Meet the Gods: Neptune
Neptune, the god of the sea and earthquakes, was one of the 12 major deities of the Roman pantheon. Poseidon was his Greek counterpart. Neptune was the son of Saturn. When Saturn was defeated, the world was divided among Neptune and his two brothers, Jupiter (Zeus) and Pluto (Hades). Jupiter got the sky, Pluto took the underworld and Neptune was given the sea.
Neptune is known for his violent nature and volatile temperament. There are many stories portraying him as unpredictable and somewhat vindictive – and this is associated with the nature of the sea. Those characteristics also associated him with earthquakes, because the ancient Romans believed earthquakes came from the sea, occurring when Neptune was angry.
He is described as lustful, enjoying sexual relationships with sea nymphs, goddesses and mortal women. When he wanted his sister, Ceres, she fled, turning herself into a mare and hiding among a pack of horses. Not to be denied, Neptune transformed himself into a stallion and eventually mounted her. She gave birth to their child, a black mare.
He was also persistent when pursuing Salacia to be his wife. According to an article on mythology.net by Prof. Geller, their three children are “Benthesicyme, the nymph of the waves; Rhodes, the namesake of the island; and Triton, the infamous merman and fabled father and leader of 3000 mermaids, and 3000 triton (merman).”
Neptune is often depicted as an older man with a long beard, holding a trident, a long three-pronged spear used by fishermen. The dolphin is closely related to Neptune and he is often shown surrounded by dolphin, fish, whales and other sea creatures – sometimes riding a seashell chariot drawn by seahorses.
Neptunalia was a festival to honor Neptune; it was held July 23, during the hot, dry season when water was scarce.
When you want to call Neptune into your life, you might make an altar with a picture of him or the ocean, shells, pictures of mermaids and a jar of seawater – perhaps on an altar cloth the colors of the sea. Neptune can help you open your heart and get in touch with your emotions. In astrology, he rules Pisces, making it all about imagination, ideals, inspiration and compassion. He can dissolve boundaries and barriers, enabling us to connect with the universe.
Try listening to a recording of the ocean and anointing yourself with saltwater as part of your ritual. Ceremonial baths and vision quests would be fitting, as would dreamwork.
A vintage piece of needlework I found decades ago reminds me often to turn to Neptune with the words: May your heart be like the sea – ever open, brave and free.
Another thing that comes to mind about this god of the sea is the naval line-crossing ceremony known as the Order of Neptune. The seafaring tradition is an observance of a mariner’s first crossing of the equator; the often elaborate rituals vary by country and ship. Paying homage to King Neptune, initiates would become a son or daughter of Neptune.
Merry part. And merry meet again.
About the Author:
Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.