Neptune – planet of mystery and imagination

“Neptune represents the transcendent, the awareness of intangibles, the sense of the sublime, the insubstantial, the imaginative, the psychic sense, the inspirational and the illusory, and hence symbolises the artificial, the cosmetic, the deceptive and the mystical.”
—Garth Carpenter, Aspects of Astrology

Neptune planet of mystery

A NASA photo of Neptune. The official caption notes, “This color image shows several complex and puzzling atmospheric features.” (!)

Neptune − by its very nature — is rather hard to pin down. Neptunian energy is elusive, diffuse and mysterious.

And perhaps consequently, opinions about the astrological meaning of Neptune vary a fair bit among astrologers.

In this post, my aim is to give you an overview of Neptune, a generally agreed consensus.

Neptune was discovered in 1846, so it was (like Uranus and Pluto) unknown to ancient astrologers, who didn’t have the luxury of powerful telescopes.

Astrologers refer to Neptune, along with Uranus and Pluto, as ‘transpersonal’ planets. In other words, it is to do with larger life undercurrents and themes that are beyond the ‘everyday.’

When a transpersonal planet aspects one of the inner ‘personal’ planets in our horoscopes by transit, progression or solar arc, then certain life events often occur.

The nature of the life event will vary, but the underlying tone of the event will be defined by the transpersonal planet involved.

Pluto will involve power, force and transformation on a deep level. Uranus indicates reversals, sudden change and unexpected surprises.

While a Neptune transit, particularly by hard aspect, will bring some or all of the following themes: sensitivity, dreaminess, lack of clarity, idealism and imagination.

Let’s explore some of these in more detail.


People with Neptune prominent in their horoscope are likely to be sensitive.

By ‘prominent’, I mean Neptune close to the Ascendant, Midheaven, Nadir (4th house cusp) or 7th house cusp. Or Neptune in hard aspect to another planet in the horoscope. Particularly to the inner, personal planets.

For instance, they might be emotionally sensitivity due to Neptune in aspect to their Moon.

Or sensitive to what other people say, and what they say themselves. This would be shown by Neptune aspecting one’s Mercury, planet of communication and thinking.

Or Neptune to the Sun would indicate that the person’s identity (Sun) has a Neptunian flavour, an otherworldliness.

Highly sensitive people can have access to other dimensions of consciousness, such as the imaginal realm. This can seem fasincating and delighful, but overwhelming.

Which is why Neptune is associated with art, drama, and creativity. Particuarly creativity drawing upon the mythical, mystical and imaginal realms.

Lord of the Rings moviemaker Peter Jackson, poet John Keats, and musician Jeff Buckley all have Neptune conjunct (close to) the Sun in their horoscopes. And for all three, the conjunction occurs in intense Scorpio.

And their creative output reflects this signature. Here’s a reading of Keats’ famous and otherworldy Ode to a Nightingale.

Or, on a simpler level, they might just be able to ‘tap into’ a vivid imagination, one which drives the person’s art or creative expression.

Consider L. Ron Hubbard’s horoscope – for a time he was a prolific pulp-fiction writer. His grand trine between Jupiter, Mercury and Neptune provided the ability to view complete stories in his imagination.


My astrology teacher used to say there are two kinds of desire: Venus desire and Neptune desire.

Venus desire is desire that wants something tangible in return. For instance, I want to buy that new coat because I want to appear fashionable and improve my status.

Neptune desire has no such obvious pay-off.

Neptunian desire is based on a transpersonal grand vision or ideal. Something rather undefinable. Something that someone just has to do, without obvious personal benefit.

It can appear as a mission or purpose, an ideal on the collective level rather than the personal.

An example might be someone who decides to give up a comfortable life to do aid work in impoverished countries. Famous Australian eye surgeon Fred Hollows did just that.

Or Saint Francis of Assisi, who gave up his affluent life to help the poor and sick.

Neptune desire (like Venus desire) won’t always express positively. Infamous nazi Heinrich Himmler had a prominent Neptune.

One of his collective Neptunian desires was to rid the world of ‘sub-humans’. This included Jews, gypsies and many others.


