There are two planetary bodies in the universe governing our quest for growth, expansion and illumination - Blessing-giver Jupiter and Mystic Neptune. When they move into alignment with each other we are called beyond our boundaries, invited to explore both the adventure of life and its mystery. This might arise through an inspiration to travel, the desire to learn something new, take a course or attend a spiritual retreat, in other words: to expand the mind or lighten our load. Or sometimes we’re simply blessed with lots going on … invitations and opportunities abound. However it expresses with both these planets in their own signs through 2019, the desire to journey beyond the beyond is compelling.
The energetic invitations of these planets differ. Where they meet and where they diverge reveals the potential of their relationship and its influence on our consciousness this year. As Jupiter would say, let’s explore; for Jupiter is the largest planet in our universe. His size emphasises the nature of his energy – generous, expansive, big picture orientated, with faith in life’s natural beneficence. In his own sign fiery Sagittarius Jupiter is life in the fast lane, moving with spontaneity, enthusiasm and a can-do attitude. This year our sense of adventure and vision is magnified hundredfold. This is the wild horse placement of the zodiac with the desire to stretch the limits, through speed, distance, or beyond any boundary. The quest is on us! To discover life’s meaning through the journey, through experience and its fulfilment.
Both Jupiter and Sagittarius are about full enjoyment of life. So we can see how this year’s placement amps up the potential for fun and adventure! But what about the shadow zone of this fire sign and its planet? Jupiter is known for excess as much as for expansion. Whilst in his own sign Sagittarius for a year, the Jupiter shadows are also strong: quest for knowledge may become the arrogance of know-it-all; the love of speed tips into rashness; enthusiasm over-expands and we get getting carried away; the faith of religion concretizes into fundamentalism; the desire for freedom and independence at all costs breeds disconnection. Anything taken too far becomes something other. This is the real learning of Jupiter and Sagittarius. Its questions being: how much is enough? Where does the quest for more end? Where does trust become blind faith and loss of real perspective? Where does the allure of the next horizon become an escape from the reality of what’s needed right here, right now?
Let’s look at Neptune now. He’s the mystic planet; also strong in his own watery sign Pisces, he’s the ocean of consciousness and its soul calling. As last sign of the zodiac, Pisces is where all life dissolves back into its true nature. It’s the wave falling back into the ocean, thought melting into consciousness, the luminous space where ‘you’ and ‘I’ disappear into oneness. Neptune and Pisces represent the vast spacious loving nature of compassion, unconditional love, our already-always-present state of being as spirit and qualities such as surrender, flow, transcendence and renunciation. Neptune is inspiration and imagination. Like Jupiter it calls us beyond. Yet unlike fiery Jupiter the inspiration of Neptune arises from a merging, melting or dissolution. It’s a letting go of self. In this surrender to ‘something more’, discovery or expression may arise. Neptune’s wondrous numinous energy may express itself through love, a desire to serve, through a song, poetry or a piece of art. It may even open a door into knowing oneself beyond body and mind. If we compare these two planets of expansion, Neptune is out-of-body whereas with Jupiter is the passion of being fully alive in a body. With Jupiter the motivation is to journey. It’s like an arrow saying ‘this way’; it’s a breaking of self-boundaries in order to discover. With Neptune there are no boundaries. There is no motivation, for in this watery sign personal will gives way to that nameless space for which there are no words. With Neptune we are graced. Yet this too has its shadow.
Neptune’s shadow arises when we check out, when we spiritualise or escape the confines of a body simply because it’s too much. It’s those spaces where the veils are thin so the potential is bliss out or numbing but the cost is overwhelm or confusion. It’s the allure of alcohol, drugs or addiction. In relating Neptune’s calling to harmony and sweet unity may express through lack of boundaries. It’s a fine line between surrender into the bliss of loving and the challenge of co-dependence. Neptune in its shadow represents the archetype of victim consciousness – giving away the power to be oneself here in a body with all its responsibility. To dance well with Neptune needs the framework of imaginative or creative expression, spiritual practice or selfless service. It’s about the capacity to lose oneself but then to rediscover oneself - for Neptune stands for our soulful expression and knowing self as spirit in a body.
So what of the relationship between these two expansive energies this year? Given some of the more grounded planetary placements they’re certainly an influential pairing when it comes to the lighter, brighter side of life. On 13 January, 16 June and 21 September Jupiter forms a square aspect to Neptune. This aspect suggests an abundance of possibility coming to a crux point. It depends where we as individuals sit with these energies already. This pairing can suggest an energising of hope, faith, imagination and vision. It’s a highly creative aspect. Or it can signify its opposite – a bubble of illusion bursting, unreliability, deception, fake news or a big let-down. It may be a simple recognition of having taken on too much and something has to give, or getting lost in possibility rather than being present in reality. It’s a bit of a quandary really. Can you have too much of a good thing? It might be so with this pairing.
However it manifests we do have some real grounded support to this synergy. It lies in a lovely sextile aspect to Mystic Neptune from Wise Elder Saturn in earthy Capricorn. Saturn is a teacher planet in that he provides the containment of reality, a boundary or the challenge that brings us back to actuality. Saturn (also in his own sign, so ultra-strong) stands for truth, integrity, authority and the practical. So Saturn is the earthiness of reality or responsibility. He’s where the rubber meets the road, vision meets the plan and spirit meets the limitation of a body-mind. In this vast yet potentially illusory pairing of Jupiter and Neptune Saturn is where the truth will come out, the responsibility has to be met, the karma finds the appropriate bucket or the vision finds its landing place. And in the wondrous synchronicity of universal flow, this meeting of Saturn and Neptune arrives shortly after each of the Jupiter/Neptune squares, on 31 January, 18 June and 8 November. So the periods mid to end of January, mid June and late September to early November are prime time for discovery.
So what can we take from this relationship of three planets, all of them strong in their own signs? Where is the synergy? As Theodore Roosevelt stated ‘Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground." In other words, this year the opportunity lies in the aspiration of your dreams and the down-to-earth steps to realise them, in fully participating in the adventure of life yet with response-ability. Consider this too: without the capacity of our hands to both open (Jupiter/Neptune) and close (Saturn) how would we give or receive? Expansion and contraction is also the movement that gives birth. Without both how would we know or actualize our potential? It’s in their synergy that our biggest learning takes place this year.