets to make us realize how interconnected we are, so be it.
When we assimilate this understanding as it applies to groups of people — for example, the wackiness of human groups trying to erect racial caste systems to try to prevent miscegenation — we can’t help but extend it further, to every buzzing particle of life on the planet. We start to realize that separating devices of all kinds are man-made ideas. Not Nature’s idea.
As the Bioneers say, “It’s all alive. It’s all intelligent. It’s all connected.”
Our fellow Earth-dwellers from the vegetable, animal and mineral kingdoms can teach us a thing or two. It doesn’t matter to the flora and fauna whether humanity calls their habitat Rhodesia or Zimbabwe. The Earth’s minerals don’t care which superpower owns the rights to them. Earth’s river and ocean systems don’t give a fig about how we categorize their tributaries. The mountains that loom over the plains don’t care what colors are printed on the flags men stick into them.
All On Board
We will be hearing a lot of “I told you so”s from the world’s visionaries in the years ahead. Those prescient souls who saw these crises coming decades ago are increasingly having their voices heard.
It has never been more obvious that necessity is the mother of invention. As the waters rise and the droughts spread, so are the profiles of once-dismissed theorists such as the hippie-engineers who develop clean cooking stoves for third world populations ; the African conservationist who has just been awarded a Goldman Prize; the urban planners whose advocacy of rooftop farming was once met by blank looks.
The women’s spirituality movement, which was seen as silly at best or blasphemous at worst to mainstream thinkers up until a few years ago, is now informing scientists, who call it the Gaia theory. We don’t hear the embarrassingly ignorant phrase “tree-hugger” too much any more. What we hear of is of thousands of young people graduating from green programs in college campuses worldwide.2
Earth-lovers who saw the writing on the wall have waited a long time to assert themselves in fully creative ways. Now, under the Aquarius conjunctions (collective activity) they are pooling their resources. The sustainable agriculture folks are joining forces with the clean-energy researchers; the anti-strip-mining activists in West Virginia are supporting the Nigerian farmers under siege by Shell Oil. Interconnectedness is the name of the game.
Butterflies, businessmen, spotted owls, soccer moms and Brazilian child street hawkers: we are all in this together, watching the old world get washed away.
Just like in the tale of Noah’s arc, we’re all in the same boat now.
1 The conjunction is the transit’s only exactitude this cycle, but we have been under its auspices for a while now. Chiron has been in Aquarius for 5 years (Feb 2005-Feb 2011), Neptune has been in Aquarius for 12 years (1998-2012), and they will meet up again in April 2011. The Super Conjunction of 2009 included Jupiter, too, exaggerating Chiron and Neptune’s lessons so we couldn’t miss them.
2 Many of the graduates of such programs seem to recognize that their relatively affluent upbringings allowed them to choose to acquire this knowledge, as a means to back up their idealism. If it seems surprising that this group lacks the sense of entitlement typical of their age, it makes sense astrologically. Born when they were and raised where they were, the best of them are aware of the sense of responsibility for the state of the planet reflected in the Cardinal Cross. At some level of consciousness, all of us know that we were born under a certain set of circumstances for a very specific set of reasons. The world situation is, in every case, the perfect backdrop for our soul development — not random; not a thing apart.