Neptune As Singleton
It’s life’s illusions I recall; I really don’t know life at all.
In recent years when astronomers finally got an up-close look at the planet Neptune, they saw a “fuzzy blue” globe, and they were not at all sure just what they were looking at. For astrologers, Neptune represents an equally mysterious energy. Whether it is a “fuzzy blue” sphere or rose colored glasses, Neptune seems to represent all that is not of this world. It symbolizes fog, clouds, gases, and liquids on the physical level. Those are things we cannot hold because they shift, change, evaporate, and slip away without a trace. Neptune is beyond the realm of the five physical senses, although it can and does seem to play tricks with those five senses. Sleep and dreams, hypnosis and anesthetics are Neptune’s province. In our dreams things, people and events seem real, but we cannot touch them or hold on to them. Neptune, along with Uranus and Pluto, seems to have much to do with “extended perception” or what most call “psychic abilities.”
To get the feel of Neptune, visit a particular restaurant on the California coast that reeks of Neptune! It is “The Moss Beach Distillery.” It boasts a resident ghost, the Lady in Blue. The name of the place, its location overlooking the ocean, often in the fog, its history as a 1920’s “speak easy,” all partake of the dreamy, glamorous, mysterious and nostalgic qualities associated with Neptune.
Neptune functions on the subtle, etheric, or refined emotional level of consciousness. The imagination is a prime function. Imagination can be used positively in creative and artistic activities and works, and in envisioning the life we want. Negatively, the imagination can deceive us and lead us down dark alleys of fear and phobia. We can become hypochondriacs with fantasy illnesses and paranoid with phantom enemies. Too much Neptunian indulgence can result in addictions to drugs and alcohol, and even to insanity, to schizophrenia. As Liz Greene writes in her book The Astrological Neptune and the Quest for Redemption,
There are some truly ghastly denizens of the Neptunian waters which make Jaws look like a dish of marinated herring, . . . usually dismissed . . . as ‘deception’ and ‘illusion.’
The reverse side of Neptune’s coin of artistic creativity is escapism and the desire to avoid responsibilities, earthly duties and obligations. Reality feels just too harsh!
Neptune’s virtues are sensitivity, emotional openness and vulnerability, empathy and understanding compassion. The performing arts – music, dance and drama – depend on the use of illusion to create works that move us as a collective at the depths of emotion and feeling. And mystical inspiration can lift us to heights of ecstatic illumination. Neptune’s vices, however, are delusion, deception, deceit, and fraud. And, while Jupiter is the planet of “great expectations,” Neptune is the symbol of impossible expectations. When we are overly idealistic, we set ourselves up for disappointment and disillusionment. As one woman with a Neptune singleton in her 7th house said, “Everyone I have ever been deeply close to has betrayed me!” She perceived her significant others, ultimately, as “traitors” because she had illusions about them and unrealistic expectations of them. She projected her ideals onto them, and, of course, they could not help but fail her. She has to learn, as do all with a powerful Neptune, that “to err is human; to forgive divine.”
When Neptune is a singleton (or angular, highly aspected, or at a critical degree, 29 or 0), there is a likelihood that the person will have an extraordinary degree of sensitivity. They may be so highly intuitive that they believe they have “psychic powers.” The sensitivity operates on all levels. In the physical, it can correlate with such maladies as “environmental sensitivity,” allergies of all kinds as well as a variety of autoimmune diseases. Narcolepsy (a sleep disorder), and vision problems are Neptunian afflictions. On the mental/emotional level, a person may be sensitive to “higher realms,” and experience mystical inspiration or insane delusions.
Liquids and solvents on the physical level come under Neptune’s rule. Water, alcohol and acids dissolve hard matter (Saturnine stuff). Likewise, Neptune tends to dissolve the part of the ego ruled by Saturn while at the same time inflating that part ruled by the Sun. Here we find the source of boundary problems experienced by many people with a powerful Neptune. They may have a sense of union with the all, a feeling of boundlessness. There may be a subconscious or a conscious sense that “everything is everything.” There is a hunger and a longing for merging with the “all,” for the collective, for formlessness and chaos. “Am I you? Are you me? Is there only one vast I?”
As an illustration, there were experiences shared by many people who knew a man who had Neptune two times a singleton in his 12th house, and within ten degrees of his Ascendant. Neptune ruled his 6th house of work and service. He was a teacher and counselor. On more than one occasion when he was lecturing, several members of the audience discovered that they could hardly see him because he was enveloped in a huge globe of golden mist-like light. His friends and colleagues knew or could sense when he was at home or travelling abroad. One person, who also had a Neptune singleton, said she could tell the exact time his plane touched down. The personal boundaries between him and others dissolved, so that in a way he was within us and we were within him.
Such a lack of boundaries can be very difficult to handle, especially in the early part of life. It can drive a young person to schizophrenia and drug use. A young man with Neptune a singleton in Scorpio in his 1st house could see auras all the time, feel subtle body temperatures, heat, cold or warmth, from other people and “hear” what they were thinking. Needless to say, he was very confused. He could not be lied to, but because he perceived almost everyone else lying (because he could perceive them saying one thing aloud while thinking or feeling something very different), he learned quickly to be a master of deception and a “con.” He stole things from people and no one could figure out how he knew where the items were or the combinations to the safes. He said he waited until they were relaxed or asleep (distance did not matter), then, to quote him, he would “go into their minds and get the information.” No boundaries in this case meant absolute intrusion and invasion. Incidentally, he pawned the stolen valuables to support his drug habit.
