Welcome to Cancer season. The summer has truly begun and the Sun is bright in the sky, but July is marked by retrogrades and eclipses. In order to understand these powerful cosmic moments of slow down and speed up, we need to examine the mythology and history of the planets involved in the astral dance we’re witnessing.
The month starts on a spicy note when Mercury, the God of Communication, enters Leo, on June 29, and immediately squares Uranus, letting us know communication is going to be heated for a while. The Sun is in the watery sign of Cancer, illuminating our need for healing on a collective and personal level. We want to be especially mindful of our speech on July 5, when Chiron, the wounded healer, stations retrograde in Aries, while the Sun trines Jupiter in Scorpio, and Mercury opposes Mars in Aquarius. It’s going to be a day with big feels and even bigger words. The medicine of this moment may go down better with a teaspoon of sugar, but we’re more likely to pour gasoline on the whole thing and light a match.
Chrion’s movement from placid Pisces into firey Aries in April signaled a shift in the way we approach healing. Chiron was a centaur, half-man half-horse, who was disowned by his parents, Saturn and Philyra, and mentored by Apollo and Artemis. Renown for his wisdom as a teacher and skills as a healer, he was credited with the discovery of botany and pharmacy, but sustained a wound that even his knowledge was unable to remedy, and was in such anguish that he begged to be made mortal so he could die. With Chiron in Aries, we’re experiencing an urgent call to action around our deepest wounds, and the retrograde period until December 9, is an invitation to consider how and where we enter this work. Our challenge is to approach these painful places with devotion and a true heart without flaming too bright and trying to run roughshod over our tenderest parts.
Venus enters Virgo on July 9, and our aesthetic sensibilities turn towards the earthy and refined. The perfectionist impulse of Virgo is best channeled towards art and beautifying your home, rather than trying to “fix” yourself or anyone else. The following day, July 10, Jupiter’s retrograde ends, and he stations direct in Scorpio. Getting access to the full power of the great benefic lends much needed assistance to our navigation of the catalytic eclipses that begin shortly thereafter.
Last year, the “great American” total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, at 29 degree of Leo, inspired millions of people to migrate to remote areas of the country to witness an astronomical event. Whether or not those pilgrims believe in astrology, they responded to a primal instinct that it’s a big deal when the Moon causes the light of the Sun to be completely obscured on earth, so they joyfully organized their precious summer vacations to drive hundreds of miles (sometimes after flying thousands) to stand in the middle of a field with strangers and stare up at the sky wearing flimsy plastic glasses. The draw of the eclipse signaled a shift in our collective consciousness. There was a public demonstration of consensus that the connection between the stars and human lives can be felt in our bodies. The next total solar eclipse in the USA is not until April 24, 2024, but an eclipse is not a rare event.
There are two eclipse seasons a year with up to three eclipses per season. Yet their power is mighty, their cycles complex, and their significance contested. The Leo/Aquarius eclipse cycle that began on February 10, 2017, shortly after the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, and will continue through January 2019, is an exploration of who we are as a collective and what it says about us as individuals. The impact of the August 2017 eclipse was highly debated ahead of time by astrologers because it fell on Trump’s ascendant, and cast the biggest shadow across the states that popularly supported his candidacy. Eclipses have always held great significance for heads of state, and many predicted the energy would either bring about his political downfall or solidify his power. A solar eclipse creates a container that is most powerfully felt for the next 6 months, but can have reverberations for the next 19 years.
This summer we have a trifecta of eclipses spanning July and August, and the first is a partial solar eclipse at the New Moon in Cancer on July 12. This eclipse initiates a new cycle between Cancer-Capricorn, triggering dynamics between archetypes of the loving mother and stern father, that will continue to play out over the next three years. This New Moon is opposed by Pluto, which can bring a frightening depth, but let that heaviness facilitate a deeper plunge into Cancer’s healing emotional waters.
A brightness returns when the Sun enters it’s home sign of Leo on July 22, and our spirit is inspired to shine out. Take time to appreciate yourself and those around you for the light and love they bring to your life. Remember to lay in the soft grass or warm sand and absorb the healing rays of the biggest luminary in our galaxy. The Sun will trine Chiron and square Uranus on July 25, reminding us that sometimes we have to break with the past to move into the future as the people we’re meant to become. Mercury stations retrograde on July 26 until August 19, emphasizing our origin story, and what is required for our spiritual evolution around issues of family, roots, and ancestry.
The biggest event of the month comes at the end with the Full Moon in Aquarius total lunar eclipse on July 27. This blood Moon is with Mars and squared by Uranus, so the impulse may be to radically cut away all that which is holding you back. However, hold off on making any drastic decisions around interpersonal dynamics or health issues until this martial energy has been fully integrated. People will probably be having a hard time in the days leading up to and following, so make sure to practice compassion for yourself and others. Try not to say anything you can’t take back, but if you don’t act your best, remember that a sincere apology coupled with a change in behavior goes a long way to mending rifts. Offer whatever you’d like to compost in your life or the world up to the purifying flames of Chiron in Aries, and ask Saturn to help you dedicate to a practice to be the change you want to see in the world.
The energy of July is like fireworks. Bright bursts will light up our lives and pass away quickly. Allow yourself to appreciate what is beautiful, and regard the drama with a healthy detachment, but don’t get distracted from that which is yours to do. There is more to come in August, and we need to pace ourselves in order to keep up with this summer that wants us to grow as fast and abundantly as the crops in the field. Take it step by step, and you’ll harvest a bounty in the fall.