Since Pluto’s demotion to a dwarf planet Neptune is now known as the outermost planet in our solar system and is similar in size to Uranus whose orbital disruptions led to its discovery. Neptune can be a confusing planet in astrology which is no surprise as it is the planet of confusion among other things and its discovery initiated a torrent of consternation in scientific circles.
In keeping with its astrological rulership of “hazy matters”, Neptune missed being discovered a few times, the first time by none other than Galileo who thought it was a distant star in 1613 because when observed at that time it was at station about to turn retrograde. It was finally known as a planet for the first time shortly after midnight on September 24, 1846 when observed by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle, based on the mathematical calculations given to him by French astronomer and mathematician Urbain Le Verrier. Le Verrier’s work was ignored by French astronomers leading him to contact Galle to look for Neptune who predicted where it should be and he was correct within one degree of arc.
A flood of controversy soon erupted after Neptune’s discovery as, unknown to Le Verrier until shortly before its discovery, a British astronomer John Couch Adams also independently predicted the discovery of a previously unknown planet, both having determined this separately due to perturbations in the orbit of Uranus. After much discussion by astronomers of the day they both were given credit for its discovery, that is until early this century when a historical review decided that Le Verrier had more accurately predicted Neptune’s location and slightly earlier than Adams. He is now given primary credit as its discoverer.
In what can only be called a Neptunian twist, Adams presented Le Verrier with the Royal Astronomical Society’s annual gold medal in 1868 as Adams was then president of the RAS and the delay was due to the confusion surrounding its discovery.
It was first proposed to name Neptune Janus, the two-faced Roman god of doorways, passageways and beginnings (the month of January is named after Janus) and somewhat appropriate to Neptune’s astrological nature as a conduit to alternate states of mind. Other suggestions were Oceanus and Le Verrier’s Planet. Eventually Le Verrier insisted that he should be able to name the planet he discovered (after he submitted his own name which was rejected) and all agreed that his second submission Neptune was a good fit and was in keeping with the other planets (except Earth) being named for ancient Roman mythical gods.
Neptune takes nearly 165 years to orbit the sun and is located in each zodiac sign for just under 14 years. It also bears the unusual distinction of having Pluto intersect its orbit, the only two planets to cross each other’s path, and recently from 1979 to 1999 Pluto was closer to the Earth and inside Neptune’s orbit.
Its largest moon Triton was discovered just 17 days after Neptune. A dozen other moons have since been discovered. When Neptune was observed by space probes astronomers were surprised to discover that Neptune is a very deep shade of blue due to its lower atmosphere being primarily composed of ammonia and methane gas and ice. It is considered an icy gas giant and may be the coldest of all planets in the solar system.
Neptune can be a very unusual and confusing influence in astrology and its discovery is appropriate to its true nature (like Pluto) which at times is hidden and confounding.
The existence of a god of the seas or waterways is a very old legend and found in the history of several cultures. There are a few that predate the ancient Greek’s Poseidon and his later Latin name Neptune, given by the Romans.
Poseidon was one of the three primary ancient Greek deities along with his brothers Zeus (Jupiter to the Romans) and Hades (Pluto). His name has been equated with meaning “Lord of the Earth” or “Husband of the Earth” perhaps because water encompasses the Earth. Because their father swallowed his infant children whole immediately at birth due to a prediction that a child would overthrow his rule, their mother Rhea/Ops substituted a rock for her last born child Zeus/Jupiter. This caused Saturn to disgorge his children (including his daughters Juno, Ceres and Vesta) who then banded together to defeat their cruel father.
Neptune is Poseidon’s Roman equivalent and their mythologies are virtually identical with some minor differences although Neptune originally was a god of freshwater to the Romans and was later given rulership over the oceans. Neptune preferred to live in his own palace under the sea although he often visited the land.
The astrological glyph and a symbol used for Neptune is a trident which Neptune/Poseidon used to cause earthquakes, waterspouts and other calamities to erupt often when angered. It was believed he caused earthquakes as at that time the ancients believed they were caused by the shifting seas. Technically, they weren’t too far off as undersea earthquakes cause tsunamis. He was considered to be a very powerful god and seen as having a moody, violent and angry temperament. He was associated with horses and horse racing and he was usually depicted riding a chariot being pulled by horses which sometimes had fish’s tails. Other representations had him pictured with a large variety of sea animals and as a muscular studly looking bearded god of old or middle age.
Neptune fathered many children with several female deities and several mortals as he had quite a reputation as a lover (like most of the deities). He was said to father Pegasus after the rape of Medusa but his firstborn was the merman (male mermaid) Triton whose mother was a sea nymph named Amphitrite. In this myth Neptune sent a dolphin to declare his love and plead his case for marriage to the beautiful Amphitrite (aka Salacia to Romans) who eventually relented and became his consort inspiring Neptune to immortalise the dolphin as the constellation Delphinus. Neptune has been portrayed driving his chariot in the seas pulled by dolphins.
As a violent and lusty god Neptune even raped his own sister Ceres/Demeter after first turning himself into a stallion since she tried to hide herself from him by turning into a mare. This union resulted in the birth of two mares, one named Arion and said to be capable of human speech (shades of Mr. Ed!) and is just one myth about Neptune involving horses. A common nickname was Neptune Equester which became very popular with the ancient Romans. Some myths describe Neptune allowing others to use his shape-shifting ability as reward for their loyalty or services to him.
In many cultures such as in ancient Egypt and elsewhere, water gods were revered as it was recognized that seasonal flooding and the rains aided agriculture and literally helped feed the nation. Some of these mythical deities are Nun/Nu, Hapi, Nephthys, Ezili, Oshun, Mamba Muntu, Marduk, Grannus, Danu, Lir, Njord, Aruna and Varuna. Most were represented by or associated with aquatic animals.
