One thing that instantly turns me off is talk of “generational entitlement.” As someone who was born in 1989, I am a part of a group that gets a really bad rap these days: Millennials. The majority of trash-talking I've witnessed about Millennials has been online or in articles. But, I was on the receiving end of it, not too long ago, in a conversation with someone about a decade older than me. And all of this judgmental talk about how we are so entitled and self-involved and so on made my skin crawl. Yet, it’s a tale as old as time. Every rising generation gets ridiculed and shamed and patronized during their passage into adulthood. So, people my age, I guess it’s just our turn!
The thing that does fascinate me about generations, in terms of astrology, is how the outer planets symbolize these generations. And in terms of outer planets, I mean Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Neptune was in Capricorn from about 1984 to 1998. People have a hard time defining Millennials and just what the cut-off age is. For me, it’s anyone born from about 1985 to 1995, which would encompass the Capricorn Neptune folks. Those born in the last couple years of this transit, in my opinion, aren’t really Millennials because to be one you had to fully experience the 90’s as a child.
It was a decade that was very Capricorn-heavy, in terms of transits, from Saturn’s passage through Capricorn to Uranus and Neptune both being in Capricorn to the transiting Capricorn North Node (which is conjunct Neptune for those born in 1991). So, clearly, during this time, people were in a highly Capricorn state of mind. The adults around us were very fixated on the ideals of this sign: ambition, achievement, perseverance, dedication. This is obviously something that shaped us and that we were conditioned with, hence our generational markers being so Capricorn-infused. We can’t “blame” a generation for anything until we stop and take a look at how they were raised and conditioned. With Neptune, we see the utter idealism of a generation; the dreams and the fantasies that fueled them yet that aren’t entirely based in reality. Yet, with Neptune in realistic Capricorn, this is quite a paradox. Our dreams and fantasies were seemingly based in reality but not totally.
We were taught, in one way or another, that we could do anything we wanted to do when we grew up. The whole “work hard and be on top of your game and you’ll achieve” mantra of Capricorn affected those of the Neptune in Capricorn generation in a profound way. It was the message of all the major adults in our lives, whether it was our parents, teachers, coaches, or role models. Everyone was so busy climbing to the top and striving for the ultimate image of success in the 1990’s. It was a very capitalistic era, thanks to all of the long-running Capricorn transits. Kids look at adults and fantasize about life vicariously through them. In many ways, Neptune represents how the generation, as children, projected all of their fantasies on to the adults around them. With Neptune in Capricorn, it was fantasies of success, recognition, prominence, authority, even fame.
Because of the sanctified version of success that the Neptune in Capricorn transit represented, we became a generation that had a transcendent (Neptune) idea of achievement (Capricorn). I personally think the whole “participation trophy” complaint is bullshit because I never received one of those as a child or teenager. I think that was much more of a trend for kids who were born in the 2000’s, giving them that Neptune in Aquarius idealism that absolutely everyone is special. Neptune in Capricorn was not quite as easy on us. However, I do think that a lot of Capricorn Neptune folks grew up with a glorified sense of what we could achieve. Don’t give up, don’t quit, try again if you don’t first succeed. Neptune is a planet of redemption and so this placement created a generation of people who always sought to redeem ourselves through what we could accomplish.
For instance, when I was growing up, I was a mess at quite a few things. My track record in school was spotty, sometimes amazing and sometimes lackluster. I was in the school band for a couple of years in middle school and played the saxophone. I hated it and didn’t really apply myself (although I did really love playing the xylophone in elementary school). But, I did know that I had creative talent, like writing, singing, acting, etc. I knew that even though there were certain things I sucked at and I didn’t like, there were other things that I was really good at and could be very accomplished in. This “redeemed” me, making me realize that I could enjoy the bliss of achieving something and that if I didn’t do well in other areas, that was alright.
Basically, the Capricorn Neptune was not as hard on us when we failed as it was on previous generations. We were forgiven and urged to move on to what we could actually accomplish or to recognize what we did accomplish and pull off, even in the midst of failure. I’m talking about on a general level, as a culture and in society. So, that is where the whole participation trophy thing comes in, to me. It’s that everything that we did, growing up, could be seen as an achievement, even though the “real world” would deem it as a failure. We were the first group of kids, I believe, to really grow up with this mentality.
Gifted classes and elective classes were also stressed with this generation, in order for us to gain recognition at the level we deserved to or in the things that we were deeply interested in. We were encouraged to achieve (Capricorn) but to not forget about our humanity (Neptune) in the process. Instead of sheer hard-edged realism that urged us to just go after goals to make money, we were taught that if we want to accomplish something, it should be something that is deeply enriching to us and to our souls, as well as something that could potentially enrich others and their souls.
The more aspects a person has to Neptune in Capricorn in their chart, the more they will live this out on a personal level. I have many aspects to my Neptune and this was always an ideal that I grew up with. But, even if you aren’t very Neptunian, having Neptune in Capricorn means that when you get around people your age, they can bring out that imaginative or empathetic sensibility within you in terms of your goals, whether it’s not being too hard on yourself when you supposedly fail, having vivid dreams of success, or achieving goals without sacrificing spiritual fulfillment. Naturally, because of this generational mindset, we entered adulthood with some lofty visions of ourselves and what we could do in the world. And like with all generations, we were dealt a rude awakening when the real world intruded and shattered our illusions.
It’s an interesting process as every generation’s illusions are shattered in this way, via their Neptune, once they go through their 20’s. The reason why is that this is always the time when transiting Pluto conjuncts that generation’s Neptune. Pluto can disillusion this generation in a seemingly cruel way but it allows us to learn how to survive and not be too broken when reality intrudes on our dreams. The Neptune in Scorpio generation, for instance, had this collective dream of the ultimate intimacy, of being to live out their sexual lives in very fluid ways, and to have no boundaries in terms of sharing themselves with someone else. This happened because they were children during the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and the wild, flower-child vibes of the 1970’s.
