fade awayThe first time I tried to write this blog it disappeared. Typical Neptune. I had been writing it within another document and although the other piece remained, Neptune just vanished. Similar experiences have happened with Neptune involved: a married client talks about her ghost lover during a session, and my recording device on my computer times out leaving us with no evidence of the discussion. Neptune absconds with time, too, as if to prove that actions mark time, and that without actions time is made irrelevant; many Neptune transits leave the person experiencing them with a Neptune-induced amnesia — people forget what they did for days, weeks and even years. Books are started and half-finished, romances appear then disappear, houses are swept away by floods… There must be a special place in heaven for those still left wondering, “Whaaatt?” by their Neptune transit. A “Neptune” Lost and Found, a place where people can go and be reunited with lost objects, people, ideas, lives. I hope so.

The Neptune Square is a generational transit. It happens for all of us between the ages 40-42, for approximately a 2 year passage. The Neptune Square introduces itself with a general malaise and fatigue, dis-enchantment if you will, with how things have panned out so far. The timing of this makes sense. Your thirties are a busy time spent striving to make goals and livelihoods happen. Most of us are building a career, relationship and family and all of this takes so much energy, energy we can senselessly spend, and often without stopping to pause or self-introspection, because we do have the energy and determination to forge ahead.

The Neptune square marks a crisis in consciousness. The plans we’d previously made, ideas, ambitions that may have been designed years ago, are faltering. We are at a crossroads, and an area of our life – our career, marriage, health, finances, creativity- feels at sea, adrift. We may feel, in mounting sea-waves of anxiety, that our life may no longer actually fit the person we’re walking around being, and yet who are we? The person we are today is a moving target, at best. I love how Steven Forrest captures this intangible existential experience of self-hood when he says (to the AP class), “I am doing a really good impression of being Steven Forrest today, aren’t I?” Yes, we think, I am here, but who is the I?  This self-construction may actually just be good theatre, a dramatic creation. We may feel like we are actors in our own life, like everything has both become too real and yet nothing is real. With Neptune, Nothing is as it seems. The reference point for the “I” is changing, but it’s happening underwater so there’s no perspective on what’s truly happening. There is a sense of being in a bubble or aquarium, being removed from life.

I’ve just begun my Neptune Square. My energy and interest, it sort of floats. The tether to daily reality can feel thin, and when it does its easy to get sidetracked. Projects go on hold. Sleeping and dreaming have taken on enormous importance. Routines, like sticking to a daily schedule, feel too rigid, and goals that I’m not able to be utterly absorbed by and lose myself in completely, feel somehow contrived and false. But then again, even if I’m absorbed in a project or aspiration, the next day may find me feeling empty and uninspired, unable to show up in totality. Enthusiasms and passions come on strong, and then leave mysteriously, without a trace. I am feeling the typical direction-less-ness and living with unknowns that accompanies this time, too. The only reliable anchor throughout is the present moment, and the present moment refuses to be pinned down to anything more than what is happening. As I re-read this paragraph, I know this is the kind of stuff that strikes fear in the hearts most of us. After all, we live in a society that is hellbent on productivity, that measures our worth and status by how much we earn, contribute and produce.

I’ve got a chronic illness, too, which is terrifying in its own right but because its occurring during my Neptune Square I’m wondering if I’ve lost the better part of my healthRobinsons fading away forever. Neptune always creates heightened sense impressions and anxieties– like the Moon, but on steroids. I fear fading away, disappearing from society altogether, becoming one of society’s “invisible ones,” which Neptune also charges. Neptune rules my sixth house of health, so this fear is not entirely irrational, but it is tinged with the heightened emotionalism, loss and grief of Neptune.

In Neptune, astrologer Dana Gerhardt says: “I think of the countless thirty- and forty-somethings who in the middle of their Neptune square*, lost their dreams, their taste for life, their sense of who they are.” Dana also echoes something I feel: how flimsy it sounds to tell anyone experiencing a Neptune transit that this is a time for exploring spirituality and creativity. Or, if someone is in the middle of loss, trying on the idea that loss could be the revenge of a dishonored God? It doesn’t hold water. Contemplating Neptune, it doesn’t help that we astrologers have an arsenal of nightmarish Neptune stories, our own version of “why do bad things happen to good people?”.

