We start the month with a full moon on July 3rd at 12 degrees Cancer – Capricorn, which pulls in the lords of the underworld and of surprise, Pluto and Uranus. Cancer and Capricorn both speak to tradition, conservatism, and the status quo. While Cancer seeks safety and stability within the context of family or family of choice, Capricorn seeks the same within the context of work and society. This full moon will illuminate the artificial boundaries that the order and familiarity of our lives have begun to create.
Where have you boxed yourself in because of a sense of responsibility (to be a good parent, a good citizen, a good spouse, a good student, a good employee, a good boss, a good child – insert your limiting factor here)? Where have the definitions of duty become too narrow, cut too close? If you aren’t having much fun these days, odds are that the scales have tipped a bit too far to the side of what you do for others and you need to place a bit of weight on what you need to do for yourself. Take a look and see where you need to loosen up your sense of obligation around home, family, and career. Resentment, grumpiness, frustration, and tension will indicate chafing constrictions.
With Moon conjoined Pluto, power issues and stormy feelings can also rear their ugly heads. This aspect can show up in various ways: via persons abusing power, those trying to impose their will, and others, including ourselves, who are trying to gain advantage by covert means (manipulation, backroom maneuvering, etc.). Be conscious of your power. Are you owning it or turning it over to others?
Pluto at its best will help uncover buried emotions that must be brought into the light to be transformed. At worst, it represents our destructive impulses, the ways we cast ourselves into private hells by being compulsive, unconscious, and obsessive. Empowerment comes from embracing our whole selves, even the darker aspects.
On the day of the full moon, Mars moves into Libra, indicating we need to act on our own behalf to bring our relationships – within ourselves and with the people in our lives – into greater balance. We can brood about all we do for others without reciprocity, or we can begin setting limits and identifying where we need to be more selfish. Saturn’s continued presence in Libra underscores this theme.
In short, start looking at your way of living. If it’s not to your liking, initiate a revolution to transform it. No more baby steps. Now is the time to move in the direction of your heart, lest you have someone else’s new (or old) world order imposed upon you.
Starting late June and continuing the next three years, Uranus and Pluto make seven exact squares in the heavens above us. These aspects of this volatile pair point to new social orders. To give you a point of reference, the last time these two transpersonal planets connected was in the sixties, when the straight-laced culture of the 1950s was upended.
Richard Tarnas compares Uranus to Prometheus, the Titan who broke all the rules, stealing fire from the gods to bring light and warmth to humankind. Pluto, on the other hand, is a god of power, money, death and deep transformation. When you put the two together, you have an overturning of the status quo.
If you’ve been living on autopilot or if your life seems to be run according to someone else’s rules (your parents’? society’s? some organization’s?), you may need to break some rules and unshackle yourself from your current unquestioned assumptions to reclaim your fire and restore the balance of power in your life.
Now, here’s the rub: Prometheus paid a price for defying the gods; he was ousted from the temple of the gods and tied to a rock where an eagle tortured him each day until his eventual release by Heracles. So the myth points to the push back we encounter when our revolutionary impulse runs counter to the mores of those around us. Not acting, however, can bring its own unpleasantness. We may continue to feel oppressed and limited until change is imposed on us, often through Pluto’s subterranean methods: sabotage, self-destruction, resentment, crises, violations, power struggles.
Returning to our sixties analogy, can you find a middle way that doesn’t push you to either turn on/tune in/drop out or, alternatively, live with injustice rather than stir up trouble?
We will be facing these issues collectively and personally. Ultimately, we must decide for ourselves where we need to overthrow traditions and rules that we find oppressive and that impede our growth, as well as what we are willing to risk to step into ourselves. We will be better positioned to do our part collectively if we have done our work individually.
July 13th Uranus stations at 8 degrees Aries. Much of what we are being called to do is to get right with ourselves. We simply can’t get right with those we love unless our sense of self is true and authentic. Questions of what we want, how to go about it, and what it means to live an authentic life will be percolating underneath the surface during Uranus’s retrograde period of the next six months. By December we should resurface with a clearer sense of just what this means to us individually. We may even have already taken some steps to realign ourselves to what we want.
On July 14th, Mercury turns retrograde at 12 degrees Leo. Leo describes our capacity for individuation, self-expression and creativity. When unsure of itself, it slips into drama, bombast, and self-importance. When anchored, however, Leo is the epitome of a healthy ego: charismatic, generous, and utterly self-assured. Leo can hold its creative vision and allow room for others to be themselves and follow their visions. In fact, it relishes and celebrates the unique gifts its sees in others. Use this retrograde period, which stretches to August 8th, to get in touch with your capacity to express yourself fully while also allowing others a place on the stage. If you feel stifled or unheard, dig down to figure out why. Suss out whether you feel worthy or ready for the stage and, if not, why? Could it be you are on the wrong stage or in front of the wrong audience?
Pressure builds beginning mid-month, as the Pluto-Uranus comes into stressful contact with Mars, god of war and action. In short, stress builds. Pluto and Uranus want to upturn and transform all they contact. Mars wants to act. Now, without forethought. When thwarted, Mars becomes frustrated, irritable, and tense. Uranus isn’t particularly patient either, and Pluto is plain compulsive when it wants something. So take a couple of deep breaths, and keep taking them from July 14th through July 20th. Remembering that everyone is in the same pressure cooker with you can help you access your compassion—which, let’s face it, is preferable to reaching out and shaking the bejesus out of the barista who can’t seem to get your order right when you really need that coffee, like five minutes ago.
