This is the continuation of John Grove’s explorations into his Neptune, following on from the previous post.
A complex is an inner state of opposition between these two contrasting energies within the psyche; based on my personal psychological past of early attachments. The way a complex works in the outer world is that a bipolar behavior pattern is expressed. When one side of the complex is expressed at one time you get one presentation and when the other opposite side is expressed you get another presentation. I had this complex that was forgotten and repressed in my personal unconscious. i A complex is not caused by an aspect pattern in a horoscope. It is caused by a traumatic event. “An experience of high emotional content… with great dynamic power.. an event which hits a vital point of our psyche and our ego structure.” ii
In my 12th year I was with my father who was driving drunk and we were hit by a car traveling 60 miles an hour broadside. This event (occurred when my Age Point was at the crossing of the Nodal Point at the cusp of my 3rd house in Aquarius). This event shattered my sense of value and feeling toward my father by fear and anxiety. I adopted a rigid state with a tight ego shell within me which helped me to avoid hating my father for this irresponsible act. I could also deny that he was responsible for my anxious state. As a coping defense I developed a rigid pseudo self-confidence (Neptune self-deception) and toxic values. I behaved as a substance abuser adolescent in identification with father.
So I had to dig deep using my Capricorn focus and determination to discover that I expressed love and sympathy based on a need of belonging (to father) through a drive for selfless egoic surrender as a calling (as reflected by the opposition between Neptune and the Moon). This required endless sacrifice of my ego need for authentic expression of spontaneous anger-based resentment toward my dad which caused repression of these feelings. All this was generalized in the service of a higher ideal: to sacrifice my needs for the needs of others.
As denial began to lift about my inner complex I realized, I had to balance both sides and accept myself as I was- a contradiction. By the way, all people have contradictory sub-personalities but they may not all have trauma complexes so they may not be forced to understand themselves unless they dig deep into self-analysis. iii That is unfortunate because that application of self-study is not readily done today…our shadows are usually repressed parts of ourselves which we can project on people we love to hate.
How this played out in my youth was that my father was an alcoholic who I thought needed unconditional love from me; my mother who was my main caretaker was depressed and felt that my childhood presence “kept her young” as she would say. The way my complex chose to express itself was that I could not build self-esteem in an identity without giving love to both parents which took a lot of psychic energy. So even when parents were at odds with one another over father’s affairs, his continued alcoholism and selfishness, I actually did shuttle diplomacy giving love to one and then the other in total denial that I was giving up a major part of my striving for independence. It was a totally misplaced and confused loyalty to them, especially when I should be on my own. The only way to work this conundrum out was to encounter the world. (the Huber’s give reference in their book on Houses that to deal with in inner polarity, one develops a third pole, in this case the Encounter pole). iv Joining the Peace Corps and leaving home was my encounter with the world.
Encounters with reality in Huber’s perception can have the result of teaching you to see Neptune and the Moon as an initiation ritual. In their book, The Planets, Neptune in aspect to the Moon we see that:
The path of Neptune and the Moon speaks to the experience of love and suffering that one must go through in relationships when one subordinates one’s ego for another. This initiation leads to the subsequent refinement of the ego needs. When one does not get reciprocal sympathy and unconditional love, yet still loves and forgives another, this changes consciousness. Ego based love is conditional and selfish. But when one suffers from a betrayal of love and yet still continues to love without resentment and is able to forgive, then one is able to elevate one’s emotions beyond petty ego wants and desires. He/she can transcend opposites and avoid the projection that promotes conflict; because emotional identification with either extreme of two opposites can bring resentment. This requires a dis-identification from the emotional ego. The suffering of the ego and its ‘death’ brings about the dark night of the soul, causing one to feel abandoned and hopeless. As a purification experience, Christ was baptized to love all people, despite being persecuted. Through the betrayal of Judas and his crucifixion, He was able to forgive those who persecuted him. Because the experience of suffering and continuing to love is a continual process throughout the life cycle, there is an ongoing struggle to let go of the childish ego for the sake of ideal love. The passing phase of being betrayed and forsaken can last a long time and, during this process of purification, we are asked to let go of hope and what we consider are legitimate demands of reciprocal love. This process puts one in a completely different situation and changes consciousness. One surrenders to God’s will and that process is transformative. Transits of Neptune to an ego planet can trigger these experiences and crises. v
So, as I encountered the world, I had to figure out who I was because I had given so much attention to my parents, I was confused about what I had to do to grow up. All I had to go on was the ego identifications of father that I had incorporated into my false self-identity. Neptune was guiding me to encounter my cousin who introduced me to astrology and actually told me that I really had impressive dreams. I took those beginning bits of truth and went on with gusto to study in depth both subjects. After many years I found my own new identity as a psychotherapist, a depth psychoanalyst and astrologer which I practice this to this day.
So many times, in my encounters with the world I had to defend why I studied astrology. Those days are over now as I am confident in my craft; but I realize, I was guided by Neptune all along, an archetypal guide that presented me with experiences that helped heal the split within me and at the same time confused me because I believed all I had to go on was an ego consciousness that demanded self-expression of my ego identity against the world.
