January 2016 Newsletter
by Steven Forrest
The current square between Neptune and Saturn has been a weird elongated one, long-foretold but only now flowering. Technically, the aspect made first “partile” (exact) contact just a few weeks ago—on November 26, 2015. The reality is, we’ve all been living with it since December 23, 2014, when Saturn first crossed into Sagittarius. Neptune was only in about 5 degrees of Pisces then—thus, well within the orbs of a square. The aspect has gone on, stronger or weaker, since then—and it will continue through this year, as two more exact squares form on June 17 and September 10.
Saturn teaches patience. In eternal Saturn fashion, the square seems to be taking longer than it needs to.
All square aspects are about tension, but this is a particularly tense one because of the antithetical natures of these two planets. In other words, there seems to be a “natural square” between Saturn and Neptune, just in terms of their basic energies. Put quotation marks around everything that follows: Saturn is realistic while Neptune is flaky. Neptune is spiritual while Saturn is materialistic. Neptune imagines; Saturn counts beans. Saturn’s feet are on the ground, while Neptune’s head is in the clouds.
Why the quotation marks? Because we were quoting the conventional astrological language about these two planets. The words are not totally useless, but they can mislead us. Look at it from “mystical” Neptune’s point of view: what is “unrealistic” about the idea that we are all ancient, luminous beings? What is “flaky” about the idea that we live in a multi-dimensional universe and that we are not merely these physical bodies of flesh, blood, and bone? Psychic phenomena are a reality, and widely-experienced. The world is full of unexplained mysteries. Neptune, in its own context, is utterly, soberly realistic. To Neptune, it is Saturn that lives in the bubble of its own limited understanding—and Saturn who has made a religion of its own narrowness.
But wait a minute. Let’s let Saturn speak. Saturn encourages us to “get a grip.” Two plus two equals four. Never forget it, says Saturn. Why do all the New Age types think they were “Hopi shamans” in a past life, and never the tribal idiot? Why do those “wise aliens in their UFOs” only target flaky goof-balls to receive their psychic messages? Why are there so many people with financial problems practicing “prosperity consciousness?”
Ask Saturn. Just because something sounds cool and spiritual doesn’t mean that it is true. Act like a grown-up. Somebody’s got to show up for work. Somebody’s got to fix the cars, the computers, and the refrigerators.
Poor Saturn! All that weight on his tired shoulders . . . but somebody’s got to keep some lead in his shoes.
The tension between these two modalities of human perception—Neptune and Saturn—is quite real. And square aspects exaggerate tension and friction, so the current square of these two incompatible bodies is an explosive one.
Yet one principle underlies all healthy, evolutionary astrological perspectives: all aspects are ultimately about integration. No matter what it looks like, two energies are trying to work together. They may not like it, but it is still true. When two planets are joined by a hard aspect such as this one, it’s a bit like the dance of the deer and mountain lions. It can look pretty brutal. It can seem like the confrontation of ancient antagonists. And yet, if you think deeply about it, you realize that the deer keep the mountain lions alive, while the mountain lions actually do the same thing for deer—just in less obvious ways. Without the lions culling the herd, the deer would over-populate. They’d all eventually starve, and disease would ravage them.
Sweet “deer-like” Neptune can confuse comforting fictions with ancient truths. Along comes the merciless mountain lion Saturn, confronting Neptune with actual reality.
Saturn, in turn, can become so hypnotized by controlling the meshing gears of this world that it forgets to ask the basic questions about why we are here, the purpose of life, and what is ultimately important.
Like mountain lions and deer, the two planets need each other.
So, think about the past year, as these two planets eased into their square aspect. Has your faith been tested? If you have sensitivity to the early degrees of the Mutable signs (Pisces and Sagittarius, plus Gemini and Virgo), this question has probably been very personal. As always with these ongoing major aspects, we see the issue played out in the daily news. Today, as we face the rampant poison of runaway hatred and violence in this world, have you been able to keep your heart open? Can you still feel the presence of the Great Mystery behind it all? Can you still find an inner temple while you walk the bloody streets of this world?
Those challenges of faith will continue to press at us all through the coming year as Saturn and Neptune form two more squares.
Here is a question that lies at the heart of the matter: Can you name a belief you held in 2013 that has not survived Saturn’s massive reality-check? If your answer is “no,” then I suspect you have blown it and you are still living in a fictional spiritual fairytale designed to block your own evolution. That’s because Saturn is not Neptune’s enemy. Truth and reality are not spirit’s antagonists. Saturn and Neptune are currently trying, in their difficult “squared” way, to cooperate with each other, to improve each other, to deepen each other.
