Neptune Retrograde by jill mckenna

Neptune is the planet responsible for dreams, fantasy, the ethereal, and creative inspiration, but also delusions, deception, and addiction. Neptune's impact on us is kinda like being intoxicated—very absinthe-like. At first, it's fun, interesting. It blurs creative barriers and lends a magical feeling of sublimely beautiful, greater things. But the trip can take a turn, like being trapped on a genuinely terrifying fun-house ride that's full of our worst triggers. Neptune is imagined heaven and hell, dreams and deceptions, and that's why we often look to it to inform our relationship to addictions. Neptune lets us dream beautifully and with divine information, and it's also all of our darkest corners, escapism, and fears.

Neptune has been asking us for a very long time to imagine a better, fuller, more complete life for ourselves—nothing less than an ideal one. Jupiter squaring Neptune has made that vision impossible to ignore and the Neptune Retrograde now asks us to begin to crystallize our vision by instructing us to face fears, explore our depths and move toward our dreams… our greatest dreams. Vision and connection to the divine are always greater than the fear, but we must choose them. 

Neptune, especially in its home of Pisces, can show us where we are haunted by past events and memories, instances of trauma and cataclysm that remain agonizingly in our minds, washed in memory and emotion and refracted by time into a more or less true pastiche. Where do we get triggered to and how does it restrain us from using our fundamental creativity in its entirety toward the life and fullness we long for, and which suits us best?

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These intrusive memories too often determine our actions, imprisoning us. These fears keep us emotionally and metaphorically, standing in the middle of a dark warehouse of our own fabrication, huddled around a single small light bulb, afraid to move away from it. Neptune’s retrograde instructs us to flip on the lights and take a good look at exactly what we imagine is waiting in the dark. Some things we know about, some we don't, but none of them actually look the way we remember and all can be met and ushered away or made peace with, allowing us to take up our own, rightful space.

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Because Neptune deals with dreams, ideals, and the raw etheric materials of inspiration/creation, we are being pushed towards soul growth in these areas. The truth can be rare in Neptune's realm, but Jupiter in Sagittarius is providing clarity in this way, an echo of the same aspect from January 13th. Since then, how have we shaped our dreams based on the new possibilities and inspirations we were encountering then? How have we allowed our hopes and vision to expand and root? Since late winter, how are we shaping ourselves to meet and create the life we are being divinely guided to through meaningful encounters, remarkable energy exchanges, terrific inspiration, and deep numinous and psychic knowing?  

Neptune retrograde can show us the sources of our pain—the ones we repeatedly try to escape—whether betrayal, heartbreak, destroyed trust, abuse, or abandonment. This window can show us where we are lying to ourselves and dissolve the stories we have sold ourselves. It asks us to see how we perpetuate our pain by not allowing a new outcome to occur, by not allowing the film to switch reels and end differently.

This is a perfect time for spiritual self-work. Use this time to explore healing modalities like talk therapy, emdr, rolfing, and acts of therapeutic self-care like journaling, meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and guided imagery. This window also heavily favors astrology, tarot, trips to bodies of water, anything to gets you in touch with your intuition and faith is all favored now. 

full Moon in Sagittarius by jill mckenna

This Full Moon offers a tone of play, but play in the form of practicing what we’re manifesting. We have run through something so many times in our minds, tried it out in safe places in our life, and are now understanding how we need to move forth based on now feeling prepared. This moon can draft up the schematic for a maturity we have been working towards, but it might require more discomfort first. Sagittarius is curious, open, moral, yet physical and grounded. At the same time it can be tactless, overly optimistic, and irresponsible.

At this full moon we might be feeling a little uncertain about where to go next. We know we can't go backwards--those behaviors are poorly tailored to us now, but moving forward feels awkward and confusing. This moon’s illumination can lend optimism, new vision, adventure, and expansion in the coming weeks. We can suddenly understand the concrete steps we need to take, versus endlessly spinning ideas and fantasy. This full moon crystallizes our inspired vision and lends realizations about how to make our hopes and dreams for the future begin to coalesce.

This moon is a little bit like finding a steady, large boulder on a beach that we can climb upon in order to gain vantage. We might suddenly be able to see a larger horizon than the one we were perceiving. True to Sagittarius (perhaps the sign best at looking at the big picture, along with Aquarius), this moon can move our minds past the immediate to our future and faith, allowing us to clearly imagine the ideal reality we want to experience.

