This Year's Neptune Retrograde In Pisces Is Serving Reality Checks and Wake-Up Calls

The planet of spirituality will appear to back up for five months in 2022. Here's what you need to know about the Neptune retrograde in Pisces — and how to thrive during this astrological moment.

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With Mercury retrograde barely in the rearview mirror, the last thing you probably want to hear is that another planet will soon be seemingly moving backward and shaking things up — for over five months, no less. Neptune, the planet of spirituality and dreams, will be retrograde from June 28 to December 3.

Though Mercury's backspin tends to trigger miscommunications, blasts from the past, and a need to tie up loose ends, Neptune's is more concerned with delivering reality checks in any area of life in which you may be rocking rose-colored glasses. Particularly because the retrograde is occurring in Pisces — the empathic, intuitive mutable water sign — the next few months could be brimming with deeply felt emotions and spiritual growth.

Here, your guide to making the most of Neptune's retrograde through Pisces in 2022.

What Neptune Retrograde Means

First, some basics on Neptune and what it means when it's retrograde. The planet of spirituality, dreams, and the unconscious, Neptune is perhaps the most mystical planet in astrology. And the way in which it functions is a bit of a double-edged sword: When it's moving forward (aka "direct"), Neptune will inspire you and fuel your imagination, creativity, empathy, and desire to heal yourself and others. But along with illusion, Neptune spurs delusion. It will cloud rational thought, making it tougher to know what's real and what's not. The planet can also cause you to idealize, well, just about anything — from relationships to wellness game plans — in a way that can veil the truth of the matter. In the case of a workout buddy, mentor, or personal trainer, for example, you may not realize there's an underlying toxic dynamic that's not really serving you.

But once a year, Neptune goes retrograde — meaning the planet looks, from Earth's viewpoint, as though it's moving backward. Typically, the planets in the solar system appear to move from west to east through the stars, but every so often, they begin to look like they're instead moving from east to west, known as an apparent retrograde motion, according to NASA.

This optical illusion all comes down to the speeds of the planets, their location, and how quickly they revolve around the sun. Neptune is one of the slowest planets in the solar system, taking 165 years to make one trip around the sun — and therefore, the entire zodiac. It spends approximately 14 years in each sign. Earth, on the other hand, completes a trip around the sun every 365 days and is the third closest planet to it. When Neptune passes Earth in orbit, it creates the appearance that the planet is moving backward. Each of these retrograde periods lasts for a little more than five months, so Neptune is technically retrograde for about 40 percent of each year.

During a Neptune retrograde, the planet of dream's haze-fueling effect is curbed, and for slightly more than five months, you'll be presented with reality checks galore. And as with any retrograde, a planet's seemingly backward movement tends to cause its effect to shift from the external to the internal. While Neptune direct might motivate you to dive into dream journaling, a mindful running routine, or pouring your emotions into an artistic project, Neptune retrograde urges you to turn inward, perhaps working through any mental or spiritual blocks that have held you back from hitting your big-picture goals. You'll also have an opportunity to revise any long-term effort that's tied to your mental well-being and imagination. You might realize it's time to move on from your current therapist or fitness approach that's causing more stress than you may have recognized.

Wellness Themes of the 2022 Neptune Retrograde

Mutable water sign Pisces — symbolized by the Fish — is ruled by Neptune. And both Pisces and Neptune rule the twelfth house of spirituality, karma, the unconscious, and private matters. People who were born with their sun or other personal placements in Pisces are generally incredibly empathic, artistic, and even psychic. They have a tendency to wade out into the deepest end of their emotions — as well as the feelings and energy of those around them. And they're laser-focused on caring for and healing anyone, whether it be a dear loved one or a stranger, with whom they happen to cross paths.

In turn, Neptune retrogrades in Pisces — which have been happening annually since the planet moved into its home sign in 2011 and will occur until 2025 — require you to reflect on how you're caring for your own emotional and mental well-being and spiritual self-development.

While you can count on Neptune retrograde to occur each year, the planetary aspects — or weather — shift from year to year. In 2022, the planet of spirituality will square off against physical, action-oriented Mars in Gemini on October 12, which can result in low energy and make you feel like you're running against the tide. It's a moment to stick to what you currently have on your agenda, embracing diligence and patience. Then, in November, Neptune will form harmonious trines to several planets in fellow water sign Scorpio — right on the heels of the second, change-bringing eclipse season of the year. In turn, it'll be nearly impossible to sweep ongoing emotional issues under the rug, and facing them head-on can be hugely healing.

How to Make the Most of 2022's Neptune Retrograde

With compassionate Pisces leading the charge on this astrological event — and its trines to Scorpio falling right around the same time as eye-opening eclipses — Neptune retrograde will empower you to pinpoint the facts in any ongoing, confusing situation. Then, you'll want to use that knowledge to better care for your whole well-being. No matter your sign, here are a few ways you make the most of Neptune's backspin.

Be Delicate with Yourself

Pisces are seriously sensitive and notoriously hard on themselves. With Neptune retrograde in the sign of the Fish, dealing out reality checks right and left, it's a time to step up your self-care — and not just in terms of making sure you prioritize active recovery between your toughest workouts. This actually could look a lot more like practicing self-compassion — something that both Neptune and Pisces aim to teach you — especially in moments you fear you're falling short or feeling insecure.

Embrace Your Reality

Maybe you've been idolizing that influencer who's always crushing super-tough circuits or boxing workouts — training sessions that somehow make you feel mentally and physically drained after. Or, you've been seeing a wellness practitioner who's not quite delivering the results you thought you were signing up for. In these situations, Neptune's retrograde might deliver "OMG" moments that cause you to see the cold, hard truth — ultimately, for your own benefit. Now's the time to listen to these fact-checks from the universe and your intuition even more than usual, so you can move past any routine, philosophy, idea, or relationship that's actually not what you thought it was.

Lean Into Activities That Promote Mental and Emotional Healing

Neptune's dreamy effect when its direct often serves as a shield — a security blanket, a cozy respite from aspects of life that aren't exactly fun to accept. And when that's stripped away, you could find yourself missing the warm, fuzzy balm of illusion. Instead of seeking out escapism, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable — not just in your physical workouts but by identifying exactly what's bothering you and then figuring out why. This could be a truly productive period for therapy, meditation, and especially mindful workouts, such as yoga or Pilates.

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