The 13-year tenure of Neptune in Pisces has a peak this month.
As discussed in earlier Skywatches, during the years of the Cardinal Cross, Neptune in Pisces looms in the background. This month it is exaggerated by a station in early June and by a square from Jupiter around the Solstice.
To use this transit well requires a different kind of alertness than does the Uranus-Pluto square. Neptune is a teaching about the nature of illusion, and is accordingly elusive. It doesn’t shout at us; it envelops us quietly, like weather.
On the personal level, Neptune in Pisces opens us up to all sorts of outside influences as well as to our own inner inspiration. But if we aren’t careful, all that exquisite receptivity can morph into a woozy state of overwhelm. On the collective level, shadow Neptune can stupefy the group mind, enshrouding us in consensual delusion. Already unmoored by the radical Cardinal transit peaking for the first time this summer, the group mind is especially susceptible right now to charlatanism.
Though “charlatan” is a word usually reserved for con men and fraudulent practitioners of the occult,1 the lion’s share of the charlatanism going on in the world right now is the work of moneyed interests conning the people.2
In places like the USA, charlatanism flourishes through advertising and propaganda. At the moment, American television programmers are working overtime, hypnotizing (Neptune) the public via the gossip-fest that is domestic politics.
In Virgo until July third, Mars is stirring up the daily dose of meaningless details with an aggressiveness that borders on virulence. Those who partake of the media, whether voluntarily or involuntarily (now that television sets have managed to wend their way into upscale restaurants, hotel lobbies and banks), are met with an avalanche of factoids from morning to night, revolving around which presidential candidate – each financed by the same corporate behemoths — is ahead in the latest poll.
Neptune is maximally strong in Pisces, which makes it all the more important to be wary of its shadow side: a soul-deep restlessness and distractability. If we understand where these energies come from, we can better guard against them. They come from Neptune’s higher purpose: to loosen our focus from the singular, and allow it to reach the sublime. Neptune is trying to stretch our attention in all directions for a transcendent purpose. It makes us yearn to transcend the specific and embrace that which is all-encompassing. When we are fully centered in ourselves, this mind state allows a universalism of vision that inspires spiritual wisdom.
The trouble comes in when we are not living from the center of our charts, and neither is the group entity of which we are a part. Then we risk losing our footing on the banks of observation, and slip into the polluted stream of mass nonsense. Thus submerged, we lose ourselves in least-common-denominator thinking. We lose touch with our personal tastes, ethical beliefs and our common sense. In this state we may find that our priorities have inadvertently shifted to those of the anchorman on the TV screen… or, more accurately, his apparent priorities; given that whatever worldview he purports to represent is itself a Neptunian illusion.
It takes a certain kind of consciousness-seeker to study lies in order to understand Truth. This challenge is especially available the first week of June.
In contrast to Uranus, whose energy shocks us into noticing it, and to Pluto, whose fatal extremism compels our attention, Neptunian energy compels only in the sense that it bewitches. It has a soft, fuzzy glamour that seduces us unannounced. This is the source of its power.
It is no small feat to defy the myriad collective lies that serve as wallpaper in our social environment. We are up against not just the illusion-spinners but the herd mentality of the group mind, which promises us the safety of conformity. Cultural illusions that have become commonplace reflect not only the reprehensibility of the spinners but the moral and intellectual laziness of the people being spun.
Many of the little lies we live with are transparent enough. Those perpetrated by advertising, for example, operate on a consensual basis; we can readily see through a commercial’s use of sex to sell shampoo, or a billboard’s use of artful design to sell a car. Part of us realizes quite well that it’s a trade-off between the seller’s artfulness and our own willingness to be seduced.
The bigger lies, such as those told by powerful agencies like governments and religions, are more pernicious while equally ubiquitous. Both little and big lies may use familiarity to work their way into the group mind; for example, commercials that are repeated over and over. Both types of lies exact a pledge from the group mind to tolerate them. In the case of really big lies, the group gets agitated, even hostile, if it hears them refuted; as with the official story of 9/11 ,
A few weeks ago the American government pulled off a stunt fueled by Neptune in its charlatan guise. The US president, who foregoes the trouble of trying his enemies in a court of law by targeting them – and any stray civilians who might be in the way — with killer robot planes, flew out for a quick handshake with his frenemy, the leader of Afghanistan. Given that this particular war has become unpopular with voters, and that elections are looming, a photo op was staged whose purpose was to rebrand “the war in Afghanistan” to “ending the war in Afghanistan”.
This PR episode will not change what’s going on. The same forces will continue to control this geostrategically positioned country in Central Asia. The US military bases will remain, US taxpayers will continue to finance them and US-built drones will continue to kill.3 What has changed is the official story, and thus the perception of many Americans under the influence of dark Neptune.
Over the same period, Americans were consuming a flood of news coverage about a politician, John Edwards, who had lied about his sex life. The little lies told by this man shocked, offended and fascinated the public. The big ones told by their government were given a pass.
Sociopaths often understand the workings of Neptune better than ordinary folk. Consider the twisted insights of a guy who wrote the book on big lies:
In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted… and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie…. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously…even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds…
—- A. Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. 1, ch. X
1 I have never personally encountered an example of this type of charlatan, though judging from the solemn warnings of most users of the term, it would seem they lurk everywhere.