Neptune Is …

Neptune is: vivid night-time dreams, a moon-lit swim, dancing in the dark, the mesmerizing ocean. Life is more beautiful when it’s infused with Neptunian energy.

Neptune represents otherworldly experiences and faraway planets, like in my favorite childhood novel, A Wrinkle in Time.

When I was a kid, teachers often chided me: “Earth to Nicole!” (I’m conjuring up Meg here, the quirky protagonist of the aforementioned novel). From a progressive teaching/learning perspective, we now understand this as neurodivergence. I was not purposely staring out the window; I wasn’t a defiant kid and my Scorpio Ascendent self definitely did not want any negative attention on me; it was something that felt out of my control and likely linked to all the screaming and shouting that went on every morning in my home. From an Astrological perspective, the planet Neptune resides in my 1st house of Self.  Neptune symbolizes daydreaming and one’s imagination. It also symbolizes illusion and addiction. Pisces, ruled by Neptune, lies on my 4th house cusp, the house in the Natal Chart that reflects your home and family life, and both descriptions are fitting. Each sign and planet represents an evolved set of qualities – for Neptune, it is spirituality, compassion, and creativity – and a less evolved side – in Neptune’s case, this is addiction, illusion, and deception.

The Opposite of Elusive Pisces is Reliable Virgo

If you recall from my past blogs, each Zodiac Sign has an opposite; the point being that in order to create balance and fulfillment in our lives we need to work toward integration of what the two sides represent. Neptune, ruler of Pisces, needs to integrate its opposite sign of Virgo and vice versa. Neptune Retrograde is a bit like a cold splash of Virgo in the face.

On June 30th at 5:07 pm EST, planet Neptune officially moves into retrograde mode through December 6th at 8:20 am EST.

Boy, can Virgo can feel like a rude awakening in the face of a lovely Pisces slumber. It makes me think of being woken by my (mars-in-virgo) mother for school when I was a kid; my school began at an ungodly hour and my mother, who doubled as my alarm clock, would wake me up every morning: Rise and shine! Yep, that is a taste of what the Neptune Retrograde period may feel like.

Pisces, however soft and fuzzy, can equate to stuck-ness. It can be described as the saying: “Too much of a good thing.” Something that initially drew you in now holds you hostage. Virgo, on the other hand, is about “doing” – checking things off the “to do” list, which can be very satisfying. Virgo is the mundane chores that keep our lives in order and, interestingly, flowing, which is a Pisces trait (See how that works? We need both sides) – the dishes, the laundry, the grocery shopping, food prep cleaning, etc.  Virgo can get us out of a rut. If you need to lighten your energy, start by doing one small thing that helps you to feel productive.

Pisces is compassionate and kind but does not always follow through on their word or intention (you may feel loved by a Pisces, but you may also feel abandoned by them), while Virgo is the sign of service and the one who is there for you when you need it – don’t get me wrong, Virgo can drive you up a wall with all the, ahem, nit-picking (and an unbalanced Virgo’s nitpicking can border on neurosis), but Virgo is the one who rolls up her sleeves and gets to work to help you pack all those boxes. My dear Pisces is nowhere to be found; she is probably daydreaming. 💭

The Filter Of Illusion Gets Stripped Away

Neptune depicts life through the lens of a watercolor painting, but at some point that lovely, surrealist filter gets stripped away and you may not be as ‘in love’ with the view you find yourself facing.

This is what can happen when Neptune, planet of fairytales and faraway lands, goes into Retrograde motion. The soft blanket Neptune lulled you into wrapping around your body like a warm cocoon is yanked away and you are forced to feel the cold for a bit, to take in the reality of a situation you may have been perceiving naively. Although this may sound harsh, take heart: cool air is refreshing and uplifting after the initial shock. This transit ultimately enables you to get aligned with a more practical and realistic side of a life situation. It has the potential to wake you up out of your day-dreaming and get you moving in a more precise or clear direction.

The house that Neptune is traversing in your Natal Chart provides insight into the area of life where you may need to “get real.”

Let me give you an example. Neptune is currently swimming through my 4th house of home and family. If you have questions about moving to a new home or something going on in your home, this is where we would look first in your Natal Chart. I moved to Florida last year, to an artsy town near the water (Neptune rules the water) that is filled with live music (Neptune also rules music/musicians). This town has a soulful vibe (Neptune), something that was lacking in my prior town, and felt quite magical for the first six months.

Enter Neptune Retrograde. (Side-note: Neptune is not in retrograde motion yet, as I write this; as mentioned, June 30th is the official date, but you have likely started to feel its slow-down effect, or reversal). I additionally feel the reality-check dynamic due to another transit in my chart (a Neptune trine to my Ascendent that fell away). As my Neptune rose-colored glasses slid off, I began to notice the things about my town that were not as beautiful: for one, I am surrounded by breweries (a distinguishing feature of this town) and although that brings live music and food-trucks it also brings alcoholism, toxic fumes, and rowdiness – on a recent Saturday morning, when I was craving peace and quiet, an event was happening at the brewery across the bike trail from my apartment; a woman’s shrill voice on a megaphone boomed every few minutes through my windows, which I finally shut – I decided that morning to take quiet over fresh air. There is also, suddenly, a lot of noisy and ugly construction going on around my neighborhood (also represented by Pluto newly in my 3rd house), and the view in back of my apartment building that used to be blocked by trees now goes straight through to the main, busy road, which surrounds the small town – talk about a view changing from a watercolor painting to mundane, drab reality.

I don’t mean to sound like Debbie Downer. The town I live in is undoubtedly a cool, eclectic, musical place by the water, although I admit it may be a more suitable vacation spot than longterm home. In any case, I am moving again soon (but that is for a blog on Uranus, the planet of change). The point is that when the Neptune tinted glasses come off, we see things through a hard-nosed perspective. It’s like in the Wizard of OZ, when Dorothy sees the ordinary man behind “The Great Oz.” The view you see now may not be as enticing – reality bites, as they say, but it can shed light on any illusion surrounding a situation, and help you to see more clearly what action or next step will support your progress and longterm success.

An Inner Utopia

Neptune symbolizes a utopia, or perfect place, that does not exist in ‘the real world.’ Cults are founded on these delusional beliefs – its members seek a place that is pure and perfect and will cure them of their angst, not realizing that what they really seek is shifting their belief systems, habits, and patterns that cause them to suffer. Change comes first from within.

When Neptune goes retrograde we are asked to discover or create the utopia we seek “out there” within ourselves.

A homeless man I met in the town I live in, in Florida, befriended me. He’s talkative and chats with a lot of people, but he seems especially drawn to me. He asked me recently, when I bumped into him in the food market, if I know where he belongs. He meant this based on my knowledge of Ayurveda (the holistic health system from India); he was asking where I thought he might thrive based on his body/mind constitution. I answered, without thinking: “I don’t even know where I belong!” We both laughed. I told him that the important thing, before he moves to a new location, is to accept himself and make the necessary changes on the inside — “It’s an inside job.” He looked at me, slightly confused, and asked if Hawaii would be a good next destination. I said that it might be, knowing that he would not find what he’s looking for … that is, the utopia that will solve his problems and finally allow him to thrive. I was talking to myself just as much as I was talking to him.