June 18 – Nov 24, 2018
Planets in retrograde are not actually spinning backwards – it is entirely an optical illusion as seen from Earth. Backwards motion appears to happen when Earth passes slower moving planets in the outer solar system. In astrology, this illusion manifests as a “backwards” functioning of the planetary roles. Click here to learn more about retrograde.
Since April 2011, Neptune has been in Pisces, the sign she rules. With Neptune at home in Pisces, a global spiritual awakening continues to unfold. This also continues to manifest as a collective (existential) crisis. Many trends reflect Neptune in Pisces: rapid legalization of medical/recreational marijuana; popularity of yoga and transcendental meditation; extra-terrestrial themes in music and pop culture; simulators and next-level games blurring the lines between physical and virtual reality; skyrocketing opioid addiction, and so on. The membranes between each dimension and universe grow thinner by the day.
Neptune is a mystic and medium, an ending and beginning, the source of all. She is (ego) death, sacrifice, surrender. Neptune turns retrograde five months out of every year. Neptune Retrograde confronts our addictions. She teaches us that vices do not equate to higher consciousness, though addiction and escapist behaviors are really just yearnings for greater soul awareness. I highly recommend avoiding all unhealthy vices during this cycle, addict or not. Coleman Bark’s introduction to a collection of poems by Rumi:
The grapeskin of ego breaks and a pouring begins. Fermentation is one of the oldest symbols for human transformation. When grapes combine their juice and are closed up together for a time in a dark place, the results are spectacular. This is what lets two drunks meet so that they don’t know who is who. Pronouns no longer apply in the tavern’s mud-world of excited confusion and half-articulated wantings. But after some time in the tavern, a point comes, a memory of elsewhere, a longing for the source, and the drunks must set off from the tavern and return … The tavern is a kind of glorious hell that human beings enjoy and suffer and then push off from in search for truth … A breaking apart, a crying out in the street, begins in the tavern, and the human soul turns to find its way home. (The Essential Rumi, p. 1)
When Neptune turns retrograde in Pisces, she takes us to the subconscious realm. From Kilaya Ciriello’s “The Scorpio Ring of Fire: An Astrological Journey into the Heart of the Galactic Center”:
[T]he archetype of Pisces is the story of two fish – one swimming down to the depths and the other swimming up to the surface of an ocean … [T]he archetype of Pisces includes a simple choice to do good or bad, to move towards the light or towards the darkness … For a fish it feels the same to swim up or down and this tells us that within Pisces it is often difficult to distinguish between what is good versus what is bad. So like a fish in the ocean, when under the influence of Pisces, deciding where to go is often confusing because things appear murky, not clear or out of focus. (p. 69)
Anything you do on a daily basis that makes you feel happy and healthy is a spiritual practice, like a morning walk, an art project or a jam session. Without such practices, we are highly susceptible to Neptunian temptation. This is a dangerous place to be. Keep your inner world burning brightly. Beware netherworld sea creatures swimming into your dopamine receptors, whispering they’ve got something you’d like, just what you’ve been looking for. Think of this transit as an exercise in self-control.
This is the time of year when we are most likely to engage in regressive, destructive behavior. We might enter into an unhealthy relationship, for example. Get all the details and take your time. Unlike other planetary retrogrades, Neptune does not push, she pulls. Neptune muddles logic until it vanishes. Stand strong against impulse and seduction, my friends, because I can tell you now that if it seems too good to be true, Neptune the Queen of Illusion has something waiting for you in the chamber. Even if you do mistakenly swim into the belly of the shark, look around and you will find a light, a way out. Neptune never leaves us totally hangin.
Neptune Retrograde is an introspective and reflective period. A surge in emotional sensitivity or preternatural abilities is not uncommon, but you may struggle to express yourself. This transit is like being woven into a cocoon – how to transmute the experience from within?
The first lovely day of this transit comes right at the beginning, on the quarter moon in Virgo of June 20 – Neptune forms a friendly trine to Mercury, ruler of Virgo. On July 8, she forms the same harmonious aspect to the sun. A less fortuitous day comes on July 24 – Venus will directly oppose Neptune. On Aug 18, another trine with Jupiter in Scorpio – this is also the last day of Mercury Retrograde! We first saw Jupiter trine Neptune on Dec 2, 2017 and most recently on May 25, so think back to these dates to get an idea of what it’s all about. On Sep 7, Neptune directly opposes the sun – another challenging day, but resolution will come no later than Nov 5. A similar influence on Sep 13 when Neptune opposes Mercury – this one will find resolution by Oct 19.
Listen to haunting Neptune, the Mystic from The Planets Suite by Gustav Holst. Celebrate Neptune with Pisces Yoga. I was born with Neptune Retrograde. To find your Neptune sign and whether she was direct or retrograde at the time of your birth, click here.
Mantra: I believe