Neptune Retrograde

Foundations

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In the ancient world there are moments in some of the better known stories and plays when the rivers begin to run backward. The seasoned reader knows that whenever that occurs something profound, and usually quite challenging, is about to happen. The event may be sudden but most often it is more gradual. The one sure thing is that once the rivers are running backward things are going to change and they won’t go back to the way things were before – they can’t. To my mind, this is an excellent illustration of what happens when the planet and holy helper Neptune goes retrograde.

First we must note that it is not uncommon for Neptune to spend as much or even more time retrograde as it spends moving directly. As one of the outermost planets its orbit is incredibly long and it takes its time moving through the sky – one of the aspects of this celestial helper we will return to in a moment. Neptune experiences a retrograde every year and that retrograde lasts between 6 and 7 months.

As I have written elsewhere, retrogrades of the outer planets are generally not believed to affect individuals as much as they are understood to give shape to global events. However, my personal and professional findings indicate something slightly different. What I have found is that we are all affected by outer planet retrogrades in different ways. There are those who can experience one outer planet retrograde and not even know that anything is happening. Those same people can experience another outer planet retrograde and be deeply affected by it. This speaks to something I have termed planet-sensitivities. We are especially sensitive to a planet when it is strongly aspected in our charts. So for instance, the planets that rule your Sun and Moon signs as well as your Ascendant, are all planets to watch. The planets that have strong aspects in your chart are also planets to pay attention to.

This means that when it comes to working with Neptune’s retrograde we have to look at both the global and potential personal effects.

Neptune is a planet strongly associated with the qualities of healing, spirituality, unconditional love, art and beauty, fantasy, romance, and the past. There is an otherworldly quality to Neptune (accentuated by the fact that the planet is retrograde for so long) that makes those born under its influence seem especially beautiful, magical, alluring, elusive, and also not quite of this world. The greatest challenge we find with the Neptunian flow is that of practical thinking and sound foundations. The visionary capacity we all possess is expanded by Neptune to a great degree but this is not the planet to remind us to put a foundation on those castles we have been building in the sky.

When Neptune retrogrades we collectively and globally have the opportunity to:

Review any fantasy-making that we have been engaged in and determine whether those fantasies can be turned into reality or whether they need to be banished altogether. Here we should think about collective fantasies that countries and nations are working with. Some endeavors may be called “fantastic” to deprive them of momentum and support while other agreements really are based on make-believe fantasy that needs to be sharply addressed and brought into line with reality.

Reflect on history, the mistakes, and the learnings from the past. Neptune’s retrograde can both encourage this reflection and also make it more difficult to glean the most useful insights from history. This is also a period of time when we may find our leaders or the leaders of other countries re-writing history to make it more acceptable or palatable.

Reconsider our attitudes towards healing. This includes mandates around health care and the status provided to health care providers, as well as access to basic necessities that promote health and healing worldwide. This period of time can also provide a useful review for new health and healing technologies and often the missing pieces that make such new methods possible are found during Neptune retrogrades.

Reengage global awareness around water and water rights. Water is the element of this planet and so issues around water and access to water are often first and foremost when we go into Neptune retrograde periods. Learning where your individual water comes from is a great start.

Refuse to dull our senses. Neptune’s influence can encourage more than one kind of fantasy making. Refusing to engage in fantasies that are harmful or going nowhere, refusing to let drugs, alcohol, or other poisons take precedent over what we collectively know to be good and healthy and useful, is a powerful move to make during Neptune Retrograde. We can also see the temptation to go in the opposite direction wax in strength during these periods. Staying sober, especially during these times, is the sound choice.

Re-investigate the stories that sound suspect. Neptune can bring the gifts of fiction into everyone’s life in positive and not so positive ways. Stories that sound suspect, dodgy, or have bad sources should be examined closely during these retrograde periods as their fault lines are most likely to show.

On a more personal level, when Neptune retrogrades we find that we are best able to:

Recommit to any artistic endeavor that is ready to be completed and shared with the world. This can also be a more general recommitting to your own personal creativity and the role that art plays in your life.

Re-examine any fantasies or delusions that are siphoning life force and vitality from you and giving nothing of real value back in return. (Obviously, if and when you identify them, you then banish them!) Pay special attention to the areas of love and money as Neptune retrogrades can really aggravate those two arenas.

Reflect on our own history, including our ancestors and our lineage, for valuable teachings. This is also an ideal time to do healing work on behalf of Ancestors and lineage.

Reconcile any deceptions we have been told or told ourselves with what is actually true. Neptune retrograde is an ideal time to “come clean”.

Recognize our capacity to be both healers and healed, and to work from a place of deep, abiding, and unconditional love.

