Exploring the Campuhan Ridge Walk, Ubud, Bali. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Seeking without Hiding, to Stand on New Ground

By Amanda Painter

I completely missed Neptune’s presence in aspect to the Sun (a square) when writing the daily Written in the Planets segments for the second half of this week. Neptune often has this property of slipping under the radar and evading notice, so it’s not entirely surprising.

Exploring the Campuhan Ridge Walk, Ubud, Bali. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Exploring the Campuhan Ridge Walk in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia last month. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Yet Neptune’s an important factor to consider, not least of all because its little disappearing act in my awareness this week demonstrates part of why it matters: what we fail to notice can make a difference — in what we choose to do, in what we think our options are, and in how we feel about all of it (and about ourselves).

Although the Sagittarius Sun does not exactly square Neptune in Pisces until Sunday, Neptune has a wide orb. In other words, its influence on consciousness has been part of the picture all week.

With this square happening right at the midpoint of the signs involved, there are two very interesting things to be aware of. One is that the Sun is conjunct a deep-space phenomenon called the Great Attractor. The Great Attractor (GA) is the focal point of a supercluster of about 100,000 galaxies stretched out over 520 million light years. Everything in our region of the universe seems to be contracting toward it (though overall, the universe is expanding).

The Sun — emblem of conscious self-expression — aligns with the GA exactly on Friday. I’m curious whether anyone has experimented in natal and event charts with the GA’s orb of influence. Since it is an astronomical feature with far-reaching significance for a big chunk of the universe, I would expect that it might exhibit a wide orb.

In any case, the GA in astrology not only represents something very large and hard to grasp intellectually, it also tends to signify things like polarization (such as someone with a strong GA placement provoking strong reactions in others); a kind of ‘untouchable’ quality in those who are provocative; and a sense of being pulled along or compelled in some way.

My first response to seeing this aspect this week was to ask some questions: What goal, vision, or sense of faith and optimism is pulling you along currently? In what ways does it feel elusive, or like you’ll never finish chasing it?

Trying to express it, whether through actions or words, could provoke strong reactions from others. Yet those reactions will likely slide past you or spur you on, rather than ruffle or dissuade you.

The Sun and the GA are also opposite Altjira in Gemini, a figure from aboriginal myth who’s guardian of the dreamtime. Figures and images from dreams may mirror another side of this situation to you.

The other very interesting thing about the Sun-GA conjunction came to my attention when I noticed Neptune: this aspect pattern is happening right in the zone where Jupiter and Neptune performed their three exact squares over most of this past year. (It’s closest to the first exact square, which was in January 2019, but all three of the exact contacts were within three degrees or less of the current Sun-GA-Neptune pattern.) This week’s configuration is just a degree or so from where Jupiter stationed direct in mid-Sagittarius in August.

Considerable emphasis is growing in Capricorn; six significant planets are there, including Jupiter. Yet here we have a direct reactivation of the Sagittarian energy of Jupiter retrograde, and of the Jupiter-square-Neptune bubble that characterized most of the year. Saturn and Pluto are close to their exact conjunction (less than a month and a half away now). Other planets are fortifying Capricorn’s sturdy, no-nonsense, get-down-to-business vibe. So what does this echo of a more buoyant and idealizing perspective actually mean?

Neptune, especially in Pisces, is a diffusing and dissolving agent. It can obscure, mislead or embellish. But it also represents the kind of universality at the heart of concepts like agape: unconditional, divine love. Such is about as big and unfettered as anything can be.

On one level, Neptune in a square to the Sun and GA — in the location of this year’s significant Jupiter activity — potentially magnifies the qualities of the GA (and our awareness of them or ability to express them). I’m thinking of the ‘too big to grasp’ and ‘too far to pin down’ ideas in particular.

How often have you felt like you were just on the verge of an important insight, like it was flitting at the edges of your consciousness, just to have it fly off or dissolve when you tried to look directly at it and articulate it? Maybe it’s just me, but I kind of feel like that describes much of my year. Or that each time I did articulate what I think I’m moving towards, the goal/vision and its potential moved again.

What have you made progress on since August or September? What dreams or ideals still require significant, from-the-ground-up practical application, Capricorn style? In what ways are the strict, reality-bound demands and fears of Capricorn showing certain ideals to be the phantasms, delusions or denials of Neptune’s lower expression?

What simply requires a good few more preliminary steps than you’d imagined it would take to bring it to fruition? Are you willing to brave the fears and discomfort that can come with starting, and are you willing to put in the work?

Any Sun-Neptune square can describe deceit, disillusionment, an inability to see clearly where emotions are concerned, and a need to make sacrifices to get right with oneself. You might be experiencing low energy and a sense of futility. However, this aspect can also describe something that stimulates your idealism.

Everything seems impossible until somebody does it. True, sometimes we need to recognize that something was just a pipe dream: that it never truly connected to the core of who we are and who we’re becoming. But how can you know for sure until you take some concrete, real-world actions toward it, and then look to see where you’re standing?

Yours & truly,

P.S. Mercury leaves its shadow phase on Saturday, Dec. 7, and finally leaves Scorpio on Dec. 9.

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