Copyright © March 1999 by Joanne Wickenburg.
Illusive, evasive, mystical, and idealistic, Neptune represents a part of you that can never be defined in concrete terms. It represents all that is, and yet is not. It represents all things unworldly, things having no form, ideas that cannot be substantiated, beliefs that are truth but cannot be proven, the things that you fear but know not why.
Neptune represents a part of you that wants you to believe in an intangible world; a part of you that is not concerned with form, structure, real-life experiences as you consciously understand them or as you were taught to perceive. It represents a part of you that wants you to dream, to fantasize, to experience life with no limits, life with no form, life with no responsibilities, no expectations, no physical boundaries to limit your imagination or prohibit possibilities. Neptune is the intangible you--the ethereal you. It represents your dreams, your fantasies; it also rules your doubts and your fears. It is your faith, your idealism, your unsubstantiated desire for a perfect world, your urge to escape from its existing imperfections.
When you see your world as blemished, the part of you named Neptune wants to reject it, to escape from imperfections, to imagine a better place, a better world, and a better life. Neptune wants you to experience bliss. Yet it rules escapism, addictions, fears, and phobias. How can that be?
All of these states of consciousness are unreal, imagined; they have no form. Yet they are powerful forces that can dominate your life and, quite frankly, lead to ecstasy on one hand or misery on the other. When you're struggling with Neptunian "forces", consider this important fact: When fear is conquered, it no longer exists. When addictions are mastered, they no longer have power. They never had form in the first place. They were simply but profoundly, merely but powerfully, only distorted states of mind.
Neptune rules confusion, the misty atmosphere, the addled and foggy mind. Once the confusion of your mind or the fog that clouds your vision is lifted, Neptune's influence will have passed, having left no physical remnants behind to prove that it ever existed. By the time you understand Neptune's purpose, it is no longer Neptune's concern.
The part of you named Neptune knows that there are some things that cannot be explained in logical terms; some things must simply be accepted as truth or believed to be untrue. This very fact seems to go against everything most of us have been taught. The educational system, for example, probably taught you to use logic, to find evidence to validate and support your beliefs. These are positive lessons to learn. However they are not the concerns of Neptune. Neptune denies evidence. Neptune defies logic. Neptune simply believes.
Neptune wants to lead you into a world that has not yet been charted; a world where there are no maps available to help you navigate or find your way. It represents a part of you that wants you to know what it feels like not knowing where you are. Neptune wants you to trust it, to have total faith that there is a special part of you that will guide you into a world you've never known before; a world others may have never visited.
It wants you to see colors more radiant than any of the colors of Earth's rainbows. It wants you to hear music that is so beautiful it could never be reproduced. It wants you to see beauty that is more exquisite than any human could define.
Some of us attempt to reach this state, this "bliss", by relying on something outside of self, outside of our own inner Neptune. We may look to another person to fulfill our fantasies; we may use drugs or alcohol to reach this altered state; we may run away from life and its realities in our pursuit of an illusive dream. At some point in our attempt to escape, however, we will ultimately run back into Neptune. It will remind us that the images we saw did not reflect true beauty; they were only distorted and flawed images of what something else wanted us to see. The music we hear was not perfectly pitched; instead, it hurt our ears. The people we expected to fulfill our fantasies disillusioned us instead. We were living in a Neptunian-like world, but it was a convoluted world, with distorted images and false idols.
The more the conscious ego attempts to control and direct Neptune's energy, the more distorted vision becomes. The Neptune part of you knows that inspiration cannot be experienced while you are overly focused on or attached to "reality". Its only recourse when this begins to occur is to cloud your vision in order to distract you away from your path in an attempt to lead you toward your truth.
If, out of fear, you get lost in the fog that Neptune creates, afraid to move through it because there is no guarantee or tangible evidence of what lies beyond, you will soon find yourself immobilized and blinded by your own fear. But Neptune, like all members of your "inner family", is persistent. It will continue to cloud issues, hoping that you will eventually understand it, come to respect its purpose, trust its illogical judgment, and honor the special role it wants to play in your life.
Like any family member, if you choose to ignore its importance, Neptune eventually begins to act up. It will try, in whatever way it can, using whatever means it has available, to get your attention, and it starts by creating confusion. It creates doubts and sometimes fear in an attempt to move you away from illusion toward illumination, unrealistic fantasy toward creative vision, untruths toward truths, denial to acceptance.
Someone once said that Neptune represents the "umbilical cord that connects man to his creator", suggesting that through meditation and other forms of ego-dissociation, we are fed spiritual food that sustains our physical lives. Others have called Neptune delusion, fear, escapism, and disintegration. How could both definitions have merit?