Possibly in recognition of the life-sustaining properties of water, Neptune/Poseidon and other water deities were greatly revered and feared as drought, floods and sea storms were devastating to ancient civilisations. As well, the waterways were a primary mode of travel and trade between nations. Honouring water gods was seen as a wise practice to appease the deities that were also considered to be violent, dangerous and very destructive in addition to their life-giving attributes. These myths are of great importance in understanding what Neptune represents in astrology.
Neptune was greatly feared and admired as a supreme deity. After Zeus restored order to the world and released Neptune and his other siblings from imprisonment in their father Saturn’s bowels, it was decided by drawing lots that Zeus/Jupiter would retain his position as king of the gods and rule the sky. Brothers Neptune and Pluto ruled the seas and underworld respectively. This “holy” trinity gave primary importance to these three gods in the mythological pantheon and they were also considered kings of their own domains. Neptune’s mysterious reputation in the zodiac cannot be ignored although the influences are often hidden “below the surface”. This hidden nature and depth of mystery are shared with Pluto and they both may represent deeper psychological influences.
Neptune was often depicted in gigantic proportions but also as a virile male god. He was regularly portrayed alongside his consort Amphitrite and there are scant records of a female version of Poseidon called Poseideia. Often depicted astride or with horses and dolphins Neptune is associated with all life in, on or around waters. There are a few myths of Neptune/Poseidon being in conflict with female deities, most notably Athena who was chosen by the Athenians as their patron deity which angered Poseidon causing him to deliver a devastating flood. There are also stories of Poseidon having many female lovers and sometimes male lovers.
The destructive nature of Neptune is depicted in numerous mythological stories but there are some more cheerful stories as well, especially when reading between the lines. Although he was attributed as the creator of sea storms and earthquakes, the ancients also believed that he protected them from these devastating occurrences. He appears in so many myths that his popularity as a powerful god was nearly equal to his brother Jupiter as were his proclivities. Neptune had many lovers and children which denotes a bit of an addiction to love, romance, sex and also sexual violence. He was thought to have created horses and his rulership over water which encompasses the earth also has positive connotations.
Neptune is considered the higher octave of Venus and by influence lifts humanity above the basal aspects of human nature into a higher awareness of the divine, a source of all healing and creative forces. His patriarchal nature is seen in fathering many children, although some are certainly considered monstrous, and he was appealed to as a protector god.
His trident is an apt symbol of a “holy trinity” a tenet followed in the Roman Catholic church but representing God the father, God the son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit. In astrology, Neptune’s trident symbol may represent a holy trinity by his participation in most things that involve health/healing, art/creativity and spirit/God. Today, people of many faiths believe that every human being in spirit is like one drop of water in an ocean we call God. Water and spirituality have a long history together even today represented in holy water which is blessed by Christian and Sikh practitioners for purification or to repel evil or to bless people, places and things.
In modern times, Neptune lives on as a brand for innumerable trades involving water, energy and health products. Neptune Technology Group is a successful Canadian brand of water utilities. Neptune Computer Inc. is a manufacturer of wearable technology (smartwatches), and Neptune Wellness Solutions is a North American company specialising in medical cannabis products. Poseidon Diving Systems is a Swedish company manufacturing recreational diving equipment and accessories since 1958, and Poseidon Brands is an American manufacturer of food production equipment.
Higher Octave of Venus
Neptune’s reputation as the higher octave of Venus is represented by the explosion of new art forms since its discovery. Venus rules art and creativity as seen in music, painting, drawing, sculpting, sewing/weaving, and other “classical” art forms. There was also an explosion of new sciences and forms of spiritual beliefs (parapsychology and spiritism) around the time of Neptune’s discovery or soon afterwards indicating its far reaching influence as a higher octave planet beyond art.
Artists seek to recreate what our five senses experience by reproducing their own personal experience in art. Beauty is “in the eye of the beholder” and the appreciation and value of art connects us to one another as a community. It has also been said that art “speaks to us” or evokes feelings, again easily understood with sensual Venus as its ruler. Art and creativity is highly regarded in most cultures and in many cases is a form of history and greatly valued and has become a form of currency in its own right.
So how does Neptune fit into this?
To understand Neptune’s relationship to art and creativity one only has to think of photography, a form of media and art that is essentially a process of reproducing reality as an image and is not a classical art form of antiquity. Although said to be discovered in 1717 by Johann Heinrich Schulze who reproduced images of lettering on a bottle using light-sensitive materials, photography as we know it today (an image captured in a permanent form) did not occur until the mid-1820s. Nicéphore Niépce, and later his associate Louis Daguerre, developed the first commercial form of photography called a daguerreotype but was not announced to the world until 1839. Neptune was discovered officially in 1846, less than seven years later although like photography, it “cast its shadow” into the consciousness of humans long before then.
Many Christians believe the Shroud of Turin may be a form of divine photography, an image of Jesus Christ created in cloth perhaps due to a flash of divine light during a spiritual “reanimation” of His human body. Wavelengths of light (sunlight or artificial light) are required to produce a photographic image while also using certain chemicals. Essentially, photography is a chemical reaction and is somewhat “magical” as it uses wavelengths of light and colour that are unseen to create something we can see and save in a permanent form. Now this brings us back to Neptune’s association with Venus.
Venus, as the planet of creativity, aesthetics and beauty rules all art forms which may be created through various media, colours, and pigments, or using a variety of sounds, materials, etc. We create art based on what we see, feel or experience and are inspired to recreate these experiences as art whether it is visual art or not. Neptune as the planet of inspiration reinforces this higher octave of Venus in producing art that may symbolise the ability to reach much deeper into ourselves. In this way art becomes a spiritual experience.
Venus may represent the rainbow of coloured light we see when sunlight passes through a prism; Neptune may represent the ultraviolet and infrared light or energies on either side of visible light that we cannot see but we now know exist. Venus is not just works of arts and crafts; it may represent our feelings in a very personal way. Neptune may represent our feelings about God, spirit and the universe in a transpersonal sense.
Neptune in the horoscope is often a symbol of how one views, sees or understands God and spirituality. Some psychologists and the atheistic/agnostic types insist that the various religious viewpoints or depictions of God are merely our mental images or constructs of a desire to understand the mysteries of the Universe and that God doesn’t really exist.
