• Neptune

  • This is one of a series of articles written as a resource to help with major planetary aspects to the natal chart – this one is on Neptune.   It’s my consideration that if you understand the energy surrounding you during a planetary transit, it is possible to work with it in an effort to minimise some of the more difficult effects of that energy.    This article is also relevant if you have Neptune prominent within the natal chart, for example your Sun or Moon closely aspects Neptune, Neptune is on an angle in your chart, Sun or Moon is in Pisces, or you have Pisces rising.  Of course, it is better to have your own individual reading linked to how Neptune works for you in your chart, but this article is intended as a resource for interest and as a reminder for those who have had a chart reading.


    Firstly a few facts.   Neptune is the eighth planet from the Sun, the fourth largest planet by diameter and was discovered in 1846, although it was nearly discovered by Galileo in 1613; it seems that Galileo may have mistaken it for a fixed star.   Neptune is an ice giant and is one of the coldest places in the solar system with an orbit around the sun of 164.8 years, spending about 13 to 14 years in each sign.  Neptune is, therefore, described as a generational planet, in that the sign he is in in your birthchart will not only give an essence of how Neptune manifests for you, but will also show the energy and the cultural backdrop of society at your birth.


    Named after the Roman God of the Sea, Neptune represents the watery elements – the emotions, the unconscious, the watery part of the soul, as well as the oceans, water and flooding.   Where we are oversensitive to situations, where we want to try and escape from the realities of life, that’s probably where you will find Neptune.   Neptune will rear his head like a drug tempting the individual to seek some kind of antidote or anaesthetic to the stresses of life.  Neptune is boundaryless and, therefore, shows us the infinite and how we can grow and expand on a spiritual level.


    As with most planetary energies, the effects of a Neptune transit are likely to be a conundrum of mixed blessings.  But – and this is a big but – we only change when things are difficult or we find things painful.   We never make adjustments to our modus operandi when times are good.    So, if sometimes I sound negative, I don’t mean to be, but the outer planetary transits particularly (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are encouraging us to grow and to individuate.   Additionally, the energy of Neptune is often a very difficult planetary energy to handle, particularly for those of us in the West who may be less spiritually enlightened.  Although those with a prominent Neptune or Neptune by transit may have a great desire to make the world a better place, still the energy can be confusing, leaving the individual in doubt as to what is best to do as Neptune shows us the highs of euphoria and the lows of loss and frustration.   Neptune dissolves reality and along with that sometimes our sense of duty and responsibility as well.   Whilst Neptune can bestow great gifts, he can also leave us feeling incredibly insecure and it is important not to fall prey to the illusions Neptune may create.


    As a water God, Neptune is no respecter of boundaries.   He is the antithesis of Saturn and identifies with the infinite, the boundless, in his desire to transcend to something more wondrous.   In this respect he seduces us to believe in fantasy and dreams.   However, as we succumb to the illusions of Neptune we face possibly coming up against total disillusionment when we eventually have to face reality and discover that everything we believed was perhaps just a con.   As Sue Tompkins said in her book The Contemporary Astrologer’s Handbook – Neptune is both the artist and the con-artist.[i]   So where we find Neptune we can also find deception, dishonesty, disillusionment, chaos and possibly scandal, as Neptune brings us both the unreal and the surreal.


    As I write this in 2017, Neptune is currently in Pisces.   Neptune is the ruler of Pisces, a mutable water sign, so he feels like a King in his kingdom; he is very strong.   So up until 2025, when he moves into the sign of Aries, he will manifest his Neptunian qualities in a very pure and very strong way.    The backdrop of life should, therefore, be one of compassion and kindness, of spirituality and gentleness.   But what are we actually seeing?   Idealism maybe – but perhaps an intolerant type of idealism.   The term ‘fake news’ has become part of our everyday vocabulary.   And we have no idea right now what is true and what is fake.  This is typical Neptune stuff.  Neptune likes to keep things vague and fluid and as such represents escapism which can manifest in terms of drugs and alcohol.   We are seeing new types of drugs, such as a variant of Spice which is very common within homeless communities, particularly in areas such as Manchester.   It appears to render those who take this substance into a zombie like state, probably blocking out the pain of living a lonely life on the streets.   Because Neptune represents illusions, his façade can be ‘fake or false’.   What better planet then to govern media and TV – Our young (and perhaps also the not so young) seem to use social media as an escape from life’s realities and it appears as addictive as drugs.   How many people do we pass, head down engrossed in a tablet or phone and unable to be parted from their ‘best friend’.    The cynic in me would say that a drugged up society is much more pliable to govern and control.  In social media we can indulge ourselves in the unreal and the surreal – the false and the fake – the glitz and the glamour.  We are bombarded by reality programmes which seem to me to be as far removed from reality as you could get.   But these programmes insidiously undermine lives as so many people dream (another Neptune word) of a life like the Kardashians or of just being famous.



