Sunday, January 29, 2012

Planetary Energies for Jan 30 to Feb 5, 2012

Astrology Journal
Written by Pam Younghans
Photo: Spectacular auroras over Grøtfjord, Norway on January 22 (photo by Bjørn Jørgensen)

THE PLANETS are relatively quiet this week, giving us some time to ponder the effects of Neptune's shift from Aquarius into Pisces. Neptune will enter the last sign of the zodiac this Friday (at 11:10am PST), and will journey through Pisces until 2025.

Neptune briefly tested Piscean waters last year, stepping in tentatively on April 4, 2011. But, due to going retrograde (backward) in June, Neptune then returned to Aquarius on August 4.

Since that time, we've been putting finishing touches on issues that we have been working on since Neptune first entered Aquarius in 1998, and preparing for Neptune's full plunge into the oceans of Pisces.

NEPTUNE'S intentions are always to awaken our connection with something greater than ourselves. This mystical planet reminds us that we are more than this physical body, more than our minds and thoughts, more than our emotional responses.

Instead, Neptune encourages us to develop alternate ways of experiencing this earthly reality. Through Neptune's influence, we learn to expand our hearts and allow some greater, more expansive aspect of our being to guide our journey. As we do this, we are enabled to transcend the dramas and traumas that may occur, since we are aware of an essential part of us that can hold everything with arms of understanding and love.

FOR SOME, that transcendent experience is supported by being on a spiritual path. Others connect with Neptune's energy through moments of creative inspiration. Others may find their transcendent moment through being of service to others. Still others may find it through becoming one with Nature. There are as many "right" ways to experience Neptune as there are souls.

How do we know when we've had a "Neptune moment,"  when we successfully transcended the limitations of the earth plane? One of the most obvious clues is when we lose track of time, as we do when we are meditating, are involved in a creative project, or are otherwise being very present in the moment. Since time is one of the constructs of this physical reality, losing track of it is an indicator that we have stepped outside of our human perceptions, even if just for a short time.

Another way that we utilize Neptune's influence is when we rise above pain and heartache, and find another level of awareness inside of us that is able to hold whatever has occurred from a different place. Energetically, this feels like a "heart opening." We somehow sense there is more space inside than there was previously, a space that enables us to hold a perspective that is outside of our normal emotional or mental responses. This space feels nurturing, nonjudgmental, trusting and accepting.

THESE ARE THE QUALITIES that Neptune is always promoting. To help us develop them, Neptune has specific tools and teaching modalities. When we're going through a Neptune transit (when Neptune is working directly with a planet in our birth chart), we may have a sense of fogginess, of not being quite connected to life as usual, or perhaps not even feeling in touch with who we are or what we really feel.

These symptoms are Neptune's way of helping us detach from our personality-level awareness. The feeling of disconnect is meant to increase our ability to find our answers at a different level. It encourages us to trust that there is a higher aspect of our being that has this all figured out, even if we can't consciously see solutions at the moment.

Sometimes we finally get to that place of trust because it's all that's left, when we have tried in all our usual ways to change a situation or even figure it out. But, we don't have to wait until we're so depleted energetically. We can choose to develop the qualities of trust, understanding, and allowing as a part of our ongoing growth path.

HOW DOES IT AFFECT US, when a planet changes signs? It may be helpful to think of the planets as teachers, each with their own teaching style. The sign that each planet is in describes the subject they are currently teaching.

Like the effective teachers that they are, the planets are always trying to help us move from the lower-vibrational qualities of their sign into the higher-vibrational ones. The slower-moving "transpersonal" planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) have a longer time to work with us on specific issues, given that their journey through each sign lasts many years.

ONE EFFECT of Neptune's transit through independently-minded Aquarius has been the gradual dissolution of the separation between peoples. Although we are not yet "one country" on planet Earth, we have certainly broken down many walls over the past 14 years. Other traits that Neptune has been working to dissolve while in Aquarius include exploitation, too much detachment, and a lack of emotional conscience.

But, now that Neptune is moving into Pisces, what can we expect?

AMONG THE THEMES that Neptune will be working with over the next 14 years is the misunderstanding of how to use compassion and understanding. Throughout the Piscean Age, humanity has deified the qualities of martyrdom and self-sacrifice. As we shift into the Age of Aquarius, Neptune will be helping us release those roles, allowing us to shift into the knowing that each of us has the awareness and insight necessary to guide our lives.This enables us to hold compassion and understanding in very different ways, and even more powerfully than before.

Humankind has also, for the most part, created gods that exists outside the self. Religions have been built upon worshiping an external entity that can save or condemn, based on whether we've been "good" or "bad." Neptune in Pisces will be gradually helping to dissolve the belief that we need to be rescued, and move us more completely into the acceptance of our own spiritual connection and creative inspiration.

IT'S INTERESTING to look back at April 2011, to see what occurred. Within a day or two of Neptune entering Pisces, one of the major TV networks announced that two of their longest-running soap operas were being cancelled.

This event may seem frivolous compared to the lofty possibilities we've been discussing -- but keep in mind that Neptune rules films and other imaginative representations of reality. And, soap operas are primarily based on characters that clearly express the Piscean themes of victim and perpetrator, saint and sinner.

When I read about the cancellations, it immediately stood out to me that this was just a hint of what Neptune in Pisces would be guiding us to do in our own lives -- to let go of the ways in which we play the roles of victim or martyr, and to "get real" about the illusions that we've been holding onto.

ALSO LAST APRIL was the fairytale wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, an event that was seen by three billion viewers worldwide. Since Pisces and Neptune both rule fantasy and dreams, this seemed an appropriate manifestation.

But, it also reminds us of one of the dangers of this combination of energies. Taken to an extreme, the dreamlike qualities of Neptune in Pisces can contribute to our losing touch with what is real, buying into a dream that will not support us long-term, or choosing to live in a fantasy world rather than dealing with practicalities. It will be especially important to stay grounded as we work with these energies.

PARADOXICALLY, in the same way that two negatives create a positive, Neptune in Pisces can also have the effect of dissolving illusions, ultimately creating a stronger sense of reality as a result. So much will depend what we are each needing for our growth, and how we choose to work with the energies.

We have, after all, chosen to live in this free-will environment as an important part of our soul growth, and so we continue to choose every day how we deal with the energies and realities that are provided.

IN ITS MOST POSITIVE expression, Neptune in Pisces will promote our living life in the moment, allowing ourselves to be increasingly guided by our creative or spiritual inspiration. After all, the last time Neptune was in Pisces (1847 to 1862), we saw the emergence of Transcendentalism, which believed in "in the unity and immanence of God in the world." Thoreau and Emerson were key participants in that movement -- who will be our present-day equivalents?

So many possibilities! And so like Neptune to leave us in a bit of a fog about how it's all going to transpire... Reminding us once again to live in the moment and trust in our creative inspiration and spiritual connection to guide us through.



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