Of Hope and Despair: the Mars/Neptune Square

November 11th ~ 18th

“Pandora” by Walter Crane

You don’t spill your lies on the pages that I write on. ~ Laura Gentile

In the 1944 film, Gaslight, the protagonist played by Ingrid Bergman is manipulated into a virtual state of disassociation by her narcissistic husband, played by Charles Boyer. His intent was to make her so psychologically and mentally confused, that she was quite convinced that she was losing her mind. This was all part of a grand scheme for him to get her out of the way in order to take control of her estate. It was from this movie that the term ‘gaslighting’ was derived.

In the movie Charles Boyer would hide items from her, and then insist she was just forgetful. He would manipulate the gas lights so that they would dim, and when she remarked on it, he would say it was just her imagination. When your reality is constantly being re-written, coerced and undermined, instead of questioning the source, we begin to question ourselves and our own capacity. We do not trust our own memories, senses and perceptions, and therefore trust others to lead the way. And so we find ourselves led down the garden path to oblivion. We think we are going in one direction, and find ourselves somewhere else.

“The worst part about gaslighting,” says trauma coach Dana Arcuri, “is that it undermines your self-worth to the point where you’re second-guessing everything.”

Gaslighting can occur in our personal lives through dysfunctional inter-relationships, but it can also occur systemically in society through propaganda campaigns and manipulative messaging. Stuck in a well of confusion, we look for that something or that someone who claims to have all the answers to fill in the empty spaces. Advertisers know this well, convincing us to buy the next best thing, and invest in the next best promise. Within the darkest murky vagaries of the gaslit world, we are told to blame that group, or scapegoat this one, read only this author, or only listen to this particular authority.

And it is within this dimly-lit murky confabulation, also known as Mars haplessly retrograde in Gemini and square Neptune, that we currently find ourselves bumping into walls and tripping over our own shoelaces. We are being tasked with sifting out that which is true, from that which is false, all the while doubtfully hoping that we make the right choices. Mars/Neptune make 3 such squares within these 6 months: the first was October 12th, the last will be March 12th. The 2nd of these will be on November 19th. But due to the recent station of Mars on October 30th, the red planet appeared to stall within this small range of degrees that put it so at odds with Neptune, the Lord of Obfuscation, for such a lengthy period of time. Truly we have been navigating these murky waters for all of October and November.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers ~ That perches in the soul ~ And sings the tune without the words ~ And never stops at all; ~ Emily Dickenson

Know also that Neptune isn’t just about lies and deception. That is merely its lower, more earth-bound and shadow side. It has another, more subtle and compelling side as well. A side that we should and could and need to access this week. Think of it as the remedy for all of the blame, innuendo and scapegoating insidiously weaving its way into the tapestry of our lives. When channeled positively Neptune helps us to envision a far better world filled with a desire to alleviate suffering, transcend self-serving egotism, and cultivate compassion for all. This week, all the inner Scorpio travelers: Sun, Mercury and Venus, are making a supportive trine to Neptune, gathering all that inspiration and altruistic aspiration contained within the potential of these trines, in service to some higher cause.

Venus, Mercury and then the Sun will then move on to trine Jupiter just before they enter Jupiter’s sign of Sagittarius. Mercury and Venus will do so this coming week, followed by the Sun which will trine Jupiter on the 20th/21st. Jupiter and the Sun always make a trine when Jupiter stations as it will on November 23rd. As a result whenever Jupiter stations it instills hope and anticipation for what may come. You will just feel the excitement growing as we approach Jupiter’s station on the 23rd, as humanity as a whole will seem to be moving forward in order to fulfill their hopes and aspirations.

In order to cultivate the positive attributes of Neptune this week:

  • Feed your imagination in a positive way: Draw, paint, play music, sing, dance, write poetry, watch a good movie, read a good book, and allow yourself to dream.

  • Practices that help you to align with your spiritual center: Meditate, pray, chant, read inspiring texts. Take long walks in nature or near the water; or seek solace in sacred spaces. Reflect, journal, read the cards, toss the coins, and visit the oracles.

  • Let go of that which you no longer need to carry and is taking up too much room: Release. Forgive. Shake off the old leaves of regret, anger, dismay and sorrow, in order to make room for something better to take root.

  • Slow down in order to find wisdom in the present: Pay attention, and you will see more, hear more, and feel more. Be present in order to honor and fully appreciate each moment.

  • Perform random acts of kindness and compassion. Stop to share a kind word, listen and be present for others. Volunteer your time or your resources for a good cause.

When we channel Neptune well we recognize ourselves as all swimming in this one great and magnificent Ocean we call Life. Know then that we are never alone, that there are others here with us, and we are all struggling together in common cause to ever evolve towards the realization of truth and understanding.