Ranulph Fiennes, the transglobe explorer accomplished superhuman feats in the coldest and highest regions of the earth; and after a heart attack in his late fifties ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. He’s a fascinating example of magical Neptune at work, not normally a planet associated with extreme endurance, but it is frequently highlighted in the charts of top level athletes who can cope with punishing training schedules.
In a new film on his life Explorer, he talks of ‘inviting the ghosts’ of his father and grandfather into his head whenever he’s at a difficult spot. ‘Those times that I really wanted to give up, I [chose not to] because of the thought of shaming my father and grandfather. I would imagine them walking beside me, particularly when I had bad frostbite and was on my own.’
What is extraordinary (or maybe not) is he never knew his father who died four months before he was born, from wounds inflicted by a mine when fighting in Italy during World War 11; or his grandfather who died in the Battle of Arras in 1917. Yet the image of them lives in his head as his guiding star.
He was born 7 March 1944 12.30pm Windsor, and has a 10th house Pisces Sun like other explorers, Sir Richard Burton, David Livingstone and Amerigo Vespucci. His Sun is square a 12th house Mars Saturn in Gemini which would help with grit, courage, military discipline and the ability to withstand deprivation. He has a confident Jupiter Moon in Leo in his 3rd which would also help in keeping his enthusiasm up; and his Pluto is exactly conjunct a ‘leadership’ North Node.
But what has always intrigued me is his 4th house Neptune which is sextile Pluto North Node and trine Uranus. Many years ago I interviewed him for a media piece and explained the standard meanings of Neptune in the 4th to which he took great exception. As he showed me out he said it was the one thing that was absolutely wrong so it always stuck in my head. A friend who had served with him in the army later told me Ranulph could never cope with the thought of his father dying in hospital from wounds. He wanted a father who had a glorious battlefield death.
His father the war hero, was based on fact but in his absence became embellished with Neptune’s striving for the divine ideal into a mythical almost supernatural presence in his life.
I connected this to a story about Black Elk, the Lakota medicine man, who fought at Little Bighorn and survived the Wounded Knee Massacre, who was a Sun Sagittarius trine Neptune, 1 Dec 1863. During an illness aged nine he had a vision in which he was visited by Thunder Beings, figures like wise grandfathers, which marked him out as a shaman and healer. He said when he rode into battle in later years he kept his vision in his mind and emerged unscathed. The one time he let his vision slip a bullet got him in the shoulder.
For both Ranulph Fiennes and Black Elk their Neptunian fantasy/image appeared to act as a protective shield.
Neptune, when it isn’t dissolving into a puddle of indecision, drowning its sorrows in the bottom of a bottle or running a con, can create a fantasy of such potency it makes the impossible possible (sometimes).
“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” T.E. Lawrence – had Neptune Pluto in the 10th.
Dreamers of the day like Barack Obama have Neptune on the point of a T Square and look at what he accomplished in terms of making it to the White House for two terms.
Major film stars often have marked Neptune – both Anthony Hopkins and Sean Connery have/had it in the 8th. Projecting a powerful aura.
Neptune is more kaleidoscopic and multi-faceted than most planets in its range of outcomes reflecting its dream spinner, shape-shifter energy. And what is intriguing is how it can impact on reality if channelled in the right way.