As you might have guessed, there’s an overall mysterious quality to Neptune. It’s chameleon-like. It dissolves boundaries, particulary between the ‘real’ and the ‘unreal’.

And these attributes might be equally useful for the actor or con-man, the visionary or mystic.

Neptune helps the actor ‘be’ someone else, slip easily into a role.

Because they imagine themselves being that person. And so ‘pretending’ is a facet of Neptune.

For instance, some actors’ horoscopes have Neptune aspecting their Moon. These appropriately include Westworld-connected actors Ed HarrisAnthony Hopkins, and Yul Brynner.

Neptune to Moon assists with giving a nuanced and emotionally (Moon) sensitive (Neptune) performance, particulary in a Neptunian show like Westworld.

Will Ferrell, Errol Flynn, Michael Douglas and Julia Roberts also have Moon-Neptune aspects.

Cult leaders typically have an otherworldy Neptunian allure.

They present as mysterious and spiritual in touch with higher realms. And they attract followers, eager to be part of this vision.

At worst, the followers end up deceived, anaesthetised, and caught up in something sinister.

A good illustration of Neptune energy is the documentary Holy Hell, on Netflix. It’s a disturbing portrait of a alluring but ultimately ego-centric cult leader who exploits his followers.

Or Claude Vorilhon, aka Raël, fouder of the Raelian movement. Until December 13th 1973 Vorilhon was a journalist. And then he had an encouter with a being from a UFO, and that changed everything.

The encounter coincided with transiting Pluto conjuncting his natal (i.e. horoscope) Sun-Neptune conjunction.


Genuine spiritual leaders also tap into Neptune. Because spirituality is about connecting with other dimensions, and even with other beings (e.g. angels, the holy spirit).

Neptune is transcendental and essentially morally neutral.

Gregorian chant and other spiritual music with an otherworldy Neptunian flavour is often helpful to attune to the higher senses during meditation and prayer.


Neptune is also associated with escapism. And drugs. But why?

Because on the one hand drugs are a short-cut to other worlds, such as the imaginal. Drugs ‘break down’ boundaries between reality and unreality. And these are Neptune characteristics.

Drugs have been used in rituals by shamans and others for thousands of years, to connect with the spirit world.

Particularly sensitive people may find life ovewhelming. ‘Losing oneself’ via a drug might seem an attractive option.

In a more mundane sense, Neptune is associated with anaesthestics and hypnosis. Because both send our consciousnes into different mental states.

Neptune is also involved when we go to the cinema. We are temporarily entering another world, playing ‘make believe’ and engaging the imagination. Suspending everyday reality.

Neptune: summary

[Neptune’s psychological function is the] capacity to transcend the finite self through union with a larger whole.” – Demetra George, Astrology and the Authentic Self

Neptune is somewhere in your horoscope — we all have one!

It may be aspecting a personal planet. Or it could be conjunct your Ascendant or Midheaven. Or it could be fairly quiet.

Whatever its status, Neptune says something about our ideals, our imagination. And when in mid-life transiting Neptune forms a square aspect (about 90°) toNeptune in our horoscope, then these ideals are reviewed and assessed.

Which is the transit Angelina Jolie was going through, when she announced the divorce from Brad Pitt.



  1. Yes, you know my very Neptunian daughter, until you explained it to me, I was just baffled by her. I understand now why she is so complicated and it’s easier to accept.

    • I’m pleased to have provided some insights to understanding your daughter. :-)
      I should have mentioned a few ‘Neptune conjunct Ascendant’ people, such as Marcel Proust, and actors Michael Fassbender and Paige Turco.
      The Ascendant is part of how we ‘come across’ to other people. With Neptune there, it can be a mystery or puzzle. And a sense of art, fantasy, sensitivity. To the outsider, it might be unclear exactly ‘who that person is’ – rather like a fuzzy photograph; the outline not quite clear. And some people with Neptune-Ascendant might enjoy it being that way.
      On the other hand, others with this aspect might at times find it frustrating that people ‘don’t see me for who I really am.’

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