Oh the frustration. The confusion. The swirling, whirling ideas that are floating above my head like little stars in a cartoon segment. I can barely focus on one idea before my mind melts and trails off into a new one. I feel like I’m on a wild car chase in my mind.
I’ve been feeling this for well over a year and will likely be dealing with it for about another year and a half.
Le sigh…and you might be wondering why.
Well, I am amidst a challenging Neptune transit. And in two words, I will say this – it. sucks. But I can tell it's similar to a healing process - it gets worse before it gets better.
Neptune is the most elusive of the planets and the most difficult to “diagnose”.
Mind you, diagnosis is made up of the prefix "dia", which means through and "gnosis" which means "knowledge of spiritual mysteries". That pretty much sums up the challenge of understanding Neptune, right there.
Though Uranus will shake us up with unexpected events, the unknown essence of Neptune is like being driven through the fog by a mysterious driver in the middle of the night.
You keep asking the driver (Neptune)...“Sooooo….where did you say we're going again?”
To which you get no response. Nothing. Or if you do hear one you can't decipher what it says. So you hope the next time you ask the question the answer will come in clearly. But it doesn't.
So you look out the window with an intuitive hunch about where you're heading, but you can't see very much. It's the middle of the night and there's fog. You're traveling in the dark of the unknown.
Without diving too deep into Neptunian waters, I think it's important to mention (shout out to my ancestral motherland) that Neptune was discovered in 1846 during the Irish potato famine - a time of intense suffering, idealism, and confusion.
With this in mind, it seems fitting that astrologers couldn’t quite describe the archetypal qualities of this nebulous planet. I've heard many astrologers argued over how it would be understood astrologically.
These days however, modern astrologers have come to understand and regard Neptune as the planet of spirituality and creativity – a representation of the Divine Feminine, the ocean of consciousness, unity, transcendence, and unconditional love. Yet beneath the surface of Neptune’s mystical waters, its shadow can induce confusion, delusion, illusion, escapism, and addiction.
It's quite the, how should I say...blend.
You can't view Neptune with the naked eye. It's basically invisible without a telescope because it's so far away. Because of it's distance, it is considered an "outer planet" which also means it deals with the transpersonal realm.
Neptune's archetypal qualities are almost the opposite of Saturn, known for its discipline, structure, and boundaries. Neptune transcends boundaries, and celebrates the infinite echo of time and space. Its cloudy physical appearance even speaks to its majestic nature.
Wherever Neptune falls in your natal chart may suggest a place of sensitivity, connection, or at worst, confusion and deception.
When it comes to a challenging Neptune transit (squares, oppositions, and conjunctions), your life may feel shrouded in a veil of mystery.
You may not quite know how the transits will take form - because it likely won't take form. It may feel formless and floating and flexible.
It may challenge your ability to focus your energies. It may stimulate delusions, feelings of confusion, a desire to escape reality, forgetfulness, mysterious illnesses, and dances with addiction or denial.
Why is this? Neptune transits serve to dissolve boundaries and thus it dissolves what it comes into contact with. This means it could dissolve your ego, your job, an unhealthy relationship, or your attachments to material things.
Whereas a harmonious Neptune transit could provide you with a sense tapping into an endless reservoir of compassion or a sensation of merging with the divine through a love relationship.
Harmonious Neptune transits (trines and sextiles) are pretty amazing.
They can bring about heightened psychic or intuitive flashes, inspired creative bursts, feelings of connection and unconditional love, appreciation for beauty, and spiritual understanding.
I liked my astrologer’s description of my current Neptune transit (I am approaching the end of Neptune opposite Mars and just beginning Neptune squaring my Midheaven, joy!). I share his interpretation with my own clients undergoing challenging Neptune transits.
He says Neptune transits are akin to the metamorphosis of a butterfly - a caterpillar doesn’t know it can be a butterfly even though it has visions of flying. It just can’t fathom how that is possible – especially when the caterpillar morphs into a cocoon and turns into goo.
The goo phase is the most challenging part of a Neptune transit. It's when you don’t know what the hell you are or what the hell you’re becoming (Welcome to my current reality, to a certain extent).
I started the goo phase toward the end of my graduate school program. Just as I was about to begin writing my thesis and integrating all that I learned, I began to feel a little listless and uncertain about my career path, which felt divinely untimed.
I read books upon books, I wrote pages upon pages. And still, I felt like a dog circling it's sleeping spot just moments before it plops down to rest.
I wound up writing 3 thesis papers.
You heard that right, 3.
I couldn’t freaking decide what to write!
And, I was having a hell of a time organizing my ideas. I kept seeing everything as “one” (an experience of Neptune) and struggled to break everything down into pieces. I felt incredibly inspired (another Neptunian theme), yet I also felt scattered and ungrounded. I also felt tired. I had no way of organizing my ideas in a cohesive manner. All symptoms of a Neptune transit.
Since Neptune dissolves whatever it comes into contact with, in my case Mars, the planet of action, energy, and assertion, "doing", became a challenge.
When I read about the possibilities of this transit a few years before it approached, I thought, “nah, I am totally 100% clear about where I'm headed".
Then this transit rolled around and it was like a tsunami (a very Neptunian descriptor) came through to clear everything out.
I felt like I was floating, being carried by some force bigger than me. Not knowing where the shore was or any sense of direction, I was asked to surrender. Clearly, fighting against the flow of the flood would only cause me more suffering and struggle.
These are the lessons involved in a Neptune transit: to trust Spirit, to let go of the need to control, to dissolve the ego, to understand and experience the Oneness of existence, to embrace and be embraced by the mystery.
So despite my confusion and lack of clarity over the past year, I had to open myself up to the flow of Spirit. And what I learned is that when I let go and surrender, I can trust Spirit to keep me afloat.
I didn't write what I thought I would write, it didn't turn out the way I thought it would. And I'm not exactly where I imagined I would be. I am taking one day at a time and flowing with the go.
Now, as Neptune squares my Midheaven (my professional aims in life), I have a better understanding of what to expect and how to work with the energy that is showing up.
Am I confused about my professional aims? You bet I am. I also have Neptune in my 10th house (the house of career) – so that aspect of my chart is activated - the confusion, the creativity, the escapism and the idealism. It’s all showing up for me.
Yet I now know I can tap into my reservoir of trust and use this time to engage with the other amazing qualities of Neptune – that of creativity, unconditional love, and connection to Spirit.
Having this awareness and understanding is why I love astrology.
In Mark Nepo’s “Book of Awakening”, a passage reads:
The Courage of the Seed
All the buried seeds crack open in the dark the instant they surrender to a process they can’t see…the courage of the seed is that once cracking, it cracks all the way.
When we really surrender and give ourselves over to Life, we stop pushing. We start allowing. We release our expectation to the outcome. We release the need to control.
Though the idea of letting go may sound painful, I often think about the pain associated with holding on. I remember that sensation from when I was married, feeling like I was hanging onto the edge of a cliff with my fingers clutching the edge. The intensity of the grip and the burn of my blistering skin felt excruciating. So I let go. And then, the pain slowly went away. I began to heal.
Hopefully, when we let go, there is something to catch us when we fall.
And usually, there is.