Watch your stress levels; watch your frustration. If you catch yourself feeling frantic and running late to yoga class, does it really behoove you to jump into two tons of metal and rush there, cursing traffic the entire time? Sounds more like a recipe for disaster than an encounter with inner peace. So be conscious of when you’re pushing too hard, too fast and checking out in the process.
Doing something physical can help, as can tackling large projects you’ve been putting off. Find ways to channel this excess of energy constructively.
The new moon at 26 degrees Cancer on July 19th tells us about the energies seeking expression for the next month. It contains the Uranus-Pluto-Mars t-square we just discussed, which means the tensions that start mid-July will peak on the August 1st full moon and not fully resolve until the next new moon on August 17th. Think of this as a cycle, one in which the tensions and triggers that began mid-July are seeking to be addressed and released by mid-month August. If you can ratchet down or eliminate some stressor in your life over the next month and a half, the rewards will be many.
With the new moon in Cancer, look for where you need to better nurture yourself, to be your own best mother. Saturn in square to the new moon points to insecurities, areas where we may not feel deserving of the support and love for which we yearn. If you have convinced yourself that love and approval hinge on what you do for others, expect situations to arise that demand you take care of yourself lest you be an exhausted, empty husk.
Reach deep and watch yourself. Do you go into caretaking mode and lose sight of your needs? This is Cancer’s shadow side. It does such a good job at mothering others that no one even considers that it may need love and support. It hides its own needs behind the façade of an all-competent giver and perpetual shoulder to lean on.
There is enormous strength in vulnerability—in saying, “I need help. And a hug wouldn’t be so bad either.” Accessing what you need—your deep, nonverbal needs—is important this moon. Pay attention to your feelings; they are speaking to you. If you listen carefully, they can point you to your deepest desires, the part of your soul which yearns to be healed and return home.
If you know your ascendant (rising sign), read that sign and your birth sign. Otherwise, just read your birth sign. As always, a horoscope is no substitute for the genuine article: a consultation based on your actual moment of birth.
Aries: This month will be particularly lively, so enjoy the festivities without spreading yourself too thin. Tap into the sense of possibility inherent in sloughing off the old, but guard against impatience. Most importantly, put energy into your home, neighborhood, and loved ones. A strong foundation provides you the best point of departure. Gemstone: Rhodonite.
Taurus: To make the most of this month, focus on something you value and pour your energy into an act of service based on that value. Helping a neighbor or performing some small act in the community can lift your spirits. Your health can wilt in this heat, so take care of yourself. Also watch your spending. Gemstone: Sugilite
Gemini: With optimistic Jupiter and pleasure-seeking Venus in your sign, it’s easy to let this month slip past in a happy fog. Nothing wrong with that. However, more ambitious types might want to shore up their finances and notice that a bit of creative action might open up a whole new direction, though it might mean letting go of some things to free up the energy. Gemstone: Carnelian
Cancer: Take action based on your own needs this month, Cancer. You have difficulties releasing the past, but this month demands you do just that. How about applying the full measure of your healing presence on your own life and making the changes at home and at work you’ve been avoiding? Gemstone: Hessonite
Leo: For you, Lion, everything hinges on what you think and say this month, especially as Mercury turns retrograde in your sign. Careless speech can put you in hot water, as can old, unexamined behaviors tied to the past. Be vigilant. When your saboteur shows up, make a clean sweep of your thinking to keep him shut out for good. Gemstone: Obsidian
Virgo: Unexpected expenses may crop up this month. Try not to fret, especially if they’re tied to romance or unleashing a bit more of creative self-expression. Focus on the big picture, where you want to head in the long run. If the money going out moves you closer to the destination, it’s money well spent. Gemstone: Malachite
Libra: This is the month to bring one career goal into focus and begin to take action. Baby steps, giant steps—it doesn’t much matter as long as you act. As Newton noted, an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Inertia and indecision are the enemies, while the future is your friend. Get the party started in July to ensure momentum. Gemstone: Ametrine
Scorpio: Spend some time examining your beliefs this month. Are they guiding your life or are they tucked away from the day-to-day? If the latter, dust them off and bring them out. Also try for less warrior and more nurturer. A good place to start: watching your tendency to bottle up your hurts and lash out later. Showing a bit of your vulnerability does your soul good. Gemstone: Moonstone
Sagittarius: You’ll feel best avoiding limelight this month. As much as you like to circulate and be where things are happening, July calls to your nature spirit and for time spent away from the fray of modern life. Something needs to come to an end, and only time alone will bring it into focus. Those closest to you can also bring renewal. Gemstone: Obsidian
Capricorn: You may be feeling a bit cranky, Seagoat. It’s all right. You’re moving through turbulent waters, and the occasional undertow can unmoor you. Keep clearing out emotions and loosening the old, self-protective armor. This month is about softening, especially with others. Don’t worry if it feels like a start-stop process. You’re freeing up, inch by inch. Gemstone: Garnet
Aquarius: You may be tempted to promise more than you can deliver this month. The possibilities seem endless, and they’re all so impossibly interesting. Before you go dashing out to the next meeting, you may want to take a moment to collect yourself. Check your finances. Check that the work you do is actually nurturing you. Gemstone: Fluorite
Pisces: Paying attention can protect your pocketbook, Fishes. The unexpected or unplanned can cost you this month. Staying close to home and doing something fun with your beloved, pursuing creative projects, or hanging out with your family of choice will bring the most reward. Gemstone: Amazonite