Neptune unites the material experience with the spiritual one in a single reality, revealing the boundless potential of the human being.
Neptune offers the individual an understanding that transcends the reflective or analytical tool. The Neptunian vision crosses all states of being – not just that of human experience – uniting them through the language of symbols; thus, the individual self participates at least in part in a transpersonal and universal knowledge.
The Neptunian experience of peak states is at the basis of the arising of unconscious aspects that lead to an unknown psychic condition, which ranges from the exaltation generated by the perception of cosmic consciousness to the fear of getting lost. Once back to Saturn’s sphere, what happens next provides the exact measure of the experience. Thus, if disorientation occurs, a consciousness endowed with a philosophical or religious worldview can integrate part of what has been revealed into a journey of spiritual ripening.
The main characteristics of the Neptunian action convey 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, the change generates the rejection of the training processes that integrate the individual in a social context of reference through the emotional and intellectual development typical of a given culture. Sometimes, we ritualise change, and then the mundane experience becomes universal, taking on unexpected meaning. As a sacred action, the rite marks the observance of the order established by the gods: it is a “numerical” organisation of reality which assigns a meaning given by the spiritual plane to an otherwise chaotic worldly manifestation.
Being non-self-centred involves a process of depersonalisation which, 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 journey ends: the disciplined individual, oppressed by rigid social schemes, transcends them and returns to individuality free from preconceptions, free from past constraints, finally capable of understanding the meaning of their acts and committing themselves to the community in complete awareness. It is, of course, an ideal path, which more often than not results in vague and unrealistic action leading to dream addiction or social submission.
Among those who can withstand its impact, the foundation of Neptunian action is a dream come true, the utopia of today that foreshadows the consistency of tomorrow. This propulsive agent transforms some people into visionaries captured by an almost “divine” revelation that drags humanity towards new goals. However, they live freely and do not suffer; they don’t need a choice of alternatives imposed by the dualistic view because they identify with their destiny.
In a transcendent sense, the search for individual fulfilment must not deny dualism but rather affirm it as an antidote to the Neptunian illusion. The idea of being “one” contradicts the hypothesis that unity conceptually presupposes plurality. Consequently, to be functional, research on integration must favour an ever more significant expansion of consciousness that looks at the whole as its model. Thus, the individual overcomes the dualistic separative vision to integrate it into the vast cosmic play of the One, which is simultaneously manifold as it reveals itself through spatiotemporal manifestation. The same thought is expressed in one of the highest peaks of Indian metaphysical speculation, 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 purely contemplative and idealistic inspiration but also to its application in daily practice, we dispel the myth of a separation between the material and spiritual experience. The capacity for synthesis achieved by the eidetic consciousness creates a link between apparently separate realities. Such a consciousness recognises the world of mundane experience as a manifestation of spirit, while the world we know through the senses is one of its many possible representations. Neptune symbolises the indefinite forms of reality, the dream or the ideal not yet actualised, the chimaera that will never become and guides towards unknown horizons.
Neptune: ecstasy, charm and charisma
A further association of Neptune relates to the ecstatic tendencies associated with its symbolism. In its etymological meaning of ἐξίστημι (ekstasis), being outside oneself, ecstasy represents the attempt to reach a unitary state by temporarily dissolving the barriers of the ego: it is the mystical inspiration in which the distinctions among beings cease. Even so, however, Neptunian openness can offer inconsistent experiences. For example, suppose we do not consider the need for a dualistic polarisation for vital expression. In that case, only the Neptunian dream remains, leading to temporary surrender through drugs, intoxicating drinks, and pseudo-liberating experiments. However, dualistic experience is needed 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 increasingly universal realities in full consciousness.
Now let’s clarify charm, another attribution of Neptunian qualities. The original meaning refers to the Latin fascinum, evil influence, which by extension becomes the power of attraction and seduction exercised by some individuals or by various circumstances. What unites sex and fascination – or, in a broader sense, the feeling of love – is undoubtedly a magnetism that overcomes rational defences and directly accesses the individual’s heart, making them dominated or enraptured. Such a procedure becomes compassionate love in the pure in heart. For others, to varying degrees, it is the momentary desire for what is seductive. From this point of view, one might think that in its original “maleficent” meaning, the charm has nothing to do with the peaks of ecstatic rapture that Neptune can evoke. Instead, it is a return to the sphere of centripetal attraction, a diabolic action of “separation” – from Greek διαβάλλω (diabállō) – from the whole.
The Neptunian can also be associated with the charismatic type, whose words conjure images of remarkable 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, function as a channel that inspires the values and feelings of others, capable of expanding individual awareness through images, enlivening the great myths of humanity thanks to their eidetic knowledge that reaches the essence of things.
At this point, we have to dispel some common misconceptions. First, in astrological language, Neptune is commonly associated with a state of latency of consciousness; its images refer to the mystical, collective aspects of individual experience or imaginary psychic and mental conditions. In short, it is an extension of dream perception brought into the waking state. But this is valid only when there is no so-called “eidetic” consciousness, that is, a model of consciousness based on direct knowledge of things, where “seeing” and “knowing” coincide.
When it is not a pose aimed at deceiving one’s own and others, charismatic charm is a very lucid trait on an individual level, capable with the sharpness of its perception of drawing the masses still lacking direction out of confusion. Such an individual becomes a guide for those who daydream or express the Neptunian symbol formlessly. Neptune thus reveals its double value: on the one hand, it is the principle of indeterminacy, a cosmic matrix waiting to acquire a definition; here, it highlights its diurnal domicile in Pisces. On the other hand, Neptune is a charismatic guide capable of producing meaning from an otherwise chaotic dream reality (Neptune in its nocturnal domicile in Sagittarius as the upper octave of Jupiter).
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 smooths, if not eliminates, differences by stifling individual expressions, allowing a few to gain control over an easily malleable mass of workers. But almost simultaneously, the communist ideology arises, the purpose of which is to reawaken the Neptunian dream through the awareness of the worker, understood as an active and conscious participant in producing goods. It is the same two-faced process that we see today unfolding on a large scale through globalisation which, far from representing the means to a democratic society, reveals itself even more as an instrument of domination. Contrasting it, in this case, is an attempt at individual deconditioning through utopia, religion, new-age movements and magical thinking. However, all dreams remain unattainable until catharsis or a process that leads to universal brotherhood occurs. Perhaps the simultaneous action of Pluto can accelerate the process as long as it does not lead to some extreme authoritarianism.
- Dane Rudhyar – The Galactic Dimension of Astrology – New York 1975