Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Saturn-Neptune: 'The Renewal of the Living Spirit'

Saturn dominates Neptune
Saturn and Neptune will be squaring each other over the next year. These 2 planets are opposites: Saturn promotes form, Neptune formlessness. And in a contest (which hard aspects can seem to be like), if Saturn wins, imposing his will on floppy Neptune, you get a dictatorship. And if Neptune wins (in his indirect way), you get a swamp. 

Of course, we don't really want a contest between the two, we want them to work together to create a heavenly symphony. And to do that you need to be able to both listen to the angelic voices (Neptune) while putting in the years it takes to learn your craft (Saturn).

When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, it not only did so with the Sun

and Asc in Pisces (ruled by Neptune) but with the prospect of a Saturn-Neptune opposition 3 years down the line: and it indeed
Neptune dominates Saturn
became a swamp that continued for years. The US eventually largely withdrew with no clear victory. And it has withdrawn with the prospect of a Saturn-Neptune square that begins in a couple of weeks, as Saturn changes direction, and moves forward to make the first of 3 exact squares over the next year or so. And that tells us the flavour of the new war they have out there, against IS: it is already a swamp, with no clear way forward, and is set to continue that way for a while.

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The above concerns the mundane Saturn-Neptune, the 2 planets operating in the world. The world, acting in the collective way it does, tends not to very conscious, the choices are very limited: that was why Germany pulverised Greece last week, forcing it into an impossible situation.
Mundane astrology and the events associated with it can be therefore quite illustrative of what happens to us on a personal level if we don't think we have choices under these transits: we become a mess with a Plutonian, Neptunian or Uranian flavour. (Greece is a Uranus-Pluto mess).

This Saturn-Neptune square particularly concerns you if you have Sun, Moon or an Angle between about 5 and 15 degrees of a mutable sign - Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.

If you are at the earlier end of that range, then Neptune will have been hard-aspecting you for maybe a few years by now.

Neptune and Pluto are the 2 big transformers: I'm not sure how much difference there is between them. They each tend to drag you through an underworld - one earthy, the other watery - and pull you apart then put you back together again, renewed: if that is what you want, of course.
Neptune Transit

You could say that with Pluto the emphasis is on becoming more real, more authentic. While with Neptune the emphasis is on ensoulment and redemption from suffering. There is a different feel to them, but maybe they still amount to the same thing. All astrology is doing, in a way, is providing appropriate myths at different points in our lives. And myths need not to be taken literally: they are stories that we intertwine with our lives to make sense of them.

So if you have been under Neptune's influence for the last few years, then the theme of your own suffering, and the need for redemption from it, may be writ large. Neptune dissolves. He dissolves the thick skin we often create just to survive: this is an unconscious process that occurs early in life. Unless you are lucky enough to have a functional upbringing!

And that thick skin turns into a habit, long after it has served its purpose. It is like a dog that guards us, he means well, but we no longer need to him to chase away visitors.

So Neptune slowly dissolves the skin that has, to a greater or lesser extent, become who we are, leaving us adrift, not knowing who we are any more, but open and porous to other influences - open, if you like, to the soul, in both a personal and transpersonal way. A Neptune transit is a time of messiness and hopelessness but also emotion and ecstasy.

Into this crucible steps Saturn. It is still a time to dream and wallow, but it is also a time to give form to those wallowings. If it was Saturn on his own, it would probably be time to find those forms, to sit down and work it all out and take action. But because Neptune is involved, there is also a strong element of opportunities presenting themselves, of the work you have always been 'meant' to do appearing.


The living spirit grows and even outgrows its earlier forms of expression; it freely chooses the men and women in whom it lives and who proclaim it. The living spirit is eternally renewed and pursues its goal in manfold and inconceivable ways throughout the history of mankind. Measured against it, the names and forms which men have given it mean little enough; they are only the changing leaves and blossoms on the stem of the eternal tree.
Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul.

So this is the wider meaning, the wider context of Saturn-Neptune. Your problems have become problems - which they need not do, you see many people carrying on happily in the same old misery for their whole lives. And those problems can heal under Neptune, but also be the gateway to the transpersonal dimension that Jung describes.

Which makes me wonder, is there such a thing as healing without the 'transpersonal' dimension being involved? Neptune and the other outer planets would say no, you don't get healed without us, and that's because you are us, humans are transpersonal beings. And that dimension beyond the personal is the matrix that we become from, which is Neptune again. I meant to say 'come from', but the accidental 'become from' hits the nail on the head.

Problems, symptoms are more than just bits to be fixed so we can normalise. They are also calls from the depths of the psyche. A course of 6 sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on the NHS may well produce some temporary results (though the evidence is that it is becoming less effective), but the deeper turning about that is the real meaning of misery is a much longer process. 


And this is reflected in the length of time that outer planet transits take. Yes, they may be most obvious when they are within a few degrees. But they begin a long time before that, maybe 15 degrees before the exact aspect. Deep transformations are slow and take many years, and you may not know you have been in one until you look back afterwards.

As human beings we have this capacity for deep change, if we are interested in it - or if it calls us, and leaves us with no choice. And it often begins with the wonky bits that may have tormented us all our lives. And for them to sort, we need to leave the duckpond in which we have grown comfortable and let ourselves be carried downstream to the sea. This is the soul journey of Neptune. 


And as Saturn approaches a square to Neptune, that journey starts to take shape in the world, it unites inner and outer in a synchronistic manner. The separation into subject and object, self and world, is basic to everyday, coping consciousness. But under Saturn-Neptune we get glimpses of an underlying unity, "the vison of a living, intelligent, conscious Cosmos in which all aspects of life are related to each other." (The Dream of the Cosmos by Anne Baring).

5 comments:

Chrissy Philp said...

Thanks for this Barry. I have Neptune sitting on top of my Venus/Ceres on the Dsc right now and the world hurts. Uranus will be conjunct Mercury in a few weeks time too and, as you say - here comes Saturn. I hope it's ok if I print this, it is so good. Oh yes ... I found Modern Man in my bookshelf only two days ago. perhaps its time to read it again..

Leslee said...

Very interesting. What about after this period, when Saturn will transit ahead of Neptune? I'm picturing building a sand castle only to have the sea wash it away!

LotusLady9 said...

Thanks so much! Saturn and Neptune have always been prominent in my chart and your explanation is helpful.

Rachel Dalley said...

Thanks so much Barry. Love your work. :)

barbara said...

Wow--thank you for helping me to further process my natal Saturn square Neptune (2 degree orb conjunct angles). Healing. I love the Shakespeare quote. Your writings have a refreshing depth of insight. Thanks for your work!