The Astrology of Neptune: The Devil You Know

Do you know someone who fits this description? “God doesn’t want him, and the Devil thinks he’s competition.”

The Irish legend of the Jack-O-Latern describes just one such person, Jack the Smith.

As the story goes, several centuries ago amongst the myriad of towns and villages in Ireland there lived a drunkard known as “Jack the Smith”. Good time boy Jack was a deceiver and manipulator. The Devil overheard the tale of Jack’s evil deeds and silver-tongue. Unconvinced and a bit envious of the rumors, the Devil went to find out for himself whether or not Jack lived up to his vile reputation.

Typical of Jack, he was drunk and wandering through the countryside at night when he came upon a body on the road. Overturning the body, Jack found the Devil leering at him with an eerie grimace. Jack realized the Devil had come to collect his malevolent soul but Jack had no intention of facing heavenly judgement or the fires of hell. Meeting the Devil like an old friend he wheedled and flattered the Father of Lies so that the Devil was feeling like the Jack was a kindred soul. Wiley Jack made a last request, to get one more drink before he was carted to Hell. The Devil fascinated with this human incarnation of himself, escorted him to the local pub where Jack proceeded to tie one on. Jack entertained Beelezebub, with his drunken tales for many hours. But it became obvious to the Devil, that Jack had no intention a stopping at one, two or even three drinks and he called for the tab to wind up his business with the drunkard. When the tab came due, Jack, of course, found himself a bit short. Jack to the Devil’s surprise asked him to pay the tab. The Devil, of course, had no means to pay himself. Jack then convinced the Devil to pull a trick on the bartender and metamorphose into a silver coin with which to pay. Shrewdly, Jack stuck the now transmogrified devil coin into his pocket, which also contained a crucifix. The Devil, bound by the crucifix was unable to escape his form. Stuck he agreed to a demand of Jack that his soul be spared for ten years in exchange for the Devil’s freedom.

Exactly ten years to the date upon which Jack originally struck his deal, the devil once again found him and demanded his due. Again Jack had no intention of going to Hell, and using all his loquacious wiles convinced the Devil to climb an apple tree to retrieve one of the fruits. Once the Devil was in the tree, Jack stuck a bunch of crucifixes in the ground around the tree, stranding the infuriated demon in its branches. Jack demanded that the Devil never take him into Hell, and Satan reluctantly agreed.

Jack eventually died, but because of his sinful ways was not admitted to heaven. He wandered in the dark and lonely spaces between this life and the next, having no place to go, and no rest for his soul. Figuring it was better to suffer in hell, than suffer alone, in desperation he came to the gates of hell seeking admittance among his own kind. Standing before the entrance of his dominion, the Devil laughed at Jack, taunting him. “You thought you were so clever, tricking me. Now you see that you have tricked yourself out of your last refuge. By our own agreement I can’t let you inside these gates. But to remind you forever on of your folly, here is an ember of my fiery dominion, for you to carry as you wander alone through eternity.”

Jack put the ember in a hollowed out turnip, and wanders still, with the fragment of the fires of hell illuminating his face with its ghastly light.

Jack’s story is a Halloween tale illustrative of how the planet of illusion, Neptune, works in our lives. Neptune in its most enlightened form can lead us literally to heaven, but it also capable of great deception. It is the planet that rules all forms of lies, self-destructive behavior and substance abuse. Jack deceived himself into believing he could escape the consequences of his behavior. Whether we follow the path of enlightenment or the path of self-deception, Neptune teaches us about our individual illusions. It just might show you the devil you know.

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The Astrology of the Life Cycle: For Everything There Is A Season

Astrology ClockRaise your hands, who remembers Gail Sheehy’s book Passages. Ok, now that you’ve just dated yourself, do you remember what the book was about? In Ms. Sheehy’s bestseller, which was all the rage when I was in college, she talked about the developmental stages of adults, which was broken up roughly into the decades of our lives, the twenties, the thirties, the forties, etc. This was ground breaking stuff, since up until then the cultural thinking was that was when you became an adult, you were pretty well done developmentally, or as Judge Judy would say “cooked.” And in seeing that the people around me were hitting these developmental milestones, what she was talking about seemed to make sense.

Then a decade later, I started a serious study of astrology and learned, ta da, that astrologers knew all about these milestones and have been talking about them for quite some time. In fact, there is a timetable of events that is more predictable than Jay Leno’s jokes, that defines significant developmental markers.

At age seven , our progressed moons make a square with our natal moons. Here is the first separation from the parent, the first inkling of independence. In the Catholic Church, age seven is when you can make your First Communion, since at that age, you can distinguish between right and wrong and can confess your little seven year old heart’s sins.

At age fourteen, is the first major energetic connection is the waxing Uranium sextile. When Uranus in motion in the heavens is 60 degrees away from the position of Uranus at the time of birth, Uranium electricity surges through the new ly forged energetic connection and activates the drive to act as an individual. Uranus demands separation from the parent.