Remember and work with our dreams and the wisdom they contain.

Neptune retrogrades are long periods of time, incredibly well-suited to sincere reflection. Work with this period of each year in a conscious and proactive manner in order to go deep and move the things that need to be moved with incredible swiftness. Neptune is not a speedy planet as we saw above, but it is deep and thorough, and the endeavors we take on under its auspices are endeavors that stay with us throughout our lives.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Neptune as a Holy Helper

Learning and Community

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iracles, Neptune

He is known as the Earth Shaker, a lover of horses, of waves, and of depths, his original name most likely hails from the Sanskrit root “dawon” meaning, one who flows. It is easy to write off Neptune or his Greek equivalent Poisedon as vain and vainglorious Gods who care little to nothing for the affairs of mankind but to do so would be a grave mistake.

With his trident Neptune can cause the earth in of her greatness to literally shake and tremble, causing earthquakes and tidal waves and great flooding. Sometimes disruption is necessary, and when it is, he is a Holy Helper to call on. As the creator of Earthquakes he is also a Holy Helper to call on for protection from shifting and moving ground as well as big waters and flooding.

His trident could cause destruction, yes, but also could call up fresh or salty water from the earth’s layers to spring up and through even the most parched lands. And so he is an ally for anyone who is trying to bring more moisture, suppleness or fertility into their lives, anyone who finds that their life is too dry, too desiccated, lacking creative flow and depth would do well to call on him.

He is also strongly associated with horses, animals known for their sensitivity and their power, but also strongly associated in the ancient world with the art of healing. We may call on him whenever we are working with horses, but also whenever we need to have the qualities in our own lives that we associate with horses – power, attention, sensitivity, great endurance, and keen intelligence. His favor may be sought in matters of healing – both by those who heal and by those who are in need of healing, for water and healing have been associated with one another for age upon age.

The newer stories say he pulled the wrong lot and was given domain over the depths but the older stories tell of him choosing to make the vast deep his home…and so he can aid us in feeling at home there as well. He is a God of both sea and freshwater, not picking one over the other. For all dealings concerning water – from finding it, to purifying it, to working with it or harnessing its power his favor must be sought out. Beloved by fisherman and those who work with the Sea, he may also be called upon by those who are invested in protecting the sea and all of the life it holds, and by those who are working for equitable water rights around the world. As the seas warm and rise he is a particularly good Holy Helper to get to know. Neptune is the one who holds our hand when we go deep – into our physical world and into our psychic terrain. For this reason he is also associated with dreams and the Zodiac sign over which the planet named in his honor – Pisces – rules, are known to be the dreamers and the ones who are most able to speak to and with dreams.

He is the protector or challenger of every voyager who must cross water. Making an offering to him before setting off on a water-heavy adventure is always a good idea. One of his sons is said to be the founder of Atlantis, the sacred isle that destroyed itself with the very technology that allowed it to be so very advanced. The ancient Greeks spoke of Atlantis as ancient meaning that Neptune has seen it all unfold this way many times before. For this reason, it is deeply associated with history and specifically our ability to learn from our history. So we may call upon his aid whenever we need to reflect – globally or individually – on what history has taught us and what it will continue to teach us.

In his oldest stories he is the husband, the lover, the devotee of the Earth herself, and we cannot help but reflect on how the sea ever and always kisses the land. Wherever the Earth finds herself in need of a protector, defender, or servant, Neptune may be called upon, for he bears the waters that bless the rich dark soil and allows all growth to happen. His depths mirror our own and in his waves we can find strands of our own story reflected over and over again.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mars as a Holy Helper

Ceremony and Ritual

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e is the God of War, the bringer of strife and disharmony, one of the troublesome planets, the ones that are seen as baneful and full of bad luck. Let me show you his (Mars) Holy.
He is the activist in the streets, the brave rush into flame or bullets, the soldier who takes the shot meant for someone else, the officer who takes a knee. He is the fiery hot courage to say what needs to be said, to do what needs to be done. He is not patient, he is tired of waiting, he refuses to sit back. He is disciplined and will support you in being such as well. His furious might can be controlled and unleashed at the exact right moment, as can yours. Focused. Defiant. Potent. He is your ally in this. He is the Protector, the shield, the one who stands for those who cannot stand for themselves, who defends the defenseless, he has much of Michael in him.

He is the lover of Venus/Aphrodite – an illicit love, hidden for eons. Because what does it mean for War to be a lover of, a devotee to Love, Beauty, Goodness, and Kindness. Their story has been trivialized, mocked, ridiculed, but there is medicine here and wisdom if we will see it. What happens to our understanding of War when we realize that it too, can love? He is a Holy Helper who reminds us that when we truly love someone or something we will go to battle for it. To love is by Necessity, to risk. He is the God of War but he is also one who tells us why, when, and how we make war; he stands by us as we choose our battles. Many of his children are monstrous as we know all too well. But Harmony is also his daughter, without him, she does not exist. mars mars 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer: What Nourishes?

