The slower moving outer planets are the most significant indicators of collective long-term changes. Most recent astrological attention has been focused on the seven challenging 90-degree squares between Uranus and Pluto that start this year and end in 2015. However, we are in the brink of another significant transit as spiritual Neptune returns to its sensitive home sign Pisces on February 3 where it will reside until 2025. We had a preview of this transit last year when Neptune first entered this compassionate sign on April 4 for a 4-month preview of what’s to come. Yet before plunging into these metaphysical waters again, let’s take a step back and reflect on what we’ve learned and can still glean from Neptune’s presence in Aquarius.
This transit ran from late January 1998 until Neptune’s foray into Pisces last April, prior to its visit to Aquarius from August until February 3. Aquarius is an odd sign because it’s called the Water-bearer yet is an intellectual air sign. It’s more about thinking than feeling and has a powerful penchant for idealism. The dissolving effects of Neptune in this community-oriented sign may have washed away social barriers, but the most obvious expression of this has been the melting down of the middle class. A drop in economic status is a kind of leveler but not a desirable expression of this transit. Faith-based Neptune in brainy Aquarius also represents the diminishing role of pragmatism in setting public policy. The rejection of science as an objective source of information is part of a larger trend that continues to replace reason with belief. Science cannot explain the meaning of human existence, which is commonly the role of religion. Yet faith is a cloudy lens for understanding the mechanics of nature.
Feelings often obscure facts when Neptune enters intellectual territory. And while feelings are reliable sources of information about individual experiences they tend to distort reality within groups. The urge to throw off dictators and replace them with democratic institutions is a worthy expression of compassionate Neptune in egalitarian Aquarius. Yet the spirit the motivates these acts of liberation needs an intellectual context if political systems are going to evolve into new and more effective forms. These last days of Neptune in Aquarius offer another chance to discover the interface of spirit and mind, religion and matter, faith and facts. Pitting these two human traits against one another creates false dichotomies that may bind smaller groups together in their beliefs but keeps broader consensus from forming. Political, philosophical and religious differences grow when heart and head are divided. Happily, it’s not too late to learn Neptune in Aquarius’ essential lesson that each reflects part of the truth and that we need both to progress with peace and prosperity.