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Mercury Opposite Neptune

Mercury makes its last (of three) oppositions to Neptune on September 8. Mercury is at 29°04’ Leo and will be visible in the morning sky briefly, as it will be conjunct the first magnitude star, Regulus. (1) Neptune is retrograde and has slipped back into Aquarius. The first opposition was on July 28, with Mercury at 0° Virgo and Neptune retrograde at 0° Pisces. Mercury was retrograde from August 2 until the 26th. The second opposition, on August 8, was with both planets retrograde at 29°53’ of their respective signs. Now the last opposition is upon us, again at the 29th (critical) degree.

So the great grace, obscuration, and mystery of that illusive planet has had influence over our thinking and interactions for the past several months (taking into account Mercury’s shadow period).

Neptune was the Roman name for the god analogous to the Greek Poseidon, the very moody lord of the seas, rivers, and steams. As water surrounds the earth, he was called the “Embracer” and the “Sustainer of the Earth.” With his trident he could create stormy seas or cause the earth to tremble; another of his names was the “Earth-Shaker.” Neptune’s trident could also “subdue everything, pacify it, immerse it in fog, and blanket it in forgetfulness.” (2)

Aside from the continual bad economic picture, the news (Mercury) from the east coast was all about the weather. There was a 5.9 earthquake on August 23, followed by hurricane Irene that has brought the worst flooding in nearly a century throughout southern and central Vermont. Throughout the mid-Atlantic and New England, streams became rivers and the rivers took over, washing away roads, downing trees, and leaving many still without power. (The Sun at 29°31’ Leo opposed Neptune on August 22; in a heliocentric chart, the Earth was then conjunct Neptune.)  Right now, Texas is engulfed with fires and wind, while the southeast is being deluged with more and more rain.

Looking at the planets from a different perspective, within a few days of the August 8 opposition, I was in the middle of a classic kind of Mercury-Neptune event. It involved a greatly confused series of communications, a narrative being (apparently) manipulated to favor one version of events (while undermining others), and a vast range of possible meanings and outcomes. I expect that the final opposition of the planets this week will bring a different version of events to light.

In her book, Neptune in Focus, Rosalind Thorp writes beautifully about the energy of the planet, “by far the most complex of all the planetary influences.” She writes: “In its positive expression, Neptune’s energy inspires a need to know or find out, a wish to discover. It causes fascination. In its negative expression, this energy is known as deception. It causes suspicion.” (3)

The far away planet Neptune, carrier of the exquisitely subtle, stands once more across the zodiac from Mercury, ruler of the nervous system, the hands, and the respiratory system.  This suggests that a balm of forgetfulness or forgiveness can be poured into the nervous system. The opposition aspect can symbolize other people, of course, as well as our own extended awareness or view. I’m thinking it would be a fine time to receive (or give) a massage or other healing modality. We can also be in the company of those who are comfortable with the greatest range of Neptune, from its uncertainty, doubt, and artful concealment, to its certainty of transcendence and the unseen.

Here’s to the flooded parts of the earth drying out, the parched places receiving much-needed rain, and the unsolved mysteries in our individual lives all being offered for the common good.

Have a good week, everyone.


(1) EarthSky
Thanks to Edmond Wollmann for posting this.

(2) Gods and Planets, by Ellynor Barz, Chiron Publications, 1993, pg. 17.

(3) Neptune in Focus, by Rosalind Thorp, Pallas Designs, Inc., 2003, pg. 15.


Mary Plumb can be reached for private sessions at


  1. Thanks Mary for your soothing words on Mercury-Neptune. I think that aspect, as you point out being active these last 6 weeks, has contributed to the general state of confusion and a feeling of not being able to “get my act together” so to speak. Having Mercury/Jupiter/Neptune in my natal chart I am particularly sensitive to those feelings of longing and uncertainty without a specific source or cause. Your suggestion to have/give a healing is very appropriate. My nervous system loves a balm.

  2. Mary, thank you for this healing column.

    “This suggests that a balm of forgetfulness or forgiveness can be poured into the nervous system.”

    In part, the balm of forgetfulness for me has been the necessity to rely on the painkiller (Neptune!) Vicodin to mitigate dreadful lower back pain. It’s the first time I’ve had to do that. Mercury on Regulus, disposited by the Sun, does point up back or spine issues.

    I may have mentioned before that even though Neptune has retrograded back into Aquarius for a short while, I believe that Neptune’s first waltz into Pisces after 165 years points to a 13.5 year cycle of “inundations” of all kinds.

    They can materialize as weather patterns but also as distorted communications and political spin that’s meant to defraud the masses.

    There are also the powerful ‘inundations’ of spirit and emotion that serve as catharsis and healing on a global and personal scale as well.

    My hope is that the dissolving qualities of Neptune will work to wear down hard ideologies that blind pundits and politicians to flawed, inhumane premises that harm people, animals and mother earth.

    We are running out of time for games. A wave of cleansing is needed — A new baptism into reverence for earth.

    • Hi Claudia,

      So sorry about the back pain, but you as usual use it as a good astrology lesson for the rest of us..

      I love that word “inundations” for the Pisces dissolving..I feel all kinds of unusual energies these days as I know many do..

      I’m with you – wearing down hard ideologies – into the soft lap of love and loveliness..

      Take good care friend..

  3. Mary, good call on the weather! just on cue, with the final opposition september 8 we had huge weather system (remnants of TS Lee) ‘training’ up the east coast, with actually more rain for us here in philly than irene brought. massive flooding, road closures, the major traffic artery here had two rock/mudslides that closed it for hours through morning rush. philly got almost 7″ of rain, lancaster over 9″, the turnpike, major east-west artery of PA, was closed for 35 miles due to flooding. in august we broke the rainfall record, after three months of drought, with 19+” that month, almost half our yearly average of 42″. i think we need a cosmic petition to keep these two planets as far apart as possible!

    • Hi Alex,

      Good idea, petitioning these pesky planets to leave each other alone..

      Stay safe..

      How are the cats?

      did you see Tem’s new cover on TMA’s FB page?


  4. I had surgery under the Mercury Retrograde and the Mars opposite Pluto energy. Only to find out on 8/16 I had a blood clot in my lung. I was in the hospital for two days then released and put on blood thinner medication which my body negatively reacted too and I was in the ER every week for three weeks. I reached 9/1 and said enough and stopped all medications. I am now starting to finally heal and going back to my natural holistic medicines which my body tolerates. I have Mercury conjunct my Natal Sun and Neptune Opposite my natal sun. I for one am waiting for the fog to lift but listening to my own body for direction. Thanks Mary for your continued insight.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for your comments..

      and keep getting well..

      Best to you..

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