Odilon Redon, Centaur Taking Aim at the Clouds, 1895, AIC

Odilon Redon, Centaur Taking Aim at the Clouds, 1895, AIC

A major influence on this full moon is Jupiter square Neptune the day before. This aspect happens three times this year, with this being the 2nd. The 1st was on Jan 13th and the final square will be September 21st. When planets create a series of 3 aspects to each other, there’s a story being told and a lesson being taught. Look back at your calendar in the fist through mid-part of January to understand what was going on for you regarding beliefs, new opportunities and thinking, growth, hopes and dreams, and new inspiration. What felt exciting and fresh, but also scary due to being new?

Since then, how have you engaged with and expanded those new paths of inspiration related to personal hopes and dreams and emotional connection, or where have you regressed back? This full moon is profoundly asking us to grow, again, especially when it’s uncomfortable. Sagittarius forges forth because it has such an incredible ability to see the landscape. It can put itself through significant discomfort and learning in order to achieve its vision, especially when that vision relates to its values, faith, and hope. We can gain an amazing upgrade to our perception here, if we follow Sag's urging, point to a new star and allow it to become our point of orientation.

This full moon illuminates the space between our actions and our hopes, and asks us to determine where we are behaving in agreement with or against ourselves and our hoped-for future. Where are we telling ourselves what we should do, based on outdated, default habits and thinking, and how do we need to start honoring our dreams and desires so that they can manifest? Where can we be more in alignment with who we are now and where we want to be in 5, 10, 15 years? The July eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn will underline, highlight, and bold these themes (again), especially with regard to our family of origin and our own, personal family we are making or have made.

Neptune stations retrograde just a few days after the full moon, and then stations direct in late November. Outer planet retrogrades are less intense than those closest to us. We can observe them keenly in the zeitgeist and are already doing so with regard to Neptune’s themes of illusion/disillusionment, fantasy versus reality, idealism, cognitive dissonance, and vision.

Ask yourself how you want to behave, manifest, and think differently, with regard to faith, personal philosophy, beliefs and actions, because likely you already know and have begun positioning yourself accordingly. Observe which possibilities you have denied or pushed away since January due to believing the risk was too great, it would be too difficult, or felt unlikely to result in success based on past traumas. Each of those feelings is a different way of allowing fear to rule actions.

Sagittarius is an all-star, gold medal pro at risk/reward. The themes related to belief, hope, habits, wishes, and dreams that are arising now don’t ask you to have it all figured out or to get it all correct now., but it does ask you to take aim and ready. Sagittarius knows better than any other sign that everything is a learning process. We will fail often before building muscle memory, and that’s what needs to happen. Our aim improves every time we miss, until we don’t miss at all. We are allowed to miss and we are allowed to get it wrong, but Sagittarius teaches us to never stop growing and learning and never stop aiming for our hopes and dreams; never give up faith that we are able, and can. Neptune lends us the ability to dream, and Jupiter enlarges that vision and also grounds it. We are being asked to examine and parse the foundation of our emotional habits and beliefs, and upgrade our structure.

twins & astrology by jill mckenna

Twins! A pal asked about twins & natal charts. It's an oft asked question: shouldn't twins always be exactly the same if they share a chart? I've looked at this topic a bit due to my mom being a twin (pic), but twins and more versed astrologers please pipe in!

First, astrology would (generally) say it covers 50% of the person— their framework. How the person is built & functions can be seen. The themes of the person's life & family can be seen. Signposts, points of fate can be seen. Skeptics often use twins to show how astrology must be bunk, but saying this misunderstands astrology, and twins.

Being born even a few minutes apart can sometimes mean a different sign for a planet, the moon, or a rising sign. This alone changes the toolbox the twins have to work with. That aside, a person has a whole natal chart available to them from which to express personality, will, and emotions. Thus, twins with identical charts share the same range of expressions, and most of their natal planets certainly have multiple expressions. I'm thinking of someone, okay me, with 7 aspects made to my Saturn alone. That's a tremendous range of Saturnian expression. Apply that to twins and they could use and exhibit different functions of Saturn at the same time.

Researchers have observed that one twin is often more dominant. Similarly, astrologers observe twins essentially splitting a chart, theorizing that they regularly push to differentiate and individualize off each other even though they are using the same tools. So an example might be one twin maximizes their Sun expression, while the other maximizes their Moon. And, these individualizing expressions can wax and wane and swap places throughout their lives.

We also need look at nurture and occurrence. If one twin is offered a piece of birthday cake and eats it right before a travesty occurs and the other never has a chance to eat the cake but sees it in the trash a day later after the cataclysm, they have had a point of differentiation, not one so large as the travesty itself, but they add up, creating individual character textures over time. This can impact how they employ and express natal energies.

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