Because Neptune takes an incredibly long time to make a complete tour of the zodiac, you won’t experience its full cycle in your lifetime. You can, however, reasonably expect to experience four major aspects between transiting Neptune to your natal Neptune.
Neptune’s cycle is characterized by evolving spiritual awareness.
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The catalysts for this vary, but they may be related to loss, illness, or emotional suffering. Neptune’s transits are often associated with fogginess, implying you’ll simply sleepwalk through these transits. Certainly the way forward may not be clear, but perhaps that’s because Neptune is calling you to walk an unfamiliar path—one that is not straight and unambiguous, but that nevertheless leads to a place you need to visit.
THE NEPTUNE SEXTILE
The transiting Neptune sextile to natal Neptune happens around age twenty-seven, just a year or two before Saturn’s return. The sextile is an opportunity aspect; this is an age when you may choose to accept or reject invitations that lead to a clearer understanding of yourself, the world, and your place in it. The urge to hide from reality has ended in tragedy for more than one twenty-seven-year-old (for example, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix, all of whom died of drug overdoses). To navigate this transit successfully, take the opportunity to retreat from the pressure of daily life. The strain of the impending Saturn return (age twenty-nine), however, can make it difficult to step off the merry-go-round and give yourself some quiet time.
THE NEPTUNE SQUARE
This is one of the major transiting aspects that converge around the ages of forty-one and forty-two, which astrologers call the “midlife crisis” aspects. Calling for a rather painful reexamination of beliefs that you’ve held sacred, this transit calls faith into question. Disillusionment with a relationship, a mentor or spiritual leader, or your career is likely. It can be a disorienting transit, but it is healthy to examine beliefs in light of new information or life experiences.
THE NEPTUNE TRINE TO NATAL NEPTUNE
The trine does not force a crisis of faith, but you may find yourself having to make peace with your accomplishments so far and let go of dreams that didn’t come true. The intense quest for worldly achievement that dominated your thirties and forties is beginning to lose its fascination. Giving something back to your profession and your community begins to seem more important than buying a second home or a new car. You feel that it’s time to put your life into a spiritual context, and this can be a time of exploring religion, philosophy, or metaphysics. Art, meditation, and travel can help connect you with a feeling of being part of something greater and more lasting.
THE NEPTUNE OPPOSITION
About age 82
If you’ve navigated the previous transiting Neptune aspects gracefully and consciously, you’ll have summited your personal spiritual mountain. Your wisdom and perspective are at their peak; you inspire those who are younger and less sure of themselves. But there are still lessons to learn from Neptune, and this can be an age when physical and mental challenges begin to play a larger role in your daily life. Acceptance of diminishing physical and mental vitality leads to an appreciation of the spirit, which grows stronger as other faculties weaken.