    As Neptune blurs the boundaries we feel confused; as he sends down a mist we can easily lose our way and don’t know what direction to take.   Neptune’s influence is one of dissolving – if we have built rigid structures around ourselves they will be dissolved, but if our egos are being dissolved we can feel as though we are completely falling apart, hence Neptune has a reputation for signifying depression, chaos and as though we are at the mercy of everything around us, as we feel we are constantly swimming against the tide.


    Neptune is a water energy and as such we can find it seeping in, possibly almost in an insidious manner no matter how hard we try not to let it happen.   Imagine walking early morning by a large expanse of water.  The morning mist rises off the water and seeps across the land     It is low and we walk through it.  Even though the mist is low it envelops us, our view ahead is distorted and everything around us takes on a nebulous quality.   Because of this the energy can feel undermining – we may feel fatigue and listlessness, we may just feel vague, we may have strange health problems.  We go to the doctors but they can find nothing wrong.   Our confidence can be undermined and with it goes our strength and any kind of clarity about situations around us.  As the mist rises and our view ahead blurs we may also though feel a sense of enchantment and mysticism, as Neptune captivates us and inspires us.


    Where Neptune is in our chart or by transit we generally experience a feeling of deep longing or yearning for something – and generally this will be something that we are idealising at the time.  Neptune wants us to transcend to something more wondrous.  When we meet Neptune, we also meet the opportunity of breaking down the barriers and finding that piece of buried magic and inspiration, that hidden treasure buried deep inside us.  So alongside the confusion and the chaos, a Neptune transit holds the potential of delivering amazing gifts, particularly if the defence mechanisms we have constructed have been strangling our ability to let go and be inspired by our inner creative ability.  It is with Neptune that we can find our greatest creative expression and this is why Neptune also represents the artist, the actor, the poet, the musician, the dreamer.  Most great artists, whether it be in music or other fields, tend to have a prominent Neptune but the other side of the coin is that they often have a desire to escape from the realities to find their inspiration and may turn to alcohol or drugs to do so.   Of course, we can escape in many other ways which would fulfil a Neptunian desire – travel, photography, yoga, meditation, music, communing with nature  – anything that we can lose ourselves in.


    Neptune is where we can feel compassion but, because Neptune tends to over idealise and over sensitise, we may find ourselves in situations where we want to save or rescue someone.   Because Neptune increases our senses we may feel empathy and pity more easily and identify with that victim/rescuer role.  All very noble indeed, but if we have over idealised the other we may discover ourselves in a situation of the victim/saviour trap.  As the rescuer we may unwittingly end up as the victim.  And it is at this point we may then feel a sense of resentment because we feel we have been deceived, but, in fact, we have often just deceived ourselves.


    So how can we help ourselves through a Neptune transit?   If we feel a sense of harboured resentment we must acknowledge it and allow it to dissolve so that we don’t enter the martyrdom entrapment.   In other words, we need to cooperate with the Neptune energy.   We can do this with meditation and spirituality and by engaging in the things that Neptune signifies – photography, anything in water, music, dance, drama, the arts.   Anything within which we can lose ourselves.   If we lose ourselves it’s like a form of meditation and as we focus totally on what we are doing in a Neptunian fashion we can literally transport ourselves above our worries and fears and discover inspiration.


    Neptune also signifies our beliefs and credos.   While Saturn represents religion with rules, with Neptune it is more about our spiritual beliefs; where we feel we would like to transcend to.  It is here that we can find our desire to expand and grow spiritually above the ego.   Neptune, however, doesn’t do black and white, so if we are looking for solid answers we don’t get them.   Under a Neptune transit we just have to surrender and go with the flow and trust that we have indeed transcended our ego and have made contact with our higher self.  Indeed under a Neptune transit we may find parts of ourselves that we didn’t know existed and wouldn’t have done had we not experienced the Neptune transit.


