by Walter de la Mare
Stir and shiver
The reeds and rushes
By the river:
As if in dream,
The lone moon’s silver
Sleeks the stream.
What old sorrow,
What lost love,
Moon, reeds, rushes,
Dream you of?
This time I didn’t want to cover my usual Pisces topics – attunement, logo design, addiction, victims, or films – even though at this time of year there is definitely a lot of that about – with all the upheaval in the film industry. Victims aplenty! If you want any of those see all my Pisces posts, on the blog search. This month I look at grief and sorrow, which, for me, are also part of the Pisces-Neptune archetypal family.
In your own time
The trigger for thinking about this was a very good article in the New York Times (see websites below) about grief. It is actually a review of two books that give similar messages: that we don’t know how to deal with grief, both in others and in ourselves, and that there is no timescale for grieving. From my own experience, I agree it is difficult to know what is best when friends are grieving, and through my clients I know grief has its own timing, sometimes coming up years after the original loss. As the article states, many feel guilty about the fact they haven’t “moved on” after a loss. And I take this to mean death or loss in any form.
Astrology to the rescue
Astrology has two ways of helping. One is in the timing. It is usually clear what is being triggered at a particular time, and why grief or sorrow is arising now. This offers a framework to talk about the original pain, and it also seems to give clients permission to grieve. It can confirm that their feelings have their own timing aligned to the cosmos, and this can be very comforting. A confidential, listening ear can work wonders.
And maybe an astrological approach can help us in another way and give us pointers as to how to deal with grief in others and ourselves. If Neptune has to do with loss and letting go, then in my astreopathy (astrological homeopathy), Neptune also has the solution within his remit.
The time is right
So when the time is right, and globally this is now, how do we upgrade Neptune to a higher level? We need to feel, we need to shed tears, and discover ways of communication that do not include words. What grieving people need is to be acknowledged in their pain. Neptune-Pisces is not a ‘doing energy’ – we don’t need to do something to help. We need to step into others’ shoes (or perhaps more importantly stay in our own) and feel and acknowledge sadness. Many people are uncomfortable around tears and this can lead grieving people to feel the need to take care of friends and loved ones by suppressing their feelings in order not to upset others. This is unhelpful to someone truly in pain. It is one of the downsides of Neptunian energy, that we may feel guilty if we make others sad. Or we feel a need to protect others, which can result in grief going inwards. We need to express and honour our sorrow, otherwise health problems can arise.
As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, grief comes in waves in its own time. A scent, a shared memory, music, a photo, a word or expression that someone might have used, can set off a feeling of missing someone. Neptune might suggest going with the flow of the memory. People we have known will always be in our memories and we can always tune in to those. This Piscean energy can be expressed through painting, photography or music. Something that evokes feelings. Many feel these activities are helpful when dealing with sorrow.
Loss, sadness and grief are all part of life. Trying to get rid of them is counterproductive. When Neptune strikes we need to go inwards and take time out from everyday life. If we honour this sorrow, we can develop contact with the non-material world. This can be done by using recreational drugs of course, and sadly drugs are often given by the medical profession to people who have suffered a loss. But both of these are a way to escape from what is really happening. Sometimes there is guilt around death, a feeling we should have done more, or seen signs of problems earlier. Of course we want to avoid those feelings. But sorrow and loss themselves can bring us in touch with other realms. How many wonderful poems and songs have been written by people who have used grief or emotional pain to express a feeling? Neptune can be romantic and idealistic, deeply creative. Imagination is important and this too can help us work through experiences, as can (day-) dreaming. We need a way to develop compassion and this includes for ourselves. Forgiving ourselves is really important when we are processing a loss.
I have written previously on one method that looks at life in phases. The Pisces one, between age 66-72, equates to time in the womb – gestation, which occurs in the dark, like many germinating seeds underground. Perhaps sorrow throws us into a gestation phase. We need to spend time ‘alone and in the dark’ before we are ready to be ‘born’ again. Aries – new life – comes after Pisces. We need time to digest and let go before we can emerge again into the light.
A grieving world
There is much to feel sorrow for in the world today. The number of refugees and war victims has reached horrendous proportions. And we don’t need to step out of our own front doors to hear about victims of violence and abuse and grieving parents or children. Sometimes, the only thing we can offer is to be a witness. To take suffering seriously. Of course we can try to offer practical solutions like food and shelter, but that’s a ‘doing’ thing. Giving refugees or victims a safe space to tell their stories, maybe through Neptunian means, such as film, music and art, may offer some healing. Emotional support is what is required. And sometimes being able to help others can awaken a sense of Neptunian purpose in us, as long as we don’t deny our own sorrow.
We still have Neptune, the Pisces planet, at home in the sign of Pisces, where he will stay until 2025. So this is a good chance to help him upgrade his true consciousness potential. In previous posts I have talked of letting go, developing compassion and finding another approach for handling addiction and dementia issues. These are all possibilities in this time frame if the level of self-reflection in the world rises.
As a last note, I have mentioned before that opposite signs work together, and getting the balance between these opposing signs can be helpful. The sign which is opposite Pisces is Virgo, and one thing this sign does well is ritual. This is why I find the honouring of victims on remembrance days, and lighting candles for lost loved ones, important. Here’s an example where those Neptunian things – art, imagination and evoking an image – all worked together to create a very moving memorial sight. The installation called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red was set up in the moat of the Tower of London in 2014 to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of WWI. 888,246 ceramic poppies were planted – one for each victim.
The poppies are currently on tour. If you are in these neighbourhoods, Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper is a sight not to be missed.
And on grief…
And an article from Psychology Today on grief not being a pathological condition that needs to be fixed!
Quote of the Month
“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.” Rumi