Monday, August 31, 2015

Neptune--Dance of Deception: What Are You Fooled By? How Do We Deceive Ourselves?

  By Susan Sheppard
Astrologers have long recognized the qualities of the planet Neptune as ones that govern the mystical sides of life, the riches of the imagination and our ability to be compassionate. Neptune dissolves boundaries which means it is the planet of oneness. But Neptune's lack of clarity can also bring on confusion and self-delusion.  We’ve all been there, seeing what we want to in the face of what reality shows us, which does not align with the vision.
Since Neptune is connected to fantasy and story-telling, the placement of this watery planet in our natal chart is where we tend to lie to ourselves. If Neptune is strong enough, you may also lie to others without the awareness of doing so.
We all have a Neptune which falls in one of the houses in our natal birth charts. So how is it that we plunge into Neptune’s self-deception? What are you fooled by? Where is your basis of reality and truth challenged?
You will need to have your natal birth chart to find out where Neptune was when you were born. You can get a free chart by going to this link:  Look for the symbol which looks like a pitchfork and see which house it falls in.


Neptune in the 1st House   This placement causes you to be greatly talented, connected, even visionary but it truly circumvents your ability to see clearly and reason effectively. The shadow side to this would be a belief that religion, being spaced-out or drugs can somehow save you from harsh realities.  As a lover of peace and all things beautiful, shunning the ugliness of what life on this cosmic bit of dirt can sometimes send you into escapism-- instead of facing your issues head on. Best use of this Neptune placement is through art and showing love to the infinite which you see in all people. In many ways you are a savior. Be sure to also watch out for yourself while you are saving others. Also, be careful when it comes to medications.
Neptune in the 2nd House  Money is a problem area. You don’t have as much as you need or you tend to spend more than you have. In many ways, you do not attach much value to money and handle it in ways that to others may deem irresponsible. Much of this is related to your own self-worth and what value you see in yourself. With more discipline and paying closer attention to your finances, you actually have the ability to draw vast amounts of resources into your life --- they key is, understanding what money is for – not for thrills or escape. Just make sure you don’t squander or give it away as soon as you have what you have worked for.
Neptune in the 3rd House This is the placement of the poet, the singer or the psychic medium. It is also the position for a fantastic liar whose skills are best served in writing, storytelling or acting. Frankly, life is bland because bland people make it that way – when Neptune falls in the 3rd House in the birth chart, the native is going to invent to make life more tolerable. So, the person here fools herself with her own embellishments and believes them, too. Positively, this is a powerful position for a medium to have – it is the human voice divinely linked to the vast ocean of cosmic consciousness.
Neptune in the 4th House Unfortunately, your area of deception and being misled relates to your family or early childhood. Perhaps a parent proved to be confusing, absent, preoccupied by other matters or was substance addicted.  Perhaps substance abuse plays a role in family problems. Maybe your family lied about who they were, or projected a false image to people outside the family. This position of Neptune also indicates a rich inner life, being prone to isolation and involvement in fantasies. You are likely very nurturing as an adult due to the fact over lack of proper nurturing given as a child. Be clear about who you family really is, what their motives are and what you can truly expect from them.
Neptune in the 5th House You do not view romance and romantic partners very accurately. This can bring a great deal of confusion in your life, especially when it comes to those you are attracted to for love and passion. It could be you attract some who intentionally fool you, or you are just not seeing potential lovers in a correct light. Part of the problem, you are highly romantic by nature, plus, wildly creative and imaginative. You may expect too much from lovers who cannot be anything more than just ordinary. Of course, you see the dream and this is how you are fooled. It could be no one has really mis-led you…you saw things that may not have been there. However, profound love with a lover you are connected to in a deep and involving way, can happen. Romance for you will not be dull.
Neptune in the 6th House Having to keep up with a job and daily routine may prove to be a living hell. Here is Neptune in your house of organization, causing your life to be “anything but.” Your daily job may also be an area for chaos. Thus, you may find yourself moving from job to job without the satisfaction you hope for. Managing anything is an impossible task and you may lie to yourself about what you are really good at.  You are a helper by nature. A job or career in the health fields may ideally suit you. Helping others out of rough spots, and caring for those whom others have forgotten is a part of your angel nature.  You may also fool yourself about co-workers, allowing them to take credit for your work and even help them take advantage of you. You would do well working in the arts, or showing kindnesses toward others.