As a higher octave of Venus, one sees Neptune highlighted very strongly in the horoscopes of the most successful or acclaimed artists. Whereas Venus may lift us out of our humdrum human experience through appreciation of art and beauty, Neptune takes us into a higher realm of creative and artistic appreciation as a spiritual experience. The greatest artists often have aspects between Neptune and Venus whether they’re financially successful, celebrated or famous or not.
Neptune lends itself to particular art forms such as music and dance whether classical or modern. It seems to superpower or supercharge Venus ruled art forms, making them even more mystical and sublime. It also symbolizes other human activities not considered art yet some people take their talents to such a high level of skill and expertise that they become regarded as highly as the most celebrated artists. People who are at the top of their game in non-artistic endeavours such as sports and science inspire us to appreciate their work as if they are an accomplished artist or celebrity. They transcend their own fields of expertise and live on in fame with superstar status.
Their activities “speak to us” in a deeper way, and in our appreciation of their skills some feel transcended and in some cases fans will prostrate themselves to a level that can only be called hero worship. These people become the patron saints, national treasures, or icons of their chosen fields and may be worshipped in the same way. The greater the celebrity, the higher their status.
Unlike the other higher octave planets such as Uranus (higher octave of Mercury) and Pluto (higher octave of Mars) Neptune as the higher octave of Venus indicates a desire for some to pursue spiritual transcendence or god-like status in a hunger for fame and worship, or to be near those who are celebrities. Neptune may inspire others to seek the highest expression of their skills and a similar level of success in life which attracts worship or idolisation by others. Neptune may inspire some to reach a higher relationship (union) with God or believe they have a special relationship with God that may more often be seen as a delusion. Some famous or notorious people are idolised as celebrities merely for their fame and today we unfortunately live in a society where celebrities are worshiped as gods by some instead of pursuing a higher spiritual relationship with God.
Neptune represents our personal view of how we experience God and for some that is not necessarily within prayer or a house of worship. They instead may hero worship others to obtain a feeling of euphoria or feel that they have special status with the object of their worship. This becomes very dangerous for those people who then may find themselves involved in a cult or cult-like behaviour.
As a higher octave of Venus Neptune may indicate people who are not living in the real world as they seek an extraordinary and special relationship with a narcissistic human being whether famous or not. This takes the term dysfunctional relationship to a whole new level and appears to be rampant across the world today while Neptune is in its own sign of Pisces.
Inspiration, Religion & The Collective Unconscious
In the soul’s evolution first we have awareness of self (the Sun), followed by our emotional responses (the Moon), our ideas and thoughts (Mercury), our feelings (Venus), awareness of our physical form (Mars) and with Neptune we become aware of our ability to transcend the physical plane entirely and find a union with God that is truly spiritual and transformative. Neptune may give us the desire and inspiration to become one with God, to model ourselves after our view of God or adhere to the “teachings” or laws of God. Our spiritual beliefs and thought processes about God may allow us to experience the Divine.
The word “inspiration” is the noun form of inspire and is derived from the Latin inspirare which means “to blow into or breathe upon.” This led to the Middle English word enspiren or “to fill the mind with grace, spirit, etc.” The adjective “inspired” originally was intended to mean “infused with seemingly supernatural influence.” Inspiration, the noun used since the Middle Ages is then thought to mean “immediate influence of God or a god.” So how did Neptune become the planet of inspiration? Through observation of its influence by astrologers as with all the other planets.
At the root of the word inspiration is spirit. Some religions believe in a Holy Spirit as a manifestation of God and even when not using the term, most organised religions believe their “holy texts” are the only source of inspiration and laws set forth by God. And herein lies the problem that followers of most organised religions fail to recognize who are told to or choose to believe only their religion is the “right” or correct religion and all others are deluded or from Satan.
Reading holy books or hearing inspirational sermons are far from the only sources of inspiration. At worst, many organised religions set out to brainwash, or by choice people are brainwashed into believing their religion is the only valid one, and their faith is the only pathway to God or heaven. This belief is then manifested into the worst of situations when “believers” or the “faithful” are told to judge or murder the “non-believers” as expressions of their faith. This kind of religious instruction or faith strikes me as coming more from Satan the deceiver than God. In many organised religions, the “laws” followed and upheld were created by flawed humans not God, and often were enacted to protect financial assets or control the believers or their behaviour. One example of controlling behaviour of religious practitioners is detailed in this interesting article on the history of celibacy for Roman Catholic priests. Of course, very few people take their religious views to that kind of fanatical level.
In astrology, Neptune represents religion and our views of religion and faith and what we believe—Jupiter and the 9th house are also involved but let’s stay with Neptune here. For many people, their religious views are often kept private and not just to avoid persecution by non-believers. Others decide for themselves that their religion is the horse pulling the cart and will behave in an inhumane fashion. Whatever one’s choice of religion, faith or belief system, all are ruled by Neptune in astrology.
For many people, spiritual experience can be obtained outside of organised religion. It has been said that Jupiter is a symbol of “what makes one feel high” and Neptune could be said to symbolise “whatever makes one feel inspired”. That could include nearly anything. People can be inspired by religion and faith, other people, a healing experience, art and beauty, music and dance, random acts of kindness, science and nature, their pets or children, and well, anything else including politics or social injustice. Some are inspired by people or things others may believe are harmful or even downright evil.
When one feels inspired they are often spurred on to engage in what inspires them as a vocation or avocation, or a religious or political activity, at times with great fervour. As history has shown, when religion and politics become blended, what to believe and what is inspiring may lead to delusion and destruction as political leaders seek to push their own personal agendas which often have absolutely nothing to do with God, spirit or religion, although they may exploit these topics to confuse, manipulate with fear, and ultimately deceive or demonise others.
