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Swim or Drown

Jupiter Neptune Conjunction April 12 - May 11, 2022

Navigating Life Through Understanding Astrology

The Great Beyond

When I do a targeted astrology reading regarding spirituality, I first look to see where Jupiter and Neptune are in the chart. I do this because these two planets represent our capacity for trans personal imagination. There are striking similarities, but also important differences that distinguish one from the other. Over the next month or so these two planets travel together, emphasizing a strong theme of spiritual exploration. Adding to this unavoidable cosmic focus on what lies beyond our mundane lives, these two planets come together in the sign of Pisces - a sign they both rule. As if the two planets that speak to spiritual orientation wasn’t enough, being in Pisces drives this theme home insofar as it to speaks to unseen forces, universal love and undifferentiated wholeness. That which goes beyond our individual human experiences and connects us to what is mysterious and unknown. There is a clear directive in the coming weeks to really work with the spiritual and philosophical meaning we orient our lives around. Now, let's begin to unpack the nuance of what is going on here and the opportunities and challenges that will be presented to us all during the time this transit is strongest.

Jupiter: What Does It All Mean?

Let’s start with the planets - Jupiter and Neptune. If both represent a kind of spiritual orientation, how are they different? Why do we need two. While there are strong similarities for sure, Jupiter is more about the meaning we make of life in general. It is our philosophy. How we see and make sense of life from a meta-level. What we believe it is all about. Jupiter is meaning. It is of fundamental importance to our wellbeing beyond the everyday events of our lives. Even beyond the actual events themselves, Jupiter brings the meaning we make of those events. In that sense it helps us not only find our place in the universe but puts that experience into context. For this reason Jupiter has immense power since it is within this archetype that we find our purpose.

More specifically it governs our religious (as opposed to spiritual) orientation. It is what we think is right and wrong and why. In this way it holds tremendous sway over the actions we take and aspire to, how we justify those actions, and how we judge and relate to others and their personal actions.

Another key element of the Jupiter function is simple expansiveness. Since it is trying to zoom out in order to find context of the whole picture, Jupiter is thought to amplify whatever it is near. So in addition to the energies Jupiter brings within it’s own right, it also has an influence on what is around it. Think of how your own personal philosophical understanding of the meaning of life affects how you integrate the events within your own field of experience. In this case the Jupiter magnifying glass is pointed at our spiritual function as represented by the planet Neptune.

Neptune: Ineffable Sense Of Awe

So how exactly is our spiritual function different, albeit strongly related to, what we call our religious orientation? Neptune is less our cognitive understanding of it all and more our feeling of it all. It is that of which we can not speak yet we sense. It is the All that lies beyond what our limited human brains can comprehend. It is not linear or logical. Where Jupiter attempts to put things into context, Neptune dissolves all differentiation and attempts at classification. It is that vague something that you feel when listening to a beautiful piece of music or viewing art. It is not the religious doctrine but the ineffable sense of awe. It is not only our recognition of the great mystery of life but our sense that we are somehow inseparable from and connected to that great mystery in ways we could never comprehend from our limited vantage point.

Both definitely have a sense of vast expansiveness associated with them, stretching beyond the everyday personal experiences. In this way they are very similar, but they come at what lies beyond from very different angles. Jupiter more intellectual and Neptune more immersive.

So for the next month or so we will be visiting the combined energies of these two planetary influences. Big existential questions are likely to be coming up for you (and all of us). What does it all mean and what is my place in that grand schema. Whether you consider yourself religious or spiritual is not the main point. We all have a personal relationship and understanding regarding the meaning of life and it is that understanding that will be up for review.

I often think of the healing of trauma as largely a matter of finding personal meaning around our experiences. Finding a context for them in the big picture. Because both Jupiter and Neptune address this kind of meaning making, I see the coming months, in part, as an opportunity to work with the great traumas we have all faced the past several years both as individuals and as a society.

Pisces: I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together

So given that we will all be re-evaluating these big life questions, let’s now take a look more specifically at the flavor this evaluation will have. To see this we look at the sign these planets will be in as they travel through the sky together. I find the fact that this is all happening in Pisces to be extremely interesting. It puts a giant exclamation point on the theme of examining our sense of spiritual meaning that is indicated by these two planets coming together generally.

