In 2018, Neptune retrograde starts on June 18th, at 16, 29 degrees Pisces and ends on November 24th, at 13, 41 degrees Pisces. The essential message for this period of time is best expressed by this quote: „No amount of regretting can change the past and no amount of worrying can change the future“. (Roy T. Bennett).

Neptune is a planet associated with idealism and imagination, but also with illusions and confusion. So, for some people, Neptune retrograde can cause distorted reality. Uncontrolled imagination and day dreaming are some problems we may face, from between 18 June and 24 November. Each of us needs to understand reality, to overcome illusions and to stop telling lies to ourselves and to others.

In mythology, Neptune, brother of Jupiter and Pluto, was the Roman god of the sea (the counterpart of the Greek god Poseidon). Neptune is the ruler of the water sign of Pisces and of the twelfth astrological house, house of subconscious and deeper emotions.

Three Zen stories will help us to prepare for this transit:

Neptune Retrograde 2018

Neptune Retrograde: Zen Story about Regretting the Past

„Once there was a monk who specialized in the Buddhist precepts, and he kept to them all his life. Once when he was walking at night, he stepped on something. It made a squishing sound, and he imagined he had stepped on an egg-bearing frog.

This caused him no end of alarm and regret, in view of the Buddhist precept against taking life, and when he finally went to sleep that night he dreamed that hundreds of frogs came demanding his life.

The monk was terribly upset, but when morning came he looked and found that what he stepped on was an overripe eggplant. At that moment his feeling of uncertainty suddenly stopped, and for the first time he realized the meaning of the saying that «there is no objective world». Then he finally knew how to practice Zen“.

Neptune Retrograde: Zen Story about Being Afraid of Future

A Japanese warrior was captured by his enemies and thrown into prison. That night he was unable to sleep because he feared that the next day he would be interrogated, tortured, and executed. Then the words of his Zen master came to him, „Tomorrow is not real. It is an illusion. The only reality is now“. Heeding these words, the warrior became peaceful and fell asleep

Neptune Retrograde: Zen Story about Living in the Present Moment

One day, while walking through the wilderness, a man encountered a vicious tiger. He ran for his life, and the tiger gave chase.

The man came to the edge of a cliff, and the tiger was almost upon him. Having no choice, he held on to a vine with both hands and climbed down.

Halfway down the cliff, the man looked up and saw the tiger at the top, baring its fangs. He looked down and saw another tiger at the bottom, waiting for his arrival and roaring at him. He was caught between the two.

Two rats, one white and one black, showed up on the vine above him. As if he didn’t have enough to worry about, they started gnawing on the vine.

He knew that as the rats kept gnawing, they would reach a point when the vine would no longer be able to support his weight. It would break and he would fall. He tried to shoo the rats away, but they kept coming back.

At that moment, he noticed a strawberry growing on the face of the cliff, not far away from him. It looked plump and ripe. Holding onto the vine with one hand and reaching out with the other, he plucked it.

With a tiger above, another below, and two rats continuing to gnaw on his vine, the man tasted the strawberry and found it absolutely delicious.

An Ancient Hymn dedicated to Neptune

Hear, Neptune, ruler of the sea profound,

Whose liquid grasp begirts the solid ground;

Who, at the bottom of the stormy main,

Dark and deep-bosom’d, hold’st thy wat’ry reign;

Thy awful hand the brazen trident bears,

And ocean’s utmost bound, thy will reveres:

Thee I invoke, whose steeds the foam divide,

From whose dark locks the briny waters glide;

Whose voice loud founding thro’ the roaring deep,

Drives all its billows, in a raging heap;

When fiercely riding thro’ the boiling sea,

Thy hoarse command the trembling waves obey.

Earth shaking, dark-hair’d God, the liquid plains

(The third division) Fate to thee ordains,

‘Tis thine, cærulian dæmon, to survey

Well pleas’d the monsters of the ocean play,

Confirm earth’s basis, and with prosp’rous gales

Waft ships along, and swell the spacious sails;

Add gentle Peace, and fair-hair’d Health beside,

And pour abundance in a blameless tide.


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