July 2019: Love’s Liberation

The month enters with a bang as Mars (finally) exits the emo waters of Cancer, where he’s been floundering since May 15, for the blazing sky of Leo on July 1. It was a tough 6 weeks with Mars in the sign of his detriment opposing Saturn, Pluto, and Ketu in Capricorn. Mars rules our will, so we’ve all had less motivation than usual, making many of the obstacles we’ve encountered seem insurmountable. Mars will quickly dry out in the hot fixed fire sign, and our desire to be seen and recognized will increase. 

It’s a blessing that Mars leaves when he does, because the Cancer New Moon total solar eclipse happens on July 2. This lunation is a powerful beginning in the sign of family, home, heart, and ancestry. Although the Moon stands solely with the Sun and Rahu (lunar North Node) in Cancer, it opposes Saturn, Pluto and Ketu (lunar South Node) in Capricorn. Saturn entered Capricorn on December 19, 2017, and will not depart until December 17, 2020. Things were always going to be challenging with the great malefic in his wintery home sign, moving into a conjunction with the God of Death, but just to make sure we didn’t miss the message, this year we began an eclipse cycle along the Capricorn-Cancer axis. The tension is between opening to love in our hearts and allowing the crumbling structures that no longer serve us to go. The good news is that love wins, but not without feeling the pain of expanding past the scar tissue.

Venus enters Cancer on July 3, to help us grow whatever intentions we set the night before. She’ll be in the lunar sign of the Great Mother until July 27, and will help us to parse out the blocks the Capricorn pressure is bringing into focus. Deep healing is one of Cancer’s magical qualities. Bring your wounds to the ocean and you’ll emerge stinging but with cuts cleansed, the cure absorbed into your cells through osmosis, and a little more buoyant from the salt. In coming to know the meaning of the trouble in our hearts we’re going to be liberated from it.

It is not a coincidence that Saturn conjoins Ketu on July 4, the anniversary of the founding of the nation state we call America. The planetary signature is about reckoning with the past, and we are in a crucial moment of horror with history repeating itself. The separation of families at the US-Mexico border and the detainment of children in conditions of torture where they are being emotionally, mentally, physically, and sexually abused all echoes of past atrocities. To illustrate this point, some of the detention centers have been re-purposed many times over, such as Fort Sill in Oklahoma where Apache people, including women, children, and freedom fighter Geronimo, were imprisoned in 1860s-70s during the American Indian Wars. It was later used as a Japanese internment camp during World War II, and adults who were imprisoned there as children have been leading protests. Every solar return is a renewal. The USA is a Cancer Sun, Sagittarius rising, and Aquarius Moon. It is interesting to note that Venus was also in Cancer at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The eclipse cycle in Cancer and Capricorn is an increase on the side of family and love, what we are growing towards, and a decrease on the side of patriarchal authority, what we’re moving away from. That will look different for everyone inter-personally, but on a collective level, we’re being called into a privileging of human rights, the rights of all people to live in safety and dignity, above the laws of a nation. This land was seized through violent means and those in power still seek to maintain our boundaries this way. The moral crisis we’re facing on the birthday of the USA is asking us to actively determine what kind of nation we will be. This astrology is nothing less than a question about the heart of the people who reside in this country. (Note: I am donating a portion of all appointments booked this week to Puente Human Rights Movement in Phoenix, AZ, and Mijente national network to support their important work protecting the rights of immigrants).

Things get a bit more complicated on July 7 when Mercury stations retrograde at 4 degrees Leo conjunct Mars and in a square to Uranus. Mercury and Mars together in a fire sign means that our mind and speech are already going to be a little hot under the collar, but add in the extra confusion and frustration of a retrograde and the unpredictability of Uranus, and we’re going to need to practice patience for the next three weeks. Mercury will be retrograde until July 31, and this cycle will straddle the first two signs of Summer because they move back into Cancer on July 19, adding extra emphasis to the already intense eclipse season. Mercury entered their retrograde shadow, 23 Cancer, around the Summer Solstice on June 21, and on July 21, they will co-join with the Sun at 28 Cancer, beginning a new cycle. Many of the topics and themes we grappled with during mid-late June will be present once again. Retrogrades invite the subconscious to speak; more will be revealed on an awareness level. Nothing is more vast and unknowable than the ocean so don’t be surprised if the old or unfathomable washes up on your shores.  