Neptune does not want to listen to Saturn, but it must. Neptune’s weakness is its passion for mind-numbing illusion; Saturn is trying to help. Human beings are famous for holding onto soothing fictions, even in the face of pressing reality. Challenged by reality, they often circle the wagons and become defensive, even violent and angry. Ego looms huge in its futile effort to over-balance the onslaught of more complex truths. You may sense some of that in the current political climate. You may sense some of that in yourself too, as your spirituality (Neptune) is pressed to mature (Saturn).
Meanwhile, it’s a two-way street. Neptune is pressing at Saturn’s rigidity as well. The situation is far more subtle than “wise old Saturn the Realist” bringing the “gospel of sober analysis” to “ditzy, air-headed Neptune.” As with all aspects, it goes both ways. Neptune has something to teach Saturn too.
To illustrate that counter-current, consider for a moment a “Mister Science” type eager to debunk the Neptunian idea of psychic phenomena. We tell him anecdotes about telepathy, ghosts, and magic. One by one, he dismisses them as “coincidences”—never engaging with the fact that there are too many such coincidences for “coincidence” to be a reasonable explanation.
Going further, there is an excellent chance that our Mister Science has actually had many such experiences himself. Maybe he’s playing a dice game and just before he rolls he “knows” he will roll a pair of sixes. Maybe he once recognized his future wife across a crowded room before they actually met. Maybe years later she enters his mind—and ten seconds later, she rings his phone. And yet his mind remains impervious to these facts of his own experience. That’s how powerful Saturn’s function of resistance-by-logical-explanation can be.
So, all the while that Saturn is correcting our Neptunian fantasies, Neptunian reality is eroding our limited Saturnian theories. Translation: If we open our eyes, what we call miracles will abound. And a “miracle,” when you think about it, is really just a Neptunian incursion on our Saturnian reality-construct. Under this ongoing aspect, we can expect a lot of them during the coming year! That’s cosmic law in action. But will we see these miracles? Will we even notice them? And will we be brave and humble enough to consider their implications?
Here are some “miraculous” Saturn-square-Neptune words you might very well hear—or even say yourself—this year: There’s no way that other car could have missed us. Against all logic and reason, you survived a near-miss in an automobile. Or, a bit less dramatically, try this: I know that my wallet wasn’t in that jacket pocket—I’d checked it twice. But of course, that’s where you found your “lost” wallet. These are not rare events. In either case, the Saturn-mind pontificates about “rational explanations.” And it’s probably even correct about them a lot of the time—but “a lot of the time” doesn’t equate with “always.” And that’s the door through which a rational Saturnian demonstration of the existence of life’s miraculous Neptunian dimension enters the picture.
Pursuing exactly the same Saturn-Neptune notions on a more mundane level, try this: a born-again Christian meets a Hindu or a Muslim who glows with divine love, kindness, and wisdom—and the Christian acknowledges the validity of the intuitive perception, and digests its implications. A physicist who is a Virgo acknowledges that three people have independently asked her if she was a Virgo, based solely upon her behavior. Might there be something to astrology after all? An astronomer sees an unidentified object flying in the sky. Dad appears to us in a dream and tells us that he is fine. The next morning we get the call: he died last night.
All of these events illustrate the broad idea of Neptunian incursions into three-dimensional, rational Saturnian reality-constructs. Look for them; they will be there.
So all through last year, and even more today and through the rest of 2016, Saturn and Neptune are in tense dialog. Each one can be helped by the other—and yet each one’s message comes as a shock to the other. Be prepared to pare down your “faith” to what you actually know to be true, based on the ultimate authority of your own experience. And be prepared to digest experiences for which your mind holds no explanation and with which it is profoundly uncomfortable. Put those two together, and you will be surfing the Saturn-Neptune wave to a higher crest of true wisdom than you have ever before known.
By the way, under this square, I have been busy battling various Saturnian forms of resistance in order to write The Book of Neptune. It has the DNA of this square in its bones, and it carries this kind of thinking into deep, chart-specific detail. We are currently putting some final polish on the text and Tony Howard is busy doing the layout. It will be available within the next few weeks. You’ll soon be seeing an announcement.
Happy New Year to one and all, and thanks again for all your support!
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