Neptune joins the material experience with the spiritual one in a single reality, revealing the boundless potentialities of the human being.
Neptune offers the individual a way of understanding that transcends the reflective or analytical tool. The Neptunian vision crosses all the states of being – not just the one of human experience – joining them through the language of symbols; so, the individual self participates at least in part in a transpersonal and universal knowledge.
The Neptunian experience of peak states underlies the rise of unconscious aspects leading to an unfamiliar psychic condition, ranging from the exaltation generated by the perception of cosmic consciousness to the fear of losing oneself. Once we return to Saturn’s sphere, what happens next provides the exact measure of the experience. Thus, if disorientation occurs, a conscience endowed with a philosophical or religious vision of the world can integrate part of what has been revealed in a path of spiritual ripening.
Neptunian action’s main features consist of conveying the importance of the community over personal identity and realise the deconditioning from the traditional and educational scenario that surrounds us since birth. When activated, it is a change that generates the rejection of the formative processes integrating the individual in a social context of reference through the emotional and intellectual development typical of a given culture. In some cases, the change is ritualised, and the mundane experience becomes universal, too, assuming an unexpected meaning. We remember that the rite, as a sacred action – as the etymology of the name suggests – marks the observance of the order established by the gods: it is a sort of “numerical” arrangement of reality that assigns to the latter a meaning given by the spiritual plane to an otherwise chaotic material manifestation.
Being non-self-centred involves carrying out a process of depersonalisation that, far from undermining the foundations of being, offers a profound understanding of the universal and collective meanings of human experience, freeing the individual from the conditioning of limited worldly horizons. Thus the Neptunian path closes: the disciplined individual, oppressed by rigid social schemes, transcends them and returns to individuality free from preconceptions, free from the past constraints, finally able to understand the meaning of his acts and engage himself in the community in complete awareness. It is, of course, an ideal path, which most of the time results in a vague and unrealistic action leading to dream addiction or social submission.
The foundation of Neptunian action, among those who can withstand its impact, is the dream becoming a reality, the utopia of today that prefigures the consistency of tomorrow. This propulsive agent transforms some people into visionaries captured by an almost “divine” revelation that drags humanity towards new goals. Nevertheless, they live freely and do not suffer it; they don’t need a choice of alternatives imposed by the dualistic vision because they identify themselves with their destiny.
According to this thought, the search for an individual realisation in a transcendent sense must not deny dualism but rather affirm it as an antidote to the Neptunian illusion. The idea of being “one” clashes with the hypothesis that unity already conceptually supposes multiplicity. Consequently, to be functional, integration research must work as an encouragement for an ever more significant expansion of consciousness that looks at totality as its model. The individual, therefore, overcomes the separative dualistic vision to integrate it into the vast cosmic game of the One, which is at the same time multiple, when revealing itself through the space-time manifestation. The same thought is expressed in one of the highest peaks of Indian metaphysical speculation, the Advaita Vedanta, which defines the non-conceptual concept of unity in the negative terms of non-duality, neti neti (not this, not that).
Since Neptune refers to an ‘oceanic’ type of consciousness, extended not only to the purely contemplative and idealistic inspiration but also to its application in daily practice, we dispel the myth of a separation between material and spiritual experience. The capacity for synthesis reached by eidetic consciousness allows for creating a link between apparently separate realities. Such a consciousness recognises the world of secular experience as a manifestation of spirit, while the world we know through our senses is one of its many possible representations. Neptune is the indefinite form of reality, the dream or the ideal not yet actualised, the chimaera that will never become and serves as a guide towards unknown horizons.
