Generally speaking, when planets retrograde, we have the opportunity to slow down, review the recent past, and assess whether we're on an aligned path. With Neptune retrograde, specifically, that slow-down energy is more collective in nature—meaning you shouldn't expect jarring personal snafus like you might with a Mercury or Venus retrograde. Neptune is an outer planet, moving very slowly (it takes about 165 years to completely orbit the sun) and affecting entire generations in its wake, so Neptune retrogrades tend to have a similar society-wide impact.
The pairing of Neptune with Pisces is a rich, positive combination; this placement is referred to as its domicile by astrologers (meaning its home base) and is where its energy is best able to thrive. Both the planet and the sign are associated with dreamy vibes that inspire beautiful illusions, fantasies, and creativity.
But the flip side, or shadow side, of that Neptune and Pisces energy, is a lack of knowing where reality ends and fantasy begins. In turn, Neptune's retrograde in Pisces is an opportunity to examine where we might be toeing that line—and might need to remove our rose-colored glasses.
Overall vibes of Neptune retrograde in Pisces in 2023
According to astrologer Alexandria Lettman, Neptune retrograde is an opportunity to see things as they really are—to pull up the cosmic hood, if you will, of our dreams and delusions, and find clarity. “[Neptune] is a naturally introspective planet, so when it's retrograde and our focus is turned within, we actually begin to see reality for what it is rather than what we want it to be,” says Lettman. Thankfully, that means this transit won't create any more confusion, she adds: “It's more like turning our focus within and seeing things in a different way than before.”
"When Neptune is retrograde and our focus is turned within, we actually begin to see reality for what it is rather than what we want it to be." —Alexandria Lettman, astrologer
This work is an important check on the planet of escapism. With Neptune, in general, “what you see may not be what you get,” says astrologer Celeste Brooks. While, on the positive side, “Neptune energy is beautiful in a lot of ways because you can create your own reality,” she says, “the shadow sides of that energy are deception and confusion.” Again, Neptune’s mystery can have an obfuscating effect on reality.
Brooks's best advice for this transit? Constant vigilance and striving to be as realistic as possible; if something seems too good to be true, it likely is, she says. In particular, the Neptunian mist will clear within the emotional Piscean realms of life—like the illusions you may have around your beliefs, your faith, and your world perspective, says Lettman.
Brooks warns that peeling back those illusions could unearth some difficult or even upsetting truths, and it may be tempting to lean into escapist tendencies rather than confront them. Be sure to check in with yourself and seek support from others whom you trust if you find that you're veering into that territory, she says.
As for what those truths may be? That depends on which astrological house, or area of your life, the planet occupies for your zodiac sign. Read on for your sun, moon, and rising signs to get the full picture of what you can expect from this Neptune retrograde in Pisces and gather star-sanctioned advice to weather the storm.
How Neptune retrograde in Pisces will affect every zodiac sign
Is your tendency toward escapism holding you back from your goals and dreams, Aries? Neptune retrograde in Pisces hits your 12th house, which symbolizes the subconscious and the psyche, and could turn your attention toward a personal truth you've been avoiding. Brooks recommends being kind to yourself because you're contending with deep work here. Aim to take advantage of the calming and healing effects of nature this summer, and make time for solitude.
Neptune is in your 11th house of groups, friends, hopes, and dreams, Taurus. According to Lettman, you'll be invited to revisit your goals and assess whether they align with your efforts. “You’re considering whether you've been realistic with your goal-setting and expectations, or if you've been unfair to yourself,” she says.
Brooks recommends creating space for creativity and exploring new dreams and hopes that might align better with what you truly want—for example, by drawing on a blank whiteboard and finding ways to connect with others.
The focus of this transit will revolve around your work, Gemini, because Neptune transits your 10th house of career, prestige, and public persona. During this retrograde, you’ll take a look at how your career goals are shaping up and whether they still feel realistic, says Lettman.
“Perhaps you've experienced an overwhelming longing for fulfillment and that's caused you to be naïve about what efforts are actually necessary for you to achieve your ambitions,” says Lettman. You may need to make plans to redirect your efforts or step up your investment of time or energy to get what you want.
Neptune lands in your ninth house of higher learning and exploration, Cancer. This area of your life also encompasses your beliefs and morals—and according to Lettman, you could realize you've looked too often to others for guidance and reassurance in your decision-making without creating your own sense of morality. "It's possible that what you thought was your intuition may have actually just been you projecting your feelings onto a situation," she says, "so this moment of truth is coming to terms with the fact that you need to start taking more responsibility for your actions."
