Neptune has a bit of a reputation for being the junkie of the solar system, and I think its transits are the best argument for it. When Neptune enters a new sign, it tends to introduce “drugs” that are consistent with the nature of the sign, sometimes quite literally. There are even correlations to the parts of the body associated with each sign of the zodiac. What follows is not a comprehensive guide to the basic meaning of each transit, just some of the concrete manifestations which I believe are the best examples of these transits in action.
Neptune entered Aries on April 13th 1861, after the first day of the American Civil War. During this time, morphine was used to treat the pain of wounded soldiers. A lot. Soon after, many veterans developed what they called “soldier’s sickness”, which were essentially nasty morphine withdrawal symptoms. The same thing happened to veterans of the Franco-Prussian War. Neptune was in Aries after all, so no wonder that drug dependency centered around soldiers, violence, war, etc. It’s almost like Aries is ruled by Mars or something…
Neptune entered Taurus in 1874, the same year that British chemist Charles Romley Alder Wright was trying to make a non-addictive alternative to morphine by creating heroin. FAIL. Unlike morphine which simulated relief from pain (Neptune in Aries), heroin simulated pleasure, and Neptune in Taurus is ruled by recreational Venus after all. Taurus also happens to be associated with the neck, and aside from giving the user an incomparable sense of addiction-forming euphoria, heroin was also originally sold as a cough suppressant.
Heroin! Ruin your life with addiction and nip that pesky cough right in the bud! Totally worth it!*
*Totally not worth it.
Neptune entered Gemini in 1887. Amphetamines were discovered this year, and their (more) evil twin methamphetamines were discovered the next year. Collectively, they are known as speed, which is a pretty Mercurial name in itself if you think about it. Really the Mercurial significations abound, they both give the user increased alertness, focus, lack of fatigue and temporarily boost cognition and recall (at extremely high costs as you can imagine.) No wonder then that Adderall (amphetamines) is the drug of choice for a desperate student cramming for a test. Is there anything more Mercurial than that?
Neptune entered Cancer in 1901. Cancer is ruled by the Moon which is strongly associated with the physical body, instincts and emotions. Accordingly, research in biochemistry alongside pharmaceuticals really took off in this time period, especially in the fields of nutrition. This led to the discovery and synthesis of vitamins and hormones, appropriately Neptunian simulations of Cancerian topics: nutrients, mood and instincts. A little company called Monsanto started in 1901 which is now most known for its controversial genetic manipulation of food.
Neptune entered Leo in 1915, and the world received a different type of drug – mass entertainment, the movie industry, Hollywood. Leo is ruled by the Sun, one’s spirit, one’s mind. Movies are simulations of imagination. Like the Sun, movies get seen by everyone. In 1920, 50 million people a week went to the movies. By the end of the period in 1929, that number jumped to 90 million. Compare that to 2014, when the number was just 24 million. Going to the movies in the Neptune in Leo period was a true craze, where everyone sat, sedated and transfixed by an addictive glamorous unreality on a screen produced by an industry notorious for its drug use. The symbol of Leo is the Lion, but what exactly does a giant African cat have to do with the movie industry from this time period?
Neptune entered Virgo on September 21st 1928. Just a week later, Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin, kicking off the Antibiotics Revolution. The symbol of Virgo is a virgin holding wheat, and an actual theory of how mold spores ended up on Fleming’s petri dish was from a moldy sandwich he had eaten that week in the lab. Neptune in Virgo did healthnut neatfreak germophobe Virgos a real solid by synthesizing antibiotics. Unfortunately, Virgo is also associated with the intestines, and the most common side effect of penicillin means that you don’t get many…solids.
Neptune entered Libra in 1943, which was when Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman discovered the intense hallucinogenic effects of LSD. In fact, the date that he accidentally ingested it, April 16th 1943, Neptune was at 0 Libra, about to regress into Virgo the very next day. Three days later he purposely ingested it and tripped balls on a bike trip. Interestingly, early proponents believed that the right balance of LSD could expand the mind, and bring understanding and love to humanity. This is a Libran drug after all.
Neptune entered Scorpio in 1956. On June 10th 1957, when Neptune was retrograde at 0 Scorpio, the FDA approved the Pill for use by the public. Scorpio is associated with the genitals, its ruler Mars is associated with blood, and the Pill chemically simulates pregnancy to prevent ovulation. I mean. Damn. That’s Neptune in Scorpio isn’t it?
Neptune entered Sagittarius in 1970, and a pharmaceutical group called Eli Lilly and Company started researching anti-depressants in that year. Two years later, they discovered a special derivative of diphenhydramine, which we know now as Prozac. Sagittarius is after all ruled by Jupiter, the big happy go lucky guy, so Neptune in Sagittarius simulated happiness in the form of antidepressants. They make you happy, but it’s a fake happy…Neptune in Sagittarius. Boom.
Neptune entered Capricorn in 1984, the start of the so-called crack epidemic. Crack was cheaper than regular cocaine and could be sold at a high profit, which made it particularly devastating to poor areas in expensive cities with its promise of economic advancement and a cheap distraction from the hell of reality. Saturn rules scarcity and poverty, so naturally the drug, as well as the moral panic/media hysteria about it centered around the poor. Capricorn rules the skeleton, and one of the notable side effects of crack is a loss in bone density which causes facial deformations. No joke here, just a total bummer.
Neptune entered Aquarius in 1998. Aquarius is one of the only humanoid zodiacal images, a man pouring water. Neptune took the experience of being human and produced addictive immersive simulations through technology: social media such as Facebook and Myspace, “reality TV” shows such as Big Brother, Survivor and American Idol, the re-popularization of 3D in film, and immersive MMORPG’s like World of Warcraft. Saturn’s rulership of Aquarius hints at a major outcome of these technological drugs: isolation from ourselves, from each other and the real world.
Neptune entered Pisces in 2011. It may be too soon to say exactly what “drug” is emerging, but my guess is that it will have something to do with marine life and…feet. There are a few ways in which these themes have come together already, but not in the form of a pharmaceutical, at least that we know of yet. There has been a renewed and ongoing concern for the health of our oceans in recent years, including this promising attempt to clean up the world’s polluted oceans. More and more fish are being found to be contaminated with prescription medication and cocaine. But how might feet figure into this? Adidas has proposed that we recycle plastic waste in the ocean to create 3-D printed…shoes.
OMG, Neptune in Pisces shoezzzz
Neptune entered Ophiuchus in the year never because Ophiuchus has not, is not and will never be a goddamn zodiac sign, are we clear? Good.