It is time to bid farewell to Neptune's transit of Aquarius. Are you ready for a moment or two of silence and reflection as I raise a metaphoric chalice and try to be articulate and eloquent?
Ladies and gentlemen, players and pervs: I for one am more than ready to say sayonara to Neptune in Aquarius. In 2000, transiting Neptune formed an easy-peasy trine to my Uranus in Libra (which manifested in the publication of my first novel, thanks to POD publisher Xlibris), but after that early high point, transiting Neptune formed only two other good aspects to my natal chart--the trine to my Gemini Midheaven in 2009 (which manifested in the publication of my first eBook on the now-defunct Paper Bag Press), followed a year later by the trine to my critical-degree Jupiter in Libra (another eBook and the start of my ascent on the NY poetry-performance circuit).
On second thought, given these undeniably positive manifestations of Neptune in Aquarius, perhaps I am being too hasty to want to write off the bulk of this fourteen-year transit, in which Neptune formed mainly squares and inconjuncts to my Scorpio, Cancer, and Virgo placements. Still, as a "mud" individual (except for Uranus and Jupiter, all my natal planets plus Asc. are in the Water and Earth elements), it has not been the easiest Neptune transit for me to understand and groove with. (Not that Neptune at 0 degrees of Pisces, which we experienced last year between early April and early August, was smooth sailing--Neptune came within half a degree of opposing my Venus before turning retrograde).
Neptune is the planet of the collective unconscious, the collective imagination, the collective soul, and All Things Pisces (including the arts, sacrifice, sleep, the seven seas, dreams, drugs, passivity, prison, hospital, retreat, and the Achilles' heel of the Fishes: self-undoing). It takes fourteen years for Neptune to pass through a sign, and whatever sign Neptune passes through has a huge influence on ideals and culture (understanding that not all cultures are identical--far from it). Neptune glamorizes all things associated with whatever sign it is transiting, but by the end of the transit, much of the glamour has dissolved (another Neptune effect) into disenchantment (ditto).
Aquarius, the Water Bearer, is not a Water sign as many people naturally assume; it is an Air sign, ruled by revolutionary, reform-minded, rebellious Uranus. Aquarius also rules large groups and friendship. Although Air signs have the reputation as being friendly and easygoing, there is nothing whatsoever "chill" about Aquarius. This sign manages to be both stubborn (due to its Fixed qualitity) and erratic (due to the influence of ruling planet Uranus). Actually, there is one chilly aspect to the sign: its ability to detach emotionally from everyone and everything, which can make more sensitive, sentimental signs shiver (interestingly, the Aquarius time of year, where we are now, is midwinter).
Perhaps the most important cultural phenomenon associated with Neptune in Aquarius is Facebook and other social network sites such as Twitter. I myself delayed opening a Facebook account till relatively late in the game (i.e., mid-2009), but for a couple of years before that it seemed to figure in nearly every conversation I overheard (as a writer, it is my job to eavesdrop) or took part in (i.e., having to explain that no, I still hadn't joined the Facebook party). "Friend" became a verb during this time (as well as "defriend"), and indeed, the entire definition of friendship became more fluid (Neptune). It used to be that a friend was someone who essentially knew you and had your back and vice versa; a close friend was someone you could also call at 3 a.m. or break down in front of when your world was falling apart. Now a friend could be someone who sat behind you in tenth-grade Social Studies, or someone you didn't even know but wanted to friend you because you had mutual friends (many of whom you also had zero to slight actual contact with). As of this writing, I have "only" 151 friends on Facebook; most of them are just acquaintances, and only a handful are from my checkered past (I was so unpopular in high school and college that I've rarely had to deal with old chums wanting to reconnect on Facebook--although it was just my luck that the creep who bullied me from fifth grade through middle school found me on an online dating site and then sent me a friend request). More gregarious individuals have anywhere from 300 to 2,000 friends on Facebook. (I wonder if there is a formula for figuring out how many of one's Facebook friends are actual friends.)
The mass e-mail and the Evite, both of which were born with Neptune in technologically driven Aquarius, foreshadowed the status update and the event invitation on Facebook. Neptune rules masks; paradoxically, as Facebook has enabled millions of individuals to make their most secret moments, thoughts, and feelings public, there is also a sense of distance and charade. Similar to online dating site profiles (which had lost its "only for losers" reputation and become a socially acceptable fact of life by the time Neptune was midway through Aquarius), many people craft their Facebook persona, especially as the need to privacy has become more important at the end of Neptune in Aquarius (thanks to the Internet and Google, plus ill-considered Facebook posts and photos, many of us can never run for public office). Status updates that receive the most comments tend to be witty, sarcastic, politically oriented "preaching to the converted" opinions, or involve cute or hip YouTube clips. "Popular" people on Facebook will get tea-and-sympathy comments for woe-is-me status updates, probably because the odds are in their favor that at least twenty of their so-called friends will be online (especially with the rise of smartphones--another Neptune in Aquarius happening) and care enough to comment at that moment.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Facebook and other social network sites as Neptune transits Pisces for the next fourteen years. Personally, I predict the fever has broken, and that one's privacy will become far more important now. Also, TV and film may improve enough in quality to succeed in pulling people away from social networking in favor of watching something really good either alone or with honest-to-god friends. There will probably be an increased need to unplug from the sights and sounds not just of the cyberworld, but the so-called real world (whatever that may be). Retreats, spas, hydrotherapy, and spiritual quests will all capture the popular imagination; and despite the presence of Pluto in authoritarian, conservative Capricorn, I predict that decriminalization of "soft" drugs such as marijuana will continue, especially for medical purposes (the Virgo-Pisces axis). And recently a study was released detailing how psilocybin (aka "funny mushrooms") can be used to treat depression. Roughly midway through Neptune's transit of Pisces, Uranus will move into Taurus, which may spark a "pleasure" movement leading to outright legalization (but I wouldn't hold my breath--i.e., don't inhale just yet).
Since 1998, global culture has been profoundly affected by terrorism--in particular, terrorist "cells," fanaticism, and use of technology, all Aquarian specialties. To be sure, Pluto is intimately linked to crime, but in the case of terrorism Pluto is more associated with the "power behind the throne," secret strategies, and the result of terrorism (mass death). Also, during most of the time Neptune was in Aquarius, Pluto was in free-range Sagittarius (the sign associated with, among many other things, long-distance travel, dogmatism, religion, philosophy, and the "culture wars"). Neptune, ruling both dreams and glamour, has assisted in giving untold numbers of individuals worldwide nightmares and delusions of grandeur regarding terrorism. I do not think terrorism will die with Neptune out of Aquarius, but it will definitely go underground, and biochemical warfare (particularly involving the water supply) will be of concern.
Well, I see that Neptune has officially entered Pisces, so I should wrap this up. My ex-boyfriend will be showing up any minute with the movers. Yes, he is moving out this afternoon. Coincidence? I think not.
As always, stay tuned...