    Under a Neptune transit we may believe that we see things that aren’t really happening or believe things are true when they aren’t.    So wherever Neptune is the one thing we do know is that we can’t be certain of anything at all.    The only way through a Neptune transit is to go within, find solace within ourselves and try to access our higher self our higher consciousness and allow that to flow.   Saturn creates boundaries and strictures and Neptune wants these to dissolve.   During a Neptune transit we have to let this happen because they may be defence mechanisms that in reality are crippling us and crippling our ability to change behaviour patterns that no longer serve us at all in a positive fashion.


    The Sun in our chart represents our ego, our will and our path through this life.  When Neptune makes an aspect to our Sun we may find that our sensitivity and our sense of compassion are accentuated so we want to help those less fortunate than ourselves.   Because Neptune is a dissolving energy if we feel that our ego is under attack we may feel totally out of control and that our lives are falling apart.  We may be finding it hard to see our future, to see where we are heading.  We may feel on high alert, confused.  When Neptune transits the Sun it is important to make a concerted effort to represent ourselves clearly because not only may we feel confused, we may also confuse others and misunderstandings may occur.   It is a time to get in touch with our higher self – our ego.  It can be a transformative transcending period when we may find our true inspiration, but we may also be extremely gullible.   We may feel a great longing and yearning for something – maybe we know what that is and maybe we don’t, maybe it is something that we feel is just out of our reach or is impractical.   With all Neptune transits it is best to surrender in some way, to go with the flow.  It’s not a time ideally to make important decisions but it may signify a good time for meditation or some form of contemplative psychotherapy or exploration within ourselves.    As I said earlier on, indulge in anything Neptunian – the arts, yoga, dance, photography, anything to do with water, even a hot tub or a steam room at the gym, where we feel immersed in the watery.  Swim or just sit by water.  And above all save some compassion for yourself – you may feel tired, listless or experience vague illnesses that defy diagnosis.


    When Neptune meets the Moon in our chart, our receptivity and sensitivity to what is going on around us is heightened.   We may indulge in fantasy and dreams or have too much empathy to the suffering of others.  Because the Moon represents our emotions, our deep feelings, what we need to nurture and nourish us, our unconscious impulses, we may experience emotional ups and downs or changes within the home or family or personal life.  We may be confused by our emotions and find it hard to see clearly.   We may experience difficult moods as we find it hard to see anything clearly.   At these times, we may just want to step back and not engage with the real world outside.  We may become romantically fascinated by someone totally inappropriate or perhaps feel we have to make sacrifices for others.  It’s important to try to avoid negative people during a Neptune transit because we soak up what others are feeling and we may open ourselves up to deception because we see only what our heart wants to see.  We may unconsciously set ourselves up for situations where we are challenged on a deeply emotional  level, or open ourselves up to feelings of guilt, huge empathy or extreme ecstasy.

    Mercury in the chart speaks of how we communicate, so during a Neptune transit we may notice the subtleties, get flashes of psychic inspiration and feel that the unconscious is giving us gifts of wisdom.  Gaining access to the wisdom of the unconscious may indeed activate latent psychic ability.   On the other hand, our minds may be elsewhere as we become gullible, vague and disorganised.   Our conscious mind may be clouded and our rational thoughts emotional.   We may lose touch with reality and may be on high anxiety alert –  we may suffer from unexplained nervous ailments associated with anxiety and tension.  So, clearly this is not a time for logical decision making if we can possibly avoid it because we may just feel as though our brain has been scrambled.


    Venus signifies love and relationships and our value system – how we value ourselves – and our creative expression.   During a Neptune transit we may over idealise and not see clearly.   We may look at others through rose coloured glasses seeing only what we want to see.   We may delude ourselves about the other, mainly because our sense of self is unclear and we don’t value ourselves in a clear fashion.   However, as the transit passes so the dream fades.   With Neptune in transit to Venus we may engage in deceitful affairs – the unavailable other.   Or we may be involved with someone who is deceiving us or become attracted to victims who want emotional or financial support.  If we have low self-esteem we put up with people who treat us badly or we may be fearful of commitment, or we may feel so unworthy that we have to be saved in some way.  We may feel attracted to someone who is unattainable but fantasise that we can because we don’t want to deal with the real.   During a Neptune to Venus transit we need a clear head with relationships – definitely easier said than done!    We may be attracted to relationships where we dispense with our own needs and just want to make the other person happy or we seek someone to help us to escape from reality in some way.   But sometimes we just attract losers and then find ourselves in the victim/martyr role.

