Earlier this week, Mercury finally ended its chaotic retrograde, allowing us to slow down and look forward to a summer of smooth-sailing. And while it's true our communication might be getting a little easier, the universe has thrown a wrench in our plans. Starting on June 25 and lasting until December 1, Neptune is beginning its annual backwards dance in the sign of dreamy Pisces — and we're in for a confusing, topsy-turvy rollercoaster of a ride.
The reason Neptune retrograde will have us more confused than a chameleon in a bag of Skittles is because Neptune is the Planet of Illusion, Dreams, and Fantasies. When the planet is in direct motion, Neptune "can make us see what we want to see, and affirms what we want to believe of people, certain situations, and even ourselves," says Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer for Astrology.com. But that all changes when the planet begins its backwards dance. "The rose-colored glasses fall off, clearing the veil and exposing unwanted and harsh realities," Montúfar says. Get ready for a brutal reality check.
This transit will have us feeling like the fog has lifted, and now we're seeing the world in high-def, exposing each and every crevice and blemish we may have been ignoring before. Lisa Stardust, the author of Saturn Return Survival Guide and The Astrology Deck, says that Neptune retrograde will have us "trying to align our inner sentiments with the vibe of the outside world." She says this may create uncertainty or confusion, "which is why it’ll be essential to keep our heads above water by grounding ourselves into reality." Meditate, call up your therapist, go for a walk — anything you can do to help clear your head.
Because Neptune is the planet that's furthest away from the Earth, its influence is subtle, something we feel at a subconscious level. It will also affect some people more than others, according to Montúfar. She tells Refinery29 that people who have natal planets in Pisces, Gemini, Sagittarius, and Virgo at 20-26 degrees will have a more intense reaction to this particular Neptune retrograde than most. (Your birth chart can give you a clue if you fall into this category.)
On an individual level, Leslie Hale, psychic astrologer for Keen.com, says that Neptune’s retrograde will "bring about more acute sensitivity, and we may be able to pick up on those things we don't perceive when Neptune is direct." She says that during this time, we'll be more likely to listen to our own inner voice, and our creativity and psychic or intuitive abilities may increase.
Madi Murphy, co-founder of The Cosmic RX and The Cosmic Revolution, says it’s a good time to pay attention to what we feel like we can’t ignore — for example, at work or in our personal relationships. "Notice where you are seeing the 'true' side of someone or something emerge," she says. "Don’t let yourself fall in love with someone's (or something's) potential. See situations for what they are and be honest with yourself and others." This may be an opportunity for us to redraw boundaries with people or redirect our dreams, ideas, and visions, Murphy adds.
Neptune retrograde won't hit us that hard if we've been implementing healthy boundaries, being honest with ourselves, and staying on track with our responsibilities, Montúfar says. But if we haven't been doing those things, she says we can expect a serious reality check during the months of Neptune retrograde. In other words, it's time to get your shit together.