So what is the purpose and value of the Neptune Square? Rob Hand says, “The function of this transit is to make you reevaluate who you are, which at the moment you do not know.” That about sums it up. I believe, in a roundabout way, we will eventually find that the Neptune Square wants to re-inspire and yet we don’t have the map for getting there.

With Neptune around, we ask these questions: is our Soul inspired? Do we need healing? Do we need ecstasy? We know that when Neptune comes around it is a time to favor the experiential, mystical and impractical in life, and that Neptune cares little for how much time or how reasonable an activity is. A friend spent his entire Neptune Square listening to music and drinking, which only yielded a musical anthology – a sort of “your life in music” set of recordings. But, he recalls fondly, for the hundreds of hours spent with nothing much to show, he spent them in sheer bliss. He has natal Neptune conjunct Venus in his sixth house.

blissDo we need more relaxation, healing and bliss? Another friend, during her Neptune transit, after a period of feeling rudder-less and directionless, gravitated toward a spiritual manifestation practice. Using Martha Beck’s book, Finding Your Own North Star, she was instructed to write down ten dream activities if money (and salary) were no object. She was then instructed to take one easy action toward “Getting paid to have spa treatments,” one of hers. As one synchronicity led to another, before she knew it, spa owners of prestigious spas were contacting her with free treatments in exchange for a review of their services on her new spa review blog. She is a Virgo with Natal Neptune in the second house, North Node in Pisces.

I’m inspired by my friends’ stories. For both, the Neptune Square yielded blissful, positive experiences, and for both it required them to surrender, go down the rabbit hole and then see what kind of magic was waiting there. Yet even recounting their successes tempts my wiley Ego -who is already licking Her clever little chops, trying to design a way to make the Neptune Square work for Her. If we think we are running this show, impressionable, susceptible, elusive Neptune will create false hope and false starts; if we decide that our Neptune square is the perfect time to write that epic fantasy, play or romance novel, Neptune just may be tempted to erase it. Maybe we can make the Gods work for us, but only on their terms, and Neptune’s terms are notoriously hard to pin down.

To that end, Neptune, is the planet of consciousness and perhaps this is where we finally get the answers we seek. The answers we look for in books, from astrologers and psychics, often prove elusive. The fact of the matter is, we are not yet who we are to become. Just as the seed doesn’t know whether it will grow into a tree or a flower, we will probably not understand what our Neptune Square has delivered until our consciousness has flowered enough to contain that understanding. Till then, we can align our intention for vision with Neptune’s desire to enlighten us. Then wait and see.

Other astrologers thoughts on Neptune, from Jessica Adams blog on Neptune in Pisces:

LIZ GREENE – The Astrological Neptune and the Quest for Redemption

“The mythology of Neptune begins with the mythology of water. In astrological symbolism, Neptune is the ruler of Pisces, the third sign of the watery trigon; and the god after whom the planet is named is the lord of the ocean depths. But even if the planet had been called by another name, the language of water arises spontaneously on the lips of those experiencing important transits and progressions involving Neptune. Over and over again I have heard people completely unfamiliar with astrology describe their feelings and perceptions at such critical times with images such as drowning, flooding, drifting, dissolving, swamped, inundated and flowing with the current.”

CAROLINE W.CASEY – Making the Gods Work for You

“We know Neptune is at work (or play) in our lives, when we feel “at sea.” if we are relaxed, confusion and disorientation may be experienced as a sense of mystery, sent by Neptune to remind us that we are much larger than our current cirumstance or self-definition.”

DEBBI KEMPTON-SMITH – Secrets From a Stargazer’s Notebook

“Hang on to the idea that the sign and house of Neptune is where you’ll be happiest if you purify your life in some way. Clean up and enjoy the Jungian oceanic feelings.”

SUE TOMPKINS – Aspects in Astrology

Where Neptune is situated or what Neptune touches tends not to accept (possibly not even recognise) boundaries, it seems as if nothing will get in the way of the attainment of the wish, dream or desire.”