piscesGrief has been welling up lately — making frequent appearances in sessions with clients and in my personal life. Not surprisingly, the surge in grief seems to coincide with Neptune’s move into Pisces on February 3.

Neptune, god/goddess of the ocean, dissolves the barriers and defenses that block us from feeling the truth of our oneness with All That Is. Neptune is the modern ruler of Pisces the Fish, the last sign of the zodiac, which returns us to the ocean of consciousness, the Source, in order to cleanse, heal and renew.

Both Neptune and Pisces are associated with grief, which, like every emotion, serves a particular function. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, “The Lungs generate grief to dissolve attachments to people, animals, and life situations that have passed from our life. Grief that isn’t expressed and released leads to disintegration of tissues (and mind)” (Ka’imi Pilipovich).

Stepping into the ocean of grief takes courage — there can be a fear that if we really dive into it, we might drown. Traditional cultures typically provide containers for grieving through ritual space, but in Western culture, grieving is not honored as an essential process for the health of individuals and the community. In fact, pharmaceuticals are now routinely prescribed to “treat” grief, as if grieving were a disorder rather than an appropriate, necessary response to loss.

neptuneBoth Neptune and Chiron in Pisces over the next several years will offer plenty of opportunities to make friends with grief. And now, with the Sun in Pisces (as of late Saturday), and approaching Tuesday’s New Moon in Pisces — conjunct both Neptune and Chiron — grief may feel particularly acute.

Pisces rules illness, which for many of us in this hyper-yang “productivity über alles” Western world is the only way we allow ourselves to have down time. When the body is out of commission and we’re “forced” to stay in bed, we actually have the time and space to get in touch with and feel our feelings. (I have a pet theory that we get colds when we need to cry.)

When we don’t allow ourselves space to feel the feelings, it’s easy to go into overwhelm and depression, when life feels like it’s all too much, which is one of the shadow expressions of Pisces. From this place of overwhelm, escaping into addiction (more shadow Pisces) can be tempting. In a very real sense, it IS all too much if we’re carrying a backlog of emotional baggage while adding more and more to the load.

In the wheel of the year, the Pisces season is the time of dissolution, when we let go of the old so that we can enter the new cycle with a clean slate. Review the past, feel the feelings that come up, and dream a new vision for the next cycle, which will begin at Spring Equinox on March 19.

Every New Moon calls us inward. The night sky is bereft of moonlight, vitality is low, and we’re in that limbo space between the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next. The Pisces New Moon, Tuesday at 2:35pm PST, especially wants us to turn down the volume on outer-world activity and mental distractions, and tune into the realm of feelings. Create a safe space for yourself to feel whatever feelings you’ve been avoiding or repressing, and trust that if you go all the way through, you will come out the other side, cleansed and renewed.

To get more specific about what this New Moon means for you, find the house that contains two degrees of Pisces. The areas of life associated with this house are where you are being invited to: dissolve old attachments; renew your spirit by connecting with something larger than the personal self or ego; practice compassionate service to relieve suffering (“serve or suffer”); surrender and go with the flow; and envision positive outcomes for the greatest good of all.

– Emily Trinkaus

Note to Portland-area friends: Please join me this Sunday, February 26, at the Portland Healing Arts Fair. At 1:45 I’ll be giving a talk on the Astrology of Now — how to work with the current and upcoming cosmic energies.