Neptune, Redemption and the Nature of Archetypes

Bassin de Neptune, Versaiiles

Bassin de Neptune, Versailles

“The longing for redemption is an ancient, strange and many-headed daimon, which dwells within even the most earthbound and prosaic of souls. Sometimes eloquent and sometimes mute, this daimon aspires toward some dimly sensed union with an all-seeing, all-loving, ineffable Other, in whose encircling embrace may be found ultimate solace for the harsh limits of mortality and the frightening isolation of individuality which lie embedded somewhere, albeit unconscious, in every life. Even if we do not call the Other by any divine name, but instead direct our devotion and our yearning toward unrecognized surrogates such as humanity en masse, family, nature, art, love, or admiration for a particular person or thing. The hallmarks of the longing for redemption are, first, that it is a longing; that it is compulsive and absolute, and often collides violently with individual values; and third, that its goal is not relationship, but rather, dissolution.

Jung speculated on the possibility that the longing for redemption is innate – an archetypal predisposition as primordial and irresistible as the urge to procreate. The main revelation of “Symbols of Transformation,” … is that it is … the unconscious psyche itself, which seeks to transform its own compulsive and doomed instinctuality through the mediating influence of the symbols which it creates. Not society or superego, but soul, in Jung’s view, is ultimately responsible for the transformation of raw libido into the work of devotional art, the noble humanitarian ideal, the awesome dignity of the sacred rite, the profound and cruelly beautiful initiatory work of turning human lead into human gold. In other words, what we call God is really Nature, the chthonic nature described by Freud’s id, seeking freedom from its own death-shadowed inertia through a gradual evolution not only of form, as Darwin would have it, but of expression and of consciousness. And the instrument of this transformation is that eternally elusive faculty which we call the imagination.

What then is this poignant yearning which justifies any sacrifice, this eternal cry from the wasteland of incarnation? Is it truly the clear voice of the soul making itself heard through the prison walls of earthy substance? Or is it the desperate defence-mechanism of the fragile personality, bruised and rendered stubbornly infantile by incompetent parenting and its own regressiveness, and unwilling or unable to make the difficult foray into the jungle of everyday life and death?

Neptune

Neptune

Astrology has a planetary symbol to describe all human urges, and the longing for redemption is as human as the rest. In astrological language, it is called Neptune, named after the Roman god of the watery depths. … The longing for redemption is the longing for dissolution in the waters of pre-birth – maternal, cosmic, or both. … Neptune should have been named after a sea goddess, not a sea god. The source of life with which we seek to merge brandishes a masculine name, but wears a feminine face.”

Liz Greene, The Astrological Neptune and the Quest for Redemption, pp. xi-xiv

Emily Balivet, “Nereid”

Emily Balivet, “Nereid”

“Clear-cut distinctions and strict formulations are quite impossible in this field, seeing that a kind of fluid interpenetration belongs to the nature of all archetypes. They can only be roughly circum­scribed at best. Their living meaning comes out more from their presentation as a whole than from single formulation. Every attempt to focus them more sharply is immediately punished by the intangible core of meaning losing its luminosity. No archetype can be reduced to a simple formula. It is a vessel which we can never empty, and never fill. It has a potential existence only, and when it takes shape in matter it is no longer what it was. It persists throughout the ages and requires inter­preting ever anew. The archetypes are the im­perishable elements of the unconscious, but they change their shape continually.

It is a well-nigh hopeless undertaking to tear a single archetype out of the living tissue of the psyche; but despite their interwovenness they do form units of meaning that can be apprehended intuitively.”

Carl Gustav Jung, Collected Works 9i, Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, pars 301-302)

John O’Grady, “The Edge of the Deep Green Sea”  http://www.johnogradypaintings.com/the-edge-of-the-deep-green-sea-160/

John O’Grady, “The Edge of the Deep Green Sea”
http://www.johnogradypaintings.com/the-edge-of-the-deep-green-sea-160/

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25 Responses to Neptune, Redemption and the Nature of Archetypes

  1. Pingback: Neptune, Redemption and the Nature of Archetypes | lampmagician

  2. I wonder Monika about redemption … I wonder will Mankind ever redeem himself? We have much to ponder upon our journey and our entwined cords to the planets…

    Loved reading your thoughts here, And so enjoyed the images you supplied.. Many thanks Monika… Enjoy your weekend.. In A Sea of Tranquil Thoughts… xxx
    Hugs Sue

  3. Jude Cowell says:

    Reblogged this on Jude’s Threshold and commented:
    Elusive Neptune…

  4. SalvaVenia says:

    I am afraid, both authors don’t know what they are talking about, Liz Greene, however, being far worse in doing so.

  5. ptero9 says:

    Dear Monika,

    That the longing remains, is a tremendous insight and something that can enrich daily life. Knowing we’re not here for any other finality other than death, although shocking, is also freeing.

    “It is a well-nigh hopeless undertaking to tear a single archetype out of the living tissue of the psyche; but despite their interwovenness they do form units of meaning that can be apprehended intuitively.”

    Brilliant! It’s true, isn’t it, that our perception can narrow, focus, and pull back to refocus, and with every move, the boundaries smear, blend, disappear, then reappear. The drive towards purity and specificity of types then, although useful at times, needs to be tempered with the insight above.

    I love your juxtaposition of Greene’s work to Jungs. Brilliant! Although their styles are quite different, a similar understanding comes through in the quotes you present here.

