Both Sides Now
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”
Novelist Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities in 1859, during a time of huge social and political upheaval, violent revolution. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and in 1846, it was the best and worst of time for Neptune to be “discovered” simply because we were ready, collectively, to embrace the archetype, to make another evolutionary shift. It was a time for the Virgin Mary to make an appearance to two wide-eyed children in La Salette, France. It was a time of cholera in England, death by starvation in Ireland. It was time for the spiritualism movement to gain nebulous momentum. It was time for exploring the occult and psychic phenomena. It was time to use cocaine as a local anaesthetic, transporting patients into the sensation-less realm of Neptune.
Neptune is associated with sacrifice, victim consciousness, addiction, pain, renunciation, mass delusion, ambiguity, romance, spirituality, dreams … an ethereal longing to transcend this earthly realm. In Neptune’s sapphire waters, we swim towards “enlightenment” or wash up on the shore of our addictions. We embody our hopes and dreams or passively watch the desiccated flotsam and jetsam of beached yearnings bleach like brittle bones, unable to support the full-formed body of our creativity.
Celestial heralds of the best and worst of times, Neptune and Chiron, dipped into the mystical ouroboric waters of Pisces, in April 2011. Chiron was “discovered” only in 1977, although like Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, it had been silently, invisibly there all the time. Chiron embraces the archetype of the “wounded healer” or Shaman, and with the advent of the New Age Movement, we were ready. Chiron compels each one of us to imbibe the sacred medicine of suffering as an initiation into our wisdom and conscious understanding, so that we can enter a new stage of our spiritual journey. This is what the Neptune/Chiron energy has brought to consciousness, making us aware that we are all in the same evolutionary spirit boat. As we individually breathe in the star dust that envelops us in a cloak of collective consciousness, perhaps it is not enough to be a mere custodian of spiritual books or to adopt the cosmology of the Native Americans, the Tibetans, or the Hindus. The flaccid underbelly of the “New Age” subculture will need vigorous toning for the Maharishi Effect to expand into a coherent template of love and unity in collective consciousness.
In our own lives, we now have the opportunity to embrace compassion and spiritual maturity in an intensely personal way. This may mean being more responsible and ethically conscious of the foods we buy, the clothes we wear, the choices we make when we opt to buy or not to buy bright shiny disposable technology (are you aware that that sexy little screen on your mobile phone requires a non-renewable rare earth metal, called indium, that may run out in the next ten years?) Is “virtual reality” perhaps a sham to escape the appalling loneliness of our disconnected lives? So many of us in the west live in the ivory towers of the intellect. A place where the ultimate goal is unattainable perfection through sheer will – of our bodies, our minds, our bank accounts, our relationships. We self-help, self-improve. Our realm is a place of great straining and striving to accomplish some goal in the future, all the while wearing insulated space suits that keep us separate, safe and small.
“I am a Rock,” sang Simon and Garfunkel… “I am shielded in my armour, Hiding in my room, safe within my womb. I touch no one and no one touches me. I am a rock, I am an island. And a rock feels no pain; And an island never cries.”
Neptune and Chiron will gradually dissolve all that we thought was of substance in our lives through the long Pisces transit (2018 for Chiron and 2026 for Neptune). Over these next decades, we may be required to examine the porous membrane of social networking sites. To be more discerning and honest about how we Eat, Pray and Love. To ponder why it is that we feel the need for the puritanical cleansing of our souls to make us “better” than we are right now. To question, with intelligence and humility, the illusion of what we “know” as “truth” about the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, our lovers, our friendships, our god, our footprint on this earth, be it “sustainable” or stiletto-heeled living. To examine our societal and cultural beliefs. To question our desire to belong to the tribes we form at the office, the gym, and our places of worship. To look, from both sides now, at our own narratives, the “rights” and the “wrongs” about this world we live in. To acknowledge that just because it “happens” it may not mean it is honourable, just or right.
Joni Mitchell knows the bows and flows so well:
“I’ve looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose, and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall.
I really don’t know life at all.”