Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 19, 2009

Neptune and the Cosmic Soup–How Psychic Contagion Depletes Us

©12-19-2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

If you went out shopping, came home anxious, depressed, or angry, and couldn’t shake it for hours, then while you were out,  you may have had a hefty helping of what I call the Cosmic Soup.

The Cosmic Soup is the energy of the Collective, an immersion into the auric field that surrounds the earth and all the Beings on it. It contains the Spirit but also the emotions—good and bad—of everyone around you and of the world at large.  In short, it’s the very essence of Neptune.  

 The current batch of Soup has been split-pea level or thicker in recent months, since we’re in a phase when Neptune is very strong.  That’s because transiting Neptune has been closely conjunct Chiron and Jupiter at the end of Aquarius for much of the past year.  That pot has been bubbling on the back burner all year, but it’s being served up in huge tureens during  times when we’re more open and vulnerable.

There’s both good news and bad news for those of us who’ve entered the Cosmic Soup through a period of a spiritual growth  and psychic awakening of the sort that often accompanies a Neptune transit. The good news  is that you come to experience moments of knowing that all of us are one with All That Is.

The bad news is that you soak up more of the collective turmoil during trying intervals like these past several months.  Whether we’re conscious of it or not, empathic people can be deeply affected by it. If you have any current issues of your own that collide with the Cosmic turbulence,  exposure to other people’s suffering is  bound to intensify your own emotional turmoil.

Are YOU Susceptible to Being Immersed in the Cosmic Soup?

Here are some kinds of people who may be flooded by the emotions of others.  Will you find yourself among them? 

1) If your spouse, mother, good friend, or coworker is deeply depressed and you take a plunge into darkness after you’ve been around them 10 minutes or you’ve had a long, draining phone call from them, then you’ve just had another big bowl of Cosmic Soup.

 2) Also suspect that you’ve pigged out on that particular soup du jour if you come home from your job  zapped after a day of working with depressed, overwhelmed, and anxious clients, patients, or customers

3)  It’s especially true if you’re an empath, a heart-centered type of person, and your work is heart-centered. That would include an astrologer, psychic, healer, body worker, energy worker, or even an aide in a hospital, nursing home, or doctor’s office.

4) You’d be prone to a dip in the increasingly-murky collective stew if your psychic gifts are just opening up under transits from this Neptune-Jupiter-Chiron conjunction—or if you’ve had them a while but they’re growing stronger under this transit.

 Under astrological transits like these, you can be especially susceptible to psychic flooding, because most likely you haven’t yet learned sufficient psychic shielding techniques to handle it.

5) Or, you may have  a strong Neptune natally, and you opened up psychically a long time ago. You do  know how to shield yourself but are neglecting it to meet the needs of others.  It’s especially likely to happen at times when client demands are especially heavy and when life at home isn’t all that great either.

For anyone who fits into one or more of these categories, this is a heads up—take care of yourself and you’ll be better equipped to take care of others. With conscious work on shielding with tools like we’ll be talking about, you won’t soak up other people’s energies and emotional turmoil, which would prevent their triggering your own issues.  Furthermore, people won’t drain your energy, they’ll get what they need from Divine Sources instead.

What transits make a Dip in the Cosmic Soup especially likely?

Check for planets, the Ascendant, or Midheaven in the late degrees of a sign–that is, from about 22-29°–and you’d have been affected to some degree or another from early 2008-parts of 2010.  Watch for transiting Neptune aspects to the Ascendant (1st house cusp, AKA Rising sign), to planets in the 1st house, to the Sun, Moon, or Midheaven (10th house cusp). 

If you’re a beginner or consumer and you see a lot of planets in that number range in your birth chart, then to sort it out, you’re probably going to need a knowledgeable person—possibly even  a consultation with a professional astrologer.  (I’m retired and don’t answer questions about individual charts here, only general educational questions.)  

However, if you fit into more than one of the categories listed above and you’re STILL reading this,it’s pretty likely YOU’RE IN THE SOUP.

For those who are further along in their studies, the aspects most likely to produce an effect would be the conjunction (same sign and degree range), square (90°), trine (120°), and opposition (180°).  The range where you’d most likely feel to feel the effect would be from exactly the same degree to 5° either side of that number. Neptune spreads out to a wide range, not being a believer in boundaries. 

Remember, the 2009 signature has been the Neptune-Jupiter-Chiron triple conjunction in late Aquarius, so if you’ve had a Neptune transit this year, you’ve had what amounts to a daily triple dose for months on end. This article, the ones on the list below and the ones over the next week or so can help you keep a clear head.

