Lying in bed, feeling a little strange, a little light-headed. The sun sends blocks of light across your duvet; because it is broad daylight, and you alone are not at work or at school. Everyone else is busy.
There are noises in the house: a tap runs in the kitchen; a distant radio, a car in the street. It’s all muffled. You are in your own small world: the bed, your room. The clock ticks, you doze, hours have slipped away.
If you have a strong 12th house, or Pisces/Neptune, you will be familiar with the land of counterpane. You may well have spent a significant period during your childhood in bed.
In Vedic astrology, the 12tth house is the bedroom. These periods of illness – glandular fever, ME, an accident – will have forced you inwards. You will have spent time developing your imagination away from the mainstream, looking inside your own mind. You may well have read a lot of books, or listened intensely to music, or, in one case I know, taught yourself the piano.
Your illness is likely to have made you special, and specially self-sufficient. This is the period during which you develop your imaginative hinterland. You will never be without this resource. The rest of your life you will be able to dip into the well of your inner world.
The poets, the artists, the dreamers need to spend this time in the land of counterpane.
This children’s poem is for you.
The Land of Counterpane
When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.
And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;
And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.
I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.
RL Stevenson, who wrote this poem as well as, among other books, Treasure Island and Kidnapped, was a life-long invalid with a Moon-Neptune conjunction in Pisces.