Neptunian Survival Tricks (and The Magic of Dis-Illusionment)
I confess: I have had more trouble with Neptune than any of the outer planets. According to my own theory in Part I of this series, that means I have a bigger obligation to share my learning with you on Neptune than all of the other PUNC planets put together.  Expect it to be nitty gritty and, in parts, not pretty. After all, Neptune is where we kid ourselves — and the most positive Neptunian skill we can acquire is learning to burst our own bubble.
At first, it isn’t fun. I disagree with Mae West. (“Too much of a good thing is wonderful.”) I have learned the hard way that a person can be too nice. Let’s face it: you were most likely drawn to astrology because you want to help people and believe in our intrinsic oneness. You are compassionate and all those other nice Neptunian things.
This is what’s so insidious about Neptune. “Nice” can actually be very bad for you, beyond a point. A boundary is always the point — knowing when something is too much or when have we gone too far. It’s the point, beyond which we ruin our effectiveness to help others and ourselves. If Outerplanetary People are groomed to lead others into a better future, we have to become masters of dis-illusionment, especially with ourselves. (What’s so hot about illusions?)
Before I can speak to the most positive potentials of the Otherworldly Planet, I really have to get my five least favorite negative Neptunian archetypes out of the way:
Problem is, every Negative Neptunian (N-Nep) needs a Positive Neptunian (P- Nep) to operate. (I’m sorry to say, every P-Nep is part sap.) Even the positive/negative is an illusion, because P-Neps are nice to a fault. In the end, this is not a good thing.
P-Neps are so busy being nice to people, compassionate, and caring, we neglect ourselves-our need for limits, clear communication, and to respect ourselves as much as we do others. How can we help others–that thing we thrive on–if
there is nothing left to give? After awhile, this behavior is not only foolish, it drains us of the life force we already pour out too liberally to help others. It’s a one-way ticket to burn-out.
We all know the substance-addicted N-Nep. That one’s pretty easy to spot, even if it takes you awhile to pick up on the trend. These are the more beguiling N-Neps you’ll meet, and you’ll soon see why it’s so important to recognize them. 
N-Nep # 1: Mr. Nice Guy. Mr. Nice won’t own his own darkness. You sense all that underlying hostility. Soon you’re the one getting angry (and it wasn’t even your anger to begin with). He fails to contain his rage on a nonverbal level, despite surface appearances. What he denies and won’t express becomes your compulsion. Since you are also Neptunian and don’t like conflict, you resent having to be the heavy.
N-Nep #2: The wolf in sheep’s clothing. The French play by Molière, Tartuffe, represents this archetype in the extreme: a religious fanatic gets taken in, steals a family blind, and hits on all the women. This person is insufferably nice and cleverly manipulative (and often unconscious of, or in denial about, his underground shenanigans). You feel like evil incarnate for suggesting he is really jerking you around. Who would ever believe you? Everyone tells you how wonderful so-and-so is (and you feel like the only person on the planet who really knows he’s just a so-and-so). Like the character in the old movie, Gaslight, you start to think you’re the one who’s crazy. One of the most insidious things the wolf does is to make a big deal out of how he doesn’t kiss and tell, gossip, or share your secrets, whether you’re having a sexual affair together or some other intrigue. This seems discreet and considerate, but it’s actually a potent admonition for you to keep your own mouth shut. (Eventually, it might occur to you, it’s because he doesn’t want you comparing notes with his other victims!)
N-Nep #3: The projection artist. This person is often PluNeptunian, a PUNC with a lot of emphasis on the P and N. She tells you who you are (even if she barely knows you) and what you feel. Actually, she is using you as a mirror. Except for feeling fragile, you feel less like a mirror and more like her garbage can, because she has dumped a twisted (often hostile) image of you onto your sensitive psyche. (This mirror is distorted-the Not-So-Fun House variety.) You trigger something she dislikes about herself, and you’ll pay!
N-Nep, #4: Queen of DeNial. Everyone knows this is a feature of the addict, but there are many sober royal pains out there who will tell you some of the most ridiculous things, like “I never feel anger, I just let it go.” This individual could teach Berlitz classes in metababble, using all the right astrological or metaphysical buzz words. She has no concept that one must honestly process unpleasantness, that unresolved pain and immobilizing traumas cannot be fluffed off by talking mystical nice-nice. Any time someone or some ism, ology , or ologer refuses to deal with matters at an emotional level, it is a red flag that you have entered the kingdom of the Emperor With No Clothes (another royal Neptunian character).
