Neptune - Direct and Retrograde

Neptune Retrograde

Neptune - Direct and Retrograde

Ahhh Neptune, Deity of the vast mystery that is the Big Waters. His power is so often overlooked in pop astrology, and his potential to devastate and enlighten has its own flavor as we navigate the cosmic waters of our lives.

His purpose is ultimately spiritual. He helps us locate and embrace our inner “observer.” This is the part of us that can experience and feel every single thing without becoming tied up or wrapped up in the ego’s storyline. He pushes us to look outside ourselves into the Great Mystery.

Neptune has almost a perfectly circular orbit. This near-perfection represents the drive to seek some higher ideal outside of ourselves. This seeking is tricky though because we often play tricks on ourselves, project our desires onto people and situations in order to create a false experience of this spiritual perfection. We all have fallen under his spell from time to time.

Neptune’s energy when direct is intuitive, ephemeral, mysterious, dreamy, creative, receptive, and idealistic. He represents our inner perspective. As a co-ruler, with Jupiter, of Pisces, Neptune governs the feet, toes, and the pineal gland. This alone tells us quite a lot!

Are we standing on solid ground or is there only deep water beneath our feet? Are we grounded or floating?

Which do you think is more helpful to the pineal gland and our natural intuitive abilities as humans? I bet many of us would answer this question differently. This is on-brand Neptune. It’s impossible to grab liquid water and make it act like a solid.

While Neptune urges us to look outside of our human minds and egos and into the Great Mystery, without our feet on solid ground, we might just float off into the fantastical nothingness.

When Neptune is retrograde, it’s actually pretty cool how his energy can be harnessed. This is when we can flip the script and ground into the spirit world in order to bring the energy of spirit and mystery into the physical world.

The urge to just sit and drift can be very loud sometimes. We can get spacey and lost in the inner worlds. Our psychic experiences can be refreshingly loosened from logical and linear thought yet easier to interpret at the same time, which can be a true gift when Neptune is retrograde.



Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves,

And ye that on the sands with printless fool,

Do chase the ebbing Neptune and do fly him

When he comes back...

 - Shakespeare, The Tempest, V,I


This is when we can experience a clearing of the fog, especially if Neptune is challenged by hard aspects which can have us believing lies with relative comfort. The shift from foggy mist to inner clarity can be such a change that we may not want to believe ourselves even then.

This is when we harness our ability to discern. Humans are magical, spiritual creatures, and Neptune Retrograde can serve as a training ground for that deep inner knowing that ends up becoming a built-in lie detector.

Sometimes painful truths make us want to run and hide. We ignore what we’ve realized, try to numb it, escape, and put our blinders back on. I’ve certainly done this, even realizing as I did it that I was running from a truth gift that would eventually catch up with me.

It’s like we double down on the comfy illusion to give ourselves time to adjust to harsh truths.

the hanged man tarot

The Tarot card the represents Neptune is The Hanged Man. This befuddling, mysterious card represents an initiation into the Great Mysterious Waters. With his feet in the spirit world, our hanging man has a different perspective. He reminds us of sacrifice… both what we sacrifice for spiritual wisdom and what we sacrifice when our clarity is slippery.

There is an obvious connection to Odin, the Norse All-Father, as the myth that tells of Odin hanging upside down from the tree of life, over the waters of the 3 fates for 9 days and nights, until he could see and grasp the runes in the waters below him.

Odin is usually associates with Mercury as he is a traveler of the realms, but I see him in Neptune as well as this is literally the story of his initiation in to the mysteries.

Ultimately, whether direct or retrograde, Neptune either spiritualizes or dissolves. He helps us see what we do in order to escape realities we don’t like as well as perceive non-physical realities. Do we lean into substances in order to escape? Do we project our fantasies on our lover only to be disappointed that they are merely human? Do we develop the type of relationship with spirit that grounds us whether our feet are on land or swimming in the Big Waters? And do we run from the truth when it is revealed?

We are creative beings and there are no limits to the ways we can experience the power of Neptune. Our perception of “truth” is deeply connected to him. While essential to life, receptive, and generally thought to be passive, water can carve through mountains with relentless focus and consistency.

We just don’t notice while it’s happening.


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Other articles about Neptune:

Jupiter Conjunct Neptune in Pisces

Neptune Sextile Pluto Natal - Spiritual Warriors

12th House Synastry


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