Neptune: ecstasy, charm and charisma
A further association of Neptune refers to the ecstatic tendencies linked to its symbolism. In its etymological meaning of ἐξίστημι (ekstasis), standing outside oneself, ecstasy represents the attempt to reach a unitary state temporarily dissolving the barriers of the ego: it is the mystical inspiration in which distinctions among beings cease. Even so, however, the Neptunian opening can offer inconsistent experiences. For example, suppose we do not consider the need for a dualistic polarisation for vital expression. In such a case, only the Neptunian dream remains, leading to the temporary surrendering through drugs, intoxicating drinks, pseudo-liberating experiments. Nevertheless, the dualistic experience is necessary to refine and bring the individual to the highest awareness level. At this point, one is free to go beyond the limits expressed by Saturn to access in full consciousness increasingly universal realities.
Now we clarify about charm, another attribution of Neptunian qualities. The original meaning refers to the Latin fascinum, malefic influence, which by extension becomes the power of attraction and seduction exercised by some individuals or by various circumstances. What sex – or in a broader sense the feeling of love – and fascination have in common is undoubtedly a magnetism that overcomes rational defences and directly accesses the individual’s heart, making him either succubus or enraptured. Such procedure is naturally inherent in the object of desire, which in the pure of heart becomes compassionate love. For others, to varying degrees, it is the momentary longing for what is seductive. From this point of view, one would think that in its original ‘maleficent’ meaning, the charm has nothing to do with the peaks of ecstatic rapture that Neptune can evoke. It is instead a return to the sphere of centripetal attraction, a diabolic action of “separation” – from Greek διαβάλλω, dia-ballo – from the whole.
The Neptunian can also be associated with the charismatic type, one whose words evoke images that possess great transformative power. The term charisma – derivation of the Greek χάρις (kharis), favour, grace – implies that the charismatic individual has received the knowledge of the supernatural and can transmit it spontaneously for the benefit of the community. They, therefore, works as a channel that instils in the neighbour values and feelings capable of expanding individual awareness through images, vivifying the great myths of humanity thanks to his ‘eidetic’ knowledge that reaches the essence of things.
At this point, we must dispel some clichés. First, Neptune is commonly associated, in astrological language, with a state of ‘latency’ of consciousness; the images related to it refer to the mystical, collective aspects of individual experience or imaginary psychic and mental states. In short, it is an extension of the dream perception brought into the waking condition. But this is valid only when there is no so-called “eidetic” consciousness, that is, a model of consciousness that rests on direct knowledge of things, where ‘seeing’ and ‘knowing’ coincide.
When it is not a pose aimed at one’s own and others’ deception, the charismatic charm is actualised on an individual level as a highly lucid trait, capable with the sharpness of its perception to draw out from the confusion the masses still devoid of direction. Such an individual becomes a guide for those who daydream or express the Neptunian symbol in a formless way. Neptune thus reveals its double value: on the one hand, it is the principle of indeterminacy, a cosmic matrix waiting to acquire a definition: and here, it highlights its diurnal domicile in Pisces. On the other hand, Neptune plays the role of charismatic guide capable of producing meaning from an otherwise chaotic and diachronic dream reality.
Neptune and the industrial revolution
The discovery of Neptune coincides with the beginning of the industrial revolution. It had the effect of generating a new social class, that of the so-called wage slaves. In this transformation, we see Neptune acting as a great leveller that blunts, if not eliminates, differences by stifling individual expressions, allowing the few to gain control over an easily mouldable mass of workers. But almost at the same time, the communist ideology arises, whose purpose consists in awakening the great Neptunian dream through the awareness of the worker understood as an active and aware participant in the production of goods. The same two-opposing part process that we see today taking place on a large scale through globalisation, far from representing the mean for the democratisation of society, reveals itself even more as an instrument of domination. What counteracts it, in this case, is an attempt at individual deconditioning through utopia, religion, new-age movements, magical thinking. Still, until catharsis occurs, or a process that leads to universal brotherhood, all dreams remain unattainable. Perhaps the concurrent action of Pluto can allow for an acceleration of the process, as long as it does not lead to some extreme authoritarianism.
- Rudhyar, Dane – The Galactic Dimension of Astrology – New York 1975