So, Readers, how do you shield yourself? Share your favorite techniques and tools in the comment section.

The  links below are to previous posts on Skywriter that will boost your capacity to recognize when you’re going down into the Cosmic soup and to shield yourself against being a psychic sponge.Donna Cunningham Skywriter Mars

free astrology booklet by Donna CunninghamIf this post was helpful, DON’T MISS THE NEXT INSTALLMENT IN THIS SERIES. Sign up for a subscription, and get a FREE EBOOKLET for Skywriter Subscribers Only: Mothers, Daughters, and the Moon, a 50-page excerpt from The Moon in your Life. Read more about it here: NEW: FREE BOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS! 

 If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward the most recent email post to me at To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.”  Then send me an email with your subscription confirmation or an email post with a request for the booklet in the subject line.


  1. with Neptune conjunct my Sun, I am very prone to psychic flooding. It became impossible for me to sit through Recovery meetings for instance, even with good shielding.
    I now get what I need working with this group online :

    As for art credits, to assuage guilt, may I recommend using images with a Creative Common’s license ? Here is a link to the home page,

    It can be a little confusing, my understanding of it is that you can get artwork that is used with permission of the artist thre. It is an alternative to copyrighted work. I don’t blog, so I have little reason to, but with that Sun/Neptune you know I married a Photographer ! 🙂

    Happy Holidays to all from pre-Blizzard NY !

    • Thanks, Belle–I do often get my artwork from–it’s an awesome and huge collection of high quality photos. But Bah Humbug wasn’t a category there!

      I did work for many years with people in recovery, both teaching astrology and using a variety of healing tools, and I can confirm your impression that shielding is needed. They are Neptunian types–transitioning from a negative use of that planet to a far higher one–and often very eager to learn these things, but I’ve observed the psychic drain as well. Donna

  2. Hi Donna! First of all, I wanted to tell you that I’ve been enjoying your blog for quite a while now – at least several months – and even subscribed! LOL
    This post was extremely interesting, as well as the other Neptune related posts, and has had me wanting to ask you a question I’ve tried to ask other students (as well as teachers) of Astrology. I have Neptune in my 12th house, in Sagittarius like most of my generation.

    The cusps of my 12th and 1st houses are both in Sagittarius actually, and what I wanted to ask was whether I was right in seeing this as a sort of “tie” between the two houses. In a sense, making them more closely related. And, I realize that these are two questions, but would Neptune also therefore somehow affect the first house indirectly? I may have this wrong – but I find studying astrology to be both stimulating and fascinating. Kind of like a puzzle!

    Enjoy the holidays and may the new year bring you empowering and energizing challenges, as well as fulfillment to your projects! Be well.

    • Hello, Maria, and I’m glad the work here is of value to you. Use the search engine on this blog to look for a series of articles here a couple months back on the 12th house.

      As for the 12th-1st house tie in your chart, you’ve seen it clearly. It’s true, as well, of anyone with the same sign on the 12th and first. The ties come through the ruler of both houses–in your case, Jupiter, since Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter. In the case of someone with Libra on the 12th and 1st house cusps, the ruler of both would be Venus. And so on.

      The ruler of the 1st is considered a very important planet in classical astrology–it’s called the ruler of the chart. So then you’d look at the sign, house, and aspects of that planet for important information about your approach to life. Its house shows ways to find a certain amount of fulfilment and purpose. Here, with it being a double ruler, look for it to show some ways both the 12th and 1st can find their fullest expression.

      In your case, Maria, Neptune in the 12th also reinforces the pull of your energies toward the 12th house, because the 12th and Neptune and Pisces are all similar energies. Study intensively on the planet Neptune. (Check the out-of-print books about Neptune on by Liz Green and Jeff Greene–I always forget which name has an e at the end)

      In particular, be vigilant for the negative creeping in and twisting the positive–James Arthur Ray being a prime example. It is fully possible to begin by serving and end by twisting it into something sick and destructive for both you and the party you’re trying to help. In its negative forms, Neptune is seductive and extremely deceptive and can so easily lead you down the path to self-destruction. (It’s Read about codependency and the perils of rescuing.)

