©2008 by Donna Cunningham, MSW, in The Mountain Astrologer
If Neptune is transiting a vocational sector of your chart—the 2nd, 6th, 10th, houses, forming an aspect to a planet in one of those houses, or aspecting your Midheaven—you’re probably hazy about your work life. You may be burned out and know you need a new direction.
You’re sure there’s got to be more than this, but you’re stuck and have no idea what, where, when, or how to make the switch.
You’ve undoubtedly pestered your astrologer or that buddy who’s taken a class or two with weighty but imponderable questions about where you’re headed. Every now and then, when the fog is densest, you moan:
“How many more eons will this go on?”
“When will Neptune leave my career house?”
“Will it go quietly, or do I have to have it evicted?”
Wake me when it’s over: This is not a transit to hibernate through, it’s an epoch. Slow-moving Neptune stays in a sign for about 14 years, crossing retrograde and direct over the same degree of the zodiac due to motion for at least two years. To know the length of its impact, first calculate how wide that house is in a particular chart. Depending on the season and latitude of birth, it might be anywhere from 25-45° wide. Since it moves a little more than 2° a year, ball park figures would be 11 years for a 25° wide house and 21 years for a 45° wide house.
The effects aren’t continual—the transit sets up a general mood or trend but is only fully active when forming actual aspects to a natal position. You’d also feel it if Neptune isn’t transiting a career house but aspecting the Midheaven or a natal planet in those sectors. Sensitive people can feel some of this hazy planet’s effects on a natal position for at least 3° before and after the exact aspect.
Basic patterns of Neptune Transits: Neptune transits to any of the vocational houses typically entail a Divine Itch. Work that once was rewarding is no longer satisfying on a soul level. Maybe we’ve even been quite successful at our work, but suddenly everything we’ve always wanted isn’t enough. Typically, this is a period of yearning for a more fulfilling career, and yet of feeling powerless to make a change or unsure of what direction would be satisfying.
The difficulty with Neptune-propelled career change is that we generally are moving AWAY from something that no longer suits us but we aren’t moving TOWARD anything in particular. We just feel that there has GOT to be more than this, that the working day ought somehow to be more creative or spiritual or make more of a contribution by serving humanity in some way.
Those with a long history in service fields—the career Neptunians—aren’t immune to burnout, however. They often experience a feeling of being spent and unable to go on that develops as a consequence of long-term overwork, masochistic confusion about what service really means, or being in a codependent pattern of relatedness to the boss, coworkers, or the clients they serve.
Anyone with a long Neptune transit to one of the vocational houses might over time develop less desirable patterns seen in those who have natal Neptune there, so it’s wise to be on the watch. These qualities include playing the rescuer or enabler on the job, codependent relationships with bosses or coworkers, workaholism or other addictive patterns, escaping into fantasy, feeling powerless, playing the victim by allowing themselves to be taken advantage of, living in denial about what is going on, and blaming others for their difficulties rather than taking responsibility for their own actions and choices.
People who are under Neptune transits to career placements often feel paralyzed by insecurities, lack of direction or lack of confidence in their ability to make a change, so they might stay in a unrewarding position for years as this transit unfolds. Timing is perfection is one of my mottoes, so this seeming stagnation is really a window for deep-level processing and gathering clarity for a major shift in the life path. As time goes on, the old job may become less and less tolerable, and the wise person begins to take the actions needed to make a change.
You’re fortunate if this transit comes when you’ve already paid your dues in terms of raising a family or other responsibilities and thus have some freedom to explore alternatives. If you can’t change fields just now, it’s soul-satisfying to find creative, spiritual, or humanitarian outlets outside the job.
Take courses in things you love, perhaps inexpensive ones in adult education or online programs. If you want to write or paint, for instance, get up an hour early a couple times a week or make time on your schedule and let nothing interfere. Even within the corporate sector, there’s a new social consciousness, so if you yearn to contribute something meaningful to the world, you might organize an annual food or toy drive, work project for local schools, emergency blood donations, or other employee contributions to those in need.
Soul-Based Career Change: What I like to call Soul-Based Career Change often defies conventional wisdom about material success but speaks to the deepest needs of our being, a part of us that yearns to continue growing and contributing. It’s common with those who have the outer planets strong in their charts, especially at Midlife or other times when those planets are transiting the Midheaven.
It happened to me—during a transiting Yod of Neptune and Uranus to my Midheaven, I woke up one morning knowing I had to be a full time astrologer and quit the highest-paid job I’d ever had in my life, Director of Social Service in a hospital.
Career decisions of this magnitude come from a very deep level of the Soul, so if it happens to you, trust yourself. You may wonder about those promptings—“is my bright idea a half-baked scheme, a silent scream, or a reawakened dream?”
If you’ve dreamt about taking a particular step for many years, if it’s on the list of things you wanted to do when you grew up, and if it feels like a homecoming, take it seriously.
People who ignore that kind of urgent inner prompting run the very serious risk of stagnating—not just on the job but in their body, mind, and soul—for many years in order to remain safe and may even come to the end of their lives deeply regretting the path not taken.
Finding Right Vocation is no simple matter, but the quest is well worth it. I’m of the opinion that in our lifetime vocational path, we make no mistakes, though we often think we’ve lost our way. The bypaths that seem so inexplicable and misguided to others—and to ourselves in our darkest hours—are part of the Grand Design for our lives.
Our life path is more than our resume; it consists of all the experiences we’ve had—seemingly positive and seemingly negative—that forge our character and our soul. They create who we become by the end of this life and the mark we live on others. Many born with Neptune or Pisces in these sectors seem lost and meandering until their forties, when they’re seasoned enough to handle Neptune’s energies well. The midlife series of squares from transiting Neptune to its natal position is especially likely to be accompanied by a period of disillusionment with the career path, even if it suited them perfectly up to that point.
One caution, however: It’s in the nature of dreams that they demand sacrifices. The True Calling that emerges from this life passage is likely to require major commitment, like living on a shoestring for several years while getting training or establishing writing credits, a portfolio, or whatever represents credibility in that arena.
Many people turn their backs on their dream, saying, “I’m 44 years old, and by the time I finish school, I’ll be almost 50.” So six years go by, and amazingly enough, they are 50 anyway AND haven’t been to school and are still stuck in the job they burned out on years ago. Pursuing a dream takes courage and demands heroic efforts, but by and large, people who do so are happier than those who don’t.
See a followup article here: Skywriter’s Readers share their own Neptunian Career Tales
More Posts about Vocational Astrology:
- Uranus In The Career Houses—“You’re Not The Boss Of Me!”
- Neptune Square the Midheaven—How It Affects your Career
- Pluto in the Career Houses–The Power to Manifest or Fail for Spite
- Career Challenges for the Pluto-Uranus in Virgo Generation
- Life Patterns of People Born with Uranus-Saturn Aspects
- Saturn Transits—What do They Mean to your Career?
- Transits to the Vocational Houses–Temp Job or Career Departure?
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