Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Beyond Illusion: Unveiling Neptunus "In Us"

By Stephen Hershey 

Since 2011 began, astrology has eerily been opening new perspectives in my brain for an awkward month, my inner-network rampantly midwifing these foreign structures of thought to fruition. But, studying its intricacies, complexities, and rules have given me yet another beautiful lens to view the grand mytho-verse, and I couldn't feel more blessed to relay my eager and infantile new passion.

The planet Neptune, eighth from the Sun and herein subject, has been effectively deconstructing the confines of my reality for the past year, an effect so gradual and slow that I’ve only lately witnessed the ceremonial blending of inner and outer perceptions, peaking with an enlightening and well overdue exposure to "Labyrinth"—astrologers must already sense the irony—one that will arguably continue and strengthen through a crowded third house for at least the next five years.

Before I could even fathom the impact, shamanic ceremonies signaled, with an enticing shimmering beyond reality's veils, the need for my corporeal curiosities to go beyond perceived limitations of consciousness. The awakening into astrology was both sudden and fortuitous to my interests, appearing at just the moment where I might’ve collapsed into overwhelming confusion, and it allowed me to mitigate my energy toward the direction of both the literal and mythic heavens. Researching Neptune’s archetypal influence allotted itself to my interests, which led me to Liz Greene's book, "Neptune: The Quest for Redemption."

While the planet is more recently associated with the prominent god of the sea, the earliest known myths depicted the ocean as the matriarchal origin of life the universe. Ti’amat, the Sumerian mother of the ocean, was a monstrous serpent spanning the entire world. She was quickly and violently slain by her son, Marduk, her essence carved to form both the celestial heavens and the material earth.

A similar story mentioned in the Bible depicts Jehovah slaying the oceanic Leviathan, oppressing and punishing what was professed to be a great evil—I believe that both in this story and the Sumerian myth, the force was enacted out of fear toward feminine mysticism, though perhaps a necessary one. Not all so outwardly destructive, similar goddess-creation stories flowed out of Egypt, India, and pre-Christian Europe. Appropriately, modern consciousness is learning to know the serpent as an image of transformation, illustrated in indigenous shamanistic cultures, as well as DNA's spiraling double-helix.

Gnostic mythology tells that when the goddess Sophia fell from the Divine Source—perceived as the galactic center—or the Pleroma, the catastrophe of such an event similarly formed both the celestial heavens and the transmutation of the Earth, as well as the Demiurge, an immaterial deity who falsely anointed himself both creator and ruler over the world.

The Demiurge, equally doubled by the stories of both Marduk and Jehovah, is an illegitimate child, and his influence, while some might say is necessary, is the embodiment of empty aggression and fear, in direct opposition to the growth of our imagination, leading to the enforced, patriarchal oppression of sexual energy, the kundalini life force, and even the divine serpent of our origins.

What is an effective balance, if any, between the violence of perceived creation and an “attunement of ethereal oneness?” As we are chaotically born into this world, we are drawn to the underworld of our own imaginative center, only to be thrust back into the act of furthering manifestation within the proposed illusion. Does this equate itself with the image of the uroboros, the serpent devouring its own tail?

Gasper Noe’s psychedelic-film foray, “Enter The Void,” a comparable evolution of the abrasive “Requiem For A Dream,” deconstructs a DMT-induced trip to the release of death, associating the "oneness of spirit" with the bleak, nomadic regeneration of life insignificantly portrayed rather insignificantly by the Cosmos—as if all children were fodder to the indefinite cycle of the Universe.

Such an admission into chaos is only one, albeit prominent perception of Neptune’s unveiling power. She, the metaphor containing the source of all life, is also the harbinger for the raging energy of divine trance and inspiration, both the revealer and creator of illusions. It might be easy to become lost in such a vast, unexplored ocean; her energy continually asks for an undying faith in what is innately chaotic and unseen.

Neptune peeks through the primordial lens of Pisces in April before retrograding back into Aquarius, then returns full force for every other mythological musing happening in 2012. Aligned with similar prophecies, does this movement petition the unavoidable unraveling of our psyche, disillusionment of the individual self, and strengthening of an inspirational oneness?

From the cesspools of perceived Chaos, life has dutifully evolved—vibrating emanations of our Mother’s own dream—her children therein gifted with the ability to replicate the Universe, through all forms of expression, and procreate their own dreams. Thereby, imagination is the byproduct, and final resting point, of our grand design.

Image: Ti'amat and Marduk.
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  1. The Enuma Elish (which is actually Babylonian, and therefore post-Sumerian, but that's a minor point) is not the only ancient Mesopotamian creation myth to involve these currents. The Babylonian pantheon has a relation to the Sumerian pantheon similar to that between the Roman and Greek pantheon, and while Tiamat was slain by Marduk in the Enuma Elish, in earlier myths it is Enki (father of Marduk and holder of the domain of both water and magic) who severed the connection between An (the sky) and Ki (the earth) -- who by their constant sex created the first generation of gods.

    The above myth is bringing up several interesting connections for me. I recently read The Flight of the Wild Gander, and was struck by the connection between the shamanic state and the oceanic consciousness. But, this myth also resembles another one mentioned by Campbell in that book: one describing about the phasing out of shamans because of their inability to work within the system of the priesthood to perform a more complicated task [in the chapter titled The Symbol Without Meaning, in the section titled The Shaman and the Priest, pages 127-129 of my edition, which is the first 2002 New World Library edition]. Note that Enki's domain was not only magic and water but also science and civilization, and that he takes the role of the being that taught humanity the ways of civilization. It's also notable that the allegory of the removal of shamans might be placed in the mythic time at the origin of the world and attributed to the being who is credited with civilization. Ishtar later became the shaman's way, being associated with birds, the unknown and incomprehensible, and magic, and being the only one who could outsmart Enki (and therefore was allowed to have the Great Me -- essentially the complete schematics of the universe -- making her as powerful as Enki), which solidifies Enki's role as both Promethean and anti-Promethean.

    I realize this is very tangental to your post. I hope it will be interesting anyhow. Both the Sumerian and Babylonian bodies of myth are very rich, despite coming out of a society whose social mores (especially the sexual ones) are far more apparently alien than those in Norse and Greek mythology (disclaimer: there is some degree of bowlderization in all the Norse and Greek mythology I've read; things like lupercalia and bacchanalia indicate that the Greeks were not as they were described in school, and that the trading of chickens for young boys was not the limit of acceptable kink. The Norse probably are similar).

  2. So write with us as a contributor. ;p

  3. Hey Enki :)

    Thanks for your disclaimer. Chicken trading noted.

    Is there any correlation between Enki and Aquarius? That's the first thing I thought of.

    Also, I think the Sumerian civilization and advent of writing and story happened around the 2,000 year age of Gemini, which would make sense considering the sign represents just that.

    Even more interesting is that the age before Gemini was Cancer, or the "magic and water" that preceded the birth of civilization. What you said makes so sense.

    The fact that our "perceived" (key word here) birth appeared with the age of Gemini would correlate with the advent of "story" and knowledge... eating from the fruit of knowledge! And depending on who you ask, this was the time our brothers and sisters of the stars paid us visit :) This is quite the rabbit hole.

    So, now we are again transferring ages from water to air (Pisces to Aquarius) and facing a rise of information and psychic connectivity. Maybe that's also why everyone's so excited about potential "return visitors"!

    Thanks again! You inspired some deeper thinking with me. I agree with James too--would love to hear more of your thoughts.



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