Friday, October 14, 2016

Neptune in Pisces and the Submerged Museum

Reading ‘The Changing Sea Scape of our Times’ by Antonia Case in Womankind magazine (#7, February-April 2016) prompted me to examine the current Neptune transit and its place in the zeitgeist. More specifically, it got me thinking how Neptune and Pisces relate to the artwork of English artist and naturalist, Jason deCaires Taylor, the article’s intriguing subject.

Jason deCaires Taylor is a British born underwater sculptor who has gained worldwide recognition as one of the first artists to integrate contemporary art with the conservation of marine life. His artificial coral reefs installations divert tourists away from endangered natural coral reefs, providing these systems the opportunity to regenerate.

One impressive example is Vicissitudes, meaning changeability. Submerged in the Caribbean Sea in Molinere Bay, in the world’s first public underwater sculpture park, stands a circle of Taylor’s cement figures. With defying postures, they face outward, holding hands in an unbreakable link while algae and other marine life slowly alter their bodies over time. Within years, these sunken artworks will be transformed. Taylor’s work is a commentary on humanity’s relationship with the natural world and the need for conservation, decay and rebirth. Works such as Vicissitudes portray how human interaction with nature can be positive and sustainable, and that living in a symbiotic relationship with nature is possible.

The connection to Neptune in Pisces is discernible (to me, anyway). Planet Neptune transits the constellation of Pisces between 2012 and 2025. Neptune is Pisces’ ruling planet. Both are synonymous with water, especially the depths of the ocean, and both have a comprehensive understanding that all life is interconnected. As a gaseous and nebulous planet, Neptune’s boundaries are elusive; we are unsure of where the planet begins and ends. Neptune acts as one of the planetary gateways to a consciousness that is free from the limitations of Saturn and all planets inside Saturn’s orbital path (that is, the planets that are visible from Earth). Neptune symbolises the urge to dissolve a rigid sense of individuality and separateness in order to reconnect to the underlying unity of all life, qualities synonymous with Taylor’s work. His underwater sculptures plug into something primal - the ocean is too boundless and overwhelming for us mortals to comprehend. Once these manmade figures are submerged, they cease to belong to the material realm. Instead, they become part of the mystery that is the sea and, ultimately, life.

One critic described Taylor’s installations as ‘enigmatic, haunting and colorful commentaries about our transient existence, the sacredness of the ocean and its breathtaking power of regeneration’, but you can make up your own mind:

Neptune and Pisces rule museums, art galleries, and libraries. For Taylor, the ocean is an exhibition space and museum, embodying unlimited room, natural lighting, and infinite visitors at all times. It acts as a sacred place to conserve and protect objects of value for posterity. Taylor bemoans the fact that many of us don’t regard our oceans as sacred – we don’t see the sea.
The Neptune-Pisces cycle signals the importance of compassion and empathy. Global issues associated with Pisces are surfacing, such as rising sea levels and growing concerns over the availability of fresh water in parts of the world. Both Neptune and Pisces rule art and culture, and artists such as Jason deCaires Taylor have a role to play in engaging people on an emotional level. On writing, Taylor had placed approximately seven hundred underwater sculptures around the globe, generating masses of robust marine systems. His largest underwater sculpture to date, Ocean Atlas, located on the western coastline of New Providence in the Bahamas, is a metaphor for modern times: Ocean Atlas is burdened by the weight of the ocean pressing down on her shoulders. It symbolises global warming and the load that will be carried by future generations if we don’t take action. Ambiguity, confusion and passivity are hazards to growth and healing during a Neptune-Pisces cycle. We drift along with the oceans current at our peril. Only with self-actualisation we get to see the sea.