When the intuitive or “psi” part of the nature is strongly developed, it can be a big problem especially if the lower planets are not well developed. If there is a strong Neptune and a weak Sun, the personality dissolves easily. The person becomes very dependent and gullible and prone to forming masochistic relationships.
The sense perception is different from that of “normal” people. At least it is very different from the collective consensus. However many more people than we know may perceive things in ways which it is not “politically correct” to talk about. When Neptune is a singleton, at least one of the senses may be very highly developed and refined, which may explain why it is so common in the charts of artists and musicians. When ESP or other “psi” qualities are developed more than the ability to use practical day-to-day communication and thinking, the person is usually considered to be very, very weird.
The religious side of Neptune often is experienced as a longing for redemption or for unconditional, all encompassing love. This may lead to mystical experiences, but just as often, it results in a sad and pathetic dependency on fantasy, leading to suffering, separation and solitude. If these urges are played out with devotion in a convent or monastery, or a life of spiritual pilgrimage, the person may find ultimate fulfillment in union with God. There is a classic book, The Way of the Pilgrim, which describes such a life. Another classic, The Cloud of Unknowing, explores the Neptunian heights of religious experience. A fellow astrologer was once asked to do the charts of a number of people living in a “New Age” spiritual community. He noticed that nearly all of them had Neptune as a singleton, on an angle or at a critical degree. The same emphasis is often seen in charts of actors, musicians and habitual drug abusers.
When we looked at Saturn as a singleton, we studied the charts of Jim Jones and Marshall Applewhite, two deadly cult leaders. They both had Neptune singletons, too! Neptune and Saturn, at best, desires to make dreams (Neptune), come true (Saturn). It can also be an unrealistically inflated (Neptune), sense of authority (Saturn). These two men had a powerful desire to structure a utopia. In both charts, Neptune was the only planet in a mutable sign. Perhaps they tried “to be all things to all men.” They had Mercury in a close trine to the Neptune, making it all too easy (trine), for them to delude and charm themselves and their followers by preying (no pun intended), on their deep longings to dissolve into the infinite. The unfortunate followers ultimately did dissolve with the aid of poison, an item ruled by Neptune.
Many talented geniuses have had great success as well as tragic endings to their lives. Judy Garland was addicted to drugs from childhood to keep her thin for films. She had great musical talent. Neptune is her only fixed sign planet. The last years of her life were sad and her death from an overdose was not an unexpected outcome. George Gordon as Lord Byron wrote exquisite poetry, a Neptunian forte. At the same time, he led the life of a dissipated roué. Neptune was his only Social sign planet. Sometimes gross hypocrisy is a Neptune manifestation as in the case of Jimmy Swaggart who preached against the “sins of the flesh” and got caught with prostitutes! To give credit where it is due, he is very musically talented. Neptune is his only Earth sign planet, making it a bit difficult to be “grounded.”
Not all people with Neptune as a singleton have disastrous lives or come to a tragic end. Anthropology owes much to Margaret Mead whose writings about her experiences in the South Pacific glamorized the natural ways of the primitive peoples she studied. Neptune is her only Water sign planet. Henry Kissinger, who we looked at before for his Venus singleton, certainly has had a brilliant career as a statesman and negotiator. With Neptune in the 3rd house, near an angle, he no doubt can cast a spell with his seductive and dramatic words. Neptune is his only Fire sign planet. The combination of Venus and Neptune would help make him an irresistible persuader.
Psychologist Rollo May is remembered for his book Love and Will which helped to popularize his field of study in the 1970’s. Neptune is the only planet in a Water sign. Baseball’s hero, Willie Mays, was for many years the idealized “god” of that sport, and fans with fond nostalgia remember him today. Neptune is the only planet in a mutable sign. He was magically adaptable.
Two very glamorous actresses, past and present, have Neptune singletons. They are Ava Gardener and Angelina Jolie. Ava’s Neptune is in her 1st house, is part of a Yod with a sextile to a Saturn singleton, both in quincunx to her Pisces Moon. She was a romantic, sultry love goddess. The Neptune was her only Fire sign placement. Angelina’s Neptune is twice a singleton (only planet in a Universal sign and Social house), in her 5th house of love affairs and creativity. In her chart, Neptune opposes the Sun and is involved with Mars (trine), and Pluto (sextile), opposing each other. Angelina has a strange fascination with knives and blood. It is said she collects knives and uses them in sex play, and she wears an amulet filled with her husband’s blood around her neck. A rather melodramatic Neptune!
When Neptune is a singleton, or “overdeveloped,” it is important to work on developing a strong ego (Sun), and focussing on grounding. Physical spiritual disciplines such as hatha yoga and tai chi are very good. Controlled meditation is good, as well. But it needs to be controlled, for it is too easy to get lost in it. Drugs and alcohol need to be avoided. A channel of creative self-expression such as poetry, design, or playing a musical instrument is a positive and pleasurable outlet for Neptune. There is an urge to sacrifice oneself with Neptune; so, Karma (action), Yoga, such as devotion to a task or charity, might be practiced.
When a person is well grounded in the physical, day-to-day realities and has developed the solar qualities of a strong sense of identity and purpose, he or she will use the Neptune energy in highly creative and productive ways that can benefit and be enjoyed by us all.
To whatever heights or depths a person may attain, there is always something romantic and “gothic” about a Neptune singleton personality.
Example Charts Used in the Article
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.