The untold want by life and land ne’er granted,
Now voyager sail thou forth to seek and find. – Walt Whitman
An explorer has been commissioned by the King to journey forth in search of new lands. With great wealth and prestige in the offing, the explorer assembles his crew, readies his boat, and sets sail, leaving behind his family and the comforts of home.
Nothing he’s done up to now has quite prepared him for the difficulty of the voyage – the interminable days with nothing in sight but sea and sky. He misses his family. He pines for land, for news, for a fresh peach. But worst of all is the uncertainty. Will the voyage ever end? Will he reach landfall alive? What began as the biggest adventure of his life now seems a fool’s errand.
In time, the ship comes ashore on uncharted land. He’s arrived…somewhere. Far from home and comfort, that’s for sure. It takes months for news of his success to reach the King. In absentia, his praises are sung. His reputation is burnished.
But how does he get back home?
As Jupiter and Neptune meet in a conjunction (April 12, 2022, 7:42 am PDT), we’re like voyagers set out to sea toward an uncertain destination. Jupiter promises wealth, prestige, or at least a grand adventure. But Neptune holds the rest of the story, which is that untethering ourselves from the known can be a melancholy affair.
Monitoring the Voyage
Jupiter unites with Neptune in a conjunction every 13 years, advancing roughly one sign of the zodiac each time. Watch the progression of the conjunctions through your chart, house by house, and monitor your own voyage. I was ten years old when I experienced my first Jupiter/Neptune conjunction, and this is my fifth. In each instance, my life was profoundly changed.
If I look back at these previous Jupiter/Neptune conjunctions, I see a pattern of risk taking that eventually paid big dividends. But Jupiter’s bounty took a long time to materialize, and was accompanied by a component of sadness, loss, or delusion as well. A price was always paid, something lost to balance the gains.
When we speak about Jupiter in astrology, it’s nearly always to celebrate him. His realm is all things bright and beautiful, riches, prestige. When he joins up with another planet… well, yes, if it’s something like Saturn or Uranus or Pluto, we might look askance. But Neptune? How much trouble can Neptune be?
How much? Well, it’s good to take leaps of faith – unless we discover, having launched off the diving board, that the pool is empty.
Saying goodbye, making room for the new
My husband and I have a deal, the sort that’s common among people who share a home: Anytime a new coffee mug is brought into the house, another from our extensive collection has to be sent on its way. Likewise, when Jupiter comes to visit, backing up a huge truck full of treasure at our door, we have to find space for it. Neptune is happy to oblige by taking some things away with the tide.
My Jupiter/Neptune journey has seen a new life in another part of the country, alongside the loss of almost everything and everyone I held dear; a lucrative job alongside a draining relationship; the death of a parent and the purchase of a house; the failure of one book and the opportunity to write another.
It’s not that Jupiter and Neptune are opposites. Each of them want us to expand our horizons. But one expands our bank balance or the number of stamps in our passport, while the other expands our heart’s awareness, sometimes by taking away illusions or something else we’re not ready to let go.
Find the house of your chart where 23.58 Pisces falls. This is the embarcadero from which you’re launching a new, 13-year voyage. Look to the planets in your chart near 24 degrees, especially those in Pisces, Gemini, Virgo, or Sagittarius – these are elements of your character that will be your first mate on the voyage.
Repeat the process for the most recent Jupiter/Neptune conjunctions:
- Jan. 31, 1971 (2.46 Sagittarius), May 21, 1971 (1.44 Sagittarius Rx), Sep. 15, 1971 (0.37 Sagittarius)
- Jan. 19, 1984 (0.01 Capricorn)
- Jan. 9, 1997 (27.08 Capricorn)
- May 27, 2009 (26.28 Aquarius), July 10, 2009 (26.01 Aquarius Rx), Dec. 21, 2009 (24.17 Aquarius)
You can’t go home again
How does our explorer return to his mother land? On a practical level, he turns the ship toward home, reunites with loved ones, receives his honors. But on a spiritual level, it’s not as simple as that. He’s been changed by the voyage. He’s outgrown his old life.
As Thomas Wolfe wrote, “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood…back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame…back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting, but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.” Once you’ve tasted the salt of the ocean’s mist, gazed into the vacant sky, and landed on a faraway shore – once you’ve let go of your moorings and experienced loss – you know yourself differently. You see the world differently. And you can’t go back to the way things were.
Writing and images © 2019-22 by April Elliott Kent
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