Foundations

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iracles, nourishes

While there is definitely a focus on personal relationships during Mercury retrograde in Cancer, that is not the only area of life touched by this astro-event. Cancer is the sign of home and family, even the sign of Moms and Mothering but it is also the sign the presides over the ways that we relate to food and nourish ourselves.

That means that this is a wonderful time to reassess our habits around food, cooking, and eating. Again, recent events already have had us preparing to do this. Long lines at grocery stores and the unavailability of certain items have meant that many people who before 2020 did not know how to boil water can now whip up a decent three course meal. Veggie gardens and backyard chickens are in many ways the new black for 2020 but this Mercury RX period intensifies our ability to really dig into the theme of nourishment.

We can do this by thinking about our kitchen (and actually organizing your kitchen and making a list of what tools you do and do not need) is a great way to begin the process. Consider putting a shrine up in the kitchen to your favorite Ancestor who loved to cook or to a Holy Helper like St. Pasqual – the patron Saint of cooking! Then, dig into what really leaves you feeling good and nourished as far as food goes. You can even experiment with making magical recipes!

Are there foods that you have been eating that do not leave you feeling your best? Identify them and take the needed steps to remove them from your diet. If you have not identified any foods that don’t agree with you, don’t be surprised if during this period you discover that there are some. Are there foods that you love that you consistently forget to include? Make room for those as well.

This can be a wonderful time to take a cooking class, buy a new recipe book, or dive into the food of a particular region that you have not yet experimented with. This can be an excellent time to plant a garden if you don’t have one or learn about various community CSA’s that allow you to support local farmers.

Though the focus is on food and wine allow yourself to expand your considerations to ALL of the things that leave you feeling nourished.  nourishes nourishes

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

On the Holy Helper Saturn

Learning and Community

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iracles, holy helper

He has a bad reputation as one might imagine, given the whole devouring children because he is afraid to lose his title thing. That is the thin story about the God and his namesake celestial sphere.

However, that was not the original understanding of this Holy Helper. Much older tellings show us that Saturn was the land itself – preserved, cared for, abundant, and full of wealth both on the surface and beneath. This is why for ages he has been petitioned to help us discover HIDDEN WEALTH and I would suggest that this is a powerful point to pause and ask ourselves:
What wealth is hidden in our own lives?
Saturn is one of the best Holy Helpers to help answer that question.

He is the patriarch of his Divine Family and as we know Fathers, just as Mothers, have their luminous and shadow sides. So Saturn is the one who stands with us when we work to make sense of our relationship with our Fathers – the ones in our lives who have shown up in fatherly ways, our biological fathers, our spirit dads, AND the inner Father that we all, regardless of gender, carry within. Saturn is the Holy Helper who patiently looks on as we ask: What does right relationship with Father look like?

Holy Helper Saturn is also the one married to not one but TWO Goddesses. Ops – better known as the Greek Rhea. Mountain-making and mountain loving Goddess of vast, unfurling resource and abundance. AND before her, Lua – Goddess whose stories have been mostly lost but who collected all bloodied weapons after battle. Some have the radical idea that the Goddesses were the same, two sides of the same Holy Helper – one who provides the inspiration for creation, one who tends to the weapons that have been used to destroy.

This part of his tale gives us a clear set of guidelines for what right relationship with Saturn might look like:

1.) Identify the weapons that have been used to destroy. The dripping and dried blood tells you exactly where to look. You will discover that some of the weapons have been used against you and others have been wielded by YOU.

2.) Gather up the weapons. We do this by naming them.

3.) Clean them and purify them in the ways you know to do. Simply ask: what medicine can return this to a state of wholeness?

4.) Give the weapons new names, for they are no longer weapons, they are tools.

5.) Create with them, make abundance, make resources, make wealth.

Stories of Saturn make this Holy Helper planet out to be malefic, bad luck, bad juju, but Saturn is one of the Holy Helpers most able to walk with us when we are alone, wounded, in pain, and ready to make lasting change.

I would add that in alchemy, Saturn is associated with lead. And lead is precisely the element we cloak ourselves in whenever we need protection from radiation.

And this too: after we worth Saturn we FEAST! His festival, Saturnalia, like the later festival at the same time, Christmas, is a celebration – not because there is no struggle and life is always good and easy but PRECISELY because there IS struggle and we have made it through to the other side.

xo,
Bri          holy helper holy helper 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.