Neptune is the great unknown. Like all outer planets, Neptune forces us to shed the confines of our ego and flow with the larger forces of the universe. Neptune creates fog and confusion, but it also creates beauty and bliss. And even though nearly half of us have Neptune retrograde in our charts, it can still have a big impact. For this post, I have limited myself to people with Neptune as the only retrograde planet in the chart so we can understand its effects as they stand alone. And in doing this, a few themes emerge.
- Romantic Sentiment – Neptune retrograde in the natal chart seems to create a drive toward dreamy, natural expression. Flowing against the grain of the society’s whims, these people find a more beautiful way of living. Take William Wordsworth, poet and one of the founders of the Romantic Age in Britain. Standing against the harsh, sooty march of industrial progress, Wordsworth sought to highlight the beauty of the natural world and recall the days of humanity’s communion with the earth. Neptune retrograde asks us to flow backward and connect with the beauty of the past.
- Meandering Mind – This backward, inward turn can cause problems at times, however. The best example is Sarah Winchester (who, full disclosure, has Uranus and Pluto retrograde as well). Driven by guilt over the people killed by the rifle her family’s company manufactured, she became obsessed with the idea that construction on her home must continue in perpetuity in order to placate the spirits of the victims of the rifle. Her home, now called the Winchester Mystery House, has become a tourist attraction, boasting stairs and hallways leading to nowhere, doors opening to sheer drops, and a winding, nonsensical layout. When Neptune retrograde’s connection to the ethereal meets the wrong mind under the wrong circumstances, it can become an inescapable current leading straight to madness.
- A New Box – But this connection is more likely to lead to genius than madness. People with Neptune retrograde have a way of not just stepping outside the box, but creating a new one entirely. Take, for instance, Nikola Tesla, whose inventions were so far beyond popular imagination at the time that it was decades before his work was able to be fully appreciated. Or what about Emmeline Pankhurst, who devoted herself to women’s suffrage and other social and compassionate causes, succeeding in reshaping society in ways that are still keenly felt over a century later. Or even Henry Ford, whose vision of a factory as one large, flowing organism working as one unit transformed manufacturing as we know it. These people might not be the instigating rabble-rousers we saw with Mars or Uranus retrograde, but their impact was just as vital and perhaps even more long-lasting.
Neptune retrograde is rarely a placement that calls attention to itself. Like Neptune itself, it is happy to sit in the background and allow life to unfold, subtly manipulating the currents as it goes. But this placement is not one to sleep on. With Neptune’s connection to all things beyond the norm, we find beauty, genius, and even madness. The effects of outer planets can be strange, but they are ultimately exactly what the world needs.
Do you have Neptune retrograde in your chart? How has it affected you?