Without accepting the inspiration that Neptune wants to provide, your "ethereal self" experiences malnutrition. Fear, escapism or disillusionment are symptoms that Neptune is being denied. They are the effect, not the cause; the result, not the intent.
It is important to keep these concepts in mind whenever evaluating how Neptune functions in the birth chart; how it makes itself known in everyday life experiences. It is your inner Neptune at work whenever you are driving your vehicle on "automatic pilot", something almost every driver has experienced at some point in life. Where were you while you were driving? What happened between point A and point B? What was going on in your mind? Somehow you disconnected with the "real" world, yet you were still functioning effectively within it, safely driving your car. You may not consciously remember what actually happened while you were in this hypnotic-like state, but a part of you called Neptune knows.
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Were you daydreaming? Astro-traveling? Unconsciously meditating? Whatever you were doing, you probably reentered consciousness feeling different in some way, if only a bit awed by the fact that time and space had passed and you were not conscious while it had happened. Obviously there was unconscious activity at the time of your lapse of consciousness. Thank your other planets that you have these other parts in you that remembered how to drive!
These moments of "tuning out" are important. Neptune wants this time in your life. If you don't consciously choose to respect your inner need to dream, to fantasize, to invite and welcome inspiration and allow it to guide you, Neptune will find a way to fulfill its purpose and get your full-fledged attention in whatever way it can. It will cloud your vision at inappropriate times; it will cloud your judgment when good judgment is essential; it will do what it must do to enlighten you to the fact that it exists; it wants to be a recognized, respected part of the complex person that you are. It wants to play an active role in your inner family dynamic.
There is a time and place for everything. If, for example, you "tuned out" while driving, but you had no past driving experience to call on to guarantee safety, disaster would surely result. As an experienced driver, you can afford to ask Neptune aboard for the ride only if the part of you that has safety concerns and stores memories of learned experience (Moon) is in the front seat, too.
Have you ever done something without full control of all your "faculties?" What is a faculty, anyway? It is a group of people working together for a common cause. Conventions have faculties, and so do you. Your inner "faculty" consists of all your inner parts, represented by the planets in your chart. If you drive under the influence of Neptune, without including the rest of the team (planets), the journey is sure to be a dangerous one. One member of your faculty may have center stage for its moment in time, but it needs to respect and include all other participants for an effective group outcome to be reached.
Neptune is no less or more important than any other planet in your chart. It deserves its fair time in the spotlight and you need what it has to offer. But discretion is equally important. It would not be appropriate for Neptune to take your mathematics test, nor would it be appropriate for Mars to meditate. Mars' role in the "faculty" profile is to motivate and act. But it is Neptune that inspires that motivation when Mars is blazing new trails. It is Neptune that gives you the faith.
Webster defines the word inspiration as motivation by divine influence. One of Neptune's major intents is to dissolve overly rigid structures or boundaries that inhibit or restrict inspiration. It must dissolve the boundaries between the conscious and unconscious mind in order for you to receive inspiration. Neptune also dissolves the social, political, religious, and personal behavioral boundaries that prohibit personal or collective growth when it deems it to be time for a new ideal to be born.
Whole generations of people are born with Neptune in the same sign, showing the kinds of collective beliefs that must be dissolved so a new order can come into being. For example, the Neptune in Libra generation collectively dissolved old societal beliefs about what relationships and equality. Racial and sexual stereotypes began to change dramatically, as did the significance and importance previously placed on the institution and contract of marriage.
The Neptune in Scorpio generation collectively dissolved old beliefs about sexuality and, yes, even death. Neptune in Sagittarius urged society to dissolve overly rigid religious beliefs as well as global boundaries. Many traditional religions made significant changes; religious cults were prominent in the news. Neptune in Capricorn had a heyday dissolving obsolete political systems that no longer could meet the needs of an ever-evolving world. It can be said with great predictability that by the time Neptune leaves a sign, society will have formed a totally different belief system about the issues that sign represents. In some way, you will play an important part in this process. Many of your old beliefs will change because of what's happening in the world.
The same principle can be applied to Neptune's role in the natal chart. The House containing this powerful planet shows where you will go through "dissolving" experiences. It describes an area of life where you need to walk into the fog, face the unknown and develop faith in your inner commitments. Its House describes an area of life where you may feel lost in a cloud of confusion. It's hard to focus here. It's difficult to define what you want, and once you do define it, you realize that it is not real. What you want has no physical form, no actual place in reality. Here, you need to look beyond reality to be "motivated by divine influence." Be open to inspiration, not illusion; develop a rich fantasy life, but don't project it onto the physical objects or people ruled by that house. Know that you need an element of the "unreal" to be happy here, but don't try to make what's real not; allow yourself time to daydream, to ponder.