      Folks, I’ve spent quite a bit of time of this response to Maria, because by rights this question could be the subject of an article all by itself…except I’ve got my writing time bound up in a couple of current series of more general importance here. In general, as regular readers know, I do not comment on individual charts except in a more general, educational way because I’m retired from doing individual charts in order to write. Maria’s question was a good educational one. Donna

      • Thank you for your thorough answer. I’ve become all too aware of Neptune’s multiple effects (south node Pisces) but am learning to find ways to keep using its energies more constructively and find a solution for the draining factor. I find that Astrology give me the pieces of the puzzle, but the whole challenge remains to fit the puzzle pieces together and make sense of them! So thank you for your blog again, and thank you for linking blogs that have also provided a lot of food for thought.

        Be well.

  3. My first experience of being aware of the cosmic soup was after I attended an all-day psychic fair in NYC back in the 90’s. It was a fantastic day, lots of good workshops and lectures and amazing people, but talk about energy of the Collective! I was absolutely drained afterwards and was overwhelmed with the need to shower when I got home that night. I rarely shower at night, btw, but that really helped shake off some of the vibes. They weren’t bad vibes, they were just very intense. I didn’t know about shielding then, but I believe it would have been helpful.

    • That’s a prime example of psychic drain, CJ. In my earliest days as an astrologer, I’d be so wiped out after a consultation that when the client left I’d have to go to bed for a nap. Putting up my shielding techniques before the client arrived made it a better experience–more stamina during the session and less exhaustion after.

      CJ is my partner in crime, folks. We’ve done a two-part article on Shovel-ready projects for all 12 houses that you’ll be seeing in a few days. Donna

  4. Looking forward to the articles on the 12 houses, CJ and DC! Much love to you both.

    • It’s been grand getting to know you this year, too, Neeti! Donna

  5. Ah, I love your “Split-Pea Cosmic Soup”!

    On those days it is especially helpful to carry a big umbrella and a wear a raincoat, for most of us have seen what happens, thanks to that 70’s classic starring Linda Blair, when the Pea Soup get’s a good churning.

    Thanks Donna, a great read and comprehensive! kachina

  6. I love this analogy- I have often compared things to cosmic chicken noodle, actually insofar as interactions go. 🙂 I also love the bowl and spoon image, there- where’d you get it? I would LOVE to have a set.
    You know, for the literal soup. 😉

    I tend to do less shielding than perhaps I should, more avoidance and letting go later on.
    I usually ground myself with an extremely hot shower or laying down on the yard- which causes my neighbors a bit of alarm, but does the trick nicely.

    • Glad you like it, Holly. The thing that’s tricky about being in the cosmic soup is that when the emotions we soak up mirror our own emotions, we don’t realize we’ve taken them on–just think we’re feeling more (sad, frustrated, whatever) strongly than usual. I don’t recall where I got the image you asked about–I looked on Google images, I remember that. Donna

  7. My ascendant is 25 Aquarius and the Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter has put me in the cosmic soup since my sensitivity has grown. I use shielding and shower etc. but sometimes you get drawn in anyway. Very exhausting. Neptune will probable be in my 1st house the rest of the time I’m on this planet since my 2nd house cusp is 12 Aries. Uranus will be leaving soon though. I have an empty 1st house so maybe it won’t be as intense having a natal planet there.

    I’m an empathic and have had to stop watching the news because the tears would start with all the pain happening in the world. We do have to live here for awhile anyway. I do love the creativity Neptune brings in, and I feel closer to spirit then ever before. My 1st clue when I out of center due to cosmic soup or something else is I’m not in tune with myself or spirit.

    Love your blog have learned a lot. You express IMO in a language that is easy to understand and relate to in everyday circumstances. I quess that’s what makes a great teacher your gift of communication .

    • Thanks, Adrienne. Yes, with Neptune in your 1st for the long haul, you do need to wrap yourself in gentle protection all the time. Like surrounding yourself in an egg-shaped light bubble of either white or golden light. I do relate to crying over the terrible world news–seldom listen any more. Donna

  8. I’ve been feeling very heavy, slow and drained lately and have been wondering what is going on. I feel like I need a generous dose of solitude or sleep or both. Thanks for another fantastic article!!

    (midheaven 29 degree Capricorn / Saturn conj. Chiron in Pisces at 24 and 22 degrees -11th house / Neptune at 20 Scorpio – 7th house)

  9. ” Under astrological transits like these, you can be especially susceptible to psychic flooding, because most likely you haven’t yet learned sufficient psychic shielding techniques to handle it.”

    This is true for me. I’ve spent the last few years learning how to shield myself from “catching” other people’s depressed, anxious and cynical moods. Neptune is retrograde in my chart and is involved with all of my angles, so this has probably taken me longer than the average (Neptunian) person. I still need to learn more shielding techniques so that I can do the work that I’m destined to do! Which SkyWriter posts do you recommend?

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