As I studied Jungian psychology on my own, I incorporated it into my practice on myself through dream analysis early on in my 20’s. I kept journals and dream diaries over 30 years. My service to others had been a calling and before I even had the license to practice, I was helping other people with grief, with separation and loss. My journaling with Ira Progoff started with a workshop he gave when I was in graduate school. vi My dream theme was water in many forms; Neptune was presenting me with tidal waves, rivers, seas images that evolved over the years. My emotional reactions to these dreams were mostly fearful and threatening at the beginning as they represented a threat to my striving toward development of individuality which I was afraid of accomplishing due to my split allegiances to my parents. I did not want to incorporate conscious identifications with either parent into my psyche. Later on, I developed a lofty and loving relationship with water and enjoyed water adventures in my dreams and put my relationships with my parents in proper perspective.
Since I have a Capricorn Sun it focused my complex to a point of achievement where not only did I make my living dealing with Neptune’s realm, but I also became the recipient of many of Neptune’s cloudy and murky influences which induced confusion, stormy days of hypersensitivity that sometimes triggered me to deny all emotion actually making me afraid of my ‘affects’. For a long time, I thought I was a thinking type and gave myself over to that for a while doing research and empirically based studies. vii But then there was the other me, that subpersonality that was receptive, loving, daring to question the status quo in my profession… a feeling type. I was angry that I seemed caught between two worlds: one of accountability and the other of dreamy and emotional rapport with myself and others so that I did not always know where I stood.
All through my life I had struggled with what thoughts I created that played out the scenario that people were going to deceive me, betray me, and hold back secrets from me. These thoughts would spontaneously get in my head and make me suspicious of others. I felt that maybe I did not to deserve love from others without having to save them or nurture them. That template based on guilt I re-enacted from my childhood onto relationships with others.
If I ever wanted to have the security that I could perceive reality without self-deception or without illusion, or without confusion or false hope; I needed to be clear minded and withdraw my projections from my past onto others.
If I ever wanted to give and receive love, then I would have to give up fantasies that are elusive and unreal shimmering in allurement but always too far away in the mist to chase.
Consider this dream: 7/18/2019
I am Christine Amanpour on a mission, on assignment. I have to choose a photographer for my next news cast. But I want no drama, no confusion of roles, no partner who will deceive me with promises to be the best ever reaching the ideal of photographers of the perfect picture. I want someone just right for the role. So, I stop this photographer; he is a man in his jeep driving on the road and I interview him hoping to nail down once and for all that this partner will not be… A chameleon who deceives me. A lover who confuses me.
But then I realize, illusion is not in him; it permeates all around me, is in me and projects out of me. I can’t get rid of it; I carry the self-deception factor everywhere I go.
Only living with the uncertainty of the unknown, not having anything solid beneath my feet, nothing to hold onto – that is my karma. That is the nature of Neptune the planet of mystery, of gaseous foam and the last bridge to the mystery that is deep space. We may never break it down and understand this: “I, Neptune am everywhere, all the time permeating every part of your existence as a fact.” I could no longer get rid of my uncertainty than to amputate my arm or my leg.
It is an illusion, that I could have Neptune out of my life. I have to make peace with the Master of the sea and waters. I have to learn to accept his dissolving of everything that as a Capricorn (where my Sun is located) I hold dear. His earthquakes break up the ground I am standing on. My therapy work represents everything I strive for and what I hold dear and that is the only solid thing I have. But that too will disappear as if an apparition. Going forward I will have to go on knowing my ego death will happen over and over that he will spread turpentine over the vision of my master works. And eventually when all is gone, I too will become one in unity with outer space that is beyond the boundaries of Neptune.
Maybe that is what I yearned for all my life.
i Hall, James A. Jungian Dream Interpretation, Inner City Books, Toronto, Canada, 1983, p. 120
ii Rudhyar, Dane, An Astrological Study of Psychological Complexes, Shambhala, Berkeley, 1976. P4
iii Parfitt, Will, Psychosynthesis: The Elements and Beyond, PS Avalon, Glastonbury, Somerset, UK,2003, p. 29
iv Huber, Bruno and Louise, The Astrological Houses; A Psychological View of Man and His World, Samuel Weiser, Inc. York Beach, Maine,1978, p.86
v Huber, Bruno and Louise, The Planets and Their Psychological Meaning, Hopewell Publishing, Knutsford, UK, 2006, P111.
vi Progoff, Dr. Ira, Intensive Journal Workbook, Dialogue Hose Associates, Inc. NY, NY 1968
vii Jung, Carl G. Psychological Types, Bollingen Foundation, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J. .1958
This is an extraordinarily honest portrayal of how Neptune in high profile opposite Moon can impact on the path through life, its loves, betrayals, loyalties, deceptions, uncertainties and vocation. Thanks so much for sharing your personal experience, John, some of which resonates with me although it is more intrinsic to your ego and individuality and my Moon Neptune opposition is more introspective and mercurial. And thanks for reminding me of how perceptive the Hubers were when they wrote about it. It’s no wonder that both of us found our way to Huber astrology with its precise interpretation and focus on psychosynthesis.
What a wonderful and fascinating article, John! I can relate to so much of it, what with an alcoholic father and my Age Point approaching the Sun on a low point in a Piscean 12th house.
Neptune plays a key role in my consciousness as I have 4 planets and my North Node either in Pisces, ruled by this planetary energy, or the 12th house. With the Moon as my strongest ego planet, and a tsunami of water in my temperament, the life I have always lived, despite suffering, is the one with heart. But I don’t think I am near experiencing Neptune in its higher order of Divine Love yet. How I would love to have you as my therapist!