    I am not entirely convinced however that the longing for dissolution into a maternal state of pre-birth will have the last word with us. Perhaps soul-making is what happens during the continued effort to reconcile the desire for immersion in our watery source with the impulse towards creative actions born of a relentless fiery desire. Our redemption then may lie in the reconciliation of seeming opposites as we are more able to see them as one urge, and so, live them as one.

    Much love,
    Debra

    • Dear Debra
      Yes, that quote from Jung I think informs my whole writing about symbols and archetypes. There are no definitions or formulas, i am afraid and often everything will remain hazy, with just occasional moments of luminosity. I often return to Liz Greene – mainly because she is one of the very precious few astrologers, who seamlessly marry astrology with myth and depth psychology. Also – she is such an intellectual, brilliant mind.
      With your last paragraph – I agree absolutely. “”As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being,” said the great You Know Who.

      Love
      Monika

  6. Dear Monika,
    When Poseidon/Neptune is experiencing starvation, i.e. psychologically drowning in a sea of literalisms founded on expectation. I’ve discovered that for me at least the way out of Neptune’s tidal wave, is by the engagement with his finest product: images.Feed Poseidon images! The irony here is that urges of Neptune prompt one to literalize that romance, that fantasy, that dream etc. That has been for me its disaster. Yet, when one engage the images, the images of soul, Neptune gives back ten-fold. I’ve learned to feed Neptune that for which he is most hungry — images. Poseidon is starving. He wants images. Furnish his twelfth house with images. That is his language,his food.That is the beginning of a reciprocal relationship with him.
    Thank you so much for this wonderful blog. I am so glad Gray referred me to you. Hope to meet one day, If and when you ever come to the states, please let me know. I have a small home but would gladly put you up for a night or two in Los Angeles.
    Images of Soul:Reimagining Astrology
    Fitzgerald/Harte-Iris & Acorn Press
    Amazon Books

    • Dear Judith,
      I am humbled by such a generous comment. I really hope to visit the States some day – always wanted to very much, actually.
      “Drowning in a sea of literalisms” – this is also my anathema because I am a child of Neptune having him opposite my Sun, in the 4th house, trining my Mars… I have noticed I am acutely sensitive to important Neptune transits and stations. I have always fed him with images on a regular basis but ever since I started this blog, which I see as a tribute to the great collective ocean, I have also received regular nourishment.
      I hope to read your book. Any plans for a kindle release?
      In gratitude,
      Monika

  7. deep and symbolic as always – redemption and longing for it are an urge of the mortal which rightly as Jung suggests transforms into a libidinous urge – we are forever craving a physical consummation but when we achieve that it fails us as we realize thatnit is not sufficient to what we actually intended

  8. kimfalconer says:

    Reblogged this on The 11th House and commented:
    With Neptune empowered in the sign of Pisces, the Symbolreader offers a timely and insightful article on the and longing for unity with the divine, and redemption.
    Thank you, Monika. Brilliant!

  9. Wonderful post Monika, and the images are so nourishing as I do my best to work Neptune, to seduce and make friends with this insane energy. Each day under the influence of Neptune can seem completely anew… Judith’s comment is so incredibly helpful and one I learned through trial by fire! I think Linda said it well when she called Neptune an awesome yet slippery companion.

    I am particularly drawn to Debra’s final words here:

    “I am not entirely convinced however that the longing for dissolution into a maternal state of pre-birth will have the last word with us. Perhaps soul-making is what happens during the continued effort to reconcile the desire for immersion in our watery source with the impulse towards creative actions born of a relentless fiery desire. Our redemption then may lie in the reconciliation of seeming opposites as we are more able to see them as one urge, and so, live them as one.”

    This idea is so powerful and one I resonate with deeply.

    Indrajit’s comment is also incredible – what a great group of readers you amass here!

    Here’s to the dance,
    Amanda

    • Dear Amanda, well a thousand yes – I am blessed beyond words and into infinity by all the comments I get about my posts.
      I agree with Linda about Neptune’s slipperiness. His slipperiness has been with me all my life, for better and worse. No archetype can be explained with words, but especially this one lets itself be predominantly communicated with music, art, images – otherwise he will turn his slippery back n you and you will be left on arid land.

      Have a blessed Neptune direct.
      Yours,

      Monika

  10. Hi Monika. Beautifully written post, and as always, very informative. I loved the part about directing”our devotion and our yearning toward unrecognized surrogates such as humanity en masse, family, nature, art, love, or admiration for a particular person or thing.” It reminded me of Faust. 🙂

    Cheers!

  11. Aquileana says:

    Hi Monika!.
    Great post… I love the excerpts related to the longing for redemption as an innate desire and the idea of dissolution in the whole…
    Also I didn’t know that the archetypes as im­perishable elements of the unconscious, may change their shape continually.
    A very interesting post indeed. Thank you very much for sharing!.
    Best wishes, Aquileana 😀

  12. I like the way you connect psychology with mythology. I lately thought of it a lot and came to some interesting conclusions myself, regarding 11th house and some of Freud’s theory… mainly these connections help to understand astrology better… thank you!

  13. Marie Taylor says:

    I wonder if the urge is towards redemption or reunion? Perhaps on a basic level it is the desire to go back to the warmth and safety of the womb – or a return to the peace of the Oversoul.

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