Forgive life: Neptune squares my natal Chiron


I don’t quite know how this one snuck up on me, although it does make sense considering Neptune is so elusive and my natal Chiron is in the 12th house of hidden and subconscious things. Perhaps I should have noticed when the stability I had been enjoying since my Saturn Return seemingly morphed into what feels like several months of PMS. I was feeling SO emotional, but couldn’t cry. I even resorted to watching the sad parts of kids movies and Thai life insurance ads (the saddest ever) just to force the tears to flow.

Neptune in a difficult aspect is a lot like a big dissolving/yearning/dream/delusion/spell which can feel impossible to live through and chiron is all about being wounded and healing, so there are some obvious emotional ramification here, but because this transit surprised me, I googled it to see what else the internets could tell me: not very much and came across a Saturn Rising post of an interpretation except (not sure where from) that resonates deeply:

The deeper meaning underlying the depressed emotional state
you are likely to experience is a need to face, understand, and
let go of the pain of the past. You may be clinging to hurtful
experiences in ways you have not realized, storing them up
and nursing an unconscious sense of grievance and mistrust
which may be secretly affecting many of your decisions and
responses to other people. It is not that your past experiences
are unimportant, or that your unhappiness is or was unreal.
But right now you are being challenged to find the capacity to
forgive life for not meeting your expectations. If you can see
where your idealization or unrealistic expectations might have
led you into disappointment, you could go a long way toward
healing these past wounds. Also, you may need to learn to
accept life as it is, rather than as you wish it could be. The
proverbial choice of perceiving a glass of water as either half-empty
or half-full applies to you now. If you see life only in
terms of its unfairness, you will become bitter, cynical and
martyred. If you see it only as wonderful, or maintain spiritual
convictions which are too simplistic or naive, you will be
disillusioned when life turns out to be more complex than you
thought. But if you see it as a mixture of dark and light, and
can be flexible enough to accept both, you will be able to find
the resources to cope with the dark while enjoying the light.

Despite being a glass-half-full person already, I could make some more ground with forgiving life. Faith is something I found, as a child, out of desperation. I was raised as an atheist, and got lost in the forest when I was eleven and prayed to every god I had ever heard of. I found Jesus at camp a few months later and converted to Christianity, then dropped it in favor of polytheistic paganism in my teens when I needed magic the most. Gradually, I let that go too, as I found my own power and needed gods and goddesses less and less. My spirituality evolved into an experiential one, moment to moment, interconnected with everything. The beliefs I have now, I am less attached to, they are lenses: tools for gaining clarity, wisdom and understanding… and yet, over the past few months I have felt this tugging absence of faith.

Feeling confused about my life, anxious about not knowing what the hell I’m doing, I have been intellectualising too much – trying to think my way out of feelings of powerlessness. Feeling frustrated with Uranus on my Midheaven, squaring Pluto in my seventh house, I have been going around in circles into brick walls trying to figure out what to do about my ambitions and relationships… I have been getting stuck on “how?” – the impossible question, when one is walking in the dark. I have been willing myself to have faith. I have been trying… but I don’t think I can find faith in desperation anymore… I think I have to find it in letting go… in forgiving life.

When I was fourteen I chose to write my school speech about forgiveness. It seemed like an important thing at the time, I remember a quote I found in my youth bible: “resentment is like a hot coal in the palm of your hand – the longer and tighter it is held, the deeper the burn, bitterness will leave a scar than even time cannot heal.” – That was when I was learning that forgiveness isn’t about letting someone/thing off the hook, it’s about releasing yourself from pain. I have been progressively seeking out and releasing pain from old wounds, releasing myself from depression, working towards forgiving specific people, but I haven’t yet framed it in terms of ‘forgiving life’. Life is hard and often painful; it’s complex and beautiful and joyful; it can be agonising. Life is full of injustices and unfairness, of vulnerability and betrayal, of being hurt, of fear and powerlessness. Life is a big thing to forgive.

Neptune is all about dissolving, and combined with Chiron there is a great opportunity to both dissolve into pain and woundedness and to dissolve from it – to release it. Towards the end of my last Neptune transit I started writing a poetic journal: “The art of dissolving.” I think I will go back to that now, especially as Neptune is also opposing my Venus and I need a positive creative channel to avoid getting lost in a lower-Neptuanian ocean of spaced-out yearning. In these moments of unreasonable despair I will allow this emotion to come up and affirm the thought that is bringing in light and space right now: forgive life.

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The Bone Collector: the archetype of ressurection

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In Women who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés begins with the story of La Loba, the collector of bones. The old woman, the crone, who carries a cure for everything. She stops and digs in the desert for a fragment of wolf skeleton and then, as night falls, she lays out every piece of the puzzle. As she chants and raises her hands flesh and sinew bond to the frame and fur materialises. The wolf breathes into her resurrection. She leaps up and runs towards a horizon. Halfway there she transforms into a laughing naked woman who disappears into the wild.

La Loba, much like Baba Yaga, is terrifying and magnificent as an archetype.  She is powerful and unpredictable and she doesn’t take kindly to bullshit.  If you are lucky you may see her at sunset when you are tired and thirsty and she may take a liking to you and show you something for the soul. In this story bone symbolises the parts of self that cannot decay, that cannot be destroyed, that remain. Bones symbolises the soul. Inspired by  Estés, I would like to tell another story. The story of a different bone collector.

Once there was and once there was not… a woman, a girl, a child, a maiden. In the darkest of nights she was shattered to her core. The pieces of her flew far and wide finding homes in other people, broken people, every piece, a small fragment of bone. A ghost now, a hollow shell, she summons her remaining energy to cast a spell – the kind all women know in their deepest desperation.  She creates the illusion of bones and flesh, of perfect, shining wholeness. Only out of the corner of your eye can you see the cracks show through. The spell makes her forgetful and blind. She stumbles around in the dark, looking for something to quench her thirst – the deep thirst of emptiness. She finds a boy, a man, a lover, and drinks of him. She feeds him more than she has in return and weaves, unconsciously, a spell around him – the fairy tale of a life, a happy future.  She gives too much and drinks all there is until the illusion vanishes, to her surprise, and all is grey and meaningless. Both she and he are devastated but there is nothing she can do to help. She must move on but as she turns to leave she catches a spark out of the corner of her eye: one thing left that is worth taking. She plucks the silver stone from his chest, her own fragment of bone, and leaves the crumbling ruins of the illusion. Slowly she wanders and the cycle repeats over and over. Every encounter seems much the same, every person reveals a little more of herself…

I’m not sure how this story ends. Maybe the girl becomes La Loba, maybe she eventually finds, through gathering the pieces of herself, some kind of wholeness that allows the spell of illusion to be broken.

Astrologically bones are ruled by Saturn and illusions and delusions by Neptune. There is something particularly Saturn in Scorpio about the re-claiming of fragments of bones through intimate encounters – in discovering the self through the mirroring of other people. This kind of projection also relates heavily to Neptune in the 7th house. Those of us with this natal combination are wonderful projection-artists when it comes to relating and relationships.  Neptune also embodies the wholeness of surrender and the final, 12th house, stage of the journey. Neptune’s native sign of Pisces is also heavily connected with Resurrection (Jesus fish). So in this story Neptune is both the obstacle and the goal.