Every day, many children and adults are physically, mentally and sexually assaulted in the name of or in the houses of “God”. Some are murdered. If that is not Satan at work then I don’t know what else to call it. Unfortunately, deception, evil, perversion, and subversion of the faithful flock is the flip side of the coin for Neptune, and good versus evil is not just confined to religion, we see it in society and politics every day.
Confusion, Deceit & Delusion
Like the astrological planet Pluto, Neptune moves very slowly through the zodiac and may appear to “burn a hole” in the horoscope chart, meaning it cannot be escaped or resisted it is such a powerful and long term influence. Yet many appear to not be under any influence of Neptune at all. Note that I said “appear”. If one experiences any confusion, deceit or delusion at anytime or anywhere in life Neptune is probably involved.
The basis of any deception is a lie; anything that is not true or real is false. Honest misunderstandings may also lead to confusion and delusion and belongs more to Mercury perhaps, but here we’ll discuss Neptune as a symbol of delusion, dishonesty and deceit, which often leads to manipulation, confusion and worse.
Like any other planet, sign, or house in the zodiac chart whatever can be said about it the reverse can also ring true. As Neptune is a symbol for spirituality and perhaps a view of a real and holy God who represents truth and love, this mysterious planet is also known as the great deceiver, which is also a term applied to Satan, the name given to the nemesis of God and goodness.
In some religious philosophies, it is thought that Satan is a fallen angel known as Lucifer, the former morning star and bringer of the light. He was said to challenge God, attempt to overthrow His power and for this was punished by being cast out of heaven. This story is very close to the myth of Neptune attempting to overthrow his brother Jupiter for want of power. The devil has often been portrayed holding a trident.
It is thought that Satan who has other names such as Beelzebub, Maara and the Father of Lies is the personification of evil and in religious history tried to tempt Jesus Christ and Buddha to worship him instead of God. Satan continues to try and deceive and manipulate humans to turn away from goodness and God with lies and promises of power, rich wealth and glory as seen in certain people, and most recently in the father of lies who is the current president of the USA and in other politicians or religious leaders who manipulate with lies to obtain or maintain power and control.
The late author and American psychiatrist M. Scott Peck wrote the bestselling book “The Road Less Travelled” first published in 1978. Perhaps due to its religious content it took six years to become a bestseller and eventually sold more than 10 million copies and was often quoted by therapists and followers of the New Age movement of the late 20th century. In this book he detailed his views about love, religion and spirituality based on his psychiatric practice and personal experience. Many people found therapeutic and spiritual healing through his ideas and utilise his viewpoints to understand better pathways to mental health, higher spirituality and healing.
In his lesser known and followup work to this book titled “People of the Lie” Peck describes a psychological view of evil which is more often attributed to religion and is the opposite to a Judeo-Christian viewpoint of God or Jesus Christ. In this book he describes how evil is inherent in lying, self-deception, and also in malignant narcissism. Ultimately, one is left feeling that Peck’s view of evil is that the hallmark of evil is dishonesty, lying and deception whether that is self-imposed or projected on others. This theory has merit as lying, dishonesty and manipulation are usually at the heart of evil and many crimes.
I mention Peck’s books as for me personally, after reading them I came to a better understanding of evil as manifested through deceit and dishonesty, and recognising deception as a tool of manipulation, passive aggression, narcissism, oppression, and ultimately a poisoning of the mind and soul; your own or others. People who lie and deceive manipulate others by holding back the truth and they seek to overpower and possibly control another by not being honest. They want to be on top and for you to be under their feet, abused, dominated or controlled. Why? Probably for their own selfish desires to obtain or maintain power, but they do it dishonestly which is the easy way out. At best, lying can only result in confusion and at worst destruction of the human spirit and happiness. Unfortunately, Neptune in the zodiac, which can represent the ultimate in spiritual truth, transcendence and union with Higher Spirit, may also be active in bringing us to diminished happiness, freedom and our own self-undoing by following the devil, the Father of Lies.
Planetary aspects between Neptune and the personal planets can highlight confusion, deceit and dishonest endeavours of all kinds, often relating to areas governed by the other planet. Neptune is the great deceiver, but don’t blame Neptune. Like the devil, it is merely a tool for soul development and we all have a choice to choose right over wrong, and good over evil. In Neptune we are forced to deal with Satan and the people who lie to us unknowingly, but also in Neptune we may find truth and healing when we choose to have faith in goodness, ourselves, God, and an awareness of higher consciousness. We should seek to surround ourselves only with honest people who tell us the truth, even if it’s a painful truth to avoid the lies of evil. For many of us Neptune tends to be a bit of both good and evil but the role of Neptune is for us to learn the difference and choose good, even if it is the more difficult pathway.
The secret to dealing with Neptune successfully is to develop your faith and your chosen belief system to help yourself and others. If you believe in yourself as a good person, living honestly, authentically and with a goal to inspire others to live honestly and love others then you may find happiness, grace and an alignment with a God of goodness. Honesty is a pathway to faith in a higher power that is all about love and truth. If you do not judge others or project your fears, anxieties, worries and self-deception onto others then you do not separate yourself from others and make them adversaries. They become partners in your own healing and happiness. Whatever you believe your life will be it probably will be, so why not believe it is good and not bad? Sometimes bad things happen to instruct us not to punish us. This attitude can be immeasurable in helping you to get through a difficult time. A popular saying goes something like this; “If you believe you can, you are right. If you believe you can’t you are right.”
Neptune’s influence appears to be to test us at times to ensure that we are making the right choices and following the greater light of truth, faith and a God of love and healing, whoever or whatever that may be to you. Certainly, a loving God would not ask anyone to kill another in Their name, or judge, marginalise or oppress another based on differences of race, sex, gender, age, politics or creed. Don’t most religions teach that God loves all? So why would we listen to political and “religious” leaders who tell us otherwise?
Unfortunately, many people follow false gods, liars and cheats and false beliefs. Sometimes we even elect liars or find them in positions of great power over us. Without faith in a greater good or a God that always and only stands for truth many follow the pied piper known as the Father of Lies to chaos, confusion and ruin. Lying is a form of deception that can destroy others in a way as sick and evil as the man who takes the life of his spouse and children before destroying his own. Deceit ruins lives and can include self-deceit.
