Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

The Lighter Side of Neptune


June 30, 2006


Dear Eric,


With Neptune coming up for retro soon, I have been more spacey than I want to deal with. What is the best side to retro Neptune?


Many thanks,




Dear Mona:


Let's take up the subject of Neptune retrograde -- there's plenty there. Now, I know what you're thinking. Neptune is confusing enough. Why does it have to be retrograde more than a third of the time? That makes it even more chaotic.


It is true, Neptune in any form is difficult to grasp, and it's often necessary to use some logic. This is an energy that's more like water than something solid, and you learn when you're little that you have to contain water in something to have any of it; and when you dive into a lot of the stuff, you have to take care not to drown. Relating to astrological Neptune works the same way.


This is by far the subtlest of the planetary energies we use routinely, relating at its best to realms of experience outside normal consciousness: expanded spiritual states; creative inspiration; intuition; high aesthetic sensitivity. The most common expressions of Neptune are in its denser and more toxic forms: deception and denial; the use and abuse of substances, which can foster deception and denial; and the absence of boundaries in interpersonal relationships, which creates mixed up, complicated situations.


If you're on a growth path, utilizing astrology as a tool, your relationship to Neptune is one of the most important things to work on. The nice thing about looking at life this way is that, if you have a problem with a substance (for example), you don't need to deem yourself an addict in order to conceive of your situation. You can, instead, think of the larger theme of Neptune in all its many expressions. Once you start working consciously with an archetype, you begin to develop a conscious relationship to the things it represents, and can, after a little while, begin to choose the levels on which you relate.


Retrograde adds another factor. Any planetary retrograde potentially suggests, at minimum, one or more of these possibilities:


1. Internalization of the energy involved. This is to say, during a transiting retrograde phase or when a planet is retrograde natally, it often functions as a more internally experienced factor than an externally expressed one. There is always a balance to maintain between the two modes, and often something to express despite a retrograde; and the need to internalize something despite a planet being direct.


2. Some reference to the past. Retrogrades are an effect of normal motion reversing itself, so there is some experience of time or progress moving backwards, people from the past resurfacing, or ideas from the past taking more importance in the present. There can be a review, or a time of integrating experience.


3. Some unique quality. With any retrograde, there is the sense of 'marching to the beat of one's own drummer'.


When you apply these ideas to Neptune, you get a powerfully influential inner world. There is an energy of reflection and thought. With any retrograde, a process is repeating or being gone over for additional development, emphasis or good measure.


I've suggested in quite a few articles that Neptune in Aquarius is the queen bee of the particular madness of our society right now. Aquarius represents many people, communities and ideologies shared by groups. When we look back (or if we look in the right mirror now) we'll see the extent of delusion that we live with as a society; a time of mass self-deception so vast and oceanic that we may fear that to begin having integrity would be like trying to bail out the entire sea with a tea cup.


I guess you need to start somewhere, and the retrograde to me is like a crosscurrent in the larger current of Neptune in Aquarius beliefs. There is an option; one need not experience it alone. There's a subculture we can access, a group that even those who are out of sync with the larger culture can tap into, or be part of the stream of.


On the natal level, here is a commentary from Martin Schulman's book Retrogrades and Reincarnation:


Retrograde Neptune Personality


The personality of the individual with retrograde Neptune is not easily understood by others. His motives do not possess the common sense that one expects to be at the root of all motivation. Instead, he vibrates to a higher music, heard only to himself. His perceptions do not come from the material plane, but are a direct connection with his Soul. Thus, he can be highly spiritual but cares little for the formed side of orthodox religion. He can have a great love for music, but cannot ascribe to any definite man-made structure within it. He senses practically everything, but he relates his senses much less to physical reality than to his perception of a cosmic universe. He knows much more than he could ever put into words, for here again he realizes the limiting qualities of language as being but just another formed boundary which could encircle his infinite understanding. He is able to see the appearances and illusions that others live in, and therefore has to try to make the best bargain between not toppling their sand castles, while retaining all the inner truths he knows.


Commentary on Neptune Retrograde (from


Retrograde Neptune is a time when the boundaries between reality and illusion get blurry and the energy of the dream life becomes larger than real life. Since the dreams are so close you can touch them, use this time to delve into your dreams -- keep a dream diary in the medium of your choice. Your dreams are speaking louder and clearer than the usual murky surreal dream state. Listen to your intuitions, court your muse, and seek inspiration. While the energy is so transcendent, stay extra aware of your boundaries and borders.


Commentary on Neptune Retrograde from Visionary Dreamer: Exploring the Astrological Neptune, Paul Haydn. Translated from Spanish by Paloma Todd


These natives feel a dilemma between their intimate inner needs and the outer world obligations; their needs is to find a meaning and purpose to all they do, and the outer world usually seems to them strangely resistant and inhibiting, especially because it puts them under the weight of social life obligations and economical restrictions.