Look for what's beautiful, but don't try to own it; create your own fantasy, but know what it is. Learn to detach, to let go, to allow barriers to disintegrate and dissolve in order to experience true freedom. Don't use substances, people, or beliefs associated with Neptune's House for escape, but instead become free from dependence upon them. When you feel there is no substance to rely on, realize that substance can sometimes weigh you down. If you feel that nothing is real here, examine what real really is. Is real what you really want?
Inspiration can be like a doubled-edged sword. It's a wonderful state to be in, but once inspiration has been transformed into reality, inspiration no longer exists. When that happens, Neptune feels no longer needed. And it seeks a new inspiration.
One of the biggest dilemmas people face when Neptune plays with their lives is finding new inspiration once a dream has come true. Dreams, because they include mystery, intrigue, romance, and illusion, are often more satisfying than what is real in life. Once fantasies have come true, they no longer exist, and when this happens, the part of you called Neptune begins to feel left out. Its only recourse for survival is to create another illusion or dream, to be open to new inspiration.
The House containing Neptune shows where these conflicts emerge in your life, where a part of you wants to create, to dream, to experience the unreal. In the process of trying to create an ideal reality based on your vision of what could be, you can easily get lost in the dream and lose your place in life.
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You can easily fall prey to deception because you so want to believe in what doesn't exist. You can devise tricks that give you a temporary sense of ideal dissociation, but they won't work very long. There may always be a sense of lack in the area of your life ruled by Neptune; a dream that may never come true. The truth of the matter is, when fantasy is realized, its very "realness" is not as exquisite as your vision perceived it to be. The only solution is to find a new dream.
In Neptune's house, you need to belief that another dream will come, another fantasy will be born, a new inspiration will emerge to replace what has been lost. "Believe" is a keyword for Neptune. You need an ideal, something impossible to aspire to, or you won't be satisfied here. Don't expect the real world to act out your fantasy for you. In the real world, there is no perfection. The bliss must be come from within.
Artists and novelists attest to the fact that once their inner visions have become real, they sometimes experience a great, often deep, sense of loss. Only until they are actively pursuing another dream, creating a new symphony (be it musical or mystical, artistic or a vision), do they feel they are in their true element. The process of creating is more important, more inspiring, more fulfilling than the result can possibly be. If you approach your Neptunian experiences with this principle in mind, you too will find your bliss. The part of you named Neptune will be not only satisfied, but it will become one of the most treasured members of your internal family. It will know that it is loved.
To be pierced by something from outside the self is another definition of in-spire. To be open to some higher power, some higher truth, some larger vision, is what inspiration is all about. This requires faith. This requires strength. This requires fearlessness. This is the promise of Neptune. It was what Neptune wants for you.
The greatest problem associated with Neptune is that it is easy to confuse its message. You can fool yourself by convincing yourself that the real is unreal, reality is the fantasy. You can easily make yourself believe things like, "this person is my dream come true," or, "this money will allow me to live out my fantasies." These beliefs are convoluted and suggest that you've not heard Neptune's quiet but potent message. Substance is not fantasy, but fantasy can come true.
Planets in aspect with Neptune describe how other participants in your family of planets interact with Neptune's energy; how your unconscious creative imagery (Neptune) expresses itself through your conscious personality (Moon through Saturn). Aspects to Neptune show how you live out your fantasies, ideals and beliefs. They define the degree of cooperation Neptune experiences from its fellow family members in attempting to interact with them.
Are you living out the true essence of Neptune? Or have you allowed your conscious ego and personality to attempt to direct it and ultimately distort it instead? The nature of Neptune's aspects to other planets in your chart show the degree of ease or difficulty with which it interacts with your other personality parts. Easy aspects suggest no conflict; no disagreements exist between the family members (planets) involved. Harsh aspects infer a lack of communication or understanding exists between Neptune and the planets involved. In essence, they suggest that life will be teaching you how to do things you have not yet learned to master.
Because Neptune knows no boundaries, its significance is especially difficult to grasp, as is a true understanding of the vast possibilities it offers. When you stop viewing Neptune as a strange object out in space that's energy is invading your life, and accept it as representing a part of the total you, you will be empowered and awed by your own creative possibilities. You will be aware of your ability to experience a unique kind of "weightlessness" that enables you to transcend all physical boundaries and experience the true essence of bliss. You will be fearless. You will be in-spired -- pierced by truth from a source much bigger, wiser and wonderful than you ever thought was possible. You will love Neptune, yet sometimes you'll hate it.