Neptune in the horoscope may indicate a person, event or situation that victimises another in a deceptive and manipulative way. It also may indicate where, when and how the native may be victimised or manipulated, sometimes in the most heinous of ways, in close relationships by people who are supposed to love you. Mercury afflictions may indicate lies and deception too but Neptune may indicate outright deceit that can only be called purely evil and that often may cause us to question our own sanity and safety. It may be best to put as much distance as possible between yourself and liars.
Intuition, ESP & Magic
Younger generations reading this may be asking themselves. “What is ESP?” ESP or extrasensory perception is the term given by Duke University psychologist J.B. Rhine who throughout the 1930s and 1940s researched the possibility that humans can obtain information using the mind but outside the realm of our normal five senses. ESP is often also called the sixth sense.
In ancient times there was no such thing as psychology. Many practices, art forms or occurrences that today we understand are based on psychology or scientific fact back then was usually called magic. Many scientists today prefer to call any psychic or mantic art practice based on intuition as a pseudoscience which basically means “fake science” or “pretending to be science”. To me, that term has both a negative bias against something yet to be understood, or a capacity of the mind and human consciousness that is little understood. The term is often used as a pejorative by scientists intended as an attempt to manipulate people in believing that following any psychic or intuitive practice or their practitioners is foolish, uneducated, deluded or stupid. Parapsychology includes theories about ESP, magic and intuition and today one can earn a degree in the field and therefore it is not deluded thinking or a pseudoscience.
The word magic is derived from old French, Greek, and Latin terms but likely originated in ancient Persia from the word magh or magush and was defined as “to be able, to have power”. As it worked its way up through to the 15th century form magike it was then defined as an “art of influencing or predicting events and producing marvels using hidden natural forces.” The Christian Bible and other historical sources mention Magi (plural) or Magus (singular) which were intended to refer to astrologers specifically, but who also practised the arts of dream interpretation and meditation among their other “magical” skills.
Magician is the name given to practitioners of esoteric art forms we now call “sleight of hand” and is a performer of tricks and illusions, but originally the term described those who displayed skills in intuition, psychic abilities, ESP, clairvoyance, et al. The Magician is also a card in the Major Arcana of the tarot with similar meanings.
Although some in traditional science and psychology still question the reality of ESP and intuition, the average person may reluctantly admit that they have had at least one occurrence of a minor and sometimes a major feeling of intuition that later proved to be true. Most everyone has a bad or good feeling about another person or situation at some time and a few people often have these feelings. It is very likely, since many activities in the brain are still not fully understood, that the brain or mind may have some capacity to transcend time and space and “know” certain things or be able to obtain knowledge in ways other than our traditional five senses.
The planet Neptune appears to be very closely associated with any intuitive skill or knowledge, whatever name it is given. I.E. Interpretations of symbols and archetypes as used in astrology, numerology and the tarot, and also the interpretations of archetypes and symbols in psychology and mantic arts. Mantic art is an umbrella term for any art form that uses a material “tool” or practice to divine hidden information. Mantic arts (also known as forms of divination) include practices such as palm reading (cheiromancy), astromancy (an ancient but rarely used term for astrology), hydromancy (using bowls of water or ink to foretell the future, aka scrying), and tasseomancy (tea leaf reading, today more commonly called tasseography). Astrology uses information from the planets and constellations of the zodiac to “divine” information. Needless to say, many of these practices have been traditional to Wiccan or witchcraft practices that tend to freak out the faithful of organised religions. Most religions still today refer to mantic arts as forms of witchcraft and satanism and admonish their followers into avoiding and fearing them as “works of the devil”.
Granted, history has shown that many practitioners of mantic arts have used these tools for evil purposes. But so has religion. These organised religious groups like to gloss over the fact that some of their clergy have committed horrible evil such as raping children and adults, or who break other civil and spiritual laws, and sometimes within their own hallowed houses of worship. These may be a very small number of people but that is also true for the people who may practice astrology and such things and this is not a reason that they should be called satanists.
Neptune is the planet of illusion, deceit and delusion and also the planet of inspiration, ESP and higher spiritual knowledge. Whether one’s view of these practices is negative or positive is subjective but when taking a more objective view of Neptune and what it represents it is safe to say that it is the ruler of any spiritual practice or belief or religion. How Neptune is situated in a nativity by sign, house and aspect will often indicate what level of belief or practice one may have regarding their personal choices, practices, and viewpoints of spirituality to some degree.
It is ironic that many religious clergy will discourage their flock into not exploring astrology and other mantic arts, calling them dangerous forms of “magic” and satanism yet they also tell their believers that their own particular magical practices are the only pathways to heaven. One may include these officially sanctioned magical practices such as requiring the eating of certain foods—or avoiding eating certain foods especially on certain days; fasting in general or at certain times/days of the year; touching magically blessed water or implements; converting water or wine to holy blood; praying to saints and other non-deities; and touching or carrying relics and talismans to ward off evil spirits. All these we are told will attract that religion’s version of God’s blessings, our salvation and assure our place in their form of heaven. Many create holy holidays based on phases of the moon yet deny they’re using astrology, and forget that “The Three Wise Men” who sought out baby Jesus were astrologers who “followed a star in the East” to find Him.
Neptune governs all religious and spiritual belief systems and what a native may choose to believe. Whether that be a traditional religion or viewpoint, something more ecumenical, or agnostic and atheistic beliefs. The fact that there are almost as many different religions and forms of spiritual belief as there are human beings on the planet tells me that God has an incredibly ironic sense of humour since most people today agree there is only one God.
Many people base their behaviour, both good and bad, on their particular view of religion and God and may choose to enact great love and kindness to others; but just as many commit terrible sins, murder and other crimes “because God told them to” or they are “defending God’s honour”. Some even join political elections based on what God told them to do while showering.
