Using Neptune Homeopathically
“Similia, similibus, curantur.”
Latin: “Like cures like” by S. Hahnemann
Last night I awoke in bed at 3:00 AM to find myself struggling to name that familiar ache in me that has no name—that core pain that sometimes sits heavy on my heart. I thought about all the times I’ve felt it: my childhood homesickness that hurt so bad it felt like a toothache, my adolescent struggles to separate from my mother, the unrequited loves of my twenties, the sense of loss before my divorce, and the various pains of betrayal from friends through the years. They all have a theme: separation from a place of togetherness. Of all the aches in the heart, that particular pain of separation, yearning and disillusionment—of an unlived or ill-used Neptune, may be the hardest and the most illusive of all pains.
I say “illusive” because the depth and scope of Neptunian pain is so often permeated by illusions and its healing can defy rational analysis. It’s not that its causes aren’t clearly evident, it’s more that the cure for Neptunian problems may lie precisely within its own realm, and respond best by homeopathic thinking.
As we know, Neptune is about the urge to merge and refers to permeable boundaries and those things that don’t separate us. It can be the longing for a lover, a philosophy, a true friendship, or even a better way of living. It’s that part in us that longs to transcend the daily routines, to let go of differences and “flow with the waters of life.” Neptune yearns for divine love, and despairs at how human love so often falls so short of the ideal.
In Neptunian times we often react to the pain of disillusionment and separation by wrapping ourselves in a fog of self-deception and addictions. We’re confused. Romantic illusions, painful melodramas, glowing sunsets with morning hangovers, and the larger-than-life spin we put on the stories we tell, are all in Neptune’s oceanic realm. We play out the merging and imaginative qualities of Neptune either positively or negatively (and often both at once) depending on how it’s aspected in our birth and transiting charts.
When we fall under the spell of this mythical sea-god we need new medicine. The same astrological culprit that created our feelings of separation, loneliness, or disillusion can be the one to cure it. “Like cures like” say the homoeopathists. Neptune cures Neptune. This homeopathic remedy uses the inspiring qualities of Neptune to cure its disease.
But first you might ask: Is Neptune strong in my chart now? Everyone has Neptune somewhere in their birth chart “doing” something, but it only gets activated at certain times as it transits across the sky and aspects your chart in a particular way. If you don’t have your chart or astrologer to help here, you could ask yourself: Am I generally “high on life,” inspired, idealistic and at times naive? Yet do I struggle to maintain the feeling that life is as it should be and that I am all I can be? Do I see both sides of the question when it comes to decision making? Do I feel the pain of lost loves and friendships more than most people you know? Does even reading this article make me ready for my evening glass of wine, even though it’s only noon? If you’ve smiled knowingly to those questions, then Neptune is playing a prominent role in your chart and life now.
So how do we use Neptune homeopathically? Or simply said, how do we cultivate the higher octave, the wisdom of Neptune? The great psychologist, Carl Jung, delved into this when he said: “Spiritus contra Spiritum.” This Latin quote is what Jung said to the founder of Alcoholic Anonymous: only “spirit can counteract spirits.” Jung felt that all adult neurosis are primarily a problem of our separation from Spirit. We literalize spirit, and drink it instead as “spirits.” Alcohol eases the existential pain of our separation from our spiritual nature briefly, but it isn’t the cure.
Surely we can nourish our self with all that inspires us, and renew our connection to spirit in whatever form that takes for us. We can take ourselves to the ocean for inspiration and baptizing by her waters, or enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day, or do it’s literal opposite and not have the wine, but join AA instead, and find a community of like-minded spirits. Or we can read books that speak to our Spirit and attend “spiritual rituals”. But ironically, some of these things can be especially hard to do in Neptunian times if we’re feeling very disillusioned. In India, the Hindu’s have a spiritual saying for that: “neti, neti”—meaning “it’s not this, not this,” implying that we find our way to what is true and healing for us by finding what is not—by finding what is illusion, false fear, and needless drama, and then letting it go.
Jungian psychologists deal with this problem by saying we need to hold the tension of the opposites within us, without trying to deny or escape the situation. In the “holding” of the situation we create a container, or crucible, for alchemical energies to create change and transformation. One is encouraged to hold the despair or the unsolvable situation till the third “numinous” option appears. Jungians suggest we wait till there’s an opening in the veil of maya, the opening between illusion and disillusion. Astrologers too, also usually counsel waiting during a Neptune transit, and caution clients to not “sign on the dotted line” during these times.