One of the fascinating things is that both Jupiter and Neptune rule Pisces. Jupiter is the traditional ruler (before the discovery of the outer planets) and Neptune is the modern ruler. So again we are reminded of the similarities of these two planets. In what ways do their similarities converge around Piscine themes such that they can both serve as rulers. Looking through that lens we can get a better understanding of specifically how these big existential questions may play out for us.

First Pisces is a water sign. Second it is a collective sign. Water represents our emotional bodies. Traits like compassion and empathy. Collectively, it is not just about how we feel personally, but how we feel (or don’t feel) connected to humanity as a whole. It is our emotional response that goes beyond ourselves and our close personal relationships and extends that (Jupiter/Neptune) to the larger human family. This is one of the reasons Pisces can get emotionally overloaded. It is feeling the whole of the collective experience - the good, the bad and the ugly. But it is also universal love and connection. It is the full spectrum and that can be overwhelming.

Too Much

One of the reasons Pisces is associated with addiction and escapism is because of this potentiality for emotional overwhelm. In Pisces we can feel connected to every single human being. Given the atrocities and sufferings of the world currently, feeling emotionally connected to those experiences can seriously flood our individual systems and deregulate us in ways that go far beyond our normal everyday emotions. Empathy is a trait that allows us to share in the experience of others. Feeling that for a collective that is suffering is a lot for the individual to process. So while Pisces energy serves to connect us to the whole and feel compassion and love for our human family, it also means we share in the heartbreak.

With Jupiter and Neptune together in this sign for months to come, we may find we are wrestling with finding meaning or purpose or even some spiritual context for the state of humanity as a whole. If we love and feel compassion for everyone, how do we reconcile the things humans to do one another? How do we keep ourselves connected to our compassion when it seems constantly called upon to share in a pain that may very well go beyond our ability to hold it or do anything about it. There is both a danger and an opportunity presented to each of us with this transit.

The danger of course is to disconnect from our compassion or to drown it out. To escape the bombardment of pain that seems so prevalent in the world out of a sense of self preservation. To numb out and just not feel anything. This of course is in large part how we are able to commit these atrocities in the first place. This approach also takes a toll on us individually and relationally. Our compassion is an essential human response and without it we lose a piece of our own humanity. Our own sense of belonging and being cared for is lost as well. So how then do we stay connected without getting overwhelmed and drowning ourselves? How do we keep our own oxygen mask on while at the same time helping others with theirs - especially when it might feel like you couldn’t even if you tried?

Well, that all seems kinda bleak. So what then is the opportunity here? I think the best place to look is how these energies express in their highest form. Since we will all be working with these themes regardless, with conscious awareness we can introduce some sense of choice. If these energies can express in low or high vibe ways, how can we consciously choose the high vibe way.

How To Swim: Meaning

One of the things that Jupiter indicates is the need to find meaning. If you don’t feel that you have any meaning in your life, now is the time to find it. Invent it if you have to, but find it. The world needs you to find it. You need you to find it. What is it you truly deeply love? Is it spending time with family and friends? Is it art? Music? Is it gardening? Learning? Start there. Wherever there is for you. That is where you will find your meaning. Ok now, get on with it. Tout de suite!

How To Swim: Boundaries

With Neptune you fucking need boundaries. Simply because Neptune dissolves all boundaries. Sit on your meditation cushion and light some candles by all means, but also please have some boundaries. Loving boundaries. Yes its possible. Boundaries actually allow for the kind of full spectrum feeling that Pisces requires. If you don’t have any boundaries about it, it will likely overwhelm you. Boundaries make compassion possible. Trust me on this. For more detail go check out some of Brene Browns work.

How To Swim: Art

Artistic expression and appreciation will be another medicine during this transit. Pisces is how we express our emotional connection to the whole and why I think it is often associated with music, poetry and the arts in general. It is through these endeavors that we can experience what it means to be human in some essential way. We all feel love, strife, joy, anger, frustration, loss, etc. Art reminds us that we are not alone in these experiences. While the specifics may differ, we are reminded that there are things common to the experience of being human. In this way we are connected to all other humans. It breaks down the differences and highlights our commonalities. It takes the compassion and empathy we feel for our close loved ones and expands it to include the entire human race. If you feel inspired to create art, that is great. If not, you can still use this medicine by going to a gallery or museum, listening to your favorite music, reading poetry, etc. In fact, I would highly recommend this even if you do feel inspired to create yourself. Let yourself be transported and connected through the act of bearing witness to the creative expression of others.

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