Jupiter trine Neptune: Sensitivities and Vulnerabilities


Now that Jupiter is in Scorpio (where it'll stay through Nov 2018), it'll create an ongoing trine to Neptune in Pisces over the upcoming months, the first exact hit of which occurs this Saturday (Dec 2).

This Jupiter-Neptune trine is the single most notable outer-planet aspect being formed in this next year… and, considering it's an 'easy' harmonious angle between two boundary-diffusing bodies, this is quite a shift from where we've been.

Looking back on this past year, while Jupiter has been in Libra, it framed a momentum-generating cardinal T-square with Uranus and Pluto. That energy reinvigorated the revolutionary Uranus-square-Pluto frictions which have characterized this world-upturning decade. Now, though this planetary call-to-inceptive-action is tapering away, we're presented with an astrological invitation to delve into the feelings activated by these latest moves—and then to respond from our subject-position of heightened emotion, rather than merely in cold computation or handy practicality.

In general, water-sign trines fuel this sort of symbiotic heightening of emotion, like two modest streams coming together to form a full-on river: united in directional flow, compounded in their power to shape a course. With our current trine, Jupiter in Scorpio plays the more influential role. As dispositor of Neptune in Pisces (i.e., traditional ruler of the sign where Neptune's presently positioned), Jupiter 'calls the shots' in how Neptune's effects are expressed.

Neptune-in-Pisces's idealistic understanding of our indivisible collective interconnectedness is now necessarily filtered through Jupiter-in-Scorpio's unflinching, psychologically-perceptive lens. It becomes harder to ignore the unequal footings, unfair relational dynamics, impure impulses, and unkind treatments which perpetually seem to 'taint' human nature. These, too, are integral elements of our interconnected being, like it or not. Any sophisticated understanding of life mustn't shut its eyes to this eternal truth.

With its trine to Neptune, Jupiter also magnifies our sensitivity to the impact our 'lower' urges and drives have in fabricating a reality that causes palpable suffering for many (if not all?) of us. At its most contemplative or spiritual, Neptune in Pisces fosters in us a greater compassion for those who endure such suffering… and an awareness that perhaps this is an unavoidable condition, which is why the Pisces archetype carries an ineludible melancholic twinge, as it cannot help but tap into (whether acutely or faintly, consciously or obliviously) our collective pain-responses.

In describing certain urges and drives as 'lower', I'm putting that label in quotation marks to draw attention to the psychological problem of separating human inclinations into distinct judgment-driven categories of implicitly acceptable ('higher') and unacceptable ('lower'). When we disavow and repress any of our behavioral impulses, they're relegated to the shadows where, undisturbed by purposeful engagement, they're left to grow to warped or frightful proportion. We become haunted by the invisible demons lurking under our beds. We buckle under the weight of our perceived powerlessness or victimhood. We see others as dire threats, projecting our darkest fears and unintegrated longings onto them, creating enemies out of fellow souls. Should we refuse the call to delve deeper into our magnified sensitivities, as an opportunity to learn more about our own complex emotional makeup, these alienating consequences of an unexamined inner life could worsen under this Jupiter-Neptune trine.

Our Jupiter-Neptune task as compassionate heart-centered humans is not to altogether eradicate suffering (a losing proposition, to be sure), but to incrementally sweeten our present-time experiences—alongside a simultaneous eyes-wide-open acknowledgment of life's cruelties—through acts of goodwill, beauty, remorse, and reconciliation. Neptune doesn't merely stoke our psychic exposure to universal suffering or tinge our worldview with existential ennui. It also inspires exquisite artistry, romantic bonding, altruistic sacrifice… creations and deeds seeded in loving-kindness which improve our quality of life, each small mercy building on the next, like raindrops accrue into oceans of grace.

With Jupiter-trine-Neptune's help, we imagine a better world… and we paint it, draw it, write it, sing it, dance it, act it into being. We see the best in another person, despite their glaring flaws, and we lend them our support in rising to it. In doing so, we also risk our avoidant self-serving comfort by calling out the inconvenient and potentially distressing truths which stand in the way—of them becoming their best, and of us becoming ours.

We hopefully strive for these callouts to be constructive, remedial, and restorative rather than destructive, spiteful, or ruthless… knowing we won't likely defeat suffering by recklessly warring against its perpetrators, strife begetting more strife. There will always be misguided perpetrators, mentally and emotionally unwell individuals who cause harm with varying degrees of self-awareness, wounded souls who repeat abusive patterns they too have been hurt by. Even while bearing that disheartening reality, we continue doing our part to create something better, aiming to tip the scales, bit by bit, toward an unmistakable 'victory' in the fight for love and its irresistible merits as a motivating force.

Still, we cannot afford to be so wishful or idealistic in our thinking that we fall into gullibility or ignorance. After all, Jupiter is in Scorpio, the water-sign that's ruled by Mars, traditionally a malefic agent driven to satisfy its desires even when they're at odds with another person's welfare. If unchecked by interpersonal compassion or altruism, Scorpio deploys its emotional wisdoms in rabid pursuit of its own self-serving aims… using its intuitive knowledge to play right into others' underlying hurts, motives, and complexes, with shady moves that provoke in them a reflex or reaction that grants Scorpio the upper-hand, often unbeknownst to whoever's being played. That's where the reputation of Scorpios as master-manipulators comes from: No zodiac-type is better at pushing the button, pulling the strings, and tapping into the psychological undercurrents to incite people to behave in a particular way.

With Jupiter in Scorpio trine Neptune in Pisces, then, our heightened sensitivities could also nurture in us an increased vulnerability to other parties' manipulations, abuses, and power-grabs. If someone's more oriented (whether intentionally or not) toward selfish gain than mutual well-being, they can more easily exploit our worries, hungers, and shames, in the act of getting what they want—without much consideration or care for how it impacts us. Of course, we are just as susceptible to exploiting them, a risk that becomes greater the more insistently we center our own aggrieved or outraged feelings as an excuse to discount theirs.

As we protect ourselves from falling prey to others' cunning calculations or offensive intrusions, we must concurrently keep our own manipulative attitudes in check… staying sensitive and self-protectively strong, compassionate yet not naive, open to uncomfortably working through our issues with others but only to the point where self-determination is mutually respected, victimizing neither ourselves nor anybody else by getting swept up in a wave of delusory emotion.

Jupiter will form exact trines to Neptune twice more in 2018, on May 25 and August 19, before it leaves Scorpio and enters Sagittarius on November 8.

For further general reflections on water-sign trines, check out this piece from 2013, when Neptune in Pisces was being trined by both Jupiter in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio.