published in the Mountain Astrologer
Have you ever become assertive and energized when talking about Mars transits? Or wild and adventurous when discussing Uranus? When you look at your own horoscope cycles or those of your clients, does your behavior begin to resonate with the planetary signature energies?
That’s what happens to me. I physically and emotionally feel, and often manifest, the frequency of the planet involved in a transit or solar arc, especially when I’m trying to describe a significant upcoming cycle for a client.
So, when I talk about Saturn, I become more serious. My speech pattern slows, my consciousness aligns with perseverance, discipline, structure, and order. With Pluto, I step into the primal energies of death and rebirth, moving into the trusting frame of mind that is required with the transformative process connected to this cycle.
This remarkable resonance has worked well for me, with the glaring exception of the energy associated with one planet - Neptune! Until recently, I’ve had a difficult time describing what I felt when I tune into the nebulous energy from this mystical giant. The spacey and foggy feelings would tend to confuse me, and I would lose the words to convey my message.
A telling example of this is my experience in writing this article. As I sat down to write, I would think about Neptune, connecting and tuning into its vibrational energy. Within moments, I would find that I was losing my train of thought, adrift in a right-brained fog. I stared at the computer screen, lost in ethereal abstraction instead of purposefully moving forward with organized expression. I spent many hours simply trying to clear my head long enough to write a coherent sentence.
I compare that to how I wrote my last article, which was about Aries energy. Staying focused on the speedy, dynamic Martian frequencies of Aries caused my fingers to fly across the keyboard. My thoughts came fast and furious. For that article, my challenge was to keep up with the words racing through my head.
I’ve always understood that Neptune is associated with abstract spiritual vibrations that are often hard to put into words. In fact, when I compare Neptune to Saturn, I typically use the example of comparing the texture of silk to burlap. Saturn’s frequency is rough and coarse, like burlap; Neptune seems smooth and delicate, like silk. Saturn is much easier to grasp and explain - the energy impact is so very practical and mundane. Neptune’s energy impact, on the other hand, is elusive and insubstantial.
I’m sure this experience is due to my particular learning style and the fact that I have no planets in air in my chart. I learn through experience - through touching, feeling, and seeing. For me to be an effective counseling astrologer, I first need to have a tangible sensory experience with a cycle in order to explain it well.
Thankfully, in the last two years, I have had a breakthrough with sensing and understanding the Neptune vibration. I had the one-two punch of overlapping cycles from this mystical planet - a powerful solar arc from Neptune to my natal Saturn and a transit to my natal Mars. I’d like to share my clarifying experience with you, in the hope that it may help you to see better through the mist when you are in a Neptune cycle.
My journey of enlightenment with this mystical planet began in the spring of 2007, when transiting Neptune squared my Mars (see Chart 1). I knew this would be a significant transit, because Mars is a key planet for me.
Mars, the Warrior Planet, sits in the 12th house in my chart, just 5 degrees from my Ascendant. My identity is closely aligned with the highly focused, even stubborn determination associated with Mars in Taurus. I’ve lived most of my life feeling inspired by challenge and nourished by aggressively facing anything that attempts to stop me from achieving my goals. My approach to life is direct, immediate, and to the point. Vigorous exercise is like fine food to me - I love the warrior energy and thoroughly enjoy feeling strong, powerful, and in command.
So, as Neptune was approaching the square to my Mars by transit, imagine my surprise when my usually fearless approach to life began to change. Instead of being energized by challenge, I started to feel indifferent and sometimes even overwhelmed. Where I would normally want to prove myself against the odds - eager to push past obstacles - I instead began to turn away and look for an easier, less demanding path. It was as though I had an energy leak. At first, this change was subtle and gradual - sneaking up on me like a stealthy opponent - then becoming very powerful during the first hit of the transit in March 2007.
In June 2007, a few months after the first hit of the Neptune square Mars transit, solar arc Neptune conjoined my Saturn.  (See Chart 2,) It was the overlap of a solar arc and a transit that accelerated everything.
This is important: The one-two punch of an overlapping solar arc and transit must be given serious consideration when analyzing a chart. This usually signifies a pivotal developmental period.
My life began to change very quickly with the two cycles working together. The solar arc of Neptune to Saturn started to dissolve my comfortable, orderly, and disciplined reality. I found that it became more difficult to muster passion and enthusiasm to achieve personal goals, resulting in a horrible feeling of being unproductive. Self-doubt started to creep in, along with a certain level of inertia. I felt as though I had lost all my initiative, as well as my sense of purpose and organization.
I have to admit that there were times when I viewed myself with a degree of self-loathing, during this initial energetic shift. I felt that I had lost control of my sense of direction and was wandering aimlessly, buffeted by circumstances. I began to wonder where “the real me” had gone. I asked countless times, “Who is this woman inhabiting my body? I don’t know her. Where did I go?”
When late summer came, I noticed that my normal ambition and desire for achievement had totally dissolved. I had to really push myself to stay on track and get work done. To my horror, even my house - my disciplined refuge - became messy and disorganized. I just couldn’t seem to keep up with everything like I normally did, and stark feelings of failure started to emerge. It became more and more difficult for me to find my gutsy confidence and determined drive; fear and self-doubt began to rear their ugly heads.
Our understanding of Neptune is that it has a finely tuned high frequency that is not necessarily congruent with life’s practical, mundane realities. During a Neptune cycle, aggressive impulses are softened, the drive to achieve loses steam, and the urge for competitive challenge slowly dissipates. While we are in one of these cycles, it is often more difficult to stay grounded and to engage in practical tasks. Instead, our energy wants to align with vague idealism, peace, and beauty. Imagination and intuition are often heightened. It’s as though the influence from this planet helps to create a bridge to abstractly philosophical, artistic, and spiritual worlds.
Throughout his work and lectures, Noel Tyl presented the idea that Neptune cycles can easily signal “ego wipeout.” I could so fully identify with the personal sense of wipeout that I decided to call him when I was feeling particularly bewildered and frustrated. I wanted to discuss how I could transform this foggy period into a purposeful, productive time.
In my talk with Noel, he mentioned that there is a reason for the wipeout: It creates an opportunity for personal regrouping and rebuilding. He continued by saying that, for someone who is naturally oriented to spirituality or aesthetic pursuits, it can also be a time of great creativity and inspiration - if the doors are open to those things. He asked me, “Are your doors open?”
It was the perfect question! I realized that, instead of surrendering and flowing with the Neptune vibes, I was full of resistance, and my doors were not open. Instead, I had slammed them shut, trying to keep out this new and uncomfortably abstract energy. Plunging into the Neptunian fog scared me. It felt so nonlinear and formless.
I think this is a very common reaction to Neptune transits, especially for type A personalities. Learning how to adjust to and proceed with the dreamy and ethereal approach to life can be challenging.
As soon as I faced the fact that I was full of resistance and apprehension, I could form a plan for making a meaningful change, which enabled me to connect with Mars again. I had my challenge defined. I knew I had to relax, let go, move with the energy, and find out where it wanted to take me.
I practiced staying loose and relaxed, not focusing judgment on myself and my unfamiliar reactions. I meditated more frequently and allowed myself to drift and have spaced-out moments. I started to pay attention for messages or guidance, when I ventured into the abstraction. I made a sacred pact that I would not sink into downward-spiraling self-criticism.
It was difficult. My basic nature wanted to drive forward and forcefully break through the hazy mist. I was very impatient to get back to work in my usual way. However, when I tried to force productivity, I noticed that my confusion would increase - once again, a clear signal that forcing was not the right approach.
Whenever I surrendered, I quickly noticed that new creative desires and avenues were opening for me. I began to feel waves of artistic energy flowing into my consciousness. There were times when my hands would literally shake with creative anticipation. I felt an incredible yearning and urgency to express myself, to explore colors, textures, and shapes. One day, I finally gave in to the urge and sat down with markers and colored pencils and let the creativity pour onto paper. How exciting! Several hours later, I had produced my first mandala.
Once I started to let the art flow, it wouldn’t stop. I would create for days on end. I noticed that making mandalas satisfied my need to have order and organization, even in my art. Mandalas are concentric layers of geometric shapes arranged symmetrically. Their structured symmetry perfectly resonates with the orderly energy of Saturn. This was an ideal expression of the solar arc of Neptune to my Saturn!
Mandalas are rhythmically beautiful and are designed as meditation pieces, gently inviting you to pause and reflect. Frequently, people comment on how a mandala can hold their attention for long periods of time. They mention that they feel that they are being pulled into the piece, as if they are entering a vortex. This type of art is not static; there is constant energetic motion, always moving toward the center point. The spiritual effect is a clear representation of Neptune. Mandalas structure and organize energetic patterns in aesthetic terms: Saturn and Neptune working together.
When I started to put my work in a few small art shows, it became clear to me that each mandala I made was intended for a specific person. The process I went through in making the piece represented what was going on in that person’s life in retrospect. For instance, sometimes I would struggle to find the right colors and shapes - tearing apart my creation countless times, building and rebuilding. The mandalas that were the most difficult to birth would always find an owner who had just gone through a similar process in life.
The more I surrendered to the creative flow, the faster everything developed. I engaged my pioneering Mars and bravely experimented with new materials, using layers of cut paper in my pieces - adding metal, fabric, beads, and wood for a three- dimensional effect. I found that it was difficult and sometimes overwhelming to keep up with the images in my head. They would flood my dreams and waking state. I felt saturated with abstraction and creativity - not overwhelmed, rather overjoyed.
The Neptunian vibrations sensitized me to the frequencies of colors. I began to hear color combinations as music. When the perfect blend of shades came together in a piece, a beautiful chord would sound. If I introduced a color that wasn’t right, I would hear a cacophony of uncomfortably discordant notes. I knew, at this point, that I had fully entered into the Neptune reality, and it was clear to me that my natal Mars was responding beautifully to this planet’s aesthetic energy.
Working for the benefit of others is also very much connected to Neptune. I knew this intellectually, but I wasn’t prepared for the waves of charitable inspirations that started to flow through me. I was intensely involved with the practice of yoga during my Neptune cycle. (It’s no surprise that I was drawn to a more spiritual form of exercise at that time.) Yoga helped to clear my channels, opening me to better receive the spiritual frequencies.
Often, during yoga classes, I would be filled with incredibly inspired ideas for how to help some of the people in my life. These would come as full visions with complete details. Without hesitation, I began to take action on these thoughts. I knew that this was the direction in which I had to move.
One idea was to create a fundraising event for a local dance company with which my daughter dances. The vision was so complete and comprehensive that I was able to put it together in a few short months, raising much-needed funds that allowed the dancers to continue their performances. It was so successful that it has now become an annual event.
I also decided to start marketing a friend of mine who is a wonderful spiritual artist. This woman has always needed a manager. She’s supremely gifted as an artist but lacking in the business end of things. I arranged for her to paint a giant mural at my children’s school and got her into a few large art shows. This launched her in a new direction, giving her enormous exposure and a welcome push.
In 2007 and 2008, I can say that a good portion of my time and energy went to fundraising and charity work. My schedule was extremely busy, and I juggled many projects at once - all for the benefit of other people. I felt completely nourished and fulfilled as I actively worked to help others.
As long as I moved with the flow and focused on art and charity work, I was able to maintain direction and accomplish my chosen tasks. It became clear to me that, in the beginning of the cycle, I felt so fuzzy and bewildered because I wasn’t responding positively to the Neptunian nudges. A new direction was trying to manifest. All I needed to do was to open the door and let the inspiration flow through, to guide me along my new path.
My life has changed for the better because of this cycle. I am now selling my art regularly, which has nicely supplemented my income. Because of my charity and fundraising work and the connections I’ve made, I’ve been invited to participate in several art shows, which was an unexpected personal benefit of my efforts. Even though my entrance into the realm of Neptune wasn’t very graceful at first, it all worked out for the best. My experience with this planet has taught me so much and has expanded my astrological vision as well as my career.
We always strive to recognize and receive the benefits from transits and solar arcs. These cycles are ultimately opportunities for spiritual and personal growth. However, when powerful outer-planet transits and solar arcs first present themselves, there are also often difficult side effects that we must understand.
Our success with any cycle depends on how well we adjust to the new frequency. As with any transit or solar arc, we must remember that the planets are not doing anything to us; rather, we are responding to the planetary frequencies. We have a certain level of choice in how we respond to and use the vibrations in which we are being bathed during a major cycle.
Neptune can act like a tranquilizer; its energy can make you feel dopey and “out of it,” with little to no motivation. Now that I am up to speed with “Neptune-talk,” I am able to warn my clients and educate them about the possible uncomfortable, even distressing side effects of these cycles. Conveying this requires some skill; otherwise, you run the risk of programming a negative reaction and creating fear.
It is far too easy to foster the mindset in a client to expect a bad experience. Word choice is critical, along with a reminder that we have free will and choices. We may struggle more with cycles from some planets than others - just as I had a hard time initially adjusting to the Neptune energies - but that does not mean we should throw up our hands and declare that the experience will be horrible.
It is helpful and important to maintain an attitude that approaches a planetary cycle with the expectation of good. Remembering to focus on converting the new energy into positive action allows us to respond purposefully to the cycle, instead of just reacting blindly out of fear.
There are many benefits to be derived from Neptune cycles. Just as Noel Tyl said, they can be a time of great creativity and inspiration. Even as I write this, I’m heading into another long transit from this ethereal planet. Soon, it will square my Ascendant/Descendant and then my Sun and Venus. I can’t afford to sit in dread of the fog moving in and once again shrouding me in confusion. Instead, I’ve chosen to view this as a wonderful opportunity for soul growth, greater self-awareness, and hopefully more artistic, spiritual, and intuitive development. My recent experience has prepared me to open the doors and not fear the fog, trusting that I will find my way through the mist.