The Astrology of July features Mercury, Venus, Mars, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The primary story line continues to be that of revolutionary activity in pursuit of meaningful change, as symbolized by Uranus in square to Pluto, now slightly fading but still quite active and highlighted by the lunations of the summer months. Venus has just turned to direct motion in aspect to these powerhouse outer planets, emphasizing still further their dynamic alignment that will last through the remainder of this decade. Our desire for connection thus has its dark side now, and epiphanies equally abound. Meanwhile, Mars is about to enter the Venus-ruled sign of Libra on July 3rd – coincident and T-square to a Capricorn Full Moon conjunct Pluto – there to trine the May 20th eclipse degree and also to make an imaginative and yet problematic quincunx to flighty Neptune. The emphasis on Mars with Neptune takes us away from our mundane selves and out of this world into a shape-shifting multiplicity of points of view, and yet paradoxically has the power to bring us back into the world as more fully realized beings.
The Full Moon that takes place on Tuesday, July 3rd, is an interesting one. In the midst of the summer of change, indicated by the first exact hit of the Uranus-Pluto square, this configuration reaches toward a balance of energies, and yet also keeps up the intensity of the evolutionary pressures that are upon us now since the Moon conjuncts the powerfully transformative energies of Pluto, the destroyer. We all are coming to recognize where radical transformation is needed in our lives. Pluto is like the wrecking ball that knocks down previous structures that need replacement, to prepare the way for the rebirth to follow. Mars has also now entered Libra where it comes into an opposition by sign with Uranus, still in almost exact square to Pluto, further emphasizing their revolutionary potential. By the time of the next New Moon, later in the month, Mars will exactly oppose Uranus, making for an even more surprising and active mid-July time period, when also Mercury will be in retrograde.
Radical transformation is thus once more in the offing as this intense summer begins. And this brings up one of the great gifts of Astrology. Without its benefit one might assume that the worst is over, but this turns out to be far from the case. We know from the repetition and the severity of these transiting positions that things will tend to get worse over the next few years before they begin to get better. We will continue to be amazed by the unending revelations that spur us on to necessary changes, both in our individual lives and in the life of the collective that surrounds us. As Pluto conspires and interacts with the social innovation symbolized by Uranus all hell breaks loose – literally. This is because in order to create a new foundation one first must destroy the old order. Destruction is never pretty, nor comfortable, but it might turn out to be entirely necessary.
Mercury retrogrades in Leo on the 14th, so that this third weekend of the month is fraught with the usual symptoms of introspection, lost connection and mechanical breakdown. With the mid-week New Moon of July 18th the Sun and Moon are quintile Mars and square Saturn, just as Mars squares Pluto and opposes Uranus exactly, bringing to the table further surprising realizations and the reliance upon divinely inspired action that is increasingly implicit in our situation. This is an accident-prone time as well, so that we might want to be extra-cautious as befits the sense of limitation symbolized by Saturn.
Since Venus and Mars are also in the mix of energies during this potent month, all types of relationships are up for us as well, and reflect back to us the concept of “right relationship” wherein we treat others with the respect that we owe to them and indeed that we owe to ourselves, but so often overlook. When Mars trines the eclipse degree on the 3rd, also trining Jupiter in early Gemini, itself in square with Neptune, we feel both the idealism of this placement and a call to action that might be surprisingly intense in force and tenacious in intention. In many ways, as most in some fashion now realize, the time has come for concerted action, and right relationship is as good a place to start as any. The action required is simultaneously individual and collective; only you know what is right for you, and yet performing the deed in accord with conscious recognition of your true self and your correct path makes a holographic imprint on everything and everyone around you. Never fear that your activity will go undetected. One of the paradoxes of this time is that while you cannot predict the actual outcome, if you put your heart on the line you absolutely cannot go wrong, either.
Neptune in Pisces is activated at the time of this important cross-roads, so that his shape-shifting nature also pervades these difficult and yet exhilarating times that we are currently living through. There is the glimmering fantasy and then there is the truth; but right now, the truth is subtle and difficult to separate out from our ideals on the one hand, and a perhaps overly-cynical viewpoint on the other, so that we sometimes see just what we want to see, through the rose-colored glasses of illusion.
