Retrograde: Reconnecting With the Dream
Kevin B. Burk, author of The Relationship Handbook: How to
Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life.
In the Vedic traditions, there are three fundamental
forces in the Universe, known as the Gunas: Sattva,
Rajas, and Tamas. Sattva is the infinite,
ultimate creative potential, Tamas is the ultimate destructive
force, and Rajas is the tension between the two, where
all activity occurs. The three Gunas relate to the three
outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Neptune is Sattva,
the energy of infinite potential; Pluto is Tamas, the ultimate
destructive force; and Uranus is Rajas, creating change
and manifestation by connecting the energies of Neptune and Pluto.
Now, I should be very clear that the links between
the outer planets and the Gunas are entirely my own; I’ve
never encountered anyone else who has made these connections.
However, once I associated the outer planets with the Gunas,
I found I had a much broader and richer appreciation for the energy
and functions of the outer planets than I had before.
For example, this association forever changed my
understanding of Pluto. If Pluto is the energy of Tamas,
it is the ultimate destructive force in the Universe. However,
the ultimate destructive force in the Universe is unconditional
love. Unconditional love will eventually destroy everything that
is not true, obliterating all illusion, and leaving only what
is true and eternal. This is the real function of Pluto. We don’t
experience Pluto in this way, of course, because we experience
the outer planets through the filter of our ego, which is neither
true nor eternal, which means it can and will be obliterated by
Pluto. Pluto scares the crap out of our egos.
Humanity is only just reaching the stage of our
evolution where we can understand the energy of Uranus. Our average
life span is now around 80 years: approximately the time it takes
for Uranus to complete one orbit around the Sun. As a species,
we’re waking up to the truth that there’s infinitely more to the
Universe than what we perceive and experience in the third dimension.
And then, there’s Neptune.
Neptune’s orbit is approximately 165 years. Neptune
is the next stage of human evolution, and the next great leap
in our life spans. The challenge with Neptune is that it’s simply
not possible to understand Neptune in only three dimensions; even
if we factor in time and space and think in five dimensions, that’s
not nearly enough to understand Neptune. Neptune is the infinite
creative potential of the Universe. Neptune is the Truth that
everything we experience is illusion; but more than that, Neptune
is the Truth that everything that we imagine is true.
Let me attempt to illustrate. One of the most important
new “discoveries” in the world today is that thoughts are things.
Metaphysicians have known this truth for centuries; it’s one of
the fundamental tenets of the “New Thought” movement of religion
that includes Religious Science, Unity and Christian Science.
And even though scientists would never put it so succinctly, it’s
also the foundation of the most advanced branches of quantum physics.
Reality is subjective, and thoughts are things.
Many of us can just about grasp that our thinking
and our attitude has a tremendous influence on our experience
of life. Some of us are able to take this even further and consciously
create the things we desire in our lives through the application
of these principles. This is just scratching the surface of Neptune.
Neptune is the Universal Truth that Thoughts are
Things. Every thought exists. Every thought is real. Every thought
anyone has ever had at any time, is real—as real, in fact, as
what we call “reality.” Neptune is the truth that everything that
could possibly exist, does exist. Everything.
Consider “everything” for a moment. It’s a much
bigger concept than we realize.
Did you dream of being an astronaut as a
child? You are one; that reality exists. Did you dream of having
super powers or being a princess locked in a tower and rescued
by a handsome prince? These realities exist, too, here and now.
Everything is real, everything exists. Every thing. This is the
Truth of Neptune.
The life we lead, the reality we experience is
only one of a truly infinite number of options. We focus our attention
on this particular choice, and the waveform collapses. (Quantum
physics has discovered the truth that the act of observing changes
that which is observed; they have yet to discover that it also
changes that which is observing.) At any time, we can choose to
observe (and experience) something else. At any time, we can completely
change our experience of reality.
Most of us can accept this on a very small
level. We can accept that we can attract a new relationship, a
better job, or different avenues for creative expression. We know
that the past does not equal the future, and that we have the
ability to manifest our dreams.
The truth, however, the ultimate truth, is
that we can also be an astronaut or a super hero. The only thing
stopping us is our ego, and the fact that while we’re having our
human experience on the planet Earth in the third dimension, that
most of us can only think in four or five dimensions. The very
few who think in more dimensions than that do not integrate into
our society very well. Some are kept isolated behind the walls
of think tanks where their visions are nurtured. Others are kept
isolated behind walls of institutions where their visions are
Pluto scares the crap out of our egos because it
will eventually destroy them. Neptune scares the crap out of our
egos because it calls their very existence into question. If All
That Is is truly All That Is, where is the “I” in everything?
Neptune dissolves all sense of separation, all sense of individuality,
all sense of identity. I am you and you are me and he is she and
we are all together.
