The root word for sacrifice is derived from sacer-sacred, or holy. Sacrificing one’s life to a cause is seen in some nations as the immediate entry into paradise, and is often seen as some spiritual reward. We see some of these powerful dynamics at work here through Neptune. When one makes a sacrifice for us, on some level, we feel spiritually indebted to that person, and if we don’t feel this way, then the more manipulative side of Neptune will ensure that we do!
Many Neptunians act in the name of sacrifice, selflessness, and self-abnegation. Sacrifice is seen as serving the larger collective and the common good, and we put away selfish and personal needs. Neptune individuals tend to identify with the life of Christ, his pain, suffering and crucifixion, and feel their lives have a similar theme. Neptune involves many images of sacrifice and when astrologers look at a natal chart the house of Neptune and its aspects are examined to see where some kind of sacrifice may have to be made in any given area of life.
Neptune describes what has been “given up” and lost and the sacrifice can be involuntary or it could be by choice. When a person makes too many sacrifices life can be viewed as a place of sorrow and longing for things that are unobtainable. There is something deeply poignant about an individual, who gives without expecting anything in return, but many of us are wary of the deeper motives behind such selfless giving, and perhaps this is a particularly gloomy view to take. The noblest kind of act is often viewed as an act of god, pure goodness, and saintly behaviour.
Furthermore the Neptunian personality can desperately search for a cause to devote and give themselves to, and this can extend to relationships, home-life and choice of career, and doesn’t primarily involve sacrifice on a worldly level. There is also the inclination in the Neptunaian personality to become a Martyr, too, but usually the victimised, wronged, and oppressed aspect of the Neptunian personality really comes to the fore when he or she is not creatively fulfilled, emotionally satisfied, and is excessively dependent.
Pisces, Neptune and 12th house people often need a life devoted to some kind of service relating to their innate sense of idealism and devotion to causes. But, when life feels unfulfilling, remote and lonely, then addictive substitutes are used to fill this void. Pisces is the bridge between heaven and earth – and mediates between the two. There is less of the material attachment in Pisces, Neptune and the 12th house and so perhaps it is easier to make these kinds of sacrifices when one is not overly attached to anything.
The 12th house has a sense of karmic responsibility and great sense of world burden. In the astrological tarot, the hanged man represents sacrifice, and the pictorial image represented by this card shows a man hanging by one foot, stretched across two trees and twelve branches which have been cut off. His hands are bound and one of his legs is folded and forming a reversed triangle, meaning that he dies in place of the wicked ones.
Sadly many of Neptune’s higher ideals get lost, and those with Pisces in their chart are learning to have compassion (not self-pity) and wholeness and value is often dependent on helping and rescuing others, sacrificing their own happiness in the process, and so a balance has to made between the two..