This summer represents one major kick-off for the revolution and evolution still to come – a trying time and yet also one when we can see the writing on the wall and begin to make our move. We have the opportunity now to truly occupy our own inner warrior. All in all we are doing well; and we do best when we recognize that we are serious about necessary transformation and that we are indeed in this for the long haul.
Tuesday evening’s Last Quarter Moon, taking place about a week before the mid-July New Moon in late Cancer, is traditionally a time of reassessment, when we look back to the more familiar lunation now ending and attempt to make sense of what has already gone down, as we prepare for the new cycle that piggy-backs as always on the shoulders of the past. This time in particular we are aided in this quest by the transformative nature of the Uranus-Pluto square still so very prominent in our summer skies, and by the confluence of Jupiter and Venus in aspect to that stunning combination of powerhouse outer planet energies. Since Pluto is about bringing to awareness our hidden motivations, we will all go through a great deal of soul-searching at this time, as we assess our relationships in a perhaps painful and yet still radically honest attempt at resolving some of our potentially dysfunctional patterns in this area.
Venus, planet of relationship connection, and as well exemplar of art and beauty, recently retrograde but now direct, is newly baptized as the Morning Star, and visible in the early morning hours just before dawn in a beautiful display with Jupiter, also bright, bringer of light and understanding. She is the esoteric ruler of Gemini, which is also the sign she and Jupiter now occupy, and therefore the sign that is highlighted in her newly acquired status as she begins another synodic cycle, so that a more thoughtful stance regarding our connection with each other indeed characterizes this next year and a half. Venus also currently squares Chiron in Pisces, which brings up some of the more difficult factors of relating. You and everyone you know are thus currently quite fully engaged in sussing out the underlying motivations that cause you to act as you do, and relate as you do, for better or for worse. When you discover difficult and painful truths about yourself, rather than shying away, you benefit enormously if you can have the courage to face these darker places within your psyche head-on, and begin to accept the parts of yourself that in all honesty you would rather not accept.
The concretizing, critical and limiting psychological archetype represented by the Saturnian Senex is also powerfully configured in this Quarter Moon, which makes a T-square to Saturn. As you mull over your prior and present choices you are also in the process running up against restriction, but this negative turns into a positive if it also makes you more aware.
This Quarter Moon time is therefore uniquely powerful, and has the capability to make us stop and think. We do well to take advantage of this time period by spending a few quiet moments each day in contemplation of all of our varied behavior, especially in the area of relationship and soul growth. We are enjoined to be as aware as we possibly can be. Only in this way will we have the ability to transcend the past and emerge into what we can manufacture – with dedication – into a brighter future for ourselves, our community and our world.
Mercury goes retrograde this evening for the next three weeks, all in the tropical sign of Leo. Although returning to direct motion on August 7th, it will be August 22nd before Mercury gets back to where it started when it began drifting backwards, thus escaping its “retrograde shadow.” This means that the usual symptoms of missed connections and mechanical and communication breakdowns might last through to the fourth week of August. The Mercury Retrograde period is a good time for reflection on where we are going and why, and obviously an excellent time for journaling or blogging about interior matters. Mercury aspects Saturn, Venus, Chiron and Uranus as it stations this evening, so that there is plenty of serious food for thought. Uranus and Pluto, triggered by the event, are still at the first peak of their square, so that we all continue to be feeling their symbolism of radical transformation and active rebellion against established norms. All our relations come into the picture in a poignant way and could bring up painful realizations, since Chiron and Venus are also involved in this configuration.
These are powerful times and the more that we can take the time to stop and think about our situation the better. We might not solve anything but it helps immensely when we can remain as aware as possible to everything that is going on around us, and within us, during this climactic year and decade.