We have a very limited understanding of Neptune.
When Neptune touches our lives, we usually experience it as fantasy,
as glamour, as imagination, as illusion, as escape. We catch glimpses
of Neptune in the arts (especially in music and dance; also in
film). We also experience Neptune as drugs and alcohol; experiences
that either numb us to the pain of the reality we choose to experience,
or, in rare cases, that allow us to escape the pain of our current
reality and, for a brief time, experience a new one, one that
our egos could never accept that we could easily experience without
drugs. Neptune is also the stuff of transcendental experiences,
whether they are encountered through meditation or through religion
(or, as we’ve already discussed, through organic chemistry).
Neptune, in short, is a trip. Do not operate heavy
machinery while under the influence of Neptune.
Neptune also makes it rather difficult to express
a coherent point. If this article seems more fanciful, more loose,
more lyrical than usual, you have Neptune to thank for that. Which,
I hope, will bring me close to the original intention (the dream)
I had for this article at the start of this journey.
As I write this, Neptune is retrograde in motion.
(I’ll explain what this means in a moment). Neptune went retrograde
on May 19, 2005, and will remain retrograde until October 26,
2005. (I’ll explain what this means to you, personally, in a moment,
When a planet is in retrograde motion, it appears
to move backwards through the ecliptic (the band of sky and stars
that we associate with the zodiac). Obviously, the planets don’t
actually change direction. Retrograde motion is an optical illusion.
When we track the motion of the planets, we pretend that the Earth
is the stationary center of the universe, and the planets orbit
us. This, of course, is not the case. Because we’re observing
the planets orbiting the Sun from the Earth (which is also orbiting
the Sun, albeit at a different speed), from time to time, every
planet appears to change direction. The only exception is the
Moon, which actually does orbit the Earth.
Mercury goes retrograde about three times a year,
for about three weeks each time. Venus goes retrograde every 18
months, for about six weeks. Mars goes retrograde every two years
for a little over two months each cycle. The rest of the planets
(Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) retrograde once a
year for up to five months at a time.
Retrograde cycles are extremely important. They
represent times when we are forced to reflect, to reconsider,
to go within; they occasionally present opportunities for us to
make evolutionary leaps in our understanding of the energy of
the retrograde planet.
When a planet is in retrograde motion, it is physically
closer to the Earth than at any other time in its cycle. When
planets are retrograde, we have an easier time connecting with
their energy. We can communicate with the planets. We can ask
for guidance and inspiration, and if we listen closely, we can
We are currently in a Neptune retrograde cycle.
What this means to you, personally, is that for the next few months,
you have an opportunity to experience a deeper, more personal
connection with Neptune. (This is not a limited-time offer; this
occurs every year.)
Now is the time to explore your dreams. Now is
the time to imagine, to vision, to envision. Now is the time when,
for many of us, the veil is the thinnest, when we are the most
sensitive to the more subtle, spiritual truths that surround us.
And, as I mentioned before, if you choose to communicate with
Neptune, now is also the time to avoid operating heavy machinery.
When we connect with the energy of Neptune, when
we tap into the infinite creative potential of the Universe, we
begin to lose touch with our personal reality. This is not, in
any way, a bad thing, at least in small doses. However, it’s important
to recognize that when we do enter into an even slightly altered
state of consciousness, we begin to lose touch with our physical
bodies. We step out of “real” time and step into “dream” time.
This is best experienced in the comfort of our own homes, and
should never be experienced (for example) while driving.
Now, some of you are probably wondering why we
would want to do this. (Some of you aren’t wondering: the experience
itself sounds enticing. The rest of you already understand: many
of you welcome the experience of Neptune and actively pursue the
expansion of your consciousness.) The best answer I can give is
that our dreams are important; more than that, our dreams are
essential. And far too many of us have given up on our dreams
Our dreams are what drive us. Our dreams are what
reveal our truly limitless potential. And our dreams are what
enable us to explore that potential.
Now is the time to reconnect with our dreams. Now
is the time to let go of the dreams that no longer serve us, and
to take up new dreams that will nurture and entice and drive us
along the next part of our path.
What are your dreams? Do you dream of love? Of
freedom? Of success? Do you dream of loving, supportive relationships?
What is your dream of yourself?
If you choose to do so, now is the time to explore
these dreams. Now is the time to ask for a new dream. And now
is the time to listen for the answer; to listen for the truth
that your dreams are real. Your dreams exist. Your dreams are
manifest. Your dreams are now. If you do not like your current
dream, all you need do is change it.
“Life, what is it but a dream?”
Truer words were never spoken. And our egos will
just have to deal with it.
Kevin B. Burk is the author of
Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every
Relationship in Your Life.
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