A girl who is twelve years old comes home from school and notices that her father is acting strange. She can smell something on his breath as he starts to talk and begins slurring his words. She is aware that something is wrong. Her father begins to tell her that she is fat and needs to lose weight. She is shocked and begins to cry as he passes out in the chair holding a can of something, although she does not know it is a can of beer. She runs down the hall to tell her mother that daddy said something mean to her. She tells her mother, “He called me fat.” Her mother looks at her with a glazed look and uncomfortably says, “He is just joking with you, he is fine.” She walks away baffled, confused, and bewildered.

The above story is a classic example of the planet Neptune in action. Neptune rules alcohol, drugs, addiction, illusion, suffering, deception, and spiritual enlightenment. Unfortunately, many individuals with a strong Neptune in their charts can succumb to the negative energy of Neptune. The planet Neptune rules the sign Pisces and many Pisceans experiment with drugs and alcohol at sometime in their lives. In my work as an additions therapist, I encounter many clients who struggle with addiction and many have strong Neptune or Pisces energy in their chart. Oftentimes, when there is alcoholism in the home we see Neptune placed in an individual’s fourth house, which is the house of home and family. There is often illusion surrounded around one parent’s addiction and secrets that the individual grew up with in the home. Similar to the story above, many adult children of alcoholics experienced the dark side of Neptune first hand. These children always misjudged their own perceptions and began to doubt themselves because every time the addicted parent did something terrible or hurtful, the co-dependent parent always defended them. These children grew up feeling “crazy, sensitive, depressed, and alone”. They were taught from a young age that what they “perceived” was not the true reality. They constantly were lied to and they intuitively knew something was wrong in the home, but had no one to validate this for them. Many grew up to become addicts themselves who struggled with their own addiction to alcohol or other unhealthy escapes such as relationships, work, sex, or overeating. An example would be a female who represses her anger at her father for his emotional unavailability, while she constantly draws emotionally abusive men into her life. She might let others walk all over her and sacrifice her own feelings for others by refusing to speak up. She goes home each night and scavenges through the kitchen eating everything she can. Eating food is her comfort and it erases the uncomfortable, painful emotions temporarily. The process continues over and over again, because the underlying emotional pain has not been healed. The need for individuals to “escape” from their emotions, pain and life circumstances is what addictions fulfill. The Neptunian energies elude us into thinking that we can continue to escape and see things with rose colored glasses on, but in the end we have to see things clearly for ourselves. This can be a painful process, but we are learning to embrace a power outside ourselves, our own spirituality.

Here is a difference between being spiritual and being religious. Many individuals I counsel explain to me that they were raised conservatively and believed in a more fundamental belief system. They go on to tell me that they also felt that they lost their faith at some point in their lives. They tell me that they look out into the world and see destruction, poverty, suffering, and disillusionment. What I began to realize was that they were coming face to face with their Neptunian energies. They were being forced to awaken.

Neptune as we discussed in the last article, is the planet of illusion and suffering. Through believing in something outside ourselves we feel strong and protected, but when life is difficult and we begin to suffer, we often give up and feel that God has abandoned us. Neptune has a funny way of confusing you while it plays with your belief system. The energy forces you to question why you are here, what is God, what happens after death and what your purpose is on earth. You begin to seek a greater understanding of yourself in relation to the universe. You do not simply attend church, read the Bible or study scripture; you begin to question and seek a connection to the divine.

We often do not seek that connection with the divine until we are forced to by dire circumstances. Just like in many addiction programs, we are told that individuals must hit “rock bottom” before they will come out of denial and admit they have a problem. Neptune keeps these individuals locked in this denial but it also frees them by releasing them from their own bondage. The bondage is the ache in one’s heart and the yearning for love and forgiveness. This yearning can only be fulfilled through a connection with the divine creative energy. Once individuals realize that, they will open up to many new possibilities. They can see that through suffering they found what they were looking for. They realize that if they had never suffered, never lost, never felt abandoned then they would never have awakened to themselves.

The blessing of the planet Neptune is often hard to see at first glance. We must hear the entire story and then hear the glimmer of hope and inspirational words that flow from those who survived Neptune’s illumination. We will always see the spiritual transformation that takes place with those close to us. Most addiction programs are focused on steps and the steps all involve the concept of God and being open to something outside our normal belief system. In Step 11 it states, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out and Step 12 states, Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” It is no coincidence that Neptune rules alcohol and drugs, the symbolism is amazing. The true essence of addiction is embodied in Neptune’s energy and we all are impacted in some way. Depending on which house Neptune is placed in your natal chart, you will come face to face with this energy in some life area. The true lesson is spiritual awakening and awareness that through life’s struggles you can overcome and will awaken at some point regardless of your circumstances.

Author's Bio: 

Carmen is a licensed clinical social worker and practicing astrological counselor and life coach with over 16 years experience supporting others through writing, counseling and correspondence. She received her Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and her Bachelor's in Psychology from Fontbonne University. She has worked primarily for the U.S. Air Force as a social worker in family advocacy, alochol and drug treatment, sexual assault response program and with children, teens, and families. Carmen has worked part-time as an astrological counselor and writer since the age of 19. She founded the Astrological Self Awareness Center in 2003 as a way to reach out to others Nationally and Internationally. She recently started Shining Light Counseling Center with the goal to broaden her client base by focusing on psychotherapy, clinical counseling, career and life coaching, spiritual guidance and education.