One can easily understand how Neptune is the planet of intuition, spiritual belief and ESP but also self-delusion, deception and dissipation. For some, spirituality and their chosen brand of religion becomes an addiction or a tool of oppression and control and is very dangerous.
Severe Loss, Pain & Health Problems
Health problems may be indicated in any of the three houses of health, 6, 8 or 12 and also by planets in the 1st house (or aspecting the ascendant) and by the planet Mars. Aspects from other planets to these may indicate specific health issues. A health problem may be indicated by any planet, sign or house in the zodiac when aspecting other horoscope components of health as given above.
As the planet of severe loss, and a ruler of the 12th house of hidden health issues and hospitalization Neptune may also indicate issues regarding severe pain and acute or chronic health problems such as fibromyalgia (CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and lifelong diseases, or birth defects involving fluids such as congenital hydrocephalus. As well, when Neptune is involved with health issues the illness may be very difficult to treat or diagnose.
Common problems in health associated with Neptune involve the feet (through its rulership of Pisces) or mobility in general. It also rules the lymphatic system, the cellular and tissue fluids such as lymph, plasma and fluids involved in infection or metabolism. This gives Neptune an influence for good or for bad in nutrition, absorption, elimination and the storage of materials in fat cells and other cells of the body, particularly in fluid form. Neptune rules all liquids and may be associated with moisture and fluids such as sweat, the reproductive fluids, amniotic fluid, and fluids of elimination such as urine. Although, these specific fluids may also be related to other designated planetary rulers such as Venus for urine through its rulership of the kidneys and bladder. Neptune afflicting Venus may itself be an indicator of kidney or bladder disease as one example.
It should be noted that although Neptune rules cellular fluids, Mars rules the blood in general and specifically red blood cells, while white blood cells may be ruled by Pluto through its association with the immune system. However, infections are an attack of the immune system and Neptune will often be involved in any infection. It can then be understood that any illnesses involving infection or a compromise of the immune system could be very serious and life-threatening and is under Neptune’s rulership.
Diseases such as cancer, pneumonia, lymphedema, blood diseases such as mononucleosis, and the deposits of fluids or fatty tissues such as cysts and tumours (whether benign or malignant) may be indicated by Neptune natally or by transit or progression.
Pain in general is often the result of inflammation of damaged tissues. Although other planets may indicate painful conditions pursuant to their rulership (e.g. pain of a broken bone through Saturn, kidney or bladder pain through Venus) Neptune is often an indicator of severe pain, malignancy and the loss of organs, limbs or life due to the seriousness of the ailment.
Gases, Drugs & Alcohol, Chemistry & Liquids
Neptune rules the element neptunium, all liquids, gases, chemicals, medicines, toxins, poisons, nutrients, vitamins, minerals and herbs in general, especially when these may affect the health for good or for bad.
Neptune also rules energy derived from fossil fuels and also nuclear reaction (see neptunium link above for more info). Many people working in the energy industries have Neptune prominent in their zodiac chart. These fuels include crude petroleum, gasoline, propane, natural gas, and water. As you may expect, a strong Neptune in the horoscope may indicate working with plumbing, gas lines, or mining and pipelines of liquids and gases which are often transported at very high levels of pressure.
Neptune the planet surprised astronomers when observed more closely by spacecraft by showing off its beautiful shade of deep blue due to the presence of high levels of ammonia and methane liquid and gas. Methane is a highly flammable and stinky gas and is a primary waste biogas of digestion excreted in flatulence by humans and other animals and whose odour is most often thought to be similar to rotten eggs. As a humourous aside, horse excrement generally contains 55-60% of methane, but of course the ancient astrologers likely didn’t know this when they attributed rulership of Neptune to horses.
As ruler of water in all forms, Neptune rules freshwater, seawater and the oceans, mist, rain, fog, snow, sleet and ice. Those who work in extreme cold or on ice (hockey players, et al) may have Neptune prominent in their horoscope. Neptune also rules what is in water, underwater, and on the surface of water such as boats and watercraft, scuba diving and water sports. Wherever and however you find water Neptune is likely involved.
Drugs, alcohol and other intoxicants used medicinally, socially or recreationally are ruled by Neptune which also rules all states of mind, whether healthy or unhealthy, intelligent or mentally challenged, insane or ingenious, and Neptune is associated with substance abuse and addiction. It’s interesting to note that severely depressed, sick or addicted people describe feeling as if they are underwater, “foggy”, flooded by emotions, or “drowning” in addiction. Some illnesses may lead to hallucinations and some intoxicants are hallucinogenic. Most intoxicants will change perception, distort reality and induce poor judgment and inflate or deflate emotions and feelings.
Lower & Higher States of Mind
Astrology is an art form that is based on polarities to a large degree. Signs opposite each other are symbolic of two sides of the same coin. Aries is about relationship with the self; Libra is about relationships with others. Taurus is about your money; Scorpio is about other people’s money, and so on. Planets also have a duality in their intrinsic nature reflecting the duality of the human condition. The sign ruled by Neptune Pisces is symbolised by two fish attached at the tail but swimming in opposite directions.
Neptune is the planet of higher states of mind and of the lower states of mind. But what is meant by these terms?
Psychology tells us that we have a conscious mind, a state of awareness of our everyday life and our existence yet what consciousness is exactly still defies definitive meaning. It is thought that what separates human beings from the rest of the animal world is our conscious awareness of ourselves and life in general. We know there are other people with which we can form relationships and community, and there may be awareness of a force that exists in our life that may be termed God or a Higher Power to be more inclusive of all religious and spiritual views.
In this awareness of life beyond what we see and experience are our thoughts, ideas, and actions that are a reaction to our experience of life, and we are also aware that we will die some day. Animals are thought to only be aware of their immediate existence and are powered by instincts that preserve their lives. They are likely not aware of an afterlife after death and live only for the moment. This is true for many human beings too, but we have an extra awareness of a living and creative mind, if we choose to use it and live consciously.
