Neptune turned retrograde on Monday 13th June 2016, at 12 degrees of its own sign of Pisces, making a second exact square with Saturn in Sagittarius on 18th June. The third and final square in this difficult planetary dance takes place at 10 degrees of their respective signs on 10th September 2016, after which the square gradually loses potency, reaching 10 degrees of separation by the end of 2016.
A great battle between order (Saturn) and chaos (Neptune) has been raging since the end of 2015 in particular, as mass migration of peoples – often by sea – fleeing wars and persecution at a level not seen since the end of the Second World War, has challenged European nations’ capacity to cope. With the gradual waning of the turbulent, violent, purgative years of Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn, at the same time as the waning of Saturn square Neptune, we can only hope for more settled times ahead.
At a personal level, I’ve always found Saturn/Neptune aspects especially difficult. Some of us are better than others at dancing on a wobbly board suspended over the long drop into chaos! However, as always when the great planetary archetypes combine, the level at which we engage with the combination through our individual birth charts always carries a challenge to become more self-aware, more constructive in our engagement with the areas of life highlighted.
And – let us never forget that even the most difficult planetary combinations can manifest in startlingly positive experiences which can take our breath away.
This was certainly my experience on Monday 13th June 2016, the day Neptune turned direct approaching its exact square to Saturn. I have always been susceptible to the seductive beauty of art, sculpture in particular. On that day, I was with my husband in London. Having attended a most enjoyable Astrology Student Conference with two of my students, he and I were intent on a day together taking in some culture. We had booked tickets for an exhibition at the British Museum that morning. That exhibition turned out to be the most atmospheric, beautiful, awe-inspiring manifestation of the Saturn/Neptune combination I could possibly have imagined.
About 1,300 years ago two Egyptian cities, Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, sank into the Mediterranean Sea. They’re still there, perfectly preserved. (As yet, only 5% of the vast undersea sites have been excavated.) They were inhabited not only by native Egyptians but also Greeks and Romans, and eventually Byzantine Christians. The cities were known from texts — Egyptian decrees, mythology and the writings of Herodotus — but no one had actually seen them.
Then, two decades ago, underwater archaeologists began bringing up objects and artworks from the seabed. Some are enormous and weigh several tons. They included massive representations of human-shaped gods, deities in the form of animals, towering kings and queens, giant bearded heads of Greek gods, enormous pharaoh heads, black stone slabs with intensely intricate lines of hieroglyphs and stone coffins.
There were also domestic objects, coins, jewellery, incense burners and votive offerings. A selection is now part of this, the British Museum’s latest exhibition, which explores the complicated, rich culture over many centuries of the two cities.
Click HERE to see a brilliant video clip which gives at least some impression of the atmosphere of the exhibition, and the sheer scale of the underwater archaeology.
But our Neptune day wasn’t yet over! After an enjoyable visit to London’s wonderful Astrology Shop in Covent Garden run by the redoubtable Barry Street, we dropped by the National Gallery: to visit some favourite paintings, and just to marvel at the sheer scale and beauty of the building. Wandering with a truly international throng of spellbound art-lovers through room after room stocked with eight hundred years of amazing art, we were once again entranced.
Botticelli, Leonardo, Rembrandt, Canaletto, El Greco, Rubens, Vermeer, Van Gogh, Monet, Turner, Picasso…all our favourites and thousands more were there. Not reproductions: THE REAL THING.
We strolled back to our hotel, heads and hearts full of gratitude for being able to share such wonderful art and sculpture with so many of our fellow citizens from all over the world. Neptune knows no boundaries of race, colour, creed – or artistic gifts. The day had been wonderful:a profound reminder that no matter how much ugliness, cruelty, destruction and evil there certainly is in the world, no-one can crush from the human soul our longing to connect with the Divine through meditation, prayer, music and all the Arts – “…beauty is truth, truth beauty,…” as poet John Keats put it so memorably.
800 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
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