The most famous example, of course, is the biblical story of Jonah, who tried to escape his destiny by sailing in the opposite direction. He literally was forced to turn around when a huge storm threatened his boat and he was thrown overboard. He was swallowed by a whale, where he spent three days and three nights in meditation before being vomited out unharmed but wholly transformed. The experience set him straight, and thereafter he followed his destiny as a prophet.
Joseph Campbell lists the belly of the whale as a stage in the hero’s journey in which the hero undergoes a symbolic death in order to be spiritually reborn. This stage typically happens near the beginning of the story, as the hero finally accepts that he must leave his familiar, comfortable world to fulfill his higher calling. In some versions of the ancient myth, the whale is a sea monster, sea serpent, or kraken. However, they all contain the common symbol of an underwater terror the hero must face before he can move forward on his spiritual journey. The deep water represents the unconscious – Neptune’s territory.
Many astrologers (myself included) have spoken of a coming leap in human consciousness. With Neptune in Pisces, there is the possibility of a collective descent into the belly of the whale – a scary place, to be sure. An example Campbell sometimes uses to illustrate his point is the scene in the original Star Wars film in which the heroes are trapped in a giant trash compactor. Lurking under the filthy water is a sea monster with tentacles.
As astrologers like to point out, Neptune has two sides. On one hand, it represents a fertile, unlimited imagination the source of which is divine inspiration. On the other, it is illusion and delusion, and on a grand scale. There can even be an overlap of the two – for example, when your imagination runs away with you to the point that you start worrying about huge, scary situations that don’t exist. It’s not hard to see how Neptune in Pisces might bring both sides of Neptune into physical manifestation.
When you think about it, it’s ironic that nowadays we have an entirely different view of whales, which we see as highly evolved beings who may be trying to communicate a message to us. That in itself represents a leap in consciousness. A few months ago, I was talking to a woman here on Vashon who founded a group called Whale Communicators, which is trying to spread the gospel of Granny, a wise old whale with a message for mankind. (Find out more at whalecommunicators.com).
Neptune enters Pisces on Friday and will remain in the sign of the Fishes for 13 years.
Venus, meanwhile, continues her journey through Pisces and opposes Mars on Wednesday. In Pisces, Venus represents higher love and compassion. There’s not enough of either in the world, and certainly not in our daily lives. Make this week count by taking every opportunity to put yourself in others’ shoes. That won’t be easy, with Mars retrograde in nitpicky Virgo. Before you judge, criticize, or condemn, consider what the other person is going through and give him a break. You might even find that you can turn a previously untenable situation around and get a better outcome.
That said, computers everywhere are continuing to act up. I got mine back from the shop late this week, but I had to spend hours reconfiguring my settings for printer, internet connections, and other functions, when I could least afford the extra time. School has been on fast-forward, the past month one big blur – a Neptunian fog, you might say. (To those who have been patiently waiting for reports, my apologies. I’m starting to work through the backlog and ask for your understanding for a bit longer.)
Wishing you all limitless love and courage,