Many people live their life believing they are conscious yet are actually behaving with unconscious and at times baser primitive drives that do little to separate them from the animal world. Many people behave in an uncivilized manner. Their conscious urges are based on instincts to eat, shelter and survive. They may live an entire life being unaware of a greater potential for existence. These people are living in a lower state of mind or consciousness.
Psychologists and religious people also describe altered states of consciousness, which may be achieved through self-exploration, prayer, meditation, faith in a Higher Power or even drugs and other substances. Alcohol and some substances alter our view of life and of what we are consciously experiencing. Some people may harm themselves and others when using these methods of altering awareness; others achieve awareness of alternate realities and seek to raise the conscious or spiritual “vibration” of their self and thereby create many benefits in their own lives. They may also help others achieve a higher state of mind.
Ultimately, all organised religions purport to assist an individual in being a better person and spiritual being, or to become more god-like if we model ourselves after a certain prophet or god. These religions promise that we will have eternal happiness in a fantastic heaven where only their better and higher life philosophies thrive. Yet often these same religions fail in helping some individuals just get through their day with a smile and do not deliver on their promise of emotional and spiritual health by following their practices and beliefs. That may or may not be the fault of the religion yet many people have left organised religions behind for this reason and choose to pursue a different pathway to God and spirituality. Perhaps their expectations are not being met by organised religion persisting in pushing ancient dogma that do not suit our modern world.
How does one go from a lower state of mind to a higher state of mind? That in itself is mysterious and subjective to an individual’s experience or level of awareness. Religious texts describe how some individuals achieve a greater awareness of love, God, nirvana, peace or faith due to prayer or a miraculous visitation or experience with God. We are told we should seek to achieve a union with God to aid our spiritual growth and awareness yet some people view God as a celestial ATM, or a vindictive God who pushes buttons and sends death and destruction due to our inability to please Them.
Neptune in astrology rules all states of mind and awareness, spiritual and otherwise, and all pathways to achieving higher consciousness, but unfortunately it also rules the lower states of mind, and the occurrences where people fall from a state of grace, spirit and happiness within their lives. E.g. Drugs and alcohol can create a separation from spirit, healthy relationships and happiness if these are used too much.
Achieving a higher state of mind may be a process or experience and a recognition that we actually exist in a multi-dimensional reality. Reality is what we perceive it to be, and when individuals perceive the same reality then we are told we should accept that general consensus. Yet there are always individuals who are born to defy the general consensus of what reality is or what we should believe what spirit or God is all about. These people are often thought to be mad or ingenious, bad or good people but their ideas, thoughts, teachings and prognostications if shared may have a great effect on others, mass consciousness or society in general. Prophets such as Jesus Christ, Buddha or Muhammad have greatly influenced society as a whole, just as some political leaders have done such as Ghandi or Hitler. Good and bad may be a matter of belief, and your current state of conscious awareness whether that be considered a lower or higher state of mind. People who achieve higher consciousness are said to raise their level of vibration. We also use terms like resonance to describe whether we feel good or bad about something; “That does (or doesn’t) resonate for me”.
We are told that our thoughts and actions will resonate with others, God or the world like the rippling circles of a pebble dropped into a pool of water. It is certainly true that one person, expressed thought or statement may have a huge effect on the psyche of others. Thoughts, actions and people can change our state of mind and spiritual beliefs and there are other catalysts too.
Neptune rules all tools or catalysts available to change our state of mind. These may be pharmacological as in hallucinogenics, drugs or alcohol, and they may be non-pharmacological as in hypnosis, meditation, prayer, sexual relations, fasting, arts and recreation, mental and emotional growth and a spiritual experience.
Therefore, it can easily be understood why Neptune also rules substances, events and practices that will shift our awareness from lower, higher and in-between states of mind. It is the ruler of all dimensions of life when speaking of awareness, or its lack, consciousness, subconscious urges, unconsciousness, sleep (still a mysterious and little-understood state of mind), dreaming and even death which is likely a transformation of life from an earthly plane to one that is not.
Certain illnesses (epilepsy e.g.), traumas (divorce e.g.), accidents, psychoses, and brain injuries may also change our state of mind or consciousness. All may be influenced by Neptune in the horoscope.
Generally, lower states of mind are the ways in which we may debase or harm ourselves or others whether we are aware of this or not. Judgment of self or others, racism/prejudice, vindictiveness, feelings of hatred, anxiety, worry and anger, a blaming attitude, focusing on negativity or illness, fear and feeling afraid or weak, indifference or being overly detached, a cold or sociopathic manner, being dishonest, fake or false, trying to overpower or control others, violent tendencies, narcissism and self-absorption and more can all be considered lower states of consciousness.
Higher consciousness or states of mind are any that help you transcend our earthly and animal existence. It is where we seek spiritual union with God or a Higher Power and one another which may help ourselves and others lead a happier and more fulfilling existence. An attitude of unconditional love, acceptance, sharing, moving away from negative experience and living authentically, faith in self and God, attachment to joy and laughter which does not debase another, good health of mind, body and spirit, feeling strong and energetic, motivation, accountability, responsibility to self and others, warmth and kindness, empathy and compassion, humility and respect, calm and peaceful undertakings, spiritual, mystical and creative pursuits, and nurturing self and others may all be considered higher states of mind.
Many of the states of higher awareness are expressions of unconditional love and are a higher octave of Venus.
Dissipation & Self-Destruction
Neptune has been called the planet of dissipation, which means to squander or waste resources. A dissipated lifestyle may be seen with Neptune afflictions and may include sexual promiscuity, addictions of any kind, lack of motivation and self-care, lack of focus, “biting the hand that feeds”, and many more self-harming activities. Neptune rules water the universal solvent and there is often a great dissolving effect in our lives when under Neptunian influences. Relationships are dissolved, partnerships and jobs, mental health, and several more areas of life may suffer a dissolution sometimes all at once leading to a flood of great pain and loss. This is one of the reasons astrologers warn about Neptune placements and cycles; it can be a very disheartening planet or span of time when active.
