Neptune is one of the “transformational” planets – more recently discovered it does not fall under the traditional category of planets which include the luminaries (Sun and Moon) as well as the planets traditionally used by astrologers which include all the other solar system planets through Saturn. I have found that the transformational planets do not operate on a personal level; instead, they inspire and motivate change.
At its higher level of operation, Neptune encourages us to transcend the boundaries of the material world in order to enjoy a spiritual experience of bliss and “not-self.” However, there are different ways to achieve that experience and not all of them are positive. Meditation, music, art – these all encourage the highest expression of Neptune. But alcohol and drugs are also used to obtain that experience of “not-self” which verges on oblivion rather than bliss.
For the first eight years that Neptune moves through Pisces Chiron will be there as well. In its role as the Wounded Healer (or as I prefer to call it, the Soul Healer) Chiron reveals any area in our world which requires release and healing so that a greater wisdom may emerge. We are likely to see a more advanced wave of “designer” drugs – pharmaceuticals designed to evoke certain experiences. The legalization of marijuana for medical use, and its adoption by pharmaceutical companies for profit, is likely to come rather quickly.
The spread of legalization of marijuana is certainly occurring, and so is the spread of opioids to quash the psycho-emotional pain that Chiron added to the Neptunian mists. In fact, since Neptune entered Pisces the rates of opioid addiction have increased by over 500% A study by Blue Cross Blue Shield found “In 2010, there were just 1.4 incidences of opioid use disorder among every 1000 members. By 2016, that rate had climbed to 8.3 incidences for every 1000 members.”
There is a lot of talk about how to treat opioid addiction pharmaceutically, especially in light of the health care debate. But from the astrological viewpoint replacing one drug to kill emotional pain with another, as was done with methadone treatment for heroin addiction, will not solve the problem. The astrological problem, from my perspective, is that Neptune in Pisces is driving us all to seek greater meaning and a higher experience in our lives. The materialistic focus on achievement and power and things will no longer work under Neptune in Pisces but many people are unable to find a way to transcend their pain.
This pain appears to be both physical and emotional, and the two are often connected. Many individuals who become addicted to opioids begin taking them for pain related to injury. Other types of pain, such as back pain and fibromyalgia, likely have an emotional component such as the work pioneered by Dr. John Sarno. In some studies yoga and meditation have been found to be helpful in relieving pain symptoms.
We can all navigate the transit of Neptune in Pisces (which will continue until 2026) more successfully if we focus on bringing more transcendent experiences into our lives. Finding a spiritual connection through meditation, song, yoga, or religious bliss. Allowing the creative side of your being to emerge. Spending time in the stillness of nature. Ultimately all of these experiences will bring us closer to the bliss and heightened awareness of consciousness that is called for now.