Neptune has an over-idealised image in astrology. Yes, it is known to be slippery and evasive, impractical and low energy, but really it’s all about dreams and visions, kindness and compassion, is what I absorbed early on. Yet it doesn’t stack up in practice. Top athletes who need exceptional physical endurance often have strong Neptune aspects to their Suns. Successful businessmen and explorers are often Pisces, which is ruled by Neptune. The Nazi doctor Josef Mengele was a Pisces Sun trine Neptune. John Gacy, who raped and killed at least 33 teenage boys, was a New Moon in Pisces opposition Neptune. When astrologers were asked to do a cold reading on Gacy’s chart, they waxed eloquent about what a nice man he would be.
To go back to basics, in mythology Neptune ruled the watery oceans and waged war on Athena, who ruled the land. As an act of aggression he raped Medusa (who was then very beautiful) in Athena’s temple, in revenge for which Athena turned her ugly and banished her to the far wildernesses. So there’s a decidedly unpleasant streak about Neptune. The sea can be cruel, is certainly cold, changeable, liable to brew up into monstrous storms, can chip away relentlessly at rocky land until it collapses.
Christianity according to Carl Jung was the iconic symbol for the two thousand year Age of Pisces, ruled by Neptune. Yet Christianity, despite its love and tolerance motif, has at its heart an image of gruesomely bloody torture and the acute physical suffering of a forsaken son. Neptune has a dissolving action so physical dismemberment is part of his lexicon. And in certain modes Neptune is anti-life. This ‘vale of tears’ was the old Christian outlook for getting through a life of suffering and mishaps, until you reached the happy land beyond St Peter’s Gates. It’s not that different from the Muslim belief in 70 virgins in paradise in the afterlife. And Islam is also very Piscean/Neptunean.
Neptune rules religion and when you think of the atrocities perpetrated in the name of all that is holy from the Crusades, the Inquisition, the murderous Protestant versus Roman Catholic centuries, to what’s going on at the moment it throws a different slant on Neptune, the spiritual dreamer. Being wrapped up in an all-encompassing Neptunian vision can obliterate everything around that is human and it can be insensitive, often to a staggering degree.
To go back to mythology: Creativity, which is one of Neptune’s talents, was born when Medusa was beheaded and Pegasus, the winged horse, was set free. So there is this paradox about Neptune – revelling in brutality of the bloodiest variety in order to set free the ideal. An eternal war between the physical world and the spirit. But both are true of Neptune, not just the sanitised reaching-for-nirvana half. You don’t get one without the other.
Merged with other planets Neptune can be a powerful force and not always for the good. Neptune Pluto is scandal prone and megalomaniac. Neptune Uranus can be fanatical as well as inspired. Neptune Saturn is associated with epidemics, paranoia, mental instability as well as social reform. Neptune Jupiter rules high-finance, bankers and the like, as well as dodgy gurus.
At the moment we have a Neptune square Saturn. They are polar opposites since Saturn rules the earthly material world, the body, organizations, rules and regulations, practicality, sanity. Neptune hates it all. It tries and usually succeeds in undermining our security in the real world, dissolves the boundary between what is fact and what is fiction, so we start to doubt our sanity. It also undermines the body so you get illnesses, often difficult to diagnose, or epidemics.
On a more positive note it also undermines the patriarchy (I hate the term but Saturn is very much the masculine authority) so women’s rights come to the fore. And Saturn Neptune does have a creditable record in moving social reforms ahead in general. Neptune’s healing energy brought to bear on the rigid status quo.
Neptune brings its duality to bear on the financial sphere (Saturn) as well, since it is associated with conmen and trickery, bringing financial scandals out into the open and overall undermining confidence in economic security.
It starts to fade in influence in a couple of months and won’t be back till the mid 2020s.