N-Nep #5: The Intruder. This is a guy who crashes your aura, but it’s so subtle, he has stolen your power before you can even call the cops. He’s the colleague who starts reading and making pronouncements about your chart without permission. He asks inappropriate, personal questions-or doesn’t ask questions he should, like “Do you mind if I…”. It is so under the table, even if you bust him, he’ll deny any evil intent or inappropriate behavior. “After all, we are all astrologers…” psychics-whatever). Don’t be fooled! This is clearly mind-rape-as real as if you were molested.
If you don’t recognize yourself, either on the giving or receiving end of the above descriptions–this is not necessarily a good sign! We have to be ever vigilant about our own Neptunian characteristics. Here is where we lack clarity about ourselves and others. Neptune cannot always be grasped easily. Busting yourself and your Neptune is hard work.
But bust yourself, you must, because as a PUNC, you will draw these archetypes to you like a magnet and enable them–or be one without realizing it. Most evil of all, N-Neps often leave you asking: Can I trust myself?
If we can’t rely on our own Neptunian skills, e.g., intuition, how can we help others or ourselves?
The Neptune in Libra Generation
The baby boomers make up the biggest percentage of our population, those born between 1946 and 1964 who have Neptune in Libra, the relationship sign. We think relationships are supposed to be nice. That’s why this generation has so much difficulty with them, because real intimacy can neither be acquired nor maintained without healthy ways of expressing conflict (Aries, the opposite of Libra). We have blown anger all out of proportion. We make it “bad.” (Anger isn’t bad, it simply is.) Watch a couple of birds in a conflict sometime. They squawk, ruffle their feathers, and posture wildly, and when the fit is over, it’s over, and they fly off on their merry way. We could learn something from them.
The fear of hurting others is often the foundation of Neptunian behavior that undoes both you and the other person. Why are we are responsible for the feelings of the entire world? (Doesn’t the receiver have some responsibility if, or how, she takes it?) And what about our own feelings? The lack of healthy ways to express them is probably the single most evil thing on this planet. Yes. Denial of your feelings is evil. It creates a pot of seething negativity that comes out in ways that hurt others far more, in the long run, than dealing with what you really think or have to say.
For me, this is why Neptune is even more difficult, at its worst, than Pluto. Even though negative Plutonians are also subterranean, there is usually no hiding their vibes. They don’t cloak them in niceness.
When we’re so worried about hurting others, it isn’t the other person that’s as fragile as we think. It is us, too fragile to deal them or the stuff inside us we have labeled bad. The good news is: if we named it, we can also call it something else.
Even if Neptune were not prominent in our charts, nice is the way the majority of the population has learned to relate, even if it’s phony. As one of my first astrology teachers put it: We grew up believing Rock Hudson and Doris Day were the ideal couple. The fact is: Rock was gay and Doris was an abused spouse. Things were not as they seemed. An entire generation is still trying to get over it: life isn’t Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, or Donna Reed. (I actually believe it’s a lot better. That’s the magic of dis-illusionment.)
Violence exists primarily because we don’t have culturally approved ways to express or ritualize anger, so it erupts in ways that are horrible. Imagine a world where we have permission to say all that ugly stuff we feel, among friends, where we’re encouraged to get it out and no one thinks much about it? Where our skin is tough enough to look at ourselves. Where we view feelings as an energy and learn not to target them so much at others (even if someone triggered them in us), but to work with them as our own creations. Express them. Not be judged for them. Be done with it. Next thing.
Examining Your Conscience/Consciousness
I have harped much longer in this article on the “negatives” than usual, because Neptune is where we kid ourselves. And speaking of kids and Neptune in another way, I can remember Sister Mary Stoneface (her own nickname for herself!), making 50 squirming kids in puberty (with Pluto in Leo and Chiron in Scorpio) sit still for 10 minutes daily to “examine our consciences.” PUNCs would do well to consider an updated, nondenominational version of this practice. The next section is a checklist to help you prepare to make a good confession and learn to burst your own bubble.
Positive (Getting a Grip on Your) Neptune
1. Get over being “nice.” Too nice is too much. It hurts yourself and others. Chronic sweetness is phony. If we can’t be a good example to our children, clients, and friends for handling conflict and avoiding mistreatment, we are perpetuating a violent world of doormats. We can live in a world without victims. Standing up for yourself means setting boundaries and learning these simple words of emotional ownership: “It’s not OK with me when . . .” These words don’t name, blame, or shame. They instruct.
2. Know your own Neptune. Look at how Neptune or Pisces influences your personal planets or angular houses. For example, if Neptune is conjunct Venus, you usually don’t have a clue for a long time when it comes to love and money. This is not your most lucid area. Be aware of it, wherever that fog-zone lies in your chart.
3. Find a Reality Chuck (or Charlene). Have a friend you can trust who will listen to what’s going on for you in the touchy areas identified in #2 (preferably not someone with the same afflictions). Give them permission to be your fog lifter, to tell you the truth when you’re so gooey in love or impractical about money, they bring you back to earth. Or if your Neptune aspects Mars, when you’re acting too wimpy (delusional, hysterical, or irrational for Sun, Moon, and Mercury).