    Mars represents our sense of assertion, our drive, our energy.  Under a Neptune transit our goals become distorted and we may feel we have lost our power or ability to assert ourselves.   An easy aspect may just make us softer and more compassionate and we may become more spiritual in our attitudes leading us once again possibly to want to become the rescuer.  The harder aspects, however, may leave us feeling impotent or confused as to where to direct our energies.   We perhaps do things that are just set up for eventual failure and/or we may act covertly or deceitfully.   And in a literal effect on our energy we may find ourselves sick as our energy levels and drive become totally depleted leaving us feeling downhearted and discouraged or even at the mercy of a debilitating infection.   If possible we must try to be detached and clear headed (again easier said than done) and most importantly we must be wary of getting involved in dishonest ventures.   On the positive side we may become much more of a spiritual warrior fighting an idealistic cause.


    Jupiter expands whatever it touches so under a Neptune transit we have big dreams which may result in our finding inspiration or, at the other end of the scale, we may find utter confusion as the bubble bursts.   We want to believe that something is real and we desperately want to believe in something, so we may find ourselves turning to a philosophy or religious beliefs.  However, we may also find ourselves drawn to things which could be harmful such as a cult or a guru.  Where we find Jupiter we find expansion – so we may be over confident in our beliefs, have inflated expectations and become extremely impatient with restrictions.   We may delude ourselves that the things that we are doing will all work out fine, particularly if the impractical is calling us or our idealism clouds our vision.  We may wish to expand our horizons with travel but perhaps this is more in line with a desire to escape our troubles and everyday realities.  Even sound investments may be problematic under a Neptune transit because we feel so very lucky.  It is therefore, important not to overextend financially under a Neptune to Jupiter transit.

    Saturn in the chart is where we put up boundaries and restrictions.  Saturn is our structure. Neptune wants a world without boundaries and so will come in and dissolve our defences and want us to resign from taking responsibility.    During 2015 we had Neptune and Saturn in hard aspect to each other and since then we have had constant talk of the migrant situation – borders without restrictions versus closing down borders.   We have also seen clashes within religious beliefs as idealistic and dogmatic views clash with the more easy going attitudes.


    As Neptune breaks down boundaries our protective shields are undermined and we become vulnerable and defensive.  Neptune to Saturn may manifest literally in a physical illness. However, whilst defences protect us they also prohibit our development of hidden gifts and talents.  So a Neptune to Saturn transit can unlock and release these hidden gifts.  With Neptune we can go on a mystical spiritual journey, riding the waves of our imagination.  Saturn, however, wants to keep our feet firmly on the ground so our sense of reality is severely challenged and we may experience depression, disappointment, loss of confidence, insecurity and lack of self belief.    We may avoid taking responsibility for our actions.  On the plus side we can turn our inspiration into concrete expression, but the struggle is that we fear giving ourselves up to the world.


    Neptune to Uranus – where we can be liberated to experience a new inspiration of life.   Although we feel insecure and uncertain about our beliefs, we may discover new understandings alongside psychological insight and change.


    Neptune to Neptune – sometimes this is a crisis of middle age when we long and yearn for something but have to re-evaluate and possibly sacrifice our dreams


    Neptune to Pluto  – may soften what Pluto represents but that depends very much on whether we are aware of Pluto within us.   If we aren’t then we have no idea what needs to change.    We are perhaps trying to achieve all our dreams through material success and we may feel subtle psychological changes or disappointment.   Under this transit it is important to get in touch with our deep inner self and accept that something within us needs to die in order to be replaced with a new transformative behaviour.


    Neptune to the Ascendant – we may be very susceptible to deception, very idealistic and, therefore,  inclined to idealise people.  We may lose sight of who we really are and project our desires by becoming a rescuer.


    Neptune to the Midheaven – We may experience a confusion of life direction when previously we were always clear headed.  We may feel that our work has become unfulfilling or restrictive.   We may even become attracted to the mystic and spiritual.  Whatever happens we need to find some kind of transcendence of the ego.


    Neptune to the IC – whatever we do we feel that our home or our roots are insecure.  We may feel a need to live near water or we may just have plumbing/flooding issues.  Whatever we feel our foundations are insecure in some way.  There may be a kind of chaos around the family or the roots, or perhaps a parent, usually the father, is missing or not around in some way.

    [i][i] Sue Tompkins, The Contemporary Astrologer’s Handbook, An In-depth Guide to Interpreting your Horoscope, 2006, Flare Publications.