This is the year for Mercury retrogrades in water signs, letting us know that growth around emotional truth and intelligence have a special importance in 2019. The next one will be in Scorpio on Halloween (insert terror emoji here). Summer is often a time for home repair and major projects, but as always, try to avoid making big purchases (especially appliances) or signing contracts during the retrograde. If you travel, expect a reasonable amount of “hilarious” snafus–maybe buy that insurance they’re always trying to push, though I never do. Mercury will not clear their retrograde shadow until August 15, so we can expect to be fully done with the mayhem by the time Virgo season begins.   

The week of July 8 will test us as the Sun moves into an opposition with Saturn, Pluto, and Ketu in Capricorn. You may encounter restrictions or limitations that feel unfair. Conflicts in relationships could lead to a sense of isolation or being misunderstood. Saturn’s signature move is to cause us to blame others for our problems. Projection is not just possible but probable, but with Pluto in the mix, dynamics that you previously ignored or hid from are being revealed to you. Whatever crap other people are pulling, and pull they will, it’s our reactions to them that matter. Pluto is showing where you give your power away, and Saturn illuminates what you lose when you stay stuck in these grooves. Saturn and Pluto will not conjoin completely until January 12, 2020, but all of 2019 can be seen as a lead up to that moment. They’re dancing so close all year. All of this emptying out is preparation for a new 200 year air cycle that will begin when Saturn and Jupiter meet on the Winter Solstice December 21, 2020. Until then we are undergoing a deep release that is a painful but necessary preparation.  

This challenging and purgative energy is building up to the Capricorn Full Moon partial lunar eclipse on July 16. Eclipses are portals. They create energetic containers that hold the space for 6 months. The stage for this moment was set at the new year. The Sun conjunct Saturn in Capricorn on January 2, indicating 2019 was about hard work, discipline, and confronting messiness. Saturn doesn’t like sloppy and we all have some places we could tidy up. This eclipse cycle was kicked off at the Capricorn New Moon partial solar eclipse on January 5. If you’re familiar with your chart, you know what area of your life is getting werked. Half a year later, you get to stand in this place of fullness and consider where you are now. What change were you called into making? Have you fulfilled the intentions you set? Congratulate yourself for all you’ve accomplished, and think about where you can let go. Saturn isn’t great at encouraging gentleness, but with the Moon in Capricorn, we know that’s what we need.   

Venus will be opposing the Capricorn crew from July 17-21, making this a tender and trying time. At the end of Cancer season we return to the wisdom of the Moon: how do we nurture, comfort, and care for ourselves; what makes us feel secure, how do we navigate safety in a chaotic world; what are our family values; how do we protect the sacred? The universe is relentlessly driving home these lessons because they are of utmost importance for our spiritual development. Do not fear if this month brings feelings of depression, rather, let the weight of whatever is moving through you be an invitation to listen closely to your emotional landscape. It has a lot to tell us right now.

The pressure begins to ease when the Sun enters Leo on July 22. The Sun is at home in Leo. This is where Apollo reigns supreme in full power and strength. Let yourself shine because things are going to improve for the rest of the Summer. Mercury conjoins with Venus on July 24, in a sweet meeting, and Mars will trine Jupiter on July 25, giving us a boost in self-confidence and drive. On July 27, Venus will enter Leo, and we’ll feel a renewed passion and excitement for romance and creativity. 

The second New Moon of the month happens at the very end, on July 31, at 8 degrees Leo, present with Venus and Mars, in a grand fire trine with Jupiter in Sagittarius and Chiron in Aries, and square Uranus in Taurus. Mercury will also station direct on that day. After all the difficulty of the month, this is an exciting new beginning that you won’t be able miss. You’ve survived the worst astrology of the year so give yourself a hand. After all you’ve been through you’ll have a clearer sense of who you are and what you want. Now is the time to go for it. The Summer has two distinct flavors, and the second is much more pleasurable so save the best for last. Let the fun and play begin!

We the People: Shepard Fairey