4. Examine your own silence. Why can’t you bring out into the open what’s going on, under the table, between you and another person? Be honest with yourself. Share your rationale (more like rationalization) with Chuck or Charlene (#3). I discovered that I had very clever Neptunian excuses for why I couldn’t declare my feelings in man-woman relationships: I didn’t want to be too forward (he’s “too sensitive”); I didn’t want to hurry love; I didn’t want to destroy my relationship with the person on another level (e.g., colleague or healer). The truth is, I didn’t want to hear the truth: how he really felt about me. (As long as I didn’t know, I could fantasize it my way.) Underground relationships are less risky. They are cheap thrills potent on the level of chemistry, without dealing with the real issues or truth of the other person’s feelings. (Sexual feelings are almost always mutual. They are what keeps the game going, along with the unspoken rule: Don’t talk.
5. Feelings are real and important. Don’t deny them-ever. When you feel something is going on between you and another person, no matter how much he or she denies it or ignores your attempts to clarify, if those feelings persist, they are real. Continued denial on the part of the other person is crazymaking behavior. Make “I” statements: “When you do this, I feel that.” If you can’t come to a positive resolution or clarity, consider if you need to continue to have a conversation with a cloud. You have the right to choose to what, to whom, and how much you give your precious time, love, attention, and resources. When someone chronically drains you, it is a flashing neon light that says: THIS IS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO PUT YOUR ENERGY.
6. Know the red flags. Reread the descriptions of the Negative Neptune archetypes in this article periodically. Anyone you know?
7. Learn the Converse Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Most Neptunians already do that, to a fault. Instead, we have to learn the Converse Golden Rule: Do unto yourself as you do unto others. I finally learned to stop being a victim-type Neptunian by tricking myself in this way. (Start with a negative, think positive, and do a little alchemy to turn it into something helpful.)
Being good to others, I had down. What if I started treating myself the way I did my friends and clients? Even more dramatically, what if I considered myself to be equally important? After all, I can’t help others if I’m wrung-out. If I really valued helping others, I saw I’d have to put taking care of myself first, not last. Over time, I became a new person by starting with what I’m good at-consideration of others-and simply applying it to myself.
8. Learn About the Psychic Realms. These include issues such as psychic cording, feeling emotions that aren’t really yours, and keeping in your own energy space, which is enhanced by meditation and yoga. Keeping your psychic space also can be boosted by the use of certain visualizations and flower essences. People really can “do stuff to you” on a psychic level, if you don’t know how to protect yourself. An article on the subject, which has been invaluable to me and my clients, contains a veritable cookbook of helpful hints to protect yourself from negative Neptunian influences: “How to Keep Your Intuition Without Losing Yourself” by Dio Urmilla Neff, Yoga Journal, July-August 1986. 
Keeping Your Sense of Humor
I often call this planet Neptoon, because if you don’t see some of this stuff for the Loony Toon® it is, you’ll go crazy (the ultimate in Negative Neptoon!). Neptune, at its best, is spirituality, vision, and some of the most wonderful things in life. It is romance–the hunches that make us so good with people–the sensitivity that allows us to be a good friend, parent, and astrologer. Yet its downside is so tricky, we have to be ever vigilant to guard against letting what is intrinsically good become warped.
The two extremes of Neptune’s down side-rose colored glasses and unconsciousness its many forms (manipulation, denial, etc.)–often co-exist in same person. We are the people who see the world as it could be and say why not? It is that very potential that makes busting the nebulous side of our own Neptunes so important. We need to bless the world with these gifts. If we don’t learn to navigate these sometimes murky waters and bust out of the fog standing upright, collective evolution loses out on its next stars.
Speaking of busting Neptune, busting up is essential, so we don’t blame ourselves and get into a negative down-spiral of self-hate when we have become a sap or a victim in some form of Planet Fog. These are the times I like to think of the most exaggerated Neptoon image I can conjure up, so I feel less crazy, by comparison.
Probably my all-time favorite is the ending of the British comedy, The Life of Brian. As a large group of martyrs are hanging around together at their collective crucifixion, they burst into the song: “Always look on the bright side of life.”
When you’re wondering if you’re too far flung from reality, if your glasses are too rosy, think of this scene. If the cross fits, bear it. (But grin at yourself, first.)
– by Joyce Lee Mason
 In case you are joining this series in progress, that stands for Pluto, Uranus, Neptune, and Chiron, and PUNC people are Plutonian, Uranian, Neptunian, and Chironian (or Chironic).
 Although I use he or she with specific archetypes, this is simply for variety. These types do not favor one gender over the other in my experience.
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