Age twenty one, the traditional legal age of adulthood, is the first Uranium trine. Just try to stop these folks from going out on their own! Their sense of adulthood and adult entitlement blossoms and in individuals who have matured properly, there is a readiness to leave childhood behind, to take on the challenges of adulthood. The individual has the first run at establishing a career and social identity, though without the life and death seriousness of later years. Sometimes, during this time, the nascent adult retreats back to the comfort of the home to regroup, only to go back out in the world with better defined goals.

At age twenty nine, Saturn comes back to its original position in the natal chart. Known as the Saturn Return, it is a significant passage to serious adulthood. As a gateway to the thirties, where we traditionally establish our permanent homes and our own families, it is often fraught with fears and worries. An emotionally trying time,the individual struggles to clarify his or her adult identity. There is a real sense that it is time to grow up for real, and the need to establish his or her own family becomes a real priority. First homes or the birth of a child often accompanies the first Saturn Return. This is the start of definition of ourselves in what we do for other people.

Most women dread turning forty, because for us in this culture, it marks the beginning of the end of the childbearing cycle. Sand has started to shift, as they say, and our lives during the thirties had taken a serious turn which is continued in the forties. However, in the forties, there is a series of major transits that has come to be known as the mid-life crisis. Here the progressed moon opposes the natal position, taking the opposite viewpoint of your emotional center, so to speak. Certainly you feel at odds with yourself as you realize that your youth is slipping away and your role in society is shifting slightly. On top of that Uranus, opposes its natal position, and for many of us, we feel that everything we have done is little appreciated. On top of that Neptune squares its own natal position, making it difficult to see issues clearly. Feeling constrained with the roles we’ve carved out of society, we want to kick up our heels and do what feels good for us. This is OK if you’ve decided to take up fitness dancing, but it doesn’t work if you decide to have an affair. Marriages can break up during this difficult series of transits, especially if both partners are about the same age. The goal for this set of transits is to define yourself not in terms of what you do for other people, but in how you contribute to society with the gifts you offer society as an individual.

The next set of transits hit around age fifty five and fifty eight or nine. Uranus and Neptune trine their natal positions, opening us up to a new spiritual connection. Having explored our inner truth, we want to reconnect to more Universal truths. Many times, an interest in established religion is reinvigorated, or there is an interest in reinginited in education. These transits dovetail into the Second Saturn return, where we process what we’ve accomplished in the preceding adult years, and assess how well we have attained our goals.

Well past your fifties, you still grow as an individual. the gateway to the last third of your life, the Second Saturn returns makes you aware of your accomplishments. You evaluate what you have done during your life and the results of your life work. Now are you ready to to pass on what your have learned, share the combined knowledge of your life so far. You may do this as acting as a mentor to younger coworkers, in community work or with your grandchildren. Successfully navigating the Saturn Return prepares you for the remaining phases of life here on earth before we all take the journey home.

Around age 62 and 63 we face the one two punch or the first Plutonian square and another transiting Uranus square natal Uranus. Here we feel we are being pushed out in favor of the younger generation who are ready to take up the reins of power. As with any Uranian transit you are being asked to redefine your role in society. Resisting this transit and denying your changing role will only bring more stress. Recognizing this transit as the proper time to free yourself of societal expectations is liberating. Of course, we need to acknowledge and accept that we are no longer young, quite a challenge for baby boomers, with perpetually youthful Leo in Uranus as the signature of their generation. If we accomplish most of what we’ve set out to do, we look forward to our remaining years as a time of spiritual exploration.

Age 70 brings us to the 3rd Progressed moon opposing the Natal Moon. Here is the true retirement age, when we put aside our workday endeavors.

In our early eighties, between the ages of 82 to 84, we experience Uranus returning to its natal place and transiting Neptune opposing the natal position in the birth chart. With the Uranus return and the Neptune opposition there is either a sense of accomplishment of becoming the type of person you were meant to be or frustration that goals were not achieved. This can be a physically trying time depending on other aspects in the chart. Often times this is age when the soul chooses to return home.”

These heavy hitters brings into focus our spiritual connection, our contributions to the world and the need to prepare for the next journey.

Photo printed under a Creative Commons License from Flickr

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The Astrology of Neptune: Master of Illusion

 neptune-triton1For thousands of years, the solar system was thought to end at the planet Saturn. Then in 1781 Uranus was discovered, followed in relatively short order, (on a cosmic time scale) by Neptune and then Pluto. For the longest time, these three were called the “impersonal” planets, since it takes years for these planets to complete an orbit of the Sun. As such,the sojourn for each of these planets in a sign is measured in years instead of weeks, as is the case with personal planets, the Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars. They become to be called as generational planets, since whole groups of people, “generations” were marked by these planets in their charts. For many years the astrology texts, the explanations of these planets were brief, declaring that the effect on the planet is on the generation, not the individual. While there is some truth to it, as noted before, there is nothing impersonal about an impersonal planet when it makes a significant aspect in your chart. 


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