Neptune moved into Pisces on the 4th April 2011. After a retrograde period, Neptune re-entered Pisces on the 3rd February 2012 where he will stay until 2025.
Neptune was last in Pisces from 1847, just a year after its discovery until 1861. It’s fascinating that the planet had in fact been observed before but not recognised. Galileo mistook Neptune to be a fixed star in 1612.
Neptune has this quality to it, it revels in illusion, misdirection and glamour. It cloaks itself in a veil of mystery, only revealing the truth when the time is right.
During Neptune’s last foray into Pisces, there were many interesting correlations occurring in world history. The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace for example which held a treasury of cultural and industrial exhibits set in a giant palatial building made of glass (and iron). It was built by ‘navvies’ (short for navigators) which came from the term used for those who built canals. The water association continued with the giant fountains and water features on display in the palace gardens.
These were the years in which Moby Dick was written, when John Snow proved cholera was a water borne disease and when the Mormons founded Salt Lake City. Darwin’s Origin of Species was also published, effectively undermining the governing Christian religion of the time in the West.
Perhaps one of the key historic figures representative of Neptune in Pisces is Florence Nightingale, whose self-sacrificing, compassionate nature led her to become the founder of the nursing profession. In keeping with Neptune in Pisces, Florence felt called by God to do the work she did, educating herself to achieve her dream. A quote from the Times in an article on the Crimean War is very descriptive of Neptune in Pisces.
“She is a ‘ministering angel’ without any exaggeration in these hospitals, and as her slender form glides quietly along each corridor, every poor fellow’s face softens with gratitude at the sight of her. When all the medical officers have retired for the night and silence and darkness have settled down upon those miles of prostrate sick, she may be observed alone, with a little lamp in her hand, making her solitary rounds.”
Neptune is compassion, confusion, deception, disillusion, dreams, ecstasy, fantasy, the urge to merge, refinement, sacrifice, unification and transcendence. He shows what we long for, what we are weary of, what enchants us and what we escape to when the world is just too overwhelming. His position in our chart represents where we need to merge with the whole.
On the day Neptune ingressed into Pisces, I posted an article I’d written about Lisbon Oceanarium (Neptune rules oceans). I then set about making a video of it using the photos and film I had taken on my trip there (Neptune rules photography and film). Lisbon is famous for its discovery voyages. I also posted a link to a song I love called Song to the Siren which begins “On the floating, shapeless ocean…” And yet in all of this, even being an astrologer, I didn’t consciously make the connection until a day or so later! Neptune was calling me without me being aware of it. His action is subtle, bubbling up from the unconscious through art and dreams and poetic yearning.
We have the choice whether en masse we succumb to the dishonesty of institutions, whether we accept the distorted view of reality that is fed to us by the media. Neptune in Pisces can be devoted to peace or can passively accept disenchantment. There is a danger that we have grown world weary of confusion or neurotic in the face of smoke and mirrors.
It is likely that this transit will bring to the foreground the plight of human
suffering and the urge to put others before ourselves. It is possible that drug use may reach intolerable proportions or that we will seek to alleviate the pain of those suffering from withdrawal (in all meanings of the word).
As I began to write this article I immediately thought of a book I once read called The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch. A Neptunian book through and through it grapples with layers of magic, self-deception and illusion, faith and failure.
Both Neptune and Pisces relate to the sea – the pool of our collective unconscious. The sea is both our beginning and end. It was the gestation pool of first life and it is to the sea that our remains will eventually be carried.
Neptune is credited with creating the horse by striking his trident into the ground. We call the crests of waves ‘white horses’. White horses have been connected to death, dreams (nightmares), the concept of a saviour (a knight on a white horse coming to your rescue) or sacrifice.
The etymology of Mare and Mother are connected. Mere is a old English word that means a body of water. Mère in French means Mother. The associations are numerous but suffice is to say that the sea is a body of water which carries us and sustains us. It breathes live into us and absorbs us back into the whole when life is done.
One of the attributes of water is its reflective surface. Neptune in Pisces is
rather like the cosmos holding up a giant mirror asking us to take a good long look at ourselves. But mirrors are strange things. Sometimes we can still see what we want to see, sometimes we don’t believe the truth, sometimes a mirror can distort reality. And of course if we gaze into a still pool we see our reflection but not what lies beneath.
With Neptune in Pisces we have the opportunity to transcend our limitations, to reconnect and know that all life is one life. They may be a pull towards spirituality, a lessening of emphasis on materialism. Or we may be drawn deeper into a web of deceit. It is possible that during these years, Neptune in Pisces may trigger a renewed interest in dreams and visions and the power of the subconscious. Or we can be pulled further in escapism.
There is something beautiful and terrifying about the sea. Its sound and expanse evokes a primal urge in all of us. I still remember the first time I saw it – how I felt like my heart was swelling as if some part of me was trying to reach out and touch it through the car window. I wanted to taste it, to roll over in it. I wanted to let the waves foam through my fingers. I marvelled at rock pools and the strange life there. Neptune in Pisces reminds us that there is more to life than meets the eye and there is much we have yet to understand. It can carry us to a better place or drown us.
Neptune in Pisces is the optimum time for all of us to become navigators – for each of us to learn to recognise the signs and symbols that prompt which way the universal tide is flowing. Then we too can discover lands that we couldn’t even imagine. Set your sails, the tide is turning. The voyage begins…