Often, a state of dissipation is a form of self-destruction and vice versa. Instead of using our natural gifts to create a happy life we become lazy, hateful and negative, we fall into addictive behaviours and manipulate, take advantage and abuse others or behave in ways that are very far from responsible. Commission of crimes, selfish acts, rash, impulsive and stupid actions may all create a destruction of the self and one’s life and others.
Neptune appears sometimes to deluge us with great suffering and pain. We may feel overwhelmed by a flood of “bad luck” or loss. Our life becomes dissolved in the way water dissolves salt leading to dissipation. However, like when the floodwaters recede, we are given an opportunity to rebuild, and from the detritus left after the flood we may grow in new, better and happier ways. E.g. When giving up an addiction one may repair relationships, finances and health, and having learned from their self-destructive habits build a better life that helps them grow in a way perhaps not achieved if they had not experienced the deluge. A greater and higher awareness is the result.
Severe Mental & Physical Health Problems
As described in sections above, Neptune is an indicator of great loss and pain, where we harm ourselves with poor attitudes or activities, and just through karma perhaps we sometimes find ourselves in suffering or severe mental or physical health problems.
Even mild depression can be debilitating to happiness and growth in life. Those who suffer depression or other mental and emotional health issues often hide their feelings from others, or express them to excess, creating further distance from the people and things we may love. Chronic depression, addictions, untreated mental illness and more may even be life-threatening. Becoming aware of these problems are the first step to healing. Other steps to heal from mental and emotional pain can include all those listed in achieving higher states of mind above.
Essentially, all of us may be born with health problems that manifest in the future as these may be found in our DNA. Those who carry the genes for certain diseases may manifest them later, and genes are passed on to successive generations. Sometimes there is no clear explanation for why one may suffer severe physical or mental health problems. What is more important is to learn how to prevent severe health problems in the first place as the cost of treating them once manifested is very high. Does it not make sense to avoid serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease by living a healthier lifestyle which includes good nutrition and regular exercise? Of course it does, yet many people who live in this manner still may face a severe and life-threatening illness. It makes sense to not get too worried about if or when a serious health problem may occur and it also make good sense to do what one can to avoid them.
However one may develop a serious illness Neptune is often involved. Especially if the disease is difficult to diagnose and treat. Allergies and intolerances to certain substances and which may be hidden for a time may create severe physical health issues, as can severe mental and emotional trauma which may also lie hidden for quite some time and manifest later. As research is finding, one’s state of mental health and physical health are very much related as one may feed into another.
As the planet of the polar opposites of good health and illness Neptune provides the opportunity to understand a holistic approach that takes into account all forms of healing which may be the best approach. The placebo effect, faith healing, and miracles may all help in addition to traditional application of healing modalities to turn around severe mental or physical health issues. All health modalities are ultimately governed by Neptune although other planets and signs may pertain to particular health areas.
Illusion, Dreams & Imagery
Neptune is the planet ruling all states of mind in general and these include our abilities to dream, hallucinate, have visions and create images and to also suffer from illusions, nightmares, delusions and confused thinking.
Deluded thoughts, nightmares and confusion may arise from activities involving lower states of mind. The desire to escape the realities of life at times can lead to escapism and addictive tendencies, self-delusion, dissipation and at best hazy thinking, yet the opposite is always possible with Neptune too.
Prayer, meditation and creative visualisation are ways we can overcome the negative thought processes and activities that hold us back from enjoying life. Creating imagery in the form of artistry and crafting hobbies, recreation and fun activities may all involve Neptune. Everybody needs relief from the serious demands of life sometimes and pursuing one’s dreams helps balance life and a healthy mind.
New Age philosophies led many people to develop vision boards, meditation techniques, prosperity consciousness and other formats to recreate what and how we envision our life. We can choose to use imagery to be more positive, and even create transcendent and transforming experience. As destructive as Neptune may be at times, it also symbolises all the things we can do to create a more positive reality if we only have faith and give it a try. But some insist on only seeing the negative side to life and delay their spiritual growth and happiness, perhaps in a form of self-loathing and self-punishment or to punish others.
Reality is what we perceive it to be, and at times it is in tandem with how others perceive reality and most will accept the general consensus. Sometimes, we perceive a reality different from others and different from how it is usually seen and understood. This is best represented by dreaming. When we dream all kinds of fantastical beings and events may occur and these may alter our feelings and experience in the dream but also once we awaken. Often, these images, symbols and archetypes are the language of the subconscious mind, trying to communicate with us to help us have better self-understanding. Interpreting our dreams and visions may reveal aspects of ourselves that may help us grow in understanding and achieve higher states of awareness and eventually a life that is more authentic and happier.
We can thank planet Neptune for revealing that we can create our own reality just by thinking it. We all have the magical ability to transform and transcend the pains and losses of life deep inside ourselves, but just not always instantly as we so often prefer. Give yourself and Neptune some time to bring higher knowledge to your consciousness and don’t be surprised if you discover you can perform miracles whether with divine intervention or not. Neptune’s influence or symbology appears to give us all the ability of shapeshifting our minds. Neptune is the planet of a thousand disguises and more. To change into another being, another self, and other aspects of ourselves hidden from view are very possible, but these may exist very deep within and require a shift in awareness or consciousness to achieve. Some prefer to live in delusions, a false sense of reality and may feel or cause others much pain leaving the rest of us to wonder why. When one dissolves the self and ego in the great ocean we call Spirit miracles can happen, and we may be taken to places we thought we would only experience in a dream. That is how magical Neptune’s influence in astrology can be. It can be a planet of tremendous growth or painful loss and often we have more choice in the matter than we are told or taught to believe.
Neptune is the great shapeshifter of life and is a symbol for whatever is lurking deep inside you. With faith in yourself and your Higher Power you may just discover that you have angel wings and can fly high above the earthly plane or very deep into the waters of spirituality finding nirvana and a lasting spiritual union with God.
Neptune and all the other planets except the Sun and Moon have a retrograde cycle. Read more about this here.