The New Moon in late Cancer taking place on Wednesday evening, July 18th, is a powerful one. For one thing this New Moon squares Saturn, slowing us down. In another quite significant and yet contrary development, a strongly aspected Mars has come into exact opposition to Uranus – making for an exciting, lively and potentially accident-prone time. Meanwhile Jupiter is exactly parallel the Sun and also closely aspects Pluto, by quincunx, triggering the Uranus-Pluto square of these summer skies that is still quite active, being currently less than a degree from exact. Then, too, Mercury has only just recently retrograded, and makes a quincunx aspect to Chiron, bringing a deeper meaning to the transformational tension of this timeframe, one that relates to inner wounding with regard to some important part of ourselves, and, ultimately, to healing in these crucial areas.
Uranus square Pluto, as I have been describing for many weeks now, represents first of all the sudden realization that strikes without warning, regarding some part of our lives that has become dysfunctional, and then a bold move to cut ourselves off from this sense of dysfunction by eliminating the problematic factor. When we do not take action, either through complacency or from fear of the unknown, then the forcefulness of the universe comes in to assist us in making healthier choices, although perhaps in a disruptive way that seems unkind or even cruel at the moment of the discontinuity. This is the so-called kick in the behind that pushes us over to what we eventually can see as what was truly needed. This could refer to job loss, removal of money or possessions, perhaps to relationship adjustment. Sometimes that which we love and refuse to part with must be nevertheless sacrificed. As columnist Cheryl Strayed puts it, “Go, even though he’s your best friend, and even though there is nowhere to go. … Go, because you want to.” Like it or not we must sometimes come to realize that this loss and subsequent rebirth is the beating heart of our time on planet Earth and of life unfolding.
The Sabian Symbol for this New Moon presages a warning: A storm in a canyon. The way for our salvation might be narrow at this time and results might come in a flood, faster than we can easily handle. It is good if we can to move with all due caution. There is, after all, simultaneously a slow-motion effect in these days of Mercury retrograde and with Saturn strongly aspected in Libra. Also it might be that things will not go the way that we planned, might even come out 180 degrees the other direction. We are seemingly moving fast and strange, but if we can take a moment to reflect there is much wisdom to be found in the turning.
Wednesday night’s First Quarter Moon, taking place in the late night or early morning hours of July 25th and 26th, depending on location, is another powerful lunation. It is made stronger by the hovering presence of the Uranus-Pluto square, triggered by this somewhat stressful phase of the current cycle that culminates in mid-August. Mercury is still retrograde, and in concurrent timing with this event moves into direct aspect with both Uranus and Pluto, increasing its symbolic power to mentally ensnarl and confuse. Uranus and Pluto continue to urge upon us radical realization and transformation. We do best in dealing with the Mercury retrograde energy – on any level – by being patient with ourselves and by forgiving mistaken assumptions on anyone’s part as we thoughtfully meditate on what might eventually emerge as the truest nature of our situation.
There is another factor in these late July skies which contributes to the general fuzziness, namely a strong aspect from both ends of the Sun-Moon square to Neptune in the third degree of Pisces. The Sabian symbol is “A petrified forest” – things might not be what they seem. The Sun in early Leo is quincunx while the Moon trines Neptune, bringing in more reasons to suspend judgment and to wait for the final answer to emerge, perhaps redolent with a symbolic rather than literal meaning. We live in a magical world to a much greater extent than we usually give credit to, and these cosmically significant times at the middle of a very special summer are there to remind us of that.
Jupiter is as well in close square to Chiron at this time, while Mars trines Jupiter and makes its own quincunx aspect to Chiron, strengthening this piece of the puzzle. Jupiter with Chiron emphasizes what I like to call the Shamanic Path, the freedom from received ideas of religion and morality in favor of voyaging onward in your own way, toward the discovery of your own truth, independent from the illusory voices that represent consensus thinking. This is perhaps best illustrated on the level of politics by how little the TV news represents what is really going on; while on a more intimate level of personal evolution the message might be that no one but yourself can tell you what needs to happen for you, and for navigating this present moment of your life. Only you have the keys to your future – in both a conceptual and an action-oriented sense.
Therefore, as we move through the stresses of our time of history and as we attempt to make sense of what is happening all around us, and to us, we win when we suspend judgment and wait for the roiled stream to clear, when we take the largest possible viewpoint on events and circumstances, and when we forgive ourselves as well as others as we stumble onward toward the recognition of our own light.