Neptune brings an ache


In October 2016, I gave myself a birth chart reading as a birthday present. After receiving my chart by email, I talked for one hour with Corina Dross, a talented, poetic astrologer with a highly responsive and intelligent heart-mind.  There were many revelations during that hour, but one that stays with me and has affected me the most is the recognition of Neptune’s influence over me in the last five years and the knowledge that it will hang around in my tenth house for many years to come. This is how Corina described Neptune to me:

“Neptune’s goal is to transcend your sense of being limited by your unique individual ego and to feel a sense of communion with the infinite. Neptune is the spiritual drive, it is the drive to make transcendent art of some kind, to have transcendent experiences in love. Neptune drives our sense of seeking something beyond this world. So having Neptune very close to Venus [which I have in my chart] is often an indicator that this person has a strongly poetic nature, strong receptivity, strong ability to bring in from the imaginal realms from the non-physical world insight, inspiration, imagination, longing, all of this into the material world.” img_1410

She told me that I had experienced an extended Neptunian initiation during the last few years [since 2011]. It is finishing making its harmonious aspects to the planets in my fifth house, but is next to my mid heaven [MC, sense of career] now and will stay in my tenth house for a dozen years.

Corina went on to say that as “Neptune moves across [mid heaven] it brings with it a heightened sense of sensitivity, a deep sense of longing and a sort of cloudiness about the details of reality—the shadow side (the other side is the connection to the spiritual). The shadow side is like a drug experience: You are not sure what the consequences are, where are my keys, what is truth, what is fiction? When you are caught up in a Neptunian experience you can suspend your sense of reality and come back to it later.” I have certainly felt both the shadow and the spirit side of Neptune.

And then Corina told me that “Neptune brings with it an awareness that there are things we long for that we will never have in this life.  It brings that ache for the perfect world, for the ideal, and touches us with that. As Neptune moves through your tenth house there may be ways you’ll have to let go of dreams or create new dreams for your career. There might be ways you feel called to sacrifice for the greater good or the good of someone else’s career. Neptune asks us to develop the qualities of our soul more than the qualities of our personality. I cannot give you any details because the chart does not tell us that, but it does tell the themes that might come up for you. Which doesn’t mean that you won’t have any worldly success, it might mean you get worldly success and decide you don’t want it.” (I have emphasized with italics those words that really sounded true for me.)

When Corina said that to me, it was if binocular lenses came into focus with a click, and I could see with clarity the barnacles on the humpback as she breached the cobalt sea. I have been feeling this influence of Neptune and thinking there is something wrong with me— but to know this is part of my path is a great relief. I feel a recurring ache for the beyond. Not the death drive, but some sense of reaching beyond the here and now. While in a part of my life I seek contentment, being okay with the way things are, accepting what is (part of both Buddhist and twelve step practice)—working on acceptance is in tension with the deep heartache of longing for things I will never get in this life.

The understanding of Neptune’s influence on career has been important. And when Corina talked about career, she meant not just jobs we are paid for, but the work we are meant to do in our lives. When I sent out a short story a few months ago and got a quick rejection, it set me wondering, “is this the path I want to take?” Sure, it’s a respectable path that many writers follow, writing and sending out work, feeling the routine heartache until it happens: you get published.  Or maybe it doesn’t happen. But I had to ask myself, is getting my fiction published important to me? Do I need that validation? I have had two books published and several articles appear in academic journals. Did it bring me happiness? Did it bring me satisfaction? No. Each time it happened, my ego flared briefly, like the bonfire flames leap when you add a splash of gas. But it also brought disappointment and self-doubt. So why would I want to step onto that path again, this time with fiction? That is the moment I decided to start putting my stories on the blog. When I asked myself why I was writing them, this is what I discovered: I am merely a conduit for creativity. Like Dylan Thomas’s “force that through the green fuse drives the flower,” this force is somehow beyond volition. It is the life force itself. And the natural outcome of creating for me is to share. Just as I like to give my finished quilts to friends, to cook food for people I love,  I want to share my essays, fiction, art, and poems with readers. (Thank you for reading. Thank you so much.) This is what I take to be the “new dream[s] for my career” that Corina talked about. Neptune calls me to honour the creative without getting caught up in the “game.”

Now that I am attuned to Neptune’s influence in my life, the sweet, sad ache of yearning does not worry me.

But I think Neptune’s influence can create anxiety. I am reading Rose Tremain’s Music & Silence, and in that book, Tremain describes what sounds like Neptune’s force. There is an “anti-knitting edict” in Denmark in the late sixteenth century: “This activity had been proscribed throughout the land as tending to induce in women an idle trance of mind, in which their proper thoughts would fly away and be replaced by fancy.  Men called this state ‘wool gathering.’  . . . They believed that any knitted night bonnet might contain among its millions stitches the longings of their wives that they could never satisfy and which in consequence would give them nightmares of their own enfeeblement.” (pp. 10-11).  This of course may be more about the general oppression of women in the sixteenth century than Neptune, but the “wool gathering” that Neptune cultivates in me made the passage resonate.

Today I am using my son’s painting to accompany my post (with his permission) because, for me, it illustrates Neptune’s influence. She is out there beyond the gas giants, beyond the asteroid belt, unseen but felt intensely as a pleasurable bittersweet ache.


You can see more of Nathaniel Churchill’s art on Instagram at oz.gonzales

If you are interested in buying Nathaniel’s art, message him on Instagram or let me know at

You can learn more about Corina Dross and her work at her website

(I slightly edited Corina’s spoken words from my transcription of our conversation.)

I quoted from the following book:

Tremain, Rose. Music & Silence. (1999). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


2 thoughts on “Neptune brings an ache

  1. Neptune is a funny one. It is on my mid-heaven (forever) and I am Pisces rising. The view through the clouds is misleading though often somehow quite pleasant. It is the bane of my existence and yet the source of so much intrigue and wonder and…well it always makes me think of that scene in Karate Kid where Mr Miyagi tells Danielson “karate here” (pointing to heart), “not here” (pointing to head). Sorry but I just love to explain life through Ralph Macchio anecdotes. Great choice of painting! As always I love to read what you write. Please keep it up (until you feel like doing something else).


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