Waiting is an option, as synchronistic events will often appear and lead us where we need to go. However, for those of us who like to be proactive, or use the homeopathic idea, then we can use Neptune itself to solve Neptunian problems. Here are some very practical proactive ideas for doing that:
*Consider the benefits of “breaking your own narrative.” Neptunian reality is a story we tell ourselves about how it was and how it will be. Is it really true? Would it be seen differently by someone else? How would it be for you if you didn’t hold onto your beliefs about your story? The subconscious is very suggest-able and the stories we tell ourselves about “how it all is” go deep. Much has been written about how we can monitor our thoughts to avoid repeating the same old tapes in our head that feed on the low ebb of self-esteem. At these times we can replace the tired stories of our life with ones based on new insights as to why things happened. You can find new seeds of inspiration and retell the story of your life with a new slant! You can choose to see how the universe has co-operated with you to give you what you needed, not always what you wanted.
*Use your Neptunian gifts of visualization to dream into your future! Practice intuitive strategies on yourself based on what only you—or your astrologer knows about you. Only you can read between the lines of what you say and think. Neptune represents our ability to use our intuition and to know things about ourselves that others can’t know rationally. One can’t say “yes, but” to ourselves indefinitely, before we realize that we need to dig even deeper into our psyche to take more responsibility for our lives. Neptunian dreaming ignites the urge for change. This is good medicine.
* Use this “spaciousness” or the open-minded fogginess of a Neptunian time to let go of tight expectations of ourselves or others. Get a little looser. At these times we stand on shifting sands of illusion and can unwittingly deceive ourselves and others without meaning to—for example, we may give affection and attention when we don’t really mean it, or simply make poor decisions. Instead we could give time to exploring new ideas, people, and plans that are tangible and will hold up in time. But, as any addiction therapist knows, one of the hardest things to do in treating an addict (read: a rough Neptunian transit) is the recurring sense of despair that comes with a realistic outlook. We need to dream “high enough” to excite us, yet be grounded enough to find sources of true support in hard times.
*Neptunian energies need thoughtful release not repression. Don’t let anyone tell you to keep your dreams or your despair under wraps, yet there’s a need to differentiate between sheer outbursts of grief and acting out indiscriminately. We don’t want to be “dry drunks” in any sense of the word—people who live their wounds, drinking or not. When we enter into the experience of our Neptunian-separation pain, we would be wise to bring some reflection on the emotions we want to express. Can we search for the name of what ails us? And if we can, could we express it through a poem, a song, or a nurturing talk with a good friend? Here we are using the feeling of disconnection to fuel us to connect with Self or others. Neptune curing Neptune.
Here’s an example of how this process can work. A woman I’ll call Catherine called me for a reading when she was on the verge of a divorce. She had already separated from her husband, and as she talked I began to feel that what she wanted to hear from me was encouragement to finalize the divorce. She wanted to “sign on the dotted line” but there it was—transiting Neptune squaring the Sun, and it still had over a year to go in that position. I had to counsel her to wait, to endure a state of not-knowing and to look for new sources of inspiration. I could tell she was quite depressed and not happy with my response.
The next time she called, she sounded a lot better, and was happy to tell me that in her “waiting” she had gone for a massage when she was at her lowest ebb of feeling. While under the nurturing hands of this therapist she felt revived—both by the subsequent massages and her new friend, who encouraged her to start attending massage school. She picked up on this new inspiration and loved the school, although she said that the waiting was still hard and her teenage son had started acting out in school. She didn’t know what to do with him. I again listened and had to counsel continued more Neptunian homeopathy.
The third and last time I talked to her was just after the Neptune aspect had passed, and she had good news---she was just graduating from massage school, felt less financially fearful, and her husband and son were respecting her in a new way for all the hard work she had done at school. Even her voice sounded lighter as she told me that as part of the divorce mediation process, she and her husband began seeing each other with new eyes! They felt their mutual love for their son was acting as a bridge for them to truly hear each other for the first time. Because they hadn’t signed on the dotted line, their marriage was getting a second chance. Her son now was having his own Neptunian problems with alcohol and we brain-stormed ideas as to how he could find the connection to spirit that suited him best. The Neptune homeopathic remedy we felt might work for him was to encourage and support his love of acting; a Neptunian art in which one enters into the spirit of another person and works with others to create an entertaining illusion.
There are many ways to use astrological homeopathy, and it’s particularly effective with Neptune. When planets make strong aspects by transit we need to honor them by “feeding them what they need” which is simply to act out the higher octave of their very own nature. This works for all the planets. Neptunian homeopathy calls for dreaming into the future and a re-visioning of our lives as well as finding new ways to deeply reconnect with our Self, with others, and Spirit. Neptunian transits appear to be subtle times, but in truth they are very potent times —reach for the highest octave of the sign, and be careful what you wish for as it may come true. Neptune knows how to wish upon a star…