Then, Pluto in Scorpio occurred and hit their Neptune during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Pluto brings crisis and turmoil during its transit in things that are represented by the sign. Pluto in Scorpio is probably most symbolized by the AIDS epidemic that began in the mid-80’s. Sexuality and death became intertwined. The need for safe sex was stressed, across all sexual orientations and identities, making it a literally life-or-death situation. Paranoia increased about how much you could trust your sexual or romantic partner. So, Neptune in Scorpio people’s idealized sense of intimacy was shattered, bringing up issues of betrayal, trust, sexual activeness, and even mortality that eventually required the Neptunian concepts of forgiveness, healing, and going from unconsciousness to consciousness.
The same thing could be said about the Neptune in Sagittarius group, who were conditioned with an ideal sense of faith, of accepting other cultures, of being devoted to beliefs, due to the wandering, philosophical and multicultural times of the 1970’s and 1980’s that they grew up with. But, when Pluto in Sagittarius happened, so did 9/11 and the Iraq War, where people were literally dying because of the religious beliefs of someone else. This shattered their illusions by bringing up these concerns of nationalism, of being too obsessed with one’s own country or faith, of mistrusting foreign people or fighting against such prejudices. (Since Pluto’s effects are pretty irrevocable, these are issues that are still reverberating today, especially with Saturn currently in Sagittarius, as well) So, again, healing and forgiveness and awakening were required of this group in these ways.
How has Pluto been treating us Neptune in Capricorn individuals, then? Well, it’s clear that we’ve been dealing with shattered illusions due to the Great Recession that hit as soon as Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008. It’s a transit that absolutely turned the economy and the professional climate upside down, resulting in a lot of turmoil and crisis in terms of professional security and what one could achieve. Therefore, our idealized sense of achievement has been altered, in many ways, into adulthood. Capricorn deals with the demands and pressures of our field and our career. Previous generations eased into a milder professional environment where you could make a decent wage without even having a college degree or much experience in that job. Today, you need a Master’s degree, years of experience, amazing references, and the ability to speak French while standing on your head to get a job that’s really financially comfortable. And sure, you can earn all of that but while you’re putting yourself into enormous debt and having to live with your parents.
While other generations can take Millennials to task for being entitled or not working harder, we are a generation that is working as hard as we can and that ultimate success still feels very elusive to many. For us, it’s not enough to just pull yourself up by the bootstraps. Pluto has been hitting everyone in this group’s Neptune for years. It just finished being conjunct mine although the retrograde will make it a wide conjunction again for a while. So, intense feelings of failure, of struggle, of “adulthood” being a faraway dream is what we are all dealing with. Even those who have achieved security may have this haunting fear that either it’s all going to disappear one day or that they sold their soul to get it, especially if their friends are struggling or less well-off. But, like with the other generations, forgiveness and healing are required. We have to forgive ourselves for what we haven’t achieved and find inner peace by letting go of rigid notions of being an adult.
It’s why the term “adulting” was created by Millennials. Capricorn does represent that level of accomplished maturity and for many of us, it either seems like a total mirage or like it’s a dream you want to wake up from. A lot of people feel this way about adulthood but Neptune in Capricorn folks experience it on a very deep level. And the stronger Neptune is in your chart, the more you’ll feel it. I also have to add that if you have Saturn in Capricorn conjunct Neptune, like I do, or the North Node in Capricorn conjunct your Neptune, this transitional period has been especially hard and disillusioning for you. For me, life recently has been one crisis after another about what goals I can and cannot pull off. But, this also provides me with the opportunity to heal and to let go of one dream of success for another.
In the end, Neptune’s generational effect does give us the yearning to have vivid dreams of whatever the sign stands for. Pluto’s transiting impact just transforms those dreams. It initiates us into adulthood by re-conditioning us, so our ideals are truly ours instead of our parents or the other influential adults that we were surrounded by. We are here to have dreams (Neptune) that those who came before us (Capricorn) did not. I think a lot of people in this generation carry the sense of being able to achieve what their parents couldn’t, in one way or another, just because they are able to visualize it and not be affected or tainted by the world’s demands.
We are the generation that cares little for the traditional markers of adulthood. There’s a reason why Millennials aren’t out buying property in droves (a trend that the Internet is strangely fascinated with). It’s not just because it’s not financially feasible. It’s because we don’t let ourselves get too attached to the linear path of being an adult. Over 20 years ago, you had to buy a house, get married, and have a kid or two all before your 30th birthday. Neptune in Capricorn means that we are transcending that conventional trajectory. Times are changing and, like all generations, we’re reflecting that change.
Also, we operate on a higher wavelength of realism. We know that being married or having children or settling down somewhere means sacrifices and, often, sacrifices of what we want to accomplish. Neptune is about sacrifice but in Capricorn, it means sacrificing certain things to achieve what we want, not the other way around. I think we all keenly feel how much our parents gave up their true goals for a conventional life (if you have a strong Neptune, you probably experienced a lot of guilt, in this way, growing up) and we want to rise above that. A lot of people my age, including myself, are too focused on their goals or ambitions to think about being a parent or someone’s spouse. Capricorn does represent delays and with Neptune in Capricorn, in one way or another, we will delay those conventional things to accomplish our dreams, waiting til our early or mid 30's or later to have them. And we will eventually accomplish them! So, if you are of this generation and you’re feeling deeply frustrated now, just be patient. Your dreams will manifest perfectly in due time.