The ninth house also governs long-distance travel, says Brooks, so a supportive way to realign and clarify your personal philosophy could be planning a trip that'll help you get back to your sense of self.
Neptune transits your eighth house of deep psychological processes, Leo. During this retrograde, Brooks says you may need to examine some of your less-desirable traits, and that you should be gentle with yourself as you do so. “Try to have compassion for yourself and be more accepting of your flaws and of not being perfect,” she says.
Embracing self-care practices will be essential during this time, says Lettman; just be sure you aren't leaning on self-indulgence as a means of avoiding tough truths about yourself.
Are your long-term partnerships—platonic, romantic, or business—really serving you, Virgo? Neptune retrogrades in your seventh house of partnerships, which could have you taking a critical eye to those relationships, says Brooks.
If you have a romantic partner, "you may be a little disillusioned with them, or something negative about them may be exposed," says Brooks. Single? She advises not getting lost in any fantasies about people you've just met, and taking the time to really get to know them before finding them a more permanent place in your life.
Neptune moves through your sixth house of health and routines, Libra. In turn, you might find that daydreaming and escapism have caused you to shirk some of your key daily responsibilities to yourself and your well-being, says Lettman.
Maybe you’ve been pushing yourself too hard—for example, not resting sufficiently and charging ahead with work and fun when you're not feeling 100 percent. “If you’ve put off taking care of yourself physically, and you’re overlooking what your body is telling you, it’s going to be harder to overlook those things during this retrograde,” she says. Listen to your body and brain, especially when you’re not feeling well, and devote time to recovery, so you’re back in balance.
It’s time to look at things as they really are in your relationships, Scorpio, and peel back any layers of fantasy you’ve created for yourself. Neptune retrogrades in your fifth house of pleasure, love, and fun, clearing away any delusion in those realms of your life.
Have you, perhaps, put yourself aside to accommodate someone else, or are you giving too much of yourself away to a partner? “You could find yourself reviewing where you’ve been hypersensitive in your relationships and where you’ve over-sacrificed yourself and your needs,” says Lettman.
As the zodiac's archetypal adventurer, you’re often in a faraway place, Sagittarius, whether physically or mentally. But with Neptune transiting your fourth house of home and family, Lettman says it’s time to come back down to Earth—and to your roots—and examine how you can form deeper connections with your loved ones.
Given your explorative nature, your mind tends to run a mile a minute—so it's worth taking extra care to be fully present with your loved ones when you're together. Brooks also advises mustering up a little extra sympathy and compassion for your family members over these next few months and “leading with love.”
Neptune retrograde in Pisces highlights your third house of communication and intellect, Capricorn. Given that this house has a lot to do with how you tackle and analyze problems, you may uncover ways in which you've allowed fantasy to warp your decision-making.
“You’re beginning to see where you may have contradicted yourself and how your emotions or judgment have clouded your common sense,” says Lettman. Showing kindness to yourself will help you find more clarity, she adds. Brooks also advises reaching out to siblings, if you have them, and leaving time for creative pursuits that center communication, particularly writing, as a means to problem-solve.
Neptune retrogrades in your second house of possessions, material items, and money, Aquarius. This is the time to really examine your financial decisions, says Lettman.
You could find that you regret buying certain items that don't live up to your expectations—perhaps items you bought just because someone else had them. Take time to explore what, exactly, may have motivated these purchasing decisions. “This is generally a good time for you to review your budgeting and spending with a clearer head,” says Lettman.
This is a biggie for you, Pisces, as Neptune is transiting in your sign (aka your first house of self and identity). You tend to feel more like yourself when Neptune is in Pisces and may have felt more creative or thoughtful over the past several years as a result—but with each year's retrograde, you have a chance to get real about the progress you've made and where you'd like to be in life, says Lettman.
She advises looking at the expectations you've set for yourself, and examining whether they come from your wants and needs or from somewhere else. “You may realize that you’ve absorbed too many of the feelings, emotions, and ideas of the people around you, and you’re coming to terms with that,” says Lettman.
Since the first house is also the house of vitality, it's a great idea to take extra good care of yourself over the next few months by prioritizing adequate, restful sleep, too, says Brooks.
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