Neptune in the 7th House  The people you choose as partners tend to be not very trustworthy and it is likely they are not at all who you think they are. This is especially true when it comes to romantic partners, or those individuals you allow to creep into your life and latch on, even before you realize what is happening. You are unable to see their manipulations and sleight-of-hand tricks. Many of them will rely upon pity in order to use you. Even worse, a number of them might even be substance abusers. Sometimes you are aware of this and sometimes you are not. Your real gift though, is bringing out the good in others and showing them the positive in themselves. It’s a good idea to be more careful over allowing some who force their way into your life. Vampires stay away when you don’t invite them in.
Neptune in the 8th House  The 8th House governs money and sex. Neptune in the 8th indicates you are likely a very giving person, sharing all that you have with partners, as well as others, but this can set you up for fraud, especially of a financial nature. There may be imbalances in your sex life, whether you give too much and your partner gives too little or vice versa. Neptune in the 8th House can sometimes indicate indiscriminate sexual practices, where you could end up being used. Make sure everyone else’s intentions are as good as yours are. Where you fool yourself is believing there are no boundaries between you and others. This can be suffocating, to yourself and others. This placement causes you to be greatly psychic but the supernatural should be an area of caution.

Neptune in the 9th House The 9th House is the home to religion, metaphysics and philosophy in the zodiac wheel... and these are areas in which you tend to lose yourself.  You tend to be easily tricked when it comes to spiritual movements, churches and even New Age philosophies. This can have you turning your life over to some higher power, wanting your problems and issues to be fixed by spiritual doctrines or religions, when the bottom line is the fact that you have to do it on your own. You are the only one who can make these needed changes. Your strong points are your idealism and a belief in the importance of concepts that go beyond just you.  Indeed, you are not selfish, just the opposite. Just be clear in the spiritual discipline you decide to follow and understand it is for the inspiration. It is you on the quest – inspiration is fine but you are your own guru or master.

Neptune in the 10th House  When it comes to the 10th House, we are talking about the world, fame and the public at large, so you are not so much of a self-sabotager as you are a victim of other people’s views and distorted thinking. A visionary, an artist, a public official, humanitarian, psychic, whatever way you decide to use your 10th House Neptune— the public will tend not to see you accurately or even fairly. This can be frustrating, leading to feelings of being unfairly judged time and time again, and being at the mercy of other people’s shadow-side projections. You do have some distorted thinking about one or more of your parents, either believing them to be much worse or much better than they really were. The good news is, whatever you do, people pay attention. You have a charismatic influence over the masses and are talented in the arts, especially anything that deals with a stage or public arena. You could also become famous.
Neptune in the 11th House  You can look at this two ways, you may feel you have the best bunch of friends in the world or the worst crowd of dead beats and latch ons that even a stake through the heart couldn’t drive away. Here is a possibility: the way you fool yourself is that your friends drag you down but you aren’t so cognizant of it as it is happening.  Such friends waste your time and your energy, but still you can see some good in them, thus, you don’t’ want to cut them off—and so, it festers. This, of course, is the shadow side. The good news is, you also attract artists, creative folk, those who move in their own way, their own time and not according to society’s standards. You should be wary of any groups you join, as they may not be what they claim. They exception to this would be artistic or spiritual groups, in which you would excel. 
Neptune in the 12th House  What you can’t seem to see about yourself is how your tendency to isolate yourself does not serve you. In fact, in keeps you from making the professional and social connections you need to have in order to achieve your most cherished dreams. After all, your dream life is very powerful and you have a whole list of visions you hope to manifest into reality. But they tend to either go to waste or you never finish them. Your imagination is so very potent it almost seems to make your body weak. You do suffer a lot from low energy or poor health. Others seem to deplete your energy, while in being alone you seem to grow stronger. The real truth is, you etheric or spiritual body is quite open and easy to penetrate. You are highly sensitive to any negative influences, whether they be actual people or even spirits. Meditation and skills at psychic self defense would truly be an asset. You can accomplish much in solitude but not everything. You fool yourself into thinking other people don’t like you when in reality, they really do.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hand of Glory: A Grisly Oddity

