Swimming with Neptune

"What do you think you want? Do you REALLY want what you think you want? What do you REALLY WANT?"

featured image by Adrian via unsplash.

This phrase swims through my head and I feel the well of my anxiety start to bubble up and overflow. Cupped in its reservoir is the echoing question that floats around in my mind whenever I am asked of my desires: What am I supposed to want?

As I contemplate these questions, I feel the fracture inside myself. I am desperately torn between what I know I deeply desire and the desire to not move, not even wish, until someone tells me what I should want. The answer results in paralyzed stillness, my mind silent but its mouth agape where it had been previously filled with endless ideas and chatter. 

This question leapt from the page at me while reading The Astrology of Self-Discovery by Tracy Marks from her chapter on working with neptune and its currents.

Ruler of Pisces, Neptune makes me think of staring into a stream and getting lost in listening to the babble of the brook. It rules the moments that time seems to unwind and slough away, leaving you in a paused breath of the moment. It is the moment right before you fall asleep and the moment right when you wake, while your ego is still sleepy and you are there, your consciousness floating and buoyant. It is the gossamer veil that wafts between us and worlds beyond, playfully pulling back for a few moments to let you peek into the other side, only to be left feverishly wondering if you truly did see what you think you did. It is all things that warp, reflect, and play with our perspective. Neptune invites us to imagine new forms of ourselves, or perhaps the formless version of ourselves.

While it delivers us ideas, ideas, and inspiration, it also lets us drift in the current. Disorienting, confusing, and alarming, Neptune can fill us with that panic of not knowing which way to turn. it rules that moment you've lost the trail while hiking or not knowing how to get to shore when you're swimming. Because in those moments, we are seized and paralyzed with trying to figure out what is right instead of what we know.

it was this battle between what I know versus what I've been told that made me realize I have been tossing and turning and fighting with the steady river of Neptune that envelopes my form. perhaps more accurately it is that my parents wrapped the gauze of confusion that Neptune can weave around my eyes, telling me to trust what I see, which is whatever they told me.

even as an adult, I struggle to answer these questions independently. when I reflect on this fraught relationship with my actual desires and needs, I look back upon my childhood and the rose-colored glasses falter. I see through the gossamer, the gauze, the curtains that were put up for me when I was younger and I feel pain when I see through the illusion they created.

when I look through the fog and truly see with my intuition, it is that my parents shaped my desires and needs around what they wanted and in the ways that best served them. this meant as an adolescent, I started to become a parental figure in the house whereas my younger brother remained the baby, cared for by all three of us in this instance. 

luckily, even through this neptunian haze, I was able to move out at seventeen and head to college, where my actual desires started to finally manifest themselves after years of being diluted and washed away.

as a working adult now with a loving, healthy relationship as an anchor, I've been finally able to reach shore. I'm still tired, drained, and panting, but I can see the horizon from the water.

as I ask myself more of these questions about who I want to be, what stories I keep telling myself to stay confused, what excuses I'm making for my parents, and to truly see what my family is like, I can now see the fog roll into their kitchen, the restaurant, my living room. 

this fog is filled with suffocating guilt and their watery grip tries so hard to erode at the boundaries I have erected around myself, first by laughing at me, joking about my boundaries, and then by trying to trick me into being the third parent again, to make life altering decisions about my brother, asking "what would you do?" every time we see each other. their calls become more desperate as their codependency spirals tighter and more frantic, a whirlpool that they demand for me to leap into. 

and the moment of neptunian clarity I had was when I reflected on how desperately they would ask me how to help my brother, what I would do to make things normal between all of them. and in that moment it dawned on me: they don't actually want the family dynamic to change.

instead, they thrive off of being able to feed from my boundary-less love after convincing me that having no boundaries was the only way you could actually be loving. and it's because, without boundaries, what they want becomes what I want. 

and while knowing the truth is more painful than being cradled in that fog sometimes, at least it is not suffocating and cloying. instead, it feels like the icy, fresh air on a winter day, where everything seems crisp and bright. 

and while sometimes I feel the cloud of guilt over being a bad daughter or the inextricable pain that comes from mourning the loss of the bond I hoped to have with my parents, I remember the passage below.

Passage from The Astrology of Self Discovery

meditating or journaling with neptune

while I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND TRACY MARKS'S BOOK WHICH HAS accompanying WORKSHEETS WITH EACH SIGN, I feel that the following exercise can be helpful to start this journey with neptune.

you can either make this a journaling activity or a meditation where you can just see what shapes take form, whichever works best for you.

whether you pick up your notebook or sit down on a pillow, here are a few questions that can help anchor you in the mist of neptune.

what does neptune feel like?

start to imagine or write about what feels neptunian to you. it could be a memory, experience, an imaginary world, just let it flow.

what do i think is right?

reflect on the things other people have told you to want or is "correct." in what situations do you lose touch with your intuition? where do I feel that moment of being lost at sea?

what do you know?

what moments do you or have you felt like you have truly seen a situation. this is not with your physical eyes, but your compass with in, that deep and rooted sense of knowing. this could be a vibe from a person, a secret you could tell someone was keeping, anything that evokes that sense of greater knowing.

where are you letting yourself be confused?

where do you need to remove the wool from your eyes? how does it feel to be behind the curtain? how does it feel to start to reckon with the truth? neither has to be positive or negative, just reflect.

what is preventing you from making active choices in your life?

sometimes, we feel perplexed about the multiple choices in front of us about our career, where to live, etc. and we agonize endlessly about these choices without pausing to think that it has nothing to do with the choices in front of us, but that by choosing we would have to fulfill the responsibilities and fates associated with that choice. examine those latent fears and hesitations. what would change in your life if you make choices that stem from what you truly want versus the fears you've associated with it??