In astrology, Neptune is one of the most mysterious of all of the planets. Simultaneously, Neptune gifts us with idealism, but also confusion. Romance, but also lies. Spirituality, but also doubt. Compassion, but also guilt. It’s often hard to figure out exactly what Neptune is doing, and how this curious planet affects our lives astrologically, but one thing does seem clear: when Neptune turns retrograde, a lot of the fog clears, and we can see more clearly.
What is Neptune Retrograde?
All planets have retrograde periods. During these periods, astrologers say the planet is in retrograde motion. This means that – as it would be seen from earth – the planet appears to be moving backwards across the heavens. This is merely an optical illusion, because planets do not move backwards. Think of it as being similar to when you overtake a moving vehicle. The other vehicle appears to fall backwards in your mirror, but in reality it is still moving forwards at speed. However, because astrology is a language of symbolism, the apparent backwards motion of a planet in retrograde motion is important and significant.
Neptune turns retrograde for between five and six months every year, so this is not an uncommon phenomenon – Neptune is retrograde for over 40% of the time. This means that over 40% of people were born during a Neptune retrograde period, which means they have what we call a natal Neptune retrograde.
Each year when Neptune turns retrograde, some people feel the effects more keenly than others, depending on the strength of Neptune in their natal chart, as well as what other planetary transits are activating their chart at the time. Neptune’s influence can be quite subtle in our horoscopes, so you may not always notice its effects unless its action in your chart in any given year is significant.
What is the Significance of Neptune Retrograde in Pisces?
Because Neptune is a highly spiritual planet, astrologically speaking, its retrograde period is a time when we can look within ourselves for evidence of spirituality or divinity, instead of seeking this externally. The confusion sometimes spread by Neptune’s energies tends to clear, and the result can be a wake-up call which may – or may not – be welcome at the time.
When Neptune turns retrograde, it’s easier for us to dislodge some of its more negative associations, such as guilt, so we can make a clearer analysis of our past traumas, our karma and our psychological weaknesses.
In astrology, Neptune’s retrograde period is also a time when dreams and psychic inputs are stronger in our lives, so it’s a good period to practice dream analysis, meditation, clairvoyance or telepathy. Because you will become more aware of your own divine nature during the retrograde period, it’s also a wonderful time to start a gratitude journal, or to focus on noticing and enjoying the interconnectedness of all things on earth.
Selflessness and compassion are also traits of the astrological Neptune. When Neptune turns retrograde, it’s easier for us to see where our kindness has been misplaced of where someone has been taking advantage of us. Rather than withdrawing the kindness we have shown, however, a better option is to simply turn our compassion towards ourselves too – this retrograde period is an important one for self-compassion, even while we continue to show love and kindness to the external world too.
Aries Zodiac Sign (Aries Dates: March 20 – April 19) During Neptune Retrograde in Pisces
Blame and guilt are key words during this retrograde period, Aries – but the good news is that this astrological event will help you to rid yourself of them, for a while at least. This is your chance to understand that sometimes, things just happen. It’s not your fault, and even where you have contributed, you did the best you could at the time. Choose to be okay with that.
Taurus Zodiac Sign (Taurus Dates: April 20 – May 20) During Neptune Retrograde in Pisces
Links to a group of people are being challenged during the Neptune retrograde season, and you may find yourself caught up in scandal or lies somehow. Your best bet is to walk away from the group which is creating all the drama, but if you can’t or don’t want to do that, try to keep your head held high. Stay out of the name-calling and the childishness, and focus on higher principles.
Gemini Zodiac Sign (Gemini Dates: May 21 – June 20) During Neptune Retrograde in Pisces
Idealistic notions about your career are important during the Neptune retrograde period. It’s not too late to follow a calling, or to find greater meaning in your job, however mundane you might think it is. Find ways to feel empowered and proud of what you do. You don’t have to be changing the world single-handedly to still have a huge impact on the lives of individuals.
Cancer Zodiac Sign (Cancer Dates: June 21 – July 21) During Neptune Retrograde in Pisces
During the Neptune retrograde cycle, your challenge is to be aware that other versions of “the truth” exist – and that they may well be true. Upgrade your thinking on right and wrong, because you’re starting to realize that things aren’t always that simple. There is a lot of philosophical work for you to do here, but you’ll grow as a person with each step you take.
Leo Zodiac Sign (Leo Dates: July 22 – August 22) During Neptune Retrograde in Pisces
Embrace fear. Everyone has fears and doubts and worries, and pretending you don’t have is self-sabotaging and counter-productive. The Neptune retrograde period is a good time for acknowledging your fears and for accepting them. You don’t have to ‘fix’ them – just be with them and let them be. Living through the fear and thriving anyway is a key part of your spiritual growth.
Virgo Zodiac Sign (Virgo Dates: August 23 – September 22) During Neptune Retrograde in Pisces
Neptune retrograde in your house of love reminds you that reality is an important factor in a relationship. It’s all very well to put on your rose-colored glasses, put your lover on a pedestal and turn a blind eye to their faults, but real love involves acknowledging those faults – and loving someone anyway. Embrace the fact that your partner isn’t perfect, and nor are you. And that’s okay.
Libra Zodiac Sign (Libra Dates: September 23 – October 22) During Neptune Retrograde in Pisces
Everyday life may feel chaotic when Neptune is retrograde, because your organization zone is having to distinguish between truth, lies and half-truths; sometimes it’s hard to know what to believe. Reach out for help if you feel overwhelmed with your daily life responsibilities. Creating a sacred relaxation space at home might help to ground and soothe you.
Scorpio Zodiac Sign (Scorpio Dates: October 23 – November 21) During Neptune Retrograde in Pisces
Your imagination soars when Neptune turns retrograde, and what’s more you’ll find it easier to give life to that imagination through creative and mind-altering projects of all kinds. The more joy you can bring into your life, the more your imagination and intuition will reward you, so seek out spontaneity and feel free to break out of the rut you’ve put yourself in.
Sagittarius Zodiac Sign (Sagittarius Dates: November 22 – December 20) During Neptune Retrograde in Pisces
During this Neptune retrograde period, try to avoid smothering your loved ones with too much love. As compassionate as you may feel, it could simply be too much for your family. Give people their freedom and don’t take it personally if they stretch their wings. This is also an important time for learning to forgive, whether that’s forgiving yourself or others.
Capricorn Zodiac Sign (Capricorn Dates: December 21 – January 19) During Neptune Retrograde in Pisces
Truth can be spoken during the Neptune retrograde period in ways which are more difficult when the planet is direct. Speak from the heart and with love when delivering an unwelcome truth to someone, and use your compassion to its fullest extent – but do speak. There is a healing process to be had by airing what needs to be said, Capricorn.
Aquarius Zodiac Sign (Aquarius Dates: January 20– February 17) During Neptune Retrograde in Pisces
During the Neptune retrograde period, make an effort to notice your many, many blessings, instead of focusing on things you want but don’t have. This is a period for ditching overly materialistic aims and goals and instead for embracing the deeper nature of what it is to be alive. A gratitude diary will be a big help with this.
Pisces Zodiac Sign (Pisces Dates: February 18 – March 19) During Neptune Retrograde in Pisces
Neptune retrograde in your own sign is about accepting yourself, imperfections and all. Stop looking for praise from other people, or needing their validation for who you are. Recognize the divine spark within you and know that you chose this life and this creation for a reason. There are some very profound shifts in perception possible here, although they may take years of retrograde periods to fully complete.