In past times, the “Hand of Glory” was a grisly talisman used by thieves in a very corrupt and illegal form of magic. Used mostly 18th century France and England, the Hand of Glory was the severed hand of a thief who had been freshly executed at the crossroads.        
The night after the hanging, other robbers would sneak in, cut off the hand of the dead man, take the hand home and soak it in lamp oil, then marinate it in pepper, nitrate, salt, the blood of a screech owl, human fat and other dastardly ingredients.
            The severed hand was made into a candle that would render sleeping people powerless once the thieves broke into their homes, using the severed hand not only as a magical charm, but also a torch to light the way. In some cases, another candle was fashioned from the blood and fat of the dead man. Then the candle was wedged between the fingers of the hand.
            In any event, as the thieves would collect their loot, they would light a fire and recite this rhyme while the dreaded hand burned as a taper against the darkness:
Hand of Glory shining bright lead us to our spoils tonight!
Under the power of the dreaded Hand of Glory, no one in the house would wake up to discover the crime in progress. It had the unusual capacity to unlock doors. All in the home would sleep on as the thieves would flood in with their gorey charmsthe family would be unaware of the burglary.
            These grisly talismans may seem to have no place in our modern age but there are dozens Hands of Glory displayed in museums in England and France. The poet Robert Graves wrote that “Hand of Glory” translated from the French main de glorie is derived from the word mandragore, related to the mandrake root, a plant also said to help thieves stay anonymous with its powers.
It was believed that during the dog days of summer, households could protect themselves from Hand of Glory spells by creating a special unguent made from the fat of a white hen, the gall of a black cat and the blood of a screech owl.  The ointment was then spread on thresholds, window panes, and any other entrance of a home. On a mundane level, it might be the robbers also believed that since the first thief was already caught, his ghost might watch over them as their “Hand of Glory,” which is no doubt one of the most gruesome magical talismans in the world.
Here are just three fascinating Hand of Glory narratives from a book of "Hand of Glory Stories" published by Pittsburgh Press:
One evening, between the years 1790 and 1800, a traveler, dressed in woman's clothes, arrived at the Old Spital Inn, the place where the mail coach changed horses, in High Spital, on Bowes Moor. The traveler begged to stay all night, but had to go away so early in the morning that if a mouthful of food were set ready for breakfast there was no need the family should be disturbed by her departure. The people of the house, however, arranged that a servant maid should sit up till the stranger was out of the premises, and then went to bed themselves.
The girl lay down for a nap on the longsettle by the fire, but before she shut her eyes she took a good look at the traveler, who was sitting on the opposite side of the hearth, and espied a pair of man's trousers peeping out from under the gown.
All inclination for sleep was now gone; however, with great self-command, she feigned it, closed her eyes, and even began to snore. On this the traveler got up, pulled out of his pocket a dead man's hand, fitted a candle to it, lighted the candle, and passed hand and candle several times before the servant girl's face, saying as he did so: "Let all those who are asleep be asleep, and let those who are awake be awake." This done, he placed the light on the table, opened the outer door, went down two or three of the steps which led from the house to the road, and began to whistle for his companions
The girl (who had hitherto had presence of mind enough to remain perfectly quiet) now jumped up, rushed behind the ruffian, and pushed him down the steps. She then shut the door, locked it, and ran upstairs to try and wake the family, but without success: calling, shouting, and shaking were alike in vain. The poor girl was in despair, for she heard the traveler and his comrades outside the house. So she ran down again, and seized a bowl of blue (i.e., skimmed milk), and threw it over the hand and candle; after which she went upstairs again, and awoke the sleepers without any difficulty.
The landlord's son went to the window, and asked the men outside what they wanted. They answered that if the dead man's hand were but given them, they would go away quietly, and do no harm to anyone. This he refused, and fired among them, and the shot must have taken effect, for in the morning stains of blood were traced to a considerable distance.
These circumstances were related to my informant, Mr. Charles Wastell, in the spring of 1861, by an old woman named Bella Parkin, who resided close to High Spital, and was actually the daughter of the courageous servant girl.
Two magicians, having come to lodge in a public house with a view to robbing it, asked permission to pass the night by the fire, and obtained it. When the house was quiet, the servant girl, suspecting mischief, crept downstairs and looked through the keyhole. She saw the men open a sack, and take out a dry, withered hand. They anointed the fingers with some unguent, and lighted them. Each finger flamed, but the thumb they could not light; that was because one of the household was not asleep.
The girl hastened to her master, but found it impossible to arouse him. She tried every other sleeper, but could not break the charmed sleep. At last, stealing down into the kitchen, while the thieves were busy over her master's strongbox, she secured the hand, blew out the flames, and at once the whole household was aroused.
One dark night, when all was shut up, there came a tap at the door of a lone inn in the middle of a barren moor. The door was opened, and there stood without, shivering and shaking, a poor beggar, his rags soaked with rain, and his hand white with cold. He asked piteously for a lodging, and it was cheerfully granted him; there was not a spare bed in the house, but he could lie on the mat before the kitchen fire, and welcome.
So this was settled, and everyone in the house went to bed except the cook, who from the back kitchen could see into the large room through a pane of glass let into the door. She watched the beggar, and saw him, as soon as he was left alone, draw himself up from the floor, seat himself at the table, extract from his pocket a brown withered human hand, and set it upright in the candlestick. He then anointed the fingers, and applying a match to them, they began to flame. Filled with horror, the cook rushed up the back stairs, and endeavored to arouse her master and the men of the house. But all was in vain--they slept a charmed sleep; so in despair she hastened down again, and placed herself at her post of observation.
She saw the fingers of the hand flaming, but the thumb remained unlighted, because one inmate of the house was awake. The beggar was busy collecting the valuables around him into a large sack, and having taken all he cared for in the large room, he entered another.
On this the woman ran in, and, seizing the light, tried to extinguish the flames. But this was not so easy. She blew at them, but they burnt on as before. She poured the dregs of a beer jug over them, but they blazed up the brighter. As a last resource, she caught up a jug of milk, and dashed it over the four lambent flames, and they died out at once. Uttering a loud cry, she rushed to the door of the apartment the beggar had entered, and locked it. The whole family was aroused, and the thief easily secured and hanged.
This tale is told in Northumberland.Pittsburgh Press.
by Susan Sheppard